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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/168

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1-44 ^^^ Fetish View of the Human Soul.

the important souls who have recently left the house may have returned to it. I have often heard a mother, reproach- ing a child for some fault, say : " Oh ! we made a big mistake when we ihovLghi. you were so-and-so ;" and this certainly has a good effect in giving to young people who believe them- selves to be in possession of a great soul a sense of responsi- bility. There is a great house now falling into destruction and decay in Bonny River, which but a generation since was one of the richest, proudest, and most powerful. I know by local opinion that these evil times have come on it from a man having been placed over it by the government, a man educated in England, who has neglected the family rites, whereby the strong ones have been lost to the house. Hence a very bitter feeling is in the hearts of the dependents of the house, who suffer poverty and abase- ment, against the government who placed that man at the head of its affairs.

Another point that is important is the plurality of souls to the individual. These are commonly held to be four : the human soul ; the soul in an animal, never in a plant, in the bush ; the shadow on the path ; and the dream-soul. This subject is a very complex one. I think I may say I believe these four souls to be one central soul, the others being, as it were, its senses, whereby it works while living in a body, for the dream-soul, bush-soul and shadow-soul do not survive death. No customs are made for them at death ; and if, during life, the intercommunication of these souls with each other is in any way damaged, the essential central soul suffers, suffers to the extent sometimes of bodily death, but does not die itself.

There is another point regarding the human soul which I must mention, in order to explain the great importance of funereal customs, and which throws some light on witch- craft terror ; and that is, that each human soul is believed to have a certain span of life due or natural to it for its incar- nation. It should be born and grow up through childhood,