Thursday, December 20, 2012

Containing a quotation from "The Golden Bough" to exercise further the judgement and reflection of the reader

This example illustrates the extremely materialistic view which these savages take of the nature of words; they suppose that the mere utterance of an expression signifying clumsiness will homeopathically affect with clumsiness the limbs of their distant foemen. Another illustration of the curious misconception is furnished by Caffre South African superstition that the character of a young thief can be reformed by shouting his name over a boiling kettle of medicated water, then clapping a lid on the kettle and leaving the name to steep in the water for several days. It is not in the least necessary that the thief should be aware of the use that is being made of his name behind his back; the moral reformation will be effected without his knowledge.

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