Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/42

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30 Midstimmer Customs in Morocco.

smoke of cowdung burned at midsummer. I heard of the same custom farther east, at Amzmiz in the Great Atlas, l^ut among none of the Shluh tribes inhabiting those mountains I have been able to detect any other fire customs at midsummer; on the contrary, the existence of any such customs was emphatically denied by my infor- mants. However, among various tribes in Sus, belonging to the same Berber group, smoke is made under the fruit- trees at midsummer with a view to preventing the fruit from falling. Thus the people of Aglu make smoke of straw and rubbish mixed with the dung of cows or camels, but the heap must not take fire ; if it does so, the flame is extinguished with earth, lest the fruit should become bad. In Tazerwalt, another district in Siis, some fish from the river are roasted under the fruit-trees, the smoke being considered beneficial for the tree. But I am aware of no Shluh tribe making midsummer fires for the purpose of purifying men and animals.

Among the Rif Berbers, on the other hand, fire cere- monies are practised at midsummer as extensively as among the Jbala. Fires are kindled over which the people leap in order to keep in good health. Fires are made for the animals, and in the fire the dried body of a wild cat is often burned, the smoke being considered wholesome for the animals. Fires are, moreover, made under the fruit- trees to prevent the fruit from falling. The ashes of the fires over which the people leap are mixed with water, and the tuft of hair which the Rif Berbers allow to grow on their heads is rubbed with this mixture so as to keep the hair from falling off".

In all these cases the beneficial effect is entirely attributed to the smoke ; the magic quality of the smoke removes l-bds, or misfortune, from men, animals, fruit-trees, or crops. But in some places fire ceremonies of another type are practised at midsummer, namely, ceremonies which are supposed to destroy l-bds by the flame. For