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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/374

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338 The Bitidiiig of a God.

We have already noted an instance of an image express- ing its desire to be established in a particular place. Ac- cording to Athenaeus/ Admete was a priestess of Hera at Argos, but fled with the image of the goddess to Samos. Pirates were engaged by the Argives to bring the image back ; but they failed, because the ship laden with the idol could not be made to move. So they took it back to Samos, where it was tied to a tree (obviously it was originally a tree deity), and was finally purified and restored to the Samos temple. Many tales like this are told all the world over, from the Rollright Stones on the Cotswold Hills to the Lingam of Mahadeva Ravaneswara at Vaidyanatha in Bengal, which refused to move when Ravana touched it, and has remained there ever since."

When the god has thus been established in an image, it is obviously necessary, to prevent him from escaping, to keep him under control, so that he may not only be always at hand to receive the prayers and offerings of his subjects, but may not abscond or be removed, and thus come under the control of a strange and presumably hostile tribe. It may be objected that this view of the relations of man to his god is inconsistent with those which prevailed in the most primitive times between humanity and divinity, where the deity was regarded not with fear but with love, and early religion principally occupied itself with the task of estab- lishing communion with him. Thus in Dr. Jevons' masterly Introduction to the History of Religion^ he writes : " If we regard these fire-festivals and water-rites as pieces of sympathetic magic, they are clear instances in which man imagines himself able to constrain the gods to subserve his own ends Now this vain imagination is not merely non- religious, but anti-religious; and it is difficult to see how

' DeiJ>nos, xv. i?..

  • Folk-Lore, vol. vi. p. 27 ; Oppert- Original Inhabitants of Bh&ratavarsa,

P- 376. ' P. 233.