Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/424

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372 Bavili Notes.

great hope of giving you a definite idea of the difference the native draws between life, shadow, breath, and intelli- gence on the one hand, and ghost, soul, and spirit on the other.

I. Xidundii, or Shadow. Children are frightened of shadows. I remember when it was considered a crime for a person in this part of the country to trample on or even to cross the shadow of another, more especially if the shadow were that of a married woman. This shadow the Bavili call Xidiindti. To-day people are still very particular about passing one another ; but a new- comer would be rather reminded of the custom at home that it is rude to pass in front of anyone, and inclined to put this habit down to a native's natural politeness.

At night the Xidimdu is said to sleep in the body of its owner ; and that it is considered a very vital part of man we gather from the fact that should an ndoxi, or dealer in black arts, rob a sleeper of his Xidundu, he is said to take away his life. The Xidimdu enters and comes out of the body by the mouth {Mtimi) and is then likened to the breath {Muvii) of a man. When a man dies, he is said to have no shadow, even as he has no breath. Thus in the mind of the Bavili both Xidiindu and Miivu are part of mortal man, and die with him. But when a person swoons, or has a fit, or is in a trance, they say some ndoxi (witch, or rather wizard), has taken his Xidimdu, and it is just at the pleasure of the witch to return it or not. Should you kill the ndoxi, the Xidtmdu in question would escape with another member of the ndoxi's family. Supposing even that you know the witch who has secured your friend's shadow, you may not go to him and ask him to return it ; you must get two or three ngangas^ to confirm your supposition, who will visit the sick person, and cry out to the ndoxi to leave

'^\Mganga, pi. zinganga — '^xy^sX, medicine-man. Mr. Dennett considers that the primary meaning of the word is repeater; cf. our "soothsayer." — Ed.]