Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/458

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4i6 Correspondence,

me as a mark of affection and confidence, because from the com- mencement of my stay in the country I had gone amongst the people, listened to their tales and been interested in their lives, so that they grew to trust me, and often spoke very openly to me on almost all subjects. They also believed that I "possessed the healing hand," because on some occasions I was able to dispense medicines or cordials which relieved the sick.

It was not till four years ago that a friend of mine. Professor Logic, urged me to write down all I knew about Basutoland simply and straightforwardly just as I should tell it. I had never heard of M. Junod or Bishop Callaway, nor of M. Jacottet's books, though M. Jacottet himself I know slightly. I never had much to do with the missionaries, and never thought of going to them for information. What additional details I found I needed when I set about writing I obtained from the Basuto themselves, which was infinitely more interesting than going to one of my own race. Also I very soon learnt that as a rule the Basuto only told the missionary just as much or as little as they thought he ought to know, and sometimes altered the information to suit their hearer ; for instance, the particulars of their death customs and " school- practices," which I knew they were afraid to tell the missionary in all their naked truthfulness.

As to the term " school," it is used all over Basutoland to designate these annual customs, even the natives themselves using it. All the missionaries I know speak of it as the " Heathen School," and I could think of no better term than the commonly accepted one by which to express it. I know only too well what these affairs really are, but it is impossible to write more fully than I have done \ added to which I am bound by a promise not to disclose all I know.

Mr. Hartland takes exception to my statement about the crocodile. The Basuto in every part where we have been stationed have all told me that they are the " Ba-kuena." They all look upon the crocodile as their own especial sacred animal, just as the Ba-taunga are the people of the lion, the Ba-peri, they of the porcupine, «S:c.

Now with regard to the word Molinio (pronounced Modimo). It literally means " great one," and when used in the singular represents to the Basuto the Great Spirit who they believe is supreme over all other spirits ; who, in fact, answers to our term