Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/270

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232 Revieivs.

guarded. But it is far from being "ruined at its basis." Easy as it may be to conceive the direct formation of a cult of deceased chiefs without the intervention of totemism, which I should at once concede, still that was not the problem. The problem was — Given the former existence of totemism as a fact, how did that totemism evolve into ancestor-worship, as now practised among the Bantu, including the worship of deceased chiefs ?

M. van Gennep does not offer any alternative solution of this problem. My suggestion was that the belief of certain North American tribes was at one time a Bantu belief, namely, that after death a clansman was held to reappear in the form of the totem-animal, that as totemism decayed the reappear- ance in the form of the totem-animal would first tend to be confined to the chief, and that ultimately the limitation would be dropped and the reappearance of a dead man would assume any convenient form. This was confessedly " a mere hypo- thesis." " Nothing proves," says M. van Gennep, " that the chief, who is the Hon-man in his hfetime, "is so again after death." Precisely ; I never said it did. " The clan," he goes on, "is in need of a real, live lion-man, in whom its life may be incarnated. The lion-man dead, his successor becomes lion- man in his turn." Certainly. " What is the good, then," he asks, " of supposing that reincarnation in the lion is the chief's privilege, since the reincarnation is of no importance for the preservation of the society, for defence against the lion, for the success of the crops, or of a war, and so on ? " I am by no means sure that the clansman would regard his deceased chief's reincarnation in the lion, if that were his totem-animal, as of no importance for some of these purposes, such as defence against the ravages of lions, or success in war. I rather think it might be regarded as very useful. As to such reincarnation being the chief's privilege, I only suggested that " he who was in his lifetime emphatically the lion-man, the crocodile-man, the porcupine-man, the elephant-man, the hippopotamus-man," for some such titles were as a fact given to the chiefs, " would longest preserve the totem-form after death, especially in cases where the totem was a beast to be dreaded for its size, physical