their interference at will, is the main characteristic of savage speculation. The peculiarity of the savage is that he thinks human agencies can work supernaturally, whereas even the Bishop reserved his supernatural explanations for the Deity. On this belief in man's power to affect events beyond the limits of natural possibility is based the whole theory of magic, the whole power of sorcerers. That theory, again, finds incessant expression in myth, and therefore deserves our attention.
The theory requires for its existence an almost boundless credulity. This credulity appears to Europeans to prevail in full force among savages. Bosman is amazed by the African belief that a spider created the world. Moffat is astonished at the South African notion that the sea was accidentally created by a girl. Charlevoix says, "Les sauvages sont d'une facilité à croire ce qu'on leur dit, que les plus facheuse expériences n'ont jamais pu guérir." But it is a curious fact that while savages are, as a rule, so credulous, they often "laugh consumedly" at the religious doctrines taught them by missionaries. Savages and civilised men have different standards of credulity. Dr. Moffat remarks, "To speak of the Creation, the Fall, and the Resurrection, seemed more fabulous, extravagant, and ludicrous to them than their own vain stories of lions and hyænas." Again, "The Gospel appeared too preposterous for the most foolish to believe." While the Zulus declared that they used
- Vol. ii. p. 378.
- Missionary Labours, p. 245.