Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/424

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

588 Reviews.

sun dried the earth, which till then had been covered with water and darkness, and Bumba exhibited the same symptoms as before. This time he disgorged certain animals, and finally men. The animals and men in their turn produced in the same way other animals and a plant from which all vegetables have since pro- ceeded. When all this was done, Bumba laid down certain taboos, committed the government of the world to the three wisest men, and retired from business into the skies, where he troubles very little about men, save occasionally to communicate with them in dreams. He receives no worship.

The effective religion seems to be " fetish " or idol-worship managed by a kind of clergy, called Gombo, who are also diviners and magicians. A man is composed of three parts in addition to his body, namely, the Ido, or double, Mophuphu, the soul, and Edidingi, the shade. The Ido at death enters some wild animal, which is in due course met and killed by the heir, and there is an end of it. The soul, Mophuphu, is said to rejoin Jambi some- where, but no one knows where. The Isambo, however, say that it is interred with the body and afterwards enters a food-plant and is eaten, so finding reincarnation by means of a new birth. The Bangongo regard such reincarnation as an exceptional and occasional event. What becomes of the shade does not appear. Only bad men become ghosts. They are dealt with summarily, when troublesome, by digging up the body and burning the bones. Parallel methods are not unknown in Europe.

Mr. Torday remarks that the extent of the list of chiefs, rare in Africa, is alone enough to prove that the Bushongo are a remark- able people. What is even more to the purpose is the fact that no traces were found of the custom, all but universal among the lower races, of the blood-feud. Not that when a murder is committed no resentment is felt by the kindred of the murdered man. But all the consequent proceedings are carried on in accordance with the forms of law. They are very interesting. The brother of the deceased lays formal information with the public crier, who announces the fact to the village. The chief then proclaims the outlawry of the accused, and calls upon all subjects to arrest him and bring him to the capital, dead or alive. If he resist the attempt to arrest him, he is killed ; otherwise he is