Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/546

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


528 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fused to take her home at my request, because of lier lively eyes and fear for his wife. A niece, who probably knew more about the unreality of her powers than the governor and the others, at last agreed to take care of her. She told me that her ancestors were reputed to be sorcerers, but she knew nothing about the art, and had never practiced it.

There are other sorcerers who pretend to be acquainted with the demoniac science, and make a trade of it. They sell love philters and magic formulas that will compel the passion; potions that will produce abortions; poisons and more or less effective remedies; and fetich strings that will keep devils and ghosts away. All Cam- bodians, even the king, believe in them. We need not ridicule ISTorodom and his countrymen for this, for I have found instances of like weakness among Frenchmen.

Amulets play a prominent part in Kmer life. Besides the cords that keep away evil spirits, they have small cylinders of lead or tin with a cotton or hempen cord running around them, to preserve them against certain diseases; and usually they contain an inscription in Pali, and a mysterious invocation. Soldiers wear pieces of white cotton cloth marked with arabesques and letters and figures, for pro- tection against death and serious wounds. A lover who repeats nine times the words Setthi thea jac juc tas ae pac l^ai sang khac annamac into a pocket handkerchief he intends to give a young woman feels certain tliat he will win her love. Another way of securing the love of a woman, however indifferent she may be, is to write her name on a betel leaf and pronounce upon it four times, before taking it into his mouth to chew, the words Oru chea sac rat svaJiap. The sorcerers also sell marvelous invocations to augment the love of a spouse who is too cool, to prevent jealousy troubling the peace of polygamous households, and to cure slaves of the disposition to run away. They have, too, formulas to cure the bites of scorpions and snakes, to drive rats and mice away from granaries and sacks of paddy, to dispel sorrow, and to make their persons plumj).

]\Iany secrets have been lost in the course of time. I was told that there were formerly sorcerers who could travel through the air astraddle of a broomstick or of a porter's rod. The Malia Rusey, or hermits of the Satras, are represented as having been able to ascend in the air and penetrate everywhere, to bewitch arms, to manufacture amulets, and render their friends and adepts invul- nerable. The modern sorcerers, who have succeeded the Malm Rusey, are much less powerful and less skillful. There are said to be sorcerers who even make wax figures to which they give the name of a person they wish to hurt or kill, and then stick with a knife, pronouncing magical words at the same time, when the

�� �