chapter  VI
14 Pages

Man and the Animals

In many countries-for it is not proved that the custom has been in force everywhere-a growing family, a clan, allied itself to one of the animals which bulked most largely in its life. The animal was a friend, a protector, an ancestor ; it gave its name to the clan which adopted i t ; it became its totem.1 As such it is protected as much as it protects ; it cannot be killed and eaten except in exceptional circumstances when at a religious rite one 44 communicates with it ” by feasting on its flesh and blood. The Iroquois, who have the tortoise for totem, declared that they had knowledge of the moment when the ancestral tortoise changed himself into human shape. Totemism flourished in America, in Australia, in Egypt, probably among the Celts and elsewhere. The beaver, the hawk, the kangaroo, the eagle, the parrot, are found among the animals who are fathers of this

or that tribe, and it is possible that the obligation to spare the species to which a clan believed itself related led sometimes to its domestication.