Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/326

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again be admitted to the community. He is, moreover, no longer permitted to "suck the goats."[1]

The Namaquas, like almost all nations who are sunk in barbarism, have great faith in sorcery, and male and female witch-doctors equally play conspicuous parts. These impostors are supposed to have the power to procure rain, to restore the sick to health, to discover the cause of a person's death, and to perform other miracles. They are crafty creatures, and know how to take advantage of the popular ignorance. Even civilized men have been deceived by their wiles. Their principal stipulation before they exercise any of their arts is to have some animal slaughtered, which they prescribe according to their fancy and to the wealth of their patients. Mr. Moffat tells us that a stout ox might be a cure for a slight cold in a chieftain, while a kid would be a remedy for a fever among the poor, from whom there could be no chance of obtaining any thing greater.

The Namaqua witch-doctor is called kaiaob, or kaiaobs if a woman. On being called to the sick-bed, after having examined the patient, he or she generally declares that the ailment is caused by a great snake (toros) having fired an arrow into the stomach. The sorcerer operates by feeling this part of the body, and by a good squeezing endeavors to coax the illness away. Another approved plan is to make a small incision on the body about the place where the cause of the disease is supposed to lurk, and to suck it out. The production of a snake, a frog, an insect, or the like, is frequently the result. Eyebrecht solemnly declared that he once was an eye-witness to such an operation on a woman at Jonker's place. When the witch-doctor arrived, a sheep was killed, and the sinews of the back were cut out and rolled up into a small ball, which the patient was made to swallow, the re-

  1. It is a practice among the young Namaquas to hold a goat between the knees, and draw the milk directly from the teats of the animal into their own mouths.