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THE core of Bantu religion, we may say, is the cult of the dead.

The belief in a High God is more or less vaguely some tribes it is almost forgotten, or, at any rate, not much regarded-but everywhere among Bantu-speaking peoples the spirits of the departed are recognized, honoured, and propitiated. There is not the slightest doubt that these people believe in something which survives the death of the body. No African tribe can be said with certainty to think that death ends all, perhaps not even the Masai,[1] of whom this has been asserted in a somewhat haphazard fashion. The universal Bantu custom of offerings to the spirits of deceased relatives is surely a sufficient proof to the contrary.

One cannot expect to find a reasoned theory of spiritual existence among people as relatively primitive as these, nor complete agreement between the beliefs of different tribes, or even between individuals of the same tribe. But, generally speaking, it is everywhere held that something, which we will call the ghost, lives on when the body dies, and can, to some extent, influence the affairs of the living. The ghosts can communicate with the living through dreams, through signs and omens, and through the medium of diviners or prophets. They may bring disaster on the family or the tribe if offended by neglect or, sometimes, as a judgment on some undiscovered sin. They are not invariably malignant, as sometimes stated; in fact, they are quite often regarded with affectionate respect, and show themselves helpful to their kinsfolk in time of need.

Spirit not Immortal

Though the ghost survives the body for an indefinite period it is not necessarily thought of as living on for ever. Some people distinctly state (perhaps only after having been

[1. See Hollis, The Masai, p. 307.]

forced by questioning to think the matter out) that after the lapse of several generations they simply go back to nothingness, except in the case of outstanding personalities, remembered beyond the circle of their immediate descendants, such as ancient chiefs and tribal benefactors. In other words, the ghosts last only as long as they are remembered by the living: the parents and grandparents are always commemorated and sacrificed to; the three preceding generations maintain a precarious existence, fighting for a share in the offerings and occasionally forcing attention by terrifying apparitions; any older than these are said to " go to pieces." Where reincarnation is definitely believed in, as seems to be the case to a great extent, life lasts as long as there is a child of the line to carry it on, and only comes to an end if the family dies out. Yet another view prevails among the Wazaramo,[l] a tribe of Tanganyika Territory, in the immediate neighbourhood of Dar-es- Salaam. With them family ghosts (those of father, grandfather, and maternal uncle) are called makungu, and are honoured and propitiated in the usual way. With the passing of generations they lose their individuality, and are merged in the host of spirits known collectively as vinyamkela or majini. The difference between these two classes is variously stated, but every one seems to be agreed that the latter are the more powerful of the two, while both have more power than ordinary kungu ghosts. Some say that the vinyamkela (singular kinyamkela) are the ghosts of children, the majini those of adults, while others hold that the former were in their lifetime kindly, inoffensive people, the majini men of violence. This last name is of comparatively recent introduction, being borrowed from the Arabic jinn; the earlier name for such a ghost was dzedzeta, or, according to some, mwene mbago, which means "lord (or lady) of the forest." This being is invisible, except to the 'doctors,' whose business is to exorcize him, and has his abode in hollow trees. The kinyamkela is also, as a rule, invisible, but when he (or she) appears it is as half a human body, "with one leg, one hand, one eye, and one

[1. Klamroth, in Zeitschrift für Kolonialsprachen, pp. 46-70 and 118-124.]

ear." I shall have something more to say about these half-human beings later on.

Abode of the Ghosts

Different accounts are given as to the whereabouts of the ghosts, but the most general notion seems to be that they remain for some time in or about the grave, or perhaps at a certain place in the hut they inhabited during life, and afterwards depart to the country of the dead, which is imagined to be underground. Here they live very much as they did on earth, as one gathers from the numerous legends of persons who have reached this country and come back to tell the tale.

The Yao chief Matope, who died near Blantyre in 1893, was buried, according to local custom, in his hut, which was then shut up and left to fall into ruin. A year after his death the headman brought out his stool and sprinkled snuff round it as an offering to his spirit. I was told that this would be done again in the following year; after that he would cease to haunt the spot. It was not said on this occasion where he was expected to go.

The Wazaramo believe ghosts as a rule to be mischievous: thus persons passing near a recent grave after dark may be pelted with stones by the kungu-a trick which is also sometimes played by the kinyamkela. But this characteristic is by no means universal.

The Dead return in Animal Form

Another very general belief is that the dead are apt to reappear in animal forms, most usually those of snakes or lizards, though, apparently, almost any animal may be chosen. The Atonga of Lake Nyasa say that by taking certain medicines a person can ensure his changing after death into whichever animal he may fancy. Some say that their great chiefs come back as lions. Wizards of a specially noisome kind can turn themselves at will, while living, into hyenas or leopards-it is not so clear whether they assume the forms of these animals after death. The precautions taken by way of annihilating, if that were possible, the dead bodies of such people would seem to have the object of preventing this.

The Country of the Dead

The ghost country can be reached through caves or holes in the ground; a favourite incident in folk-tales is the adventure of a man who followed a porcupine or other such creature into its burrow, and by and by found himself in the village of the dead. Mr Melland[1] says that by the Wakuluwe (a tribe near the south end of Lake Tanganyika) the fisinzwa (ghosts) "are supposed to remain in a village in the centre of the earth." Casalis, [2] an early observer of the Basuto (about 1840), says: "All natives place the spirit world in the bowels of the earth. They call this mysterious region mosima, the abyss." This word in recent dictionaries is said to mean only: "a hole in the ground, den, hole of a wild animal," so that the other signification, whether primary or derived, has probably been forgotten. The spirit country is very generally known by a name related to the Swahili kuzimu. The stem -zimu, or a similar form, occurs in many languages, meaning either a spirit or the kind of monstrous ogre who will be discussed later.

The Bapedi of the Transvaal used to say that the gateway to Mosima was in their country, and could be entered by anyone who had the courage. It seems to have been necessary for two or more persons to go together; they held each other's hands before entering the pass, and shouted: " Ghosts, get out of the way! We are going to throw stones!" After which they passed in without difficulty.

As already stated, the ghosts are believed to lead much the same life in their village as they did on the upper earth; but details vary from place to place. Some of Casalis' informants described valleys always green (no droughts such as South African farmers dread) grazed over by immense herds of beautiful hornless cattle. Others seemed to think that the life was but a dull one, without joy or sorrow."

[1. Through the Heart of Africa, p. 24.

2. Les Bassoutos, p. 761.]

The Wakuluwe shades are described as weary and homesick, which is the reason why from time to time they come up and fetch a relative to keep them company. In their country it is always night-the absence of daylight is not as a rule mentioned in these accounts-but "the village. . . is said to be lighted by a mightier light than [any on] earth, and the spirits wear shining clothes, and the huts are thatched with shining grass."

On Kilimanjaro the spirit land may be reached by plunging into pools, but there are also certain gateways-perhaps some of the caves which abound in the sides of that mountain. The gates are all closed nowadays-more's the pity!

The Haunted Groves

But sometimes the ghosts have their dwelling above ground, in the "sacred groves" where the dead are buried. This custom of burial in the forest is very general in East Africa; the trees of the burying-ground are never cut down, and care is taken to protect them, as far as possible, against the bush-fires which rage at the end of the dry season. Hence in Nyasaland you will find here and there, towering over the level scrub, a clump of tall trees, and in their shade some pots, a broken hoe or two, or the fragments of a bow will mark the place of graves.

In these groves the spirits sometimes hold their revels: people in distant villages have heard their drums. There are places deep in the woods where the earth has been swept clean, as if for a dancing-floor, and here they assemble. Passers-by may hear faint music, but see no one; the sounds seem to be in front, but when they have gone on a little way they are heard behind them.

In Nyasaland there are ghosts which haunt particular hills, probably those where old chiefs have been buried, and there are strange accounts given of "the spirits' hill" [1]-piri la mizimu-where women passing by carrying pots on their heads have had the pots taken from them by baboons. One is left to infer that the baboons are shapes assumed by

[1. Scott, Dictionary, P- 416.]

the ghosts, though this is not expressly stated, and elsewhere one finds baboons mentioned only as wizards' familiars, not as reincarnated ancestors. There are bananas grown on the spirits' hill-you can cut a bunch and eat some; but if you carry any away they will have disappeared before you reach your village.

Ghost Stories: the Kinyamkela's Bananas

Near Mkongole, in the Zaramo country, there was once a hollow tree haunted by a kinyamkela. Two boys from Mkongole, Mahimbwa and Kibwana, strolling through the woods, happened to come upon this tree, and saw that the ground had been swept clean all round it and that there was a bunch of bananas hanging from a branch. They took the bananas down, ate them, and went home quite happy. But that night, when they were both asleep in the 'boys' house' of their village, they were awakened by a queer noise, and saw the one-legged, one-armed kinyamkela standing in the doorway. He called out to them: "You have eaten my bananas! You must die!" And with that they were suddenly hit by stones flying out of the darkness. There was a regular rain of stones, lumps of earth, and even human bones. The boys jumped up, ran out, and took refuge in another hut, but the stones followed them there. This went on for four nights-apparently without anyone getting seriously hurt-and then a doctor named Kikwilo decided to take the matter in hand. He said to the boys, "You have eaten the kinyamkela's bananas; that is why he comes after you." He took a gourd, twice seven small loaves of bread, a fowl, some rice, and some bananas, and went to the kinyamkela's tree, where he laid the things down, saying, "The boys are sorry for what they did. Can you not leave them alone now?" That night the kinyamkela appeared again to Mahimbwa and Kibwana, and said, "It's all right now; the matter is settled; but don't let it happen again."

So there was peace in the village, and all would have been well if the business had stopped there. But there was a certain man named Mataula, a wood-carver, addicted to hemp-smoking (this is perhaps mentioned to show that he was not quite responsible), who was, unluckily, absent at the time. When he came back and heard the story he declared that some one must have been playing a trick on the boys, and announced that he would sit up that night and see what happened. So he loaded his gun and waited. The kinyamkela must have heard his words, for as soon as it was dark he began to be pelted with bones and all sorts of dirt, and at last an invisible hand began to beat him with a leg-bone. He could not fire, as he could see no one, and was quite helpless to defend himself against the missiles. The neighbours had no cause to bless him, for they began to be persecuted similarly, and at last the whole population had to emigrate, as life in the village had become unendurable.[1]

Some well-authenticated reports from clergy of the Universities' Mission who have seen and felt lumps of mud thrown about without visible agency make one wonder whether stories like this ought not to be taken seriously. Similar occurrences nearer home have sometimes been satisfactorily explained, but not always.

Kwege and Bahati

Another story from Uzaramo [2] shows the dead coming back in the form of birds. This is less usual than for them to come as snakes or lions, except in the special case of a murdered man or woman, as will be illustrated by the story of Nyengebule to be told presently.

There was once upon a time a man who married a woman of the Uwingu clan (uwingu means 'sky') who was named Mulamuwingu, and whose brother, Muwingu, lived in her old home, a day or two's journey from her husband's.

The couple had a son called Kwege, and lived happily enough till, in course of time, the husband died) leaving his wife with her son and a slave, Bahati, who had belonged to an old friend of theirs and had come to them on that friend's death.

[Klamroth, in Zeitschrift für Kolonialsprachen, p. 118 .

2. Ibid., p. 128.]

Now the tabu of the Sky clan was rain-that is, rain must never be allowed to fall on anyone belonging to it; if this were to happen he or she would die.

One day when the weather looked threatening Mulamuwingu said, "My son Kwege, just go over to the garden and pick some gourds, so that I can cook them for our dinner." Kwege very rudely refused, and his mother rejoined, "I am afraid of my mwidzilo (tabu). If I go to the garden I shall die." Then Bahati, the slave, said, "I will go," and he went and gathered the gourds and brought them back.

Next day Kwege's mother again asked him to go to the garden, and again he refused. So she said, "Very well; I will go; but if I die it will be your fault." She set out, and when she reached the garden, which was a long way from any shelter, a great cloud gathered, and it began to rain. When the first drops touched her she fell down dead.

Kwege had no dinner that evening, and when he found his mother did not come home either that day or the next (it does not seem to have entered into his head that he might go in search of her) he began to cry, saying, "Mother is dead! Mother is dead!" Then he called Bahati, and they set out to go to his uncle's village.

Now Kwege was a handsome lad, but Bahati was very ugly; and Kwege was well dressed, with plenty of cloth, while Bahati had only a bit of rag round his waist.

As they walked along Kwege said to Bahati, "When we come to a log lying across the path you must carry me over. If I step over it I shall die." For Kwege's mwidzilo was stepping over a log.

Bahati agreed, but when they came to a fallen tree he refused to lift Kwege over till he had given him a cloth. This went on every time they came to a log, till he had acquired everything Kwege was wearing, down to his leglets and his bead ornaments. And when they arrived at Muwingu's village and were welcomed by the people Bahati sat down on one of the mats brought out for them and told Kwege to sit on the bare ground. He introduced himself to Muwingu as his sister's son, and treated Kwege as his slave, suggesting, after a day or two, that he should be sent out to the rice-fields to scare the birds. Kwege, in the ragged kilt which was the only thing Bahati had left him, went out to the fields, looked at the flocks of birds hovering over the rice, and then, sitting down under a tree, wept bitterly. Presently he began to sing:

I, Kwege, weep, I weep!
And my crying is what the birds say.
Oh, you log, my tabu!
I cry in the speech of the birds.
They have taken my clothes,
They have taken my leglets,
They have taken my beads,
I am turned into Bahati.
Bahati is turned into Kwege.
I weep in the speech of the birds."

Now his dead parents, had both been turned into birds. They came and perched on the tree above him, listening to his song, and said, "Looo! Muwingu has taken Bahati into his house and is treating him like a free man and Kwege, his nephew, as a slave! How can that be?"

Kwege heard what they said, and told his story. Then his father flapped one wing, and out fell a bundle of cloth; he flapped the other wing and brought out beads, leglets, and a little gourd full of oil. His mother, in the same way, produced a ready-cooked meal of rice and meat. When he had eaten they fetched water (by this time they had been turned back into human beings), washed him and oiled him, and then said, "Never mind the birds-let them eat Muwingu's rice, since he has sent you to scare them while he is treating Bahati as his son!" So they sat down, all three together, and talked till the sun went down.

On the way back Kwege hid all the cloth and beads that his parents had given him in the long grass, and put on his old rag again. But when he reached the house the family were surprised to see him looking so clean and glossy, as if he had just come from a bath, and cried out, "Where did you get this oil you have been rubbing yourself with? Did you runoff and leave your work to go after it?" He did not want to say, "Mother gave it me," so he simply denied that he had been anointing himself.

Next day he went back to the rice-field and sang his song again. The birds flew down at once, and, seeing him in the same miserable state as before, asked him what he had done with their gifts. He said they had been taken from him, thinking that, while he was about it, he might as well get all he could. They did not question his good faith, but supplied him afresh with everything, and, resuming their own forms, they sat by him while he ate.

Meanwhile Muwingu's son had taken it into his head to go and see how the supposed Bahati was getting on with his job-it is possible that he had begun to be suspicious of the man who called himself Kwege. What was his astonishment to see a good-looking youth, dressed in a clean cloth, with bead necklaces and all the usual ornaments, sitting between two people, whom he recognized as his father's dead sister and her husband. He was terrified, and ran back to tell his father that Kwege was Bahati and Bahati Kwege, and related what he had seen. Muwingu at once went with him to the rice-field, and found that it was quite true. They hid and waited for Kwege to come home. Then, as he drew near the place where he had hidden his cloth, his uncle sprang out and seized him. He struggled to get away, but Muwingu pacified him, saying, "So you are my nephew Kwege after all, and that fellow is Bahati! Why did you not tell me before? Never mind; I shall kill him to-day." And kill him they did; and Kwege was installed in his rightful position. Muwingu made a great feast, inviting all his neighbours, to celebrate the occasion. "Here ends my story," says the narrator.

Kwege, it will be seen, is described as anything but a model son, who does not deserve the kindness of his very forbearing parents; but it is evidently reckoned for righteousness to him that he submitted to any amount of inconvenience and indignity rather than break his mwidzilo. Another point to notice is the curious limitation in the powers of the ghosts. They can assume any form they please and go anywhere they wish; they can produce magical stores out of nowhere; but they never seem to suspect that Kwege is deceiving them when he says he has been robbed of their gifts. Why Kwege should not have exposed Bahati when he reached his uncle's house is not clear, unless, with African fatalism,[1] he felt sure that he would not be believed.

"False Bride" Stories

This story reminds one of Grimm's "Goose Girl," as far as Bahati's imposture is concerned; but the theme is a world-wide one. In Angola the story of Fenda Madia has probably come from Portugal, and has nothing to do with the ghosts, but the Zulu "Untombiyapansi" (more shortly told by McCall Theal as "The Girl and the Mbulu") is genuine African. Here a girl on her way to her sister's kraal (her parents being dead) is overtaken by an imbulu, It a fabulous creature which can assume the human form, but can never part with its tall." It tricks her out of her clothes, rides on her ox, and personates her on arriving at the village, where it is received as the chief's daughter, while Untombiyapansi is sent to scare the birds. She summons her dead parents from underground by striking the earth with a brass rod, and they appear in their own proper form and succour her. The imbulu is detected and killed, and the chief, already married to her sister, takes Untombiyapansi as his second Wife.[2]

The Makonde people,[3] in Tanganyika Territory, have a story of an orphan, who deserves more sympathy than Kwege. He was bullied by the other boys, who robbed him of the animals he had caught when he was more successful than they. So one day he proposed that they should go to hunt

[1. It is scarcely fair to use this expression as if it applied to all Africans; but the characteristic is noticeable among tribes who have suffered from slave-raids or the oppression of more powerful neighbours.

2. Callaway, Nursery Tales, P. 303.

3. The Makonde Plateau is near the East Coast, south of Lindi and to the north of the river Ruvuma. This story was collected by Mr Frederick Johnson.]

in a certain wood, where his father and mother were buried. When they came to the grave he told the others to sit down, saying, "If you see anything coming out don't run." Then he began to sing (his companions joining in the chorus):

Father! Father! come out of your grave!
    CHORUS: Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!
They treat your child like the meanest slave.
        Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!
I trapped my rats with weariful toil;
        Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!
They've robbed me of all my hard-won spoil.
        Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!
'You've no father or mother!' they said.
        Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!
'Your parents have gone to the Place of the Dead!'
        Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come!"

There is a certain attractive simplicity about the literal translation of what follows:

Now came a snake from the grave there and lay down and coiled itself, and the boys wanted to run, and he said, "Do not run." And they sat there, clapping their hands. That snake came from the grave of his father. And he arose and sang at the grave of his mother, and a snake also came from that place and coiled itself there. And he sang again-

nearly the same song as before:

Father! Mother! from Dead Men's Town,
    CHORUS: Ngondo liyaya! The raiders come![1]
Come forth, come forth, and swallow them down,
Who scorned and wronged me day by day,
And robbed me of all my lawful prey.
'You've no father or mother!' they said.
'Your parents have gone to the Place of the Dead!'"

The snakes then rose up and swallowed all the boy's companions. Their son sang again, and they retired into their holes, while he went back to the village. The parents of the other boys asked him about them, but he only answered, "I do not know; they left me in the forest."

[1. Repeated after each line, as before.]

As the boys did not come home their parents consulted a diviner, who told them that "the orphan had hidden his companions." So they questioned the orphan lad, and he told every one who had lost a boy to bring him a slave a touch which cannot be very recent. They did so, and he set off for the grave with his newly acquired retinue, all singing together. He called once more on his parents, and the boys all came out, safe and sound, and marched back to the village. The orphan lad went with his slaves to an unoccupied piece of land in the bush, where they built a new village and he became a chief and lived there with his people.'

An African 'Holle' Story

How a girl reached the land of the ghosts and came back is told by the Wachaga.[2] Marwe and her brother were ordered by their parents to watch the bean-field and drive away the monkeys. They kept at their post for the greater part of the day, but as their mother had not given them any food to take with them they grew very hungry. They dug up the burrows of the field-rats, caught some, made a fire, roasted their game, and ate it. Then, being thirsty, they went to a pool and drank. It was some distance off, and when they came back they found that the monkeys had descended on the bean-patch and stripped it bare. They were terribly frightened, and Marwe said, "Let's go and jump into the pool." But her brother thought it would be better to go home without being seen and listen to what their parents were saying. So they stole up to the hut and listened through a gap in the banana-leaves of the thatch. Father and mother were both very angry. "What are we to do with such good-for-nothing creatures? Shall we beat them? Or shall we strangle them?" The children did not wait to hear any more, but rushed off to the pool. Marwe threw herself in, but her brother's courage failed him, and he ran back home and told the parents: "Marwe has gone into the pool." They went down at once, quite

[1. Johnson, "Notes on Kimakonde."

2. Gutmann, Volksbuch, p. 117.]

forgetting the hasty words provoked by the sudden discovery of their loss, and called again and again, "Marwe, come home! Never mind about the beans; we can plant the patch again!" But there was no answer. Day after day the father went down to the pool and called her always in vain. Marwe had gone into the country of the ghosts.

You entered it at the bottom of the pool. Before she had gone very far she came to a hut, where an old woman lived, with a number of children. This old woman called her in and told her she might stay with her. Next day she sent her out with the others to gather firewood, but said, "You need not do anything. Let the others do the work." Marwe, however, did her part with the rest, and the same when they were sent out to cut grass or perform any other tasks. She was offered food from time to time, but always made some excuse for refusing it. (The living who reach the land of the dead can never leave it again if they eat while there a belief met with elsewhere than in Africa.) So time went on, till one day she began to weary, and said to the other girls, "I should like to go home." The girls advised her to go and tell the old woman, which she did, and the old body had no objection, but asked her, " Shall I hit you with the cold or with the hot? " It is not easy to see what is meant by this question, but in all stories of this kind, which are numerous, the departing visitor to the ghost land is given a choice of some kind-sometimes between two gifts, sometimes between two ways of going home. Perhaps the meaning of the alternative here proposed has been lost in transmission or in translation. The good girl always chooses the less attractive article or road, and Marwe asked to be "hit with the cold." The woman told her to dip her arms into a pot she had standing beside her. She did so, and drew them out covered with shining bangles. She was then told to dip her feet, and found her ankles adorned with fine brass and copper chains. Then the woman gave her a skin petticoat worked with beads, and said, "Your future husband is called Sawoye. It is he who will carry you home."

She went with her to the pool, rose to the surface, and left her sitting on the bank. It happened that there was a famine in the land just then. Some one saw Marwe, and ran to the village saying that there was a girl seated by the pool richly dressed and wearing the most beautiful ornaments, which no one else in the countryside could afford, the people having parted with all their valuables to the coast-traders in the time of scarcity. So the whole population turned out, with the chief at their head. They were filled with admiration of her beauty. (It seems that her looks had not suffered in the ghost country, in spite of her not eating.) They all greeted her most respectfully, and the chief wanted to carry her home; but she r1efused. Others offered, but she would listen to none till a certain man came along, who was known as Sawoye. Now Sawoye was disfigured by a disease from which he had suffered called woye, whence his name. As soon as she saw him Marwe said, "That is my husband." So he picked her up and carried her home and married her.

This is a somewhat unusual kind of wedding, from the Bantu point of view: nothing is said about the parents. But the whole circumstances were unusual: it is not every day that a girl comes back from the country of the dead, having had her destined husband pointed out by the chieftainess of the ghosts.

We are not told, but I think we must be meant to understand, that Sawoye soon lost his disfiguring skin disease and appeared as the handsomest man in the clan. With the old lady's bangles they bought a fine herd of cattle and built themselves the best house in the village. And they would have lived happy ever after if some of his neighbours, had not envied him and plotted to kill him. They succeeded, but his faithful wife found means to revive him, and hid him in the inner compartment of the hut. Then, when the enemies came to divide the spoil and carry Marwe off to be given to the chief as his wife, Sawoye came out, fully armed, and killed them all. After which he and Marwe were left in peace.

Other "Holle" Stories

Two interesting variants come from the Ngonde country. One is described by a learned German writer as "psychologically incomprehensible"; but if he had a complete version before him he would seem curiously to have missed the point. A woman is "persuaded by another"-evidently a jealous co-wife-to throw away her baby, because it is weakly: other versions show that he ought to have added "in the hope of getting it back improved in health and looks." The rest of the story is much the same as that of "La Route du ciel," and follows much more naturally from its opening than does that tale, except that the jealous woman, instead of being struck dead, gets only half a baby, with one arm, one leg, and so on.[1]

In the other story the opening is more mysterious: the mother, coming to a river too deep to ford, heard a voice telling her to throw her baby into the water, and she would be able to walk over dryshod. She did so, and the water parted to let her cross; but when she had reached the other side she could not find the child again. She had to go home without it, and was told by her husband to go away and never come back till she had found it. Wandering through the forest, she met, one after another, a lion, a leopard, a crocodile, and other animals, all, apparently, suffering from ophthalmia, who asked her where she was going, requested of her a most unpleasant service, and after she had rendered it allowed her to pass on. She then met a very old man, who told her that she would shortly come to a place where the path divided, and would hear a voice on one side saying mbo, and one on the other side saying ndi. She was to follow the first, which she did, and arrived at a hut, where a woman showed her a number of beautiful children and told her to choose one. There is the usual sequel: the envious neighbour disregards all advice and meets in the end with her deserts-in this case by having to carry home a wretched, diseased, and crippled infant.[2]

[1. Unpublished; quoted by Dr Fülleborn, in Das deutsche Njassa-und Ruwuma-gebiet, p. 335.

2 Nauhaus, "Was sich die Konde in Deutsch-Ostafrika erzählen."]

The incident of the stream stands alone, so far as I know, in stories of this type. The dividing of a river occurs more than once in a very different connexion-in traditions of tribal migrations, as when one of the Ngoni chiefs was said to have struck the Zambezi with his stick, to let the people cross.[1] The voices-from the river and from the two paths-may belong to some bit of forgotten mythology. In one of the hare stories which form the subject of Chapter XVII the hyena tells the hare that when crossing the river he may hear a voice ordering him to throw away his bread. This, of course, is a trick on the hyena's part, but seems to be accepted as a possible occurrence, and may be an echo of some belief in river-spirits.

Do the Dead return to Life?

The possibility of the dead returning to life is frequently assumed in folk-tales, [2] but I do not know that it is seriously believed in at the present day, as seems to be the case for the visits of living men and women to the Underworld. The Rev. Donald Fraser relates an extraordinary incident [3]: a man was thought to have died, but came to, and said that he had reached the ghosts' country, where he saw and spoke to people, but none would answer him; in fact, they showed him decidedly that they did not want him, and he had to come back.

The Wazaramo appear to have a divinity called Kolelo, who lives in a cave in the form of a huge serpent. Remembering the very common belief that the spirits of the dead come back in the form of snakes, it may be considered probable that this Kolelo was originally an ancestral ghost. He played a great part in the troubles of 1905 (known as the "Majimaji Rebellion") in what was then German East Africa; but his legend will come in more fittingly in Chapter XVI.

[1. The Rev. T. Cullen Young thinks this may have arisen from the fact that the Ngoni had never seen a log canoe, which might be described as a stick ('log,' 'tree,' and 'stick ' might sometimes be expressed by the same word), and misunderstood as the tradition was passed on.

2 As in the story of "Tangalimlibo," Theal, Kaffir Folklore, p.54.

3 Winning a Primitive People, p. 126.]

The name seems also to be attached to a cave in the Nguu country, the seat of a famous oracle-also to be mentioned in Chapter XVI.

The notion that the soul of a murdered person may come back in the shape of a bird, to make the crime known and call for justice on the murderer, has been touched on in a previous page. In the next chapter will be given several stories showing how the innocent blood cries for vengeance, and how its cry never passes unheard.

Next: Chapter VII: The Avenger of Blood