Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/471

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the Western Border of India. 435

said was a crude and horrid old man, instead of using euphemistic words as to her matrimonial arrangements, replied to my query as to what was to happen to her, — " I shall sell her elsewhere." I have said that he was a horrid old man, and disclaim any responsibility for his conduct. I could only hope that she would have a happier life once away from him, and, as he was a trans-border man, I had no authority to say more. The proceedings before me had saved her life, and that was much.

Now it has been found advisable to leave the decision of the matrimonial disputes, in the districts where exist " the elders that sit in the gate," to such leading men, but their decisions, not based on legal forms, are apt to miscarry. For instance, it was decided that, in consequence of some wrong done, Suleiman should arrange to give Taggia a girl in marriage, or, if he could not do so, pay £2^ in default. Now it so happened that Taggia had seen a nice young girl whom he wished to marry and whom he had ascertained from her father would not cost him more than the sum mentioned. He therefore set about to disapprove of and cast aspersions against all the girls produced by Suleiman, who, poor fellow, went as far as from here to Aberdeen to produce satisfactory brides. The matter came eventually within my ken, and, when I left, Taggia was still unmarried and had not, so far, committed any murder. The case, how- ever, was unsettled, and it shows a problem that may arise.

I will now turn to the problem of appropriation by relations. The Bible is so much read from the point of view of religion, doctrine, and morals that its importance as a study of comparative sociology is frequently not appreciated. The case of the daughters of Zelophehad, of the family of Gilead, of the tribe of Manasseh, is one of great interest.^ These girls went to Moses, and obtained from him a decision that daughters were to inherit in cases where a man died sonless. Later on the elders of their

'^Numbers, cap. xxvii., v. i-ii ; cap. xxxvi.