chapter  IV
23 Pages

Evil Incantations

For the further we go back behind the genial embodiment of the forces of Nature and Polytheism the darker and more vindictive does sorcery become. This may be tested by races still existent. For just as the babe in the womb is said to pass through the stages corresponding to those of lower forms of animals, to the higher,

so we may see the primitive or prehistoric man more or less modified by soil or climate, in the Fuegian, Papuan, or Australian, and specially in the African races. Among all these the horrible old witchcraft, which aims far more at death and injury and revenge than at doing good, predominates over benevolence. And that there should still be so much of it, employing the earliest known forlns of sorcery, in Italy, is an almost conclusive proof of its antiquity. As animals must destroy life before they can enjoy it, so man seems in his animal stage to have found his first great pleasure in injuring or killing others.