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was a man.
had done some brave or difficult deed to show that he
The Sioux had a feast of maidens that no girl dared to attend if she had misbehaved and broken the customs for proper conduct. Practically all clans were very strict in forbidding their members to marry women from within the clan. This custom is called exogamy, “ marriage outside.” In Australia the native had to select his wife from a certain small group into which it was proper for him to marry. He would not dare to marry any one else. amusing custom among many savage peoples is that a man must not speak to his mother-in-law; on the other hand, he is often expected to make her presents of food.
Other important customs prescribe how to deal with Settling quarrels, for a group of people must have some way disputes to settle disputes. One way is to have a sort of regulated duel—the parties try to get the better of each other, but without actually aiming to kill. Among the Australians, if one man steals from another he sometimes settles with the man who is wronged, in a duel with wooden swords and a shield. The old men chiefs stand by and see fair play. This is a sort of lawsuit with weapons instead of words—or we might put the matter the other way and say that a modern lawsuit is a contest with tongues instead of with fists.
But the most striking custom of all is the custom of Blood blood revenge. If a man in one tribe or clan injures revenge or kills a man in another, every kinsman of the victim is bound to revenge the wrong. If he cannot kill the murderer he kills some one else in the murderer's clan. Sometimes a payment of money is made to satisfy the relatives of the man who was killed. In this case every member of the kin is bound to contribute. This cus
tom of family feuds survives even yet in many countries of Europe, and in some parts of the United States.
As already suggested, one large set of customs is with reference to acts that must not be done or with reference to food that must not be eaten. We might call these negative customs. They are often called taboos. Taboo means nearly “mustn't touch.” Most savage peoples regard certain plants or animals as taboo; they will not eat them. In some of these cases the plants may be poisonous but in many cases no good reason is known for not eating the plant or animal. Possibly some one was once taken ill or had some bad luck after eating the plant, and this would make it appear dangerous. Other taboos refer to conduct that it is feared will bring bad luck upon the group; marrying a woman from the wrong group is of this sort. A taboo is also a very convenient way to keep certain things for the priest or chief. If he says that the young cocoanuts are taboo, none will dare to pick them.
Why did the members of the clan observe these customs and taboos? For very much the same reasons that we conform to customs now. Three reasons are: (1) All of our group do it this way; (2) it always has been done this way; (3) it would bring trouble or bad luck if we didn't do it this way. (1) All our group do it this way. We all like to be with the crowd.” We don't like to be thought queer or different. We are all somewhat like birds or sheep that are lonesome if they are not with the flock, and follow wherever the flock goes. (2) It always has been done in this way. Habit is a strong master with all of us. It is easier to follow an old pattern in making a tool or a weapon or a jar or a blanket. And the more times
we do anything in a certain way the harder it is to change. It seems to be the right way. If husband and wife have always been from different clans it seems as if they ought to be so. If the son has always avenged his father's murder then it seems to be the only thing to do. (3) It is liable to bring trouble or bad luck to break a custom or taboo. Some people today fear to begin a journey on Friday. Passenger steamers do not often sail on that day. Early men did not know so much about nature as we do. They sometimes were made sick by poisonous plants. They sometimes found no game, they sometimes could get no water. It was not strange that they believed that there was a right way to prepare food, to hunt, to fight, to receive guests, to marry, and that a wrong way would bring bad luck.
The early group had several ways to make any member conform to its customs.
First, it actually trained him how to do certain acts. How the Parents now train children how to use knife and fork, clan how to bow, how to speak correctly. Music teachers made its
member's train pupils to sing. Athletic coaches train boys conform to play games. Soldiers are trained. The early group trained its children in dancing, in singing, in hunting, in religious ceremonies.
In the second place, a group was “ down on ” any member that did not conform, and no one liked to
“ down on” him. They might make fun of him, or cut him, or in different ways make it so uncomfortable that he was glad to get back into favor.
Third, if this public opinion or ridicule was not enough the group might take more severe measures. If a man were suspected of practising witchcraft or if
have a group
he should marry a near relative, the Australians might form a war party to go and spear him.
Fourth, the greatest influence of all among savage peoples has always been the same, the fear that something mysterious will happen if a taboo is broken. Formerly among the Hawaiian Islanders there was an extraordinary degree of such fear. It was known that certain men who had violated a taboo disappeared. No one saw them taken off or killed, but they never failed to disappear. As a matter of fact they were captured by secret agents who were always to seize them when alone, waiting if need be for a year, in order to carry out their plan secretly. But the mystery was a dreadful feature. In some cases would fall sick or die after violating some custom; he would be literally frightened to death when he found out what he had done. Of course, this would be regarded by the others as a sign that some mysterious power was angry with any one who violated a taboo. Indeed one doesn't need to go to savages to find people who are afraid that certain acts will bring bad luck. Very likely we have all known persons who do not like to be one of thirteen at the table, or to wear opals, or to see the moon over the left shoulder, or to break a looking-glass, or to pass a graveyard at night. We perhaps smile at such fears; but savage people take all their taboos and customs very seriously.
How far had early man in clan life succeeded in laying the foundations for what has developed since? How far did he advance in getting a living? How far in uniting with his fellows? How far in developing the qualities of character which lie at the basis of citizenship?
In getting a living he showed great cleverness and success in ingenuity. The inventions he made were remarkable. getting a But far fewer than among civilized people could get
living a living. When people are comfortable and have plenty of food their numbers usually increase. If their numbers remain small it usually shows that food is not plenty, or else that they suffer from war or disease.
The great lack among early men seems to have been Limits that they had not yet learned how to coöperate in a of early large way. Especially they had not learned how to coöpera
tion divide up within the clan into different crafts and trades nor to exchange goods with each other. And as for trade and exchange between clans, fear and distrust made that very difficult. Each clan was a sort of we-group that thought of other people not as customers or as friends but as an others-group.
There are two ways in which men can coöperate to help each other in getting a living. The first and simplest way is by uniting their strength. Two men can lift a heavy log, or catch a big fish, or bring down a large buffalo better than one can. Savages cooperate in this way very well. The second way is by dividing up into different occupations and then exchanging products. The farmer, blacksmith, shoemaker, and weaver help each other far more than if they should all four try to work together on the farm, then at the forge, then at the bench, and finally at the loom.
Or by a slightly different kind of division of labor men may divide up the parts of one task, as is done today in making shoes, and then put together the parts into complete products. The early men in savage or barbarous life did little of this second kind of coöperating. This made life hard, and kept them from getting on very far. For if one man has to do all