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7. Trust no mistakes; when a bush shakes, tear out.
8. One rain won't make a crop. (This rather far-fetched interpretation is given: "If you do a person a favor, he may surprise you by doing you some injury.")
9. I may have, and you will not(?), changes in fortune.
13. 'Tain't no good to kill de crane after he done fly ober de roof er de house and call fer a corpse.
14. Whickerin' mares don't hatter ax de road to de cabin whar de ol' folks live. (The whickering mares are little brown birds known by that name to the plantation-hands. They are said to fly in flocks, and to come out about a cabin only when some old dweller therein approaches death. At such times they fly and whicker anear, and cannot be driven away.)
15. Day's short as ever, time's long as it has been.
Gone 'fo' you catch it gwine.
MONROE N. WORK.
A WEST-INDIAN TALE. — The following tale was told to me in New York City by Charles Penny of Trinidad. To him and to Grace Nail Johnson, who introduced him, editorial thanks are due.
Little girl, Mama Glau, and Humming-Bird.3 — One time there was a little girl called Babé, and Babé was livin' at she nenine (godmother). One day Babé did want to see she muma and she pupa, so she asked she nenine to le' she go to see them. Now, on the way dere was a very deep river, an' this day dere was a big shower of rain an' the whole place was covered over with water. When Babé reached the river an' couldn' get over, she begin cryin'. Den a mama glau (mermaid) came up an' asked Babé what she was cryin' fo'. Babé tell she that she want to go over an' see she muma an' she pupa, but she couldn' get over de river. De mama glau tell she, “I will take you over de river, but you musn’ let nobody know how you get over." So Mama Glau carry Babé over de river. Now you know Kilibwi (humming-bird) got very light ears. Mama Glau call Kilibwi and sen' him to listen to hear if Babé would tell anybody how she got over de
1 Compare this number, p. 360.
river. Babé reached de house, an' everybody was surprise; an' dey wanted to fin' out how she got over, because dey all did know dat de river did wash away de whole place. Babé keep on tellin' dem dat she cross it she self. But dey wouldn' believe she. Den in a easy way she tell dem, “Mama Glau cross me.” Kilibwi was very far, but he hear Babé, an' he begin singin',
“Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." 1 Kilibwi come right up to de house, singin',
"Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." Now, when Babé was goin' back, she muma an' she pupa know dat if Kilibwi reach Mama Glau firs' an' tell she that Babé give out de secret, Mama Glau would kill Babé, so dey pick a lot of flowers an' scatter dem in de road. Kilibwi come down, singin' —
"Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." But he was so greedy, he had to stop to suck these flowers. So Babé reach de river before Kilibwi, an' she tell Mama Glau dat she didn' tell anybody how she get over. So Mama Glau cross she over again. Now, Mr. Kilibwi come down, singin',
"Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." So Mama Glau says to Kilibwi, "Get on me right shoulder an' sing dat song." He sing it on de right shoulder. She say, "Get on me left shoulder."
"Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." She say, "Get on me right ear."
"Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui loyai Mama Glau." She say, "Get on me left ear.”
“Casa bilau bilau bil
I Babé qui toyai Mama Glau." Den she say, "Get in de palm of me lef' han'." An' after he get t'rough singin', Mama Glau hit him one slap an' grin' him up. An' de foam you see on de river whenever de rain fall is from Kilibwi. De people kill Mama Glau an' buil' a bridge over de river.
E. C. P.
A BRER RABBIT STORY. — The following story was collected by me at Fort Mitchell, Ala., from plantation Negroes. The song, both the "words" and the air, I have verified by having it sung by different members of the family. They tell me that the story as told by their grandfather always included the song.
Lil' girl had some greens in her garden. Brer Rabbit kep' er eatin' up her greens. Lil' girl say, "Brer Rabbit, don't you eat all dem bigges' greens! Come ober here where I is, and I let'cher eat dese here lil' ones."
1 "I Babé, who got Mama Glau into trouble."
So Brer Rabbit he come ober to eat lil' greens, and lil' girl ketch him. Den Brer Rabbit th'ows back his head and 'gins to sing, –
Lil' girl say, “Sing dat song ergin;" but Brer Rabbit he won't sing. Lil' girl say, “I fro you in the ribber!" Brer Rabbit say, “Fro me in the ribber!” –“I fro you in de creek!” — “Fro me in de creek!” — "I fro you in de well!” — “Fro me in de well! Des any place you minds to but in de brier-patch.” So course lil' girl, she fro him brier-patch; and Brer Rabbit jump up en clap his feet togedder, and say, "Bred and born in de brierpatch, lil' girl, bred and born in de brier-patch!"
EMILY N. HARVEY. FORT MITCHELL, ALA.
RESEARCH PROFESSORSHIP IN FOLK-LORE.-A foundation to provide for a research professorship in folk-lore has been established at Vassar College for a term of five years. It is the gift of a donor interested in ethnology who wishes to remain anonymous. Miss Martha Beckwith, Ph.D., who was formerly connected with the English Department at Vassar, has been appointed to the post. By this action, Vassar College becomes the first institution of learning in America to recognize the art of oral tradition in its relation to literature, as a curriculum subject. Miss Beckwith took her doctorate under Professor Franz Boas of Columbia University, and has done field-work in folk-lore both in Hawaii and among the Negroes of the Southern States and the West Indies. It is hoped that the problems arising in the class-room may be directly related to student work in the field.
Seneca Fiction, Legends, and Myths. Collected by JEREMIAH CURTIN and
J. N. B. Hewitt; edited by J. N. B. Hewitt (32d Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology). Washington, 1918.
The present volume brings us at last the long-promised publication of the valuable folkloristic material collected by Jeremiah Curtin among the Seneca in 1883, 1886, 1887. To this is added another series of equally valuable tales collected by Mr. Hewitt in 1896. This extended material gives us the possibility of a fairly full insight into the mythology and fiction of the Iroquois, which, excepting Mr. Barbeau's contribution on the Wyandot, has been known heretofore from fragmentary accounts only, - accounts told in much Europeanized form. Even in the present series may be noticed the greater accuracy of rendition in Mr. Hewitt's tales as compared to those collected by Mr. Curtin, a difference due to Mr. Hewitt's intimate knowledge of the Iroquois language. It would exceed the scope of a review to discuss the rich contents of this volume, which will always remain the most important source-book for Iroquois folk-lore. We may note, in passing, the curious absence of brief animal tales, which are so characteristic of other parts of North America; and the prevalence of tales of giants, thunder, and similar beings, and of tales of shamanistic or other supernatural powers, recounted in a somewhat epical way as a series of exploits of heroes. Judging from published material, the absence of animal tales would seem to be due, not to selection on the part of the collectors, but to actual conditions; although it is hardly conceivable that in early times these tales, which are so widely spread over the American Continent, should have been entirely unknown. It would be interesting to learn whether, among children and women, these tales may not be current.
In the introduction to the volume, which deals with general theoretical aspects of mythology, Mr. Hewitt assumes the standpoint that corresponds to the views that were held a long time ago, when it was still believed that folk-thoughts were always pure and beautiful, and reflected a past better period. His position reminds us of the state of mind of that period of Romanticism that gave birth to the study of folk-lore, and which is so strongly reflected in the fairy-tales of the brothers Grimm, and in the subsequent studies of this subject. It did not become clear to these students that folk-thought has another side, - if you will, coarser, and reflecting the pleasures of every-day life. This fact was recognized only when romantic thought gave way to a matter-of-fact consideration of the data. When Mr. Hewitt throws aside all the apparently coarse material in Indian lore because he likes to deal with those men who represent the best thought of the American race, he unintentionally falsifies the picture, as was done by early European folk-lorists a hundred years ago. The obscene incidents of Western and Algonquin myths form part and parcel of mythology, the character of which would be entirely misrepresented if they were omitted.
The theoretical introduction, also, pays no attention whatever to the recent discussions of the origin and development of mythologies. It
rather follows the attempts to explain every myth as the outgrowth of the direct observation of natural phenomena, and the attempt is made to identify every group of mythological beings with certain forces of nature. The whole question, in how far the interpretations may be secondary attempts to re-interpret transmitted mythological legendary material, either at the hands of the natives or at the hands of the student, — is not considered at all. From this point of view it must also be regretted that Mr. Hewitt does not accompany his series of tales with notes that would allow the student to compare the form and contents of Iroquois folk-lore with those of neighboring tribes. The task of a comparative study is left to a future student.
The general impression that we receive from reading Mr. Hewitt's present and former collections, and from the better-recorded tales published by other authors, is that the Iroquois have developed a strong individuality in the formation of the plots and in the literary treatment of their mythology. The contrast between an authentic series like the Ojibwa tales collected by William Jones and the material contained in the present volume is certainly very strong, and well worth a detailed study.
RAFAEL KARSTEN, Myths of the Ji'baros (Boletín de la Sociedad Ecuatori
ana de Estudios Históricos Americanos, 2: 325-339). 1919.
Dr. Rafael Karsten gives us here an interesting collection of myths of the Jíbaros (Shuará) of eastern Ecuador. The collection contains a variant of the ascent to heaven by means of an arrow-chain, which is so common on the northwest coast of America, but apparently unknown in the rest of North America and in Central America. Ehrenreich has called attention to its occurrence on the Amazonas and among the eastern Tupi (“Die Mythen und Legenden der südamerikanischen Urvölker" (Berlin, 1905; Supplement Ztschr. f. Ethn., 1905 : 49, 76]). The beginning of this Jibaro myth, which deals with the exploits of the twin culture-heroes, recalls the Guamachuco myth, according to which the twins originated from two eggs taken from their dying mother. — The story of the origin of fire also recalls North American types. The fire is taken by the hummingbird, who by deception gains access to the house of the owner of fire, and, when escaping, hides it in the bark of a tree. — The story of the origin of cultivated plants and other food-products through the magic words of a supernatural child is analogous to a legend of the eastern Tupi recorded by Thevet (see Ehrenreich, 1.c., p. 57).