Him bring the string to the top and fix it to a peg, with the
owner's name on, and then when the owner dies he has that slave
again down below."
"They be fool men," said he, and he went on to explain that the
ghost of that slave would be almost immediately back on earth again
growing up ready to work for some one else, and would not wait for
its last owner's soul down below, and out of the luxuriant jungle of
information that followed I gathered that no man's soul dallies
below long, and also that a soul returning to a family, a thing
ensured by certain ju-jus, was identified. The new babies as they
arrive in the family are shown a selection of small articles
belonging to deceased members whose souls are still absent; the
thing the child catches hold of identifies him. "Why he's Uncle
John, see! he knows his own pipe;" or "That's cousin Emma, see! she
knows her market calabash," and so on.
I remember discoursing with a very charming French official on the
difficulty of eradicating fetish customs.
"Why not take the native in the rear, Mademoiselle," said he, "and
convert the native gods?"
I explained that his ingenious plan was not feasible, because you
cannot convert gods.