Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/117

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Reviews. loi

else." Yet it would be wrong to say that the ordinary rustic has no standard of right and wrong, because " altruism is concentrated on the caste, the tribe, and the family, in a way that it is hardly possible for us to understand." Again, while the peasant in matters connected with litigation is unscrupulous and not averse to perjury when his material interests are at stake, the fact that so much of the business of daily life is carried on without any documentary record is proof that the parties to a contract must usually act in good faith and trust each other. What is most curious in the Panjab, as in other parts of India, is the lack of ethical perspective. One of the rules of the Bishnoi sect runs : " Bathe in the morning ; commit not adultery " : and the two rules seem to stand on an equal footing.

Animism, the bed-rock of the popular faith, naturally leads, as Mr. Rose points out, to the confusion of the idea of life and spirit. Hence, anything that lives, or rather displays supernatural or abnormal vitality, like trees of many kinds, comes to be worshipped.

This confusion of life and spirit leads, again, to the inference that as life is transferred from one generation to another, so the soul, and with it all the attributes and powers of the progenitor, is transferred also. Hence is explained the curious belief in the transmission of the hereditary powers of curing disease or of causing evil. Thus, several Biloch subdivisions have the power of stopping bleeding by incantations ; the Pathals of Jhelum cure boils on children's heads gratis, by first filling the mouth with salt and then spitting on the sore ; the head of a Gujar sept cures disease of the skin which results in baldness by pulling out a single hair. This reminds us of the royal power of touching for " King's " Evil ; and in Ireland the blood of a person of the Keogh sept is, or was, used for the cure of toothache.^

Naturally clans gifted in this way tend to assume what is almost a priestly character, and the suggestion may be hazarded that the origin of some of the sacred tribes, the Levite and the Brahman, may have been in some cases based on these supposed hereditary powers of healing disease, of which the Panjab supplies so many and so curious instances.

Mr. Rose then goes on to show that Magic and Religion, start-

' Black, Folk Medicine, p. 140.