Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/462

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420 Correspondence.

Mr. H. N. Brailsford, writing on " The Macedonian Revolt, ' in the Fortnightly Review, September, 1903, pp. 431, 432, says: " For a certain sum paid annually, an Albanian chief will under- take to protect a tributary village; or if the village is outside the Albanian sphere of influence, it is generally obliged to have its own resident brigands, who may or may not be Albanians. If the village belongs to a Turkish landlord, these men are generally chosen from among his retainers. They are known under the name of bekchi, or rural guards. They are necessary because the Christian population is absolutely unarmed and defenceless. To a certain extent they guarantee the village against robbers from outside, and in return they carry on a

licensed and modified robbery of their own There are of

course honourable men among them who retain the old Albanian traditions of loyalty and chivalry. But, in general, their conduct is what the conduct of armed men among an unarmed subject

racewill always be The rural guard exacts a substantial

ransom in cash for his services, He levies certain traditional dues, e.g. blackmail upon every maid who marries. The sum varies with the ability of her father and her husband to pay, and in default of payment the bekchi will exercise \h.Q Jus primes tioctis. Indeed, an experienced consul in Monastir, an able man who has studied the country for many years, declares roundly that these men simply treat the women of the village as their harem."

M. Peacock.

[Our correspondent should observe that while Mr. Brailsford describes a state of society, much like that of Western Europe during the invasions of the Danes in the ninth century, in which tyrannical claims easily arise, become crystaUised, and acquire the force of custom, yet he does not appear to refer to any recognised legal rights on the part of the bekchi. — Ed.]