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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/747

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POLITICAL HEADSā€”CHIEFS, KINGS, ETC.

much repute as a magician. Hence the power possessed by Langalibalele, who, as Bishop Colenso says, "knows well the composition of that intelezi [used for controlling the weather]; and he knows well, too, the war-medicine, i. e., its component parts, being himself a doctor." Still better is seen the governmental influence thus acquired in the case of the king of Obbo, who in time of drought calls his subjects together and explains to them "how much he regrets that their conduct has compelled him to afflict them with unfavorable weather, but that it is their own fault. . . . He must have goats and corn. 'No goats, no rain; that's our contract, my friends,' says Katchiba. . . . Should his people complain of too much rain, he threatens to pour storms and lightning upon them for ever, unless they bring him so many hundred baskets of corn, etc. . . . His subjects have the most thorough confidence in his power," And the king is similarly supposed to have power over the weather among the people of Loango.

A like connection is traceable in the records of various extinct peoples in both hemispheres. Of Huitzilopochtli, the founder of the Mexican power, we read that "a great wizard he had been, and a sorcerer"; and every Mexican king on ascending the throne had to swear "to make the sun go his course, to make the clouds pour down rain, to make the rivers run, and all fruits to ripen." Reproaching his subjects for want of obedience, a Chibcha ruler told them they knew that "it was in his power to afflict them with pestilence, smallpox, rheumatism, and fever, and to make to grow as much grass, vegetables, and plants as they wanted." Ancient Egyptian records yield indications of a similar early belief. Thothmes III, after being deified, "was considered as the luck-bringing god of the country, and a preserver against the evil influence of wicked spirits and magicians." And it was thus with the Jews: "Rabbinical writers are never weary of enlarging upon the magical power and knowledge of Solomon. He was represented as not only king of the whole earth, but also as reigning over devils and evil spirits, and having the power of expelling them from the bodies of men and animals, and also of delivering people to them." The traditions of European peoples furnish kindred evidence. As before shown, stories in the "Heims-kringla Saga" imply that the Scandinavian ruler, Odin, was a medicine-man; as were also Niot and Frey, his successors. And after recalling the supernatural weapons and supernatural achievements of early heroic kings, we can scarcely doubt that with them were in some cases associated the supposed magical powers whence have descended the supposed powers of kings to cure diseases by touching or otherwise. We shall the less doubt this on finding that like powers were ascribed to subordinate rulers of early origin. There were certain ancient Breton nobles whose spittle and touch had curative properties.

One important factor, then, in the genesis of political headship,