Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/273

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Reviews. 235

The Masai views on religion, as depicted by Mr. HoUis, are not specially remarkable. Various names are used for God, the commonest be eng-ai (pi. eng-aitin) ; prayers are offered to him ; this term is however rather the equivalent of the Algonquin manito, for it is applied to natural phenomena such as rain or volcanoes, to the sky and to any remarkable objects; in fact it is impersonal and can only occasionally be translated " divine " or " god." In one myth we have an account of two gods, one red {en-nanyokye), the other black (narok) ; the former of these is malevolent, while the latter, who is nearer mankind, endeavours to do good. A myth of origin (p. 266), speaks of only one God (probably engat naroU), who is here rather a demi-urge than a Creator ; the story explains how the Wandorobo, the hunting and nomadic neighbours of the Masai, lost their cattle and how eng-di gave to the Masai all the cattle in the world, which justifies them in seizing the herds of any one who cannot protect himself. The same story is told (p. 270) of Naiteru-kop, another demi-urge; this seems to indicate that the Masai theology is far from settled. The remainder of the myths are mainly concerned with astronomy and physical phenomena. One item in the Masai creed is the belief in ancestral snakes. Like the Betsileo, they hold that while the poor are simply snuffed out, the soul of a rich man or magician turns into a snake, which is respected on that account ; but the interesting point is that though there is no suggestion of totemism among the Masai, each clan has its own special snake, which is respected by that clan alone; membership of the clan is determined by descent and each clan has special marks (these are depicted by Merker, to whom reference is made below) ; there is no rule of clan exogamy, but sub-clan exogamy is insisted on to the extent of prohibiting intermarriage between two sub-clans of the same district. The blacksmiths belong mainly to the Kipugoni clan and practice endogamy; apparently this is owing to an objection on the part of the other clans to intermarry with them, which may be due, like the Japanese dislike to intermarriage with certain families, to a belief in their magical powers ; it will be remembered that to the Boudas of Abyssinia is attributed a power of trans- forming themselves into hyenas ; Nachtigal too has recorded