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the safety of the city."[1] What the "mystic deposits" were, nobody knows for certain, but they must have been of very archaic sanctity.

Ritual is preserved because it preserves luck. Not only among the Romans and the Brahmans, with their endless minute ritual actions, but among such lower races as the Kanekas of New Caledonia, the efficacy of religious functions is destroyed by the slightest accidental infraction of established rules.[2] The same timid conservatism presides over myth, and in each locality the mystery-plays, with their accompanying narratives, preserved inviolate the early forms of legend. Myth and ritual do not admit of being argued about. "C'était le rite établi. Ce n'était pas plus absurde qu'autre chose," says the conservative in M. Renan's piece, defending the mode of appointment of

               "The priest who slew the slayer,
               And shall himself be slain."

Now, if the rites and myths preserved by the timorousness of this same "cowardice towards the supernatural" were originally evolved in the stage of savagery, savage they would remain, as it is impious and dangerous to reform them till the religion which they serve perishes with them. These relics in Greek ritual and faith are very commonly explained as due to Oriental influences, as things borrowed from the dark and bloody superstitious of Asia.

  1. Ap. Hermann, Lehrbuch, p. 41; Aglaophamus, 965.
  2. Thus the watchers of the dead in New Caledonia are fed by the sorcerer with a mess at the end of a very long spoon, and should the food miss the mouth, all the ceremonies have to be repeated. This detail is from Mr. J. J. Atkinson.