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vividly pictured by a missionary who witnessed the sight: "Hearing the noise of a drum, I asked what it was, and the woman told me it was a 'girl playing.' It seems she had been very ill for two months, and as all remedies had failed, the hakim (doctor) said she must be under the power of an evil spirit. The magicians' were sent for to exorcise the demon. In a small, hot room was a crowd of men, women and children; in the middle, the two 'wizards'-leering men, with faces sodden with good living and evil doing. One beat a drum, the other thumped with brass pokers on a metal instrument. At intervals they recited incantations. The patient was lying on the ground before them, while a woman ironed her with a hot brick. Lift her up,' said one of the 'wizards.' This was done and then began a most sickening sight. She writhed backward and forward like a snake being charmed, the movements getting quicker and quicker as the drums beat louder; then she knocked her head and long black hair upon the ground. I spoke to the mother, but it was of no use, and the evil looking men beat the drum more furiously than ever. In such places Satan's seat is firm." Of course, such superstition is the avenue for fraud and blackmail of a most exacting kind.
Fracture cases which have been treated with splints in mission hospitals are often carried away by their friends to have the splints removed and the fracture smeared over with mud from some shrine, in the belief that it will unite better.
In Palestine a missionary physician was called in to see the son of a local governor. He found the native "hakim " had written the word "Allah," the Arabic name for God, round a plate and then washed it off, giving the boy the inky draught. He was sure that he must recover now that he had drunk the name of God so many times.
Bites by dogs are said to be best treated by drawing a circle round the wound and writing the word "tiger" in it, because the tiger is more than a match for the dog.
"The disease demons may afflict the patient in various ways. They come behind him, and hitting him with a club, enter the back of his neck, or creep into his body and consume his liver. A spirit may get
into the body and 'gnaw and feed' inside; invisible spirits may inflict invisible wounds with invisible spears, or, lodging in the heart, may make men mad. Sometimes it is the spirit of a bear, deer, turtle, fish, tree, stone or worm sent into the spirit of the sick man, or, as we have often heard them say, a ghost sitting on the chest of a patient.'
Thorns and bushes are put in the pathway of the smallpox spirit, or thorns, ditches and stinking oils may barricade the way of his approach. In New Zealand the disease demon is to be charmed on a flag-staff; in Malagasy the patient's ailments are to be recounted to some grass, ashes, a sheep or a pumpkin, and the disease spirit prayed to for their removal. The Patagonian was wont to beat a drum and the Dacota to shake his gourd and bead rattle to scare away the disease. The most widespread formula, however, is that of sucking or blowing on the diseased organs, accompanied with incantations, and the extraction of stones, splinters and bits of rags, amidst drumming, dancing and drinking. Not infrequently the disease is transferred by various means. man's blood may be run into an ant-hill or dropped in the mouth of a frog or a live fowl, or sent into a leopard's claw, a nail, a rag, a puppy or a duck. Such being the world's theories of disease and its treatment, it is plain that medicine and theology go together in the thought and life of the non-Christian man. He is quite prepared to receive them together from the Christian missionary. 'In nothing has the savage (and it is true of many more than the savage) been more religious than in his medicine, if it may be so called,' says one of the ablest ethnographers of our day. His medicine-man is always his priest, whether we call him shaman, conjurer, sorcerer or wizard. Sickness being the effect of the anger of a god, or the malicious influence of a sorcerer, he naturally seeks relief from his deity. The recovery from disease is the kindliest exhibition of Divine power, and the Christian Medical Missionary occupies a lofty vantage ground in his work.'
Superstition is the subtlest and most tenacious enemy *"Women's Medical Work in Foreign Lands," by Mrs. J. T. Gracey, pp. 10-12.
of Christianity. In no way can the belief in demons be more effectually shattered than by the work of the Medical Missionary. A minor operation, or a few doses of medicine, may cure a condition which has been affirmed to be consequent on some bewitching agency and which cannot be cured except by incantations, mantrams, or gaudy idolatrous processions to appease the wrath of some plague god, or disease demon.
It is difficult for those in Christian countries to realize the vast amount of suffering-mental and physicalwhich might be prevented and of sorrow which might be comforted, if only the voice of the Husbandman was heard as He calls for laborers to dress the vines and gather the grapes, which now are being so bruised and downtrodden in His far-away vineyards.
We would conclude this chapter by telling a story which is being enacted to-day in countless homes of India -a strange, weird mingling of ignorance, superstition, cruelty and neglect, which will surely appeal to the tenderness of every woman reader.
It is the home of a high-caste Hindu. A mother and a little child less than a week old are lying unconscious. The mother has survived the unspeakable barbarities of the native midwife, and now she and her child are perishing for want of food and from neglect.
Every step of her treatment had been laid down in their sacred book. For the first three days she has been deprived of food and drink, and on the third allowed one grain of rice. Her room has been prepared by placing her in the darkest and dirtiest of the house, with the most filthy of rags, on a mud floor for her bed. A cow's skull painted red, an image of Sasthi, the goddess who presides over the destiny of women and children, is placed in a conspicuous position. This and the pot of smoldering charcoal, the only furniture, are placed there to expel the evil spirits hovering round. During her three weeks of uncleanness neither father, mother, husband nor sister can come nigh her, leaving her to the care of the barber's wife. On the fifth day the filthy clothing is removed and the room cleaned, as on the next is to be the worship of Sasthi, and that night Vidhata
will write on the child's forehead the main events of his life. The day has arrived, Sasthi has been worshiped. The woman has been given a cold bath, all necessary arrangements for Vidhata's visit have been made, food consisting of a coarse graham flour and coarser brown sugar, equal parts, wet and kneaded together, to be eaten raw, has been prepared for the famished mother, but both mother and child are unconscious, and the foreign doctor is called to bring them back to life."* These are thy Gods, O India; these are Thy rivals, O Jehovah!
When shall a prophet of God be able to look toward these dark places and chant the anthem, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee"?
* Missionary Review of the World, September 1895, p. 68%,