Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/425

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


Reviews. 389

brought in chains to the chief. The man who effected the arrest is rewarded, and is himself given in charge to the commander- in-chief until the trial. The latter official is the judge if the murder has been committed with a cutting weapon ; in other cases another official presides at the trial. The procedure of the court is marked by dignity and perfect order in all judicial enquiries. Accuser and accused are heard ; their witnesses are examined, and hearsay evidence is excluded after the fashion of the most enlightened tribunals. The judge may pronounce sentence of death, or inflict a heavy fine payable to the chief. In the former case the chief must confirm the sentence before it can be carried out. He will extend his mercy where drunkenness or insanity is the excuse, that is to say, where there was no criminal intent, or where the accused is a child. It is only in the execution of the sentence that barbarism is to be found. The condemned man is taken outside the enclosure of the royal palace, his chains are struck off, and he is delivered over to the crowd to be lynched. There is no punishment for killing in self-defence, or by accident. On the other hand suicide is regarded as a crime, and the kinsmen are fined.

Two tables of Terms of Relationship are given, one containing the Bambala and Bangongo terms, and the other the Bohindu terms. Unhappily neither of them is free from ambiguities and omissions. However, as the terms are different in all their dialects, they are of little help in forming a judgement on the details of the system of kinship prevailing. Although matrilineal descent only is reckoned, the children are considered to belong to the father. In other words, patrilineal customs are beginning to creep in. The father's rights, however, as yet are limited. He can neither slay nor sell his children, though among the western tribes explored he may pledge them. A curious extension of prohibited degrees is found. Children born in the same month of the same year are called, in regard to one another, Bay. They have the rights of brothers and sisters, except that of inheritance ; and they cannot intermarry, unless (in the case of Bambala girls) with the chief. Indeed, in theory at least, all Bambala girls who are Bay with the chief, when he comes to the throne are his wives. A woman will suckle her child's Bay^ and such a child will eat