Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/248

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238 So?He Algerian Siiperstitioyis.

Ouled Ziane by causing the victim to drink a written spell in the following manner. A hard lump of soiled wool is cut from the hind quarters of a sheep and is made into a kind of ink by boiling it in a little water ; with this ink the spell is written upon a piece of paper and is then washed off in a little water ; the water which thus contains the ink with which the spell has been written being then secretly introduced into the victim's coffee or other beverage, while the paper, being of no further use in the proceedings, is thrown away.

A nomad doctor who discussed the matter with me recommended a purge as the most efficacious means of combating an evil spell thus set to work ; but the sorceress told me that a piece of a dried chameleon, a herb known as " batol " and " fesouch " (.'ammoniac) taken in broth constitute a successful remedy.

Among both the Ouled Ziane and the Shawia the passing of a flatus is regarded with the greatest repugnance. In order to cause a woman to thus offend, a man will take the blood of a bat to a scribe who writes some words with it upon a piece of stick. The man conceals himself near a spring or a place where the women wash clothes and when his victim approaches with her female acquaintances to fetch water or to wash, he taps a tree, his own hand, or any other object with the stick, whereupon the victim is compelled to offend repeatedly, and is thus made the object of the jeers of her companions. ^^

Among the Ouled Ziane this custorn appears to be in the nature of a practical joke or a revengeful attempt to render the victim unpopular ; but I was told that a Shawi will cast the spell upon his wife if she should loiter too long gossiping with her friends at the water to the detri- ment of her other household duties, in order that her companions may cease to desire her presence and oblige

This custom is reported from the environs of Algiers by Doutte, Magie et Religion dans l' Afrique dti Nord, p. 297.