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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/136

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124 Reviews.

mother. Adoption is said to be practised to a small extent ; but when, or why, or how, is a blank. As an instance of inaccu- rate record arising from the unconscious importation of civilised ideas into the report, take the statement that "the Indians firmly believe in the immortality of the soul." Now, it may be said, without fear of contradiction, that no peoples on a low plane of civihsation believe in the immortality of the soul. They believe in something that survives death, and survives it for an indefinite time ; but a more careful enquiry would probably reveal to the writer either that the Indians held definitely that after a certain time the soul dies, or that they did not know what had become of the souls of those who had passed out of living memory, and never troubled their heads to enquire — that, in fact, they had never considered the question of immortality at all.

So much for these examples, which might easily be multiplied ; but it is far from being my desire to find fault with this unpre- tentious little book. What I do desire, in the interests alike of science and civilisation, is that missionaries should start with some elementary anthropological knowledge. Not only would it enable them to give accounts of their flocks which might range even with Bishop Codrington's great book on the Melanesians, but it would help them enormously in their evangelising efforts. Happily, the importance of this outfit is at last beginning to be recognised by those who are employed in educating mis- sionaries. Further experience may enable Mr. Grubb and his colleagues, if they will only abandon some of their pre- possessions, to penetrate into the ideas which underlie the customs of which their report is at present so defective and so superficial. They will then confer a real obligation upon students by telling them all they know in detail about the very interesting tribes of the Chaco.

Some of the photographic illustrations are very good. Most of them, however, are unfortunately too small to reproduce the details properly. The map is useful.

E. Sidney Hartland.