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VICARIOUS EXECUTION.

131

their added life, from the added blood of heroes, they battled as never before.

"It strung again their sinews, and failing strength renewed.
This, in her lover's person, many a fair lady rued.” 2

Is there not, indeed, a trace of the primitive custom -thus recognized in all quarters of the globe-of absorbing the life of a slain one by drinking in his blood, in our common phrase, "blood-thirstiness," as descriptive of a life-seeker? That phrase certainly gains added force and appropriateness in the light of this universal idea.

It is evident that the wide-spread popular belief in nature-absorption through blood-appropriation, has included the idea of a tribal absorption of new life in vicarious blood. Alcedo, a Spanish-American writer, has illustrated this in his description of the native Araucanians of South America. When they have triumphed in war, they select a representative prisoner for official and vicarious execution. After due preparation, they "give him a handful of small sticks and a sharp stake, with which they oblige him to dig a hole in the ground; and in this they order him to cast the sticks one by one, repeating the names of the principal warriors of his country, while at the same time the surrounding soldiers load these abhorred names with the bitterest execrations. He is then ordered to cover

2 Lettsom's Nibel. Lied, p. 373.

the hole, as if to bury therein the reputation and valor of their enemies, whom he has named. After this ceremony, the toqui, or one of his bravest companions to whom he relinquishes the honor of the execution, dashes out the brains of the prisoner with a club. The heart is immediately taken out, and presented palpitating to the general, who sucks a little of the blood, and passes it to his officers, who repeat in succession the same ceremony." And in this And in this way the life 1 of the conquered tribe passes, symbolically, into the tribal life of the conquerors.

1

Burckhardt was so surprised at a trace of this idea in Nubia, that he could hardly credit the information concerning it; "although several persons asserted it to be a fact," he says; and he "heard no one contradict it."2 As he learned it: "Among the Hallenga, who draw their origin from Abyssinia, a horrible custom is said to attend the revenge of blood. When the slayer has been seized by the relatives of the deceased, a family feast is proclaimed, at which the murderer is brought into the midst of them, bound upon an angareyg; and while his throat is slowly cut with a razor, the blood is caught in a bowl, and handed round amongst the guests; every one of whom is

1

Thompson's Alcedo's Geog. and Hist. Dict. of America, I., 408; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., VI., 19.

2 Travels in Nubia, p. 356.

LOST BLOOD RESTORED.

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bound to drink of it, at the moment the victim breathes his last." The forfeited life of the murderer here seems to be surrendered to, and formally appropriated by, the family, or clan, which he had, to the same extent, depleted of character and life.

A practice not unlike this is reported of the Australians, in their avenging the blood of a murdered person. They devour their victims; who are selected from the tribe of the murderer, although they may be personally innocent of the murder. The tribe depleted by the murder replaces its loss by blood-which is life from the tribe of the murderer. Indeed, "when any one of a tribe [in New South Wales] dies a natural death, it is usual to avenge [or to cancel] the loss of the deceased by taking blood from one or other of his friends." In this way, the very life and being of those whose blood is taken, go to restore to the bereaved ones the loss that death has brought to them.

Strange as this idea may seem to us, its root-thought, as a fact, is still an open question in the realm of physiological science. The claim is positive, in medical works, that insanity has been cured by the transfusion of a sane man's blood;2 that a normal mind has been

1 Trans. of Ethn. Soc.,II., 246, and Angas's Austr. and New Zeal., I.,

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73, 227, 462, cited in Spencer's Des. Soc. III., 26.

2 See Dict. Méd. et Chir. Prat., Art. " Transfusion"; also Roussel's Transf. of Blood, pp. 78-88.

restored, through a normal life gained in new blood. Moreover, the question, how far the nature, or the characteristics, of an organism, are affected, in blood transfusion, by the nature, or the characteristics, of the donor of the transfused blood, is by no means a settled one among scientists. Referring to a series of questions in this line, propounded by Robert Boyle, more than two centuries ago, Roussel has said, within the past decade: "No one has been able to give any positive answers to them, based upon well-conducted operations"; and, "they still await solution in 1877, as in 1667."1

4. LIFE FROM ANY BLOOD, AND BY A TOUCH.

Because blood is life, all blood, and any blood, has been looked upon as a vehicle of transferred life. And because blood is life, and the heart is a fountain of blood, and so is a fountain of life, a touch of blood, or, again, the minutest portion of a vital and vivifying heart, has been counted capable of transferring life, with all that life includes and carries; just as the merest cutting of a vine, or the tiniest seed of the mightiest tree, will suffice as the germ of that vine or that tree, in a new planting. The blood, or the heart, of the lower animals, has been deemed the vehicle of life and strength, in its transference; and a touch from

1 Transf. of Blood, p. 19.

THE COURAGE OF AN OX.

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either has been counted potent in re-vivifying and in improving the receiving organism.

Thus, for example, Stanley, in the interior of Africa, having received "a fine, fat ox as a peace-offering," from "the great magic doctor of Vinyata," when making a covenant of blood with him,' was requested to return the heart of the ox to the donor; and he acceded to this request. After this, Stanley's party was several times assailed by the Wanyaturu, from the neighborhood of Vinyata. Thereupon his ally Mgongo Tembo explained, says Stanley, "that we ought not to have bestowed the heart of the presented ox upon the magic doctor of Vinyata; as by the loss of that diffuser of blood, the Wanyaturu believed we had left our own bodies weakened, and would be an easy prey to them."

2

Another modern traveler in Equatorial Africa finds fresh bullock's blood counted a means of manhood. While the young Masâi man is passing his novitiate into warrior life, he seeks new strength by taking in new blood. Having employed medical means to rid his system of the remains of all other diet, says Thompson, the novice went to a lonely place with a single attendant; they taking with them a living bullock. There" they killed the bullock, either with a blow from a rungu, or by stabbing it in the back of 2 Thro. Dark Cont., I., 123-131.

1 See page 20, supra.

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