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121
SACRIFICE

under a foundation stone, had no notion whatever as to any Being to whom the offering was made. I have spoken with those who have been engaged in such rites, and have assured myself that they have believed only in the sacrifice being remedial, but have had no thought of it as an oblation to any deity or devil. When the English officers visited the Khonds, they were so full of the Aryan idea of sacrifice that they took for granted that the butchery of victims was an offering to the Earth goddess. But I am quite convinced that the Khonds had no conception of the sort, any more than my sidesman had when he sacrificed a white cock to avert a murrain. [1]

The men of the Ivernian race had not reached a higher plane of thought than the personification of Death and Life, and that but imperfectly. The Corn Spirit was but a vague idea. It could be killed when driven into the last shock of wheat. There was no conception of a Ceres, an ever-living goddess of the Harvest.

The field demanded blood, the sea a human victim, the earth a buried child — but the field was a dead, dumb object unpersonified;

  1. In my Strange Superstitions, written in 1891, I was obsessed by the idea of sacrifice to the Earth Goddess. This I reject now.