THINGS ARE PERSONS.
been seen and shot. The wind, in the same way, is explained as a person, and the Boreas of Athenian myth is only an improved form of such conceptions as the Bushman notion that Goo-ka-kin, the wind, is a person who was seen lately at Haarfontein.
Most of those myths in which everything in Nature becomes personal and human, while all persons may become anything in Nature, we explain, then, as survivals or imitations of tales conceived when men were in the savage intellectual condition. In that stage, as we demonstrated, no line is drawn between things animate and inanimate, dumb or "articulate speaking," organic or inorganic, personal or impersonal. Such a mental stage, again, is reflected in the nature-myths, many of which are merely "ætiological,"—assign a cause, that is, for phenomena, and satisfy an indolent and credulous curiosity.
We may be asked again, "But how did this intellectual condition come to exist?" To answer that is no part of our business; for us it is enough to trace myth, or a certain large element in myth, to a demonstrable and actual stage of thought. But this stage, which is constantly found to survive in the minds of children, is thus explained or described by Hume in his Essay on Natural Religion: "There is an universal tendency in mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities . . . of which they are intimately conscious." Now they believe themselves to be conscious of magical and supernatural powers, which they do
- See Appendix B.