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Cherokee Formula to Make Children Jump Down
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Listen! You little man, get up now at once. There comes an old woman. The horrible [old thing] is coming, only a little way off. Listen! Quick! Get your bed and let us run away. Yû!
Listen! You little woman, get up now at once. There comes your grandfather. The horrible old fellow is coming only a little way off. Listen! Quick! Get your bed and let us run away. Yû!
In this formula for childbirth the idea is to frighten the child and coax it to come, by telling it, if a boy, that an ugly old woman is coming, or if a girl, that her grandfather is coming only a short distance away. The reason of this lies in the fact that an old woman is the terror of all the little boys of the neighborhood, constantly teasing and frightening them by declaring that she means to live until they grow up and then compel one of them to marry her, old and shriveled as she is. For the same reason the maternal grandfather, who is always a privileged character in the family, is especially dreaded by the little girls, and nothing will send a group of children running into the house more quickly than the announcement that an old “granny,” of either sex is in sight.
As the sex is an uncertain quantity, the possible boy is always first addressed in the formulas, and if no result seems to follow, the doctor then concludes that the child is a girl and addresses her in similar tones. In some cases an additional formula with the beads is used to determine whether the child will be born alive or dead. In most instances the formulas were formerly repeated with the appropriate ceremonies by some old female relative of the mother, but they are now the property of the ordinary doctors, men as well as women.
This formula was obtained from the manuscript book of A’yû´nini, who stated that the medicine used was a warm decoction of a plant called Dalâ´nige Unaste´tsi (“yellow root”-not identified), which was blown successively upon the top of the mother’s head, upon the breast, and upon the palm of each hand. The doctor stands beside the woman, who is propped up in a sitting position, while repeating the first paragraph and then blows. If this produces no result he then recites the paragraph addressed to the girl and again blows. A part of the liquid is also given to the woman to drink. A’yû´nini claimed this was always effectual.
(HIA´ TSUNSDI´GA DIL’TADI´NATANTI´YI. II.)
Hitsutsa, hitsu´tsa, tleki´yu, tleki´yu, e´hinugâ´i, e´hinugâ´i! Hi´tsu´tsa, tleki´yu, gûltsû´ti, gûltsû´ti, tinagâ´na, tinagâ´na!
Hige’yu´tsa, hige’yu´tsa, tleki´yu, tleki´yu, e´hinugâ´i, e´hinugâ´i! Hige’yu´tsa, tleki´yu, gûngu´sti, gûngu´sti, tinagâ´na, tinagâ´na!
Little boy, little boy, hurry, hurry, come out, come out! Little boy, hurry; a bow, a bow; let’s see who’ll get it, let’s see who’ll get it!
Little girl, little girl, hurry, hurry, come out, come out. Little girl, hurry; a sifter, a sifter; let’s see who’ll get it, let’s see who’ll get it!
This formula was obtained from Takwati´hi, as given to him by a specialist in this line. Takwatihi himself knew nothing of the treatment involved, but a decoction is probably blown upon the patient as described in the preceding formula. In many cases the medicine used is simply cold water, the idea being to cause a sudden muscular action by the chilling contact. In this formula the possible boy or girl is coaxed out by the promise of a bow or a meal-sifter to the one who can get it first. Among the Cherokees it is common, in asking about the sex of a new arrival, to inquire, “Is it a bow or a sifter?” or “Is it ball sticks or bread?”
HIA´ TSUNSDI´GA DIL’TADI´NATANTI´YI. I.
Sge! Hisga´ya Ts’sdi´ga ha-nâ´gwa da´tûlehûngû´ kilû-gwû´. Iyû´nta agayû´nlinasi´ taya´i. Eska´niyu unaye´histi´ nûnta-yu´tanati´. Sge´! tinû´litgi´! Tleki´yu tsûtsestâ´gi hwinagi´. Yû!
Sge! Hige´cya ts’sdi´ga ha-nâ´gwa da´tûlehûngû´ kilû-gwû´. Iyûn´ta tsûtu´tunasi´ taya´i. Eska´niyu unaye´histi nûntayu´tanati´. Sge! tinû´litgi´! Tleki´yu tsûtsestâ´ hwinagi´. Yû!
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