Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/407

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393
ON THE WINGS OF THE WIND.

as described above, and on the return from a head-hunting expedition. On the last occasion the victor celebrates an imposing feast, at which many animals are slaughtered in honor, not of the victor, but of his victim, whose head, raised up on the point of a lance, is the center of the orgies. The "substance" of the viands consumed on the occasion and of the liquors is good for the soul of the beheaded man, and for that reason the head-hunter is put to the expense of the feast. For the same reason the vengeance-hunting relatives of the murdered man do not disturb the feast, although it would be easy for them to fall upon the stupefied participants and thus easily satisfy their vendetta. Other occasions are the beginning of the rice-harvest; the end of the harvest, when, all the crop having been gathered in, the principal festival occurs; on a special festival of general drunkenness; and as a protection against being struck by lightning—for lightning loves bubud beyond measure, and spares those who by their own intoxication consecrate much of the bubud substance to it.

The future is divined from the livers of animals. When they apprehend illness or danger from the lance of an enemy, before a journey, or when they hear a bird singing or see a rainbow while working in the field, they kill an animal, in order to ask its liver concerning the future. If the prognostication is unfavorable, another animal is killed, and another, and so on, till an animal is found with a lucky liver.

The Quianganes count on their fingers to ten, and repeat the operation as often as it is necessary. They also use a cord, in which they fix the number by knots. They count the years by harvests, the months by moons. They have no special names for the days of the week, and fix the time of day by the height of the sun.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from Das Ausland.

 

ON THE WINGS OF THE WIND.

OF course you know my friend the squirting cucumber. If you don't, that can be only because you've never looked in the right place to find him. On all waste ground outside most southern cities—Nice, Cannes, Florence; Rome, Algiers, Granada; Athens, Palermo, Tunis, where you will—the soil is thickly covered by dark, trailing vines which bear on their branches a queer, hairy, green fruit, much like a common cucumber at that early stage of its existence when we know it best in the commercial form of pickled gherkins. As long as you don't interfere with them, these hairy, green fruits do nothing out of the common in the way of personal aggressiveness. Like the model young lady of the books on etiquette, they don't speak unless they're spoken