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tions, in law, politics, society, even in dress and manners. If isolated fragments of earlier ages abide in these, it is still more probable that other fragments will survive in anything so closely connected as is mythology with the conservative religious sentiment and tradition. Our object, then, is to prove that the "silly, savage, and irrational" element in the myths of civilised peoples is, as a rule, either a survival from the period of savagery, or has been borrowed from savage neighbours by a cultivated people, or, lastly, is an imitation by later poets of old savage data.[1] For example, to explain the constellations as metamorphosed men, animals, or other objects of terrestrial life is the habit of savages,[2]—a natural habit among people who regard all things as on one level of personal life and intelligence. When the stars, among civilised Greeks or Aryans of India, are also popularly regarded as transformed and transfigured men, animals, and the like, this belief may be either a survival from the age when the ancestors of Greeks and Indians were in the intellectual condition of the Australian Murri; or the star-name and star-myth may have been borrowed from savages, or from cultivated peoples once savage or apt to copy savages; or, as in the case of the Coma Berenices, a poet of a late age may have invented a new artificial myth on the old lines of savage fancy.

  1. We may be asked why do savages entertain the irrational ideas which survive in myth? One might as well ask why they eat each other, or use stones instead of metal. Their intellectual powers are not fully developed, and hasty analogy from their own unreasoned consciousness is their chief guide. See Appendix B.
  2. See Custom and Myth, "Star-Myths."