Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/880

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860
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stories" have to do mainly with animals, while the characters in the fairy tales are generally human beings. The "Brer" of Uncle Remus, or the "Buh" of Charles C. Jones, is among the Bahama negroes contracted to B', which, connected with the name of the animal, personifies it. The habit of mixing together the parts of several tales in order to make one, as is seen in some of the fairy stories, gives us an odd and generally more or less obscure resultant tale. Prof. Crane, in his review of Uncle Remus (Popular Science Monthly, vol. xviii, p. 824), gives a number of parallel stories from the folk lore of other races, especially comparing the tales of the Southern negroes with those of the natives of South America, which illustrates the negro origin of the Indian tales, and points out their wide diffusion.

 

The First Ship that tacked.—The British sixteenth-century war-ship Great Harry, a supposed model of which was shown at the Naval Exhibition at Chelsea, possessed a great historical interest, because she was the first war-ship to sail on the wind. Naval architecture, says Nature, "as a science, was not founded until it was discovered that ships could be, otherwise than by the aid of oars, taken to the quarter from which the wind was blowing. It must have seemed a great feat in those days—little less than necromancy. Fortunately for the timid intellects of our ancestors, the revelation broke upon them gently, for the rounded hulls, high topsides, and curiously rigged craft could not have sailed more than a point or two to windward. Still, it was the Great Harry, or one of her contemporaries, by means of which this new feature in seamanship was inaugurated—a feature by which the middle period in the world's history of naval warfare was created, and which enabled the sailors of those times to make a distinct advance upon the lessons taught them by their ancestors in the art of shipcraft."

 

The Kibanga Calendar.—According to the Algerian missionary, Father Vyncke, the negroes of Kibanga, on the western shore of the Tanganyika Lake, although the sun passes twice a year perpendicularly over their heads, take no account of its march, and have no idea of the solar year. But the moon plays an important part in their lives. They celebrate its reappearance with drumbeatings, gunshots, and cries of joy. The new moon is celebrated with general dancing by most of the African tribes; and to keep the run of its age they have a bundle of twenty-eight or thirty sticks, from which they take one every day. The stars are consulted for the determination of the seasons, and to know when it is time for work in the fields, fishing, etc. The rising of the Pleiades marks seed-sowing time and is celebrated by feasts in honor of the dead, and the constellation is given a name, Kiti, significant of the fact. The milky way is designated by a name signifying the line between the dry and the rainy seasons, because when it rises at sunset the rainy season begins. The rising of Orion's belt determines the beginning of an important fishery. When another star, not named by Father Vyncke, reaches the zenith, the women begin to pound manioc. Aldebaran is the Northern, and Sirius the Southern Jewel. The Centaur, the Southern Cross, and the Ship, with the star Canopus, all invisible in the North, are called by the natives "paths" and "tens," because they are on the road to the south pole and are composed of many stars.

 

Ancient Mining on Lake Superior.—A paper by T. H. Lewis shows that the Lake Superior copper regions afford abundant evidences that an active mining industry was carried on there by the prehistoric aborigines. By inquiry among old miners, managers, explorers, and prospectors, the author ascertained that the ancient pits extended along the whole copper range from the extremity of Keeweenaw Point to and beyond the northwestern end of Gogebie Lake, a distance of fully one hundred and twenty miles. They are found also on the ranges to the north and to the south, as well as on the central range. Ancient pits are found, too, along the copper range in northern Wisconsin, and in the region northwest of Lake Superior, in Minnesota, and on the Canadian side of the international boundary line. The copper implements met with within the limits of Wisconsin, the author remarks, probably exceed in number those found in all the