Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/293

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


Reviews. 257

meeting with. A one-legged spirit figures in the tale related on p. 91 : —

" There is a hill called Mukongo between Kilungu and Mwea, some fifteen miles south of Machakos, which is said to be haunted by innumerable Atimu, the place is covered with thick bush and people are afraid to go there. It is related that on one occasion some women went to cut firewood there, and having chopped some sticks they hoisted their loads on their backs and started lor home, but before they had reached the edge of the wood their loads were set on fire by the Aiimu, so they hurriedly dropped their bundles, unfastened their straps, and fled ; and it is said that directly the sticks were dropped they ceased to blaze."

"It is said that if any one in the neighbourhood dies and if, within a few days of his death, a friend of the deceased visits these haunted woods, he may see his dead friend walking about there. I inquired if the deceased ever spoke, but they said that the inquisitive person was usually so terrified that he ran away."

"On one occasion some people made a garden close under this hill and planted it with xvimbi [small millet, Ehusine coracana\ the grain germinated quite well, but as it grew up instead of bearing grain it all turned into grass, which showed that the Aiimu were annoyed at an encroachment on their sacred preserves. The elders then met and discussed the matter and issued orders that no one should in future attempt to cut wood there or cultivate near by." (p. 87.)

The Anyanja have a similar belief as to a spirit-hill {piri la mizimu) : —

" They hear the sound as of people answering, the baboons lift the pots from their head, Lo ! you people, we have heard strange voices and seen strange things, we met with baboons who took the pots from our head ; if you chance to go to the hill and come out through the bananas, cut a bunch, eat some, and carrry the rest to eat at the village, you find, when you come there, that there is nothing on your head at all, and you are amazed. "-

Again : —

"They hear the spirit-drums, piye! piyel faintly sounding with repeating notes, and the big drums sounding/?.' pi! we have heard voices to-day from the other world, the sound of drums ; and so they tell the men of age and standing, ' we went to the thicket and heard, but saw no one ' ; [the elders answer them], 'you had better not go there [again], for you will die'"^

^D. C. Scott, Cyclopedia Dictionary of the Mang'anja Language (1892), p. 416.

^Jii., id.

R