Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/111

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A good example of this is given in Charlevoix's work on French Canada.[1] Charlevoix was a Jesuit father and missionary among the Hurons and other tribes of North America. He thus describes[2] the philosophy of the Red Men. "The Hurons attribute the most ordinary effects to supernatural causes." In the same page the good father himself attributes the welcome arrival of rainy weather and the cure of certain savage patients to the prayers of Père Brébeuf and to the exhibition of the sacraments. Charlevoix had considerably extended the field in which natural effects are known to be produced by natural causes. He was much more scientifically minded than his savage flock, and was quite aware that an ordinary clock with a pendulum cannot bring bad luck to a whole tribe, and that a weather-cock is not a magical machine for securing unpleasant weather. The Hurons, however, knowing less of natural causes and nothing of modern machinery, were as convinced that his clock was ruining the luck of the tribe and his weather-cock spoiling the weather, as Father Charlevoix could be of the truth of his own inferences. One or two other anecdotes in the good father's history and letters help to explain the difference between the philosophies of wild and of Christian men. The Père Brébeuf was once summoned at the instigation of a Huron wizard or "medicine-man" before a council of the tribe. His judges told the father that nothing had gone right since he appeared among

  1. Histoire de la France Nouvelle.
  2. Vol. i. p. 191.