Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/166

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quick destruction follows. "I was only yesterday," she will tell you, *' talking about the years we had had that china service, and now it is smashed to atoms!"

2. The reluctance to utter names extends to those of the living in descending scale according to rank. For example, in China, the ming or proper name of the reigning emperor is sacred, and must be spelt differently during his lifetime.[1] Although given in the prayer offered at the imperial worship of ancestors, it is not permitted to be written or pronounced by any subject. The Tahitians display like superstitious reverence by a custom termed Te pi. "They cease to employ in common language those words which form a part or the whole of the sovereign's name or that of one of his near relatives, and invent new terms to supply their place."[2] In Siam, Burmah, and other eastern countries, the like substitution of epithet for the royal name prevails, and "in Polynesia the prohibition to mention chiefs' names has even impressed itself deeply in the language of the islands."[3]

In his Tour to the Himalayas[4] Fraser tells how in one of the despatches intercepted during the war in Nepaul, Gouree Sah sent orders to find out the British general's name. It was to be written on a piece of paper, the great incantation said over it three times, and the paper then burnt with plum-tree wood. Coming lower down, we find that the Australian has a strong reluctance to tell his real name to strangers. So has the Kaffir, and among this race no woman may pronounce the names of any of her husband's male relations in the ascending line, nor even any word in which the principal syllable of the name of her father-in-law occurs.[5] The Amazulu woman, when addressing or speaking of her husband, calls him "Father of So-and-so," mentioning one of his children,[6] and

  1. Folklore Record, iv. 74.
  2. Max Müller, Lect. on Language, ii. 74.
  3. Tylor's Early History of Mankind, p. 142.
  4. P. 530.
  5. Theal's Kaffir Folklore, 201.
  6. Callaway, Religious System of the Amazulus, p. 316.