Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/643

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627
SORGHUM AS A SOURCE OF SUGAR.

blood; and they shoot arrows into the sky to drive away the dog. Charlevoix gives a similar account of the Guarani, except that with them a tiger takes the place of the dog; and in the language of the Tupis the literal translation of the word for an eclipse is, "The jaguar has eaten the sun." So, in Asia, the Tunguses believe an evil spirit has swallowed the earth's satellites, and they try to frighten it away by shots at the darkened disk. In Sumatra and Malacca the fear is aroused that a great snake will swallow the sun or the moon; and the Nagas of Assam set up a great drum-beating, as if in battle, to frighten away the devouring monster. Among the American tribes are some who believe that eclipses are a warning of the approaching disappearance of the sun and the fall of the moon at the end of the world. The Pottawattamies tell of a demon in the shape of an old woman, sitting in the moon weaving a basket, on the completion of which the world will be destroyed. A dog contends with the woman, tearing the basket to pieces every once in a while, and then an eclipse of the moon takes place; others imagine that the Moon is hungry, sick, or dying at these times; while the Alfuras of Ceram think he is asleep, and make a great uproar to awake him.

These superstitions are not so remote as they may seem at first sight from the impressions which the heavenly phenomena make upon many persons who consider themselves civilized. Circles may be found in nearly every nation upon whom the appearance of anything unusual in the sky carries an apprehension that something dreadful is about to happen; and by whom even the most ordinary phenomena are invested with occult influence upon things that we know have no connection with them; and it is only two or three centuries since the dire portents of comets and eclipses were prayed against in all the churches. In strange contrast with the impressiveness of the peoples whose names we have mentioned so often, and with the lingering European superstitions, stands the indifference of the stolid African tribes mentioned by Cameron and Paul Richard, who paid no attention to the eclipse, or thought it was only caused by passing clouds.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Das Ausland.

 

SORGHUM AS A SOURCE OF SUGAR.
By HENRY B. PARSONS.

THE important part which sugar plays in our national and domestic affairs is, probably, not fully appreciated, except by those who have given the subject special study. Accustomed as we have become to hearing of the enormous output of our mines, it is at first somewhat difficult to realize that, in 1881, the people of the United States paid for foreign sugar, and imposts thereon, over fifty-seven