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and the tasks which confront them are largely determined by those great events.
Beginning now our survey with a look at savage life, we note that we do not have to go back so very far into the past. It is not many centuries since most of our forefathers, if they were British, or German, or Scandinavian, or Slav, lived as savages or at least as barbarians. A little longer ago Greeks and Italians, and still longer ago Jews, lived likewise a savage or roaming life. Some had no iron tools, but used stone for axes as well as for arrow heads. In this they were like the American Indians. Like the Indians, most of them hunted and fished; like the Indians, too, they lived in clans or tribes and had customs of blood revenge. We can use many features from Indian life to help us imagine how our own ancestors lived and what their customs were.
One point we do well to keep in mind. When we speak of savages or indeed of people who lived long ago we are likely to think that they were very different from ourselves and perhaps quite inferior. But we must remember that our own ancestors lived as savages; so we cannot assume that the savage is necessarily
inferior to the civilized man in his ability. And as
regards the actual fact, to discover fire and how to
The great difference between savage and civilized Illen
Getting a living in early times
a stock of ideas and ways of doing things. These
women. The man in general had to protect the women and children, and to capture the game. As an Australian put it, “A man hunts, spears fish, fights, and sits about.” The women gathered roots or seeds, ground them, cooked, wove, made baskets or pottery, carried water, cared for the children. And both men and women had to make the weapons or tools they needed. In many cases men and women were very careful not to have anything to do with the tools or weapons of the other sex. These were “taboo"; it was regarded as dangerous for the other sex to touch them. A man might become weak if he meddled with woman’s things. But practically all men in the same tribe did the same kind of work. The other interesting fact was that every boy was sure of a place. This was because the family or clan or tribe all hung together. As the children grew up they stayed with their family or clan. They did not go off to the city to seek their fortune. They might stray away in search of food but they seldom dared to get far from the main group, for fear of their enemies. This might sometimes make it hard for the family or tribe to find enough food for all. But if so they shared their plenty or their want. As Dr. Eastman, himself a Sioux, says, “A whole tribe might starve; a single Indian never.” One reason why this sharing was more possible than it is in civilized countries was that land was not all divided up and owned by individuals as it is now. The tribes of Indians had their range of forest or plain, and knew that if they went beyond certain bounds they would get into the territory of other tribes who would very likely attack them. But within the tribe the separate Indians did not have their own private land. So when a boy grew
up he simply went with the rest to hunt or fish, or ranged about for small game by himself.
The day's work
A workman of today expects to work eight, nine, or ten hours a day. A few years ago his day would have been much longer. The farmer began work about five and kept at it until after dark. The stores and factories had similar hours. The writer was told the other day by an acquaintance that as a boy he worked in a woolen mill where he went to work at five in the morning and stayed until seven in the evening, stopping a half hour each for breakfast and dinner. Indeed, even schools kept early hours. At the academy where the writer's father prepared for college, the students rose for morning prayers at half past four in summer and at five the rest of the year. Now in savage life our ancestors kept no such regular hours. The men, especially, seemed to “ sit about” a good deal, as the Australian said. And if you think of it, the work of the men was largely what civilized people call sport. It was hunting or fishing. There was a good deal of excitement about it and it necessarily came at irregular times, depending on the habits of game, or the sudden outbreak of war. When they did such steady work as rowing or carrying burdens, or hammering, men were very likely to sing and so relieve the monotony. The women, on the other hand, had much less exciting tasks. Most of what we call drudgery was done by them. For such work as grinding seeds or grain, kneading, weaving, washing clothes, they too had songs, and the rhythm helped them to keep steadily at their task.
This docs not necessarily mean that savages were lazy, or cruel to women, as it is often charged. Some savages were no doubt both. But the chief reason for
the division of labor was that the man had to do the
In early society no one could plan to be a merchant or trader, because there was no such vocation. No one made a business of purchasing wares in order to sell them again at a profit. The early method of exchanging something that one man had for something that some one else had was by making a present, and then getting a present in return. Notice, however, that in savage life a man would not need to exchange presents with some one in the same tribe or household. For as regards food, all would share. “It is looked upon as a theft (or at least as a mean act) if a herd of
Gifts as a mode of trade