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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/225

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Mmutes of Meeting. 201

TUESDAY, JUNE 29th, 1897. The President (Mr. Alfred Nutt) in the Chair.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed.

The death of Sir A. Wollaston Franks was announced.

The election of Mr. W. A. Craigie and Miss K. Carson as new members was also announced.

Mr. W. Crooke's work on The Tribes and Castes of the North-West Provinces and Oudh (4 vols.), presented by the Indian Government to the Society's library, was laid on the table.

The President, in the course of some introductory remarks, spoke of the emergence of the science of folklore during the period included in the reign of Queen Victoria, the com- pletion of whose sixtieth year had just been celebrated.

The Secretary read the following communication from Mr. W. F. Kirby on a funeral custom of the Chinese, and exhibited the two slips of paper referred to therein :

I have lately received a letter from my brother, Mr. Charles F. Kirby, from San Francisco, California, containing a passage which I think may be interest- ing to the Folk-Lore Society : —

" I enclose two little slips of paper which might perhaps be something of curiosities ; the correct name for them I do not know [I believe they are some- times called 'joss papers,' W. F. K.], but I call them 'devil papers.' The practice is at a Chinese funeral for a Chinaman to sit on the box-seat of the hearse, and continually throw out handfuls of these papers. The idea is that the devil will get the soul of the departed while the body is above ground, unless he is scared away with music (Chinese music is enough to scare the devil and anything else that has ears) , or hindered by other means. These papers he is supposed to find (as he follows the funeral seeking an opportunity to steal the soul), and he is compelled to crawl through every hole on each sheet of paper (of which there are nine on each piece). This so impedes his progress that the procession is thereby enabled to get to the grave and get the corpse covered before he arrives on the scene." '

' C/. Dr. Groot, The Religious System of China, vol. i. p. 154, where the paper scattered is said to be paper-money for malevolent spirits which are