Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/120

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I lo Short Bibliographical Notices.

phases, including thunder and lightning, while Arriaga, in his Extirpation of Idolatry in Peru, says that the birth of twins is regarded as an "impious and abominable occurrence, and they say that one of them is the Child of the Lightning." The general result of this and other evidence of the same kind is that, in the beliefs of backward races, twins are abnormal or uncanny, and therefore "sacred." But the result of this belief is far from being uniform : some people thinking that such a birth being ominous or unlucky, one or both the twins, and sometimes their mother, should be slain ; while others regard their arrival as a blessing, and accord even divine honours to the pair. But why is the birth of twins associated with thunder and lightning ? Possibly because a thunderstorm produces the valued rain, and is thus an agent of fertility; or possibly because such a prolific mother is able to pass on her fertility to the tribe, its people, crops, and catde. The next question is : " Is this cult of twins derived from a single centre, or was it independently evolved by races in various parts of the world, between whom culture-contact cannot be traced with any degree of certainty?" To use Dr. Kendall Harris's words: "Did the Baronga get the belief from the Aryans or the Semites ? Have the Peruvians an ancestry that reaches across to India or Greece or Africa?" The old-fashioned anthropologist will answer this question in one way. Dr. Graebner in another. Meanwhile, the book may be safely recommended as an excellent repository of material. If at times the theory seems to go beyond the available material, if it contains some hazardous speculation, the treatment is always ingenious, and there is no attempt to dis- guise the occasional weakness of the conclusions. It is an able and scholarly discussion of a very interesting problem.

Ritual and Belief: Studies in the History of Religion. By Edwin Sidney Hartland. Demy 8vo, pp. xiv-t-352. London-. Williams & Norgate, 19 14. Price los. 6d.

It is needless to recommend this series of essays, one of which, "The Voice of the Stone of Destiny," was pubHshed in these columns {Folk- Lore, vol. xiv. p. 28 sqq.). Of the others, the elaborate survey of the Relations of Religion and Magic is an