Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/276

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


240 Cor7'esponde7ice.

The same game exists in Java and Sumatra. Dr. Snouck Hugronje^ describes how, among the Sundanese in Java, boys are made to assume the characteristics of a monkey or a peacock. The method is just Hke that of the Peninsular Malays, except that sometimes the fumes of incense are employed. In Acheh, too, he tells us that animals are similarly imitated, especially the common ape, the coco-nut monke}', and the elephant. He gives for the ape game a quite untranslatable formula, obviously con- nected with the second of those which I quoted for the 7nain hantu nmsang. As the latter makes excellent sense the other looks like a corruption, and may indicate that these games were imported into Acheh from a region where Malay was spoken.

Malays are perhaps exceptionally sensitive to hypnotic influence. This seems to be indicated by the strange mental or nervous disease called laiah,^ which is not uncommon in certain districts. Amonst them, too, fits and trances readily take the form of possession by a spirit called langstdr. A young man, otherwise absolutely sane, may have a seizure in which he shouts, sings, and whistles, and shows a well-marked double personality. When the demon has been expelled, or he wakes up after an interval of natural sleep, he has no memory of what has occurred.

Swinging as a method of attaining an abnormal mental state is also used by the manang of Borneo.^

I suggested that, when the boy is recalled to ordinary con- sciousness by the sound of his own name,^ we have a case of obedience to pre-suggestion. But the form which the suggestion takes is probably an illustration of the very common idea, met with in various forms among the Malays, that spirits (of dangerous beasts, diseases, the dead, etc.) are readily summoned by the sound of their names, wherefore such names may not be spoken.^

■* The Ackehnese, Eng. Trans., vol. ii., pp. 206-207.

^/.R.A.S. (Straits Branc/i),'No. II, pp. 143-153 ; Sir F. A. Swettenham, Malay Sketches, pp. 64-82.

^Crocker and Perham in Ling Roth, op. cit., vol. i., pp. 285-279.

■^ Cf. Skeat, Malay Magic, p. 465.

  • So, if a tiger may be near, a Malay speaks of " The Hairy One," " The

Striped One," "The Chief with the Moustaches," etc. Smallpox xspenyakit orang baik {" the good man's sickness "), and in Borneo penyah't raja or buah