The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Journal of American Folk-lore. Vol.
VI.--July-September, 1893.--No. XXII., by Various

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Title: The Journal of American Folk-lore. Vol. VI.--July-September, 1893.--No. XXII.

Author: Various

Release Date: December 5, 2019 [EBook #60848]

Language: English

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The Blackfoot Indian Confederacy comprises the Piegan, Blood, and Blackfoot tribes. Each tribe is located on its own reservation, and the three reservations are within the provisional district of Alberta. The separation of the tribes, the rapid settlement of the country by the white people, the death of many of the old chiefs, and the depressed spirits of the people have seriously impaired the purity of the folk-lore of the natives. The following fragments were gathered from the lips of the Blood Indians, as I sat in their lodges with note-book in hand. The younger members of the tribe could not be relied upon to relate these myths accurately. Those I have given have been repeatedly verified by the aged members of the tribe.


Napioa, the Old Man, floated upon a log in the waters, and had with him four animals: Mameo, the fish; Matcekûpis, the frog; Maniskeo, the lizard; and Spopeo, the turtle. He sent them down into the waters in the order named, to see what they could find. The first three descended, but never returned; the turtle, however, arose with his mouth full of mud. Napioa took the mud from the mouth of the turtle, rolled it around in the hollow of his hand, and in this manner made the earth, which fell into the waters, and afterward grew to its present size.

There was only one person named Napioa. He lived in the world when the people who dwelt with him had two heads. He did not make these people, although he made the world, and how they came upon the earth no one knows. The Bloods do not know where Napioa came from. They do not know whether he was an Indian or not. He was not the ancestor of the Blackfeet, but the Creator of the Indian race. He was double-jointed. He is not dead, but 166is living in a great sea in the south. He did not make the white people, and the Indians do not know who made them.

After he made the earth, he first made a woman. Her mouth was slit vertically, and he was not satisfied, so he closed it, and recut it in the same shape as it has remained till to-day. Afterward he made several women, and then he made several men. The men lived together, but separate from the women, and they did not see the women for some time. When the men first saw the women they were astonished and somewhat afraid. Napioa told them to take one woman each, but they were afraid. He encouraged them, and then they each took a wife.

Napioa made the buffalo. They were quite tame. He gave bows and arrows to the Indians and told them to shoot the buffalo. They did so; and as the buffalo were tame, they killed a large number.


The stories differ. Some say that it is caused by a very large deer which dwells in the mountains; others, that there are large cattle in the mountains, who roar loudly and thus cause the wind to blow; and again others, that it is caused by a large bird flapping its wings in the mountains. The prevailing form is the following:

Napioa at one time had with him the wolf as his companion. He also had with him an owl, which he employed to look for things for him when it was dark. As he was travelling around he saw a lodge in which were a man and a woman. In this lodge were two bags; one contained the winter and the other the summer. He told the owl to look in and see what there was inside the lodge, and when he looked he saw the two bags. Napioa said that he was going to place some months in each bag, and make the summer and winter of equal length. He went inside, and the woman had a long piece of ice. He failed to accomplish his purpose. He came out of the lodge determined to gain possession of the summer and winter bags. He told the prairie chicken to steal the bags, and it got hold of the summer bag and escaped. Being pursued by the man and woman, the prairie chicken hid in the long grass. The man and woman cut the long grass to get the bag. The chicken clung close to the earth, and had part of the extremity of its body taken off. In the struggle the bag burst, and a very strong wind sprang up.

Some time after this, Napioa, having burnt himself, was anxious for a wind to blow to cool himself. He went up to the top of a mountain and began “making medicine,” and the wind soon began to blow. It blew so hard that he had to hold on to the bushes, but they were torn up by the roots. At last he caught hold of a birch tree and firmly clung to it, so that by the force of the wind and his weight marks were left upon the bark of the tree.



There lived, a long time ago, an old man and his wife, who had three daughters and one son-in-law. One day, as the mother was cooking some meat, she threw a clot of blood into the pot containing the meat. The pot began to boil, and then there issued from it a peculiar hissing noise. The old woman looked into the pot, and was surprised to see that the blood-clot had become transformed into a little boy. Quickly he grew, and in a few moments he sprang from the pot, a full-grown young man. The father and mother were delighted, but the son-in-law was angry and jealous. The name of the blood-clot boy was Kûtoyĭs. The son-in-law was a lazy, badtempered young man, who made the old man hunt the buffalo, procure the wood, and carry the water. He had a lodge of his own, where he dwelt with his wife. When the old man brought in the meat he threw it down in his lodge; and no sooner had he placed it there than the son-in-law came and took whatever he needed, oftentimes leaving the old man and his family in want. The old man brought in wood and water for his family, and the son-in-law took what he wanted. Sometimes the old man and his family were compelled to suffer, because as he was old he could not work very hard, and all that he had was taken from him. The son-in-law would not hunt, but depended altogether upon the old man to support him. Kûtoyĭs went out to hunt with his father, and he proved himself to be an expert hunter. He saw a fine fat buffalo cow, and he killed it. He procured abundance of meat for his father, and he carried it home for him. He would not allow the old man to do any work. He filled his lodge with meat. He then went out and got a large supply of wood and water. As Kûtoyĭs and his father were walking together, they heard the son-in-law scolding. The old man was afraid. Kûtoyĭs told his father not to be afraid. He told him to say to his son-in-law that he could not get any of the meat, wood, or water. If he threatened to kill him, he was to answer him in the same manner. The son-in-law came to the old man’s lodge and began to remove the meat. The old man told him to leave it alone. He threatened to kill the old man, and the father-in-law angrily retorted that he would kill him. The son-in-law became very angry, and ran to his lodge for his bow and arrows. When he had procured them he returned, scolding and threatening; and as he reached the old man’s lodge, Kûtoyĭs, who had been hiding behind the lodge, sprang in front of the old man, and the two men fought. Kûtoyĭs drew his bow and killed his brother-in-law dead. After his death the old man and his family had peace and abundance of food. The son-in-law had no distinguishing name. Kûtoyĭs sought to drive out all the evil in the world, and to unite the people and make them happy.

168The fathers and mothers in the camp told this story to their children to hush them to sleep.


Napioa is the Secondary Creator of the Indians. There are two kinds of stories told concerning him. One class reveals him in the character of a good man, and the other class as a bad man. He is not, however, a man, but a supernatural being, able to perform deeds which no human being could perform. The Indians do not know the manner of his birth, nor the place from whence he came. He is still living in a great sea away in the south. He made his home for a long time at the source of the Old Man’s River, in Alberta, where may be seen the lake from which he drank, the stones which he threw along the ground when he was sporting, and the indentations in the ground showing where he lay. At the Red Deer River there is a high ridge, where there is a land-slide, down which Napioa slid as a toboggan slide.

One day, as he was travelling across the prairie, he saw a bird which threw its eyes upward, and said, “Tuhu!” As he came up to the place where the bird was, he said, “Let me see how you do that?” After being told to repeat this word and throw his head back, he felt quite elated. He was so much overjoyed that he threw his eyes up repeatedly. He was standing under a tree, and as he threw his eyes upward they were caught in the branches of the tree, and he lost his sight. He then went off alone. As he wandered on his journey he kept beckoning in different directions, so that if any one saw him he would receive help and find his people. A woman saw him throwing his arms about as if desiring some one to come to him, and at once she went and asked him what he wanted. He said, “Take me to the place where the people are.” She took him and led him along by means of a stick, the woman going in front and Napioa following. He was afraid that she might leave him, so he tied a bell to her dress, that he might follow her should she try to escape. Nothing eventful happened until they crossed a river, when he inquired, “Are there any buffalo to be seen?” The woman answered, “Yes, there are some at the river now.” He told her to point his arrow toward the buffalo, that he might shoot one. She did so; but he missed the buffalo, and then he shouted that the arrow did not belong to him. Again he commanded her to point an arrow in the right direction; but the buffalo were not killed, and again he asserted that the arrow did not belong to him. After several attempts he shot a buffalo, and then called out, “That was my arrow.” He bade the woman skin the animal, cut up the meat, and bring it to the camping ground. While she was doing this he said 169that he would put up the lodge. He sought the lodge-poles; and as he brought them one by one, he failed to find those that he had already placed on the ground. He had quite a number of lodge-poles arranged here and there, but owing to his blindness he could not collect them. When the woman returned she asked him why he had so many poles, and none arranged in their proper places. “That you might choose the best ones,” he replied. Thus was Napioa ever crafty, never allowing any one to say that there was anything wrong with him. The lodge being prepared, and supper ended, Napioa went to sleep. As he lay with his hair drawn over his eyes, the curiosity of the woman tempted her to lift the hair that she might see his face. As she slowly lifted his locks she gazed into the empty sockets from which his eyes had been torn, and suddenly seized with terror, she fled from the lodge and sped her way through the darkness. Napioa heard the bell, and springing from his grassy bed, pursued her, guided by the ringing of the bell. She ran in different directions; but he was fast gaining upon her when she tore the bell from her dress, and as she threw it one way she ran in another direction, and thus escaped from the wiles of Napioa.

The dwellers in the Western lodges have many legends relating to places of historical interest in the country, and these throw a flood of light on the religious ideas, migrations, social and domestic customs, political life, and other matters of interest connected with the tribes comprising the Blackfoot Confederacy. Some of the legends are local, and when told by the aged men as they sit around their camp-fires, vary somewhat in detail according to the intellectual ability, inventiveness, and strength of memory of the narrator. I have listened to some of these legends as told over and over again for the past nine years, and I find that the young men are not able to relate them as accurately as the aged; besides, as the country is becoming settled with white people, they are less disposed to tell to others their native religious ideas, lest they are laughed at because of not believing the same things as their superior brethren of the white race. As the children grow up they are forgetting these things, and the years are not far distant when the folk-lore of the Blackfeet will be greatly changed, and many of their traditions forgotten.


Napioa, the Old Man, the Secondary Creator of the Blackfeet, was travelling one day with the Kit-Fox, near Sheep Creek, which is located about twenty-five miles south of Calgary, in the Provisional District of Alberta. As they travelled together they saw a large rock, and Napioa felt constrained to make an offering of his robe 170to it. He presented the robe, and, with the Kit-Fox as his companion, departed. He had not proceeded far upon the way, when perceiving that it was going to rain, he told his companion to return and ask the rock to give him back his robe, as he was afraid of being drenched with the rain. The rock refused to give the robe to the Kit-Fox, and then Napioa, becoming angry, said: “That old rock has been there for a long time and never had a robe. It has always been poor. I will go back myself and take away my robe.”

He returned and took the robe by force, and then the rock became very angry, and followed them, determined to punish them. Napioa fled south toward High River, and the Kit-Fox, anxious for his own safety, hid in a hole in the ground. Napioa saw an old buffalo bull, and he called to him for help; but when the buffalo came to his rescue the rock ran over him and crushed him to death. Then two bears came to help Napioa, and they two were killed by the rock. Two small birds with very large, strong bills came to help him, and they attacked the rock, breaking off pieces from it as they suddenly pounced upon it and then flew upward. In a short time they killed the rock, and Napioa was saved. The Indians then named the stream “Oqkotoqseetûqta” (the Rock Creek, or Stony Creek), but it is called by the white people at the present day “Sheep Creek.”


Tongue Creek is situated between Sheep Creek and High River, about nine miles south of Sheep Creek. In the distant past, Napioa was travelling in the vicinity of Tongue Creek, when he espied a band of elk sporting themselves on its banks. They came to a place where the bank was steep, and they all leaped down, seeking a sandy resting-place in the bed of the stream. Napioa reached the creek, and lighting a piece of wood, he threw the firebrand over the bank. The elk heard him, and asked him what he wanted. “Oh,” said he, “I was laughing when you spoke to me, and I could not answer: but that is a very nice spot down there, and I want to go down, for there is an abundance of beautiful clean sand.” When the elk saw the firebrand they became frightened, and rushing headlong over each other, broke their necks. A single young elk escaped; but Napioa said, “Never mind, there are many more elk in the country; that one can go.” Napioa pitched his lodge and erected a pole with a flag upon it. He skinned the elk, filled his lodge with the meat, and made preparations to camp there and have a feast. While thus engaged, a coyote entered his lodge and asked him for something to eat, but he would not give any. He noticed that the coyote had on a necklace of shells, and said, “If you will give me that necklace, I will give you something to eat.” The coyote replied, “I can’t do that, 171for this is my medicine [amulet], and it is very strong.” “Well, I will run a race with you, and if you beat me I will give you some of the meat.” But the coyote refused, and as he did so he held out a bandaged foot, and the two went on together, the coyote protesting that his foot was sore, and he could not run. He managed to get Napioa a long distance from the lodge, and then quickly unloosing the bandage from his foot, he ran back to the lodge. Napioa followed a long distance behind, shouting, “Save me some of the meat!” When the coyote reached the lodge he called aloud for his fellow-coyotes, who speedily came and devoured all the meat. Napioa had placed the tongues on the top of the pole, but a mouse ran up the pole and ate them all. When Napioa found that all the meat was gone, he said, “Then I shall have the tongues, for the coyote could not get them.” But as he took down the remaining portions he threw them away, saying, “They are bad food.” The Indians call this creek “Matsinawûstam” (Tongue Flag), but the white people call it “Tongue Creek.”


There lies in a “coulee” near the Marias River, on the road that leads from Macleod to Benton, a large “medicine stone,” venerated by the Indians belonging to the Blackfoot Confederacy. The “coulee” is named by the Indians the “Red Coulee.” When the Blackfeet came from the north, the Snake Indians, who at that time inhabited the country, told the Blackfeet that there was a large medicine stone on the top of a hill, close to a ravine.

Several years after they were told this, a Blackfoot chief with fifty men went southward on the war-path. They all went to this stone, and the chief, being sceptical about the mysterious powers possessed by it, laughed at his men for exhibiting such childishness as to believe in it. In derision he hurled the stone down the mountain-side into the ravine and then departed. They engaged in a battle with some Indians in the south, and all of them were killed, only one man returning to tell the fate of his comrades. Ever since that time the Indians have called the place the “Red Coulee,” and as they travel to and fro they never forget to go there and present their offerings, to insure safety in battle and protection by the way.


On the river flat at the mouth of one of the ravines at Lethbridge, and not many yards distant from the coal mine, lies a stone, which oftentimes I have seen painted and surrounded by numerous Indian trinkets which had been given to it by the Indians. The Blood Indians call it “Mikiotoûqse” (The Red Stone). Tradition states that 172a long time ago a young man lay down beside this stone and fell asleep, and as he lay there he dreamed that the stone spoke to him and said, “Am I the Red Stone?” And the young man said, “Yes, you are the Red Stone.” When he awoke he felt that this must be a mysterious stone that could thus converse with him, and he made offerings to it. Until the present day these offerings are made, the Indians believing that by giving to it reverence they will be blessed in all things that concern them in this life.

Among the Blackfeet there are several traditions which the writer was unable to obtain, as only a few of the older men possessed the knowledge sufficient to relate them accurately, and they seemed to be unwilling at the time to impart the information. The following were mentioned as myths of the people: the Myth of Asinakopi, or the Great Snake; the Great Bear Myth; the Lesser Bear; the Morning Star; the Man and Woman in the Moon.

There are also songs of historical importance, some relating to love, war, and one of traditional significance. The writer learned from Jerry Potts, a Piegan Indian, who is government interpreter, and from some of the Blood Indians, that there was a historical song which from the account given concerning it resembled the Song of Hiawatha. An aged chief named Manistokos, the Father of Many Children, was said to know it thoroughly, but never at any time was the author able to obtain possession of it. Joe Healey, a Blood Indian, who speaks English well, having lived when a boy with an Indian trader, who sent him to school, informed the writer that there were several secret societies among the Blackfoot tribes, the members of which had traditions of interest relating to their people. Only those who were initiated could obtain the revelation of these stories of mythological import. In relation to their social organization, the taboos of the gentes reveal facts of special significance to the mythology of the Blackfeet. The stories relating to the origin of the names of the gentes shed light upon the migrations and religious ideas of the people, but this phase of their traditions comes properly under the study of their social organization. Such names as Netsepoye, the people who speak the same language, the name of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Kaina, the name of the Blood Indians, the origin and significance of which is unknown, and Apikûnĭ, the name of the Piegans, are of traditional importance. The separation of the tribes in late years has modified their mythology, but the basis of the myths remains the same.

John Maclean.
Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada.



I had this story of the Lost Boy from the Rev. Albert Cusick, a native Onondaga, and the first part is very nearly as he wrote it out. The latter part he told me, and I took it down.

A long time ago, among the Onondaga Indians, were several families who went off to camp near the wildwood streams, where fish, deer, bear, otter, beaver, and other like game could be caught for winter use. These Onondagas, or People of the Hill, journeyed several days, and finally came to the hunting-grounds. The hunting-ground where they stopped was a very beautiful place, with its little hills and the river with high banks. Not far from their camp was a beautiful lake, with high rocky banks, and with little islands full of cedar-trees. When they came there it was in the moon or month of Chut-ho-wa-ah, or October. Some of these Indians made their camps near the river, and some near the lake. As it was quite early in the season for hunting, some of the Indians amused themselves by making birch-bark canoes. With these they could go up and down the river and on the lakes, fishing and trapping, or making deadfalls for smaller game.

In the party were five little boys, who had their own bows and arrows, and would go hunting, imitating their fathers and uncles. Among them was one much smaller than the rest, who was greatly teased by the older boys. Sometimes they would run away from him and hide themselves in the woods, leaving him crying; then they would come back and show themselves, and have a great laugh over the little boy’s distress. Sometimes they would run for the camp, and would tell him that a bear or a wolf was chasing them, leaving the little boy far behind, crying with all his might. Many a time he sought his father’s camp alone, when the other boys would leave him and hide themselves in the woods.

One day these little Indians found a great hollow log lying on the ground. One of them said, “Maybe there is a Ta-hone-tah-na-ken [rabbit] or a Hi-sen [red squirrel] in this hollow log. Let us shoot into it, and see if there is any Ta-hone-tah-na-ken in it.” All agreed to this, and they began to take the little boy’s arrows from him and shoot them into the hole; then the larger boys said to him, “Now go into the hollow log, and get your arrows.” The little boy said, “No; I am afraid something might catch me.” Then he began to cry, and was not at all willing to go into the log. The others coaxed him to do so, and one said he would get his uncle to make him a 174new bow and arrows if he would go into the hollow log, and get the arrows they had shot there. At last this tempted the little boy. He stopped crying, got down on his hands and knees, and crawled into the log. When he had gone in a little way, he found one of his arrows, and handed it out. This gave him courage to go in a little farther. When he had advanced some distance in the log, one of the larger boys said, “Let’s stop up the log, and trap that boy in it, so that he can’t get out.” This was soon agreed to, and the boys began to fetch old rotten wood and old limbs, stopping up the hollow, and trapping the little boy in it. When this mischief was done, the four boys ran to their camp, not saying a word about the little boy who was trapped in the log.

It was two days before the mother[2] and father began to notice the absence of their boy, for they thought he must have stayed over night with one of the others, as very often he had done; but the second day a search was begun, and the other four boys were asked whereabouts they had left him. They all said that they did not know, and that the last time they were out the little boy did not go with them. Then the entire camp turned out to join in the search, as now they knew that the boy must be lost. After they had hunted a long time he could not be found, and they ceased to look for him; they thought he must have been killed and eaten by a wolf or a bear.

When he was first shut up in the log the little boy tried to get out, but could not do it, as the chunks of rotten wood were too large for him to move. He could not kick or push them out. Then he cried for help, but no one came. There he was for three days and three nights, crying loudly for help, and now and then falling asleep. But on the fourth night, while he was in the hollow log, he thought he heard some one coming. He listened, and was sure he heard the crying of a very old woman and the noise of the tramping of human feet. The crying and the tramping came nearer and nearer to the log where he was. At last the crying came very close to him, and then he heard a noise, as though some one sat down on the log. Now he heard the old woman cry in earnest, and now and then she would say: “Oh, how tired I am! how tired I am! and yet I may have come too late, for I do not hear my grandchild cry. He may be dead! he may be dead!” Then the old woman would cry in earnest again. At last he heard a rap on the log and his own name called: “Ha-yah-noo! Ha-yah-noo! are you still alive?” Ha-yah-noo, or Footprints under the Water (for this was the name of the little lost boy), answered the old woman, and said that he still lived. The old woman said, “Oh, how glad I am to find my grandchild still alive!” Then she asked Ha-yah-noo if he could not get out; but he said 175he could not, for he had already tried. Then said the old woman, “I will try to get you out of this log.” He heard her pull at the chunks of old wood; but at last she said she could not get him out, as she was too old and tired. She had heard him crying three days before, and had journeyed three days and nights to come and help her grandchild out of his trouble. Now this old woman was an O-ne-ha-tah, or Porcupine. She lived in an old hemlock tree near the spot where the boy was shut up in the log.[3]

When Grandmother O-ne-ha-tah had said that she had to journey three days and nights, and now she could not help Ha-yah-noo out of the log, she was very sorry, and began to cry again. Finally she said that she had three children, who were very strong, and that she would get them to help her; so she went after them. It was almost daylight when they came, and then Ha-yah-noo heard them pull out the chunks which stopped up the log. At last Grandmother O-ne-ha-tah said to Ha-yah-noo: “Come out now. My children have got the chunks out of the log. You can come out.”

When Ha-yah-noo came out, he saw four wild animals around him. There was Grandmother O-ne-ha-tah and her three children, as she called them. They were Oo-kwa-e, the Bear; Sken-no-doh, the Deer; and Tah-you-ne, the Wolf. “Now,” said O-ne-ha-tah, “I want one of you to take care of this boy, and love him as your own child. You all know that I have got to be very, very old. If I were younger I would take care of him myself.”

Tah-you-ne, the Wolf, was the first one to speak. She said she could take care of the boy, as she lived on the same meat on which he fed. “No,” said Grandmother O-ne-ha-tah, “you are too greedy. You would eat up the boy as soon as he is left with you alone.” The Wolf was very angry. She showed her teeth, and snapped them at the boy, who was very much afraid, and wanted no such mother.

The next that spoke was Sken-no-doh, the Deer. She said that she and her husband would take care of the boy, as they lived on corn and other things which they knew the boy liked. Her husband would carry him on his back wherever they went. But Grandmother O-ne-ha-tah said: “No; you can’t take care of the boy, for you are always travelling, and never stay in one place. The boy cannot do the travelling that you do, for you run very fast and make very long journeys. The boy cannot stand it, and you have no home for him for the winter. Boys like this have homes.” Then the Deer ran away, very happy, as though she were glad to be rid of the boy.

Then Oo-kwa-e, the Bear, said that she knew she could take care 176of the boy, as she lived in a large stone house and had plenty to eat. She lived on meats and fishes, and all kinds of nuts and berries, and even wild honey, all of which the boy would like. She had a good warm bed for him to sleep on through the winter, and she was a loving mother to her children. She would rather die than see them abused. Then O-ne-ha-tah, or Porcupine (meaning “Full of quills”), said: “You are just the right one to take care of this boy. Take him and carry him home.” So the Bear, like a loving mother, took the boy and brought him to her home. When they got there, Oo-kwa-e said to her two children, the Oo-tutch-ha, or Young Bears, “Don’t play with him roughly, and he will be your kind little brother.” Then she gave him some berries to eat, and they were all happy together.

The stone house was a cave in the rocks, but to the little boy it seemed to have rooms like any other house, and the little bears seemed to him like human children. They did not tease him, but lived in the most friendly way, and the old Oo-kwa-e was a very kind mother to the boy. It was now quite late in the fall, and the days became short and dark. Then Mother Oo-kwa-e said: “It is late and dark now. We had better go to bed.” The nights were cold, but the bed was warm, and they slept until the spring.

One evening it thundered; for the bears do not wake up until the thunder is heard. It made such a noise that they thought the walls were coming down. Then the old Oo-kwa-e said: “Why, it’s getting light. We had better get up.” So they lived happily together for a very long time. She went out in the woods, going to and fro for food, and the children amused themselves at home.

Every now and then, through the summer, the Bear people would come in and say, “In such a place are plenty of berries.” These would be strawberries, raspberries, or others, according to the season. Later they told of chestnuts and other kinds of nuts, of which they were fond. Then they would say, “Let us go and gather them.” So the Mother Bear and the little Bears went, taking the little boy along with them; for they always expected a good time. The other bears knew nothing about the little boy. When they came near the spot, and he was seen, these would be frightened, and say: “There is a human being! Let us run! let us run!” So they would scamper off as fast as bears can, leaving their heaps of nuts or berries behind them. Then the old Oo-kwa-e would gather these up, she and her children, and take them home, which was a very easy way of getting plenty of food. Thus the boy became very useful to Mother Bear.

The boy lived with them thus for about three years, and the same things happened every year. In the third year Mother Bear said, “Some one is coming to kill us.” Then all looked out, and saw a 177man coming through the woods, with his bow and arrows in his hand, and his dog running all around looking for game. Then Mother Bear said, “I must see what I can do.” So she took a forked stick, and pointed the open fork towards the man. It seemed to come near him, and appeared to him like a line of thick brush that he did not wish to break through. So he turned aside, and went another way, and they were safe that time.

Another day she again said, “Some one is coming towards us again, and we shall be killed.” She put forth the forked stick again; but the man did not mind it, and came straight towards her stone house. The stick itself split, and there was nothing in the way. Then she took a bag of feathers and threw these outside. They flew up and down, and around and around, and seemed like a flock of partridges. The dog ran after them, through the bushes and trees, supposing them to be birds, and so the second man went away.

The days went by, and the third time Mother Bear saw a man coming. This time she said, “Now we certainly are all going to die.” Then she said to the boy: “Your father is coming now, and he is too good a hunter to be fooled. There is his dog, with his four eyes, and he, too, is one of the best of hunters.” Now when a dog has light spots over each eye, the Indians say that he has four eyes. So the man came nearer, and she tried the forked stick, but it split; and still the man and dog came on. Then she scattered the feathers, and they flew around as before; but the hunter and dog paid no attention to them, and still they both came on. At last the dog reached the door and barked, and the man drew his bow to shoot at anything that came out.

When the Mother Oo-kwa-e saw the man standing there, she said, “Now, children, we must all take our bundles and go.” So each of the Bears took a small bundle and laid it on its back, but there was no bundle at all for the boy. When all were ready, Mother Oo-kwa-e said, “I will go first, whatever may happen.” So she opened the door, and as she went out the man shot, and she was killed. Then the oldest of the Oo-tutch-ha said, “I will go next;” and as he went he also was killed.

The last little Bear was afraid, and said to the boy, “You go first.” But the little boy was afraid, too, and said: “No; you go first. I have no bundle.” For all the Bears tried to get their bundles between them and the man. So the little Bear and the boy at last went out together; but though the Bear tried to keep behind, the man shot at him first, and he was killed. As the hunter was about to shoot again, the boy called out: “Don’t shoot me! don’t shoot me! I am not a bear!” His father dropped his arrow, for he knew his voice at once, and said: “Why did you not call out before? 178Then I would not have killed the Oo-kwa-e and Oo-tutch-ha. I am very sorry for what I have done, for the Bears have been good to you.” But the boy said: “You did not kill the Bears, though you thought so. You only shot the bundles. I saw them thrown down, and the spirits of the Bears run off from behind them.” Still, the man was sorry he had shot at the Bears, for he wished to be kind to them, as they had been to his boy.

Then the father began to look at his boy more closely, to see how he had grown and how he had changed. Then he saw that long hairs were growing between his fingers, for, living so long with them, he had already begun to turn into a Bear. He was very glad when he took the boy back to his home, and his friends and relatives, and the whole town, rejoiced with him. All day they had a great feast, and all night they danced, and they were still dancing when I came away.

Bear stories of this kind seem to have been favorites among the Iroquois, and Mrs. Erminnie A. Smith relates three of them in her collection. Of such tales in general, she remarks that, “In nearly all of these, wherever the bear is introduced he serves as a pattern of benevolence, while many other animals, such as the porcupine, are always presented as noxious.” Yet in the one most resembling the one just given, “The Hare and his Step-son,” the man shuts the child in a porcupine’s hole, and the porcupine rescues him, calling on the animals to feed him. The fox and the wolf, however, do not bear a good character, and snakes are invariably agents of evil.

The old story of “Valentine and Orson” has so delighted white children that it is no matter of surprise that Indians have enjoyed their own stories of lost boys nursed by bears. Perhaps the tendency of these animals to assume an erect position may have suggested to them a near kinship to the human race. To complete the present paper, a sketch may be given of the three tales related by Mrs. Smith. It may be premised that several incidents of the present story are found in all three of these, but not in each other.

The first she had from the Senecas of the Cattaraugus reservation. In this a young boy is missed from the hunting-camp, and all search proves vain. His friends think him dead, and go home. A bear takes pity on him, but changes herself into the appearance of a woman, and takes him home to live with her cubs, in her hollow tree. When the time for the return of the hunters arrives, she tells him of her device, and he is restored to his friends. He never kills a bear.

The next is quite different. A hunter is angry with his wife for secreting food, and makes her eat until she dies from its effects. Her new-born child he throws into a hollow tree, but takes good 179care of his older boy. For him he makes a bow and arrows, and after a long time saw little footprints around his lodge. He made a second small bow and arrows, and soon found they were being used. He now saw a little child come from the hollow tree to play with his boy, and knew it was the infant he had thrown away. He had been cared for by a bear, whom the hunter treated kindly. The two boys afterwards went far westward to slay the great and hurtful beasts.

The third was told in Canada, and is a variant of the one I have related. A man hated his step-son, and persuaded him to enter a porcupine’s hole. This he stopped up, leaving the boy a prisoner. He cried himself asleep, and when he woke up he was in a room with an old woman, who was the porcupine. He could not eat her food, and so she called the animals to a council to tell how he might be fed. “The fox said: ‘I live on geese and fowls. I’ll take him, but still he can’t eat raw food.’ The council decided that it was useless for him to assume the charge.” All offered in turn, without effect. At last the bear spoke, and the child was left with her, all agreeing to help her gather nuts. After living several years in a hollow tree, they saw a man and dog coming. The tree was cut down, and the bear and her two cubs were killed. The hunter looked for another cub, but found the boy instead. He made noises just like the cubs. The hunter took him home, tamed and taught him, and gave him his daughter for a wife. Her mother, however, was angry because the boy brought home no bear’s meat. At last he killed a bear, but it brought him no good luck. On his way home he fell on a sharp stick, which killed him at once.

In this tale the words of the fox are much like those of the wolf in the other. Some of the incidents differ much, and yet the common origin of the two is readily seen.

In New York the Iroquois stories are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. They maintain their hold among the older people, but the younger ones find those which are quite as good among the literature of the whites. It is easy to see how our stories are adopted, and told in an Indian way; and Mrs. Smith has given some good examples. The Onondagas are not behind in following the spirit of the times.


While the fox is the type of all mischief with the Onondagas, they seem to have few stories about him. One of these has been related by Mrs. E. A. Smith, and has modern features. In this she makes one story depend upon another, while they were related to me as distinct tales. I inquired particularly about this, and was assured that there was no connection. These are the tales I received:—

I. The fox saw some men carrying home a wagon load of fish, and 180contrived to get upon it. At his leisure he quietly threw off one, and then another, until he was satisfied, and slipped off himself to eat them. As he was feasting on the last the bear came along, and asked about his good luck. The fox said he would show him how to get a good supply if he would go with him the next night. So they went on the ice till they found a hole, and the fox told the bear to put his tail in this that the fish might bite.

“Now,” said the fox, “you are very strong, and must wait until a good many take hold of your tail.” So the bear sat very still for a time; but when he shifted a little his tail was slightly pulled, for it was freezing to the ice. “Don’t pull yet,” said the fox; “more will take hold, and you will have a big haul. You are very strong, and must catch all you can.” So the bear waited, and the next time he moved it pulled a little harder. “Not yet,” said the fox; “more will take hold.” But when the morning was come the fox ran to a house on the bank, and the dogs began to bark furiously. This frightened the bear, so that he pulled with all his might, and left his tail frozen to the ice. Then I came away; but the bears have had short tails ever since.

II. For some reason the bear and the fox fell out, and were going to fight a duel. The fox chose a cat and a lame dog for his seconds, while the bear had the wolf and the pig, but the wolf kept away. The bear and the pig came to the place first, both of them a little afraid, and the bear said he would climb a tree and watch for the rest. The pig hid under the leaves by a log. The bear said: “I see the fox coming. He has two men with him, and one is picking up stones to throw at us!” For when the dog limped, it seemed to the bear he was picking up stones. The cat, too, raised its tail and waved it around. When it did this the bear said: “Now I see the other man. He has a big club, and oh! how he waves it around! Lie down there! Keep still! They’ll give it to us if they find us!” Then he looked again. “Yes, they’re coming! they’re coming! Keep still! keep still!”

So the cat came under the tree, and upon the log. The pig wanted to see, and tried to peep out; but when the cat saw the leaves moving she thought it was a mouse. Down she sprang in an instant, and had the pig by the nose. “Ke-week! ke-we-e-k!” he squealed and squealed, which scared the cat in turn, and she ran for the tree. The bear was so frightened when he saw her coming, that he let go his hold, fell from the tree, and was killed. Then I came away.

In this story the narrator imitated the squealing of the pig, etc., to the intense delight of the Indian children. It was thus a favorite tale.

W. M. Beauchamp.


The Onondagas still maintain what Albert Cusick called the Ghost Dance, but which is the annual Dead Feast, differing from the one ten days after death. It is managed by the women, and is held in May or June. The female society, O-kee-weh, makes the appointment and arranges details. The members of this society are termed O-nah-kee-weh. The spirits of their dead relatives, especially those who have died during the year, are supposed to be present throughout the feast. The living guests assemble from 9 to 10 P. M., and dance until sunrise, but have a midnight feast.

First of all there is a speech, and then men sing a chant in 3–4 time, accompanied by a large drum and a gourd rattle. The drum is somewhat like a small churn, with a head stretched across. It may be made of a keg, but was probably once a kettle, as the name, ka-na-ju-we, signifies a covered kettle. The first chant begins “Go-yah-ne na wa-ya-hen,” etc., and one tune follows another with but a slight variation of the words, which are mostly without meaning, but wa-ya-hen refers to women. The women stand in a circle before the singers, keeping time. Then the women sing, and the men are silent; after which the women march around in a circle to the beat of the drum. The great Feather Dance follows, the men taking part in this and some others until midnight, when the feast takes place. At that time tobacco is burned, and the spirits of the dead are implored to give the living good and healthy lives through the year. Dances follow until nearly morning; and among these are the Snake, Fish, Bear, and Raccoon dances. The Raccoon is similar to the Fish Dance, but in the former all face around when the time changes. At the end the leader gives a whoop, and the music ceases.

Towards morning the women again form a circle before the singers, and nearly the same words and tunes follow as at first. Some of the words differ, and mean, “The morning has come; we will now all go home.” Then all the women again march around in the council-house, and afterwards out and around it slowly. At this time two men carry the drum while another beats upon it. The women have something in their hands, and as one or another raises her arms the men rush around and try to get what she holds. All then return to the council-house, where a speech is made, and soup is distributed from the big kettle. Having received their portions, all go home. While this is an annual feast, it may be given at other times for the benefit of the sick, being prompted by the spirits of the dead.

Another feast, quite similar, and known as the Night Dance, is 182often held at private houses, and is managed by women alone. The forms of the dance are a little different, and there is no midnight feast. This is also for the sick, and has similar tunes. It has some comic features. When the Indian boys hear of a meeting of this kind, they plan how they may steal “the head.” At intervals the lights are put out for a few minutes, and then is their chance. One or more chickens are boiled or roasted, and are known as “the head” of the feast. Usually a kettle is placed in the middle of the circle of women, and the chicken is in the soup.

Albert Cusick told me his early experiences at two of these feasts, which will illustrate one prominent feature which I have mentioned. On one occasion the boys saw that there was no kettle in the circle, while there was a cluster of women about the pantry door. They understood the situation, but the door could not be passed. An active lad quietly made his way through the pantry window, found a pan with two roast chickens in it, secured some corn bread and other good things, and got off unobserved. The booty was carried to the green by the council-house, and eaten with a hearty relish; then the pan, with the bones, was slipped back into the pantry, and the boys, according to the old custom, began to caw, like crows. All seemed safe, however, and the others made fun of them. “You are all frauds. You haven’t found the head. We have that safe.” So the dances went on. A speech was made at the close. One head was to go to the speaker and the other to the singers.

But when they got there the cupboard was bare,
And so the poor singers had none.

A dance of this kind was held at the house of my old friend, Mary Green, one night. Her home was a good-sized log cabin, fairly furnished, and the feast was well attended. The boys ran around, imitating hungry crows, but with small chance of getting “the head.” The circle of women remained unbroken around the stove in the centre of the room, and on the stove was a big kettle of soup, with “the head” in the midst of all. The soup was hot, and the kettle inaccessible. Several tried to crawl through the circle on their hands and knees, but failed. At last one got through in the dark interval, burned his fingers indeed, but put the chicken in a pail and successfully made off. The triumphant crows were soon heard again.

The great medicine is made in a society called Ka-noo-tah, of which I may say more at another time. For ordinary ailments simple remedies are used, but the Onondagas are easily satisfied when told that the white man’s remedies may be best for the diseases he has introduced. When a man is bewitched, that is quite another thing. A 183Tuscarora once came to Onondaga, who thought he was bewitched, and Abram Island prescribed for him. He took three tender shoots each of the waxberry, choke and wild cherry, and the green osier, and scraped off the bark. This was placed in twelve quarts of hot water, and almost boiled. This was to be used as an emetic for twelve days. On the last day Island came again, carrying away what was last thrown up, but soon returning with a woolly bear caterpillar on a chip. This he had found in the matter, and it was the witch charm. It was placed in a paper bag and hung upon the wall. They were told it would revive and then die again. In a few days there was a rustling in the paper, and the caterpillar was taken out dead, but looking as though soaked in water. After so thorough a cleansing the man got well, of course.

I am promised the old Onondaga songs, both music and words, but my informant that is to be takes his own time. I have said that these songs are mostly meaningless. Some have been translated quite poetically, which the Indians assure me have strictly no meaning, though their associations have almost poetic force, and so the thought has been given rather than the actual interpretation. As long as there is time and sound, the singer often cares little what the words may be, but this is not an invariable rule. I have seen four kinds of rattles, two of which are antique,—the turtle shell and gourd. Some are made of cow’s horns, and once only have I seen a very ingenious one of bark. All are alike effective in dances and marches.

Some curious changes have come over the Onondagas of late. Heretofore the Green Corn Dance was held about as soon as green corn was fit for use, but some of the Indians have been giving exhibition dances at various gatherings, and found there was money in it. This year they deferred the feast until the autumnal equinox, having the principal dances on Sunday, September 24, 1893. In this case those who danced did not pay the piper, but the spectators did. As many as could be accommodated were admitted to the council-house, at fifteen cents per head; three dances were given, and then a new party was admitted. Of course this deprived the feast of all religious force, and made it a mere show; nor did it quite satisfy those who saw it.

A few days later the annuity of goods was delivered, a sight not without interest. So many Oneidas now live with the Onondagas that a large part of their annuity is distributed at the same time by the United States agent, Mr. A. W. Ferrin. The cotton cloth for the Oneidas was placed towards the west end of the council-house, and Henry Powliss, or Was-theel-go, “Throwing up pins,” checked 184off the Oneida list, while two chiefs measured off the cloth. Jaris Pierce, or Jah-dah-dieh, “Sailing Whale,” checked the Onondaga list, assisted in the same way. This lot was placed in the centre of the house, against the south door. There was some interpreting, and the scene was quite interesting. The men looked much like any farmers, but the women were quite picturesque.

This mingling of nations is not without many effects. Thus the Oneida salutation, Sa-go-lah, “How do you do?” has quite taken the place of the different and longer Onondaga greeting, and other phrases and words are in common use. The Seneca snow snake, differing in some respects from the Onondaga, is quite as frequently seen.

Until recently I had never seen two women pounding corn in one mortar, but the two pestles rose and fell quite harmoniously. This may be frequent, for two men seized each his double-headed pestle, to be photographed on another occasion. The old pestle and mortar are still quite in favor with most families.

W. M. Beauchamp.


In a certain part of Ontario (my stories being true, I must be reticent as to localities and persons) the country is peopled with Scotch Highlanders from Glenelg. If, as is often said, Scotch people are superstitious, the Glenelg men are superlatively so. Every nook and every grassy plot in that famous glen is haunted, and weird tales belong to every family, high and low, handed down from father to son. The Glenelg men in Canada whom I knew still have the traditional tales,—the ancestral ones, I mean,—and are very willing to tell them: but I greatly preferred to hear them recount the uncanny doings of their own Canadian township. They are the third generation in this country. It is an old part of Ontario,—one of the oldest, I think, for in a long-discarded burying-ground I found inscriptions bearing date of the last century. Although so long here, and tolerably fair farmers, they are curiously backward, preferring in their daily life to talk Gaelic; and it is even now very common to find children of eight without a word of English. Most of the very old people have only their native tongue. Their schools are so poor that it is difficult to believe one’s self in Ontario, where the standard of education is so high. They are handsome people,—nearly all very tall and well-built, bearing a family likeness. The men have none of the farmer slouch so usual in most country places; they are thorough Highlanders of the best type, and have the traditional grace and condescension of manner, even when speaking to an acknowledged superior. The impression of refinement is intensified by their speech. They came to this country understanding only Gaelic, had no schools until the present generation, and therefore received the whole of their education in church. Their speech is Scripture English, quaint, careful, and accurate. It was at first an astonishment to me, as my knowledge of rural life in western Ontario had prepared me to expect from farmers everywhere the horrible colloquialisms, nasal twang, and most wonderful idioms which perhaps some Montrealers have noticed in the townships, for it is the same there, I believe. It was a great pleasure to me to listen to the polished old English, and I soon recognized the cause, and was interested, and perhaps startled, to discover that the beautiful speech of one of the least progressive counties of Ontario is directly owing to the neglect of the government—in short, to their want of education.

It was not long before I discovered with deep, silent delight that the country-side was peopled with ghosts. It was never hard to give a turn to the conversation that would result in the recital of something 186weird or horrible, told with the bare simplicity of the doings of the Witch of Endor, and not doubted in any particular by another than myself. I remember that this difference between them and me threatened to disturb my enjoyment. I am always uncomfortable if “in my company but not of it,” and therefore always agree with every one unless positively forbidden to do so by a company too intense for a happy existence. In the present instance, as my infidelity was unsuspected, I was not hindered from assuming the sentiment of the hour as a garment which I heartily enjoyed wearing, and which soon belonged of right to me,—so much so, in fact, that when the first of the following stories was related in the deepening dusk in a most ghostly hollow behind a graveyard, it was I who, when deep-drawn breaths announced the finale, suggested that we arm ourselves with cudgels and hasten home across the fields. And we did it, too, no one laughing; it was not an hour for laughter. We walked in Indian file, following the cow-path, and I think that I surreptitiously held the coat-tail of the one who strode before me. And as we walked, we thought that we heard the malevolent and fatal tap, tap, tapping in the wood across the hollow. But this is anticipating the dénouement of my tale. Here is the story of—


A certain man whom it is safe to call Angus, as there was at least one Angus in every household, lived near the stage road that connected two large villages, which were, if I remember aright, about fourteen miles apart. His home was situated nearly midway between them, and about a mile from the aforementioned hollow. He seems to have taken more interest in the post-office than his friends whom I knew, and subscribed for and studied certain Montreal newspapers. For this he was pitied in the parish, and called “Poor Angus,” for the general sentiment of the place was opposed to literature, and reading was considered a sign of mental weakness. He appears to have adhered, however, to the habit, whether from native independence or native imbecility, I cannot say. I have noticed that as a means of separating a man from his fellows, either strength or weakness, if sufficiently pronounced, is equally potent. So this man, following the bent of his nature, went twice or thrice a week to the post-office late in the afternoon, when the passing stage threw in a big leather mail-bag. The post-office was in a farmhouse, and to reach it he walked through the hollow with the unwholesome reputation. On the slope of the hill farthest from the post-office was a grove, not a dense wood,—just about half an acre of thinly wooded land, the trees being so far apart that you could easily get glimpses and peeps of the country beyond. I remember once admiring a pink sunset scantily visible among the dark trunks of those trees.

187Well, one autumn afternoon Angus was ascending this hill on his way home with his newspapers, when in the grove on his right suddenly sounded the chopping of a tree. He stopped, interested at once. The grove belonged to a neighbor and cousin of his own, and it had been for very many years left undisturbed. I think it very possible that it was a “sugar bush,” that is, a wood reserved for sugar-making, but of this I cannot be sure. But if my guess is right it would account for the surprise he felt at the cutting down of a tree there. He went to the fence, or rather stone dike, for that is one of the very few parts in which you find fields inclosed by stone dikes in lieu of fences, as in Scotland. The chopping continued, though he saw no one, and he moved along, expecting every moment to see man and axe. Finally he shouted. To his intense astonishment there was no reply, although it was incredible that he was unheard by a person in so near vicinity. As the echo of his shout died away, the chopping, which for a moment or two had been suspended, began again. A curious horror crept over the listener, and he looked no more, but made haste up the hill, and turning the corner was soon at home. He said nothing about the matter on this first occasion, and a few days later was again on the road returning from the same errand, when, lo! on the quiet air came again the same chop, chop, chopping. In telling it afterwards, he said that in his heart he made no fight against fate, but he just thought sadly of his worldly affairs, and wondered if things were in good shape for him to leave wife and little ones, for from that hour he confidently looked for death before another spring. He stood long listening, and when at last he went home he related the whole circumstance to his wife. Together they recounted it to friends, who went in parties and singly to the place, but heard nothing. They also thoroughly searched the little wood, arguing that chopping must leave signs behind in the shape of chips and disfigured trunks. But no, there was no mark of any kind in any part of the grove. Angus was now earnestly counselled to abandon his literary pursuits. He could not but own that he had received a warning, and he did own it, but contended that it was undeserved, and refused to be guided, as one might say, by a light that, as all admitted, shone with a lurid glare. He was exhorted to forswear the reading of vain and foolish lies; for with the acumen which surprised and gratified me so much, they even refused to regard our newspapers as mediums of information, recognizing instinctively their right to stand in the ranks of fiction. Their advice was in all points save one unheeded. With one voice they bade him, if he heard the warning again, to pursue his way as if he heard it not, looking neither to the right nor left. This counsel he followed, and the end shows the folly and uselessness of attempting to elude a menace which is—well, which is of this kind.

188Angus continued to walk to and from the post-office, and when alone never failed to hear the mysterious axe at work in the wood. He never heard it unless alone, and it was never heard by any one else. Although the conviction that his death would happen before many months took firm hold of his mind, yet in time he became so accustomed to the thought and its cause as to go about his usual occupations with much of the wonted interest, and even to hear the sound of an axe, wielded by invisible hands, without experiencing agitation.

Weeks sped on and brought winter, and an unusual fall of snow. The stage-road became blocked, and vehicles left the highway to make a new track through the fields. For several months that winter the real road through the hollow was not used, and the snow, which drifted high in it, covered the dikes on each side. Temporary roads and footpaths made winding lines over the white plains on every hand. Angus now followed one of these roads, which ran parallel to the real highway, just the dike being between them, until he reached the grove, when he, with extraordinary and fatal hardihood, instead of remaining in it, used to leave it, and striking out at right angles to it, would walk through the grove, aiming directly for his own house, and greatly shortening his walk thereby. The trees had of course protected the place from wind; there had been no drifting, and walking was easy. He told it at home, and said with grim humor that the Man in the Bush seemed pleased that he would come that way, for his chopping was louder and gladder than ever before; and his wife repeated her counsel earnestly that he look only straight before him, and never stop, nor answer any sound, nor take heed in any way of that unholy work. “And,” said the Angus who years after related it to me, “the Axe might well be merry when she bade him that way!” But Angus laid the advice to heart, and strode steadily through the grove, looking straight before him, and every day the Axe grew gayer and louder. He did not speak of it now. He was getting used to it, and the neighbors had ceased to think of it, the more easily because, as I have told, his literary tastes had separated this Angus from among them. So one day the owner of the grove and his sons went over to chop down one particular tree that, on the day when they had searched the grove in the autumn, had appeared to them to merit destruction. Perhaps it was a beech growing among maples, where it was not wanted, or perhaps it was a dead maple cumbering the ground. They began to chop. It was late in the afternoon. One said with a laugh, “It may be we are taking the tree that poor Angus’ ghost has been working at so long.”

Perhaps the invisible man heard them. At any rate he did not chop that evening. It was only his cousin’s axe that gave the good 189strokes that poor Angus heard as he turned from the track to cross the grove as usual. The tree was swaying and shivering, and all but ready to fall. He had cut trees all his life, and he knew the sound of the stroke when the task was almost done; but no goblin’s trick would beguile him into turning his head. He looked neither to right nor left. Then the chopping ceased, and his blood nearly froze as he heard his own name shouted in tones of such horror that a familiar voice was unrecognized. Others caught up the cry. There was a din, the crashing of branches and sound of rushing feet, mingled with shouts of warning, and poor Angus fell, with the enormous tree upon him. When at last the burden was removed, and the crushed body borne home, there were men there who heard among the trees inhuman laughter, and knew that Something had lured poor Angus to his doom.

Another weird tale, that made a strong impression on me, I wrote down at the time, and called—


The title seemed very effective then, though now it strikes me as more alliterative than true, as it concerns a single stick and not a fagot at all. It was a round stick about five feet long, probably the trunk of a young ash tree brought home from the woods to serve some purpose as a pole. It lay forgotten in the back yard of a farmhouse close to a little village called L——. It was a fine strong pole about twice as thick as a man’s wrist. The sun seasoned it day by day, so that it soon was no longer “green” wood, but wood that would have crackled well in the fire. But for whatever purpose it had been brought home, it seemed oddly forgotten. No use was made of it.

One day one of the young men of the family went to the “bush,” spent an hour there, and returned with just such another long, straight sapling. He dragged it into the yard, and his eye fell on the first one. “There,” said he, “I’ve had little to do spending my time seeking a pole, and this one ready to my hand all the while.”

“Aye,” said Mary his sister, standing in the doorway, “that is what I’m telling them. Since that pole was brought, father has taken a bar from the gateway, and Neil has cut down a young tree in the pasture, and you’ve been seeking in the bush, all of you wanting this same pole that’s only lying in the way.”

“Perhaps there’ll be something the matter with it, Mary,” her brother answered, ever ready to suspect black art; “any way, it is dry now, and I’ll chop it for you, and it will soon be out of harm’s way.”

190And Mary, bidding him do it at once,—for she was then wanting some firewood,—turned into the house.

The young man went, whistling, for his axe, and the pole would have been in half a dozen pieces in a few moments had not a neighbor hailed him from the road. Throwing down the axe, he went to the fence to speak with him, calling meantime to a little brother to gather sticks and chips for Mary. So Mary, or rather Maari, for they always pronounced the familiar name just as it is spelled in some of William Black’s Scotch novels, cooked the midday meal, but not with the elusive pole of which she had intended to make a speedy end. But she did not forget it; on the contrary, it seemed to prey on her mind. As if fascinated, she would go out and look at it. She dragged it into the woodshed, that its destiny might seem more sure. She recommended it to the men of the family as being small and suited to the stove, but still it remained uncut. Sometimes they said that they could not find it, at other times it was forgotten. If just about to cut it, they were sure to be interrupted. Mary took the axe herself to chop it, one day, but a brother laughingly took it from her and sent her back to the house, promising to follow with an armful of sticks in a few minutes; but he failed to keep his word, for a young colt broke loose and needed his immediate attention to prevent its reaching the highway!

One morning a wagon drove up with a family party from a distance, come to spend the day. Mary welcomed them, and the little house was all bustle and noise while the visitors were being made comfortable. A dinner fit for the occasion must be prepared, and Mary sent her brother in haste to the woodshed that the oven might be heated at once. He came back with an armful.

“I would have cut the stick that vexes you so much, Maari,” he said, “but it seems gone at last out of our way. Some one has cut it before me.”

“No,” replied the girl, “here it is.” And as she spoke a weight seemed to fall on her spirits, for she did not smile again, but moved amongst her guests preoccupied and still. The pole was lying close to the kitchen door, along the path leading from the woodshed. The young man thinking it in the way and apt to make people stumble, took it to the shed and threw it in.

Dinner was over, and all the news discussed, and it was the middle of the afternoon when Mary was observed by some one of the family to be standing in the kitchen doorway alone. I think it was her mother who, wondering at her staying there so long, went to her. She was shivering violently, although it was pleasant weather, and she pointed her finger, without speaking, to the pole, which lay at her feet in the pathway again. One of the boys was told to go at 191once and chop it in pieces, and Mary was kindly chided for her foolish terror. The visitors began to bestir themselves, for they had a lonely drive before them.

“I will leave the cutting of the stick until they are on the road,” said Mary’s brother; and he went to get out their horses and “speed the parting guests.” Farewells were said in hearty fashion at the gate, and then the family hastened to take up their interrupted tasks, separating, some to one thing and some to another; and yet again the stick was forgotten.

The evening meal was late, and Mary was hurried. A little daughter of one of the neighbors, who was in, bustled about, helping. She flew in and out with chips.

“Shall I drag this pole out of the way, Maari?” asked the child.

“No,” said Mary; “it is too late.”

And there at the kitchen door it remained, and Mary was pale and silent, her thoughts being otherwhere. That night they were roused from sleep by her cry for help, and when they went to her they found her sick unto death. A doctor was fetched in haste; it was cholera morbus, and hopeless, as he knew at once, and before the sun rose Mary was dead. The stick lay at the door, and one of the kindly neighbors, who were doing what was needful during the following days, lifted it and sawed it carefully in two to serve as rests for the coffin, by means of which the bearers could convey it to the grave; and thus the fated stick fulfilled its mission.

Another tale floats in my memory, enfolding the unwonted image of a—


which measured nearly four inches across the extended wings. The color and size suggest a moth rather than a butterfly, do they not? Whatever it was, it was sufficiently rare to attract a great deal of notice, but not of the scientific sort. An unknown object was sure to be regarded with suspicion; and this butterfly fluttered one July over a certain farm, secure from ill because of the awe with which it was regarded. It was constantly watched, and cautiously pursued. Its most innocent actions became weighty, and were subject to much misconstruction. Some one discovered by gruesome experience that the glance of its minute eye could convey a shudder. Its friendliness was suspected. Well, by an unfortunate coincidence, at this very time the churning of butter on this farm was not attended with success. This fact impressed my friends more than it did me, for I reflected grimly that their butter very generally was not a brilliant issue. This had resulted in my eating honey very extensively during my visits to them. However, I repressed any unkind thoughts on 192the subject, and assisted with much pleasure in the discussion regarding the doings of the butterfly. It is, moreover, probable that what they complained of was not bad butter, but cream that would not be butter at all. This state of things had begun with the advent of the butterfly and continued in spite of everything done to counteract the evil influence too evidently at work. The community was aroused—all but one person. A certain woman who lived alone and refused to know her neighbors evinced no interest in our investigations. She knew of them, and sneered weird Gaelic sneers, which were translated to me, and at which I shook my head according to custom. This woman did not go to church, which was an extreme of wickedness all but unknown there. I do not know if she were insane or only original, but she was certainly at war with the sentiments of the community.

Well, for three weeks she scoffed, the butterfly fluttered, the butter “did not come,” and we ventilated the subject, which naturally increased in interest and bulk. At the end of those three weeks one man set his teeth firmly, armed himself with a wet towel, and sallied out to meet the mysterious insect single-handed. This man was directly interested in the sale of the butter. He met the foe only a few yards from the house, and got the better of it at once by one fell blow. All gathered round to see it. I did not see it, and I never saw it living either. From description it was a beautiful specimen. When I heard of its death I was angry. I had not intended serious consequences to any of the actors in this idyl, and was indignant for an hour. At the end of that time I was startled to hear that the poor lonely woman had been found dead. Her body was discovered on the ground near her own door. It was seen by passers-by not twenty minutes after the butterfly’s destruction, and her life had not been extinct much more than a quarter of an hour. Comment is needless, as was felt at the time, little being said, but much conveyed by nods and shaking of heads. As if to complete the chain of evidence, next day the butter came!

The particular characteristic of these tales appears to me to be their picturesqueness. They are more dramatic than “shop” ghost stories usually are, and the situations and accessories are romantic. I have some other stories of the superstitious kind gathered among a totally different “folk,” and with two exceptions they have not seemed to me worth remembering. The two I except are interesting only by reason of the difficulty of arriving at any rational theory in explanation of them. They have no prettiness nor romance about them; they are simply creepy. But this is a digression, as I am not going to tell them now. I will just remark before returning to my 193Glenelg friends, that in one of these two difficult tales of mine I was myself an active participator in the plot, and conversed at length with the ghost,—quite calmly, too, for I thought all the time that he was in the flesh. It is something to mourn over, that such an opportunity should present itself and be neglected,—an opportunity to “catch a ghost, and tame it, and teach it to do tricks,” and realize fabulous proceeds!

Well, to return. The lore of my Scotch friends was like themselves. I admired them very much. Sometimes certain persons and circumstances surround us when we are uplifted in soul, and we see them bathed in light, glorified, as it were, by roseate hues of our own conjuring. Knowing this, I was often afraid that I created the transforming light in which they appeared to me to move. It used, therefore, to give me great happiness when something would happen that proved the charm to be objective; as, for instance, when one of these unlettered men unconsciously reëchoed a sentiment from the mysterious thinker whom we call Thomas à Kempis, and almost in the same words enunciated the truth that of the mysteries of the supernatural “no one can with safety speak who would not rather be silent.” And they were silent, and profoundly reverent. These pretty goblin tales lack the element of “research,” and are not profane; they are only fantasies.

I have yet another to tell, and the telling of it gives me a sense of guilt, for it was given to me by stealth, having assumed such proportions that the recounting it was denounced publicly in church, the denunciation being accompanied by threat of excommunication. It is much the same as the Butterfly tale, and bears a striking resemblance to certain German wehr-wolf legends. It is not about a wolf, however, the chief actor being—


One harvest time, forty or fifty years ago (or perhaps more), in a certain farmhouse not a mile from the grove where poor Angus met with sudden death, very strange things were observed. Pails left at night in trim rows on benches ready for the morning milking would be found, when required, on the barn floor, or on top of a hay-rick, or in some other equally unsuitable situation. A spade might be searched for in vain until some member of the family, climbing into bed at night, would find it snugly reposing there before him. Pillows were mysteriously removed, and found sometimes outdoors at a distance from the house. Screws were removed from their places, and harness hung up in the stable was taken apart. The family were rendered materially uncomfortable, and did their best to become also immaterially miserable by searching for proofs of supernatural agency. 194A great deal of proof was forthcoming; the matter was soon beyond doubt, and nothing else was talked about than the condition of things on this farm. Many speculations were afloat; every tiny occurrence was examined as possibly affording evidence in the matter. When a large black dog, evidently without owners, was observed to frequent the vicinity, the eye of the populace was at once upon it. It was shy, hiding and skulking about a good deal, and it was always hard to discover when sought. The owner of the land was strongly advised to shoot it, and the popular distrust was increased when he did one day fire at it without producing any visible results, the dog being seen a few hours later in excellent health. The interest excited was so great that when a “bee” was held on this farm for something connected with the harvest the attendance was immense, quite unusually so, and the neighbor women came in to help in the preparation of supper on an extensive scale. Some of the men made a long table of boards to accommodate the company. The women spread cloths and arranged dishes and viands. When all was ready, they regarded it with approval, pleased especially with the shining of the long rows of plates and the whiteness of the linen: then some of them took the dinner-horn and went out to give the signal to the men, who were at some distance away. The other women went to the cook-house, where in summer the kitchen stove stood, and the supper table was left alone. A few minutes later, when all gathered around it again, chaos reigned where order had been. The cloth was spotted with symmetrical shapes, a tiny heap of dust and sand was on every plate, and the knives were on the floor. The disorder was of a strangely methodical kind, the same quantity of dust being on every plate, while each knife was placed in the same position as his fellows. The men trooped in whilst the women were staring aghast, and great was their indignation.

“Give me your gun,” cried one, “and I’ll put in this silver bit with the charge, and see if it will not make an end of such work.”

And just then the dog was seen prowling about at the foot of the yard near a thicket of bushes where he probably was often concealed. The gun was fired; it carried a silver bullet, and this time the aim was true, for all saw that the animal was shot. The day had been warm, and they were tired out, and did not go to make sure of results at once. They sat around the rearranged board for an hour or more before some of them sauntered down to see the vanquished enemy. They did not wonder at first to find no trace of a dog, as, like any other wounded animal, it was likely to creep into the thicket to die. But the thicket was small, and was soon explored on hands and knees. Nothing was there; and the body of that dog was never seen by mortal, although the search grew hourly more diligent and 195thorough. And whilst they searched, there came a boy running from a stone house not far distant, bidding them to come over with him quickly, for grandfather was dead. “He dragged himself into the house,” said the child, “as though he were hurt, an hour ago, and lay down on his bed, and now he is dead.”

Friends hastened over, but were met at the door by the dead man’s wife, terrified and weeping, but almost forbidding them to enter. For some unfortunate reason, the poor woman would not let them near the body, little knowing, I suppose, the suspicion in their minds and the construction which must inevitably be put on her demeanor.

This story concerns a man who is, I should think, grandfather and great-grandfather to a fifth of the population of that township, and it assumed such proportions that, as I have stated, mention of it was prohibited, long years afterwards, by a clergyman now living in the county of Bruce. It is to this day a little difficult for the descendants of the man who died that long-ago harvest-time to marry out of their own connection. If one of them should ever aspire to represent his county in parliament, the enemy will assuredly come to the front with the Black Dog.

Now, I have told such of the weird stories of that county as I best remember. I heard many more, but they are wholly or partially forgotten; fragments of them I retain. One is especially to be regretted because it was what is called well authenticated, having been noised abroad sufficiently to be noticed by some newspaper, which naturally produced an inquiry. It was considered in that region to be the ghost story par excellence. I was tempted to try and relate it at length in this paper, but found that I could not do so without supplying from fancy what would take the place of forgotten details. It is a story of a desecrated grave. I was shown the grave. The body of a young girl was stolen from it the night after burial, taken to a neighboring village and concealed in a tavern stable, the intention being to convey it next day to Montreal; but that very night the girl herself appeared in a dream to her father, telling him where her body then lay, naming the guilty parties, and giving a perfectly accurate account of the robbery, describing the road taken through fields, and a discussion that actually had taken place regarding the advisability of taking the coffin, that is, the possibility of such theft making prosecution easier in the event of discovery. The father roused friends, who accompanied him to the village, and the body was discovered in exactly the position described in his dream and recounted by him on their way thither.

Although I do not, in this or any such story, accept the supernatural theory, I cannot explain it. It has never been explained. 196It belongs to a country peopled with unearthly shapes, the offspring of poetic natures, wholly uninformed, and possibly the conditions are favorable to “manifestations.” “He who desires illusions,” you know, “shall have them beyond his desire.”

I am reluctant to leave the subject, there is so much to tell, for the writing of this paper has revived incidents that seemed quite forgotten. I would like to talk about a certain lonely carpenter shop, in which, before a death, the sound of plane and hammer used to be heard at night, and we were compelled to believe that the ghost of the sick one was, with officious if not indecent haste, making his coffin. As he was not yet a ghost, that is, not yet disembodied, there was a confusion of thought here. On some occasions he added to the nuisance by burning a candle which extinguished of its own accord if approached.

A personage whom they called the Evil One was not infrequently encountered by individuals in lonely places. I was accustomed to hearing of these meetings, and therefore was much surprised at the indignation shown against a certain young fellow of a frivolous disposition, who claimed to have had such an experience. I inquired of a clergyman, who knew the locality well, the reason of the young man’s narrative being received with disfavor. He laughed very heartily while he explained that a visit from the Prince of Darkness was regarded as proof of the highest sanctity, and was therefore the privilege only of persons aged and of long-established preëminence in the church. The young man was disturbing the traditions.

I was a little shocked to hear of a repulsive superstition which I have read of as being peculiar to certain parts of England,—I mean a horrible vampire story given in explanation of the ravages often made in a family by consumption. I did not meet this superstition myself, but was told that it was among them. Consumption was rife among them; it seemed to be hereditary. They looked so remarkably robust, and yet fell so easily a prey to this disease, and it seldom lingered! It was nearly always a very rapid illness. These are sad memories. The matter always seemed so hopeless! In a sickroom superstition ceases to be either funny or graceful. I stood by sick-beds with a sore heart, knowing too well that the haste with which a doctor was procured would be fully equalled by the zeal with which his orders would be disregarded. They had faith in the physician, the man, but none whatever in his prescriptions. There were two doctors, whom I may call Dr. X. and Dr. Z. Each had his admirers, who vaunted his superiority.

I stopped one day on the road to inquire, of a man whom I met, after the health of some of his neighbors.

197“Oh,” said he, “they would soon be well if they would see Dr. Z. They’ll be having Dr. X. all the time, and I do not see that they’re gaining at all.”

I said something in defence of Dr. X.

“Well, Miss F., I’ll just tell a story that will let you know the difference between these two doctors,” said my friend. “My father was once laid up very bad with a cold that he could not get rid of, and we sent for Dr. X., who gave him a phial of medicine. Well, next day our neighbor, John McM., came in, and seeing my father no better, he said, ‘Oh, you should have had Dr. Z.; but I’ll soon put that right for you.’ Straightway he went back to his own house for a bottle that had been a year or two there, of Dr. Z.’s mixing. It had been in the house since his father died, but they were not sure that it had been some of his medicines. They had forgotten all about it, and the paper of writing had come off; so they did not know how much to take, but they just took the writing on Dr. X.’s bottle for a guide, and poured out a spoonful for my father, who began to mend at once, and was out at work in three or four days after.”

This tale moved me so much that I went to the side of the road and sat down on a log to thoroughly take it in and fix it in my memory. When I believed that I had it safely, I asked gently, “Murdoch, what if it had been a liniment and poisonous?”

My friend drew himself up, his face aglow with faith in Dr. Z., and replied proudly, “Dr. Z. never gives poisons; he always gives healthy medicines.”

But I am going from one story to another, and lengthening my “uncanny folk-lore” unwarrantably. To repeat myself, it is hard to leave these reminiscences.

Like the ghost of a dear friend dead
Is time long past.

But before closing I would like to say to those who speak of authentic ghost stories, that nothing will make one so thoroughly sceptical regarding them as entering into them heartily, and, so to say, assisting in their composition. I used to wish them true with all my heart. I earnestly desired to believe them, for I was lonely, and this supplied excitement; but being behind the scenes, I was unable to shut my eyes to their origin. On one occasion, when a man was relating to me a peculiarly attractive narrative, I perceived in it a flaw, or a lack of sequence which would be a weak place in his chain of evidence. I made a remark, a sideways remark, which I meant to serve as suggestion without showing that I saw the fault. I saw the idea take. He was excited, and did not realize that I had drawn his attention to the weak place, which he immediately bridged over, materially 198changing the story in doing so. He was an honorable man, who would have scorned a deliberate falsehood; but scarcely an hour later I heard him retail the altered narrative and offer to give every detail on oath as perfectly accurate. He knew that I heard him, and in fact he appealed to me as having been the first hearer. He was entirely unconscious that I had assisted him to manufacture the most valuable part of the evidence. I did not confess. I think it wrong to spoil a good story. But I am quite certain that ghost-seers, even if they are mighty men who edit reviews, are not, and cannot be, reliable witnesses.

C. A. Fraser.


The tales which follow were obtained in Nebraska, from an informant of Otoe extraction, married to an Omaha, and are given as nearly as possible in the words of the narrator.


In the evening, in summer, upon a hot night two young girls, chief’s daughters, lay on the ground outside their tents gazing at the sky. As the stars came out one of them said:—

“I wish I were away up there. Do you see where that dim star is? There is where I wish I might be.” And she fixed her eyes upon the twinkling star that seemed to be vanishing behind the clouds.

The other girl said: “It is too dim. I wish I were up by that bright one, that large brilliant star,” and she pointed to where a steady light glowed red.

Soon they were asleep and the brilliant lights in the blue above kept watch. In the night when they awoke each young girl found herself where she had wished to be. The one in the dim star was in the home of a brave young chief, and she became his bride and was happy. The beautiful star had appeared dim to her while she was yet upon the earth because it was so far, far away that she could not see its glorious light.

The girl in the bright star found herself in a servant’s home, and was obliged to do all manner of work and to become the servant’s wife. This star had been nearer the earth, and so it had seemed to be the larger and brighter star. When this girl found that her friend had gone to a beautiful star and become the wife of a chief, with plenty of servants to wait upon her, and that she was never permitted to do any work, she cried and cried because the change in her own condition seemed more cruel, and she was even obliged to live with a servant.

The girls were still friends and often met in the clouds and went out to gather wild turnips, but the chief’s wife could never dig, her friend was always obliged to serve her. Whenever they started out an old man would say to them:—

“When you dig a turnip, you must strike with the hoe once, then pull up the turnip. Never, by any means, strike twice.” After going to gather turnips many times and receiving always this same instruction the chief’s wife grew curious, and one day she said to her friend:

“Why is it, they tell us to strike but once? To-day when you dig that turnip I wish you to strike twice. Let us see why they allow us to strike but once.”

200The servant struck once with the hoe and took up the turnip, then, as commanded, she struck with her hoe again in the same place. Behold a hole! She leaned forward and looked down. She saw her home. She cried to her friend. “Look! I can see through the clouds. See! there is our home.”

The chief’s wife looked also, and she saw the village and her home. The girls sat looking through the hole, and they longed to go home, and they sat weeping. An old man chanced to pass by, and he saw them and stopped and asked:—

“What is the matter? What are you crying about?”

And they answered, “Because we can see our home. We are so far away, we wish to be there, but we can never get there.”

The old man passed on. He went to the chief and he told him that the girls sat weeping because they could see their home, and they wanted to go back to the earth.

The chief then called all his people together, and he sent them away to find all the lariats[5] that they could.

In the village, on the earth, every one had mourned for the chief’s daughters, who had so strangely disappeared, and could not be found. It was a long time since they were lost; but the people still thought of them.

To-day in the village a great many people had come to see the boys and young men play. They used a ring[6] and a long stick, round at one end. One person would throw the ring in the air and at the same time another would try to send his arrow through it; the men would run swiftly and throw their sticks when they were near the ring, for the one who got most arrows through while the ring was still in the air was the winner. All the people were excited over the game and urging on the young men, when one of them happened to look up toward the sky.

“Why, look up,” he called out, “something is coming down. Look! They are very large. Look at them!”

All who heard stopped and looked up, and others seeing them look, turned to see what it was. Many ran to the spot where these things were falling. Then the people found they were the lost girls.

The good chief in the dim star had ordered all the lariats knotted together and then he had wound them around the bodies of the two girls and dropped them gently through the hole in the sky to the earth, keeping tight the end of the rope until the girls reached the ground.

Joyfully the Indians ran before the girls to carry the news of their return to their sorrowful parents. One of the girls looked sad and 201pitiful, the other looked happy as though she had been in some beautiful place.


A woman was walking along, she was proud because she had on her finest clothes, and she met another woman, who asked:—

“Where are you going, sister-in-law?”

“I am going off a long ways.”

“Let us go together, then,” said the second woman.

They walked on, and met a third woman, who asked:—

“Where are you going?” and when they answered her she said: “I am going also; let us go together;” and they walked along one after the other.

They met a fourth woman, who asked: “Where are you going, sister-in-law?” and she also joined them.

Walking in single file, the women came to a pile of bones where people had died.

The first woman kicked them with her foot, and, turning to the second woman, said:—

“These belong to you. Carry them.”

The second woman kicked the bones with her foot and said contemptuously to the third woman:—

“These are the bones of your relatives. Carry them.”

The third woman kicked them with her foot, and, turning to the fourth woman, said: “These bones belong to you. Carry them.”

And the fourth woman answered: “This is the skull of my sister-in-law. You should not be disrespectful. I will carry it along so that you shall respect it.”

The women wore a skin belted in at the waist, making a skirt of one part, and leaving the other long enough to cover the back and to draw over the head, and the last woman put it between her back and the blanket, saying: “I shall carry it.”

But after a time she wearied of carrying it, and she put it down by the roadside in a place where no one would molest it. But the skull followed them, singing:—

“There were four women passing along here. One of them is my sister-in-law.”

The women heard it singing, and ran. When they camped for the night the skull came up and destroyed the first woman. It bit her and she died.

When the three women awoke and found one dead, they fled from the skull, but it followed, singing:—

“There were four women passing along here. One of them is my sister-in-law.”

202They ran away from it and camped for the night, but when they awoke in the morning they found another woman had been killed by the skull, so again they fled, but again they heard it singing:—

“There were four women passing along here. One of them is my sister-in-law.”

Next morning only one woman awoke, and the skull came up to her and said:—

“Sister-in-law, carry me again.”

She dared not refuse, and after they had gone a short distance the skull said:—

“Look among the trees until you find one where the raccoons have their nest. Then if you are hungry you shall have something to eat. Look for a certain tree, find the hollow place where the raccoon goes in to its nest and drop me in after it.”

The woman did as she was told and she dropped the skull in. It somehow killed the raccoon. After it had got to the bottom of the tree it called:—

“Cut a hole in this tree and let me out.”

The woman cut the hole; first she took the raccoon out from the tree, and then she took the skull out. She cooked the raccoon, then she took the stomach of the raccoon for a bag, and melted down the raccoon fat, put it in the stomach bag and sewed it up. She hid it from the skull; she had a purpose in doing this, and the skull did not know that she had done it, and she carried the bag with her. They stopped twice more during their journey; each time the woman did as the skull directed, and each time she made the bag and filled it and sewed it up, and the skull did not see her.

The fourth time the woman hunted for a very large tree, and when she had found it she dropped the skull into the hole and then ran off by herself. The skull called: “I have killed the raccoon. Now let me out.” No answer. Then the skull knew the woman had left, and said:—

“Wherever you go I shall find you and have my revenge.”

It commenced to gnaw a place in the tree to let itself out, and it took it a day and a half to make a hole large enough to get through. When it came out, it went along, saying:—

“Wherever you go I shall find you and have my revenge.”

By and by the woman heard the skull saying that, and she took the bag of raccoon grease and threw it at the skull; it went all over it, and it could not go on, and while it stopped to clean itself the woman ran on ahead.

But the skull caught up to her, and she heard it say:—

“Wherever you go I shall find you and have my revenge.”

Then the woman stopped and threw another bag at the skull, and it had to stop and clean itself.

203The third time it caught up to her, and she threw another bag of grease at it. But the fourth time the woman went on till she came to a woods, but the skull could not reach the woods until the next morning for it had to cross a creek, and so it went back on the side of the hill and had to roll down and so cross the creek. The woman found an old man in the forest making bows and arrows, and she asked him to protect her from the skull, but he paid no attention.

“Brother, help me! Protect me!” But he took no notice of her.

“Uncle, protect me!” He paid no attention.

“Father, protect me from the skull!” He did not notice.

“Grandfather,” she called, “Help me! Protect me!”

“That is the relationship,” he said. He was an immense man, and his long hair was done up in a big knot on the back of his head. He told her to untie it and get in there, so she did so. And he told her to sit there and wait until he was ready. After a while he went on making bows and arrows.

Presently the skull came up and went round and round the old man, saying:—

“Old man give me my woman.”

But the old man was silent. Then, said the skull:—

“Give me the woman I was running after.”

But the old man would not answer.

When the skull asked for the woman the fourth time, the old man said:—

“I am tired of you.” So he took a bow and broke the skull in pieces, and he said to the woman:—

“Get down and gather up these pieces. Pile them up, and set them on fire. After you set them on fire, whatever you see, don’t you touch it. You will be punished if you do.”

When the woman saw the fire going down she espied a comb.[7] She picked it up and hid it in her blanket, but it burned her side so badly that she died. The old man said:—

“I told you not to pick up anything, but you did so. I punish you. Disobedience brings its own punishment.”

“Is that all?” I asked.


“When Carey told it to me, he said the old man hit the skull and 204it went into the air; when it came down it turned into knives, forks, thimbles, threads, awls, wax, needles, and scissors. The man told the woman to come down from his hair but not to pick up anything that was on the ground; if she did he would punish her. And the old man went off and sat down under a tree. She tried to pick up a pair of scissors; when she did so her hands dropped off. That is the way Carey told it.”

“Carey did not get it right. This is a very old story, and at the time it was first told we never knew of such things as knives, forks, awls, or scissors. Carey has added that, or some of the younger people have told it that way because they now use these things. But I have told it to you the old way, and that is the right way.”

George Truman Kercheval.


Primitive Religions, and Folk-lore, including Games, are the subject of a special section in the Anthropological Building at the Columbian Exposition. This section, which is known as the “Section of Religions, Games, and Folk-lore,” is located upon the main floor, where the exhibit occupies a series of cases on the south side and a line of flat cases which extend across the entire building.

Folk-lore is the name given to the material which has come down to us in the sayings and customs of mankind. Its study, for which no special name has been devised, is an important branch of the science of anthropology.

The chief object of the collection is to show things which illustrate folk traditions and customs. The field being a vast one, the collection has been practically restricted to the subject of games. The basis of the collection was formed in the Museum of Archaeology of the University of Pennsylvania during the past two years. The University’s collection has been supplemented by exhibits from individuals and the leading manufacturers of games in this country.

The objects are classified and arranged for comparative study, games of the same general sort being placed together. They are contained in twelve table cases running from the southernmost entrance on the west side to the corresponding entrance on the east side. Puzzles and the simple games of children commence the series.


The ingenious objects which we designate as “puzzles” are represented by about one hundred and twenty-five specimens exhibited by the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. They begin with a collection of East Indian puzzles “invented” by Aziz Hussan of Saharanpore, among which may be seen many types of puzzles that are common in Europe and America. The Chinese puzzles of wood, bone, and ivory follow them. Chinese puzzles, long a household word, are very limited in number. Those which are made for export are invariable in form, and consist of the familiar “Ring Puzzle,” the “Geometrical Puzzle,” and the “Dissected Cube.” Their Chinese names are all descriptive, and the “Ring Puzzle,” which they call “The Nine Interlinked Rings,” was probably borrowed by Chinese from India. The number of types in the entire series of puzzles is surprisingly small. The one that was revived 206some years since under the name of the “Fifteen Puzzle,” and which was described by an English writer some two hundred years ago, has suggested a large group. “Pigs in Clover,” an American invention, is the most recent addition to the world’s amusements of this character, and its wide diffusion and popularity is shown here in a great variety of specimens from different countries.

Some of the simpler amusements of children are suggested by the objects on the north side of this case. Here are to be seen Mr. William Wells Newell’s “Games and Songs of American Children,” and “The Counting-out Rhymes of Children,” by Dr. H. Carrington Bolton, two books which may be regarded as classical in their particular field. Mr. Pak Yong Kiu, of the Corean Commission to the Columbian Exposition, has furnished the following interesting addition to the collection of children’s counting-out rhymes:—

Hau al ta
Tu al da
Som a chun
Na al da,
Yuk nong,
Ku chi,
Pol ta,
Chong kun,
Ko tu ra,

The wide diffusion of the custom of using counting-out rhymes among children, and the general resemblance they bear to each other, present problems of curious interest.

Among the imitative games of children, there are few more interesting than the Toros or mock bull-fight of Spanish boys. A wicker mask from Madrid, representing the bull’s head, which is used in this sport, is suspended beside this case, within which may be seen the toy espadas or swords and the banderillios. Tops are shown to be of great antiquity and of very general use over the earth. Their age is illustrated by a wooden top from the Fayum, Egypt, discovered by Mr. Flinders Petrie at Kahûn, belonging to 2800 B. C. They were common among the American Indians, north and south. A number of balls of baked clay and stone, which were whipped in a game on the ice, represent the primitive tops of the Sioux, while a more recent Sioux top of wood with a peg of brass shows foreign influences. Among the Omahas tops were called Moo de de ska, a name which Mr. Francis La Flesche says is not descriptive. The explorations conducted for the Department by Mr. George A. Dorsey in Peru have contributed several interesting specimens to this collection. Two prehistoric tops from Ancon are identical in form with the ancient Egyptian top, while another from an ancient grave at Arica is distinguished by a spindle, not unlike the modern tops of Japan. The use of pop-guns among the ancient Peruvians is also shown by two beautifully carved specimens of wood contained in a llama skin pouch, from an ancient grave in Cañete valley. Popguns 207were used by many if not all of the American Indian tribes. Among the Omahas the children made them of willow branches, and then, by partly stopping one end, would convert them into squirt-guns. The toy squirt-gun sold in the Chicago shops is here shown beside the syringe from India used in the Hindu Holi Festival.

Jackstraws, which are known in England as “Spillikins” and in France as Les Jonchets, are next in order. The peculiar Chinese name appended to the Chinese specimens, “Eight Precious Things,” suggests the probability that China was the country from which we derived them.

The remainder of this case is devoted to the implements for a game that holds an unique position among the world’s games, and for which no place could be found in the series that follow. It is variously played with pebbles, shells, and seeds in holes dug in the ground, or upon a board with cup-like depressions. The game appears to be found wherever Arab influence has penetrated. It is very generally played in Africa, in Asia Minor, and in India. Two boards are exhibited, one brought from Jerusalem for the University Museum by Mrs. John Harrison of Philadelphia, and another from the Gaboon River in Africa. The Syrians in the Damascus house in the Turkish village in the Midway Plaisance know it under the name of Mancala, and it is a favorite game with the Chief of the Dahomey village, who frequently plays it with his son before his hut in the Plaisance. Among the so-called Dahomeyans this game is called Madaji, the board adjito, and the seeds which they use, adji. It is a game for two persons. As played in Syria, there are several forms of the game. One is called lâ’b madjnuni, or the “Crazy Game.” Ninety-eight cowrie shells are used, which are distributed unequally in the fourteen holes in the board, which is placed transversely between the two players. The first player takes all the pieces from the hole at the right of his row and drops them, one at a time, in the first hole on the opposite side, and so on, continuing around the board until the last one is let fall. He thereupon takes all the pieces from that hole and distributes them one by one as before, until, arriving at the last piece, he takes all the pieces again in his hands. This is continued until the last piece dropped either falls into an empty hole or completes two or four in the hole in which it falls. In the latter case the player takes the two or four for his own, as well as the contents of the hole opposite, and should there be two or four in the next hole or holes to the one at which he stopped, he also takes them with those opposite. The players continue in turn, and when the game is finished the one gaining the highest number of cowries wins. If a player’s last piece falls in an empty hole, his turn is ended. Skill is of no avail in this form of the game, the 208result always being a mathematical certainty, accordingly as the cowries are distributed at the beginning.


The antiquity of the ball as an implement of sport is attested by the balls found associated with objects used in other games in old Egypt, where it was known at least 4,700 years ago. Games of ball are common among savage and barbarous people, and ball games of Burma, Siam, India, and Japan, as well as those of the North American Indians, are suggested in this case. With the ball games are the sticks used in a widely diffused game which we commonly know as “Tip-cat.” Tip-cat is played with a block of wood, about six inches in length, which is struck with a small club or bat and knocked into the air. The rules for playing are somewhat complicated, and as far as they have been compared, appear to be much the same all over the earth. The oldest specimen is from Kahûn, Egypt, of 2800 B. C. Tip-cat is known by the Syrians in the Plaisance, who have contributed the sticks they use in the game they call Hab. In Persia it is called Guk tchub, “frog-wood,” a name given to it, like our name “cat,” from the way the small stick leaps into the air. In China the game is called Ta-pang, “to knock the stick,” and the Chinese laborers in the United States call the “cat” To tsz, or “Little Peach.” In Japan the game is called In ten; the small stick ko, “son,” and the long one oya, “parent.” In India the game is called Gutti danda; in Burma, Kyitha, and in Russian Kosley, “goat,” a suggestive name like that of Persia and our own name, “cat.”

The wicker baskets or cestas for the Spanish game of ball or Pelota, now so popular in Spain, are next shown, with the flat bat used by the Spaniards in ball games. A very ancient English bat for trap ball appears with them, and these are followed by the implements used in the current American and English ball games exhibited by Messrs. A. G. Spalding & Bros. of Chicago. Cricket, Baseball, Football, Golf, Polo, La Crosse and Lawn Tennis, Racket and Battledore and Shuttlecock, are displayed in order, and with the last are exhibited the Zuñi Indian and the Japanese form of this game and the Chinese shuttlecock, which is kicked with the toes. The tossing games comprise Jackstones, Cup and Ball, Grace Hoops, and Quoits, and ring games of various kinds, and include the iron quoits Rayuelas, used in Spain. The stone quoit games of the Zuñis, and of the Tarahumara Indians are also exhibited. The North American Indian forms of the Cup and Ball game comprise the Ar-too-is, or “match-making” game of the Penobscots, exhibited by 209Chief Joseph Nicolar of Oldtown Me., and the Sioux game played with the phalangal bones of the deer. The comparatively new game “Tiddledy winks” follows, leading up to a recent German game called the “Newest War Game,” in which the men or “winks” are played upon a board upon which are represented two opposing fortresses. The games of tossing cowries and coins are next suggested, with the game played by Chinese children with olive seeds. Many natural objects are exhibited that are used by children in playing games resembling marbles, to which artificial objects they appear to lead. In Burma the seeds of a large creeper, the Eutada Pursoetha, are employed in a game called Gohunyin, one of the commonest forms of gambling known in that country. In Asia Minor, knuckle-bones of sheep, which are often weighted with lead, are used in the same manner, and in Damascus and the cities in connection with marbles. Marbles themselves, in the varieties known to commerce, are next exhibited.


The objects used to illustrate the games of Bowling, Billiards, and Shuffle Board were made for this exhibit by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company of Chicago, by whom they are displayed, and comprise miniature tables for these games of remarkable accuracy and beauty of finish. On the north side of the case may be seen the implements used in the game of Croquet as it is played at the present day. The first games of Croquet manufactured in the United States were made from an English sample in 1863. The Chicago Curling Club here displays a collection of representative objects, including three sets of Curling stones and the medals and trophies belonging to the club and its members.


An attempt has been made to bring together as large a number as possible of the simple board games like Merrells and Fox and Geese, with the hope that they would throw light upon that much discussed question, the origin of the game of Chess. The Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Siamese, Malayan and Samoan forms of several such games are exhibited. It is curious to note that the peculiar board used in the Japanese Fox and Geese game, called Juroku Musashi, or “Sixteen Soldiers,” is the same as one from Peru for a similar game. The inference is that they are both of Spanish introduction, which seems to be confirmed by the statement that the Japanese game was first known in that country in the sixteenth century. 210Merrells is displayed in a board made in the Damascus house in the Plaisance, where the Syrians call it Edris, and in a diagram obtained from Chinese laborers from Canton, who call it Sám k’í, or the “Three Game,” as well as by European boards.

A Japanese board for that famous game which the Japanese call Go and the Chinese Wei k’i, or the “Game of Surrounding,” follows. This is the game which is often erroneously referred to as chess, in China. The Japanese name of this board, Go-ban, has furnished the name which we have applied to the simple game of “Go Bang,” which we also got from Japan.

A board and men for a highly developed game, somewhat like draughts, played by the Zuñi Indians of New Mexico, furnishes a striking object for speculation and research. The board is a square divided into 144 small equal squares, each of which is crossed by two intersecting diagonal lines. The moves are made one square at a time along those diagonal lines, the pieces being placed at the angles of the squares. Two or four persons play. They each start with six men, and their object is to get their men across to the other side and occupy their opponent’s places, capturing as many of his pieces as possible by the way. A piece is taken by getting it between two others, as in the modern Egyptian game of Seega, and the first piece thus taken may be replaced by an extra piece belonging to the player who makes the capture, which may move on the straight as well as the diagonal lines and is called the “Priest of the Bow.” This game, which was arranged and is exhibited by Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing, is called A-wi-thlák-na-kwe, which he translates as “Stone warriors.” Mr. Edward Falkener, in his work entitled “Games Ancient and Oriental,” which he lent for exhibition here, has published a restoration of the ancient Egyptian game of Senat from fragments of Egyptian boards which have come down from 1600 B. C. The game as thus restored is in some respects similar to the Zuñi game, the men being taken as in Seega by getting them between two others. The Zuñi game, however, may be regarded as in advance of any other board game, even of our own civilization, until we come to the true game of Chess. Chess stands alone among games. We do not find the links that connect it with lower forms of board games, and the Indian game from which our own is derived almost without change is the source from which the many variants of the Chess game doubtless originated. Several of these offspring of the Indian Chess are shown in the north side of this case, including the chess games of Burma, Siam, the Malay Peninsula, China, and Japan. A Moorish board is exhibited with them, and European chessmen and boards follow. A finely carved ivory chess set represents the pieces that are made for export by the Chinese at Canton. Draughts, which 211in the opinion of Mr. Edward B. Tylor may be regarded as a modern and simplified form of Chess, now follow, and here are shown two sets of interesting German draughtsmen of the eighteenth century.


The games played on boards, like Merrells and Draughts, manufactured by Messrs. McLaughlin Brothers and E. J. Horsman of New York, and the Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Mass., are found in this case. Many of them appear to have been suggested by the Oriental games such as are shown in the preceding collection.

These are followed by games of Lots, a class of games extremely common among the North American Indians. The Haida and other tribes of the northwest coast play with sticks which are painted and carved. According to Dr. Franz Boas the sticks are thrown down violently upon a hard piece of skin, and the object of the game is to pick out the unmarked sticks, which alone count. The designs on the sticks are of the greatest interest, and a set of plaster casts of a very finely carved set in the United States National Museum at Washington, which are displayed through the courtesy of Professor Otis T. Mason, exhibit these peculiarities. The wooden discs from Puget Sound are concealed beneath a mat, and the players endeavor to select a particular disc. Guessing games of various kinds were very general among our Indians. The two bones, one wrapped with thread, which were used by the Alaska Indians in such a game, are exhibited with similar bones from the Utes. They were held in the hands, the player guessing which contained the marked one. The balls of buffalo hair with which the Omahas play a similar game are also displayed, with the moccasins in which the object was sometimes concealed. These games were played with the accompaniment of songs. Miss Alice C. Fletcher exhibits the music of two of these gambling songs used by the Omahas, and in Dr. Washington Matthews’ “Navajo Gambling Songs,” a copy of which may be seen in this case, the songs sung in the game of Kêsitce, played with eight moccasins, in one of which a stone is concealed, are recorded. Among the Zuñis and Mokis, cups like dice cups were used to cover the ball. The Moki cups here exhibited have been used in a sacred game and then sacrificed with “plume sticks,” as is shown by the small holes with which they are pierced.

Games can be made to throw much light upon the social and political institutions of many peoples. This fact is rendered conspicuous 212in the implements for the Chinese lotteries which are shown in this series. They comprise the paraphernalia of the Pák-kòp-piu or “Game of the White Pigeon Ticket,” the Tsz’ fá, or “Character Flowering,” and the Wei Sing or “Game of Guessing Surnames.” In the first, the tickets are imprinted with the first eighty characters of the Tsin tsz’ man, or Thousand Character Classic, one of the elementary text-books of Chinese children. In the second, the writer of the lottery assists his patrons in their effort to guess the hidden character, by an original ode, in which it must be in some way referred to.

The third is the game of guessing the name of the successful candidate at the Governmental Literary Examinations. Upon them all the peculiar literary traditions of the Chinese people have left their imprint.


No method of appealing to chance is more common than that of tossing some object in the air and deciding the result by its fall. A coin is often used at the present day, and many natural and artificial objects have found currency for this purpose. Nuts, cowrie shells, and the knuckle-bones of animals have been used from the earliest times, and the last, the knuckle-bones, have become the parent of many of our modern games. The American Indians across the entire continent played a game with marked plum-stones and other objects which had many points of resemblance with games played by other people with dotted cubical dice. The specimens of such games here exhibited comprise the game played with marked bone discs in a wooden bowl by the Penobscot Indians of Oldtown, Me., contributed by Chief Joseph Nicolar; a set of marked plum-stones and the basket and tallies used by the Sioux, and a similar set of marked bone and wooden pieces, with the basket, from the Arapahoes. Among the Pueblo Indians of the southwestern United States blocks of wood are used in the same manner as dice, and among the Arabs of northern Africa numerical values are attributed to the throws made with four and six similar pieces of reed. In India, cowries are used. Sortilege is also practised with the implements that are used in games. In China, the cleft root stock of the bamboo is commonly employed in fortune-telling, and the blocks, which form part of the accessories of nearly all Chinese temples, may be seen upon the altar of the Chinese God of War, commonly appealed to by Chinese gamblers, erected in this Section. Knuckle-bones or astragali present a most interesting subject for investigation. From a prehistoric knuckle-bone of terra-cotta from Cuzco, Peru (No. 340), 213in the collection of Señor Montes in this building it appears that they were used by the ancient Peruvians. The Peruvian Indians at the present day use four knuckle-bones as dice in a game. It is known in Kechua as tava, a word meaning four, which should not in the opinion of Señor Montes be confounded with the Spanish word for knuckle-bone, taba, from which he does not think it was derived.

Knuckle-bones were used in games in old Egypt, as was shown by the ivory specimens found with other gaming implements in the tomb of Queen Hatasu, B. C. 1600, and are constantly referred to by the Greek and Latin authors. Numerical values were attributed to each of the four throws, which among the Romans were designated as Supinum, Pronum, Planum, and Tortuosum, and estimated as three, five, one, and six. Among the Arabs, and at the present day throughout western Asia, the four sides receive the names of ranks of human society; thus among the Persians, according to Dr. Hyde, they are called Duzd, “thief,” Dibban, “peasant,” Vezir, and Shah, and so with the Turks, Syrians, Armenians, and other peoples. A pair of natural bones from the right and left leg of the sheep are commonly used, which among the Syrians of Damascus are designated respectively as yisr and yemene, “left and right.” The transition from these kabat, as the Arabs call them, from kab meaning “ankle” or “ankle-bone,” to the cubical dotted dice was an easy one. The same numerical values and social designations were attributed to four sides of the cubical dice, as are given to the knuckle-bones, and it is curious to note that the significant throws with cubical dice in China are those that bear the numbers assigned to the astragali throws. The modern East Indian dice which are exhibited will be seen from the arrangement of the “threes” to be made in pairs, like the natural astragali, and the pair receives in India the name of kabatain, the dual of kab, the name which is also applied to the pair of astragali. The Syrian dice used in Towla, or backgammon, are marked in the same way, as well as the Japanese dice used in the similar game of Sugoroku or “double sixes.” A pair of ancient Roman dice which I purchased in Florence show that the Romans practised the same arrangement, and are especially significant. The invention of the cubical dotted die must have occurred at a comparatively early time. The oldest die of which I have any knowledge is displayed in this collection, a large pottery die from the Greek colony of Naucratis, Egypt, belonging, according to the discoverer, Mr. Flinders Petrie, to 600 B. C. The dice found in Babylonia and Egypt appear to have been associated with foreign influences.

Dice were carried over from India to China, where we find the next stage in their development. Here the twenty-one possible 214throws with two dice are each given a name, and in the case of the double sixes, double aces, double fours, and three and ace, these names are those of the triune powers of Heaven, Earth, and Man, and the Harmony that unites them. This change in nomenclature, in which the social terms of Shah, Vizier, etc., were replaced with cosmical ones, is characteristic of the way in which China adapts and absorbs foreign ideas. A game with two dice remains the principal dice game in China at the present day. In it the twenty-one possible throws are divided into two series, one consisting of the throws 6
, 1
, 4
, 3
, 5
, 3
, 2
, 5
, 4
, 1
, 1
, called man, “civil,” and the other, 5
, 6
, 5
, 6
, 4
, 5
, 4
, 3
, 1
, and 1
, designated as , or “military.” In the twelfth century, according to Chinese records, dotted tablets, i. e., dominoes, were invented. Chinese dominoes consist of 21 pieces representing the 21 throws with two dice of which the 11 pieces of the man series are usually duplicated to form a complete set, which numbers 32 dominoes. In southern China, long wooden dominoes are employed. When paper was used instead of wood we have the playing card.

The subject of Chinese playing cards has been illustrated in an admirable and exhaustive manner by W. H. Wilkinson, Esq., H. B. M. Consul at Swatow, who has lent for exhibition a series of Chinese cards, dice, and dominoes collected at no less than fourteen different cities in China, from Peking on the north, and Tai yuan, down along the coast at Nanking, Shanghai, Ningpo, Wenchow, Fuchow, Swatow, Canton, to Hongkong. Cards are also shown from various places along the Yellow River, from Chung King eastward to Nanking. The cards in this collection are arranged according to the symbols or marks distinguishing them, which Mr. Wilkinson divides into four classes, according as they are derived:

1. From the sapek or cash, and its multiples.

2. Through dominoes from dice.

3. From the Chinese Chess game.

4. From other sources.

A very complete account may be expected from Mr. Wilkinson, who has displayed here what is doubtless the most perfect collection of Chinese cards ever exhibited. The miscellaneous cards in this collection are drawn from western China and bear some resemblance, according to Mr. Wilkinson, to the “Proverbs” and “Happy Families” of Europe and America. They include the cards based on a writing lesson, cards based on numbers, and cards based on a lucky formula.

Returning to the subject of dice, the special implements used in dice divination in India are shown, as well as illustrations of the methods employed in telling fortunes with dominoes in China and 215Korea; these forming part of the material used in the investigation of the origin of dominoes. Japanese and Siamese dice are also exhibited with the East Indian and Chinese specimens, as well as dice made in various parts of Europe, comprising a pair of iron dice purchased at Perugia, which, although presumably modern, have the dots arranged with the 6–5, 4–2, and 3–1 opposite, like those of old Etruria, instead of the sums of the spots on opposite sides being equal to seven, as is otherwise general. With the dice are the spinning dice of various countries, including the East Indian Chukree, the Chinese Ch’e me, and the corresponding dice of Japan and Siam. A variety of dominoes are also displayed, including those of Korea, which are identical with those of China, and the Siamese dominoes, which were also borrowed from the latter country.

The pair of knuckle-bones appear to be the parent of many of that large class of games which Mr. Tylor describes as the “backgammon group.” With reference to dice-backgammon the evidence in this particular is very direct, but the similar games played with cowries and wooden blocks, for which even a greater antiquity may be claimed, there is a likelihood of independent origin. Several games of the latter class from India, North America, and Egypt, types of which have been referred to by Mr. Tylor, are exhibited in this collection. The first, Pachisi, is the most popular game in India. It is played around a board, usually made of cloth, in the form of a cross, according to the throws with cowries. Six or seven shells are ordinarily used, and count according as the apertures fall. When long dice of ivory are employed, the game is called Chausar. This game was introduced from India into the United States, where it was first published in 1860 under the name of Parchesi, and has become very popular. Mr. Cushing has set up beside the Pachisi a Zuñi game, which the Zuñis call Ta sho lí wé, or “wooden cane cards,” and which has many points of resemblance to the East Indian game. The moves are made according to the throws with wooden blocks three inches in length, painted red and black upon their two faces, around a circle of forty stones which is broken at the top and bottom, and the right and left, by four openings called the “Doorways of the four directions.” This game embodies many of the mythical conceptions of the Zuñis. It is played by two or four players, who use colored splints to mark their course around the circle. These splints, which are placed at starting in the doorway to which they correspond, have the following symbolism: At the top, Yellow, North, The Wind, Winter. At the left, Blue, West, Water, Spring. At the bottom, Red, South, Fire, Summer. At the right, White, East, Seed or Earth, Autumn. The colors of the two wooden blocks symbolize the two conditions of man: Red, 216Light or Wakefulness; Black, Darkness or Sleep. The throws with the blocks, which are tossed, ends down, upon a disc of sandstone placed in the middle of the circle, are as follows: 3 red count 10; 3 black count 5; 2 red and 1 black count 3; 1 red and 2 black count 1.

A count of three red gives another throw. When four play, the North and West move around from right to left, and the South and East from left to right. When a player’s move ends at a division of the circle occupied by his adversaries’ piece, he takes it up and sends it back to the beginning. It is customary to make the circuit of the stones either four or six times, beans or corn of the seven varieties being used as counters. This game forms one of the seven sacred games of the Zuñis, and its antetype, Sho lí we, or “Cane Cards,” is one of the four games that are sacrifices to the God of War and Fate. The sacred form of the game is called Tein thla nah na tá sho lí we, or literally, “Of all the regions wood cane cards, and the blocks which are thrown in it bear complicated marks, consisting of bands of color on one side.” In the sacred game, the players are chosen with great care with reference to their totem, and the region to which it belongs. A much more complete account of this game may be expected from Mr. Cushing himself, from the ample material which he has placed at my disposal. Side by side with Ta sho lí we is the corresponding game as played by the Apache and Navajos, which has been set up by Antonio Apache. It lacks the color symbolism, but the principle is identical. The Navajos call it Set tilth, which Captain John G. Bourke, U. S. A., tells me should be transliterated Tze-chis, or Zse tilth, and means literally, “stonestick.” The circle of stones, he says, is called Tze nasti, “Stone circle.”

Lieut. H. L. Scott, U. S. A., has contributed the implements for a similar game of the Kiowas, which is known as the “Awl Game.” It is called by the Kiowas Zohn ahl, that is, Zohn, “creek,” and ahl, “wood.” A detailed account of it will appear elsewhere, furnished to the writer by Lieutenant Scott, who states that the Comanches have a similar game which they play with eight ahl sticks, which are two feet or more long.

These games are all similar to the Mexican Patoli, as described by the early Spanish chroniclers. A picture of the latter game from an early Hispano-American manuscript, reproduced from the original in Florence by its discoverer, Mrs. Zelia Nuttall, is exhibited in this connection. The method of play among the Aztecs is here shown, and it is curious to note that they used a diagram or board in the form of a cross, like that of the East Indian Pachisi. In the Malayan archipelago, a stone is placed in the centre upon which dice are thrown in games, as among the North American 217Indians. Mr. Tylor has set forth the conclusions which may be drawn from these resemblances, but the matter is still open for discussion. Another game remains to be noticed, played with wooden blocks as dice: the Arab game of Tab, in which men are moved on a board according to the throws of four slips of palm. These slips, about eight inches in length, are left with one face of the natural color, and the other showing the whiter interior of the palm, these sides being called black and white respectively. The throws count as follows: 4 black, 6; 4 white, 4; 3 white, 3; 2 white, 2; 1 white, 1.

The implements displayed for this game were made in the Cairo street. No more curious ethnographical parallels are presented in the Exposition than that of the Arabs in the Plaisance, and the Navajos beside the South Lagoon, both playing these curiously similar games.


According to Mr. Tylor, dice-backgammon makes its appearance plainly in classic history. The game of twelve lines (duodecim scripta) was played throughout the Roman Empire and passed on, with little change, through mediæval Europe, carrying its name of tabulæ, tables; its modern representatives being French Tric trac, English Backgammon, etc. Among the ancient Greeks Kubeia, or “dice playing,” is shown by various classical passages to be of the nature of backgammon. The pearl-inlaid backgammon board here shown is from Damascus, where the game is known as Towla, “tables.” A Siamese board exhibited by the government of Siam, with other games, through its royal commissioner Phra Surya, has departed little from the ancient type. Backgammon is known in China as Sheung Luk, “double sixes,” and in Japan by the corresponding name of Sugoroku. The popular games, both in China and Japan, however, are not played with men upon a set board, but resemble the games with many stations, which are common in Europe and America.

The most notable of the Chinese games of this class is the one which is called Shing kun to, or “The Tables of the Promotion of Officials,” a game which has been known to scholars, through Dr. Hyde’s account, as “The Game of the Promotion of Mandarins.” It is played by two or more persons upon a large paper diagram, upon which are printed the titles of the different officials and dignitaries of the Chinese government. The moves are made according to the throws with four cubical dice, and the players, whose positions upon the diagram are indicated by notched or colored splints, 218are advanced or set back, according to their throws. The paper chart here exhibited was purchased in a Chinese shop in New York city. It was printed in Canton, and bears an impression about twenty-three inches square. This is divided into sixty-three compartments, exclusive of the central one and the place for entering at the lower right-hand corner. The latter contains the names of thirteen different starting-points, from yan shang, or “Honorary Licentiate,” down to t’ung shang, or “student,” between which are included the positions of t’ín man shang, “astrologer,” and í shang, “physician.” These are entered at the commencement of the game by the throws of “three, four, five, six,” three “fours,” three “sixes,” three “fives,” three “threes,” three “twos,” and three “ones;” and then in the same manner double “fours,” and so on down to double “ones.”

The sixty-three compartments, representing as many classes of officials or degrees of rank, comprise three hundred and ninety-seven separate titles, of which the highest, and the highest goal of the game, is that of man fá tín tái hok sz’, or “Grand Secretary.” This, however, under favorable conditions, can only be reached by a player who starts from a favorable point, advancement in the game being regulated by rules similar to those which actually regulate promotion under government. Thus, a player whose fortune it is to enter as physician or astrologer can only obtain promotion in the line of his service, and must be content with a minor goal, as he is ineligible to the high civil office of “Grand Secretary.”

The dice are thrown into a bowl placed in the centre of the sheet, the players throwing in turn, and each continuing to throw until he makes a cast of doublets or higher. It is noticeable that “fours,” as in Dr. Hyde’s account, constitute the highest throw. A pair of “fours,” according to the rules, is to be reckoned as tak, “virtue,” and leads to a higher place than those of the other numbers. Sixes are next highest and are to be reckoned as ts’oi, “genius;” and in the same manner, in descending degree, “fives” are to be reckoned as kung, “skill;” “threes” as léung, “forethought;” “twos” as yau, “tractability;” and “ones,” chong, “stupidity.” The game is much complicated by being played for money or counters, which is necessary under the rules. By this means advancement may be purchased, degradation compounded for, and the winner of a high position rewarded.

The main point of difference between the game as it exists to-day, and as described by Dr. Hyde, is the number of dice employed, six being the number mentioned by him. The enlarged form of the diagram is of minor importance, as he himself says that the names of officials written on the tablet are many or few, according to the 219pleasure of the players. With the game of Shing kún to may be seen a copy of Dr. Hyde’s treatise, De Ludis Orientalibis, containing the reproduction of the chart of the game which he made in London 200 years ago. The names of titles of the Ming dynasty appear upon it, in curious contrast to those of the present Tartar domination. The two hundredth anniversary of the date of the imprimatur of this precious volume occurs on the 20th of September of this very year.

There is a very great variety of games of this character in Japan, new ones being published annually at the season of the New Year. Illustrations of the more formal game played upon a board divided into twelve parts are figured in the Chinese-Japanese cyclopædias. According to the Kum mō dzu e tai sei, the twelve compartments, called in Japanese me, or “eyes,” symbolize the twelve months, and the black and white stones with which the game is played, day and night.

Italy contributes several forms of the dice game played upon a board having many stations. The oldest specimen in the collection, purchased in Parma, is a manuscript game bearing the title of Oca Franchese. Others printed in Florence bear the printed labels of Giuoco dell’ oca and Giuoco del Barone, while late examples more fanciful, both in name and design, appear as Giuoco del Tramway and La Battaglia del 48. A French game is shown under its proper title as Jeu de l’oie, beside which is placed a similar American game published as the “Game of Goose.”

A number of packs of Oriental cards other than Chinese are contained in this case, among which are included several packs of East Indian Hindu cards which they call Gungeefa. They are all circular, varying in diameter in the different sets from 1⅝ to 3⅛ inches. One pack from Lucknow comprises eight suits, each composed of twelve cards, ten of which are “numerals,” from one to ten. The two remaining cards are designated respectively as Badsha and Sawar. No satisfactory explanation has yet been afforded as to their origin.

The Japanese call the cards which are now current in Japan by the name of Karuta, a word evidently derived from the Portuguese carta. Those commonly used by gamblers, a pack of which is exhibited by Mrs. J. K. Van Rensellaer, are called Hana Karuta, or “Flower cards,” and comprise forty-eight pieces, a number, it will be observed, identical with that of the present Spanish pack. They bear pictures, chiefly flowers, emblematic of the twelve months, four cards being placed under each. Their names are as follows: Matsu, “pine;” Sakusa, “cherries;” Momidzi, “maple;” Butan, “wild rose;” Hagi, Lespedeza; Kiku, “golden-colored daisy;” Kiri, Paulonia; Fudzi, Wisteria; Soba, “tiger lily;” Ume, “plum-tree;” Yama, “mountain;” and Ame, “rain.”

220The Iroha, or Proverb cards, also consist of ninety-six cards, half of which bear a picture and one of the forty-seven characters of the Iroha, or Japanese syllabary. Each of the other cards is inscribed with a proverb, the first word of which is written with one of the characters. There are several methods of play, the commonest being that of laying out all the picture cards face up. One of the older players reads the proverbs in turn, while the others endeavor to select the card from the table bearing the corresponding initial character. The Uta Karuta, or “Cards with songs,” contain, according to Mr. Karl Himly, the well-known one hundred songs (Hiyaku nin issiu, 1235 A. D.), or the poems of the “Old and New Collection” (Ho kin schiu, 905 A. D.). The picture cards have the pictures of the poet or poetess, with the commencement of the poems. The rest is on the corresponding cards. The game is the same as that played with the Iroha Karuta.


The first of American board games played with dice is said to be the “Mansion of Happiness.” This game is said to have been published in 1852, and copied from an English game. Thirty-three specimens of similar games published in this country are exhibited. They form a small part, however, of the entire number.


The question of the origin of playing cards in Europe, whether they were introduced from the East, or an independent invention in France, Italy, or Germany, has been the object of much discussion. It may be regarded as conclusively settled that playing cards were invented in China in the twelfth century, and in view of the remarkable similarities between the card and card games of China and those of Europe which have been brought to light by Mr. Wilkinson, it may be profitable to suspend further consideration of the matter until the results of his studies are made public. Italy appears to be the oldest home of the playing card in Europe, and the earliest Italian packs are said to be those which the Italians call Tarocchi. Several types of these cards are found in Italy. According to Willshire these games are known as the Tarots of Venice or Lombardy, the Tarocchino of Bologna, and the Minchiate of Florence. The first of these, the old Venetian Tarot, he regards as the parent of all. The sequence consists of 78 cards, i. e., of 22 emblematic cards of Tarots proper, and 56 numeral cards made up of 16 figures or court cards, and 40 pip cards. The 22 Tarot cards bear emblematic designs 221which appear to be borrowed from a series of prints which are known to collectors as the Tarocchi of Mantegna or the Carte di Baldini. The emblematic cards in the Venetian series usually bear the following inscriptions: 1. La Bagattel. 2. La Papessa. 3. L’Imperatrice. 4. L’Imperatore. 5. Il Papa. 6. Gli Amanti. 7. Il Carro. 8. La Guistizia. 9. L’Eremita. 10. Ruot. della For. 11. La Forza. 12. L’Appeso. 13.       . 14. La Temperan. 15. Il Diavolo. 16. La Torre. 17. Le Stelle. 18. La Luna. 19. Il Sole. 20. Il Giudizio. 21. Il Mondo. 22. Il Matto.

No name is placed upon the 13th, which usually bears a skeleton with a scythe, representing “death.”

The second game, the Tarocchino of Bologna, though a direct descendant of the ancient Venetian tarots, is not so old as the third game, or Minchiate of Florence. The chief characteristic of the Tarocchino, its name a diminutive of tarocchi, is the suppression in it of the 2, 3, 4, and 5 of each numeral suit, thus reducing the numeral cards from 56 to 40. This modification of the tarot game was invented in Bologna, early in the fifteenth century, by Francesco Fibbia, Prince of Pisa, an exile in that city, dying there in 1419.

The third game is the Minchiate of Florence. It is more complicated than the Venetian game, twenty additional cards being added to the emblematic series. A pack of modern Venetian tarot made in Milan, which are remarkable for their beautifully engraved and painted designs, a pack of modern Tarocchino from Bologna, and a pack of seventeenth century Minchiate, are displayed in the south side of this case. All of these cards are in current use in different parts of Italy.

The suit marks of Italian cards consist of money, cups, swords, and clubs, called danari, coppe, spade, and bastoni. The four court cards of the numeral suits are known respectively as Re, King, Regina or Reina, Queen, Cavallo, Knight, and Fante, Knave. The regular cards, as opposed to those which include the emblematic series, are distinguished by certain peculiarities in the designs of the court cards in different parts of Italy. The distinctive cards of Florence, Milan, and Naples are exhibited in this case, together with several interesting packs upon which all the designs, except an indication of the value at the top, have given place to texts designed to afford instruction in history, geography, etc. A remarkable pack of this character, exhibited by Dr. G. Brown Goode, of Washington, is in manuscript and is intended to teach geography.

According to Chatto, on the earliest cards he had ever seen the figures had been executed by means of stencils, this being the case both in the cards of 1440 and those known as the Stukely cards. There are exhibited in this case the stencils, brush, and unfinished 222card sheets from a card maker in Florence, who still practises this ancient method of manufacture. The cards on the south side of this case, which in common with all others not specially mentioned are exhibited by the University of Pennsylvania, represent the cards made at the present day in no less than eighteen Italian cities by some twenty-nine makers. They were collected for the University Museum by Mr. Francis C. Macauley of Florence. The cards of Florence, Bologna, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ferrara, Padua, Treviso, Udine, Novara, Turin, Sesia, Bergamo, Brescia, Genoa, Perugia, Naples, and Bari are included in the collection, in which an opportunity is afforded to observe the peculiarities of the cards of the different Italian cities. A distinctive character of the marks of the numeral suits of spade and bastoni is the mode in which they are interlaced or connected together in place of standing separately or apart. It is interesting to note that in the cards made in and for southern Italy this peculiarity does not exist, they being almost identical with the cards made in Spain.

The cards of Austria succeed those of Italy. The pack exhibited from Trent is like those of Italy, but the distinctively German cards predominate among those made in Vienna and the northern cities.

The suit marks of old German cards consist of hearts, bells, leaves, and acorns, which they call respectively Herzen (roth), Schellen, Laub (grün), and Eicheln. The court cards of the German pack are usually three in number, the peculiarity of the true German pack being that the queen is omitted and an upper valet or Obermann put in her place. They consist of the König or “King,” the Obermann, and the Untermann.

Tarocchi cards are found in Germany under the name of Taroks, and a number of Tarok packs manufactured in Austria appear in this collection. Special names appear on their labels, as Trieste Tarok, Kaffee Tarok, etc., and the tarots proper bear a variety of emblems and designs different from those of Italy. They are usually numbered at top and bottom with Roman numerals from I. to XXI.

Willshire has pointed out that the Italians early suppressed the emblematic cards in a game which was termed Trappola, in which the true tarots were abolished, as likewise the three, four, five, and six of each numeral suit. This game, he states, was still in vogue in Silesia when Breitkopf wrote (1784). An interesting Austrian pack of this character is shown under the name of Trappolier Spiel, in which the shape as well as the suit marks of the Italian tarots are displayed.

The German cards manufactured in Germany are prefaced by a series of reprints of German cards of the last century exhibited by Mr. Macauley. They were obtained by him through the courtesy of 223the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, for which they were made from the original blocks of the old Munich card makers that have been conserved in the Museum.


The collection of cards made in Germany comprises 53 packs, consisting chiefly of the current cards manufactured by card makers in Munich, Altenburg, Frankfort a. M., Berlin, Leipzig, and Breslau. Among these is an extremely beautiful pack by B. Dondorf of Frankfort, with pictures suggesting the four quarters of the globe, after designs by Haussmann. Toy cards, patience cards, comic cards, trick cards, and cards which are labelled “Gaigel cards” appear, as well as cards made for special games, as the Hexen or “witch” packs. Many of the cards manufactured in Germany are seen to bear the French suit marks of Cœurs, Carreaux, Piques, and Trèfles, or “hearts,” “diamonds,” “spades,” and “clubs,” instead of the old German suit marks, and the court cards correspond at the same time with those of France and England. There are a number of packs with French suit marks, which bear pictures of Swiss scenery and costumes. The cards made in Switzerland are from Schaffhausen and Geneva, and comprise a variety of designs, including those which are especially designated as Swiss cards, German cards, and German Taroks. Belgium is represented by a German tarot pack, and imitations of English cards made for Oriental markets. Three packs of this character are shown, which were sent from Johore, in the Malay Peninsula, with another pack from Beirut, in Syria. The Russian cards in the collection, contributed by Madame Semetchkin, the representative on the Russian Commission of the “Institutions of the Empress Marie,” are similar to modern French cards. The manufacture of playing cards in Russia is a monopoly of the state, and the revenues accruing are devoted to the support of the great charitable institution of which Madame Semetchkin is the distinguished representative.

Tarots or Tarocchi cards are not used in Spain, nor are they found among Spanish cards. The regulation Spanish pack now consists of 48 cards of four suits, called respectively Dineros, “money,” Copas, “cups,” Bastos, “clubs,” and Espadas, “swords.” The numerals run from one to nine, the ten being replaced with the Caballo. The court cards comprise the Sota, or “knave,” the Caballo, or “knight,” and the Rey, or “king.” Cards manufactured at Vitoria, Burgos, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Cadiz, and Palamos are displayed. Great antiquity has been claimed for cards in Spain, and 224it has been urged that this is the country through which Europe received cards from the East, but heretofore no Spanish cards of assured date earlier than 1600 have been known, and material evidence has been lacking. There was exhibited at the Columbian Historical Exposition in Madrid in 1892–93, a sheet of cards made in Mexico in 1583, which has been preserved in the Archives of the Indies at Seville, Spain, and which throw light upon the origin of Spanish cards. A copy made in water-colors by an artist in Madrid is shown in this collection. The original consists of an uncut sheet of about 11 by 17 inches, and bears on the back a pen and ink inscription with the date 1583. The face displays an impression from a wooden block of 24 cards each 2 by 3½ inches. They are colored in red, blue, and black, and represent the court cards and aces of the suits of money, cups, clubs, and swords, and ten numeral or pip cards of the suit of swords. There are but three court cards for each suit, instead of four as in the present Spanish pack. The marks of the numeral suit consist of crossed swords, instead of being arranged as on the Spanish cards now current, and strongly point to the Italian affinities of early Spanish cards.

Side by side with this early Mexican pack is a colored plate representing leather cards made by the Indians of South America, and an original pack of leather cards used by the Apaches. From the arrangement of the swords on both of these sets, which were copied from cards introduced by the Spaniards, it appears that they were initiated from the present type of Spanish cards. Such is not the case with the corresponding marks on a pack of native cards from the Celebes, which are also exhibited. Their Spanish origin is clearly indicated by their number, 48, and by the devices, which still bear a faint resemblance to those of Europe. The clubs and swords on both are represented by crossed lines which confirm the impression created by the Mexican pack. The Japanese “Hana Karuta,” or “Flower Cards,” are also shown here, as another pack of Oriental cards derived from those of Spain or Portugal. Their number, 48, and their name, karuta, from the Portuguese carta, clearly suggests their origin.


Tarocchi cards are called Tarots in France, and the French tarot pack is similar to the Venetian. The earliest specimens of French Tarots exhibited bear the name of Claude Burdel and the date 1751. There is direct historic proof that France possessed cards at a very early time in the accounts of the Treasurer of Charles VI., A. D. 1392. The earliest pack of French cards in this collection is one of which I 225have not been able to determine the date. It bears the name Pierre Montalan on the Knave of Spades and Claude Valentin on the Knave of Clubs. A variety of modern French packs are shown, including those made with Spanish suit marks and special cards for various games. The French suit marks reappear on English cards, and according to Willshire it is most probable that cards made their way into England through France. He states that the time is not known, but that we are safe in believing that cards were not in use in England until after the reign of Henry IV. (1405), and that they were certainly employed before 1463. The English cards here displayed consist entirely of those of the present day, but this deficiency in historical packs is compensated for in part by Lady Charlotte Schreiber’s folio volume on English and Scottish, Dutch and Flemish cards which she has loaned for this collection. The great work, of which this is but the first volume, contains fac-similes of the cards in Lady Charlotte Schreiber’s private collection, and reveals the wealth of historical suggestions to be found upon playing cards, and their value, as thus collected, to the antiquary and historian.

America early received playing cards from Spain, and Spanish cards are still made and imported into Spanish American countries. In the United States English cards were naturally adopted. No very early packs are shown, but some interesting cards are found in the North American series, including a variety of cards with patriotic emblems of the time of the Rebellion, as well as caricature cards of the recent political campaigns. The collection closes with the souvenir packs of the Columbian Exposition at Chicago. Mrs. J. K. Van Rensellaer’s work, entitled “The Devil’s Picture Books,” a copy of which is exhibited, contains many interesting particulars concerning cards and card playing in America. Several interesting card boxes are shown in this collection, with specimens of the old-fashioned “fish” or card counters of mother-of-pearl, among which are some that belonged to Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution. Treatises on American card games, exhibited by Messrs. Dick & Fitzgerald, conclude the series of playing cards proper.

Among the notions concerning the origin of cards in Europe is one that they were first introduced by the gypsies, who used them in fortune-telling. It appears that they were early used for divinatory purposes in Europe, but according to Willshire their employment in fortune-telling gradually declined among the upper classes until the middle of the eighteenth century, “though it was prevalent, no doubt, among the lower grades of society frequenting fairs and the caravans of mountebanks. About 1750 divination through cards again became popular in Paris, at least, for in 1751, 1752, and 1753 three 226persons were publicly known as offering their services for this intention.” According to certain writers, the emblematic figures of the tarot cards are of very remote origin, stretching back as far as the ancient Egyptians, from whom they have descended to us as a book or series of subjects of deep symbolic meaning. The discovery and explication of the meaning of the tarots employed in modern times was claimed by M. Count de Goebelin in 1781, who in his “Monde Primitif analysé et compare avec le Monde Moderne,” gave a dissertation on the game of Tarots, in which he states that the tarot pack is evidently based on the sacred Egyptian number seven, and reviews the tarot emblems in detail.

The probable origin of the 21 tarot cards has already been suggested in connection with Chinese cards, and it is not surprising that the astrological notions associated with Tarots should find parallels in the speculations of the Kabbalists, who attached similar notions to the dice throws as are now found associated with them in China, from whence the 21 Tarot cards doubtless came to Europe. An explanation is therefore found for some of the resemblances upon which M. de Goebelin lays such stress. His fancies, however, never subjected to very severe examination or criticism, were seized upon by a perruquier of Paris of the name of Alliette, who combined with his ordinary occupation the practice of cartomancy. He read the dissertation of Count de Goebelin, and, thereby enlightened, changed the letters of his name and prophesied under the name of Ettillia. His writings furnish the basis of most of the treatises now extant upon the subject of fortune-telling with cards, and his name is found associated with several of the modern French tarot packs published especially for fortune-telling, in the present collection. During the exciting periods of the first Consulship of Napoleon I., there lived, according to Mr. Willshire, a well-known diviner named Madame Lenormand, whose predictions gained great repute. Her name, with that of Ettillia, appears on the French cards here exhibited, as well as on those made in America. Several French and German fortune-telling packs of an amusing character are to be found in the present collection, as well as others published in the United States, which are designed solely for purposes of amusement.

The entire northern side of this case is devoted to the card games other than regular playing cards, which owe their existence to the prejudice against cards or to the demand for simple and instructive amusements for children and young people. Mr. Milton Bradley has contributed some interesting notes on the history of such games in this country. In 1843 Miss Annie W. Abbott, a clergyman’s daughter of Beverly, Mass., offered to Mr. Ives, a publisher of Salem, Mass., a card game which she called “Dr. Buzby.” This game, which was 227the first of its kind, was reluctantly published by Mr. Ives and met with an astonishing success, no less than 50,000 copies being sold in the following year. It will be remembered by many of the parents of the present day as among the earliest games ever learned and possibly played upon the sly through fear of reprimand. A pack of the original Dr. Buzby cards will be found at the beginning of this collection. The game of “Authors” was originated by a young man living in Salem, helped by some of his female acquaintances. The method of play was copied from “Dr. Buzby,” but it contained an element of instruction and profit not found in the older game. He took it to a local publisher to see if he could have ten or a dozen packs printed, as it was too much work for him to print them. Mr. Smith, the publisher, saw the possibilities of the game and told him if he would let him make them, he would supply his needs gratis, to which he consented. This was in 1861, and the sale of this game has since been wonderful. Many modifications and improvements of the original game are shown in the collection.

Soon after the publication of “Dr. Buzby,” a teacher in a young ladies’ school in Salem devised a game of letters which has since become popular under the various names of “Spelling Puzzle,” “Word Making and Word Taking,” “War of Words,” “Anagrams,” “Logomachy,” “Words and Sentences,” etc. The publications of the Milton Bradley Company, McLaughlin Bros., and E. I. Horsman are here exhibited, and no less than 78 different card games are displayed. They are classified in groups according to the methods of play, which, in spite of the ingenuity displayed in the designs of the cards, are relatively very limited in number, the ideas in the main being derived from games already played with regular playing cards.

The collection has received many additions since its installation, notably a very complete series of Zuñi games from Mr. Cushing, and a series of Malayan and Chinese games from H. H. the Sultan of Johore, through Mr. Rouncesvelle Wildman, as well as an extremely important collection of East Indian games from the Provincial Museum, Lucknow, and of Burmese games collected by Mr. C. S. Bayne, Rangoon, both through the courtesy of the Honorable Charles H. T. Crosthwaite.

Stewart Culin.


Folk-Lore at the Columbian Exposition.—If the Anthropological Building has been late in completion, the display is now most interesting. The value and curiosity of the archæological exhibits will first attract attention; but those more closely connected with folk-lore are well worthy of notice. An account is elsewhere printed of the cases devoted to the presentation of objects used in games. A very curious and complete exhibition of objects connected with Chinese worship in America is made by the Archæological Department of the University of Pennsylvania; and the curator, Mr. Stewart Culin, shows in his own name an interesting gathering of books used by the same people in this country. The place which toys may be made to take in museums illustrating folk-lore is well shown by a collection of toys representing Chinese and Japanese musical instruments by the same exhibitors. Mr. G. F. Kunz of New York exhibits a collection of precious stones, or valuable objects, employed as amulets, or with superstitious purposes. The Australian display contains illustrations of the Bora initiation ceremonies, and that of Africa representations of disguises employed in sacred rites not yet explained. As connected with mythology, the totem poles and carvings of the Haida of British Columbia will be observed. In the Government Building, Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing has constructed a model of a Zuñi priest engaged in the celebration of the creation-myth. Outside of the exhibition buildings, the Midway Plaisance offers a continued spectacle of various life. The Javanese theatre is especially to be mentioned, as worthy of description and study.

The Anthropological Congress.—In the end, the plan of this Congress was so far altered that the arrangement in separate sections was abandoned. The Congress devoted to Folk-lore but one afternoon, on August 29, given to the Collection of Games in the Anthropological Building, and one morning, August 31, when a certain number of papers were presented. As these papers will hereafter appear in the proceedings of the Congress, it will not be necessary here to give an account of them. The attendance at the Congress, as at most of the scientific congresses, was limited; but the occasion was found pleasant by those who took part. Persons desirous to obtain the printed proceedings may send the subscription price ($5.00) to Mr. C. Staniland Wake, Department of Ethnology, Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Ill.

Aldegonda, the Fairy of Joy. An Italian Tale.—In a wellwritten editorial, or leader-review, in the “London Chronicle,” of the book entitled “Rabbit the Voodoo,” by Miss Mary Owen, the writer, in referring to my introduction to the latter work, intimated that I could probably not distinguish between what was American Indian and original Negro superstition or tradition, because savage races have the same bases of custom and belief. This view, like many others current among theorizing folklorists, is to a great extent deceptive. What were the absolute beginnings 229of anything in Nature, only Omnipotence can tell,—yet this is what folklorists for the most part seek, trying to dig a well with a needle, and neglecting what is for the time being their proper work,—namely, identifying, with given phases of culture, what belongs to each.

A tradition, when it has received color, and, as one may say, size and form, so that it manifestly belongs to a certain cultus, has to the mere beginnings, which men hunt so zealously through variants, exactly the same proportion as some beautiful cathedral to its deeply buried foundation or crypt. I have with my own eyes seen an English clergyman demolish the greater portion of a very fine and well-preserved Perpendicular church, because he had unfortunately dug out of the whitewash a solitary little, old, and unornamented Early English window, or rather peep-hole. The whole church was forthwith “restored” into Early English! He will not idly read this tale—non modicam ex hoc demetes frugem—who will reflect that any grubber can collect out of books and pile up variants, but that to grasp the grandeur and glory of tradition and to feel its spirit is the real mission of learning.

I have been lately reminded of this manifest impression of time on the form of a legend by examining several traditions which had been collected for me, in Florence, by a woman alluded to in my “Etruscan Roman Traditions.” She is ever impecunious, and when reduced to living on air, like the wolves of François Villon, waylays me in the road, when a few francs change owner, and a promise is passed that traditional folk-lore shall be collected and written, as an equivalent. Then my agent goes about, among old women, into Florentine slums, and out into peasant homes, and anon delivers to me sheets of note-paper on which, in very pronounced Tuscan, is written a tale or two, cosa being given as chavusa, and many words divided, the first half tacked to its predecessor, and the last half to its follower, as certain worms, when dissected, amicably unite with pieces of their neighbors.

When I lately met my collector, she was, by her own account, going full speed to utter ruin,—ad inopiam, velis remisque properat,—with all sail set. She had been cited to be fined by the police, her landlord had warned her for a month’s arrears, all her clothes were in pawn,—she had in the world only a cent, and that was counterfeit. Result—five francs surrendered, and a week after sundry writings received.

One of these was called Oldegonda (Aldegonda), the Spirit of Joy. That there might be no mistake, the writer had put a real ivy leaf in the MS., partly to serve as an object lesson, and partly to aid in conjuring the Spirit, or in attracting her favor. And thus ran the legend of Oldegonda, la fata della Ellera (allegría), or the Fairy of Joy:—

Oldegonda, or Aldegonda, fairy of the country (della campagna), was found in a field when but a few days old. One day a contadino, passing by a forest, discovered a little animal which clung to his leg, and this creature was a hedge-hog, which led him to a mass of ivy, in which he found sleeping a beautiful little infant girl. Taking it home to his wife, he bade her treat it as their own child, and also be kind to the little animal,—che non 230le maneba altro che la favella,—who needed only speech to show a human soul.

But the woman disobeyed her husband, and was wont to kick the hedge-hog, and neglect Aldegonda, as the foundling had been called. For the woman had a daughter of her own, who grew in ugliness with every year, even as Aldegonda grew in beauty and gentleness, so that the former hated the latter with all her heart. And one day, when they were in the woods, the little hedge-hog led Aldegonda to the piles of ivy, where she sat in state. But the daughter of the peasant, seized with jealous rage, that the hedge-hog was only attentive to the other, cried,—

Siete due stregone!
Tu sei le bella strega
La strega dell’ ellera!
E tu spinone,
Tu sei il stregone!
Ye be sorcerers twain, I trow:
Beautiful witch of Joy be thou:
And thou, great beast with many a thorn,
A wizard, same as I am born!

Saying this, she seized the hedge-hog and threw him into the stream.

Now the hedge-hog was a young prince who had been cursed by a sorcerer or witch to remain in the form of an animal, until some one should cause him a violent death. With his fate was linked the love of Aldegonda. Therefore, when he sank into the water, the spell was broken; he rose, and gained the green bank of the forest, as a beautiful youth in splendid attire. And addressing the peasant girl, he said,—

Thou among witches
Shalt be the most malignant,
Thou who couldst never do one good action
Shall be an accursed cat,
But my beautiful Aldegonda
Shall be the lovely fairy,
The Fairy of Joy,
(And he who wishes a favor)
Shall call her with these words:
O beautiful Aldegonda,
Fair fairy of Joy!
By all which thou didst suffer!
For the time of twenty years,
From these peasant women,
As did thy hedge-hog lover,
Now that this is over,
And he is thy husband,
Bestow, I pray, a favor!
As with this leaf of ivy
I make a sign of the cross,
Which thou wilt surely grant!
I beg thee of thy grace,
231Make my love return unto me!
Which thou wilt not deny;
I pray for luck in my home,
Which thou also wilt not deny.

And the sign of the cross must thus be made thrice, and the invocation every time repeated.

This tale, I may observe, is not of the popular traditional type of Grimm and Perrault, but belongs to the dark lore current among witches and sorcerers, in which the story, although always ancient, is a mere frame for the ceremony and incantation. The marked difference between these narratives and mere märchen is very striking, because the former are in all cases guarded jealously, as profound and even awful secrets or formulas. I know an English lady of Italian life, i. e., one born of Anglo-Italian parentage—who has for a long time been “in with the witches,” and she has never yet been able to get her most intimate strega to converse on sorcery, or repeat a line of a legend, except in the open air, far away from profane hearing. One reason for this is that all such stories, especially the incantations, are generally sung. This is done in a very peculiar tone of voice. It sometimes requires years to get the right intonation which renders a certain incantation effective. Therefore, if one were to be heard singing alla strega, or in witch tunes, to a young lady, there would be a “difficulty.”

Charles Godfrey Leland.

Florence, Italy, 1893.

The Burial of the Wren.—I inclose a version of the song of the wren, a little different from the one printed in a recent number of the Journal. The variant is contributed by a young Irishman from Skibbereen. But why is the wren called the “king of all birds,” and what is the meaning of the song?

Mrs. Lucien Howe, Buffalo, N. Y.
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s day it was caught in the furze;
Although it is little, its family is great.
Cheer up my landlady and fill us a treat,
And if you fill it of the best,
In heaven I hope your soul will rest;
But if you fill it of the small,
It won’t agree with the wren boys at all.
Sing holly, sing ivy, sing ivy, sing holly,
To sing a bad Christmas is all but a folly.
On Christmas day I turned the spit,
I burned my fingers, I feel it yet;
Between the finger and the thumb,
There lies a big blister, as large as a plum.
I hunted my wren five miles or yon,
Through hedges, ditches, briars, and bushes I knocked him down.
So here he is, as you may see,
Upon the top of a holly-tree.
232With a bunch of ribbons by its side,
And the Cork boys to be her guide.
Shake, shake, shake of the box,
All silver and no brass,
Up with the kettle and down with the pot,
Give us our answer, and let us begone.
Come now, mistress, shake your feathers,
Don’t you think that we are beggars;
We are the boys came here to play,
So give us our money and let us go away.

[As to our correspondent’s request for information, reference may be made to the discussion of J. G. Frazer, in “The Golden Bough,” (Lond. 1890), ii. 140 f. The custom has been prevalent in France, as well as in Great Britain and Ireland. In the Isle of Man, on Christmas Eve, the wren was hunted, killed, and fastened on the top of a pole. It was then carried from house to house, the bearers, meanwhile, chanting an appeal similar to that above given, at the same time collecting money. The wren was then laid on a bier and buried with much solemnity. The rite, according to another account, is described as taking place on St. Stephen’s Day (December 26th). The bird, in the latter case, was hung in the centre of two crossing hoops, decorated with evergreen and ribbons. In the song, reference is said to have been made to boiling and eating the bird. The money collected appears to have been employed for a feast at night. English and Irish usages were substantially identical.

As to the significance of the custom, it is only clear that it must have been a survival of a sacred rite. Mr. Frazer gives Asiatic parallels, but these are not very close, nor indeed are the accounts complete or sufficient. His own conclusion is that the custom is the remains of a pastoral sacrament, in which the animal god is killed and sacramentally eaten. That the wren has in some degree a sacred character is made probable by the superstitions relating to the bird. But the whole subject is obscure.]

W. W. N.

Modern Additions to Indian Myths, and Indian Thunder Superstitions.—The following remarks were made by the undersigned at the Annual Meeting, 1892:—

1. On Mr. W. W. Newell’s paper, entitled Examples of Forgery in Folk-Lore: (a) Some of the myths obtained from the Omahas and Ponkas bear marks of European origin, e. g., one of the Orphan who had a magic sword and two magic dogs; rescued a chief’s daughter from a water monster; cut off heads of monster, took the seven tongues home; black man got heads, claimed chief’s daughter as wife; was detected and killed; Orphan won chief’s daughter (Contra. to N. A. Ethnology, vol. vi. pp. 108–131.) Some of the writer’s Omaha informants were French half-bloods. (b) There have been modern additions made to myths. An Omaha stated that he made up part of the myth of the Big Turtle who went on the war-path. (c) When the writer was revising his material before preparing his article on “Omaha Sociology,” he was furnished by one of the tribe (a 233prominent ex-chief, now dead,) with several riddles, that appeared in “Omaha Sociology” as genuine Omaha riddles. Not until 1888 did he learn by accident that the riddles in question were versions of some that the children of his informant had read in “The Youth’s Companion”(!) The informant was not a man to tell a wilful lie.

2. Remarks on Miss Alger’s papers, one being, Survival of Fire-sacrifice among Indians in Maine: (a) When the first thunder is heard in the spring the Thunder Being is invoked by the Omaha and Ponka Indians. In the case of the former people, the Black Bear people go to the mysterious war tent of the Elk people, whom they assist in the invocation of the Thunder Being, whom they call “Grandfather.” When the Black Bear people of the Ponka tribe invoke the Thunder Being on such an occasion, they say, “Ho, Grandfather, by your brandishing (your club) you are frightening us, your grandchildren, who are here. Depart on high.” (b) The chief of one of the two Kansas war gentes, Pa-han-le ga-qli, gave the writer a copy of his mystic war chart, saying that in the middle should appear a representation of fire, but he dared not make it unless he had fasted and prayed for several days, lest he should be struck by lightning. (c) No respectable Omaha girl dare walk alone. She must go with another girl, when not accompanied by her mother or some other near relation. Any man, not a near kinsman, who spoke to young girls that he chanced to meet, was sure to be punished. (d) With reference to the worm killed by the Thunder, compare the Dakota belief as to the conflicts that have occurred between the Unkteqi or Water powers (the Waktceqi of the Winnebago) and the Wa-kinyan (“Flying Ones”) or Thunder Beings. These water powers (the males) are supposed to dwell in rivers, while the females inhabit streams that exist beneath the hills. (e) The legend of the Moose Woman resembles two Omaha myths: In that of the Chief’s Son and the Snake Woman, the latter person warns her husband against courting another woman; when he does so, she disappears. In the story of the Man who had for his wives a Buffalo Woman and a Corn Woman, the Man pursues his fleeing Buffalo wife and her son; when he reaches a river, he takes a magic plume from his hair, blows on it, and, as it is wafted across the river, he becomes the plume, reaches the other bank, overtakes his wife and son, and finally recovers them. (See “Popular Science Monthly,” September, 1893.)

J. Owen Dorsey.

Writing to the Rats.—A member of my family remembers a case of writing to the rats. It occurred in Lunenburg, Mass., perhaps fifty years ago. One day a neighbor of my grandfather’s came in and triumphantly announced that at last she was going to be free of the rats; she had written to them. Her letter was as follows: “If you don’t leave this house, I’ll get a cat.” It seems to me as amusing, in its way, as that of the Maine man. It might be called a telegram to the rats, for these were exactly her words. The proclamation was posted up, I believe, in the cellar.

H. D. Rolfe.
Concord, Mass., June, 1893.

234Italian Folk-Lore Society.—In a private letter, Professor A. de Gubernatis states that by the month of November he expects to secure the five hundred subscribers necessary for the execution of his project of an Italian folk-lore society. In Calabria, Apulia, and Sardinia, especially, his appeal has been responded to. Her Majesty Queen Marguerita has particularly interested herself in these researches; and the minister of public instruction has issued a circular which recommends to professors and teachers the study of popular traditions. The society is to issue a journal, entitled “Rivista delle tradizioni popolari italiano,” and also a series of volumes, to be known as “Biblioteca del folk-lore italiano.” The annual subscription will be twelve lire ($2.40); members will be permitted to obtain volumes of the “biblioteca” at a reduction of fifty per cent. Local directors will be appointed in the various districts of Italy; every three years a congress, entitled “Congresso Nationale dei Folkloristi italiani,” will be held with a view of discussing questions which relate to Italian folk-lore. Subscriptions should be sent to Angelo de Gubernatis, Presidente Onorario, Professore nell’ Università di Roma, Rome, Italy.



In the next number of this Journal, notice will be taken of the important publications, in the field of American mythology and tradition, which have appeared during the past half year. At present it will be possible only to offer remarks on publications entitled to comment, dealing with other than purely American subjects.

In a treatise entitled “Böhmische Korallen aus der Götterwelt,” Dr. F. S. Krauss discusses, in a humorous vein, apocryphal additions to the material of Slavic and Lithuanian mythology. “Bohemian corals” are imitations; but, as the writer remarks, these imitations had a considerable value, until in latter days they have themselves become the subject of imitation. There is a manufacture of folk-lore, parallel to the production of primitive implements. In some cases these spurious additions have been the products of misunderstanding. An amusing case is the comment of an expert in Celtic tongues on the inscription “Encina,” subscribed in uncial characters on a Gallo-Roman statuette, or rather on the engraving of the statuette. The inquirer, connecting the word with the Old Irish “ec,” death, presumed Encina to have been the designation of a Celtic Fate. In point of fact the name was the signature of the engraver. Among wholesale manufacturers of mythic material, Dr. E. Veckenstedt receives an apparently merited castigation. The latter has treated of eighty-two personages of Lithuanian mythology; of these forty are said to have been taken from the unreliable work of Lasicki, the other forty-two to be “original.” Pretensions of Croatian and Bulgarian enthusiasts, anxious to exalt the antiquity and independence of their national life, are rebuked by Dr. Krauss. Of wider scope is the review of a work of Dr. G. Krek, professor 235of Slavic philology in the University of Graz, entitled “Einleitung in die slavische Literaturgeschichte.” Dr. Krauss comments on the errors of method, with which the attempt is made to determine the original character of a race by philological discussion, and observes: “He (Dr. Krek) is not aware that the Slavic-speaking peoples are mixed races, which arose at the earliest about the beginning of our era, out of populations in a state of political dissolution, and which began to develop themselves on the ruins of the culture of these populations.” (Page 104.)

A very beautiful and excellently executed collection of popular Sardinian love-songs is furnished by E. Bellorini. The editor has prefixed a bibliography, and a preface containing an account of the forms of the verse. A literal prose Italian version is appended, while explanatory notes treat of difficult words and printed parallels, good indexes completing the work. The songs are divided into two classes, dialectically called “motos” and “battorinas,” each class being arranged in sections according to topics. The “moto” is a peculiar stanza, in lines usually of seven syllables, containing a theme or history (istérria), and a refrain (torrada), the latter relating, not directly to the theme, but to the feelings of the lover. Suppose the theme to consist of three lines, the first of these is repeated to form the first verse of the refrain, with which the fourth line of the refrain rhymes, while the second and third lines rhyme with the two remaining lines of the theme; and the refrain is thrice sung, so that each line of the “history” alternately begins a verse, while the other lines of the refrain are altered in place, and repeated. This, at least, is one of several ways of forming the “moto.” The “batterinas” consist of four lines, generally of eleven syllables, of which the first and fourth rhyme, as also the second and third. The first class of songs are preferred by women, the second, chanted to the guitar, are usual among men. The theme is not very closely connected with the refrain, and is often of an obscure and mystical character. The following are examples of the “moto:” The silver bird—Who flieth and doth not fall—with golden wings.—The silver bird—Thou art in my heart—Though a hundred approach. Another: On a snowy mount—An angel hath descended—To make peace in war.—On a snowy mount.—Heaven and earth took a pledge—When they made thee. A third: On the brink of the well—There is a stone—Inscribed with letters of gold.—On the brink of the well.—To give thee my heart—Because of thy desert—is my desire. The author makes just remarks on the age and character of the songs. The language is that of the dialect, here and there qualified by literary influences. There is nothing to prove any great antiquity of these productions, which continue to be composed. It is to be hoped that Mr. Bellorini may be able to continue his work, and publish the popular Sardinian songs relating to other subjects, a task for which he has shown himself admirably qualified.

“The Cries of London,” sixty-two in number, with wood-cuts, were printed in 1799. Mr. A. Certeux, having come across this rare little work in Switzerland, has reprinted it with the original illustrations, accompanied by a French translation. A few notes give comparisons with cries of Paris. 236What lends especial value to the book is a bibliography of the principal works on the cries of Paris, containing about fifty titles. This literature begins with the thirteenth century, Guillaume de la Villeneuve having written at that time his “Les crieries de Paris.” In 1887 V. Fournel published a work on the Cris de Paris, which had a considerable success. It would be interesting to learn what information exists concerning the streetcries of England, outside of the book here reissued.

Under the title of “Mélanges de Traditionnisme de la Belgique,” A. Harou offers gleanings of the beliefs and superstitions of Flanders, arranged as referring to astronomy and meteorology, the human body, popular medicine, animals, birds, plants, etc. A certain number of legends, formulas, and nicknames are added. The work is in part from printed sources, and is to be regarded as a suggestion of a more complete and systematic collection, rather than as filling the place of an exhibition of Belgian superstition. It goes without saying that many of the items have parallels in English folk-lore.

The richness of Finland in the material of folk-lore is well calculated to awaken the envy of collectors in other regions. The Swedish population in Finland has its share in this survival, having kept with great faithfulness its ancient character. According to the opinion set forth by Julius Krohn, the popular Finnish poetry of the Kalevala has adopted essential elements of Scandinavian mythology, while it has also been argued that folk-tales and popular melodies have passed from the Swedes to the Finns. However this may be, there is now a considerable literature devoted to the folk-lore and dialect of the population in question. A Society for the Study of Swedish Dialects in Finland, founded in 1874, is now in possession of large collections of songs, melodies, proverbs, and tales, as well as of a great mass of dialectic words. The literature of Swedish folk-lore in Finland is the subject of a bibliographical notice of E. Lagus, the citation of titles being accompanied with a descriptive notice of the books. The series begins in 1892 with the work of A. I. Arvidsson (Svenska Fornsånger), and includes about forty books or articles.

In a treatise on the subject of hieroglyphic calendars, “Les Calendriers à Emblèmes Hiéroglyphiques,” A. Certeux describes and examines portable calendars of the fourteenth century, a mural calendar in wood of the fifteenth, a Breton carved calendar of the fifteenth, etc. Observations are also made on an Aztec calendar, a Norse Runic calendar, etc. In the course of his remarks, the writer offers observations on the different divisions of time adopted by different races. The references are exclusively to French sources.

In a discussion of “The Thyrsos of Dionysos and the Palm Inflorescence of the Winged Figures of Assyrian Monuments,” read before the American Philosophical Society, Dr. C. S. Dolley of Philadelphia, Pa., considers that the drunken and riotous characteristics of the mysteries were probably an addition to the original cult. The primitive use of the thyrsus was that of a wand to be tossed about in the dance, a use to which the stalks of the giant fennel were adapted, the festoons representing the 237bindweed naturally attached to the fennel. With this garlanded rod was combined, as he thinks, the date inflorescence found on Eastern monuments, which was altered into the cone-like tip of the thyrsus, and by error identified with the pine-cone.

Dr. K. Weinhold, examining the various forms of the tale of the man who is turned into an ass, as recounted in Apuleius and in various German and Indian märchen, comes to the conclusion that the story was originally a novelette and not an alteration of a myth. He inclines to believe it original in Greece or Asia Minor of antiquity, and thence to have been diffused eastward and westward, and offers some remarks on the theory of transformation, as often mentioned in folk-tales.

The twenty-fifth volume of the “Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society” consists of a new instalment of the “Botanicum Sinicum” by E. Bretschneider, the first or general part having appeared nearly ten years before. The present volume deals with Chinese names of plants occurring in the Chinese classics and other ancient Chinese works, and their botanical identification. Plants mentioned in the dictionary “Rh ya” (sixth century B. C.) are divided into herbaceous plants and trees, and those mentioned in other works into cereals, vegetables, cultivated cucurbitaceous plants, textile plants, tinctorial plants, water plants, various herbaceous plants, fruits, and bamboos. The information from literature, thus brought together, contains a great variety of instruction respecting food, customs, costume, ritual, and the like. Mention of rites seems usually provokingly inadequate, as in the allusions to the use of rice as sacrifice for spirits, of the peach-wand feared by demons, of the male elm pierced with an elephant’s tooth and plunged in water as injurious to the spirits of the water, to the “shi” divining plant, the stalks of which were used in divination, etc. In appended general remarks, Dr. Bretschneider observes that the Chinese have never shown any inclination for exploring nature from a love of knowledge, nor any trace of a scientific tendency. Conspicuous is the absence of names of plants having powerful poisonous properties. Medicinal plants appear to have been known only to a few collectors, who kept their information strictly secret, a concealment which led to substitution and confusion. Appended are minutes of meetings in 1890 and 1891. These contain a brief report of a paper by Dr. J. Edkins, entitled “China Thirty-five Centuries Ago,” in which the writer sets forth his opinion that the true foundations of Chinese civilization were laid in the third millennium before Christ. He considered that in the Chow period (800 B. C.?) religious usages of a more polytheistic form were adopted in profusion, and the people in their customs deserted the simplicity of ancient life. This position was criticised by Dr. E. Faber, who remarked on the want of any reliable information respecting early Chinese civilization, and the worthlessness of Chinese chronology and literary criticism.

In a beautifully illustrated article, contained in the publications of the United States National Museum, Romyn Hitchcock treats of the “Ancient Burial Mounds of Japan.” Without touching on the strictly archæological 238matter, we may notice the account of the ancient practice of burying the retainers of a prince standing upright around his grave, an interment in which the partially buried persons seem to have been left to perish and be devoured by wild beasts. The custom was changed, according to Japanese records, in the first century of our era, and the devotion of the living man succeeded by images, examples of which are figured in the article.

In the same report, Mr. Hitchcock gives an account of Shinto mythology. The sources being especially Basil Hall Chamberlain’s translation of the Ko-ji-ki (A. D. 711?) and the review of E. M. Satow on the writings of Japanese scholars. Casually, Mr. Hitchcock makes observations on the connection of modern Japanese folk-lore with the old mythology; thus the dance of Usume before the cave of the Sun-goddess is represented by the pantomimic “kagura,” danced by young girls at the temple of Ise and elsewhere. The mask of Usume is frequently seen in Japanese homes.

The interesting exhibit of New South Wales in the Columbian Exposition displays a mass of material calculated to illustrate native customs and life, including a set of views showing the different parts of the initiation ceremony called the “bora.” To accompany the exhibit, the New South Wales Commissioners have caused to be printed a handbook called “The Aborigines,” compiled by Dr. John Fraser of Sydney. This excellent treatise gives in conversational style a variety of information respecting the habits, ceremonies, ideas, food, habitations, and costume of the “black fellows,” as the race has ungracefully been called. It is difficult to speak with patience of the absurdities and calumnies of the numerous writers who have represented this people as raised but one degree above the animal. It would appear, on the contrary, that the social and moral status of the Australian does not greatly differ from that of the wilder Africans. In spite of his cannibalism, and his low powers of numeration, on which a very unjustifiable emphasis has been placed, the native is yet a highly intelligent person, admirably adapted for his own method of life. Particularly to be noted is the account given respecting religious beliefs and observances. Dr. Fraser perceives that the “Karabari” or corroborees, the native dances, are, in part at least, religious usages, although Australian students of the native tribes have not as yet fully penetrated their secrets. Without doubt some of them will be found to be religious ceremonials, accompanied by an elaborate mythology, in that respect resembling the dances of other “primitive” races. It is on the practices of the “bora” that most light has been thrown: here we have the construction of moundcircles, the occasional erection of monoliths or carved pillars, the setting up of a sacred pole, the participation of women not admitted to the secret rites, the presence, as it would seem, of ancestral deities, severe trials of constancy, the reception of a sacred name, final emblematic painting with white, probably also a regular system of instruction in tribal religion, mythology, and ethics. Instead of being void of religious feeling and ideas, as many observers, including the late traveller Lumholtz, have described him, there can be no doubt that the Australian is a person continually influenced by religious conceptions. It seems a pity that such names as “Hamites” 239and “Shemites,” with corresponding ethnological speculations, should appear in this treatise, in which, however, these dubious theoretical elements have no important place.

A brief paper by Hon. Richard Hill, “Notes on the Aborigines of New South Wales,” is somewhat superficial in character. The writer does not understand that a belief in “evil spirits” must necessarily include a religious faith and worship, but bears testimony to the natural chivalry of the natives. The writer mentions that in case of a duel, or “fighting to the death,” as it is called, each of the combatants invites the other to strike, the orthodox challenge being “hit me first,” each at the same time offering his head to be struck.

Rev. W. W. Gill’s observations on “The South Pacific and New Guinea,” also printed for the Exposition, contains notes on the Hervey Islands, South Pacific, annexed by Great Britain in 1888. The observations on ideas and customs, although conceived in the unsympathetic spirit of the missionary, is of great interest as indicating the rich mass of material, and the profit to science which must ensue from a proper record of native traditions. Baptism, marriage, death, the spirit world, etc., are themes of comment. We hope hereafter in this Journal to find room for extracts. The ethnographic interest of the writer may be measured by his naïve remark that the prayers used in incantation are “happily lost”! Of ceremonial religion the notes give no account, although the existence of a ritual is clearly implied; but the presence of a faith full of mysticism, and parallel to the beliefs of European antiquity, is everywhere indicated.

The Hungarian journal, “Ethnologische Mitteilungen aus Ungarn,” directed by A. Herrmann, after a most honorable record, was obliged to suspend publication in its second volume. This periodical has now resumed issue, the Archduke Joseph assuming responsibility for its continued appearance. Dr. Herrmann will be assisted by Dr. H. von Wlislocki, Dr. A. Katona, and others. This publication will deal with the ethnography and folk-lore of the Magyars and connected races, and will also become the organ of the Gypsy Folk-Lore Society, which has ceased to publish an independent journal. An address prefixed to the new volume of the journal, signed by C. G. Leland and D. MacRitchie, recommends the “Ethnologische Mitteilungen” to the reception of all persons interested in Gypsy research. Price seven francs; subscriptions may be addressed to A. Herrmann (Budapest, 1, Szent-György utcza, 2).



Bellorini, Egidio. Canti Popolari Amorosi raccolti a nuovo. Bergamo: Stab. Frat. Cattaneo succ. a Gaffuri e Gatti, 1893. Pp. 336.

Bellorini, Egidio. Folk-lore Sardo. (Note bibliografiche.) Cagliari: Tipografia G. Dessi, 1893. Pp. 14.

Bourke, John Gregory, Captain U. S. A. The Medicine-men of the Apache. (Extract from the Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1892. Pp. 451–617.

Certeux, A. Les Calendriers à Emblèmes Hiéroglyphiques. Paris: E. Leroux, 28, rue Bonaparte, 1891. Pp. 61.

Certeux, A. Les Cris de Londres au xviiie siècle. Illustrés de 62 gravures avec épigrammes en vers. Traduites par Mlle. X. Preface, notes, et bibliographie des principaux ouvrages sur les cris de Paris par A. Certeux, membre fondateur de la Société des Traditions Populaires. 2d ed. Paris: Chamuel, 29, rue de Trevise, 1893. 12mo. Pp. ii, 183.

Dolley, Charles S., M. D. The Thyrsos of Dionysos and the Palm Inflorescence of the winged figures of Assyrian Monuments. (Extracted from the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1893. Pp. 8.) (From American Anthropologist, vi. 3, pp. 285–306, 1893.) Washington: Judd & Detweiler, 1893.

Fraser, John. The Aborigines of New South Wales. Published by authority of the New South Wales Commissioners for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Sydney: C. Potter, 1892. Pp. 102.

Gill, William Wyatt. The South Pacific and New Guinea Past and Present. With notes on the Hervey Group, an illustrative song, and various myths. Published by authority of the New South Wales Commissioners for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Sydney: C. Potter, 1892. Pp. 38.

Haurigot, George. Literature orale de la Guyane française. Contes, devinettes, proverbes. (From Revue des Traditions Populaires, viii. 1, 2, 3–4, 6.) Paris: E. Lechevalier. 1893. Pp. 37.

Harou, A. Mélanges de Traditionnisme de la Belgique. (Collection Internationale de la Tradition, vol. x.) Paris: E. Lechevalier, 1892. Pp. vi, 150.

Hemenway Expedition. Catálogo de los objetos etnológicos y arqueológicos. Madrid: Jaramillo, 1892. Pp. 115.

Hill, Richard, and Thornton, George. Notes on the Aborigines of New South Wales. With personal reminiscences. Published by authority of the New South Wales Commissioners for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Sydney: C. Potter, 1892. Pp. 8.

Hitchcock, Romyn. Shinto, or the Mythology of the Japanese. (Report of the United States National Museum, 1891. Pp. 489–507.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Hitchcock, Romyn. Some Ancient Relics in Japan. (Report of the United States National Museum, 1891, pp. 525, 526, plates liv.-vii.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.

241Hitchcock, Romyn. The Ancient Burial Mounds of Japan. (Report of the United States National Museum, 1891, pp. 511–523, plates xxxiii.-lxiii.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Hough, Walter. The Bernadou, Allen, and Jouy Corean Collections in the United States National Museum. (Report of the United States National Museum, 1891, pp. 429–488, plates i.-xxxiii.) Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Krauss, Friedrich S. Böhmische Korallen aus der Götterwelt. Folkloristische Börseberichte von Götter- und Mythenmarkte. Wien: Gebr. Rubinstein, 1893. Pp. 147.

Lagus, Ernest. Du Folklore suédois en Finlande: Helsingfors, 1891. Pp. 16.

Zeitschrift des Vereins für Volkskunde. In Auftrage des Vereins herausg. v. K. Weinhold. Erster Jahrgang. Berlin: A. Ascher & Co., 1891. Pp. 485.

Weinhold, K. Über das Märchen von Eselmenschen. (Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussisschen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, session of 15th June, 1893.) Pp. 14.


1. The American Anthropologist. (Washington.) Vol. VI. No. 3, July, 1893. Some Mythic Stories of the Yuchi Indians. A. S. Gatschet.—Further Notes on Indian Child Language. A. F. Chamberlain.—Notes and News. Folk-Lore Publication. Folk-Lore Congress. Absence of Crime in Bechuana Land. Blood Cement used by the Ancient Hurons. Liberian Customs.

2. The American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal. (Good Hope, Ill.) Vol. XV. No. 3, May, 1893. Man and Language. III. Australians, Dravidians, and Aryans. H. Hale.—Okla Hannoli; or, the six towns district of the Choctaws. H. L. Halbert.—Blackfoot Star Myths. I. The Pleiades.—M. N. Wilson.—Folk-Lore of Hawaii.—No. 4, July. Blackfoot Star Myths. II. The Seven Stars. M. N. Wilson.—Legend of Cumberland Mountain. J. A. Watkins.—Man and Language. IV. Language the Scientific Basis of Anthropology. H. Hale.—Ethnographic Religions and Ancestor Worship. S. D. Peet.

3. The Atlantic Monthly. September, 1893. Nibblings and Browsings. Fanny D. Bergen.

4. The Folk-Lorist. (Chicago.) Vol. I. Nos. 2–3. July, 1893. Description of a Hopi Doll. A. M. Stephen.—The Story of Hepi and Winona. E. L. Huggins.—Cheyenne Funeral Rites. H. R. Voth.—Cante Sica, or Badheart. W. Cartwright.—Tree and Animal Stories. Mary A. Owen.—How the Dog’s Mouth came to be ragged. A. R. Watson.—Korean Folk-lore. H. R. Hulbert.—Japanese Folk-lore. E. W. Clements.—The Original of Uncle Remus Tar Baby in Japan. W. E. Griffis.—Modern Mexican Witchcraft. A. T. Graybill.—Some Egyptian Legends and Superstitions. I. Ben Yacar.—Illinois Folk-Lore. W. W. Bassett.—Washington Superstitions. Miss M. Ten Eyck.—A Witch-Trap. L. C. Vance.—A Few East African Superstitions. Mrs. French-Sheldon.—Miscellany.

2425. Popular Science Monthly. (New York.) Vol. XLIII. No. 3, July, 1893. Moral Life of the Japanese, W. D. Eastlake.—Evil Spirits. H. H. Long.—No. 4, August. The Revival of Witchcraft. E. Hart.—No. 5, September. Folk-lore Study in America. L. J. Vance.—Grandfather Thunder. A. L. Alger.

6. Folk-Lore. (London.) Vol. IV. No. 2, June, 1893. Cinderella and Britain. A. Nutt.—The False Bride. Miss G. M. Godden.—English Folk-Drama. T. Fairman Ordish.—Folk-lore Gleanings from County Leitrim. L. L. Duncan.—Balochi Tales. M. Longworth Dames.—Obeah Worship in East and West Indies. M. Robinson and M. J. Walhouse. (Illustrated.) The Oldest Icelandic Folk-lore. W. A. Craigie.—The Folk. J. Jacobs.—Review.—Correspondence.—Chained Images. R. C. Temple.—Red-haired Men. W. H. D. Rouse.—Notes and News.—Folk-lore Society. Proceedings at Evening Meetings.—Miscellanea. Melting Wax Images of Intended Victims. Smelling the Head in Token of Affection. Naxian Superstitions. Tokens of Death. How to locate a Drowned Body. The Overflowing of Magic Wells. Immuring Alive.—Folk-lore Bibliography.

7. The Illustrated Archæologist. (London. Edited by J. Romilly Allen.) Vol. I. No. 1, June, 1893. The Cup of Ballafletcher. E. Sidney Hartland.

8. The Westminster Review. (London.) Vol. CXL. No. 2, August, 1893. Burial Customs. E. Howlett.

9. L’Anthropologie. (Paris.) Vol. IV. No. III, May-June, 1893. La famille patriarcale au Caucase. M. Kovalefski.

10. Bulletin de la Société Neuchateloise de Geographie. (Neuchatel.) Vol. VII. 1892–1893. Une visite au pays des Hakka, dans la province de Canton. C. Pitou.—Les ensevelissements de personnes vivantes et le “lœss” dans le nord de la Chine. C. Pitou.—Racontars mythologiques des Sauvages australiens. E. Reclus.

11. Journal des Savants. (Paris.) May-June, 1893. La légende de Saladin. G. Paris.August. La légende de Saladin. G. Ebers.

12. Mélusine. (Paris.) Vol. VI. No. 9, May-June, 1893. Le Grand Diable d’Argent, patron de la Finance. H. Gaidoz.—Un livre sur Cendrillon. H. Gaidoz.—Bibliographie.—No. 10, July-August. La Fille qui fait la morte pour son honneur garder. Nigra, Loquin, and Doncieux.—La Mensuration du Cou. Perdrizet and Gaidoz.—La Fascination. (Continued.) J. Tuchmann.—Le Petit Chaperon Rouge. E. Rolland.—Bibliographie.

13. Revue de l’Histoire des Religions. (Paris.) Vol. XXVII. No. 3, May-June, 1893. Bulletin des Religions de l’Inde. I. Véda et Brahminisme. (Continued.) A. Barth.

14. Revue des Traditions Populaires. (Paris.) Vol. VIII. Nos. 3–4, March, 1893. L’os qui chante. C. Ploix.—Ustensiles et Bibelots populaires. IV. P. Sébillot. Les Rites de la Construction. XVI. R. Basset.—Contes arabes et orientaux. X. R. Basset.—No. 5. May. Djemschid et Quetzalcoatl. De Charencey.—Le tabac dans les traditions, les superstitions, et les coutumes. P. Sébillot.—Traditions et superstitions de l’Anjou. G. de Launay.—No. 6, June. Les oiseaux de Psaphon. R. Basset.—Le folk-lore de Lesbos. G. Georgeakis and L. Pineau.—Les Ordalies. (Continued.) R. Basset.—Notes sur la mythologie des Latavins. IV. W. de Wissikiok.

15. La Tradition. (Paris.) Vol. VII. Nos. 3–4, March-April, 1893. La Magie. T. Davidson.—Folk-lore polonais. VII. M. de Zmigrodzki.—Superstitions Hindoues. II. B. de Baizieux.—Le folklore de Constantinople II. Contes et légendes. J. Nicolaides.—Religion des Indiens du Brésil. M. Guignet.—Devinettes picarde—Folklore des Arabes. I. Légendes. XIII. H. Carnoy.

24316. Wallonia. (Littérature orale, croyances, et usages traditionnels. Liège. Ed. by O. Colson, J. Defrecheux, and G. Willame. Subscription, 3 francs, and postage.) Vol. I. No. 5, May, 1893. L’amour et les amoureux. I. Lier le jonc. II. Les facéties de mai. J. Defrecheux.—Chansons d’amour. I. La ronde du “mai.” II. Voici le mois de mai. O. Colson.—Fêtes populaires. III. La Vierge, reine de mai. I. Les danses de la mariée, au pays gaumet. II. Les quêtes pour la Vierge, en Ardenne. III. Les trônes de mai, en Hesbaye. O. Colson.—Dictons rimés sur le mois de Mai. O. C.—Béotiana. O. C.—Notes et enquêtes. No. 6, June. Sorcellerie. II. Dans l’Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. L. Loiseau.—Contes facétieux. E. M.—Béotiana. O. C.—Chañsons religieuses. II. III. J. Defrecheux.—Fêtes populaires. V. L’Alion. (Borinage.)—J. Marlin.—Humour populaire. III. Le pesage des filles (pays gaumet). O. C.

17. Anchivio per lo Studio delle Tradizione Popolari. (Palermo.) Vol. XII. No. 2, April-June, 1893. Le befanate del Contado Lucchese. G. Giannini.—Canti popolari emiliani. M. Carmi.—Sfruottuli, anecdoti popolari siciliani. M. de Martino.—Il culto degli alberi nell’ Alto Monferrato. G. Ferraro.—Il Palio, o le Corsi di Siena nel 1893. M. Razzi.—Il Mastro di Campo mascherata carnevolesca di Sicilia. Noto. G. Pitrè.—Canti popolari in dialetto sassarese. P. Narrax.—Alcuni sopranomi popolari negli eserciti del primo Impero napoleonico. A. Lumbroso.—Aneddoti e spigolature folk-loriche. G. de Giovanni.—“Un uomo bruciato e poi rigenerato,” legende serbo-croate. M. Dragomavov.—La poesia popolare nella storia letteraria. V. Cian.—San Paolino III e la secolare festa dei gigli in Nola, provincia di Caserta. G. de Mattia.—Miscellanea.—Rivista bibliografica.—Bulletino.—Recenti publicazioni.—Sommario dei giornali.

18. La Calabria. (Monteleone; ed. L. Bruzzano.) Vol. No. 10, June, 1893. Canti sacri e leggende religiosi. Canti popolari di Candà.—Una Lauda di S. Nterina.—No. 11, July. Le Parole della Verità.—Leggenda di Brognaturo. No. 12, August. La Festa di San Antonio, protettore di Nicastro.—Novellini Albanesi di Falconara.

19. Am Urquell. (Lunden, Holstein; ed. by F. S. Krauss, Vienna.) Vol. IV. No. 4, 1893. Geister in Katzengestalt. A. Wiedemann.—Über die Bedeutung des Herdes. (Continued in No. 5.) C. Rademacher.—Biblische Rätsel. A. Treichel.—Volkglauben der Wotjaken. (Continued in Nos. 5, 6.) B. Munkacsi.—Alltagglauben und volktümliche Heilkunde galizischer Juden. (Continued in Nos. 5, 6.) B. W. Schiffer.—Tod und Totenfetische im Volkglauben der Siebenbürger Sachsen. H. V. Wlislocki.—No. 5. Zaubergelt. (Continued in No. 6.) W. Sčurat.—Jüdische Volkmedizin in Ostgalizien. B. Benczner.—No. 6. Sagen von Ursprung der Fliegen und Moskiten. A. J. Chamberlain.—Der Tadel des Zuvielredens in Sprichwort und Volkanschauung. L. Fränkel.

20. Mittheilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien. (Vienna.) Vol. XXIII. Nos. 2–3, 1893. Die Heimat der Germanen. K. Penka.

21. Zeitschrift der deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. (Leipsic.) Vol. XLVII. No. 1, 1893. History of Child-Marriage. R. G. Blandarkar.

22. Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie. (Halle.) Vol. XVII. Nos. 1–2, 1893. Fede e superstitizione nell’ antica poesia francese. G. Schiavo.

23. Ethnologische Mitteilungen aus Ungarn. (Budapest; Ed. by A. Herrmann.) Vol. III. Nos. 1–2, 1893. Als Vorwort. A. Herrmann.—Mitteilungen uber die in Alcsúth angesiedelten Zeltzigeuner. Erzherzog Josef.—Neue Beiträge zur Volkskunde der Siebenbürger Sachsen. H. V. Wlislocki.—König Mathias und Peter Geréb. Ein bulgarisches Guslarenlied aus Bosnien. F. S. Krauss.—Dokumente zur Geschichte der Zigeuner. I. Litteratur.

24424. Česky Lid. (Prague.) No. 5, 1893. (Summary in French.) Sur la coutume de porter les images de la mort pendant le Mi-Carême. (Concluded.) C. Zibrt.—Sur la culture du lin dans les environs de Humpolec. (Concluded.) J. Mančal.—La maison paysanne des Khodes en Bohême. (Continued.) J. Hruska.—Exemples de l’ornamentation nationale sur les meubles. A. Solta.—Les jeux de Mi-Carême au Sud de Bohême. J. Zítek.—Une nouvelle série des chansons populaires du pays des Rhodes. H. Baar.—Une nouvelle série de coutumes et superstitions. Pâques.—Fragments dialectologiques des environs de Zleby. E. Kutílek.—Revue des livres et journaux.—Nouvelles et Correspondance.

25. Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for the year 1890–91. New Series, Vol. XXV. Shanghai, 1893. Botanicum Sinicum. Notes on Chinese Botany, from Native and Western Sources. E. Bretschneider.

1. Paper read at the Third Annual Meeting, Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 29, 1892.

2. In Indian usage the mother is spoken of before the father.

3. There may be an allusion to the name in this, for O-ne-tah (the Hemlock) means “Greens on a stick,” and O-neh-tah (the Pine) means “Porcupines clinging to a stick.”

4. Paper read before the American Folk-Lore Society, Montreal Branch, 1893.

5. A buckskin rope in those days.

6. Five inches in circumference.

7. The old Indian comb; it was made of wild oats, long grasses like thistles, sharp and black at the end. The Indians work these sharp ends through wool or cotton and cut off the sharp points, leaving the grass about two inches long, like bristles; then they take a piece of animal bladder, because it is soft, and tie the bundle of cloth together for a handle. This old mode of making a comb has gone; with the Indian’s present opportunity of buying combs, such as we use, it is an impossibility, almost, to procure a specimen of these old combs.


  1. P. 222, changed “Eichlen” to “Eicheln”.
  2. P. 223, changed “Roy” to “Rey”.
  3. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  4. Anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
  5. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together at the end of the last chapter.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Journal of American Folk-lore.
Vol. VI.--July-September, 1893.--N, by Various


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