Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/90

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panthers, and so forth, just as the Australians are emus, iguanas, black cockatoos, kangaroos, and the rest. It is remarkable that there is an Incra stock, or clan of ants, in Ashantee, just as there was a race of Myrmidons, believed to be descended from ants, in ancient Greece. Though Bowditch's account of these West African family divisions is brief, the arrangement tallies closely with that of Australia. It is no great stretch of imagination to infer that the African tribes do, or once did, believe themselves to be of the kindred of the animals whose names they bear. It is more or less confirmatory of this hypothesis that (as in Australia) no family is permitted to use as food the animal from which it derives its name. We have seen that a similar rule prevails, as far as hunger and scarcity of victuals permit it to be obeyed, among the natives of Australia. The Intchwa stock in Ashantee and Fantee is particularly unlucky, because its members may not eat the dog, "much relished by native epicures, and therefore a serious privation." Equally to be pitied were the ancient Egyptians, who, as they belonged to the district of the sheep, might not eat mutton, which their neighbours, the Lycopolitæ, devoured at pleasure. These restrictions appear to be connected with the almost universal dislike of cannibals to eat persons of their own kindred. This law of the game in cannibalism has not yet been thoroughly examined, though we often hear of wars waged expressly for the purpose of securing food (human meat), while some South-American tribes actually bred from captive women by way of securing