Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/259

This page needs to be proofread.

Reviews. 245

to his wife and children on the other : it would not be a totem- name. Again, if names were bestowed on a group by persons not belonging to the group, there is no guarantee of unanimity between the outsiders who consist of mutually hostile groups, and who would or might each give a different name to one and the same group. From the point of view that every local group contained within itself the two phratries, I should prefer to con- jecture that it was within the local group that names for the two phratries and for the several families (reckoned by female descent) grew up and spread abroad ; for it was within the local group that names would be very convenient, and even necessary ; and, within the group, names could easily be conferred and accepted — more easily than they would be learnt or accepted from external, hostile groups. An easy way would be to call the woman who was brought into the group after the place from which she came : amongst the Euahlayi, children are named after places or hunting-grounds : " any one who is called a Ghurreburrah belongs to the orchid country; Mirriehburrah, to the poligonum country, and so on" {Euahlayi Tribe, p. 12). If the name became hereditary, the belief in a mysterious connec- tion between the orchid or the poligonum and the bearers of the name would arise, in accordance with Mr. Lang's theory. But totem-names would, on the view suggested, have been originally place-names ; and places, though commonly named after the plant or animal common there, might also be named after some inedible thing — a point to be borne in mind when Mr. Frazer calls our attention to the fact that amongst the two hundred and one sorts of totems enumerated in Northern Tribes, pp. 767-773, over thirty are things that are not eaten.

On the whole, then, by the time Mr, Lang has done with it, there does not seem to be much secret left to the totem. It reinforces but did not create the prohibition of the unions which it forbids ; it does not seem to have much to do with religion j and the connection between a totem-clan and its totem animal or plant became mysterious or mystic chiefly when its origin was forgotten.

One important point, to which attention should be directed, in The Secret of the Totem, is this : both Mr. Lang's theory