Monday, May 26, 2014



"Tell me something about the native marriage ceremony."

"That's a queer thing. The boy, you remember, leaves the 'devil-bush at eighteen. He is then initiated into what has before been a secret, by two old men. The girl has not. The girl is brought in and placed on a mat. He is brought in blindfolded. The bandage is removed from his eyes, he sees his future wife, smiles, and is led out. Then the celebrating, feasting, and dancing begins. There is no further ceremony.

Now, when a chiefs son marries a chief's daughter, the ceremony takes two weeks instead of a few minutes. The parties meet midway between the two homes, no matter what the distance. The woman's foot is not allowed to touch the ground. Skins and cloths are spread before her, taken up after she has passed, and again spread in her path."

"Well, what sort of provision does the young fellow make before he takes a wife?"

"No man can have a wife unless he can provide for her.
A village is built in a circle, and all the houses are one.
The roofs are thatched together. Not only the houses but everything else is in common. As long as one Koo-man has rice, his tribe has rice. The ground in the center is the dance ground, and the villagers dance at every sunset.

The plagues are the 'bugga-buggas,' or white ants, led by a queen. Then there are the 'drivers,' with their generals, colonels, captains and privates, all of different sizes, and having different degrees of authority. They are the scavengers. Just you spill palm oil, or let your floor get filthy, and here they come by millions and millions. They surround a house, forming a ring eighteen inches thick, all matted and interlocked so that if you put a cane under the ring and lift it, it would not break, but would rise like a rubber belt for ten feet on each side. You can tell what's in your house when they come.

After the ring has been formed, a lizard spies them.
He rushes frantically about, convinces himself that they are really 'drivers,' and he drops to the floor, and does not attempt to escape, and offers no resistance. Then you see lizards, serpents, scorpions by the hundred. All drop. The 'drivers' eat everything but gold, silver and iron. The 'bugga-buggas' take a table leg, for example, eat the center, leaving the shell. If they happen to visit your house when everyone is away, you might suspect nothing until you leaned against the side of the house or pushed the door, and the thing would collapse in a little heap of a shell."


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