Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/249

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


Sonic Algerian Superstitions. 239

her to return home. Spells to produce discord between a husband and wife are written by scribes amonj:^ the Ouled Ziane usually, I think, at the instigation of a lover who wishes to possess himself of the woman's affections, and who, for the same purpose, will occasionally put into the couple's food. a little kuskus which has been stirred with the right hand of a fresh corpse^- and is sold at a high price by old women for use in this way— a practice which I have described in \.\\q. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute}'^ as existing among the Shawia, and which is regarded with loathing by the natives. The eating of this kuskus leads to domestic quarrels which often culminate in divorce, enabling the lover to marry the woman wiiose freedom the spell has secured.

Persons who think that they may be the victims of this disgusting means of casting a spell protect themselves by means of written talismans, as do men who suspect that a woman has secretly mixed a little of her katamenia witii their food in order that they may be attracted to her even against their will, a practice which exists in the towns, rmd had been tried with success upon my informant when he was sixteen years old, but which I have not yet noted in the Aures nor in the desert. At Ain Touta a woman who fails to obtain the affections of a man will sometimes be driven by jealousy to wreak vengeance upon him by taking a fresh liver of a goat or a sheep, inserting a number of pins in it, and hanging it up in some secret place, for example, in a chimney ; as the liver dries up and shrinks so will the object of her wrath waste away and die.

This custom, which, of course, finds a parallel in many another part of the world, closely resembles a means of curing an enlarged spleen by sympathetic magic which I

■*DouUe mentions the use of the hand of a corpse for stirring kuskus in Magie el Religion dans C Afrique dii Noid, p. 302.

'* Hilton-Simpson, •' Some Arab and Siiawia Remedies " (Joiitn. Noy. Anlh. Inst., xliii., \>. 7i.5).