Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/63

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The Voice of the Stone of Destiny. 51

told, " is immense, and is acknowledged by all the priests of his sect throughout the empire." The office has been confined for centuries to one family or clan. When the arch-abbot dies, all the male members of his clan are cited to appear at the official residence. The name of each one is engraved on a separate piece of lead, and deposited in a large earthenware vase filled with water. Standing round this vase are priests who invoke the three persons of the Taouist Trinity to cause the piece of lead bearing the name of the person on whom the choice of the gods has fallen, to come to the surface of the water. ^

The Taouist dignitary seems to possess only spiritual power, except probably in his own monastery. The Dalai Lama, on the other hand, retains some portion of civil rule. In both cases the person of the ruler is looked upon as sacred. Among savage and barbarous nations the office of priest or medicine-man is often not clearly distinguished from that of temporal ruler. The instances in which the chief or king is looked upon as divine, in which he is responsible for the weather, in which he causes the crops to grow, and performs other superhuman functions, are too numerous, and too well-known to be mentioned here. Since the publication of The Golden Bough they have been among the common-places of folklore. I need only re- mind you that "the divinity that doth hedge a king" is not confined to savagery and barbarism. It has lasted far into civilisation, and been sedulously cultivated for political purposes by royalty in every age. A Roman Emperor was Divus Augustus. When the dignity of king becomes hereditary, the monarch is held to be at least descended from the gods. The Mikado traces his descent from the Sun-Goddess. Kinor Edward VII. traces his from Woden, the war-god of the Anglo-Saxon tribes which colonised Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. It is true

  • China, a History of the Laws, Maniicrs, and Customs of the People, by

John Henry Gray, M.A., LL.D. (London, 1878), vol. i., p. 103.

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