Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/516

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Now, it is true that in any case the identification of ghost and crop is very complete, for, as Mr. Frazer remarks, the Mexicans killed young victims for the young corn and old ones for the ripe corn. The Marimos thus sacrificed as "seed" a short fat man, the shortness of his stature corresponding to that of the young corn, his fatness to the condition which it is desired that the crops may attain. Again, says the same high authority, the identification of the victim with the corn comes out in the African custom of killing him with spades and hoes, and the Mexican custom of grinding him like corn between two stones. Still the point which I wish here particularly to suggest as important is, that cultivation may have begun on the actual tumuli of the dead, and that the annual god who was sacrificed for the fertility of the crops may have been, as it were, a deliberately designed and artificially produced deity, who replaced the ancestral spirit of early ages. Early man said to himself: "Food plants grew best where they grow on the grave of a divine chieftain: let us make such a grave in every field, and the spirit we put in it will insure fertility." Just as cultivation itself is a substitution of artificial for natural growth, so the annual slain god is, I believe, an artificial substitute for the natural dead chieftain in his sacrificial barrow.

As bearing once more on the supposed connection between ghosts and crops, which we shall presently see resolves itself later on into a connection between trees and crops, we might bring up the curious ceremony of the gardens of Adonis, which would seem to be a survival of the same idea that vegetation springs directly from the body of the divine person. The death of the Syrian god was annually lamented with bitter wailing by the women of the country. Images of Adonis, dressed to resemble corpses, and, no doubt, replacing the actual corpse of the original annual Adonis victim, as the Attis effigies replaced the original slain Attis, were carried out to burial, and then thrown into the sea or into springs of water. What is more noteworthy, however, is the fact that baskets or pots were filled with earth in which wheat, barley, lettuces, and various flowers—presumably anemones among the number—were sown and tended for eight days, chiefly by women. Fostered by the sun's heat, the plants shot up rapidly, but, having no depth of root, withered as rapidly away, and at the end of eight days were carried out with the images of the dead Adonis, and flung with them into the sea or into springs. We do not know whether these gardens were actually grown on the top of the effigies, but this would seem probable, says Mr. Frazer, from analogies elsewhere; for in Sicily the women, at the approach of Easter, sow wheat, lentils, and canary seed in plates, which are kept in the dark, and watered every second day. The plants shoot up quickly. The stalks are then tied