Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/82

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COLLECTANEA.




Cropping Animals' Ears.

(Ante, p. I, and Vols. xi. pp. 380, 456, xii. pp. 97, 208.)

Plate I. represents a group of Moqui (otherwise Hopi) Indians of Arizona, U.S.A. This tribe inhabits some five or more pueblos (villages), built at some few miles' distance from one another, upon mesas (table-lands) elevated above the flat and arid deserts. They are descended from the ancient cliff-dwellers of the same and surrounding region, and their practice of selecting sites always on elevated ground, as also of building in stone (unlike the other tribes contiguous to them), may be supposed to reflect the habits of those ancestors as the famous ruins of the cliff'-dwellings there reveal them.

The particular point of the photograph lies in the donkey, or burro, whose ears, it will be seen, have been cut off. In regions where nature rears her savage children in spite (as one may almost say) of themselves and of her, the domestic animals are often taken into the human family circle, whose lot, indeed, can hardly be said to be greatly different from theirs as regards bed and board. The dog of the Esquimau, the horse or camel of the wandering Arab, come at once to mind. So with the Moqui Indian, the burro is very much one of the family, and is credited with moral intelligence, in addition to the well-known traits we recognise in the donkey. When, therefore, the Moqui burro, fulfilling his destiny, commits a depredation upon a tempting corn-patch, or otherwise becomes lawless and heinous, he is brought before the heads of the pueblo, formally tried, convicted I suppose, and condemned. The penalty takes the form of cropping a piece of his ear, serving the double purpose of