Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/563

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EFFICIENCY of every kind is a source of self-satisfaction; and proofs of it are prized as bringing applause. The sportsman, narrating his successes when opportunity serves, keeps such spoils of the chase as he conveniently can. Is he a fisherman? Then, occasionally, the notches cut on the butt of his rod show the number and lengths of his salmon; or, in a glass case, there is preserved the great Thames-trout he once caught. Has he stalked deer? Then in his hall, or dining-room, are fixed up their heads; which he greatly esteems when the attached horns have many "points." Still more, if he is a successful hunter of tigers, does he value the skins demonstrating his prowess.

Trophies of such kinds, even among ourselves, give to their owner some influence over those around him. A traveler who has brought from Africa a pair of elephant's tusks, or the formidable horn of a rhinoceros, impresses those who come in contact with him as a man of courage and resource, and, therefore, as one not to be trifled with. A vague kind of governing power accrues to him.

Naturally, by primitive men, whose lives are predatory, and whose respective values largely depend on their powers as hunters, animal-trophies are still more prized, and tend, in a greater degree, to bring honor and influence. Hence the fact that rank in Vate is indicated by the number of bones of all kinds suspended in the house. Of the Shoshone warrior we are told that, "killing a grizzly bear also entitles him to this honor, for it is considered a great feat to slay one of these formidable animals, and only he who has performed it is allowed to wear their highest insignia of glory, the feet or claws of the victim." Among the Santals "it is customary to hand these trophies (skulls of beasts, etc.) down from father to son." And when, with such facts to give us the clews, we read that the habitation' of the king of the Koossas "is no otherwise distinguished than by the tail of a lion or a panther hanging from the top of the roof," we can scarcely doubt that this symbol of royalty was originally a trophy displayed by a chief whose prowess had gained him supremacy.

But, as, among the uncivilized and semi-civilized, human enemies are more to be feared than beast enemies, and conquests over men are therefore occasions of greater triumphs than conquests over animals, it results that proofs of such conquests are usually still more valued. A brave who returns from battle does not get honor if his boasts are unsupported by evidence; but if he proves that he has killed his man