« PrécédentContinuer »
year when there is to be a pestilence, or when cholera is to prevail, she goes into this frenzy, and cuts her tongue with a knife, letting some drops of her blood fall into a hogshead of water. This [homœopathicallytreated] water the people drink as a specific against contagion." Its sacred blood is counted a shield of life. "With the rest of the blood, she writes charms, which the people paste [as words of life] upon their doorposts, or wear upon their persons, as preventives of evil."1
Receiving new blood as a means of receiving new life, seems to have been sought interchangeably, in olden time, in various diseases, by blood lavations, by blood drinking, and by blood transfusion. It is recorded that, in 1483, King Louis XI., of France, struggled for life by drinking the blood of young children, as a means of his revivifying. "Every day he grew worse," it is said; "and the medicines profited him nothing, though of a strange character; for he vehemently hoped to recover by the human blood which he took and swallowed from certain children." 2 Again there is a disputed claim, that, in 1492, a Jewish physician endeavored to save the life of Pope Innocent VIII. by giving him in transfusion the blood of three
1 Fielde's Pagoda Shadows, p. 88.
2 Croniques de France, 1516, feuillet c c ij, cited from Soane, in Notes and Queries, supra.
BLOOD IN ZULU LAND.
young men successively. The Pope was not recovered, but the three young men lost their lives in the experiment.' Yet blood transfusion as a means of new life to the dying was not always a failure, even in former centuries; for the record stands, that "at Frankfort, on the Oder, the surgeons Balthazar, Kaufman, and Purmann, healed a leper, in 1683, by passing the blood of a lamb into his veins."
Even to-day, in South Africa, "when the Zulu king is sick, his immediate personal attendants, or valets, are obliged to allow themselves to be wounded; that a portion of their blood may be introduced into the king's circulation, and a portion of his into theirs."3 In this plan, the idea seems to be, that health may have power over disease, and that death may be swallowed up in life, by equalizing the blood of the one who is in danger, and of the many who are in strength and safety. Moreover, among the Kafirs those who are still in health are sometimes "washed in blood to protect them against wounds"; as if an outer covering of life could be put on, for the protec
1 Roussel's Trans. of Blood, p. 6. A different version of this story is given in Bruy's Histoire des Papes, IV., 278; but the other version is supported by two independent sources, in Infessura Diarium, and Burchardi Diarium. See Notes and Queries, 5th Series, III., 496, and IV., 38; also Hare's Walks in Rome, p. 590.
2 Dict. Med. et Chirurg. Prat., Art. "Transfusion." Shooter's Kafirs of Natal, p. 117. ▲ Ibid., p. 216.
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.
3. A NEW NATURE THROUGH NEW BLOOD.
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 pre-eminently 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.
A JESUIT MARTYR.
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 appre2 Jesuits in No. Am. in 17th Cent., p. 389 f. 3 Ragueneau; cited by Parkman.
1 Hist., IV., 64.
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 "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. And Burton says of the Dakotas: "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
1 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.