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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/263

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Reviews. 249

family extending over all Central and South Africa, south of a line drawn roughly from the Kamerun to the Pokomo River, but excluding the south-west corner — Great Namaqualand and Western Cape Colony — which from time immemorial has been occupied by Hottentots." The book is small, but simply packed with information, given without any unnecessary padding ; indeed compression is its leading characteristic.

As one might expect, a great deal of the medical science — if one may use such a term — of the Bantu is connected with witchcraft, the belief in unlucky things, and in amulets, and a full account of the " smelling-out " of witches in suspected cases, is given. But, in addition to the ordinary " witch- doctors," it appears that there are a number of other classes ot practitioners, some even rising to specialism in divers diseases. That here, as elsewhere in Africa, and indeed in other parts of the savage world, some of these have risen to a real, if empiric, knowledge of drugs is shown by the genuine cures which they are able to effect. Perhaps the most remarkable of those mentioned in the book is the cure of that terrible disease anthrax. Of this the writer says that it is " well known to the natives, and treated by their doctors with great success. I* is contracted by the natives feeding on the meat of anthractu )se cattle. So confident are the natives in their power to cure che disease, should it appear, that they have little hesitation in eating the infected meat, a fair proof of the success of their doctors' practice." Now the method of treatment here proceeds on ordinary medical lines, for certain drugs are applied inter- nally and externally without the use of any invocations or magic ceremonies. Nor are the doctors less confident than their patients, for it appears that in this, as in other diseases, the rule of " no cure, no pay " applies, and that heavy fees are exacted in the case of success. In other diseases — such, for example, as typhoid fever — drugs are also used, but the pharmacology is false, for it supposes that the disease is due to the entrance of a snake, " In-qumbabane," which is eating the patient up inside, and the drugs are employed with the object of causing the snake to quit the body of his victim. In surgery, too, the Bantu practitioner has arrived at some