Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/276

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262 The Scape-Goat in European Folklore.

at night without a fire stick, do not seem to have hit upon the device, common in other parts of the world, of an annual expulsion of evil spirits and evils in general. On the other hand, if the Australian type is the primitive one, we have no European examples exactly on all fours with it ; but when once the idea of expelling other evils or evil spirits had been adopted, the expulsion of ghosts might easily fall into the background,

I may here point out in passing that though the animistic idea is prominent in many ceremonies having for their object the expulsion of evils, we are hardly justified in regarding them as necessarily animistic. If I may for a moment turn aside from my path to illustrate this, I will quote the Celebes belief as to the cause of lycan- thropy. The view seems to be that some kind of poison, a toxin as it were, infects the soul of the human being ; but this toxin is hardly conceived animistically ; it is a power, not a spirit, of evil.

Dr. Frazer has given many examples from all parts of the world both of immediate expulsions of evils and of the expulsions by means of scapegoats, with which I am more immediately concerned ; I need not therefore go over familiar ground ; but I will call attention to the fact that two of the chief seasons mentioned in his collec- tion of facts as chosen by the European peasantry for the expulsion of evils, witches, or whatever they happen to call the ills of which they seek to rid themselves, are the winter solstice and May day, which in many cases is to be regarded as the original season for the celebration of many Easter customs. Another Christmas custom, to which Dr. Frazer does not allude, but which obviously bears the same interpretation, was the so-called " Klopf- leinsnacht " of South Germany, when young people went round with whips and sticks, exactly as did the Cherokee Indians at their annual festival of purification.^ Perhaps

■•Panzer, Beitrag, ii. 118.