Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/496

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438 Collectanea.

2nd. To uphold the law and institution of their countries according to rights of usage.

3rd. To prevent any oppression of their kings and chiefs.

Of late the Ekemeku Society has become composed for the most part of the younger and more lawless elements, who hold their meetings at night, who work by secret methods, and who are a continual source of terror to the more peaceful natives, whom they compel by threats of death to contribute to their Society."

IV. Marriage ajid Birth Customs.

There appear to be two kinds of marriages among the Bini. Among the upper classes the children are betrothed by their parents from infancy. The present may be a nominal one, such as four kolas, three cowries and some palm wine, or it may be more.

The man is supposed to keep on giving the child betrothed to him presents until she is grown up ; he also makes her parents gifts. The seduction of such a betrothed girl is heavily punished. On the other hand, among the poor, the girl is not necessarily betrothed, and a man may seduce her without legal punishment.

The man may refuse to marry his betrothed, and then he has the right to give her in marriage to anyone, unless she is of noble family, when she can only be given to a free man.

The girl may not refuse to marry the man to whom she is betrothed or his chosen representative. But the father may at any time refuse to give his daughter to her betrothed, but he has to refund to him all the presents the would-be husband has given to her and her parents.

When his wife conceives, the husband gives her a cock to sacrifice.

The son marries his deceased father's wives.

After the birth of a child, the father gives the mother another name. The child also will give her mother a name, a friend will also name her; and so one often hears a person spoken of by two or three names.

Very few women in this country are true to their husbands,