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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/184

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for this purpose, though very frequently sacrificed.

It is, however, other in Africa. In certain tribes a man's dignity depends on the number of heads of slaves he has had decapitated and which he can show.

In the North-West Congo, a rich man of the Babangi tribe endeavours to send forward a number of his attendants as outrunners to provide comfortable quarters for himself and to minister to his convenience when he arrives. He calls together all his attendants to a great feast of palm-wine and fish. But eating and drinking are only the preliminaries to the real business that has to be transacted--the sacrifice of a slave. The actual victim is not announced beforehand, the essential reason being that he has to be taken out of the midst of the revellers and then and there consigned to death.

Before the residences of well-to-do Babangi are tables laden with skulls, some blanched, others still with the skin about them and in a condition of putrefaction. The black gentleman conducts his admiring and envious guest about the table and points out to him what a large retinue he will possess in the other world. He fully understands that, when he is dead, his legal successors will