Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/258

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

248 Some Algerian Siipcrstiiions.

suspension. One of the two specimens which I procured from a Mozabite trader at Batna, however, had been pierced to receive a wire ring, while the other is set in a very small empty cartridge case or " bulleted cap."

I could not obtain a specimen in the Aures, where corals of this shape are rare and are sometimes sold at high prices, but in the large towns they are cheap enough.

The gall bladder of a crow, a jackal, a black bull or a hedgehog are used by the Ouled Ziane in curing sore eyes by touching the eyeball with the gall bladder, which may possibly be considered efficacious on account of its bitter- ness, if the condition of the eye is attributed to jenoun. Professor Doutte, however, quotes as an instance of sym- pathetic magic a cure for jealousy in a woman by secretly causing her to swallow a mixture of jackal's gall and honey.-*'

The hedgehog is used among the Ouled Ziane to cure colic in infants either by suspending two halves of the animal's lower jaw upon the child's necklet or by powder- ing a piece of its intestine, dried and kept for the purpose, and giving it to the child to eat mixed in butter ; and we have seen that the people of x'\in Touta burn hedgehog's bristles with salt and fumigate themselves in their smoke to counteract the effects of the " evil-eye." The hedgehog, therefore, possesses some magical virtue for the natives, the reason for which is not very easy to find, like that underlying the custom, common in the Aures and the desert, in accord- ance with which women suspend a porcupine's foot over their breasts to prevent them becoming sore when giving suck.

It may be, as I have suggested in the Anthropological Journal}'^ that the immunity of the hedgehog to certain poisons has been observed by the natives, who consequently attributed to it magical powers which, combined with its

^" Doutte, Magie et Keligion dans t Afriqiie dii Nord, p. 226.

-^Hilton-Simpson, "Some Arab and Shawia Remedies" (Jotirn. Roy. Antli. Inst., .\liii., p. 712).