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A NANIMA TRAGEDY.
repetition of the words : 'A Bogan black-fellow killed her!' I appealed to him as a Christian-to the Sermon on the Mount, that he had just been reading; but he absolutely refused to promise that he would not avenge his mother's death. In the afternoon of that day we were startled by a yell which can never be mistaken by any person who has once heard the wild war-whoop of the blacks when in battle array. On marching out we saw all the black fellows of the neighbourhood formed into a line, and following Jemmy in an imaginary attack upon an enemy. Jemmy himself disappeared that evening. On the following Wednesday morning I found him sitting complacently in his gunyah, plaiting a rope of human hair, which I at once knew to be that of his victim. Neither of us spoke; I stood for some time watching him as he worked with a look of mocking defiance of the anger he knew I felt. I pointed to a hole in the middle of his fire, and said, 'Jemmy, the proper place for your Bible is there.' He looked up with his eyes flashing as I turned away, and I never saw him again. I afterwards learned that he had gone to the district of the Bogan tribe, where the first black he met happened to be an old friend and companion of his own. This man had just made the first cut in the bark of a tree, which he was about to climb for an opossum; but on hearing footsteps he leaped down and faced round, as all blacks do, and whites also, when blacks are in question. Seeing that it was only Jemmy, however, he resumed his occupation, but had no sooner set to work than Jemmy sent a spear through his back and nailed him to the tree.1 .
Perhaps if Jemmy could have been cross-examined by the non-missionary mind, he might have replied with some effect to Mr. Lang's suggestion that he ought to part with
1. The Aborigines of Australia' (1865), p. 15.
his Bible. Surely he must have found in that volume a sufficient number of instances to justify his faith in the power of demons over human health and life. Might he not have pondered the command, thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,' and imagined that he was impaling another Manasseh, who 'used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards (and) wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger.'l Those who hope that the Bible may carry light into the dark places of superstition and habitations of cruelty might, one would say, reflect upon the long contest which European science had with bibliolators in trying to relieve the popular mind from the terrors of witchcraft, whose genuineness it was (justly) declared contrary to the Scriptures to deny. There are districts in Great Britain and America, and many more on the continent of Europe, where the spells that waste and destroy are still believed in ; where effigies of wax or even onions are labelled with some hated name, and stuck over with pins, and set near fires to be melted or dried up, in full belief that some subject of the charm will be consumed by disease along with the object used. Under every roof where such coarse superstitions dwell the Bible dwells beside them, and experience proves that the infallibility of all such talismans diminishes pari passu.
What the savage is really trying to slay when he goes forth to avenge his relative's death on the first alien he finds may be seen in the accompanying figure (17), which represents the Mexican goddess of death — Teoyaomiqui. The image is nine feet high, and is kept in a museum in the city of Mexico. Mr. Edward B. Tylor, from whose excellent book of travels in that country the figure is copied, says of it:--The stone known as
1 2 Chron. xxxiii. 6.
the statue of the war-goddess is a huge block of basalt covered with sculptures. The antiquaries think that the figures on it stand for different personages, and that it is
three gods—Huitzilopochtli, the god of war; Teoyaomiqui, his wife; and Mictlanteucili, the god of hell. · It has necklaces of alternate hearts and dead men's hands, with death's heads for a central ornament. At the bottom of the block is a strange sprawling figure, which one cannot
DEMON OF SERPENTS.
see now, for it is the base which rests on the ground; but there are two shoulders projecting from the idol, which show plainly that it did not stand on the ground, but was supported aloft on the tops of two pillars. The figure carved upon the bottom represents a monster holding a skull in each hand, while others hang from his knees and elbows. His mouth is a mere oval ring, a common feature of Mexican idols, and four tusks project just above it. The new moon laid down like a bridge forms his forehead, and a star is placed on each side of it. This is thought to have been the conventional representation of Mictlanteuctli (Lord of the Land of the Dead), the god of hell, which was a place of utter and eteranal darkness. Probably each victim as he was led to the altar could look up between the two pillars and see the hideous god of hell staring down upon him from above. There is little doubt that this is the famous war-idol which stood on the great teocalli of Mexico, and before which so many thousands of human beings were sacrificed. It lay undisturbed under ground in the great square, close to the very site of the teocalli, until sixty years ago. For many years after that it was kept buried, lest the sight of one of their old deities might be too exciting for the Indians, who, as I have mentioned before, had certainly not forgotten it, and secretly ornamented it with garlands of flowers while it remained above ground.'
If my reader will now turn to the (fig. 11) portrait of the Demon of Serpents, he will find a conception fundamentally similar to the Mexican demoness of death or slaughter, but one that is not shut up in a museum of antiquities; it still haunts and terrifies a vast number of the people born in Ceylon. He is the principal demon invoked in Ceylon by the malignant sorcerers in performing the 84,000 different charms that afflict evils (Hooniyan). His
DEATH ON THE PALE HORSE.
general title is ODDY CUMARA HOONIYAN DEWATAWA; but he has a special name for each of his six several apparitions, the chief of these being Cali Oddisey, or demon of incurable diseases, therefore of death, and Naga Oddisey, demon of serpents-deadliest of animals. Beneath him is the Pale Horse which has had its career so long and far,—even to the White Mare on vhich, in some regions, Christ is believed to revisit the earth every Christmas; and also the White Mare of Yorkshire Folklore which bore its rider from Whitestone Cliff to hell. This Singhalese form also, albeit now associated by Capuas with fatal disease, was probably at first, like the Mexican, a war goddess and god combined, as is shown by the uplifted sword, and reeking hand uplifted in triumph, Equally a god of war is our 'Death on the Pale Horse,' which christian art, following the so-called Apocalypse, has made so familiar. 'I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to him over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.' This is but a travesty of the Greek Ares, the Roman Mars, or god of War. In the original Greek form Ares was not solely the god of war, but of destruction generally. In the Edipus Tyrannus of Sophocles we have the popular conception of him as one to whom the deadly plague is ascribed. He is named as the 'god unhonoured among gods,' and it is said :—*The city is wildly tossing, and no more can lift up her head from the waves of death ; withering the ripening grain in the husks, withering the kine in their pastures; blighted are the babes through the failing labours of women; the fire-bearing god, horrid Pestilence, having darted down, ravages the city ; by him the house