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from that day we find Bijo among the people, always leading them into strife.
14. NEVER TELL THE THINGS OF TABOO YOU HAPPEN TO SEE. Son-of-Man went to the forest, where he found a honey-tree. He cut the vines about the tree, and prepared it otherwise for climbing to the beehive. Thus he said to himself: "To-morrow I'll come and get the honey.” Away he went.
Then came Kôn, who also saw the tree. “I'll come to-morrow and get the honey,” he said.
When he arrived the next morning, he divided himself into three parts. The part with his head climbed the tree. The part consisting of buttocks and legs he left at the foot of the tree. The trunk was put aside.
While this was going on, Son-of-Man came along, saw the thing that Kôn did, and watched the head-part climb the tree. He hid himself to see what would happen.
When KÔn finished taking out the honey from the tree, he descended. Suddenly he saw Son-of-Man where he was standing. "Where have you come from?" he asked. “Was it when I climbed up, or when I came down, when was it you came?" Son-of-Man thus: “While you were yet standing at the foot of the tree, then it was I came." So Kôn took the honey, dividing evenly with Son-of-Man. As he was doing this, for the second time he asked Son-of-Man when it was he came. Again Kôn was told, “While you were yet standing at the foot of the tree.” Then Son-of-Man turned to leave for his village. But ere he left, Kôn asked him the same question again, twice. “You will not tell this thing to any other person,” said Kôn as Son-of-Man left him.
When Son-of-Man reached his village, he called his wife, asking her to bring him his food. When she had given it to him, he gave her a portion of the honey. "Where have you gotten this?" she asked. "Go to your hut, I'll remain here," he answered. But again she asked where he had gotten the honey. So he told her the wonderful thing he had seen Kôn do. When he had ended telling her, Son-of-Man fell over dead. His wife cried the death-cry. Her mother heard it, and came rushing out to see what had happened. Wife of Son-of-Man told her all the things her husband had told her, and of his death. Then she too fell down dead.
From that day even to this, when Kôn gives a taboo, the sons of men refuse to break it.
· When a man dies, he becomes a kôn. They are believed to be small, black peoplespirits.
VOL. 32.-NO. 125.-29.
NOTES AND QUERIES.
AMERICAN INDIFFERENCE TO STUDY OF FOLK-LORE. - I am taking the liberty of asking you, Mr. Editor, or my fellow-members of the American Folk-Lore Society through you, a few questions. I see by the list of members of the Society that about one out of every five hundred thousand Americans cares enough about the folk-lore of his own country to subscribe for the Journal. In looking through the libraries of several colleges, universities, and cities, I find, in among their thousands upon thousands of volumes on almost every known topic, a paltry two or three non-representative, accidentally acquired, books on folk-lore. I find in the college curricula that have come to my notice no courses on folk-lore. Am I justified in the general assumption, from these observations, that the American people are quite indifferent to this phase of their own culture? Assuming a positive answer, I wonder why. As a lover of folk-lore and as an American, the conviction that such a condition exists gives me real pain. I have felt that a knowledge of the naïve culture of the masses past and present was really fundamental to a thorough understanding of our socalled "higher" civilization. I have assumed that the flowering, indeed the very inner life itself, of literature, music, dance, -all arts, in fact, is dependent on the roots of such arts being well nourished in this sub-soil of mass-culture. Am I right, or wrong, in this assumption? Taking for granted an affirmative answer also to this question, my pessimism becomes deeper; for it appears that this American indifference is in regard to a basically worth-while thing.
Again I wonder why. Is it a part of that supposed general indifference, in a land of the pressing present, to things which are past, either in time or development? I do not believe so. Our schools and colleges delve into the past. Courses in political history and in history of literature are common and well attended. Less common, but still offered in numerous institutions, are history of church, of art, music, architecture, ceramics, etc. Each of these branches strives to reach back to the "beginning." But does it reach that far back? And, if so, do they collectively make a study of primitive culture as such dispensable? What kind of a mental picture would the individual student get of the home environment, so to speak, of all these arts, when they were young, even if he studied all these histories and others? Probably a very good one, we must admit. But who studies all these, even superficially? Nobody! One studies one, another studies another, "history." The result is a dim and fragmentary concept, or no concept at all, of that primitive home environment. Take folk-song, for instance, a fairly representative detail in the ideal mental picture of primitive human art activity. The student in conservatory or college reads in his history of music a page or so about the folk-song form, but never a word about the poetry, the dance, the instrument-playing, etc., which were, and are still, in primitive society, bound up in the concept "folk-song." Again, take your student of literature. In his historical courses he may hear a little something of "folk-poetry" or "popular bal
lads.” He may learn also that these ballads were once sung. But into their real souls, as uncut gems of essentially musical folk-art, as primitive music-dramas of the simpler folk of the past and of the present, not only in the Old World, but also even in many parts of his own country, — into all this the student gets little or no insight. I am not familiar with the conditions surrounding other historical subjects as they are presented in colleges, in their relationship to the primitive or traditional in human culture, but I see no reason why they should be essentially different.
If, then, our best educational thought does recognize that we learn the present through the past, the developed through the primitive, the complex through the simple, how are we to explain the practically complete absence of ethnology, and its important branch folk-lore, from our whole system of learning? Is this another exhibition of that "superficiality" of which some of our world-neighbors accuse us? Or is it just plain every-day ignorance, even among educators, of a rather new phase of education, – one that has not yet been pulled into the lime-light by any economic force?
But what of it?
My little girl came home one day from school (in one of our larger cities) singing something the teacher had taught them, the general trend of which was, —
"Good morning Mister Zipp, Zipp, Zipp,
Your hair cut just as short as -mine." Is this — in view of the rich stores of children's songs available to all teachers from the folk-lore of our own land and many others — funny, or shameful?
Surely the present art-cravings of our youth are being satisfied. After a fashion. But if we feed them on the untried products of the present alone, will not their artistic natures be hopelessly malnourished? What are folk-lorists going to do about it?
GEORGE PULLEN JACKSON. VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY,
RIDDLES AND PROVERBS FROM THE BAHAMA ISLANDS. Riddles. — Riddles i to 16 were collected at Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera, from Ellen Johnson and Nehemiah Hall by Father Wade; Riddles 17 to 24 were written by Benjamin Farquharson of Watling's Island. They all began with the opening given in connection with Riddle 17.
1. Poor little Wee-wee, only one eye. — Ans. Needle.
2. My father has some things to hang, but they don't bear. — Ans. Windows. 3. Four foot up, four foot down, Soft in the middle, and hard all roun'.
Ans. Bedstead. 4. Whitey sent Whitey to stop Whitey eating Whitey. 1 – Ans. White man sent white boy to stop cow eating white clothes.
1 This is one of the most current riddles in the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Riddles 3. 5, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, have also been recorded there. See p. 375.-E. C. P.
5. White man sitting on the black man's head. — Ans. Reel of thread.
6. My mother has something with a thousand windows and only one door. — Ans. Thimble.
7. My father sent to Africa to buy some slave; every one came with their heart on their back. — Ans. Ring.
8. My father has a rooster; every time it crow, it crow fire. - Ans. Gun.
9. My father had a trunk, it only had two suit of clo'es. — Ans. Groundnut.1
10. Build the house with one post. — Ans. Mill.2
Ans. Eye-vinker never fall in your eye. 13. Humpy Dumpy on the wall,
Humpy Dumpy had a fall,
Ans. Fowl egg. 14. Old Linkan died, but never rose agin. — Ans. Glass bottle.
15. My father went to Egypt to buy some corn; the corn fell down before him. — Ans. Cocoanut.
16. House full, kitchen full, yet can't get a thimble full. — Ans. Smoke.
Perhaps you can tell me this riddle,
Ans. Fowl Eggs.
Ans. A gun.?
Ans. Star in the sky.'
: Eyelid. 2 Compare Sierra Leone, Cronise and Ward, 195.
4 Lincoln (?)
6 Compare Ibid., 30 : 276, No. 13; also No. 13, above. — E. C. P
22. Two legs sit on four legs with one leg in his lap.
Up comes four legs and takes one leg,
lap. A dog took it, and the man took the chair, knock
the dog, and got the leg of mutton back. 23. It's a thing you have been wearing over two years. Ans. Hat over two ears.
24. It's a thing you have that I use more than you. Ans. Your name.
Proverbs. — The following proverbs were collected in Eleuthera, and were written by H. H. Finlay of Bannerman Town.
1. When man dead, grass grow to 'em door.
In time of adversity, not one in twenty.
ELSIE ClEWS PARSONS.
GEECHEE AND OTHER PROVERBS. — With two exceptions, the Geechee proverbs in the following collection were published in the "Southern Workman," November, 1905.
1. If you dig a pit for me, you dig one for yourself. (This is equivalent to, “What you are planning for me will happen to you.")
2. Pitcher goes to the well every day. One day more than all, it will probably leave its handle. (This means, "You have escaped thus far, but sooner or later you will be caught and punished.")
3. Seven years is not too long for a rabbit to wear a rough-bosom shirt. (This is said to a boasting person, or to a person who is pretending that he can get along without other people's help.)
4. It rains, and every man feels it some day. (This is the same as, "Fortune changes. You may have something to-day, and I to-morrow.")
5. A hard head makes a soft back. (This is equivalent to, “If a child will not be admonished, he will be beaten.")
6. Stand further better more than beg pardon. (This means, “It is much better to keep out of trouble than to beg pardon after getting into it.")
1 Compare Izett Anderson and Frank Cundall, Jamaica Negro Proverbs and Sayings (Kingston, 1910), No. 180.
Compare Ibid., No. 14.