Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/342

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332 Reviews.

assistance of three difterent captives. They extend the known words of the Beothuck speech to some four hundred and eighty vocables. Among them is the word mandee, translated as devil, and compared by Mr. A. S. Gatschet of the Bureau of Ethnology at Washington with the Algonkin word manitou. It is also on record that in one of Mr. Cormack's conversations with Shanaw- dithit, he questioned her on the origin of her tribe, and she stated that " the voice " told them that they had sprung from an arrow or arrows stuck in the ground. Even if we add this tantalizing statement to the evidence of the word mandee, it is obvious that we are far from being assured of the existence of a belief in a divinity. It does point, however, to ideas, which we have no means of defining, on the subject of the supernatural. There is moreover a memorandum in Mr. Cormack's handwriting, show- ing that sacred ceremonies were performed. It runs : " Men singing to Ash-wa-meet, with eagles' feathers and deers' ears in cap." It apparently relates to a drawing not now extant ; and the ceremony was possibly of a totemic character. The writer, among other notes, adds: "The Red Indians never wash, except when a husband or wife dies, then the survivor has [to bathe ?] in some water heated by stones in a birch rind kettle, decocted with the shrimps \sic, chips ?] of dogwood tree or mountain ash." This is perhaps the most important scrap of evidence we possess, because it tells us by implication more concerning the Beothuck beliefs on the subject of the life after death, even than the collec- tion of amulets, tools, and weapons found in the graves. It shows that death was not enough of itself to end the relation of husband and wife. The deceased still clung about the survivor, and had to be got rid of by a process of " purification," similar to that of the Ntlakapamux of British Columbia, or 4hat of some of the Congo tribes.^ If it does not appear to be as elaborate as these, we must remember that we have only a fragment of the story in the sentence quoted above. We have enough however to give us a hint on the relation of the living and the dead in general. We perhaps need not interpret too literally the statement that " the Red Indians never wash," though washing may have been a rare

^I have studied this custom \n Ki/nal and Belief (igij^). Art. "The Haunted Widow," pp. 194 S(]g.