Mystical contamination.

I shall next discuss a variety of related beliefs concerning child sickness and death, that resemble somewhat the bird sacrifice of section 6. These all involve real or supposed violation of certain animal taboos. Women of child-bearing age do not eat eggs, pigeons, tortoises, and the cephalophine, a small red deer with a tufted forehead. One doesn't eat eggs because « you don't eat the child of another to nourish your own children. » If a woman eats the pigeon her child may sicken and her milk will dry up. This also works in reverse : « If you have a baby and have no milk, you remember that you have eaten the pigeon ». Thus absence of milk implies a forgotten infraction, just as infraction causes absence of milk. To cure this sickness the woman retires to the rear of the women's house where one winnows and where the pigeons feed. She lies on the ground and cries like a pigeon and a man fires a rifle into the ground as if he were shooting a pigeon. Presumably the woman stands up cured. If one has eaten flesh of a tortoise she must put a tortoise bone in the water jar from which the child drinks and washes, to avoid the danger of sickness to the child.

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