Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/259

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Some Algerian Sttpersii/ions. 249

bristles, would render it a formidable opponent to jenoun, on the principle that the suggested presence of a " spiteful " creature (such as the dog, the snake, and the wasp) is believed to frighten away the jinn in charms against the "evil eye," an explanation which might also account for the use of the porcupine's foot.

I have not yet been able to obtain any reason for the magical use of hedgehogs and the feet of porcupines from the natives other than that these animals are "healthy" themselves, or that experience has proved them to be valuable in medicine. A well-known marabout of the Wad el Abiod, however, put forward as a possible suggestion that the porcupine might live on medical herbs, and, having thus absorbed their virtues, have become useful in medicine itself.

Among the Shawia, the Ouled Ziane, and the people of A'ln Touta it is believed that if a bat flies over the head of a very young child (without necessarily touching it) the child will be afflicted with a complaint known as " mard el boujlida" (illness of the bat), the symptoms of which are protruding eyes, crying, headache, and, sometimes, loss of consciousness.

A little gunpowder thrown on the fire will restore the child's senses, after which it is made to take a mixture of pitch, onions, "shih" {Artemisia Jicrba alba), and orange flowers. As a preventative against this complaint and as a cure for it a dried bat is suspended from the child's neck, and a little pitch is smeared upon its forehead to prevent bats from flying near it. Children affected with this complaint are said by the townspeople to have "grand- mother's illness."

I could not learn why the bat should be supposed to cause harm to children, but two ingredients of the mixture used as medicine for the complaint, pitch and onions, are also used, as we have seen, to keep oft" jenoun, the "shih" being presumably intended as a digestive and the orange