Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend & Law
by Sir James George Frazer ©1918 - Now in Public Domain, i.e. Free to Copy
Two different accounts of the creation of man in Genesis . . . . . . 3
The Priestly and the Jehovistic narratives . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Jehovistic the more primitive . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Babylonian and Egyptian parallels . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Greek legend of the creation of man out of clay . . . . . . . . . 6
Australian and Maori stories of the creation of man out of clay . . . . . 8
Tahitian tradition : creation of woman out of man's rib . . . . . . . . 9
Similar stories of the creation of woman in Polynesia . . . . . . . . 10
Similar Karen and Tartar stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Other stories of the creation of man in the Pacific . . . . . . . . . 11
Melanesian legends of the creation of men out of clay . . . . . . . . 12
Stories of the creation of man in Celebes . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Stories told by the Dyaks of Borneo . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Legend told by the natives of Nias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Stories told by the natives of the Philippines . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Indian legends of the creation of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Cheremiss story of the creation of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
African stories of the creation of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
American stories of the creation of man . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Our first parents moulded out of red clay . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Belief of savages in the evolution of man out of lower animals . . . . . . 29
American Indian stories of the evolution of men out of animals . . . . . . 29
African and Malagasy stories of the evolution of men . . . . . . . . 32
Evolution of men out of fish in Africa and Borneo . . . . . . . . . 33
Descent of men from trees and animals in the Indian Archipelago . . . . 34
Descent of men from animals in New Guinea . . . . . . . . . . 36
Descent of men from fish and grubs in the Pacific . . . . . . . . . 40
Evolution of men out of animals in Australia . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Evolutionary hypothesis of Empedocles . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Creation or evolution ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
ATTENTIVE readers of the Bible can hardly fail to remark a striking discrepancy between the two accounts of the creation of man recorded in the first and second chapters of Genesis. In the first chapter, we read how, on the fifth day of creation, God created the fishes and the birds, all the creatures that live in the water or in the air ; and how on the sixth day he created all terrestrial animals, and last of all man, whom he fashioned in his own image, both male and female. From this narrative we infer that man was the last to be created of all living beings on earth, and incidentally we gather that the distinction of the sexes, which is characteristic of humanity, is shared also by the divinity ; though how the distinction can be reconciled with the unity of the Godhead is a point on which the writer vouchsafes us no information. Passing by this theological problem, as perhaps too deep for human comprehension, we turn to the simpler question of chronology and take note of the statements that God created the lower animals first and human beings afterwards, and that the human beings consisted of a man and a woman, produced to all appearance simultaneously, and each of them reflecting in equal measure the glory of their divine original. So far we read in the first chapter. But when we proceed to peruse the second chapter, it is somewhat disconcerting to come bolt on a totally different and, indeed, contradictory account of the same momentous transaction. For here we learn with surprise that God created man first, the lower animals next, and woman last of all, fashioning her as a mere afterthought out of a rib which he abstracted from man in his sleep. The order of merit in the two narratives is clearly reversed. In the first narrative the deity begins with fishes and works steadily up through birds and beasts to man and woman. In the second narrative he begins with man and works downwards through the lower animals to woman, who apparently marks the nadir of the divine workmanship. And in this second version nothing at all is said about man and woman being made in the image of God. We are simply told that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul." 1 Afterwards, to relieve the loneliness of man, who wandered without a living companion in the beautiful garden which had been created for him, God fashioned all the birds and beasts and brought them to man, apparently to amuse him and keep him company. Man looked at them and gave to them all their names ; but still he was not content with these playmates, so at last, as if in despair, God created woman out of an insignificant portion of the masculine frame, and introduced her to man to be his wife.2
The flagrant contradiction between the two accounts is explained very simply by the circumstance that they are derived from two different and originally independent documents which were afterwards combined into a single book by an editor, who pieced the two narratives together without always taking pains to soften or harmonize their discrepancies. The account of the creation in the first chapter is derived from what is called the Priestly Document, which was composed by priestly writers during or after the Babylonian captivity. The account of the creation of man and the animals in the second chapter is derived from what is called the Jehovistic Document, which was written several hundred years before the other, probably in the ninth or eighth century before our era.3 The difference between the religious standpoints of the two writers is manifest. The later or priestly writer conceives God in an abstract form as withdrawn from human sight, and creating all things by a simple fiat. The earlier or Jehovistic writer conceives God in a very concrete form as acting and speaking like a man, modeling a human being out of clay, planting a garden, walking in it at the cool of the day, calling to the man and woman to come out from among the trees behind which they had hidden themselves, and making coats of skin to replace the too scanty garments of fig-leaves with which our abashed first parents sought to conceal their nakedness.1 The charming naivety, almost the gaiety, of I the earlier narrative contrasts with the high seriousness of the later; though we cannot but be struck by a vein of sadness and pessimism running under the brightly coloured picture of life in the age of innocence, which the great Jehovistic artist has painted for us. Above all, he hardly attempts to hide his deep contempt for woman. The lateness of her creation, and the irregular and undignified manner of it—made out of a piece of her lord and master, after all the lower animals had been created in a regular and decent manner—sufficiently mark the low opinion he held of her nature ; and in the sequel his misogynism, as we may fairly call it, takes a still darker tinge, when he ascribes all the misfortunes and sorrows of the human race to the credulous folly and unbridled appetite of its first mother.2
Of the two narratives, the earlier or Jehovistic is not only the more picturesque but also the richer in folk-lore, retaining many features redolent of primitive simplicity which have been carefully effaced by the later writer, the two. Accordingly, it offers more points of comparison with the childlike stories by which men in many ages and countries have sought to explain the great mystery of the beginning of life on earth. Some of these simple tales I will adduce in the following pages.
The Jehovistic writer seems to have imagined that God Babylonian moulded the first man out of clay, just as a potter might do, Egyptian or as a child moulds a doll out of mud ; and that having parallels, kneaded and patted the clay into the proper shape, the deity animated it by breathing into the mouth and nostrils of the figure, exactly as the prophet Elisha is said to have restored to life the dead child of the Shunammite by lying on him, and putting his eyes to the child's eyes and his mouth to the child's mouth, no doubt to impart his breath to the corpse ; after which the child sneezed seven times and opened its eyes.1 To the Hebrews this derivation of our species from the dust of the ground suggested itself all the more naturally because, in their language, the word for "ground" (adamah) is in form the feminine of the word for "man" (adam)2
From various allusions in Babylonian literature it would seem that the Babylonians also conceived man to have been moulded out of clay.3 According to Berosus, the Babylonian priest, whose account of creation has been preserved in a Greek version, the god Bel cut off his own head, and the other gods caught the flowing blood, mixed it with earth, and fashioned men out of the bloody paste ; and that, they said, is why men are so wise, because their mortal clay is tempered with blood divine.4 In Egyptian mythology Khnoumou, the Father of the Gods, is said to have moulded men out of clay on his potter's wheel.5 So in Greek legend the sage Prometheus is said to have moulded the first men out of clay at Panopeus in Phocis. When he had done his work, some of the clay was left over, and might be seen on the spot long afterwards in the shape of two large boulders lying at the edge of a ravine. A Greek traveler, who visited the place in the second century of our era, thought that the boulders had the color of clay, and that they smelt strongly of human flesh.6 I, too, visited the spot some seventeen hundred and fifty years later. It is a forlorn little glen, or rather hollow, on the southern side of the hill of Panopeus, below the long line of ruined but still stately walls and towers which crowns the gray rocks of the summit. It was a hot day in late autumn—the first of November—and after the long rainless summer of Greece the little glen was quite dry ; no water trickled down its bushy sides, but in the bottom I found a reddish crumbling earth, perhaps a relic of the clay out of which Prometheus modeled our first parents. The place was solitary and deserted : not a human being, not a sign of human habitation was to be seen ; only the line of moldering towers and battlements on the hill above spoke of the busy life that had long passed away.
The whole scene, like so many else in Greece, was fitted to impress the mind with a sense of the transitoriness of man's little bustling existence on earth compared with the permanence and, at least, the outward peace and tranquility of nature. The impression was deepened when I rested, in the heat of the day, on the summit of the hill under the shade of some fine holly-oaks, and surveyed the distant prospect, rich in memories of the past, while the sweet perfume of the wild thyme scented all the air. To the south the finely cut peak of Helicon peered over the low intervening ridges. In the west loomed the mighty mass of Parnassus, its middle slopes darkened by pine-woods like shadows of clouds brooding on the mountain side ; while at its skirts nestled the ivy-mantled walls of Daulis overhanging the deep glen, whose romantic beauty accords so well with the loves and sorrows of Procne and Philomela, which Greek legend associated with the spot. Northwards, across the broad plain to which the steep bare hill of Panopeus descends, the eye rested on the gap in the hills through which the Cephissus winds his tortuous way to flow under grey willows, at the foot of barren stony hills, till his turbid waters lose themselves, no longer in the vast reedy swamps of the now vanished Copaic Lake, but in a dark cavern of the limestone rock. Eastward, clinging to the slopes of the bleak range of which the hill of Panopeus forms part, were the ruins of Chaeronea, the birthplace of Plutarch ; and out there in the plain was fought the fatal battle which laid Greece at the feet of Macedonia. There, too, in a later age, East and West met in deadly conflict, when the Roman armies under Sulla defeated the Asiatic hosts of Mithridates. Such was the landscape spread out before me on one of those farewell autumn days of almost pathetic splendor, when the departing summer seems to linger fondly, as if loath to resign to winter the enchanted mountains of Greece. Next day the scene had changed : summer was gone. A grey November mist hung low on the hills which only yesterday had shone resplendent in the sun, and under its melancholy curtain the dead flat of the Chaeronea plain, a wide, treeless expanse shut in by desolate slopes, wore an aspect of chilly sadness befitting the battlefield where a nation's freedom was lost.
We cannot doubt that such rude conceptions of the origin of mankind, common to Greeks, Hebrews, Babylonians, and Egyptians, were handed down to the civilized peoples of antiquity by their savage or barbarous forefathers. Certainly stories of the same sort have been recorded among the savages and barbarians of to-day or yesterday. Thus the Australian blacks in the neighborhood of Melbourne said that Pund-jel, the Creator, cut three large sheets of bark with his big knife. On one of these he placed some clay and worked it up with his knife into a proper consistence. He then laid a portion of the clay on one of the other pieces of bark and shaped it into a human form ; first he made the feet, then the legs, then the trunk, the arms, and the head. Thus he made a clay man on each of the two pieces of bark ; and being well pleased with his handiwork, he danced round them for joy. Next he took stringy bark from the eucalyptus tree, made hair of it, and stuck it on the heads of his clay men. Then he looked at them again, was pleased with his work, and again danced round them for joy. He then lay down on them, blew his breath hard into their mouths, their noses, and their navels ; and presently they stirred, spoke, and rose up as full-grown men.1 The Maoris of New Zealand say that a certain god, variously named Tu, Tiki, and Tane, took red riverside clay, kneaded it with his own blood into a likeness or image of himself, with eyes, legs, arms, and all complete, in fact, an exact copy of the deity ; and having perfected the model, he animated it by breathing into its mouth and nostrils, whereupon the clay effigy at once came to life and sneezed. "Of all these things," said a Maori, in relating the story of man's creation, "the most important is the fact that the clay sneezed, forasmuch as that sign of the power of the gods remains with us even to this day in order that we may be reminded of the great work Tu accomplished on the altar of the Kauhanga-nui, and hence it is that when men sneeze the words of Tu are repeated by those who are present"; for they say, "Sneeze, O spirit of life." 1 So like himself was the man whom the Maori Creator Tiki fashioned that he called him Tiki-ahua, that is, Tiki's likeness.2
A very generally received tradition in Tahiti was that the first human pair was made by Taaroa, the chief god. They say that after he had formed the world he created man out of red earth, which was also the food of mankind until bread-fruit was produced. Further, some say that one day Taaroa called for the man by name, and when he came he made him fall asleep. As he slept, the Creator took out one of his bones (ivi) and made of it a woman, whom he gave to the man to be his wife, and the pair became the progenitors of mankind. This narrative was taken down from the lips of the natives in the early years of the mission to Tahiti. The missionary who records it observes: "This always appeared to me a mere recital of the Mosaic account of creation, which they had heard from some European, and I never placed any reliance on it, although they have repeatedly told me it was a tradition among them before any foreigner arrived. Some have also stated that the woman's name was Ivi, which would be by them pronounced as if written Eve. Ivi is an aboriginal word, and not only signifies a bone, but also a widow, and a victim slain in war. Notwithstanding the assertion of the natives, I am disposed to think that Ivi, or Eve, is the only aboriginal part of the story, as far as it respects the mother of the human race." 1 However, the same tradition has been recorded in other parts of Polynesia besides Tahiti. Thus the natives of Fakaofo or Bow-ditch Island say that the first man was produced out of a stone. After a time he bethought him of making a woman. So he gathered earth and moulded the figure of a woman out of it, and having done so he took a rib out of his left side and thrust it into the earthen figure, which thereupon started up a live woman. He called her Ivi (Eevee) or "rib" and took her to wife, and the whole human race sprang from this pair.2 The Maoris also are reported to believe that the first woman was made out of the first man's ribs.3 This wide diffusion of the story in Polynesia raises a doubt whether it is merely, as Ellis thought, a repetition of the Biblical narrative learned from Europeans.
However, the story of the creation of the first woman out of a rib of the first man meets us elsewhere in forms so closely resembling the Biblical account that they can hardly be independent of it. Thus the Karens of Burma say that God "created man, and of what did he form him? He created man at first from the earth, and finished the work of creation. He created woman, and of what did he form her? He took a rib from the man and created the woman." Again they say, "He created spirit or life. How did he create spirit ? Father God said : ' I love these my son and daughter. I will bestow my life upon them.' He took a particle of his life, and breathed it into their nostrils, and they came to life and were men. Thus God created man. God made food and drink, rice, fire and water, cattle, elephants and birds." 1 The suspicion that we have here to do with missionary or at all events European influence, is confirmed, if not raised to a certainty, by other traditions current among the Ghaikos, a branch of the Karens. For the Ghaikos trace their genealogy to Adam, and count thirty generations from him to the building of a great tower and the confusion of tongues. According to them "in the days of Pan-dan-man, the people determined to build a pagoda that should reach up to heaven. The place they suppose to be somewhere in the country of the Red Karens, with whom they represent themselves as associated until this event. When the pagoda was half way up to heaven, God came down and confounded the language of the people, so that they could not understand each other. Then the people scattered, and Than-mau-rai, the father of the Ghaiko tribe, came west, with eight chiefs, and settled in the valley of the Sitang." 2 Again, the Bedel Tartars of Siberia have a tradition that God at first made a man, who lived quite alone on the earth. But once, while this solitary slept, the devil touched his breast; then a bone grew out from his ribs, and falling to the ground it grew long and became the first woman.3 Thus these Tartars have deepened the cynicism of the writer in Genesis by giving the devil a hand in the creation of our common mother.4 But to return to the Pacific.
In Nui, or Netherland Island, one of the Ellice Islands, they say that the god Aulialia made models of a man and a woman out of earth, and when he raised them up they came to life. He called the man Tepapa and the woman Tetata.5 The Pelew Islanders relate that a brother and sister made men out of clay kneaded with the blood of various animals, and that the characters of these first men and of their descendants were determined by the characters of the animals whose blood had been mingled with the primordial clay ; for instance, men who have rat's blood in them are thieves, men who have serpent's blood in them are sneaks, and men who have cock's blood in them are brave.1 According to a Melanesian legend, told in Mota, one of the Banks' Islands, the hero Qat moulded men of clay, the red clay from the marshy riverside at Vanua Lava. At first he made men and pigs just alike, but his brothers remonstrated with him, so he beat down the pigs to go on all fours and made man walk upright. Qat fashioned the first woman out of supple twigs, and when she smiled he knew she was a living woman.2 A somewhat different version of the Melanesian story is told at Lakona, in Santa Maria. There they say that Qat and another spirit (vui) called Marawa both made men. Qat constructed them out of the wood of dracaena-trees. Six days he worked at them, carving their limbs and fitting them together. Then he allowed them six days to come to life. Three days he hid them away, and three days more he worked to make them live. He set them up and danced to them and beat his drum, and little by little they stirred, till at last they could stand all by themselves. Then Qat divided them into pairs and called each pair husband and wife. Marawa also constructed men out of the wood of a tree, but it was a different tree, the tavisoviso. He likewise worked at them six days, beat his drum, and made them live, just as Qat did. But when he saw them move, he dug a pit and buried them in it for six days, and then, when he scraped away the earth to see what they were doing, he found them all rotten and stinking. That was the origin of death.3 The natives of Malekula, one of the New Hebrides, give the name of Bokor to the great being who kneaded the first man and woman out of clay.4
The inhabitants of Noo-hoo-roa, in the Kei Islands, say that their ancestors were fashioned out of clay by the supreme god, Dooadlera, who breathed life into the clay figures.1 According to the Bare'e-speaking Toradjas of Central Celebes there were at first no human beings on the earth. Then i Lai, the god of the upper world, and i Ndara, the goddess of the under world, resolved to make men. They committed the task to i Kombengi, who made two models, one of a man and the other of a woman, out of stone or, according to others, out of wood. When he had done his work, he set up his models by the side of the road which leads from the upper to the under world, so that all spirits passing by might see and criticize his workmanship. In the evening the gods talked it over, and agreed that the calves of the legs of the two figures were not round enough. So Kombengi went to work again, and constructed another pair of models which he again submitted to the divine criticism. This time the gods observed that the figures were too pot-bellied, so Kombengi produced a third pair of models, which the gods approved of, after the maker had made a slight change in the anatomy of the figures, transferring a portion of the male to the female figure. It now only remained to make the figures live. So the god Lai returned to his celestial mansion to fetch eternal breath for the man and woman ; but in the meantime the Creator himself, whether from thoughtlessness or haste, had allowed the common wind to blow on the figures, and they drew their breath and life from it. That is why the breath returns to the wind when a man dies.2
The aborigines of Minahassa, in the north of Celebes, say that two beings called Wailan Wangko and Wangi were alone on an island, where grew a coco-nut tree. Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Remain on earth while I climb up the tree." Said Wangi to Wailan Wangko, "Good." But then a thought occurred to Wangi, and he climbed up the tree to ask Wailan Wangko why he, Wangi, should remain down there all alone. Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Return and take earth and make two images, a man and a woman." Wangi did so, and both images were men who could move but not speak. So Wangi swarmed up the tree again to ask Wailan Wangko, "How now? The two images are made, but they cannot speak." Said Wailan Wangko to Wangi, "Take this ginger and go and blow it on the skulls and the ears of these two images, that they may be able to speak; call the man Adam and the woman Ewa." 1 In this narrative the names of the man and woman betray Christian or Mohammedan influence, but the rest of the story may be aboriginal.
The Dyaks of Sakarran in British Borneo say that the first man was made by two large birds. At first they tried to make men out of trees, but in vain. Then they hewed them out of rocks, but the figures could not speak. Then they moulded a man out of damp earth and infused into his veins the red gum of the kumpang-tree. After that they called to him and he answered ; they cut him and blood flowed from his wounds, so they gave him the name of Tannah Kumpok or "moulded earth." 2 Some of the Sea Dyaks, however, are of a different opinion. They think that a certain god named Salampandai is the maker of men. He hammers them into shape out of clay, thus forming the bodies of children who are to be born into the world. There is an insect which makes a curious clinking noise at night, and when the Dyaks hear it, they say that it is the clink of Salampandai's hammer at his work. The story goes that he was commanded by the gods to make a man, and he made one of stone ; but the figure could not speak and was therefore rejected. So he set to work again, and made a man of iron ; but neither could he speak, so the gods would have none of him. The third time Salampandai made a man of clay, and he had the power of speech. Therefore the gods were pleased and said, "The man you have made will do well. Let him be the ancestor of the human race, and you must make others like him." So Salampandai set about fashioning human beings, and he is still fashioning them at his anvil, working away with his tools in unseen regions. There he hammers out the clay babies, and when one of them is finished he brings it to the gods, who ask the infant, "What would you like to handle and use ? "If the child answers, "A sword," the gods pronounce it a male; but if the child replies, "Cotton and a spinning-wheel," they pronounce it a female. Thus they are born boys or girls, according to their own wishes.1
The natives of Nias, an island to the south-west of Sumatra, have a long poem descriptive of the creation, which they recite at the dances performed at the funeral of a chief. In this poem, which is arranged in couplets after the style of Hebrew poetry, the second verse repeating the idea of the first in somewhat different language, we read how the supreme god, Luo Zaho, bathed at a celestial spring which reflected his figure in its clear water as in a mirror, and how, on seeing his image in the water, he took a handful of earth as large as an egg, and fashioned out of it a figure like one of those figures of ancestors which the people of Nias construct. Having made it, he put it in the scales and weighed it; he weighed also the wind, and having weighed it, he put it on the lips of the figure which he had made ; so the figure spoke like a man or like a child, and God gave him the name of Sihai. But though Sihai was like God in form, he had no offspring ; and the world was dark, for as yet there was neither sun nor moon. So God meditated, and sent Sihai down to earth to live there in a house made of tree-fern. But while as yet he had neither wife nor child, he one day died at noon. However, out of his mouth grew two trees, and the trees budded and blossomed, and the wind shook the blossoms from the trees, and blossoms fell to the ground and from them arose diseases. And from Sihai's throat grew a tree, from which gold is derived ; and from his heart grew another tree, from which men are descended. Moreover, out of his right eye came the sun, and out of his left eye came the moon.2 In this legend the idea of creating man in his own image appears to have been suggested to the Creator by the accident of seeing his own likeness reflected in a crystal spring.
The Bila-an, a wild tribe of Mindanao, one of the Philippine Islands, relate the creation of man as follows. They say that in the beginning there was a certain being named Melu, of a size so huge that no known thing can give any idea of it; he was white in color, and had golden teeth, and he sat upon the clouds, occupying all the space above. Being of a very cleanly habit, he was constantly rubbing himself in order to preserve the whiteness of his skin unsullied. The scurf which he thus removed from his person he laid on one side, till it gathered in such a heap as to fidget him. To be rid of it he constructed the earth out of it, and being pleased with his work he resolved to make two beings like himself, only much smaller in size. He fashioned them accordingly in his own likeness out of the leavings of the scurf whereof he had moulded the earth, and these two were the first human beings. But while the Creator was still at work on them, and had finished one of them all but the nose, and the other all but the nose and one other part, Tau Dalom Tana came up to him and demanded to be allowed to make the noses. After a heated argument with the Creator, he got his way and made the noses, but in applying them to the faces of our first parents he unfortunately placed them upside down. So warm had been the discussion between the Creator and his assistant in regard to the noses, that the Creator quite forgot to finish the other part of the second figure, and went away to his place above the clouds, leaving the first man or the first woman (for we are not told which) imperfect; and Tau Dalom Tana also went away to his place below the earth. After that a heavy rain fell, and the two first of human kind nearly perished, for the rain ran off the tops of their heads into their upturned nostrils. Happily the Creator perceived their plight and coming down from the clouds to the rescue he took off their noses and replaced them right end up.1
A variant of the foregoing legend told by the Bila-an runs thus. In the beginning four beings, two male and two female, lived on a small island no bigger than a hat. Neither trees nor grass grew on the island, but one bird lived on it. So the four beings sent the bird to fetch some earth, the fruit of the rattan, and the fruit of trees. When it brought the articles, Melu, who was one of the two male beings, took the earth and moulded it into land, just as a woman moulds pots ; and having fashioned it he planted the seeds in it, and they grew. But after a time he said, "Of what use is land without people?" The others said, "Let us make wax into people." They did so, but when the waxen figures were set near the fire, they melted. So the Creators perceived that they could not make man out of wax. Not to be baffled, they resolved to make him out of dirt, and the two male beings accordingly addressed themselves to the task. All went well till it came to fashioning the noses. The Creator who was charged with this operation put the noses on upside down, and though his colleague Melu pointed out his mistake, and warned him that the people would be drowned if they went about with their noses in that position, he refused to repair his blunder and turned his back in a huff. His colleague seized the opportunity and the noses at the same instant, and hastily adjusted these portions of the human frame in the position which they still occupy. But on the bridge of the nose you can see to this day the print left by the Creator's fingers in his hurry.1
The Bagobos, a pagan tribe of South-Eastern Mindanao, say that in the beginning a certain Diwata made the sea and the land, and planted trees of many sorts. Then he took two lumps of earth, shaped them like human figures, and spat on them; so they became man and woman. The old man was called Tuglay, and the old woman, Tugli-bung. They married and lived together, and the old man made a great house and planted seeds of different kinds, which the old woman gave him.2
The Kumis, who inhabit portions of Arakan and the Chittagong hill tracts in eastern India, told Captain Lewin the following story of the creation of man. God made the world and the trees and the creeping things first, and after that he made one man and one woman, forming their bodies of clay; but every night, when he had done his work, there came a great snake, which, while God was sleeping, devoured the two images. This happened twice or thrice, and God was at his wits' end, for he had to work all day, and could not finish the pair in less than twelve hours; besides, if he did not sleep, "he would be no good," as the native narrator observed with some show of probability. So, as I have said, God was at his wits' end. But at last he got up early one morning and first made a dog and put life into it; and that night, when he had finished the images, he set the dog to watch them, and when the snake came, the dog barked and frightened it away. That is why to this day, when a man is dying, the dogs begin to howl; but the Kumis think that God sleeps heavily nowadays, or that the snake is bolder, for men die in spite of the howling of the dogs. If God did not sleep, there would be neither sickness nor death ; it is during the hours of his slumber that the snake comes and carries us off.1 A similar tale is told by the Khasis of Assam. In the beginning, they say, God created man and placed him on earth, but on returning to look at the work of his hands he found that the man had been destroyed by the evil spirit. This happened a second time, whereupon the deity created first a dog and then a man ; and the dog kept watch and prevented the devil from destroying the man. Thus the work of the deity was preserved.2 The same story also crops up, with a slight varnish of Hindu mythology, among the Korkus, an aboriginal tribe of the Central Provinces of India. According to them, Rawan, the demon king of Ceylon, observed that the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges were uninhabited, and he besought the great god Mahadeo to people them. So Mahadeo, by whom they mean Siva, sent a crow to find for him an ant-hill of red earth, and the bird discovered such an ant-hill among the mountains of Betul. Thereupon the god repaired to the spot, and taking a handful of the red earth he fashioned out of it two images, in the likeness of a man and a woman. But no sooner had he done so than two fiery horses, sent by Indra, rose from the earth and trampled the images to dust. For two days the Creator persisted in his attempts, but as often as the images were made they were dashed in pieces by the horses. At last the god made an image of a dog, and breathed into it the breath of life, and the animal kept off the fiery steeds of Indra. Thus the god was able to make the two images of man and woman undisturbed, and bestowing life upon them, he called them Mula and Mulai. These two became the ancestors of the Korku tribe.1
A like tale is told, with a curious variation, by the Mundas, a primitive aboriginal tribe of Chota Nagpur. They say that the Sun-god, by name Singbonga, first fashioned two clay figures, one meant to represent a man and the other a woman. But before he could endow the figures with life, the horse, apprehensive of what in future he might endure at their hands, trampled them under its hoofs. In those days the horse had wings and could move about much faster than now. When the Sun-god found that the horse had destroyed his earthen figures of men, he first created a spider and then fashioned two more clay figures like those which the horse had demolished. Next he ordered the spider to guard the effigies against the horse. Accordingly the spider wove its web round the figures in such a way that the horse could not break them again. After that, the Sun-god imparted life to the two figures, which thus became the first human beings.2
A story of the same sort, in fuller form and with material variations,
is told by the Santals of Bengal. They say that in the beginning there
was a certain Thakur Jiu. There was no land visible, all was covered with
water. Then Thakur Jiu's servants said to him, "How shall we create human
beings?" He replied, "If it be so desired, we can create them." They
then said, "If you give us a blessing (or the gift), we shall be
able to do so." Thakur Jiu then said, "Go, call Malin Budhi. She
is to be found in a rock cave under the water." When
she came, she received the order to form two human beings. Some say
' she made them of a kind of froth which proceeded from a supernatural
being who dwelt at the bottom of the sea, but others say she made them
of a stiff clay. Thakur Jiu was a spectator of what
was being done. At length Malin Budhi made the
bodies of two human beings, and laid them out to dry.
In the meantime Day-horse (Singh Sadom) passed that way, and trampling
them under foot destroyed them. After an interval Thakur
Jiu demanded of Malin Budhi whether she had prepared the figures.
She replied, " I made them, but I have many enemies." Thakur
Jiu inquired who they were, and she answered, "Who but Day-horse?"
Thakur Jiu then said, " Kick the pieces into the Sora Nai and the Samud
Nai." At this point the reciter of the story chants the following
"Oh ! the Day-horse.
Oh ! the Day-horse,
The Day-horse has gone to the river Gang,
The Day-horse has floated to the Sora Sea,
Oh ! the Day-horse."
Thakur Jiu then said to Malin Budhi, "I again give you a blessing; go, make two human beings." Having prepared them, she went to Thakur Jiu, who said, "Well, have you got them ready?" She replied, "They are ready; give them the gift of life." He said, " Above the door-frame is the life (or spirit) of birds ; do not bring that. Upon the cross-beam is the life of human beings; bring it." So she went, but being low of stature she could not reach the cross-beam ; hence she brought the birds' life from above the door. No sooner had she given the birds' life to the figures than they flew up into the heavens, where they continued to course about, whether for twelve years or for twelve months is doubtful. The names of the birds were Has and Hasin. At length the desire to breed came upon them, and they went to Thakur Jiu and said, " You gave us being, but we cannot find a place on which to rest." He answered, " I will prepare a place for you."
Living in the water were Sole-fish, Crab, Prince Earthworm, and Lendom Kuar. Thakur Jiu called them and ordered them to raise the earth above the water. Sole-fish said, " I will raise the earth above the water," but though he tried and tried again, he could not do it. Then Crab came and said, " I will do it," but he also failed. Prince Earth-worm then came and undertook to accomplish it. So he ducked his head under water and swallowed earth, and the earth passed through him and came out at the other end ; but when it fell on the surface of the water, it immediately sank to the bottom again. Then Prince Earthworm said, " Within the water resides Prince Tortoise ; if we fasten him at the four corners with chains, and then raise the earth on his back, it will remain and not fall into the water again." So Prince Earth-worm secured Prince Tortoise with chains and raised the earth on his back, and in a short time there was an island in the midst of the waters. Thakur Jiu then caused a karam tree1 to spring up, and at the foot of the karam tree he caused sirom grass2 to grow. He then caused dhobi grass3 to spring up, after which he covered the earth with all kinds of trees and herbs. In this manner the earth became firm and stable.
Then the birds Has and Hasin came and alighted on the karam tree, and
afterwards made their nest among the sirom grass at its foot. There the
female laid two eggs, and Raghop Buar came and ate them. Again she laid
other two eggs, and again Raghop Buar came and devoured them. Then Has
and Hasin went to Thakur Jiu and informed him that Raghop Buar had twice
eaten their eggs. On hearing this Thakur Jiu said, " I shall send some
one to guard your eggs." So, calling Jaher-era, he committed the eggs of
the two birds to her care. So well did she perform her task that the female
was allowed to hatch her eggs, and from the eggs emerged two human beings,
a male and a female; their names were Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi. These
were the parents of man-kind. Here the reciter of the story bursts out
into song as follows :
" Hae, hae, two human beings,
Hae, hae, are born in the water,
Hae, hae, how can I bring them up ?
Hae, hae, where can I place them ?
My mother gave me birth among the sirom grass,
My father had his dwelling at the karma tree foot." J
This Santal story of the origin of man combines the principles of creation and evolution, for according to it mankind is ultimately derived from two images, which were modeled in human form out of froth or damp clay, but were afterwards accidentally transformed into birds, from whose eggs the first man and woman of flesh and blood were hatched.
The Cheremiss of Russia, a Finnish people, tell a story of the creation of man which recalls episodes in the Toradjan and Indian legends of the same event. They say that God moulded man's body of clay and then went up to heaven to fetch the soul, with which to animate it. In his absence he set the dog to guard the body. But while he was away the Devil drew near, and blowing a cold wind on the dog he seduced the animal by the bribe of a fur-coat to relax his guard. Thereupon the fiend spat on the clay body and beslavered it so foully, that when God came back he despaired of ever cleaning up the mess and saw himself reduced to the painful necessity of turning the body outside in. That is why a man's inside is now so dirty. And God cursed the dog the same day for his culpable neglect of duty.2
Turning now to Africa, we find the legend of the creation of mankind out of clay among the Shilluks of the White Nile, who ingeniously explain the different complexions of the various races by the differently colored clays out of which they were fashioned. They say that the creator Juok moulded all men out of earth, and that while he was engaged in the work of creation he wandered about the world. In the land of the whites he found a pure white earth or sand, and out of it he shaped white men. Then he came to the land of Egypt and out of the mud of the Nile he made red or brown men. Lastly, he came to the land of the Shilluks, and finding there black earth he created black men out of it. The way in which he modeled men was this. He took a lump of earth and said to himself, " I will make man, but he must be able to walk and run and go out into the fields, so I will give him two long legs, like the flamingo." Having done so, he thought again, " The man must be able to cultivate his millet, so I will give him two arms, one to hold the hoe, and the other to tear up the weeds." So he gave him two arms. Then he thought again, " The man must be able to see his millet, so I will give him two eyes." He did so accordingly. Next he thought to himself, " The man must be able to eat his millet, so I will give him a mouth." And a mouth he gave him accordingly. After that he thought within himself, " The man must be able to dance and speak and sing and shout, and for these purposes he must have a tongue." And a tongue he gave him accordingly. Lastly, the deity said to himself, " The man must be able to hear the noise of the dance and the speech of great men, and for that he needs two ears." So two ears he gave him, and sent him out into the world a perfect man.1 The Fans of West Africa say that God created man out of clay, at first in the shape of a lizard, which he put in a pool of water and left there for seven days. At the end of the seven days God cried, " Come forth," and a man came out of the pool instead of a lizard.2 The Ewe-speaking tribes of Togo-land, in West ' Africa, think that God still makes men out of clay. When a little of the water with which he moistens the clay remains over, he pours it on the ground, and out of that he makes the bad and disobedient people. When he wishes to make a good man he makes him out of good clay ; but when he wishes to make a bad man, he employs only bad clay for the purpose. In the beginning God fashioned a man and set him on the earth ; after that he fashioned a woman, The two looked at each other and began to laugh, whereupon God sent them into the world.3
The story of the creation of mankind out of clay occurs also in America, both among the Eskimo and the Indians, from Alaska to Paraguay. Thus the Eskimo of Point Barrow, in Alaska, tell of a time when there was no man in the land, till a certain spirit named á sê lu, who resided at Point Barrow, made a clay man, set him up on the shore to dry, breathed into him, and gave him life.1 Other Eskimo of Alaska relate how the Raven made the first woman out of clay, to be a companion to the first man ; he fastened water-grass to the back of the head to be hair, flapped his wings over the clay figure, and it arose, a beautiful young woman.2 The Acagchemem Indians of California said that a powerful being called Chinigchinich created man out of clay which he found on the banks of a lake ; male and female created he them, and the Indians of the present day are the descendants of the clay man and woman.3
According to the Maidu Indians of California the first man and woman were created by a mysterious personage named Earth-Initiate, who descended from the sky by a rope made of feathers. His body shone like the sun, but his face was hidden and never seen. One afternoon he took dark red earth, mixed it with water, and fashioned two figures, one of them a man and the other a woman. He laid the man on his right side and the woman on his left side, in his house. He lay thus and sweated all that afternoon and all that night. Early in the morning the woman began to tickle him in the side. He kept very still and did not laugh. By and by he arose, thrust a piece of pitch-wood into the ground, and fire burst out. The two people were very white. No one to-day is so white as they were. Their eyes were pink, their hair was black, their teeth shone brightly, and they were very handsome. It is said that Earth-Initiate did not finish the hands of the people, because he did not know how best to do it. The coyote, or prairie-wolf, who plays a great part in the myths of the Western Indians, saw the people and suggested that they ought to have hands like his. But Earth-Initiate said, " No, their hands shall be like mine." Then he finished them. When the coyote asked why their hands were to be like that, Earth-Initiate answered, " So that, if they are chased by bears, they can climb trees." The first man was called Kuksu, and the first woman was called Morning-Star Woman.1
The Diegueño Indians or, as they call themselves, the Kawakipais, who occupy the extreme south-western corner of the State of California, have a myth to explain how the world in its present form and the human race were created. They say that in the beginning there was no earth or solid land, nothing but salt water, one vast primeval ocean. But under the sea lived two brothers, of whom the elder was named Tcaipakomat. Both of them kept their eyes shut, for if they had not done so, the salt water would have blinded them. After a while the elder brother came up to the surface and looked about him, but he could see nothing but water. The younger brother also came up, but on the way to the surface he incautiously opened his eyes, and the salt water blinded him ; so when he emerged he could see nothing at all, and therefore he sank back into the depths. Left alone on the face of the deep, the elder brother now undertook the task of creating a habitable earth out of the waste of waters. First of all he made little red ants, which produced land by filling up the water solid with their tiny bodies. But still the world was dark, for as yet neither sun nor moon had been created. Tcaipakomat now caused certain black birds with flat bills to come into being ; but in the darkness the birds lost their way and could not find where to roost. Next Tcaipakomat took three kinds of clay, red, yellow, and black, and thereof he made a round flat thing, which he took in his hand and threw up against the sky. It stuck there, and beginning to shed a dim light became the moon. Dissatisfied with the faint illumination of this pallid orb, Tcaipakomat took more clay, moulded it into another round flat disc, and tossed it up against the other side of the sky. It stuck there and became the sun, lighting up everything with his beams. After that Tcaipakomat took a lump of light-colored clay, split it partly up, and made a man of it. Then he took a rib from the man and made a woman of it. The woman thus created out of the man's rib was called Sinyaxau or First Woman (from siny, "woman," and axau, " first"). From this first man and woman, modeled by the Creator out of clay, mankind is descended. At first people lived at a great mountain called Wikami. If you go there and put your ear to the ground, you will hear the sound of dancing; it is made by the spirits of all the dead people footing it away. For when people die, they go back to the place where all things were at first created, and there they dance, just as live folks do here.1
The Hopi or Moqui Indians of Arizona similarly believe that in the beginning there was nothing but water everywhere, and that two deities, apparently goddesses, both named Huruing Wuhti, lived in houses in the ocean, one of them in the east, and the other in the west; and these two by their efforts caused dry land to appear in the midst of the water. Nevertheless the sun, on his daily passage across the newly created earth, noticed that there was no living being of any kind on the face of the ground, and he brought this radical defect to the notice of the two deities. Accordingly the divinities met in consultation, the eastern goddess passing over the sea on the rainbow as a bridge to visit her western colleague. Having laid their heads together they resolved to make a little bird ; so the goddess of the east made a wren of clay, and together they chanted an incantation over it, so that the clay bird soon came to life. Then they sent out the wren to fly over the world and see whether he could discover any living being on the face of the earth ; but on his return he reported that no such being existed anywhere. Afterwards the two deities created many sorts of birds and beasts in like manner, and sent them forth to inhabit the world. Last of all the two goddesses made up their mind to create man. Thereupon the eastern goddess took clay and moulded out of it first a woman and afterwards a man ; and the clay man and woman were brought to life just as the birds and beasts had been so before them.1
The Pima Indians, another tribe of Arizona, allege that the Creator took clay into his hands, and mixing it with the sweat of his own body, kneaded the whole into a lump. Then he blew upon the lump till it began to live and move and became a man and a woman.2 A priest of the Natchez Indians in Louisiana told Du Pratz " that God had kneaded some clay, such as that which potters use, and had made it into a little man ; and that after examining it, and finding it well formed, he blew upon his work, and forthwith that little man had life, grew, acted, walked, and found himself a man perfectly well shaped." As to the mode in which the first woman was created, the priest frankly confessed that he had no information, the ancient traditions of his tribe being silent as to any difference in the creation of the sexes ; he thought it likely, however, that man and woman were made in the same way. So Du Pratz corrected his erroneous ideas by telling him the tale of Eve and the rib, and the grateful Indian promised to bruit it about among the old men of his tribe.3
The Michoacans of Mexico said that the great god Tucapacha first made man and woman out of clay, but that when the couple went to bathe in a river they absorbed so much water that the clay of which they were composed all fell to pieces. To remedy this inconvenience the Creator applied himself again to his task and moulded them afresh out of ashes, but the result was again disappointing. At last, not to be baffled, he made them of metal. His perseverance was rewarded. The man and woman were now perfectly watertight; they bathed in the river without falling in pieces, and by their union they became the progenitors of mankind.4
According to a legend of the Peruvian Indians, which was told to a Spanish priest in Cuzco about half a century after the conquest, it was in Tiahuanaco that the human race was restored after the great flood which had destroyed them all, except one man and woman. There in Tiahuanaco, which is about seventy leagues from Cuzco, " the Creator began to raise up the people and nations, that are in that region, making one of each nation of clay, and painting the dresses that each one was to wear. Those that were to wear their hair, with hair ; and those that were to be shorn, with hair cut; and to each nation was given the language that was to be spoken, and the songs to be sung, and the seeds and food that they were to sow. When the Creator had finished painting and making the said nations and figures of clay, he gave life and soul to each one, as well men as women, and ordered that they should pass under the earth. Thence each nation came up in the places to which he ordered them to go." l The Lengua Indians of Paraguay believe that the Creator, in the shape of a beetle, inhabited a hole in the earth, and that he formed man and woman out of the clay which he threw up from his subterranean abode. At first the two were joined together, " like the Siamese twins," and in this very inconvenient posture they were sent out into the world, where they contended, at great disadvantage, with a race of powerful beings whom the beetle had previously created. So the man and woman besought the beetle to separate them. He complied with their request and gave them the power to propagate their species. So they became the parents of mankind. But the beetle, having created the world, ceased to take any active part or interest in it.2 We are reminded of the fanciful account which Aristophanes, in the Symposium of Plato, gives of the original condition of mankind ; how man and woman at first were knit together in one composite being, with two heads, four arms, and four legs, till Zeus cleft them down the middle and so separated the sexes.3
It is to be observed that in a number of these stories the clay out of which our first parents were moulded is said to have been red. The color was probably intended to explain the redness of blood. Though the Jehovistic writer in Genesis omits to mention the color of the clay which God used in the construction of Adam, we may perhaps, without being very rash, conjecture that it was red. For the Hebrew word for man in general is adam, the word for ground is adamah, and the word for red is adorn ; so that by a natural and almost necessary concatenation of causes we arrive at the conclusion that our first parent was modeled out of red earth. If any lingering doubt could remain in our mind on the subject, it would be dissipated by the observation that down to this day the soil of Palestine is of a dark reddish brown, " suggesting," as the writer who notices it justly remarks, " the connection between Adam and the ground from which he was taken ; especially is this color noticeable when the soil is newly turned, either by the plough or in digging." 1 So remarkably does nature itself bear witness to the literal accuracy of Holy Writ.
However, it is noteworthy that in regard to the origin of the human species many savages reject the hypothesis of creation in favour of the theory of evolution. They believe, in fact, that men in general, or their own tribespeople in particular, have been developed out of lower forms of animal life. The theory of evolution is particularly popular among totemic tribes who imagine that their ancestors sprang from their totemic animals or plants, but it is by no means confined to them. For example, some of the Californian Indians, in whose mythology the coyote or prairie-wolf is a leading personage, think that they are descended from coyotes. At first they walked on all fours ; then they began to have some members of the human body, one finger, one toe, one eye, one ear, and so on ; then they got two fingers, two toes, two eyes, two ears, and so forth ; till at last, progressing from period to period, they became perfect human beings. The loss of their tails, which they still deplore, was produced by the habit of sitting upright.2 Similarly Darwin thought that " the tail has disappeared in man and the anthropomorphous apes, owing to the terminal portion having been injured by friction during a long lapse of time ; the basal and embedded portion having been reduced and modified, so as to become suitable to the erect or semi-erect position." 1
The Turtle clan of the Iroquois think that they are descended from real mud turtles which used to live in a pool. One hot summer the pool dried up, and the mud turtles set out to find another. A very fat turtle, waddling after the rest in the heat, was much incommoded by the weight of his shell, till by a great effort he heaved it off altogether. After that he gradually developed into a human being and became the progenitor of the Turtle clan.2 The Crawfish clan of the Choctaws are in like manner descended from real crawfish, which used to live underground, only coming up occasionally through the mud to the surface. Once a party of Choctaws smoked them out, taught them to speak the Choctaw language and to walk on two legs, and made them cut off their toe nails and pluck the hair from their bodies, after which they adopted them into the tribe. But the rest of their kindred, the crawfish, are crawfish under the ground to this day.3 The Osage Indians universally believed that they were descended from a male snail and a female beaver. A flood swept the snail down to the Missouri and left him high and dry on the bank, where the sun ripened him into a man. He met and married a beaver maid, and from the pair the tribe of the Osages is descended. For a long time these Indians retained a pious reverence for their animal ancestors and refrained from hunting beavers, because in killing a beaver they killed a brother of the Osages. But when white men came among them and offered high prices for beaver skins, the Osages yielded to the temptation and took the lives of their furry brethren.4 The Carp clan of the Ootawak (Ottawa) Indians are descended ' from the eggs of a carp which had been deposited by the fish on the banks of a stream and warmed by the sun.1 The Crane clan of the Ojibways are sprung originally from a pair of cranes, which after long wanderings settled on the rapids at the outlet of Lake Superior, where they were changed by the Great Spirit into a man and woman.2 The members of two Omaha clans were at first buffaloes and lived under water, which they splashed about, making it muddy. And at death all the members of these clans went back to their ancestors the buffaloes. So when one of them lay a-dying, his friends used to wrap him up in a buffalo skin with the hair outside and say to him, "You came hither from the animals and you are going back thither. Do not face this way again. When you go, continue walking." 3
The Haida Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands believe that long ago the raven, who is the chief figure in the mythology of North-Western America, took a cockle from the beach and married it; the cockle gave birth to a female child, whom the raven took to wife, and from their union the Indians were produced.4 Speaking of these Indians, a writer who lived among them tells us that " their descent from the crows is quite gravely affirmed and steadfastly maintained. Hence they never will kill one, and are always annoyed, not to say angry, should we whites, driven to desperation by the crow-nests on every side of us, attempt to destroy them. This idea likewise accounts for the coats of black paint with which young and old in all those tribes constantly besmear themselves. The crow-like color affectionately reminds the Indians of their reputed forefathers, and thus preserves the national tradition." 5 The Delaware Indians called the rattlesnake their grandfather and would on no account destroy one of these reptiles, believing that were they to do so the whole race of rattlesnakes would rise up and bite them. Under the influence of the white man, however, their respect for their grandfather the rattlesnake gradually died away, till at last they killed him without compunction or ceremony whenever they met him. The writer who records the old custom observes that he had often reflected on the curious connection which appears to subsist in the mind of an Indian between man and the brute creation ; " all animated nature," says he, " in whatever degree, is in their eyes a great whole, from which they have not yet ventured to separate themselves." 1 However, the title of grandfather, which these Indians bestowed on the rattlesnake, hardly suffices to prove that they believed themselves to be actually descended from the creature ; it may have only been a polite form of address intended to soothe and gratify the formidable reptile. Some of the Indians of Peru boasted of being descended from the puma or American lion ; hence they adored the lion as a god, and appeared at festivals, like Hercules, dressed in the skins of lions with the heads of the beasts fixed over their own. Others claimed to be descended from condors and attired themselves in great black and white wings, like that huge bird.2
The Wanika of East Africa look upon the hyena as one of their ancestors or as associated in some way with their origin and destiny. The death of a hyena is mourned by the whole people, and the greatest funeral ceremonies which they perform are performed for this brute. The wake held over a chief is as nothing compared to the wake held over a hyena ; one tribe alone mourns the death of its chief, but all the tribes unite to celebrate the obsequies of a hyena.3 Some Malagasy families claim to be descended from the babacoote (Lichanotus brevicaudatus), a large lemur of grave-appearance and staid demeanor which lives in the depth of the forest. When they find one of these creatures dead, his human descendants bury it solemnly, digging a grave for it wrapping it in a shroud, and weeping and lamenting over its carcass. A doctor who had shot a babacoote was accused by the inhabitants of a Betsimisaraka village of having killed " one of their grandfathers in the forest," and to appease their indignation he had to promise not to skin the animal in the village but in a solitary place where nobody could see him.1 Many of the Betsimisaraka believe that the curious nocturnal animal called the aye-aye (Cheiromys madagascariensis) " is the embodiment of their forefathers, and hence will not touch it, much less do it an injury. It is said that when one is discovered dead in the forest, these people make a tomb for it and bury it with all the forms of a funeral. They think that if they attempt to entrap it, they will surely die in consequence."2 Some Malagasy tribes believe themselves descended from crocodiles and accordingly they deem the ferocious reptiles their brothers. If one of these scaly brothers so far forgets the ties of kinship as to devour a man, the chief of the tribe, or in his absence an old man familiar with the tribal customs, repairs at the head of the people to the edge of the water, and summons the family of the culprit to deliver him up to the arm of justice. A hook is then baited and cast into the river or lake. Next day the guilty brother, or one of his family, is dragged ashore, formally tried, sentenced to death, and executed. The claims of justice being thus satisfied, the erring brother is lamented and buried like a kinsman ; a mound is raised over his grave, and a stone marks the place of his head.3
Amongst the Tshi-speaking tribes of the Gold Coast in West Africa the Horse-mackerel family traces its descent from a real horse-mackerel whom an ancestor of theirs once took to wife. She lived with him happily in human shape on shore, till one day a second wife, whom the man had married, cruelly taunted her with being nothing but a fish. That hurt her so much that, bidding her husband farewell, she returned to her old home in the sea, with her youngest child in her arms, and never came back again. But ever since the Horse-mackerel people have refrained from eating horse-mackerels because the lost wife and mother was a fish of that sort.1 Some of the Land Dyaks of Borneo tell a similar tale to explain a similar custom. " There is a fish which is taken in their rivers called a puttin, which they would on no account touch, under the idea that if they did they would be eating their relations. The tradition respecting it is, that a solitary old man went out fishing and caught a puttin, which he dragged out of the water and laid down in his boat. On turning round, he found it had changed into a very pretty little girl. Conceiving the idea she would make, what he had long wished for, a charming wife for his son, he took her home and educated her until she was fit to be married. She consented to be the son's wife, cautioning her husband to use her well. Some time after their marriage, however, being out of temper, he struck her, when she screamed, and rushed away into the water ; but not without leaving behind her a beautiful daughter, who became afterwards the mother of the race."2 The Kayans of Borneo think that the first man and woman were born from a tree, which had been fertilized by a creeper swaying backwards and forwards in the wind. The man was named Kaluban Gai and the woman Kalubi Angai. However, they were incomplete, for they had no legs, and even the lower half of their trunks was wanting, so that their entrails protruded. Nevertheless they married and became the progenitors of mankind.3 Thus the Kayans suppose the human race to have been directly evolved from plants without passing through the intermediate stage of animals.
Members of a clan in Mandailing, on the west coast of Sumatra, allege that they are descended from a tiger, and at the present day, when a tiger is shot, the women of the clan are bound to offer betel to the dead beast. When members of this clan come upon the tracks of a tiger, they must, as a mark of homage, enclose them with three little sticks. Further, it is believed that the tiger will not attack or lacerate his kinsmen, the members of the clan.1 The Battas or Bataks of Central Sumatra are divided into a number of clans which have for their totems white buffaloes, goats, wild turtle-doves, dogs, cats, apes, tigers, and so forth ; and one of the explanations which they give of their totems is that these creatures were their ancestors, and that their own souls after death can transmigrate into the animals.2
Some of the natives of Minahassa, a district at the northeastern extremity of Celebes, believe that they are descended from apes, and that the parent stock of these animals still inhabits the woods of Menado toowah, or Old Menado, an island which rises out of the sea in the shape of a conical mountain. The old inhabitants of Menado, a town on the mainland of Celebes, stoutly affirmed that the apes on that island were their forefathers. In former times they used to send offerings of rice, bananas, and so forth, every year to their simian ancestors in the woods, but afterwards they found it more convenient to place their offerings on a raft of bamboo stems and then, in the darkness of night, illuminated by the glare of torches, to let the frail bark drift down the river amid a hubbub of noises and the clamor of multitudinous voices wishing it good speed. A similar belief in their descent from these apes is cherished by the inhabitants of Tanawangko, another town of Minahassa distant somewhat farther from the ancestral island. These people sometimes repair to the island for the purpose of felling timber, and it is said that, rather than chase away or injure the apes which infest the forest, they suffer the thievish animals to steal their rice, bananas, and clothes, believing that sickness or death would be the inevitable consequence of any attempt to defend their property against the monkeys.1
In Amboyna and the neighboring islands the inhabitants of some villages aver that they are descended from trees, such as the Capellenia moluccana, which had been fertilized by the Pandion Haliaetus. Others claim to be sprung from pigs, octopuses, crocodiles, sharks, and eels. People will not bum the wood of the trees from which they trace their descent, nor eat the flesh of the animals which they regard as their ancestors. Sicknesses of all sorts are believed to result from disregarding these taboos.2 Similarly in Ceram persons who think they are descended from crocodiles, serpents, iguanas, and sharks will not eat the flesh of these animals.3 Many other peoples of the Molucca Islands entertain similar beliefs and observe similar taboos.4
The Bukaua of North-Eastern New Guinea appear to trace their descent from their totemic animals. Thus the inhabitants of one village will not eat a certain sea-fish (ingo)t because they allege that they are all descended from it. Were one of them to eat the fish, they believe that the doom of all the villagers would be sealed. Another clan revere white parrots as their totems, and never eat the bird, though they are glad to deck themselves with its feathers. If they see other people eating a white parrot, they are grieved, sprinkle themselves with ashes in token of sorrow for the death of the bird, and expect compensation from the murderers. If one of themselves ate a white parrot, he would suffer from sore eyes. The members of a particular family refuse to eat pig, because they owe their existence to a sow, which farrowed babies and little pigs at the same birth.5
Similarly some of the natives of Astrolabe Bay in Northern New Guinea believe that they are descended from a crocodile, which a human ancestress of theirs brought forth along with a twin girl. Hence they refuse to eat the flesh of crocodiles, and they tell a long story about the vicious behavior of their crocodile forefather.1
A somewhat different account of the origin of man is given by the Marindineeze, a tribe who occupy the dreary, monotonous treeless flats on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, not far from the border of the British territory. They say that one day a crane or stork (dik) was busy picking fish out of the sea. He threw them on the beach, where the clay covered and killed them. So the fish were no longer anything but shapeless lumps of clay. They were cold and warmed themselves at a fire of bamboos. Every time that a little bamboo burst with a pop in the heat, the lumps of clay assumed more and more the shape of human beings. Thus the apertures of their ears, eyes, mouth, and nostrils were opened, but as yet they could not speak, they could only utter a murmuring sound. Their fingers were still joined by membranes like those in the wings of bats. However, with a bamboo knife they severed the membranes and threw them into the sea, where they turned into leeches. When the nature spirit (dema) saw the human beings, he was wroth, and enviously asked the crane, why he had bestowed life on these creatures. So the crane ceased to peck at the fish and pecked at a log of wood instead ; and that is why his beak has been bent ever since. At last, while the first men were sitting round the fire, a big bamboo burst with a louder crack than usual, which frightened the people so that they gave a loud shriek, and that was the beginning of human speech. You may still hear shrieks of the same sort at the present day, when in time of sickness the descendants of these first parents are sitting by the fire and throwing bamboos into it, in order that the crackling and popping of the bamboos in the flames may put the spirit of disease to flight. Every time a bamboo bursts with a pop, all the people shout and load the demon with curses. And this Papuan narrative of the descent of man usually winds up with the words, " So the stork or crane (dik) bestowed life on us." l
A somewhat different version of the story is told by other members of the tribe. They say that before the first human pair appeared on earth, there were spirits (demas) residing at Wegi, near Kondo-miraaf which is near the extreme south-eastern corner of the tribal territory. Now the spirits owned a dog and a bird (diegge), which may be presumed to be the same crane or stork (dik, diek) which figures in the former version. One day the dog, snuffing about, was attracted by the scent to a certain spot, and there with his paws he scraped a hole in the ground, from which the first human pair, a man and a woman, came forth. They possessed all animal instincts, but their minds were very imperfectly developed. They lived like beasts, without experience and without feeling the need of communicating/ with each other by speech. As for the necessaries of life, they received them from the spirits. Roaming about one day they came to a river, and in their ignorance of the nature of water they walked straight into it and might have been drowned, if the bird had not flown to their rescue and drawn them out of the stream. That is how they came to be acquainted with water ; but still they were ignorant of fire. Their knowledge of that element they acquired from watching a fire which the spirits had kindled to warm themselves at in cold weather; and it was the astonishment our first parents felt at the sight of the devouring flames, and the alarm they experienced at the loud crackling of the bamboos in the heat, which elicited from them the first cry of fear and wonder and so unloosed their tongues. Henceforth they could speak. The hole from which these ancestors of mankind emerged on that memorable day has continued to be a hole ever since; but water has gathered in it, and it is now the sacred pool of Wegi. Even in seasons of the greatest drought the water in that pool never fails ; and all the animals and plants about it, every thing that runs or flies or grows there, is holy.1
The legend which in one or other of these versions the Marindineeze tell to account for the origin of the human species is said to be represented dramatically by them at the mysteries or rites of initiation which they celebrate every year, and on the celebration of which they apparently believe the fertility of the land, of man, and of beast to be dependent. Thus the story that the bird picked the first human beings from the water in the likeness of fish and threw them on the beach, is acted by an initiated man who comes hopping along on two sticks, picks up the novices one by one and throws them into the sacred enclosure. There they must lie motionless; they are stripped of all their ornaments, and coated from head to foot with a thick layer of clay; more than that, lumps of clay are thrust into their mouths by initiated men, and these they have afterwards to spit out into holes dug in the ground. This scene of the mysteries seems to recall either the clay which is said to have covered our fishy ancestors when they were first cast on the beach, or the earth from which they emerged when the dog had scraped away the soil from above them. The subsequent stages of the mysteries consist for the most part in a series of lessons designed to initiate the novices successively into the various occupations of ordinary life, of which, like newborn babes or their ancestors when they first emerged from the water or the earth, they are presumed to be entirely ignorant.2
Again, in Ponape, one of the Caroline Islands, " the different families suppose themselves to stand in a certain relation to animals, and especially to fishes, and believe in their descent from them. They actually name these animals ' mothers' ; the creatures are sacred to the family and may not be injured. Great dances, accompanied with the offering of prayers, are performed in their honor. Any person who killed such an animal would expose himself to contempt and punishment, certainly also to the vengeance of the insulted deity." Blindness is commonly supposed to be the consequence of such a sacrilege.1 The Samoans have a tradition that the first two men were developed out of two grubs, which were produced through the rotting of a convolvulus torn up by its roots. But the transformation of the grubs into men was carried out by two divine beings under the direction of Tuli (a species of plover), who was himself the son of the great god Tangaloa of the Skies. When the two men had received all their human limbs and features complete at the hands of the deities, they dwelt in the land where they had been formed, but being both males they could not continue the species. However, it chanced that one day, while he was fishing, one of the two men received a mortal hurt from a little fish and died ; whereupon the great god Tangaloa caused the dead man to be changed into a woman and to be brought to life again. So the man and the woman married and became the parents of mankind.2 This Samoan story of the origin of man combines the processes of evolution and creation ; for while it represents the first men as developed out of grubs, it attributes their final perfection to the formative action of divine beings.
Some of the aborigines of Western Australia believe that their ancestors were swans, ducks, or various other species of water-fowl before they were transformed into men.1 The Dieri tribe of Central Australia, who are divided into totemic clans, explain their origin by the following legend. They say that in the beginning the earth opened in the midst of Perigundi Lake, and the totems (murdus or madas) came trooping out one after the other. Out came the crow, and the shell parakeet, and the emu, and all the rest. Being as yet imperfectly formed and without members or organs of sense, they laid themselves down on the sand hills which surrounded the lake then, just as they do now. It was a bright day, and the totems lay basking in the sunshine, till at last, refreshed and invigorated by it, they stood up as human beings and dispersed in all directions. That is why people of the same totem are now scattered all over the country. You may still see the island in the lake out of which the totems came trooping long ago.2 Another Dieri legend relates how Paralina, one of the Mura-Muras or mythical predecessors of the Dieri, perfected mankind. He was out hunting kangaroos, when he saw four incomplete beings cowering together. So he went up to them, smoothed their bodies, stretched out their limbs, slit up their fingers and toes, formed their mouths, noses, and eyes, stuck ears on them, and blew into their ears in order that they might hear. Having perfected their organs and so produced mankind out of these rudimentary beings, he went about making men everywhere.3 Yet another Dieri tradition sets forth how the Mura-Mura produced the race of man out of a species of small black lizards, which may still be met with under dry bark. To do this he divided the feet of the lizards into fingers and toes, and, applying his forefinger to the middle of their faces, created a nose ; likewise he gave them human eyes, mouths, and ears. He next set one of them upright, but it fell down again because of its tail ; so he cut off its tail, and the lizard then walked on its hind legs. That is the origin of mankind.1
The Arunta tribe of Central Australia similarly tell how in the beginning mankind was developed out of various rudimentary forms of animal life. They say that in those days two beings called Ungambikula, that is, " out of nothing," or " self-existing," dwelt in the western sky. From their lofty abode they could see, far away to the east, a number of inapertwa creatures, that is, rudimentary human beings or incomplete men, whom it was their mission to make into real men and women. For at that time there were no real men and women ; the rudimentary creatures (inapertwa) were of various shapes and dwelt in groups along the shore of the salt water which covered the country. These embryos, as we may call them, had no distinct limbs or organs of sight, hearing, and smell ; they did not eat food, and they presented the appearance of human beings all doubled up into a rounded mass, in which only the outline of the different parts could be vaguely perceived. Coming down from their home in the western sky, armed with great stone knives, the Ungambikula took hold of the embryos, one after the other. First of all they released the arms from the bodies, then making four clefts at the end of each arm they fashioned hands and fingers ; afterwards legs, feet, and toes were added in the same way. The figure could now stand ; a nose was then moulded and the nostrils bored with the fingers. A cut with the knife made the mouth, which was pulled open several times to render it flexible.
A slit on each side of the face separated the upper and lower eyelids, disclosing the eyes, which already existed behind them ; and a few strokes more completed the body. Thus out of the rudimentary creatures were formed men and women. These rudimentary creatures or embryos, we are told, " were in reality stages in the transformation of various animals and plants into human beings, and thus they were naturally, when made into human beings, intimately associated with the particular animal or plant, as the case may be, of which they were the transformations—in other words, each individual of necessity belonged to a totem the name of which was of course that of the animal or plant of which he or she was a transformation." However, it is not said that all the totemic clans of the Arunta were thus developed ; no such tradition, for example, is told to explain the origin of the important Witchetty Grub clan. The clans which are known, or said, to have originated out of embryos in the way described are the Plum Tree, the Grass Seed, the Large Lizard, the Small Lizard, the Alexandra Parakeet, and the Small Rat clans. When the Ungambikula had thus fashioned people out of these totems, they circumcised them all, except the Plum Tree men, by means of a fire-stick. After that, having done the work of creation or evolution, the Ungambikula turned themselves into little lizards which bear a name meaning " snappers-up of flies." 1
This Arunta tradition of the origin of man, as Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, who have recorded it, justly observe, " is of considerable interest; it is in the first place evidently a crude attempt to describe the origin of human beings out of non-human creatures who were of various forms ; some of them were representatives of animals, others of plants, but in all cases they are to be regarded as intermediate stages in the transition of an animal or plant ancestor into a human individual who bore its name as that of his or her totem." 2 In a sense these speculations of the Arunta on their own origin may be said, like a similar myth of the Samoans,3 to combine the theory of creation with the theory of evolution ; for while they represent men as developed out of much simpler forms of life, they at the same time assume that this development was effected by the agency of two powerful beings, whom so far we may call creators. It is well known that at a far higher stage of culture a crude form of the evolutionary hypothesis was propounded by the Greek philosopher Empedocles. He imagined that shapeless lumps of earth and water, thrown up by the subterranean fires, developed into monstrous animals, bulls with the heads of men, men with the heads of bulls, and so forth ; till at last, these hybrid forms being gradually eliminated, the various existing species of animals and men were evolved.1 The theory of the civilized Greek of Sicily may be set beside the similar theory of the savage Arunta of Central Australia. Both represent gropings of the human mind in the dark abysses of the past; both were in a measure grotesque anticipations of the modern theory of evolution.
The foregoing examples may serve to illustrate two very different views which primitive man has taken of his own origin. They may be distinguished as the theory of creation and the theory of evolution. According to the one, the human race was fashioned in its present form by a great artificer, whether a god or a hero ; according to the other, it was evolved by a natural process out of lower forms of animal or even vegetable life. Roughly speaking, these two theories still divide the civilized world between them. The partisans of each can appeal in support of their view to a large consensus of opinion ; and if truth were to be decided by weighing the one consensus against the other, with Genesis in the one scale and The Origin of Species in the other, it might perhaps be found, when the scales were finally trimmed, that the balance hung very even between creation and evolution.