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at least, and often serious, deliberate make-believe. It is in the spirit of this serious make-believe that not only the little girl talks about her dolls, but we ourselves read our Dante, or make pilgrimages to places associated with the events of great fiction. The adventures of Robinson Crusoe and the journey of Dr. Johnson are followed with little difference in our sense of actuality. The topography of the Inferno and that of the Roman Forum are approached in much the same spirit by the interested student in each case. These instances from civilised experience may serve to show how vague the line must be dividing belief from make-believe in the mind of primitive man with his turbulent feelings and vivid imagination controlled by no uniform standard of ascertained fact.1 His tendency is to believe whatever he tells and is told. That he sometimes stops short of belief at make-believe is, after all, a small matter. At any rate, we may be sure that Nature in this case, as in all other cases, does nothing that is superfluous—oúdèu ToLET περίεργον ουδε μάτην ή φύσις. . If make-believe serve Nature's
purpose" as well as belief, which is more difficult, she will take care that her protégé stops at make-believe. Certain stories, we assume, have to be wonderful or horrid up to a certain pitch, in order to give full expression and relief to feeling and imagination at a certain stage of development; and the belief without which these necessary stories could not maintain themselves at all, we further assume, will be that which comes easiest, i.e, make-believe.
It is plain that in proportion as stories extravagantly wonderful or horrid, the more likely is makebelieve to be the attitude of tellers and hearers; and that, where this is the attitude, stories are likely to go on becoming more and more extravagantly wonderful or horrid.
This is one tendency which, however, is met by another. When a wonderful story is often told and becomes very familiar, it comes to be believed more seriously; and, in proportion as it is believed more seriously, it tends to disembarrass itself more and more of the wilder improbabilities which pleased when the attitude towards it was still that of make-believe. An im
* Professor Tylor (Primitive Culture, i. 284) describes “a usual state of the imagination among ancient and savage peoples" as “intermediate between the conditions of a healthy prosaic modern citizen and a raving fanatic or a patient in a fever-ward.”
promptu story full of extravagant improbability and, it may be, of revolting indecency is told about some one. When and if that some one afterwards comes to be regarded, it may be on the sole authority of this story itself, as a hero or god of the race, those who revere him become ashamed of the old story about him. They rationalise and moralise it, either leaving out the improbabilities and indecencies, and retaining the parts that are probable and proper; or allegorising it, i.e. showing that the improbabilities and indecencies are not to be regarded as historical facts, but to be interpreted as figures of some philosophic or scientific or religious doctrine favoured by the interpreters. Thus makebelieve accumulates material for the “higher criticism.”
'Ανθρωπολογία και Ζωολογία- “ about people and animals” is a sufficient account of what story-telling always is and why it is interesting.
1. Sometimes the story is about adventures and doings which happened once upon a time, and left no results to enhance the interest which belongs to it intrinsically as a story about people and animals. Such a story may be called “Simply Anthropological and Zoological.”
A very large elephant came and said, “Whose are those remarkably beautiful children ?” The child replied, “Unananabosele's.” The elephant asked a second time, “Whose are those remarkably beautiful children? The child replied, “Unananabosele’s.” The elephant said, “She built in the road on purpose, trusting to self-confidence and superior power.” He swallowed
” them both, and left the little child. The elephant then went away.
In the afternoon the mother came and said, “Where are the children ?" The little girl said, “They have been taken away by an elephant with one tusk." Unanana-bosele said, “Where did he put them?” The little girl replied, “He ate them." Unananabosele said, “Are they dead?” The little girl replied, “No, I do not know.”
They retired to rest. In the morning she ground much maize, and put it into a large pot with amasi, and set out, carrying a knife in her hand. She came to the place where there was an antelope; she said, “Mother, mother, point out for me the elephant which has eaten my children; she has one tusk.” The antelope said, “You will go till you come to a place where the trees are very high and where the stones are white." She went on.
She came to the place where was the leopard; she said
"Mother, mother, point out for me the elephant which has eaten my children." The leopard replied, "You will go on and on, and come to the place where the trees are high and where the stones are white."
She went on, passing all animals, all saying the same. When she was still at a great distance she saw some very high trees, and white stones below them. She saw the elephant lying under the trees. She went on; when she came to the elephant she stood still and said, “Mother, mother, point out for me the elephant which has eaten my children.” The elephant replied, “You will go on and on, and come to where the trees are high and where the stones are white.” The woman merely stood still, and asked again saying, "Mother, mother, point out for me the elephant which has eaten my children.” The elephant again told her just to pass odward. But the woman, seeing that it was the very elephant she was seeking, and that she was deceiving her by telling her to go forward, said a third time, "Mother, mother, point out for me the elephant which has eaten my children.”
The elephant seized her and swallowed her too. When she reached the elephant's stomach, she saw large forests, and great rivers, and many high lands; on one side there were many rocks; and there were many people who had built their villages there; and many dogs and many cattle; all was there inside the elephant; she saw, too, her own children sitting there. She gave them amasi, and asked them what they ate before she came. They said, “We have eaten nothing, we merely lay down.” She said, " Why did you not roast this flesh ?” They said, “ If we eat this beast, will it not kill us?” She said, “No; it will itself die ; you will not die." She kindled a great fire. She cut the liver, and roasted it and ate with her children. They cut also the flesh and roasted and ate.
All the people which were there wondered, saying, "Oh, forsooth, are they eating, whilst we have remained without eating any. thing?" The woman said, “ Yes, yes. The elephant can be eaten." All the people cut and ate.
And the elephant told the other beasts, saying, "From the time I swallowed the woman I have been ill; there has been a pain in my stomach.” The other animals said, “It may be, O chief, it arises because there are now so many people in your stomach.” And it came to pass after a long time that the elephant died. The woman divided the elephant with a knife, cutting through a rib with an axe. A cow came out and said, “Moo, moo, we at length see the country.” A goat came out and said, “Mey, mey, at length we see the country.” A dog came out and said, "At length we see the country.” And the people came out laughing and saying, “At length we see the country.” They made the woman
presents; some gave her cattle, some goats, and some sheep. She set out with her children, being very rich. She went home rejoicing because she had come back with her children. On her arrival her little girl was there; she rejoiced, because she was thinking that her mother was dead.
2. Sometimes the story is about doings and adventures which produced interesting results which remain, and are explained by means of these doings and adventures—as when the shape of a hill is explained by the action of some giant or wizard—“He cleft the Eildon Hills in three.” This is the Aetiological Story. It is not only interesting as a piece of simple anthropology,—every story must have that intrinsic interest,—but it satisfies what may be called the “scientific curiosity”—the desire to know the causes of things. It sets forth the cause.
To the class of Aetiological Stories belong those myths in which the creation of the heavens and earth as one whole is set forth—the so-called Cosmological Myths; also myths which set forth the creation of man, and the origin of his faculties and virtues; also Foundation Myths describing the origin of society and of particular nations and cities, as well as myths describing the invention of the arts and their instruments; and myths—a large and important sectionexplaining the origin of ritual practices—the so-called Cultus Myths; and lastly, myths explaining topographical features and the peculiarities of animals and plants.
The “scientific” curiosity which inspires these Aetiological Stories is not idle. Curiosity, indeed, is never idle. To know the cause” is matter of much practical concern to the savage as well as to the civilised man. If one knows the cause one can control the effect. For example, to heal a wound made by iron one must know the story of the origin of iron. That story duly recited becomes the charm which will heal the wound.?
Many Aetiological Myths doubtless have their rise in the practice of magic.
Let me illustrate the Aetiological Myth by giving examples of its principal varieties, beginning with a Cosmological Myth
pp. 332 ff.
Nursery Tales, Traditions, and Histories of the Zulus, Callaway, 1868, vol. i. 2 See infra, pp. 204 ff., where the Finnish Story of the Origin of Iron is given.
-the “Story of the Children of Heaven and Earth," written down by Sir George Grey among the Maoris.'
From Rangi, the Heaven, and Papa, the Earth, it is said, sprang all men and things; but sky and earth clave together, and darkness rested upon them and the beings they had begotten, till at last their children took counsel whether they should rend apart their parents or slay them. Then Tane-mahuta, father of forests, said to his five great brethren, “It is better to rend them apart, and let the heaven stand far above us, and the earth lie under our feet. Let the sky become as a stranger to us, but the earth remain close to us as our nursing mother.” So Rongo-ma-tane, god and father of the cultivated food of man, rose and strove to separate the heaven and the earth; he struggled, but in vain ; and vain, too, were the efforts of Tangaroa, father of fish and reptiles, and of Haumia-tikitiki, father of wild-growing food, and of Tumatauenga, god and father of fierce men. Then slow uprises Tane-mahuta, god and father of forests, and wrestles with his parents, striving to part them with his hands and arms. "Lo, he pauses; his head is now firmly planted on his mother the earth, his feet he raises up and rests against his father the skies, he strains his back and limbs with mighty effort. Now are rent apart Rangi and Papa, and with cries and groans of woe they shriek aloud. ... But Tane-mahuta pauses not; far, far beneath him he presses down the earth; far, far above him he thrusts up the sky.” But Tawhiri-ma-tea, father of winds and storms, had never consented that his mother should be torn from her lord, and now there arose in his breast a fierce desire to war against his brethren. So the Storm-god rose and followed his father to the realms above, hurrying to the sheltered hollows of the boundless skies, to hide and cling and nestle there. Then came forth his progeny, the mighty winds, the fierce squalls, the clouds dense, dark, fiery, wildly drifting, wildly bursting; and in the midst their father rushed upon his foe. Tane-mahuta and his giant forests stood unconscious and unsuspecting when the raging burricane burst on them, snapping the mighty trees across, leaving trunks and branches rent and torn upon the ground for the insect and the grub to prey on.
Then the father of storms swooped down to lash the waters into billows whose summits rose like cliffs, till Tangaroa, god of ocean and father of all that dwell therein, fed affrighted through his seas. His children, Ika-tere, the father of fish, and Tu-te-wehiwehi, the father of reptiles,
"I give this myth as it is quoted from Grey's Polynesian Mythology (p. 1, ff.) by Prof. Tylor (Prim. Cult. i. 290 ff.). Mr A. Lang compares this myth, and others like it found in India and China, with the Greek myth of the mutila. tion of Uranas by Cronus (Custom and Myth, “The Myth of Cronus ").