Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/303

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Reviews. 267

Meitheis," — a suspicion which must often have presented itself to other workers among tribes in a similar grade of culture.

They seem to designate a spirit or deity by the word lai, which means anything beyond their comprehension ; Mr. Hodson's galvanic battery was called lai-upu, "divine-box." This lai is presumably preanimistic ; and Mr. Hodson, speaking of their religious rites, says, — " There are rites which can only be explained as intended to propitiate some Personality capable of being influenced by gifts of good cheer and strong drink " ; but there are others " which do not admit of this explanation," and which (quoting Forbes, British Burma, p. 271) seem to be inspired by "a blind dread of the invisible and the unknown, of which they could give no reasonable account to themselves or to others." Quite in keeping with this syncretism of preanimism and animism, we have the rain god of Marani described as " a man of the village specially cunning in the art of rain making " ; " the thunder and lightning which accompany the rain storms in the hills are believed by the Kabuis to be caused by the flash and clang of the massive bracelets on the arms of an unmarried girl, Kidilumai, who dances in heaven, as she danced on earth, for joy at the welcome rain " ; and " some of the powers who fill earth and heaven, and dwell in strange places, are unmistakeably the ghosts of the unburied, who are ever on the watch to do some hurt to mankind in vengeance for their unhappy doom."

Besides these animistic powers, we find a divine Demiurge who is beneficent, and who is said by one clan to carry out his work by the agency of another god, who works under the orders of the Supreme Deity. Mr. Hodson remarks that this conception of a Supreme Deity is found elsewhere in this area. As a rule He " is devoid of colour — he is neither well nor ill disposed towards mankind — to whom he is inaccessible and from whom he receives no gratification of prayer or sacrifice." He suggests that this Deity is a " metaphysical conception, originating in the desire to find an explanation for the creation of the material world." At any rate, he seems to have no animistic associations.

The clan ritual of worship is fully described. Among these people, he tells us, " so closely knit are the bonds of society that the religious acts and ideas are themselves an organic part of the