Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/267

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Reviews. 229

with much acuteness, and comes to the conclusion that there is in Madagascar no true totemism. The conclusion is probably correct. At the same time it is admittedly based to a large extent on the absence of exact information. For instance, when Dr. Catat, just before reaching the village of Sahasoa, belonging to the Betsimisaraka tribe, had killed a babakoto, or lemur {Lichanotus brevicaudatus), which he was about to skin, a score of the inhabitants of the village came crying out and accusing him of having killed one of their grandfathers in the forest. In the same way, among the Betsileo, Father Pages killed a babakoto and was about to skin it, when his palanquin- bearers loudly clamoured and demanded the body of their relative, which he was compelled to hand over to them and which they buried with funeral honours and every sign of mourning at the next village. Now here is reason to suspect totemism. The animal is claimed as a relative by members of two distinct tribes ; the person who kills it is regarded with anger ; the body, in one case at all events, is solemnly interred like that of a clansman. What is wanting to complete the proof is information whether the mourners in these cases belonged to a single clan, and whether that clan bore the name of the babakoto. But, then, this is exactly what the traveller and the missionary who record the facts omitted to enquire.

It would be possible to adduce a large number of such cases. If only the observers had been acquainted with even the merest outlines of anthropological science, they would have been put upon enquiry again and again, and might easily have cleared away for us the doubts that arise in reading their reports. On the other hand, they have mentioned facts which are incon- sistent with totemism as found in typical totemistic areas like Australia and North America. The clans (if they be really clans, for there is no scientific use of the words, clan, caste, class, family, and tribe) are not usually exogamous ; nor are they usually named after the object tabooed ; nor do they bear representations either upon the persons of the members, or carved or painted on their property, of the object tabooed. M. van Gennep says, moreover, there are no rites of initiation.