Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/162

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152 Myths of Origin.

is accompanied by a myth of origin from tree or bamboos ; interment corresponds to an origin from the ground and to an underground land of the dead, and, finally, the disposal of the dead in " stone graves " is accompanied by a myth of origin from stones.

Whether such correspondences occur in the case of other modes of disposing of the dead and in ethnographic pro- vinces other than Indonesia, investigation only can tell. Until such correspondences have been verified or proved not to exist, it will not be possible to make any wide generalisations. It is not always possible to apply the results of investigation in one region to other regions, for at present too little is known of the mentality of the various groups of mankind to make such a proceeding safe and wise.

A word of explanation is needed before closing. The aim of this paper is to enunciate the existence of certain corre- spondences : there is no intention to endeavour to formulate a psychological basis for any of the modes of disposal or beliefs here discussed. In the case of tree disposal, inter- ment and " stone graves," the dead are certainly being " put back whence they came," and in some cases, as has been seen, this is recognised by those who carry out the practices, but it does not follow that this was the aim which first prompted the disposal in any case. It may have been only the result of reasoning about the mode of disposal. Once such an idea be present, however, it may quite possibly play an important part in the formation of new myths of origin and modes of disposal. Cases such as those of the Chin,. Karen and Olo Ngadjoe reveal the possibility of the exis- tence of deep-seated causes underlying the phenomena here treated, but their discussion is not part of the purpose of this paper.

W. J. Perry.