We Found That Every Village Had Its Idols Near It.
This is the case
all through the country of the Balonda, so that, when we came
to an idol in the woods, we always knew that we were within
a quarter of an hour of human habitations.
One very ugly idol we passed
rested on a horizontal beam placed on two upright posts.
This beam was furnished with two loops of cord, as of a chain,
to suspend offerings before it. On remarking to my companions that these
idols had ears, but that they heard not, etc., I learned that the Balonda,
and even the Barotse, believe that divination may be performed
by means of these blocks of wood and clay; and though the wood itself
could not hear, the owners had medicines by which it could be made
to hear and give responses, so that if an enemy were approaching
they would have full information. Manenko having brought us to a stand
on account of slight indisposition and a desire to send forward
notice of our approach to her uncle, I asked why it was necessary
to send forward information of our movements, if Shinte had idols
who could tell him every thing. "She did it only,"* was the reply.
It is seldom of much use to show one who worships idols the folly of idolatry
without giving something else as an object of adoration instead.
They do not love them. They fear them, and betake themselves to their idols
only when in perplexity and danger.
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