Page:Totem and Taboo (1919).djvu/31

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19
THE SAVAGE'S DREAD OF INCEST

her hut, and greets her only with a trembling voice.[1]

Among the Akamba (or Wakamba) in British East Africa, a law of avoidance is in force which one would have expected to encounter more frequently. A girl must carefully avoid her own father between the time of her puberty and her marriage. She hides herself if she meets him on the street and never attempts to sit down next to him, behaving in this way right up to her engagement. But after her marriage no further obstacle is put in the way of her social intercourse with her father.[2]

The most widespread and strictest avoidance, which is perhaps the most interesting one for civilized races, is that which restricts the social relations- between a man and his mother-in-law. It is quite general in Australia, but it is also in force among the Melanesian, Polynesian and Negro races of Africa as far as the traces of totemism and group relationship reach, and probably further still. Among some of these races similar prohibitions exist against the harmless social intercourse of a wife with her father-in-law, but these are by far not so constant or so serious. In a few cases both parents-in-law become objects of avoidance.

  1. Frazer, 1. c. II, p. 388, according to Junod.
  2. Frazer, 1. c. II, p. 424.