Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/502

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with their neighbors. Saying of the Kois that they all seem to suffer from chronic fever (which sufficiently shows why they are left unmolested in their malarious wilds) Morris tells us that—

"They are noted for truthfulness, and are quite an example in this respect to the civilized and more cultivated inhabitants of the plains."

According to Shortt, in his Hill Ranges of Southern India

"A pleasing feature in their [Sowrahs] character is their complete truthfulness. They do not know how to tell a lie. They are not sufficiently civilized to be able to invent."

I may remark in passing that I have heard other Anglo-Indians assign lack of intelligence as the cause of this good trait a not very respectable endeavor to save the credit of the higher races. Considering that small children tell lies, and that lies are told, if not in speech yet in acts, by dogs, considerable hardihood is shown in ascribing the truthfulness of these and kindred peoples to stupidity. In his Highlands of Central India, Forsyth writes:—

"The aborigine is the most truthful of beings, and rarely denies either a money obligation or a crime really chargeable against him."

Describing the Râmósîs, Sinclair alleges that—

"They are as great liars as the most civilized races, differing in this from the Hill tribes proper, and from the Parwârîs, of whom I once knew a Brâhman to say: 'The Kunabîs, if they have made a promise, will keep it, but a Mahâr [Parwari] is such a fool that he will tell the truth without any reason at all.'"

And this opinion expressed by the Brahman, well illustrates the way in which their more civilized neighbors corrupt these veracious aborigines; for while Sherwill, writing of another tribe, says—"The truth is by a Sonthal held sacred, offering in this respect a bright example to their lying neighbors the Bengalis," it is remarked of them by Man that—

"Evil communications are exercising their baneful influences over them, and soon, I fear, the proverbial veracity of the Sonthal will cease to become a byword."

In The Principles of Sociology, vol. ii, §§ 437 and 574, I gave the names of others of these Indian hill-tribes noted for veracity—the Bodo and Dhimáls, the Carnatic aborigines, the Todas, the Hos; and here I may add one more, the Puluyans, whose refuge is "hemmed in on all sides by mountains, woods, backwaters, swamps, and the sea," and who "are sometimes distinguished by a rare character for truth and honor, which their superiors in the caste scale might well emulate." So too is it in a neighboring land, Ceylon. Wood-Veddahs are described as "proverbially truthful and honest." From other regions there comes kindred evidence. Of some Northern Asiatic peoples, who are apparently without any organization for offense or defense, we read:—"To