IN the great emergencies of life, such as plagues, famines, deaths, funerals, and where witchcraft and black art are suspected, the aid or intervention of special fetiches is invoked, as has been described in the Yâkâ and other public ceremonies. The ritual required in such cases is often expensive, as money is needed for the doctor's fee, for purchase of ingredients and other materials for the "medicine," and in the entertainment of the assemblage that always gather as participants or spectators.
There is also loss in time, little as the native African values time, and slow as he is in the expedition of any matter. Houses that should be erected and gardens that should be planted are neglected while the rite to be performed is in hand. It may require even a month. During that time either the favorable season for building or planting may have passed, or the work has only partly been completed. The division of the seasons into two rainy (of three months each) and two dry (a short hot and a long cool) make it desirable, as in the temperate zones, for certain work to be done in certain seasons.
But for the needs of life, day by day, with its routine of occupations, whose outgoings and incomings are known and expected, the Bantu fetich worshipper depends on himself and his regular fetich charms, which, indeed, were made either at his request by a doctor (as we would order a suit of clothes from a tailor), or by himself on fetich rule obtained from a doctor; and when paid for, the doctor is no longer needed or considered. The worshipper keeps these amulets and mixed medicines hanging on the wall of his room or hidden in one of his boxes. But he gives them no regular reverence or worship, no sacrifice or prayer, until such times as their services are needed. He knows that the utilized actual spirits (or at least their influence), each in its specific material object, is safely ensconced and is only waiting the needs of its owner to be called into action.
These needs come day by day. Almost daily some one in the village is hunting, warring, trading, love-making, fishing, planting, or journeying.
For Hunting. The hunter or hunters start out each with his own fetich hanging from his belt or suspended from his shoulder; or, if there be something unusual, even if it be not very great, in the hunt about to be engaged in, a temporary charm may be performed by the doctor or even by the hunters themselves. This is the more likely to be done if there is an organized hunt including several persons. Such ceremonies preliminary to the chase are described by W. H. Brown as performed by an old witch-doctor among the Mashona tribe: "Fat of the zebra, eland, and other game was mixed with dirt and put into a small pot. Then some live coals were placed on the grease, which caused it to burn, so that clouds of thick smoke arose. The huntsmen sat in a circle around the pot, with the muzzles of their old flint-locks and cap-guns sticking into the smoke. In unison they bent over and took a smell of the fumes, and at the same time called out the name of the 'medicine' or spirit they were invoking, which was Saru, saying thus, 'Saru, I must kill game; I must kill game, Saru! Now, Saru, I must kill game!'
"After this performance was finished, each of the candidates in turn sat down near the doctor, to be personally operated upon by him. He placed a bowl of medicated water upon the huntsman's head, and stirred it with a stick while the latter repeated the names of all the kinds of game he wished to kill. This was to ascertain whether or not the hunt
[1. On the South African Frontier, p. 214.]
was to be successful. If any of the water splashed out and ran down over the patient's head and face, success was assured. If not a drop had left the bowl, then the huntsman might as well have laid aside his gun and assegai, for his efforts would have been doomed to failure."
Among the Matabele of Southeast Africa, "when they are about to start for the chase, they arrange themselves in a circle at sunset, and the doctor comes with the bark of a tree filled with medicine, and with his finger marks the chiefs on the forehead, in order to give them authority over the animals."
For Journeying. No journey of importance is made without preparation of a fetich, to which more forethought and time and care are given than to the preparation of food, clothing, etc., for the way. Arnot  describes the process: "On behalf of a caravan to start for Bihe, Msidi and his fetich priests have been at work a whole month, preparing charms and so forth. The process in such a case is first to divine as to the dangers that await them; then to propitiate with the appointed sacrifices to forefathers (in this case two goats were killed); afterwards to prepare the charms necessary either as antidotes against evil or to secure good. The noma or fetich spear to be carried in front of the caravan, with charms secured to it, was thus prepared. The roots of a sweet herb were tied around the blade; then a few bent splinters of wood were tied on, like the feathers of a shuttle-cock. In the cage thus formed, there were placed a piece of human skin, little bits of the claws of a lion, leopard, and so forth, with food, beer, and medical roots; thus securing, respectively, power over their enemies, safety from the paws of fierce animals, food and drink, and finally health. A cloth was sewn over all, and finally the king spat on it and blessed it. After all these performances they set out with light hearts, each man marked with sacred chalk."
"Before starting on a journey a man will spend perhaps a fortnight in preparing charms to overcome evils by the way and to enable him to destroy his enemies. If he is a trader,
[1 Garenganze, p. 207.]
he desires to find favor in the eyes of chiefs and a liberal price for his goods."
For Warring. So implicit is African faith in signs, charms, and auspices, that when the sign before going into war is inauspicious, the natives' hopelessness of success sometimes makes them seem almost cowardly. Among the people of Garenganze in Southeast Africa, "when the chiefs meet in war, victory does not depend on merely strength and courage, as we should suppose, but on fetich 'medicines.' If some men on the side of the more powerful chief fall, they at once retire and acknowledge that their medicines have failed, and they cannot be induced to renew the conflict on any consideration." 
Among the Matabele, "before a war the doctors concoct a special medicine, and taking some of the froth from it, mark with it the forehead of those who have already killed a man."
A native of Batanga recently described to me the war-fetich as formerly prepared by his people. The medicine for it is arranged for thus. A house is built at least several hundred yards from the village. There will be present no one but the doctor, who eats and sleeps there while be is arranging with the spirits and deciding on the medicine. After two days be tells the people that he has finished it, that his preparations are ready, and that they must assemble at his house. He tells them to bring with them a certain shaped spear with prongs. Men have already gathered in the village, to the number of several hundred, waiting for the war. The doctor chooses from among them some man whom he sends to the forest to get a certain ingredient, a red amomum pod. (It contains the "Guinea grains," or Mulaguetta pepper, which taste like cardamom seeds, which a century ago were so highly valued in Europe that only the rich could buy them.) Then the doctor and the man, leaving the crowd, go together to the forest with knife and macbete and basket. They may have to go several miles in order to find a tree called "unyongo-muaele." The doctor holds the chewed amomum seeds in his
mouth,and blows them out against the tree, saying, "Pha-a-a! The gun shots! Let them not touch me!" The assistant holds the basket while the doctor climbs the tree and rubs off pieces of loose bark which are caught in the basket as they fall. They then go on into the forest to find another tree named "kota." There he blows the chewed seeds in the same way saying the same,--"Pha-a-a! Thou tree! Let not the bullets hit me!" And the assistant, with basket standing below, catches the bark scraped down as the doctor climbs this tree.
They return to the village and enter the doctor's house. No women or children may enter the house or be present at the ceremonies. The men bring into the house a very big iron pot, and the doctor says, "This is what is to contain all the ingredients of the medicine." Then the doctor, with two other men, takes that spear by night, leaving all the other men to occupy themselves with songs of war, while the townspeople are asleep; they go to the grave of some man who has recently died. They dig open the grave, and force off the lid of the coffin. The doctor thrusts the spear down into the coffin into the head of the corpse. He twirls the spear about in the skull, so as to get a firm grip on it with the prongs of the spear. He changes his voice, and speaking in a hoarse guttural manner says, "Thou corpse! Do not let any one hear what l say! And do not thou injure me for doing this to you!" When the spear is well thrust into the skull, he stoops into the grave, and with a machete cuts off the head. He goes away carrying the head on the spear-point. While doing all this, be wears not the slightest particle of clothing. They go back to the village to the doctor's house; and there they catch a cock, and in the presence of the crowd the doctor twists (not cuts) off its head. The blood of the cock is caught in a large fresh leaf. He takes the fowl to the big pot, and lets some of its blood drip into it. The head of the corpse is also put into the pot, with water, and all the other ingredients, including the spear. The bullets of the doctor's gun are also to go into the pot, which is then set over a fire.
After the water has boiled the doctor takes a furry skin of a bush-cat, and all the hundreds of men stand on one side in a line. He dips the skin into the pot, and shakes it over them. As he thus sprinkles them, he lays on them a prohibition, thus: "All ye! this month, go ye not near your wives!" All that month is spent by them practising war songs and dances.
Then the doctor takes the blood that was collected on the leaf, and mixes it with powdered red-wood. This mixture is tied up with the human head in a flying-squirrel's skin. He hangs this bundle up in the house over the place where he sits. The body of the fowl next day is torn in pieces, not cut with a knife, and placed in a small earthen pot with njabi oil (the oil of a large pulpy forest fruit), and ngândâ (gourd) seeds. An entire fresh plantain bunch is cut, and successive squads of the men peel each man his small piece with his finger-nails. These also they shred with their nails, part into the pot, and part on a plantain leaf, is the pot is small, and all the pieces will be added as the contents of the pot are gradually reduced. The doctor himself lifts the pot from the fire, and first eats of the mess, and then gives each of the men, with his hand, a small share.
When all have finished eating, he opens the bundle that had been tied in the squirrel skin, and with the fibrous inner bark of a tree, kinibwa-mbenje (from which formerly was made the native bark-cloth), sponges the red rotten stuff on their breasts, saying, "Let no bullet come here!" Then, led by the doctor, they march in procession to the town. There he tells the people of the town to try to shoot him, explaining that he does not wish any one to be in doubt of the efficacy of the charm. As he leads the procession, he holds the bundle in his hand, shouting, "Budu! hah! hah! Budu! hah! hah!" The "hah" is uttered with a bold aspiration. This is to embolden his followers. ("Budu! hah!" does not inean anything; it is only a yell.) The people are terrified, though he is still shouting to them to fire at him. He is safe; for he leads the procession to where is stationed a confederate, who does fire at him point blank from a gun from which the bullets have been removed. It is a triumph for him! The crowd see that not only he does not fall dead, but he is not even wounded! The charm has turned aside the bullets!
The townspeople are then invited to join the procession. They stand up with the doctor and his crowd, and dance the war-dance. When the dancing is ended, he takes the bundle and anoints all the townspeople, even the women and children. And the men go to their war, sure of victory. But the doctor himself does not go; he remains safely behind, saying that it is necessary for him to watch the bundle in his house. Defeat in the war is easily explained by saying that some one in the crowd had spoiled the charm by not obeying some item in the ritual.
For Trading. One method is described to me by a Batanga native who had seen it used by a certain man of his tribe. This man obtained the head of a dead person who had been noted for his intelligence. This be kept hidden in his house, lying in a white basin. To assure himself that it should be seen by no one else, he built a small hut in the behu (kitchen-garden), detached from his dwelling, and into which none but himself and wife should enter. There he kept the head in its basin. When he had occasion to go to a white man's trading-house to ask for goods or any other favor, he first poured water into this basin, mixed it with the decomposed brain that had oozed from the skull, and washed his cheeks in this dirty water. He also took some brain-matter, mixed it with palm-oil, and rubbed it over his hands. Then, on his going to the trading-house, when the white man shakes hands with him and looks on his face, he will be pleased and generously disposed, and will grant any request made.
My informant told me that when he was a lad he assisted his father in using another method. His father was intimate with white men, trading extensively with them in ivory, To increase his credit, he set out to make a new fetich. He called the son to accompany him to the forest, and handed him a basket to carry. They searched among the trees until they found two growing near together, but bent in such a waytoward eachother that their trunks crossed incontact, and were rubbed smooth by abrasion; and when violently rubbing, in a storm, gave out a creaking sound. In that mysterious sound inhered the fetich power. He chose the trees, not for any value in their kind, but because of their singular juxtaposition and their weird sounds. He gathered bark from these trees, and the son carried the basketful back to their village. The father fixed the time of axrival and point of entrance so that they should not be seen as they came to their house. He then went out to the behu (kitchen-garden) and plucked four ripe plantains (mehole); and gathered leaves of a certain tree, by name "boka." An earthen pot containing water and pieces of the twin-tree bark was set over the fire, and into the pot were finely sliced the mehole and the boka.leaves. To these were added a certain kind of fish, by name "hume," a bottle of palm-oil, gourd seeds, and groundnuts. All these were thoroughly boiled together. When they were sufficiently boiled, he lifted off the pot from the fire, not by his hands, but by clasping its hot sides with his feet, as he sat on a low stool, and placed it on the ground. Sitting by it, he held his face over it, with a cloth thrown over his head, thus inhaling the steam. He remained in this steam bath for about an hour.
At food time he cut two pieces of leaves from plantains, spread them on the ground and sat on them, and ate the mess that was in the pot. While eating, he uttered into the pot adjurations, e.g., "Let no one, not even a Mabeya tribesman, hinder me from the white man's good-will! When I go some day to make my request to the white man, let him grant it!" When he had finished eating, he told his son to carry the pot into an inner room and deposit it in a large box, which the father opened for that purpose. The pot was not washed; it still contained the remains of the pottage. He told his son to reveal to no one what they had done.
That very day he heard that his trade friend in the adjacent inferior Mabeya tribe had obtained an ivory tusk for him. He at once started out alone to meet his friend on the way, so as to be sure that it would not be earried to some one else; but not as on other ordinary journeys. He was to look neither to the right nor to the left (as if watchful of possibly ambushed enemies), nor to look back, even if called by name; but with eye straightforward, to walk steadily to the goal. Before starting, he had rubbed some of the pottage mess on his band and tongue. On reaching the Mabeya village, his friend did not hesitate or haggle about the price, but promptly told him to take the tusk. Before selling it to the white trader, he scraped some ivory flakes from the outside of the tusk, put them into a decanter with two bottles of rum (before foreign liquor was known, native plantain beer was used) and pieces of the twin-tree bark. When subsequently he had occasion to go to the trading-house, he first drank a little from this decanter.
Another Bwanga-bwa-Ibâmâ, or trade medicine, is concocted as follows: A man who decides to make one for himself does not allow any one but his wife to know what he is about to do. He gathers from the forest leaves of a tree, by name "kota," the skin of a flying-squirrel (ngunye), from some dead person the nail from the fourth or little finger (of either hand), and the tip of the tongue, some drops of his wife's menses, a solution of red-wood powder, and the long tail-featbers of a forest bird, by name "kilinga." He then provides himself with an antelope's horn. Having burned the squirrel skin, he puts its ashes into the horn, mixed with the above-named articles, including the feather, whose end is allowed to stick out. Then, with the gum of the okume, or African mahogany tree, he closes the mouth of the horn, as with a cork, to prevent the liquid contents from escaping. This horn he suspends by a string from his neck or shoulder whenever be takes it with him on a journey. He uses it in his trade dealings with both whites and blacks. Before beginning a bargain or asking a white trader or another person for gifts of goods, he secretly pulls out the feather through the soft gum, and rubs a little of the liquid on the end of his nose. When this fetich is not in use, it is hidden in his bedroom or other private part of his house. But no one, not even his own family, is allowed to know where it is kept.
Among the Mpongwe tribes of the equator in West Africa there are trade medicines that involve actual murder. One of these is called "Okundu." Like modern spiritualism, it seeks to employ a human medium to communicate with the dead; but it is unlike spiritualism in that the medium must actually be killed before he can go on his errand.
In the case of a man who seeks to become wealthy in trade and goes to a magic doctor for that purpose, the doctor tells him of the different kinds of medicine, and some of the most important things required for each. The seeker, may choose what he is able and willing to do. For Okundu medicine it is required that the seeker shall name some one or more of his relatives who he is willing should die, and that their spirits be sent to influence white traders or other persons of wealth, and make them favorably disposed toward the seeker, so that they may employ him in positions of honor and profit. If the seeker hesitate to do the actual murder, the doctor, by his black art, is to kill the person nominated and send him on his errand. If the fear should occur to the seeker that perhaps the murdered relative, instead of devoting himself in the spirit-world to the trade interests of his murderer, should attempt to avenge himself, the subject is dismissed by the doctor's assurance that either the spirit shall not know that the death of its body was premature, or that he will overrule it for the desired purpose.
I know, personally, a Mpongwe man still living in Gabun who is believed to have done this Okundu. He is of prominent family, and had held lucrative service with white traders. His fortunes began to wane; he fell into debt, and white men began to doubt him and hesitated to entrust him. Though wearing the dress of a civilized gentleman, he is a heathen at heart. He had a little slave boy. The child suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Those who asked questions received evasive and contradictory answers. A very reliable native told me that it was known that this man had been communicating with an Okundu doctor, and many believed that the child had been put to death. But no one dared to say anything openly, and there was not sufficient proof on which to lay an information before the French governor, only a mile distant.
Another Mpongwe trade medicine is Mbumbu (which means rainbow"). Old tradition said that the rainbow was caused by a forest vine which a great snake had changed to the form of the sun-colored arc. The seeker of wealth is aided by the doctor to obtain a piece of this rainbow, which he keeps in secret, and can carry hidden with him. By it he is able at any time to kill any one of his relatives whom be may choose (of course unknown to them) and send their spirits off to induce foreign traders to give him a store of goods (the children's pot of gold at the rainbow's end?).
For Sickness. Among the Mpongwe and adjacent tribes there are three kinds of spirits invoked, according to the character of the disease. These are Nkinda, Ombwiri, and Olâgâ.
It is clear that these, as explained in a previous chapter, are names of spirits, but the same names (as in the case of other fetich mixtures) are given to the medicines in whose preparation they are invoked. But my informants differed in their opinions whether these names indicate different kinds of spirits, or only a difference in the functions or works done by them. One very intelligent and prominent native at first seemed uncertain, but subsequently said that "Nkinda" indicated the spirits of the common dead; "Ombwiri" the spirits of distinguished dead, kings, and other prominent men; and "Olâgâ," a higher class, who had been admitted to an "angelic" position in the spirit-world. All, however, asserted that all these are spirits of former human beings. Which kind shall be invoked depends on the doctor's diagnosis of the disease.
Take the case of some one who has been sick with an obscure disease that has not yielded to ordinary medication: the doctor begins his incantations with drum and dance and song. This is sometimes kept up all night, and in minor cases the patient is required to join in these ceremonies. But in the more mystic Nkinda, Ombwiri, and Olâgâ the sick person sits still, being required to do so as a part of the diagnosis. For if after a while the patient shall begin to nod his head violently, it is a sign that a spirit of some one of these three classes has taken possession of him. The doctor then takes him to a secret place in the forest, and asks the spirit what kind it is, and what the nature of the disease. The reply, though made by the patient, is not supposed to be his, but the spirit's who is using his mouth. Really the sick, dazed, submissive patient does not know what be is saying. After this diagnosis the doctor goes to seek plants suitable for the disease. By chance the patient may recover. If he does not, the doctor asserts that the spirit had misinformed him, and the ceremony must be performed again.
One of the physical signs indicating that Olâgâ, rather than Nkinda or Ombwiri, is the medicine to be used, is vomiting. Hemorrhages from the lungs would be included in the Olâgâ diagnosis.
"Among the Mashonas of South Africa a 'medicine' used is a small antelope horn called 'egona,' in which was a mixture of ground-nut oil and a medicinal bark known as 'unchanya.' The concoction is taken out on the end of a stick termed 'mutira,' and administered to the patient by dropping it into his ear. The doctor stated that it was a sure cure for headache.
"Another horn, four inches long, called 'mulimate,' was for the purpose of cupping and bleeding, and is used in this wise: An incision is made with a knife into the body, the large end of the horn is placed over the wound; then a vacuum is formed by the doctor's sucking the air out through an opening at the little end. The small hole is closed with wax, and the horn is left until it has become filled with clotted blood. This is the process of curing rheumatism and other maladies, which are supposed by the Mashonas to be literally drawn out with the blood. Bleeding is practised extensively; and I have seen natives bled from arms, legs, body, and head until they were so exhausted that weeks were required for their recovery.
"Another important instrument was a brush made of a zebra's tail, among the hairs of which were tied inany small roots and herbs possessing various medicinal properties. One of the remedies was known as 'gwandere,' and, taken internally, was a sure cure for worms, so the doctor stated. The brush was called 'muskwa,' this being the name of any animal's tail. The doctor demonstrated its use by operating upon a man in my presence. He placed some powdered herbs in a bowl of water, then dipped the brush in, and sprinkled the patient. Next, he performed several magic evolutions with the brush around the patient's body, at the same time repeating, 'May the sickness leave this person!' and so forth. The doctor told me that after this operation the patient was certain of recovery, unless some witch or spirit intervened to prevent it or to cause his death."
For Loving. Love philtres are common, even among the civilized and professedly Christian portion of the community. Philtres are both male and female. If a woman says to herself, "My husband does not love me; I will make him love me!" or if any woman desires to make any man love her, she prepares a medicine for that purpose. This charm is called "Iyele." The process is as follows: First, she scrapes from the role of her foot some skin, and lays it carefully aside. Next, when she has occasion to go to the public latrine at the seaside or on the edge of the forest, she washes her genitals in a small bowl of water, which she secretly carries to her house. Then, with a knife, she scrapes a little skin and mucous from the end of her tongue. These three ingredients she mixes in a bottle of water, which is to be used in her cooking.
The most attractive native mode of cooking fish and meat is in Jomba ("bundle"). The flesh is cut into pieces and
[1. Brown, On the South African Frontier.]
laid in layers with salt, pepper, some crushed oily nut, and a little water. These all are tied up tightly in several thicknesses of fresh green plantain leaves, and the bundle is set on a bed of hot coals. The water in the bundle is converted into steam before the thick fleshy leaves are charred through. The steam, unable to escape, permeates the fibres of the meat, thoroughly cooking it without boiling or burning.
When the above-mentioned woman cooks for the man, her husband, or any other for whom she is making the philtre, the water she uses in the jomba is taken from that prepared bottle. This jomba she sets before him, and be eats of it (unaware, of course, of her intention, or of the special mode of preparation). It is fully believed that the desired effect is immediate; that, as soon as he has finished eating, all the thoughts of his heart will be turned toward this woman, and that be will be ready to comply with any wish of hers. No objection to her, or to what she says, coming from any other person in the village, male or female, will be regarded by him.
I know a certain Gabun woman who boasted of her power, by the above-described means, to cause a certain white man whom she loved (but who was not her husband) to do anything at all that she bade him.
Also a small portion from that bottle may be poured (secretly) into the glass of liquor that is to be drunk by a favored guest. This is practised alike on visitors, white or black.
The process of making a love charm by a man is more elaborate. The ingredients are more numerous and require more time in their collection. Having fixed his desire on some woman, be decides in his heart, "I am going to marry such and such a woman in such and such a village!" But he keeps his intention entirely secret. He proceeds to make the male charm called "Ebâbi." (I do not know the origin of this word; it looks as if it belonged to the adjective "bobâbu" = soft, which is a derivative of the verb "babâkâ," to yield, to consent, to soften.) The first ingredient is coconut oil, which is poured into a flask made of a small gourd or calabash. Then, going to the forest, be gathers leaves of the borigom tree. Another day he will go again to the forest, and find leaves of the bokadi tree. Then he plucks some hairs from his arm-pits, and puts them and the bruised leaves, with some of his own urine, into the flask. This flask he then suspends from his kitchen roof above the itaka frame or hanging-shelf that in almost all kitchens is placed above the fire-hearth. It remains there in the smoke for ten days. Then taking it down, he inserts into it, tip downward, a long tail-feather of a large bird called "koka." He is ready then for his experiment. Any day that he chooses to go to seek the woman, be first draws out the feather, with whatever of the mixture clings to it, and wipes it on his hands. His hands he then rubs over his face rapidly and vigorously, saying, "So will I do to that woman!
He must immediately then start on his journey. This act of anointing his bands and face must have been his very last act before starting. And there are several prohibitions. He must have thought beforehand of all things needed to be done or handled, for after the anointing be must not touch any other thing. In taking the gourd-flask from above the hanging-shelf he must not touch the shelf. He must not rub or scratch his bead. He must not handle a broom. He must not shake hands with any one on the path to the woman's village. All these prohibitions are in order that the anointed mixture may not be rubbed off, or its effect counteracted by contact with anything else. When he reaches the woman's village, he goes directly to her, and clasping her on the shoulder, he rubs his bands downward on her arm, saying, "You! you woman! I love you!" Instantly the medicine is operative, and she is willing to go with him.
If it is only a love affair, she goes secretly. If he offers her marriage, there is first the amicable settlement by the council that is then held by the woman's family as to the amount of the dowry to be paid for her. Presents having, been given to her by him, the woman goes with the man without further objection. On reaching his house, he points out to her the gourd-flask hanging in the kitchen, and tells her, "Let that thing alone." But he does not inform her what it is; nor does she know or suspect that it is anything more than an ordinary fetich. Nor does any one else know; for no one had been allowed to see him perform any part of the several processes of the ritual in compounding the charm.
For Fishing. The prescription for making the fetich for success in fishing is as follows: Go in the morning early, while the rest of the villagers are asleep, to an adjacent marsh or pond. (Almost all African villages are built on or near the bank of some stream or lake.) Find a place where pond-lilies are growing. Wade into the pond, bend low in the water, and pluck three lily-pads. There are water-spiders, called "mbwa-ja-miba" (dogs of the water), generally running over the surface of the water at such places; catch four of them. Gather also leaves of another water-plant called "ngâma." All these articles leave in the village in a safe place. When other fishers come in from the sea, go to the beach to meet them; and if they have among their catch a certain fish called "bume," having three spines, beg or buy it. This you are to dry over the fire. Watch the daily fishing until some one has killed a shark; obtain its heart, which also is to be dried. Take also a plate full of gourd seeds (nganda) and some ground-nuts (mbenda); also five "fingers" of unripe plantains cut from the living bunch on the stalk, and a tumblerful of palm-oil. All these above-named ingredients are to be mixed in one pot (which must be earthen) and are to be cooked in it. While the mess is boiling, sit by, face over the pot, in the steam rising from it, and speak into the pot, "Let me catch fish every day! every day!" No people are to be present, or to see any of these proceedings. Take the pot off the fire, not with your hands, but by your feet, and set it on the ground. Take all your fish-hooks, and hold them in the steam arising from the pot. Take a banana leaf that is perfect and not torn bywind, and laying it on the ground, spread out the hooks on it. Then eat the stewed mess, not with a real spoon, but with a leaf twisted as a spoon. In eating, flic inedible portions, such as fish-bones, skins, rind, and so forth, are not to be ejected from the mouth on the ground, but must be removed by the fingers and carefully laid on the banana leaf. Having finished eating, call one of the village dogs, as if it was to be given liberty to eat the remains of the mess. As the dog begins to eat, strike it sharply, and as the aninial runs away howling, say, "So! may I strike fish!" Then kick the pot over. Take the refuse of food from the banana leaf, and the hooks, and lay them at the foot of the plantain stalk from which the five "fingers" were cut. Leave the pot lying as it was until night. Then, unseen, take it out into the village street, and violently dash it to pieces on the ground, saying, "So! may I kill fish!" It is expected that the villagers shall not hear the sound of the breaking of the vessel; for it must be done only when they are believed to be asleep. When the bunch of plantains from which those fingers were taken ripens, and is finally cut down for food by others, you are forbidden to eat not only of it, but of the fruit of any of its shoots that in regular succession, year after year (according to the manner of bananas and plantains), take the place of the predecessor stalk. You may never eat of their fruit.
For Planting. Planting is done almost entirely by women. If a woman says to herself, "I want to have plenty of food! I will make medicine for it!" she proceeds to gather the necessary ingredients. She takes her ukwala (machete), pavo (knife), short hoe (like a trowel), and elinga (basket), and goes to the forest. She must go very early in the morning, and alone. She gathers a leaf called "tube," another called "injenji," the bark of a tree called "bohamba," the bark also of elâmbâ, and leaves of bokuda. Hiding them in a safe place, she goes back to her village to get her earthen pot. Returning with it to the forest, she makes a fire, not with coals from the village, but with new, clean fire made by the two fire-sticks. These, used by natives before steel and flint were introduced, require often an hour's twirling before friction develops sufficient heat to cause a spark. The sparks are caught on thoroughly dried plantain fibre. Then she builds her fire. She goes to some spring or stream for water to put in the pot with the leaves and barks, and sets it on the fire. All this while she is not to be seen by other people. When the water has boiled, she sets the pot in the middle of the acre of ground which she intends to clear for her garden until its contents cool. In the meanwhile she goes to some creek and gets "chalk" (a white clay is found in places in the beds of streams). She washes it clean of mud and rubs it on her breast. Then she takes the pot, and empties its decoction by sprinkling it, with a bunch of leaves, over the ground, saying, "My forefathers! now in the land of spirits, give me food! Let me have food more abundantly than all other people!" Then she again sets the pot in the middle of the proposed plantation. She takes from it the tube leaves and puts them into four little cornucopias (ehongo), which she rolls from another large leaf of the elende tree. She sets these in the four corners of the garden. Whenever she comes on any other day to work in the garden, she pulls a succulent plant, squeezes its juice into the ehongo; and this juice she drops into her eye. To be efficient, this medicine has a prohibition connected with it, viz., that during the days of her menses she shall not go to the garden.
When her plants have grown, and she has eaten of them, she must break the pot. Having done so, she makes a large fire at an end of the garden, and burns the pieces of earthenware so that they shall be utterly calcined. It is not required that she shall stay by the fire awaiting that result. She may, if she wishes, in the meanwhile go back to her village. She takes the ashes of the pot, mixes them with chalk in a jornba (bundle) of leaves, which she ties to a tree of her garden in a hidden spot where people will not see it.
Another strict prohibition is required of her by the medicine, viz., that she is not to steal from another woman's garden. If she break this law, her own garden will not produce. The jomba is kept for years, or as long as she plants at that place, and the chalk mixture is rubbed on her breast at each planting season. From time to time also, as the leaves of the jomba decay or break away, she puts fresh ones about it, to prevent the wetting of its contents by rain or its injury in any other way.