The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

As examples of the former of these statements, I may say that a pig used to be always paid for in dogs’ teeth—­though this practice is not now, I think, so strict—­and that some of their finer head feather dancing ornaments and ornamental nose pieces can still only be paid for in dogs’ teeth; also that there is a special kind of feather ornament, composed of many small feathers fixed in a line on a string, which can only be obtained in exchange for a particular sort of shell necklace.

As examples of recognised relative values, I may state that the proper payment in dogs’ teeth for a pig is a chain of dogs’ teeth equal in length to the body of the pig, the latter being measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail; and that the payment for the special feather ornament is its own length of the corresponding shell necklace.

Exchange and barter is generally only engaged in between members of different communities, and not between those of the same community.  An apparent exception to this arises in the purchase of pigs at certain ceremonies above referred to; but in this case it is really a matter of ceremony, and not one of ordinary barter.  There are no regular markets, such as exist in some other parts of the country, the exchange of goods being effected by one or more individuals going with their articles of exchange to some other community, where they hope to get what they require.  The nearest approach to a market arises intermittently when there is to be a big feast.  Then the communities giving, and invited to, the feast require a large supply of ornaments, especially for those who are going to dance, and probably do not possess a sufficient quantity.  They therefore have to procure these ornaments elsewhere; and the natural place to go to is some other community, possibly a long way off, which has recently been in the same want of extensive ornaments for a feast, and has procured and used them, and now has them, so to speak, in stock, and will be glad to dispose of them again.  Thus ornaments used for feasts are sold and resold and travel about the country very extensively.



I have been fortunate in having had some interesting and valuable linguistic material placed at my disposal for publication by Father Egedi and in having had further material added to it by Dr. Seligmann and Mr. Sidney H. Ray.  I have thought it better to deal with it in five appendices, and I am greatly indebted to Mr. Ray for having undertaken the laborious task of their compilation.  I give the following explanation concerning these appendices.

(1) Is a grammar of the Fuyuge language.  The original manuscript is the work of Father Egedi, the, materials from which it was prepared by him having been collected in the Mafulu villages.  The appendix is Father Egedi’s Grammar, translated and edited by Mr. Ray.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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