Sir James George Frazer > The Golden Bough > Page 570
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Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941).  The Golden Bough.  1922.

Page 570
 
crimes—one for the land and one for the river.” A man from a neighbouring town was hired to put them to death. On the twenty-seventh of February 1858 the Rev. J. C. Taylor witnessed the sacrifice of one of these victims. The sufferer was a woman, about nineteen or twenty years of age. They dragged her alive along the ground, face downwards, from the king’s house to the river, a distance of two miles, the crowds who accompanied her crying, “Wickedness! wickedness!” The intention was “to take away the iniquities of the land. The body was dragged along in a merciless manner, as if the weight of all their wickedness was thus carried away.” Similar customs are said to be still secretly practised every year by many tribes in the delta of the Niger in spite of the vigilance of the British Government. Among the Yoruba negroes of West Africa “the human victim chosen for sacrifice, and who may be either a freeborn or a slave, a person of noble or wealthy parentage, or one of humble birth, is, after he has been chosen and marked out for the purpose, called an Oluwo. He is always well fed and nourished and supplied with whatever he should desire during the period of his confinement. When the occasion arrives for him to be sacrificed and offered up, he is commonly led about and paraded through the streets of the town or city of the Sovereign who would sacrifice him for the well-being of his government and of every family and individual under it, in order that he might carry off the sin, guilt, misfortune and death of all without exception. Ashes and chalk would be employed to hide his identity by the one being freely thrown over his head, and his face painted with the latter, whilst individuals would often rush out of their houses to lay their hands upon him that they might thus transfer to him their sin, guilt, trouble, and death.” This parade over, he is taken to an inner sanctuary and beheaded. His last words or dying groans are the signal for an outburst of joy among the people assembled outside, who believe that the sacrifice has been accepted and the divine wrath appeased.
  In Siam it used to be the custom on one day of the year to single out a woman broken down by debauchery, and carry her on a litter through all the streets to the music of drums and hautboys. The mob insulted her and pelted her with dirt; and after having carried her through the whole city, they threw her on a dunghill or a hedge of thorns outside the ramparts, forbidding her ever to enter the walls again. They believed that the woman thus drew upon herself all the malign influences of the air and of evil spirits. The Bataks of Sumatra offer either a red horse or a buffalo as a public sacrifice to purify the land and obtain the favour of the gods. Formerly, it is said, a man was bound to the same stake as the buffalo, and when they killed the animal, the man was driven away; no one might receive him, converse with him, or give him food. Doubtless he was supposed to carry away the sins and misfortunes of the people.
  Sometimes the scapegoat is a divine animal. The people of Malabar share the Hindoo reverence for the cow, to kill and eat which

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