Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/592

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

nite and more ambitious than these minor excursions is the school journey, which may last from three days to three weeks. It is usually taken on foot, and is as inexpensive as possible, with plain food and simple accommodation. Each boy carries his own knapsack charged with a change of underclothing, towels, soap, etc., and overcoat or umbrella; while for the common use of the party are distributed clothes brushes and shoe brushes, needles, thread, string, and pins, ointment for rubbing on the feet, a small medicine chest, a compass, a field glass, a pocket microscope, a barometer, and a tape measure. The district visited is chosen on account of its historical associations or the geographical illustrations it furnishes, or the richness and variety of plant life to be studied. Constant pauses are made to afford opportunities for the examination of features inviting study; and the scenes visited are often closely connected with the subjects included in the year's work of the school. In a journey, of which Miss Dodd was a member, preparations were begun three months beforehand, with the collection of subscriptions, drawing of road maps, and special lessons. The fifty boys from ten to fifteen years old, marched off in groups of four, assorting themselves according to their affinities for companionship, with advance and rear guards; the regions passed through were explored for what might be found in them; the roads were marked and identified, mountains and rivers were named, and the courses of streams determined; and at each place of considerable interest its characteristic features and associations of Nature, art, and history were discussed and studied.


The Huichol Indians of Jalisco.—The Huichol Indians of Mexico, the subject of a study by Carl Lumholtz, four thousand people living in the mountains of northern Jalisco, have a tradition that they originated in the south, got lost underneath the earth, and came forward again in the east, in the country of the Kikuli, near San Luis Potosi. Franciscan missionaries converted them nominally to Christianity, but there are now no priests in their country, and there is probably no tribe in Mexico where the ancient beliefs have been so well maintained as with them. Their exterior conditions have been somewhat altered by the introduction of cattle and sheep, and cattle are now the favorite animals for sacrifice at the feasts for making rain during the dry season. The people are healthy, very emotional, easily moved to laughter or tears, imaginative and excitable. Young people show affection in public, kissing or caressing one another. They are kindhearted and not inhospitable to those who can gain their confidence, but have the reputation of being wanting in regard for truth. They live mostly in circular houses made from loose stones, or stones and mud, and covered with thatched roofs. Their temples, devoted to various gods, are of similar shape, but much larger, with the entrances toward sunrise. Outside of the door is an open space surrounded by small rectangular godhouses, with gabled and thatched roofs. The god-houses are also frequently found in the forests, and are sometimes circular. There are nineteen temples in the country which are frequented at the times of the feasts, when the officials and their families camp in the small god-houses. Idols are not kept in the temples, but are hidden in caves or in special buildings. There are a great many sacred caves devoted to various gods, and generally containing some pool or spring that gives them sanctity, and the water of which is supposed to have salutary virtues. Much religious importance is attached to the Kikuli cactus, which produces an exhilarating effect on the system. Ceremonial arrows are inseparably connected with their life, the arrow representing the Indian himself in his prayers to the gods. They have other interesting ceremonies and ceremonial objects, and a curious system of distilling, which Mr. Lumholtz describes at length.


Herrings at Dinner.—The food of the herring consists of small organisms, often of microscopic dimensions. It is entirely animal, and in Europe, according to those who have investigated the matter, it consists of copepods, schizopods (shrimp-like forms), amphipods (sand fleas and their allies), the embryos of gasteropods and lamellibranchia, and young fishes, often of its own kind. In the examination of about fifteen hundred specimens of herring at Eastport, Maine, and vicinity, in the summer and fall of 1893, Mr.