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tion of their life within. Transfused human blood is also said to be a common prescription of the medicinemen of Tasmania, for the cure of disease.1

And so it would appear, that, whatever may be its basis in physiological science, the opinion has prevailed, widely and always, that there is a vivifying power in transferred blood; and that blood not only represents but carries life.


It was a primeval idea, of universal sway, that the taking in of another's blood was the acquiring of another's life, with all that was best in that other's nature. It was not merely that the taking away of blood was the taking away of life; but that the taking in of blood was the taking in of life, and of all that that life represented. Here, again, the heart, as the fountain of blood, and so, as the centre and source of life, was preeminently the agency of transfer, in the acquiring of a new nature.

Herodotus tells us of this idea in the far East, twentyfour centuries ago. When a Scythian, he said, killed his first man in open warfare, he drank in his blood, as a means of absorbing his fairly acquired life; and the heads of as many as he slew, the Scythian carried

1 Bonwick's Daily Life and Origin of Tasmanians, p. 89; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., III., 43.



in triumph to the king; as the American Indian bears away the scalps of his slain, to-day. Modern historians, indeed, show us other resemblances than this, between the aboriginal American and the ancient Scythian.

The Jesuit founder of the Huron Mission to the American Indians, "its truest hero, and its greatest martyr," was Jean de Brébeuf. After a heroic life among a savage people, he was subjected to frightful torture, and to the cruelest death. His character had won the admiration of those who felt that duty to their gods demanded his martyrdom; and his bearing under torture exalted him in their esteem, as heroic be

yond compare. "He came of a noble race," says Parkman," the same [race], it is said, from which sprang the English Earls of Arundel; but never had the mailed barons of his line confronted a fate so appalling, with so prodigious a constancy. To the last he refused to flinch, and 'his death was an astonishment to his murderers.'" "We saw no part of his body," wrote an eye witness,3 "from head to foot, which was not burned [while he was yet living], even to his eyes, in the sockets of which these wretches had placed live coals." Such manhood as he displayed under these tortures, the Indians could appre1 Hist., IV., 64. 2 Jesuits in No. Am. in 17th Cent. p. 389 £. Ragueneau; cited by Parkman.


ciate. Such courage and constancy as his, they longed to possess for themselves. When, therefore, they perceived that the brave and faithful man of God was finally sinking into death, they sprang toward him, scalped him, "laid open his breast, and came in a crowd to drink the blood of so valiant an enemy; thinking to imbibe with it some portion of his courage. A chief then tore out his heart, and devoured it."


Not unlike this has been a common practice among the American Indians, in the treatment of prisoners of war. "If the victim had shown courage," again says Parkman, concerning the Hurons, "the heart was first roasted, cut into small pieces, and given to the young men and boys, who devoured it, to increase their own courage." So, similarly, with the Iroquois. Burton says of the Dakotas: 3 "They are not cannibals, except when a warrior, after slaying a foe, eats, porcupine-like, the heart or liver, with the idea of increasing his own courage." Schomburgk, writing concerning the natives of British Guiana, says: "In order to increase their courage, and [so their] contempt of death, the Caribs were wont to cut out the heart of a slain enemy, dry it on the fire, powder it, and mix the powder in their drink."4

'Jesuits in No. Am., Introduction, p. xxxix.

Ibid., p. 250.

3 City of the Saints, p. 117. See also Appendix.

Reisen in Brit. Guian., II., 430; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc. VI., 36.



The native Australians find, it is said, an inducement to bloodshed, in their belief-like that of the ancient Scythians that the life, or the spirit, of the first man whom one slays, enters into the life of the slayer, and remains as his helpful possession thereafter.' The Ashantee fetishmen, of West Africa, apparently acting on a kindred thought, make a mixture of the hearts of enemies, mingled with blood and consecrated herbs, for the vivifying of the conquerors. "All who have never before killed an enemy eat of the preparation; it being believed that if they did not, their energy would be secretly wasted by the haunting spirits of their deceased foes." The underlying motive of the bloody "head-hunting" in Borneo, is the Dayak belief, that the spirits of those whose heads are taken are to be subject to him, who does the decapitating. The heads are primarily simply the proof-like the Indian's scalps-that their owner has so many lives absorbed in his own.3. A keen observer of Fellâheen life in Palestine has reported: "There is an ugly expression used among


1 Trans. of Ethn. Soc. new series, III., 240, cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., III., 36.

2 Beecham's Ashantee and the Gold Coast, p. 211; cited in Spencer's Des Soc., IV., 33.

See Tylor's Primitive Culture, I., 459; also Bock's Head Hunters of Borneo, passim.

Mrs. Finn's "Fellaheen of Palestine" in Surv. of West. Pal. "Special Papers," p. 360.

the fellâheen of South Palestine, in speaking of an enemy slain in war-Dhabbahhtho bisnâny' ('I slew him with my teeth'); and it is said that there have been instances of killing in battle in this fashion by biting at the throat. In the Nablous district (Samaria), where the people are much more ferocious, the expression is, 'I have drunk his blood'; but that is understood figuratively."

An ancient Greek version of the story of Jason, telling of that hero's treatment of the body of Apsyrtos-whom he had slain-says: "Thrice he tasted the blood, thrice [he] spat it out between his teeth;" and a modern collator informs us, that the scholiast here finds "the description of an archaic custom, popular among murderers." This certainly corresponds with the Semitic phrases lingering among the Fellâheen of Palestine. In the old German epic, the Nibelungen Lied, it is told of the brave Burgundians, when they were fighting desperately in the burning hall of the Huns, that they were given new courage for the hopeless conflict, by drinking the blood of their fallen comrades; which "quenched their thirst, and made them fierce." With

1 This is Mrs. Finn's rendering of it; but it should be "I sacrificed him with my teeth." The Arabic word is obviously dhabaha ( identical with the Hebrew zabhakh (a) “to sacrifice."


Lang's Custom and Myth, p. 95 f.; also Grimm's Household Tales,

P. lxviii.

Cox and Jones's Pop. Rom. of Mid. Ages, p. 310.

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