Art. LX.—The Knowledge of Cattle amongst the Ancient Polynesians.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 17th October, 1888.]
“In the ox is our strength, in the ox is our need; in the ox is our speech, in the ox is our victory; in the ox is our food, in the ox is our clothing; in the ox is tillage, that makes food grow for us.”—Bahram Yast, xx. (Zend Avesta).
When, in writing the “Aryan Maori,” I expressed the opinion that the Polynesians (Maori) showed in the construction of their language that they had once been acquainted with horned cattle, I laboured under the disadvantage of having to economize greatly both in time and space. Three years have passed away, during which time I have gained more information, and have considered the friendly and unfriendly suggestions made by critics. I am now in a better position to lay the question fully before the judgment of readers. I am only following the wise example of infinitely greater men by admitting weakness in some past work. Some of the verbal resemblances on which my work was based seem at present (if ever) to be incapable of proof; but the general result of my study has been to confirm my previous impression. I am now able to produce a remarkable and connected mass of facts, which I believe will cause the subject to be considered well worthy of deep attention.
The first point to be considered is, were the Polynesians autochthonous in the islands of the Pacific? If they are the true “children of the soil” there is little more to be said on the subject of their knowledge of cattle, since there seems to be no geological or other scientific evidence yet discovered of the existence of cattle in the South Seas before the advent of the Europeans. If we consider the “sunken continent” theory, it is evident that the cattle did not succeed in getting to the summit of the hills (the present islands) as swiftly as the moa, &c. The native traditions are unanimous as to their migration hither; and, although I am by no means a believer in the verbal inspiration of every native legend, I hold firmly to the general tenor of the stories telling of their comparatively late entrance into the Pacific. The Polynesians, according to tradition, arrived in canoes—a fact which would almost preclude the possibility of their having brought any large animals with them. We have, however, allusions in their old songs and traditions to animals of which no relic can now be found. Little has been yet done in collecting such allusions to olden times, and the hours are fast slipping away
in which such collections can be made;* but a few interesting relics have been preserved—sometimes almost unintentionally—by early writers on the Islands. Mr. Mariner, who was shipwrecked at Tonga, and was a prisoner there for many years, before the arrival of the missionaries, made it his pleasure after his return to England to compile a vocabulary and to describe the people among whom he had dwelt so long.† A wonderfully correct and interesting work his unusual powers of observation and memory enabled him to produce. He tells us, concerning their variety of songs and dances (choral dances), that some of them are called Hamoa (Samoa), but that one variety, the Nuha fashion of singing, is always in Tongan; and continues,‡ “The poet describes, among other things, the animals belonging to the country [Papalangi = the name of the place Europeans are supposed to come from, and stands for Europeans themselves], stating that in the fields there are large pigs with horns, that eat grass.” It is certain that the Polynesian word puaka, used now (and at the time of the first discoverers) in the sense of “pig,”§ had in former times a much wider acceptance, as “large animal,” and has been applied to the pig as “the” animal par excellence, because the only large animal surviving. The word is thus used (as “animal”) in the ancient “Deluge Chant” of the Marquesas, where, in describing the entry of the different creatures into the ark or vessel, the expression is used, “Mea pitiki i tahuna te tai o te puaa,” “To tie up in couples the various kinds of animals.”∥ The word puaka was generally applied to cattle, horses, &c., on their introduction by Europeans, as, Tahitian, puaahorofenua (land-running animal), a horse; puaaniho, a goat, &c.: but it was sometimes applied formerly even to men, as puaahuaira, an undaunted, fierce, athletic person. Its proper use seems to have been that puaa (puaka) means all hoofed animals, while uri (kuri) is reserved for all quadrupeds not having hoofs (except the rat). In Hawaii, puaa, as “animal,”
[Footnote] * New Zealand, Mangaia, and Hawaii have done best in this way. Tahiti (perhaps most interesting and wonderful in kingcraft and priestcraft) is almost unrepresented; but Miss Teuira Henry has possession of the documents collected years ago by the earliest missionary student of folk-lore, and her valuable work will soon be forthcoming.
[Footnote] † “The Tonga Islands,” by W. Mariner. 1818.
[Footnote] ‡ L.c., ii., p. 319.
[Footnote] § The Maori word paoka, for pig, was probably given them by the Tahitian interpreter, Tupaea, who was with Captain Cook when he gave the New-Zealanders their first pigs. Had the Englishmen given a word they would probably have said “pig,” not “porker,” and the Maoris would have called the animals piki..
[Footnote] ∥ This ark in the Hawaiian “Deluge Song” is called Waa (vaka, aka, waka, &c., of different Polynesian dialects), or, in its full title, Waa-halau-alii (in Maori letters = Waka-wharau-ariki), the “Extended Ship of the Lord.”
was applied sometimes to human beings: puaaohi, name of children whose father has gambled them away; puaakunulaai, a woman gambled away by her husband. One of the great Hawaiian kupua (wizard; Maori, tupua) was Kamapuaa, “the son of the puaka” (tama-puaka), who was the child of Hina and Kahikiula. This name (Maori = Tawhiti-kura), “The red one from afar,” shows that this puaka was of a reddish colour.* Kanepuaa (Tane-puaka) was the god of husbandry, and of him the ancient proverb says, “He akua kowaa o Kanepuaa,” “A furrow-making god was Tane-puaka.” Primarily, doubtless, the furrow-making animal was a pig (Latin porca, (1)a sow, (2) a ridge between furrows†); but it could hardly be applied to an animal used in the name of the god of agriculture unless the animal was in use for purposes of tillage. There are many legends in Polynesia as to the conflicts of men with puaka which would certainly seem to imply a knowledge of a different beast from the friendly porcine pets of the South Sea Islanders.
Although I consider the Polynesians not to be aborigines of the Pacific, still their immigration must have been in a very ancient and prehistoric epoch. The genealogies are not trustworthy beyond a certain limit, and, although the evidence to be found in one island may confirm that of another as to the existence of certain real personages, when we get to Atea (daylight), Atua (god), Tawhito (ancient), Kore (nothingness), &c., we are evidently among a class of ancestors whose generations are likely to be unreliable as to time and dates. An immense period has evidently elapsed since the advent of the Polynesians into the Pacific, and it would be perhaps the most wonderful thing in the world if they had handed down by oral tradition complete stories relating to their life in other climes and under different conditions. The old has given place to the (comparatively) new; the scenes, incidents, and creatures they lived amongst in ancient days have faded from the memories and traditions of men utterly unable after centuries of existence under altered conditions to conceive the old life or the old environment. The knowledge of the life on the great plains where the fathers of the Aryan stock fed their herds has passed as completely from the knowledge of the fair Polynesian as from the memory of the English peasant; but the languages of both bear the ineffaceable impression of the old life to an extent only to be understood by one who searches very diligently. To a pastoral people their cattle are their all (as I have quoted at head of paper)—food, beverage,
[Footnote] *Kamapuaa was worshipped as a god. His wife is Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, whose home is in the great crater of Kilauea.
[Footnote] † The English “balk,” or “bauk”—perhaps a corruption or another form of porca.
clothing, vehicles, cordage—nay, even their good and evil spirits. In modern Australia, a land of flocks and herds, we hear of men on up-country stations who can do nothing but “talk bullock;” and so all men did to a great extent in days when both word and idiom had origin in cattle-speech.* As the Sanscrit word for “cow-herd” passed into the meaning of “king” and “chief,” as the Latin word for “hide” became “shield” and “tent,” as “cattle-yard” became (as court) the name of a palace, so by slight and imperceptible gradations the old pastoral sense became buried under more modern significations, and is lost till the labours of etymologists trace the words back to their origin. In Polynesia the loss of large cattle for countless centuries has caused the early pastoral words to become obscure and overlaid by newer meanings, but I believe that I can show the primal meaning to be still distinctly traceable.
The Aryan or Indo-European forms of the words for cattle which I shall compare with Polynesian are taurus (tur, stior, &c.), cow (gau, cu, chuo, &c.), ox and vacca (vaha, oχos, vach, ochs, &c.), and bos (bo, boo, bw, &c.). The Polynesian words are taura, tau, tara, kahu, kau, nagu, kai, and compounds.
I must digress for a few words. I believe that there has been either a broadening sound added to the Indo-European vowels (particularly to the most important, the a), or else the Polynesian has lost the power of pronouncing final γ after a vowel. This broadening sound is heard in modern English as a vulgarisation: Maria and Jemima become “Mariar” and “Jemimar.” The Maori language suffered much at the lips of new-comers until a regular form of writing was made classical by the missionaries. In the report of the New Zealand Company's committee the rata (tree) became “rattar,” the tawa (tree) “tower.” Herman Melville, in his romantic little book on the Marquesas,† uses most laughable forms of this error. Ama (cooked bread - fruit) is amar, manu (bird) is marnoo, atua, (god) is artua, &c. In the unknown centuries which elapsed before the Aryan languages were written down, it is probable that many a sounds were thus broadened. Or the True r sound may have been lost in the South Seas, as in many cases it was lost in Sanscrit, by the softening into the Visarga h, or as Sanscrit words softened in Prakrit (akka for arka, vagga for varga, &c.). That I shall have to compare some words having the pure Polynesian a (ah) with words having the Aryan ar is my excuse for thus digressing.
I will take as my first instance the word bo (bos, &c.),
[Footnote] * For ancient use of expression “talking bullock” see Bible (Apocrypha), Ecclesiasticus, xxxix., 25.
[Footnote] † “The Marquesas Islands,” Herman Melville.
ox, bull, cattle. This word is considered by philologists as equivalent in Greek, Latin, &c., to the gau, go, kuh, cow word of Sanscrit and Scandinavian. The change of g to p is rather an unusual one, and I will consider “bo” and “cow” as separate words (at first), although the separation, in sense, will not be material to the argument. The Tongan word bo, meaning “night,” &c., is pronounced as po in most of the other Polynesian islands, and I shall use the p form as the most generally received, especially asking that it should be borne in mind that b is probably a late letter in Aryan speech.* In the Maori of New Zealand po means—(1.) (A mythological word hard to define.) Origin; the potentiality of the material universe; a darkness holding light and all else hidden within it. (2.) Hades; the shadow-land; the place whence comes the spirit of the new-born child, and to which the spirit of the dead man returns. (3.) A season, or space of time. (4.) Night, darkness. (5.) The night, by which (instead of days) periods were counted.† The cosmogony of the Maoris commences with Po—Te Po, then Te Po-teki, then Te Po-terea, &c.: from these in due course are born Ata (morn), Ao-tu-roa (abiding day), &c.‡ “The great mysterious cause of all things existing in the cosmos was, as he (the Maori) conceived it, the generative power. Commencing with a primitive state of Darkness, he conceived Po (=night) as a person capable of begetting a race of beings resembling itself.”§ This is the mythological development natural to man, and is so stated in almost every ancient cosmogony. The powers of Darkness were first. The Edda makes Day the child of Night.∥ In the Rig-Veda (iv., 14) Indra throws his adversary into the “black abyss of night, into the birthplace of this sky.”¶ The first principle of the Egyptians (according to the Platonist Damascenius) was inconceivable Darkness, whence Light was born. In the Izdubar legends of Babylon, the great goddess Ishtar is called “She who is Darkness, the Mother, the Producer of the Dawn, she is Darkness.” The dread and fear of the dark was the first impression before which the simple hearts of savage men bowed down. But this superstitious fear was translated into words of cattle-speech (their only speech) by men when they first gained
[Footnote] * “Introduction to Greek and Latin Etymology,” Peile, p. 126.
[Footnote] † In old Aryan fashion—fortnight, se'nnight, &c.
[Footnote] ‡ For varying genealogies, see Shortland's “Maori Religion,” p. 12; Taylor's “Te Ika-a-Maui,” 110; Grey's poems, 263.
[Footnote] § Shortland's “Maori Religion and Mythology,” p. 10.
[Footnote] ∥ Grimm, “Teutonic Mythology,” ii., 735.
[Footnote] ¶ See Max Müller's “Lectures on Origin and Growth of Religions,” p. 283.
language by passing from the solitary hunter stage into the gregarious pastoral stage. Everywhere in the ancient stories (except in Hebrew, as we understand it), “Cow of Heaven,” “Bull of Heaven,” “Primeval Ox,” “Cow of Earth,” “Mother-cow,” “Goddess-cow,” “God-bull,” &c., are met with in prayer and praise. If Darkness was the first deity, holding the generative power (as among the Maoris), then this person was certainly called “the Bull” in the oldest Aryan religious hymns. The Zend Avesta, the sacred books of the ancient Persians (“fire-worshippers” though we call them), contain many allusions to this bovine first principle. “Hail, holy Bull! Hail to thee, beneficent Bull! Hail to thee who makest increase!” &c.* “Up, rise up, thou Moon, that dost keep in thee the seed of the Bull!”† “To the only created Bull.”‡ In the Persian mythology Geush urvâ, “the universal soul of earth,” means literally the “soul of the cow.” (See Haug on Gatha Ahunavaiti, in “Essays on Sacred Language of the Parsis,” p. 148.) Concerning Egypt we find that “the Great Mother in her primordial phase was the ‘Abyss in Space,’ and the earliest recorded beginnings of time are with the Bull and the Seven Cows.”§ In Greece the same idea prevailed. The Argolic name for Dionysius as the Sun-god was “Bougenes” (Ox-sprung). He is called “bull-faced” in the Orphic Hymn. Tauropolos is “the Kosmos considered as alive and animated, replete with motive life-power. This is the kosmogonic bull-cow.” “The Bull: This animal in its widest symbolical sense represented the active energising principle of the universe.”∥ This bears out the idea of Pictet as to the prominence the cow or bull took in the myths as well as the lives of the Aryans and men leading the primitive life.¶
Is this Bo (Irish bo Latin bos, &c.), of the primeval Bull, the primeval Bo or Po, the “night” of the Maoris? Darkness was connected with the idea of the black Bull before the powers of Fear and Night had been succeeded by the powers of Light—before the great Sun himself became “the Bull of Heaven.” In our own English sayings we find “the Bull of Heaven.” In our own English sayings we find “The black ox has trodden on his foot”**—meaning, “Trouble has come
[Footnote] * “Vendidad,” Fargard xxi.
[Footnote] † Id.
[Footnote] ‡ Sirozah i.
[Footnote] § See Massey, “Natural Genesis,” ii., 4.
[Footnote] ∥ “The Great Dionysiak Myth,” Brown, pp. 42 and 137.
[Footnote] ¶ “Ce fait reçoit une nouvelle évidence de ce que l'animal domestique, source de tant de bienfaits, était rattaché par toute sorte d'images et de mythes aux phénomènes de la nature et aux croyances religieuses.”—Pictet, “Les Origines indo-Européenees,” ii., 87.
[Footnote] ** “Dict. Phrase and Fable,” p. 94.
to him.” Again, “bull's noon” is an old English expression for “midnight.”*
In the creation, as spoken of in the Bundahish, the Cow is cut in two. This is the Cow called in the Avesta the Geush (Yasna 29), answering to the Sanscrit Gaus and the Greek Gaea as applied to Earth. According to the Gatha Ushta-vaiti, the “Cutter of the Cow” is the term applied to the Creator.† This is the cosmic Cow spoken of in the ancient Welsh poem: “Without the stall of the Cow, without the mundane rampart, the world will become desolate.” Loki, the Scandinavian deity of evil, had to dwell as a cow eight months on earth. In Assyria the most ancient Bull was an image of the Swallower in the mouth of Hades, the nether world, which swallows up the sun as a two-headed Bull. In Phenicia the god of the beginnings was the consort of Bau, the Void. In Egypt the Bau (Bo?) was the opening of the tomb, the abyss. In Finland Pohja was “the place of spirits.” Pluto, the god of the lower world, received, the black ox as a sacrifice. In the Vedic rites of burial (Ghyasutras) a black cow accompanied the dead, and, the animal being slain, the corpse was wrapt in the hide before cremation. In the Brahmanas the death-river is called Vaitarani: in this the souls of the wicked are engulfed; but the good souls come to the land of the Pitris (Fathers) if a black cow is sacrificed at the funeral and another twelve days after death. In Scandinavia, when souls arrived at the death-river (Giöll), the soul of the dead man, if in life he had given cows to the poor, was met by these cows and safely ferried over. In the Norse legends of Creation the cosmic cow Authumbla licked the salty ice-rocks and produced the first giants, Börr and Buri.‡ I have one direct proof of the actual expression of “night” and “cow” being the same in meaning, where, in the Rig Veda, the horses of Indra are “bright as suns, who lick the udder of the dark cow, the night.”§
I must return again to the cattle-deity subject when treating of the word “cow;” but I think I have quoted sufficient evidence to show that the bull (or ox, or cow) was used constantly in ancient times as a personification of the Abyss, of Death, of Darkness, and of the generative power passing from darkness into the birth of life—from po, the night, into ao, the light.∥
[Footnote] * Wright's “Provincial Dict.” and Charnock's “Glossary of Essex.” Hawaiian kau = midnight.
[Footnote] † See Haug, l.c., 165.
[Footnote] ‡ Maori po, night; pouri, darkness (?).
[Footnote] § See Max Müller, “Chips,” vol. ii
[Footnote] ∥ Cf. Hebrew aor, light. Aor, aur, &c., were names of an ancient deity of the atmosphere in Asia.
It is probable that the Polynesian, deprived of the living animal, kept this form of the cow-word chiefly for mysterious ideas engendered of darkness—that is, of the simple word (po), although in many compound words, clear as the agglutinated Polynesian vocables show formation, no possible twist of sense can make the “night” meaning of po seem reasonable. There are words like po-haha—ripped up; po-huhu—swarming, in crowds; po-ka—to pierce; po-nini—to have a red light, to glow; po-whiri—to whisk; po-pō—to crowd around, to throng; pōpō—to pat with the hand, &c. What have these to do with night or Hades? And what mean the names of the first great Po's descendants—Po-tuturi, Po-pepeke, &c.? Tuturi means “to kneel,” and pepeke “to leap.” All these are probably cattle-words. It will be noticed that I have spoken of the cow, bull, ox, &c., indifferently: these words constantly shift sense in all ancient languages; it is supposed that there was no verbal gender in primitive Aryan. Sanscrit go (gaus) is ox, cow, constellation Taurus:* Irish bo, a cow: Latin bos, an ox, bull, or cow; taurus, an ox; taura, a barren cow: Welsh buw, a cow; bwla, a bull: Greek βοϊκός, belonging to a bull or cow.
As the word po seems to have been retained in Polynesian for the mythic sense, so kau, appears to have taken a more practical use. Let us attempt to find its etymology—not in the inflected languages, with their thousands of years of overgrowth, but in the most primitive dialects we can find. Professor Max Müller, in his “Stratification of Language,” gives the Chinese word ngau-u as “cow-milk” (ngau=cow). In Maori the word for milk is waiu (wai-u), “breast-water.” But the nagau for “cow” compares with a Polynesian word ngau, to chew, to bite (gnaw); and, altered as this word may have been in the long process of time, still, as gau, gao, kuh, chuo (forms of “cow”), it still has its origin in the “ruminant” idea. Etymologists have hitherto considered “cow” as a derivative from ✓GU “to bellow;” or, rather, reversing this process, they have been led back to the root by this and similar words. To men in the “hunting” stage, the bellowing sound would probably be the most distinctive attribute of the bovine species; but when the pastoral life superseded that of the hunter the fact of cattle “chewing the cud” became too deeply associated with this word not to cover the sense of “bellowing.” (Concerning the lowing noise, I shall speak more fully under the root MU.) I must remind you that ng and k interchange in Maori, as in all Polynesian and European languages. The ngau (kau) words in Polynesian are as follows: Maori, ngau,
[Footnote] * The Hawaiians call the Taurus constellation (or, rather, Aldebaran) kao.
to gnaw; Samoan, gau, to chew sugar-cane, &c.; Hawaiian, nau, to chew, chank; Tongan, gau, to chew the juice out of anything; Marquesan, ka-kahu, to bite; Mangarevan, gagahu, to bite; Rarotongan, ngau, to chew. If this idea of chewing had no parallel in the Aryan languages there would be little to be said; but there is one most noticeable affinity. In Maori kauwae means “the jaw.”* The English word “to chew or chaw” was chawe; Old Dutch, kaauw-en, to chew; German, kauen, to chew; Old High German, chuiwan, to chew (chuo, a cow); Old Dutch, kauwe, the jaw of a fish;† Danish, kæve, a jaw (cf. Borneo, jawai, face, and Malay, jawi, cattle). Skeat (“Ety. Dict.”) says that jaw (also spelt chaw and jower) is formed from the verb “to chaw;” again jowl is from chaul, whose older form, chauel, is evidently a form of “chaw”.‡ The Scottish cow, “to eat up as food” (Jamieson, “Scot. Dict.”), brings me to another form of the word (as I believe)—that is, the Polynesian kai, “food,” “to eat.” A curious and unexpected light is thrown upon this word by Mr. Colenso§ when he says, “A very old meaning of kai, as a noun, is movable property, possessions, goods, chattels—valuables in the estimation of the ancient Maori.” Note here the term chattel.∥ The English word chattel itself means “cattle.” The Scottish word kye or ky (pronounced nearly as Polynesian kai) is cows. Ky, cows; ky-herd, a cow-herd (Jamieson). Thus it is used for cattle collectively, as the Polynesians used it for food generally. It may be that ky or kai is not a true plural (the plural proper being kine), my reason for throwing doubt upon the original form (if Aryan had a verbal plural) being that Bopp (“Comp. Gram.,” i., p. 136, note) remarks that Old high German chuo, “cow,” has genitive chuoi, where the i does not belong to the case designation, but to the here uninflected base.” (Cf. Icelandic kyr, a cow; dat. and accus., ku.) Perhaps the i belonged no more to the plural number than to the genitive case. In Hawaiian, ai (kai) meant not only food, but property generally (see Lorrin Andrews's Dict.). In Tongan kai meant “food,” but kakai, “people, population;" the Samoan 'a' ai (kakai), “a
[Footnote] * Samoan, auvae (kauvae), the chin; Tahitan, auae (kauae), inner part of lower jaw; Hawaiian, auwae (kauwae), the chin of a person; Marquesan, kouvae, the chin; Mangarevan, Kouae, the jaw.
[Footnote] † Kauwae-roa (long-jaw) is the name of a New Zealand fish—syn., hapuka.
[Footnote] ‡ Kluge (“Ety. Wort.”) gives the German kauen, “to chew,” as related to γ∊ύομαι: if so, any connection with a ✓ KAF becomes doubtful.
[Footnote] § “On Nomenclature,” by W. Colenso, F.R.S., hawke's Bay Philosophical Institute, 10th July, 1883.
[Footnote] ∥ Scottish chattel, “to chew feebly.” Jamieson (“Scot. Dict.”) says, perhaps a diminutive from kauwen, “to bite.”
town, a village.” Another Maori form of kai is that where it is u sed as a prefix applied to denote an actor in any business, as mahi, “to work,” kai-mahi, “a worker,” &c. The word used thus for a person seems to interchange with kau, as in kaumatua, “an adult,” a mature person (matua = grown-up, mature); and with Tahitian aufenua (kau-whenua), the permanent inhabitants of a place (Tongan = ka-kai). The word kau in Polynesian has one sense of “a troop” of persons: the Samoan 'au (kau), a troop of warriors, a class or company, a shoal of fish; fa'a'aumea (whaka-kau-mea), to associate together, to hold in common: Tahitian autahua (kau-tahunga), a company of priests: Tongan kau, the sign of the plural number; kauga, an associate; kauvaka, the crew of a vessel: Futuna, kau, a multitude, troop; kakai, people; kaugao, the molar teeth. Mariner (“Tonga Islands,” vol. ii.) gives, in his curious English spelling, the following meanings: Cow-fafine, a female companion; Cow-nofo, a servant, an inmate, a family; Cow-tow, an army. Thus the sense of kai as property, chattels (cattles), anything in large quantities, doubles with kau as meaning a troop, a herd.* The pastoral people had little to lose by theft except cattle. In the Vendidad thief = “cattle-lifter;” the Icelandic ku-drekkr (cow-sucker) = “thief.” So in Maori we find kaia (kai-a), to steal, where a is the verb “to drive.”†
It may be that the simplest form of kau (as go, gao, zao, kuh, &c.) can be found on a root KA. I do not think that kai is the primitive Maori word for food, but ka; as we have not only kai (ka-i), but kamu (ka-mu) and kame (ka-me), food. When we consider that the Sanscrit go, which means at once ox, cow, country, earth, hide, &c., is gaus (ga-us); Anc. German gawi (ga-wi), Anc. Saxon ga, Mod. German gau, Old Friesic ga, all mean “district;” Greek γala, the earth (“But if we reach Achaian Argos, udder-soil”—“Iliad,” book ix.)—it seems probable that GA or KA, and not GU, is the primal form.‡ The Samoan 'a'ai (kakai), village, suggests the Russian gai, the Lithuanian go-jai, pasturage. The Egyptians had the forms kau and kai for “cow;" so the words seem transferable in many languages. Kakau introduced worship of animals into Egypt—probable of Bull Apis. The English word jam, to squeeze, is the same word as champ, to chew: cf. the Maori tame, to eat, to smack the lips, food (cf. kame, to eat); Welsh tam, a morsel, a bite; Cornish tam, a morsel,
[Footnote] * Cf. Gaelic caithim, I eat: Welsh cicai, a feeder on flesh; cnoi, to gnaw: Manx caignee, chewing.
[Footnote] † The Sanscrit aj, to drive: cf. Latin ago, to drive cattle; ύγω, I carry away, take captive. Connected with vak, or vah.
[Footnote] ‡ Cf. Kourd gha and ghai, Afghan quai, Albanian ka, bull.
a bite; Slavonic yam, I eat; Sanscrit cham and jam, to eat. The accusative of Sanscrit go, a cow, is gam.*
The h in Polynesian is not a permanent letter, being introduced in Tongan where not in Maori, and absent in Rarotongan altogether. Kau and kahu are used apparently indifferently in interchange, but kahu is reserved generally for the meaning of “clothing,” “to dress.” In Sanscrit gau meant “hide” as well as “cow;” and the Aryans were only clothed in leather or skins.† It is probable we should find many allusions to this subject if we could get the radical meanings of some of our obsolete words;‡ but in the matter of dress new and local names are continually being invented and superseding those used a short time before. Kau or kahu (Tahitian aahu, to bite (ngahu), shows the connection) is used all over Polynesia for “garment,” “clothing,” “covering,” whatever may be the local names for particular dresses. If to these meanings of kau as food and clothing we add the words for “carrying,” we have a curious series of coincidences.
The Beast of Burden—The means of conveyance among pastoral people must of necessity (especially at first) have been by means of animals, and probably by horned animals.§ Not only must the horse have been of far less utility generally than the ox, but, historically, it is almost certain that the horse was domesticated later. It is doubtful if the horse was brought into Europe at all by the Aryan immigrants. Sir J. Lubbock, re evidence gathered in the ancient tombs, writes,∥ “The horse was very rare, if not altogether unknown, in England during the Stone Age…. The teeth of oxen are so common in tumuli that they are even said by Mr. Bateman to be ‘uniformly found with the more ancient interments.” And again¶: “the sheep, the horse,
[Footnote] * The Paumotu vocabulary gives us kakai, to gnaw, nibble; kai, kati, and taruhae, food, to eat. When two vowels come together in a Polynesian word there is probability of a lost consonant; thus, it is possible that kati is original form of kai. But kati means to chew (in Maori, to nibble): thus we get to the “gnaw” word ngau, which = kau. But taruhae, to eat? Taru means “grass,” and hae “to tear”! Again, we have gahu-gahu, “to chew, ruminate (1), think upon.”
[Footnote] † Professor Sayce, in his address to British Association (Nature, 29th September, 1887), says that the speakers of the parent Aryan language had only the skins of wild beasts to protect them from the rigours of winter, and nothing better than stone weapons with which to ward off the attacks of animals. See also Herodotus, “Clio,” 71.
[Footnote] ‡ Cf. Icelandic bufe, milch-kine; buningr, dress, clothing.
[Footnote] § As to oxen as draught animals, we have carvings showing the use of ox-carts, &c., in Assyria and Babylon; oxen drew the cars of the Frankish kings; and Grimm tells us that oxen were used for war-chariots till late in the Middle Ages.
[Footnote] ∥ “Prehistoric Times,” p. 115.
[Footnote] ¶ L. c., p. 182.
and the reindeer being entirely absent, and the domestic cat not having been known in Europe until about the ninth century.” We know that in Africa not only is the pack-bullock used for carrying burdens, but also for riding purposes, the animal being guided by reins attached to the horns, which are made artificially tender at root to feel the touch of the rider. That the Polynesians were once acquainted with some animals of the kind seems almost the only explanation possible for some of their words, which run in changes on kau and vaka (vacca). The English word “vehicle” is from Latin veho, which meant primarily “to carry or convey” on the shoulder.” “Hence vacca, properly a beast of burden.”* Vehicle is from an Aryan root WAGH, to carry; whence also Sanscrit vah (Skeat). But in no Aryan tongue can the root vah be found more purely in use than in the Polynesian vaha, to carry.† As a variant from vah to kau, we have the Fijian kaukau, to carry. The Maori has only compounds, as pikau (pikau), to carry on the back, pick-a-back (Williams's Dict.).‡ Kauamo is a litter, a bed arranged between two poles; kauhoa, to carry on a litter—perhaps reminiscences of something resembling a palanquin preceding the wheeled chariot. The Sanscrit word vah, to carry, is acknowledged to be the equivalent§ of the Greek oχos (ochos), meaning “anything which bears, a carriage;”∥, to carry, to let another ride, to mount; oχoς (for Foχoς) is the form related to vah (vach, vacca, &c.); but there was probably a primitive radical unity between ox, vach, gau, &c.
Whence came the Aryans? According to the accepted theory¶ and the evidence of the sacred writings (Vendidad),
[Footnote] * Smith's “Lat. Dict.,” 1877.
[Footnote] † Samoan, fafa, to carry a person on the back, to convey generally; Tahitian, vaha, to carry a royal personage on the shoulders of a man; Maori, waha, to carry on back, &c.
[Footnote] ‡ “Pick-a-back” is a word, or idiom, for which some Europeans make frantic struggles to find an etymology. Richardson's “Etym. Dict.” suggests “pitched on the back.” “Pig-a-back” is also tried; but the etymology of “pig” is unknown, except that it may be related to Scandinavian pige, a girl! The Swedish dictionary gives pick-och-pack as “bag and baggage;” but, as pack means “a mob” (as in English, “pack of hounds”), it is a probable derivative of ✓ PAK, originally to tie up, tether, as a cattle-word (whence Latin pecus, pecunia, &c.), and then to tie up as a load or pack for a pack-ox. Cf. the Maori paki, a girdle; pakikau, a garment.
[Footnote] § Bopp, “Comp. Grammar,” i. 15.
[Footnote] ∥ But not necessarily the body of the carriage. ∥ oχ∊ω, “the round bearers of the chariot”—i.e., the wheels. (Euri., Iph. in A., 146.)
[Footnote] ¶ I am acquainted with the Lithuanian theory of which Professor Sayce is so distinguished an advocate; but that theory is yet on trial, while so many eminent philologists and mythologists have located the “Airanya Vaego” in Central Asia that I follow them humbly. So far as I can ascertain, the true affinities of the Polynesian speech are less with Asiatic tongues than with the dialects of north-west Europe—not because it was probable that the Polynesians were dwellers in north-west Europe, but because the Celts and Scandinavians were (in my opinion) an earlier and ruder wave of the western migration than the Greco-Italian peoples, and their short words have remained, like Maori, almost uncorrupted for ages.
the habitation was near the Belurtag and Samarcand, on the plateau of Pamir, at the sources of the Oxus and Jaxartes. This is the Pamir—called now Bam-i-duniah, or “Roof of the World.” The Oxus valley runs as far as Issar, where its height is 10,000ft. above the sea. The mountains above the lake on Pamir are 19,000ft. high at the place where the Oxus takes its rise. No wonder, then, that the sacred traditions of the Aryans say that in their birthplace—the “Airanya Vaego”—“there are ten winter months there, two summer months, and those are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there with the worst of its plagues.”* “The Oxus appears in the traditions of the Parsi books under the name of Veh-Rúd, in some form of which originates the classical name which we find it most convenient to use, and also, it may be, preserves that of the names of territories and tribes on the banks of its upper waters, such as Wakh-an, Waksh, and Washjird—names also, no doubt, identical in formation, if not in application, with the classical Oxiani, Oxii, and Oxi-petra. [Note.—This latter form, Waksh, seems to have originated ‘Oxus,’ whilst Wakh seems better represented by ‘Ochus.’]”† In an account of a remarkable mission from Constantinople to Transoxiana in A.D. 568, Colonel Yule says, “The Byzantine ambassadors, on their return to Europe, came, we are told, to the River Oech, in which we have probably the latest mention of the Oxus by its name in the primeval form (Veh or Wakh)…. The old Chinese pilgrims to India, whose route lay this way, speak of principalities that must have lain in this region. Such was the State of Uchcha (of which a trace seems to remain in the Uch or Vachcha valley). We have the authority of Pococke for saying that the Ookshas, the tribe of the Oxus, had wealth of oxen; that Ookshan seems only the crude form of ooksha, “an ox.”
Near this land (bounded to the north by Mount Taurus), the names of whose tribes, states, rivers, &c., thus seem to have borne so long the traces of their ancient herdsmen owners, we find described the following scene:‡
[Footnote] * Vendidad, Fargard i., 4.
[Footnote] † “Journey to the Source of the River Oxus,” Captain John Wood. Preface by Colonel Yule, C.B., from which part above quotation.
[Footnote] ‡ On the Indus; but the Oxus and Indus were formerly supposed to be the same river. See Bundahish, xx.
“It is a diverting sight to witness a herd of buffaloes swim the river: all is noise and confusion, and considerable tact is necessary on the part of those who command the movement. A herdsman bestrides a bundle of dry grass, seizes a sturdy animal by the tail, and on this singular carriage takes the lead. The other buffaloes follow, while laggards, and any that may be vagrantly inclined, are driven up to the main body by the cudgelling of men in the rear. The herdsmen are armed with long light lances* for the defence of themselves and their charge.”† Again, speaking of buffaloes, “Numbers of these huge brutes lay at the entrance to almost every creek, enjoying the luxury of mud and water, with only perhaps the tip of the nose or the curved end of a horn visible above the surface…. The buffalo, the animal which furnishes the principal supply, is milked in the evening, and only once in the twenty-four hours…. Perhaps a herd of cattle swimming the river were the only indication that the country was peopled.” In another land, far away (the Philippine Islands), we notice how the habit of cattle is semi-aquatic. “The riverside is a pretty sight when the men, women, and children are bathing and frolicking in the shade of the palm-trees, … and when the boys are standing upright on the broad backs of the buffaloes, and riding triumphantly into the water…. The buffalo, the favourite domestic animal of the Malays, and which they keep especially for agricultural purposes, prefers these regions to all others. It loves to wallow in the mud, and is not fit for work unless permitted to frequent the water.”‡ In Babylonia “herds of buffaloes here and there struggled and splashed among the reeds, their unwieldy bodies completely concealed under water, and their heads just visible above the surface.”§ These quotations are sufficient to show that horned cattle, milch cattle, agricultural cattle, &c., not only loved the water, but were actually used for crossing streams. Had it not been for the witness of these travellers, we had never dared to connect the words for ox or cow with the idea of “swimmer.” We must conceive the very reverse of a maritime people—a race dwelling on treeless plains, their
[Footnote] * Here we see the “herd” etymology of Maori kau-kau, a spear. Compare Anglo-Saxon gar, a spear; Icelandic geirr, a spear; Old High German ker, a spear; Manx ga, a spear. If the English word “to gore” is derived from gar, a spear (see Skeat, “Ety. Dict.”), then it is almost certainly a cattle-word, being still mostly used for being “speared” on the horns of cattle. Cf. Sanscrit go, cow and arrow; Irish go, lance: while on the other form, kai (kye), we have the Irish gai, a spear; Goth. gais, a spear; &c.
[Footnote] † “Journey to Source of River Oxus,” p. 35
[Footnote] ‡ “Travels in the Philippines,” F. Jagor, pp. 43, 44.
[Footnote] § “Nineveh and Babylon,” Layard, p. 315.
only navigation confined to crossing rivers here and there, the herdsman holding the tail of the beast, or standing on its back.
Let us now consider two Polynesian words, kau and vaka, which I think are forms of cow and vacca:—
Maori—kau, to swim, to wade: kau-kau, to bathe. Samoan—'a'au (kakau), to swim: 'a'au, to swim about: ‘aupui, to splash. Tahitian—au (kau), to swim. Hawaiian—au (kau), to swim, to float on the surface: aau (kakau), to swim dispersedly. Tongan—kaukau, a bath, a wash. Mariquesan—kau, to swim; oil, grease.* Mangarevan—kau, to swim: kaukau, to wash one's-self with fresh water.
Maori—waka, a canoe; a medium of the gods. Samoan—va'a (vaka), a canoe; the priest of a deity. Tahitian—vaa (vaka), a canoe: vaahuia (vaka-huia), all the people within the prescribed limits of a district.† Hawaiian—waa (waka), a canoe. Tongan—vaka, a general name for all vessels that sail: vakavakahina, to be carried on the shoulders of another: faka-vaka, to handle; to cover or bind as books; the bindings of books; to make small pens or places for storing yams. Marquesan—vaka, canoe: aka, to float on surface: vakaani, a litter on which to carry chiefs in triumph (see Maori kau-hoa and kau-amo, quoted above). Mangarevan—vaka, a canoe, raft. Rarotongan—vaka, a canoe. It is a widely-spread word, and may be found in Melanesia as faka, waga, ah, ok, &c.; perhaps in Tagal (Philippines), banca, a canoe; and Malay, wangkang, a ship; Labuan, boui, to swim.
The remark concerning the crossing rivers holding by the
[Footnote] * The Indo-European words vav̂s, navis, &c., for “ship,” are referred to a root SNU, to float (Sanscrit snu, to ooze, flow). Except in Samoa, the Polynesians do not use the letter s, but the aspirate. If we wished to find snu in Polynesia, we must look for hnu with a vowel between h and n, because a vowel must follow a consonant in these languages. We find that in Maori the word hinu means oil, fat, grease: in Tahitian, hinu, id.; hinu-hinu, brightness, lustre; faa-hinu (whaka-hinu), to cause lustre or splendour, to make respected or honourable: Hawaiian, hinu, ointment, to anoint, smooth, polished, to slip or slide easily; hinuhinu, bright, splendid, shining as red cloth, glittering as polished stones; ohinu, to roast, as meat: Marquesan, hinu, to make sacred (tapu), to make certain things unable to be eaten by certain persons: Mangarevan, hinu, grease, oil. (It will be well to notice how the Asiatic idea of splendour runs with that of “butter,” “grease,” &c., the anointing oil of sacrifice—spoken of many times in the old sacrificial hymns.) The Persian pinu, milk, butter (Gr. πíνω, I drink?), may be compared here with Maori hinu, oil, and inu to drink; Mangaian, inu, oil, and to drink. The first notion of swimming was apparently the swimming of oil upon milk or water (hnu or snu), later the swimming of the animal.
[Footnote] † The vaa here (hui is a collective plural) is not the Maori causative prefix whaka (which would in Tahitian be haa or faa), but vaka, in the sense of kau, a troop, herd—the gau or go of Aryan, as earth, district, pasturage.
tail, of the ox throws light upon ancient practices as to dying men. “The Hindus offer a black cow to the Brahmans in order to secure their passage across the Vaitarani, the river of death, and will often die grasping the cow's tail as if to swim across in herdsman's fashion, holding on to a cow.”* This probably explains why, in Maori, waka means “canoe” and “medium of a deity;” why the Samoan va'a (vaka) meant both “canoe” and “priest.” This priest or medium shadowed the boat or sacred vacca which took the soul across to the gods—a meaning plainly shown in the Samoan word va'aaloa (vaka-aloa), “the canoe in which souls were ferried across to the other world.” How widespread is this idea of the boat of death! We see Charon ferrying the souls of the Greeks across the dark river, and the souls of the Breton dead passing across in a boat to England.†
This mode of navigation was the first used in the treeless Aryan land—the vacca (cow), as “bearer,” was the first vaka (canoe). But a further step was made as time went on. The boat was made from the hide—first as inflated in bags. In Layard's “Nineveh and Babylon” is a representation of “a kellek, or raft of skins, on the Tigris” (Plate XXXVI., fig. 1). Here a light framework of wood, with a house or tent thereon, is supported upon a number of inflated skins. This boat of to-day, so far from being a modern idea, was the ancient mode of conveyance thousands of years ago. At page 301 (“Nineveh,” l.c.) the author says, “Merchandise and travellers descended the rivers upon rafts of skins.” And at page 77 is an engraving of a bas-relief from Kouyunjik, an old Assyrian piece of sculpture, on which identically the same form of boat is represented—viz., of woodwork superimposed upon inflated hides (Plate XXXVI., fig. 2).
The next page shows an engraving of another Assyrian sculpture, having figures of single persons swimming across a river, each with an inflated skin as a boat (Plate XXXVI., fig. 3). To this day a similar habit of the dwellers in Asia may be noticed. In the “Journey to the Source of the Oxus,” p. 64, we find, “Early in the forenoon they repair to the river or canal, and there, upon their mussuks (inflated hides), float and talk till sunset. I have seen in one group a father and two children, the latter on dried elongated gourds, clinging to their parent, who bestrode a good-sized mussuk. Close to them came two grey-haired men, apparently hugging each other, for they rode upon the same inflated skin, which, but for the closeness with which they embraced it, would soon have parted
[Footnote] * See Colebrook, “Essays,” vol. i., p. 1775; Ward's “Hindoos,” vol. ii., pp. 62, 284, 331 (quoted by Tylor); “Primitive Culture,” vol. i., 427: also “Races of Mankind.”
[Footnote] † For similar Irish legend see O'Donovan's “Irish Grammar,” p. 440.
company. Next came sailing down an individual lying much at his ease between the four legs of a huge buffalo's hide, while boys moved in all directions, mounted as they could, some on gourds and some on skins.”
Thus, then, kau and vaka had passed from the animal to inflated hide. From this form, doubtless, men went on to the discovery that the skin itself needed not to be inflated, but that, if bound to a framework in the shape of a hemisphere, it would buoy up the contents, if not buried above the water-line. Herodotus (“Clio,” 94) says, “The most wonderful thing of all here, next to the city itself, is what I now proceed to describe: Their vessels that sail down the river to Babylon are circular, and are made of leather. For, when they have cut the ribs out of willows that grow in Armenia above Babylon, they cover them with hides extended on the outside by way of a bottom.”* Thus the idea has grown from the living water-loving animal, the type of the “good swimmer,” whose tail is held by the herdsman, to the “inflated hide,” and then to the wicker boat covered with leather, used from Babylon to Britain.†
The journey of the westward-migrating Aryans was across the great continent of Europe, where, even had they been a navigating people, boats could not have been carried; but they surely had, in the herds which accompanied them in their slow irresistible movement onwards, their time-honoured means of crossing any rivers on their march.‡
The word vaka, for boat, has been retained in the European languages, although unrecognised, because disguised by the slight letter-change of v to b,§ and by the broad vulgarised r. We have it in English bark, barque, and barge. Professor Skeat (“Ety. Dict.”), although noticing that “it is remarkable how widespread the latter word (barque) is,” does not seem able to find the etymology, but suggests as possible the Egyptian bari, a boat. When we consider the Gaelic barca; Latin, Spanish, and Italian barca, boat; Danish barkasse, long
[Footnote] * The Polynesian word kili or kiri (✓ Kil or Kir), meaning “skin,” seems to be related (in sound) to the name of these skin-boats. The boats on the Tigris (Pl. XXXVI., fig. 1) are called kellek, or kilet. The boat of the Ancient Briton was—Gaelic curach, Welsh cwrwg, a frame, a carcass, a boat (coracle). English, keel, a boat (“Merry may the keel row”); Anglo-Saxon', ceol, a ship (Teutonic base, keula); Malay, kolek, canoe; Persian, kiraw canoe, kirep ship; Anc. Slav., korabi, ship; Polish, korab, from kora, bark.
[Footnote] † Cf. (obsolete) English cow, a tub: Scottish cowan, a fishing-boat; skow, a small boat made of willow covered with skin (Jamieson): Persian, kaurib, a boat.
[Footnote] ‡ Cf. Maori kahu-papa, a raft; Fijian kawa-kawa (gava), a bridge.
[Footnote] § As Sanscrit varvara = βαρβαρα; habere becomes avoir. Latin Mss. often vary from vixit to bixit, vene to bene, &c.
boat; French barque, &c., it would seem to be unnecessary to go outside of the (acknowledged) Aryan languages to the Coptic bari. Probably barka, baka, or vaka meant the hide of vacca, the “carrying animal.” Nay, even our word bark (of tree), of which the etymology is unknown, may be absolutely the same word as bark, a ship (cf. Sanscrit valka, bark of tree), in the sense in which the Maori word for “hide,” “skin,” also means “bark of tree.” In Sanscrit vaha is “bearing,” “carrying,” as in Maori vaha; but vahata is an ox, vahatu id., vahala a raft, a float, vahitra id., vahin a boat, &c., Vakshu the Oxus River. It is a curious fact that Turner, who appends to his “Samoa a Hundred Years Ago” a comparative table of forty dialects, gives for “canoe” in very many islands vaka, va'a, vaa, &c., and then, for Hawaiian, kau, a canoe.*
Turning for awhile from the subject of bearing and swimming what is the connection between “cow” and “voice”? (It may be the ✓ GU, spoken of before, from the bellowing of the herd.) That these words are radically connected in some way is certain. Our word “voice” is (through Old French voix) from Latin vox, a voice. Skeat writes uox, a voice (the likeness to “ox” may be purely accidental, if there is such a thing as accident), from ✓ Wak, to resound, to speak. (Cf. Sanscrit vach, to speak.) But the Sanscrit vach, speech, voice, with variants vak and vag (as vak-patu, eloquent; vag-isa, an orator), is the name of Sarasvati, as the Goddess of Speech. She was the Sacred Cow,† the Mother of the Vedic poems, the Fount of Wisdom, “the melodious cow who milked forth sustenance and water.” “That daughter of thine, O Kama! is called the Cow—she whom sages denominate Vach” (Atharva Veda). Here appears the link between the Polynesian vaha, to carry on the back, and vaha, the mouth, speaking, talking.‡
In the Gatha Ushlavaiti mention is made of “the imperishable cow Rânyô-skereti.” Haug (l.c. 159), in a note, explains this as a myth-name of the earth, and as meaning “producing the two friction-woods”—the friction fire-sticks. The sticks for producing fire by friction are, amongst the Maoris, always spoken of by some word compounded with kau: thus, kau-ahi, kau-ati, kau-noti, kau-rimarima, &c. (whether related
[Footnote] * The Aneityum (New Hebrides) word for canoe is nel-cau; while “tree” (Polynesian ra-kau) is in-cai. The Hawaiian form kau, canoe, is properly tau, of which I shall presently treat.
[Footnote] † Cf. the Cornish cows, to say; Egyptian kau or ka, to say.
[Footnote] ‡ Maori, waha, to carry on back, the mouth: Hawaiian, wahaa, to talk: Mangarevan, va, to speak; vaha, to put in evidence: Marquesan, vavaha, to answer: Tongan, fahafaha, to go shouting: Malagasy, vava, mouth; vavana, loquacious.
by etymology to rakau (wood) or not), is the regular form for “fire-stick;” and I do not know any other explanation than by reference to the fuel-giver of the Aryan races.
Before quitting the “bearing, carrying” idea of vah I may perhaps be allowed to suggest the true etymology of Polynesian vahine, “a woman,” “wife.” In Maori hine means “girl” (tama-hine, daughter, &c.), and the vah, “to carry,” meaning was understood by Mr. Taylor (“Te Ika-a-Maui”), who said that it arose from the native woman having unfortunately (in the savage fashion) to do all the heavy carrying of burdens. Monier Williams, in his Sanscrit Dictionary, gives vah as “to bear, carry, carry away;” vahatu, “nuptial ceremonies.”* Our word to “woo” is from a root WAK (vak). Thus the Polynesian vahine, “wife,” probably means not “one who carries,” but “one who is carried off”—a reference to the universal ancient custom of carrying off wives by force.
Having thus shown that the words for food, clothing, carrying, stealing, &c., are in Polynesian reminiscences of cattle-words, I will now point out the important words having reference to “milking.” That the absence of milch-animals for many centuries had its effect in narrowing down the number of these words is certain—indeed, no other result could be possible under the circumstances—but the form, and somewhat of the sense, were retained under the new character. The primitive forms of “udder,” “teat,” “mammæ,” &c., are to be found in the South Seas. I think that any candid reader will, on learning the geographical distribution of the milk-words, laugh to scorn the dogmatic pretensions of those who try to draw a territorial line across any part of the Malay Archipelago or Indian Ocean and say, “Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.” First, “udder:” Latin uber, Sanscrit udhar, Gaelic uth, Irish ut and uit, Manx oo. (Root unknown.—Skeat.) We have in Maori a word, u, the breast of a female, udder, teat—wai-u, milk. It seems that this is the simplest and most radical form obtainable; it has been kept pure, and shows as the “constant” of the European variations. Tahitian u means milk, the breasts of anything that gives milk, to be moist or wet; utau, a wet-nurse (probably as ukau): Hawaiian u, the breast of a female, the pap or udder, to ooze or leak slowly:† Tongan huhu, the breast, the dug or teat of animals, to suck; huhua milk, juice: Samoan susu, the
[Footnote] * The Sanscrit vaça, vaçaka, obedient, submissive wife, probably = uc, of Latin uxor, wife.
[Footnote] † Uu = masturbation, to draw out as indiarubber. See, again, under “Teat.” Cf. the Scottish ure, the dug or udder, with Polynesian (ubique) ure, membrum virile. Wright (“Provincial Dict.”) gives old English yure or yewer, cow's udder; Chinese yu, milk—ngau-u = cow-milk.
breasts, the dug or teat of animals; suasusu, milk. So far Polynesian proper: this is sufficiently well marked. Passing outside Polynesia, we get Fijian sucu (suthu), to suck, the breasts, to be born; kaususu, a female that has just been confined: Malay proper, susu, milk: Kayan, usok, breasts: Java, susu, breast: Bugis, susu, milk. The European forms of “suck”—Anglo-Saxon súcan, Latin sugere, Swedish suga—compare with the Welsh sugno to suck, sug juice; the Irish sughaim I suck in, sugh juice. Skeat refers these to an Aryan root SU, to beget (whence is derived sunu, a son), but, when we find so many of these words meaning “sucking” and “juice”* duplicated with the same sense in Polynesian (above given), I think it may fairly be claimed that the idea implied by the root is a mother suckling rather than bringing forth. It will be noticed that the Fijian sucu means both to suck and to be born, but it stands apart (so far as I know) in this respect. The general idea is “moisture oozing forth,” but especially milk oozing forth from the teat. The idea of giving suck to the young after birth is surely as old as the idea of parturition. In Maori a compound word uwha (u-wha) means the “female of beasts.” Why? U means “teat,” and wha means “four.”† What four-teated animals did the Polynesians ever know in Oceania? Certainly neither the dog nor the pig answers to this description.‡ Returning to the idea of “moisture oozing forth,” I turn to the Latin word mamma, the breast. In Maori we have mama, to ooze through small apertures, to leak: Samoan, mama, to leak: Tahitian, mama, to drop or leak, as thatch of house; aumama (for kau-mama), to chew food for a child; aimama (kai-mama), to eat food chewed by the mother: Tongan, mama, to leak, to chew: Marquesan, mama, to chew: Mangarevan, mama, to leak, to chew. Polynesians feed very young infants by chewing food and putting it into the babies' mouths. The Latin mamma means not only “the breast,” but “mother”—two ideas closely related—and, although the word mamma for “mother” may be a mere sound-word coined from a young child's cry, and therefore not allied to “chewing,” still the sense of “oozing,” leaking, is in the Polynesian mama as in susu or huhu (uu).
“Teat:” This has been spelt in English in very many
[Footnote] * Skeat remarks (“Soul,” in “Ety. Dict.”) that the word “sea” may, as Curtius suggests, “be connected with ✓ SU, to press out juice, which appears to be identical with ✓ SU, to generate, produce.”
[Footnote] † Tahitian ufa, female of brutes; Mangarevan uha, female, applied only to animals, &c., &c.
[Footnote] ‡ The Maorí ua, rain, shows that the Aryan universal image of the clouds being “the cows” of heaven, dropping fertility, was known to the Polynesians. Cf. the Cornish cowes = showers.
different ways—teat, tit, titty, tete, tette, titte, &c.—but has European equivalents for each variant: Welsh, did, didi, and a second form teth; Italian, tetta; Spanish, teta (atetar, to suckle); German, tütte; Greek, τίτθη, a nurse;* Cornish, tidi, teat. In Maori we have a corresponding word in tete, as whaka-tete (whaka-te-te; whaka=causative prefix), “to milk.” In its simpler form we find it as whaka-te, “to squeeze fluid out of anything;” thus showing it to be a synonym of mama, to ooze, and u, the breast.† Tahitian form faa-te (whaka-te), to draw out, as in milking, or to squeeze out the ui (yellow apple) juice; fe-titi, to gush out at high pressure; fetee, id.: Fijian, titi, to ooze: Malay, tetek, the breast. My Mangarevan-French vocabulary gives kaiu (kai-u) as = teter, to suck. The compound Maori words mote (mo-te) and ngote (ngo-te), to suck, are proofs that the word tete is not of modern introduction.
The English word “milk,” Swedish mjolk, Gothic milucs, is from a Teutonic base melki, meaning “to stroke out milk” (Skeat)—the Sanscrit mrij, to rub, &c. In Polynesian we have the word as—Samoan, mili, to rub; Maori, miri, to rub, to touch in passing; Tahitian, mirimiri, to handle; Hawaiian, mili, to handle, to bear or carry (here touching the sense of vah and vacca); Tongan, mili, to rub. The European forms are probably connected with English “smear,” from ✓ Sma, to rub; Danish smere, to smear, oil, butter—as Maori miri-miri, to smear.
Fuel.—We know from the evidence of many travellers that among pastoral peoples the dried dung of cattle forms their principal (often their only) fuel. The Maori words kauruki (kau-ruki), smoke; kaurukiruki, smoky, dusky, would imply that this word was coined from some such use. The Dutch rook, German rauch, Swedish rök, Icelandic reykr, Scottish reek, all mean “smoke”—on a Teutonic base, ruk, to smoke, reek. This root is referred by Skeat to an Aryan base Rug, allied to ✓ Rag, to dye, colour; whence Sanscrit raja, rajas, dimness, sky, dust, pollen; rajani, night; and Icelandic rökr, twilight. If Skeat is right, the original sense of reek is “that which dims, mist.” Jamieson (“Scottish Dict.”) also gives rouk as mist, rouky misty. This is fully supported by Polynesian. We have in Maori kau-nehunehu, dusky, where nehu = dust, and nehutai spray; koruki (ko-ruki) is “cloudy, overcast:” Samoan, fa'alolo'i (whaka-roroki), to be dark and lowering (of
[Footnote] * Cf. Tethys, the goddess, “the nursing mother of all things.” (?) See Æschyl., “Eumen.,” 4, 5; “Il.,” xiv., 201.
[Footnote] † In Hawaiian kiki (in Maori letters titi) means masturbation, precisely as uu does. The word ke (the te of whaka-te) means to thrust, to crowd about a person, &c.—probably a herd-word, like po-po, to throng.
the sky): Tahitian rui (ruki), night, to be dark or blind: Paumotu, ruki, night: Tongan, roki, dark. The Maori korukuruku is “cloudy;” rikoriko (or, as an Englishman would write it, reeko-reeko) is “dusky, darkish;” the Tongan form liko-liko, “besmeared with dirt.” Scottish (Jamieson) gives cow and kow as “fuel used for a temporary fire:Cornish, gau, dung (a mutation of cau): Irish, caorach, a dry clod used for fuel; caorachd, cattle; boran and buacar, cow-dung. Wright (“Provincial Dict.”) has cow-blakes, “dry cow-dung used for fuel;” also dye, “cow-dung collected for fuel,” this being the Polynesian tae, dung, ordure.*
I will now proceed to consider the last important form of the cattle-word in Polynesia, the word tau. I have already in a former paper† drawn attention to this word as used in several peculiar ways, as in writing, tattooing (ta-tau), tying, &c. The ancient Persians, who were “Aryans of the Aryans” (their own proud title), wrote all their literature upon prepared cowskins.‡ This may have been the connection between writing and cattle (English taw, to prepare skins to make them into leather). On the other hand, the most primitive bond of all may have been the use of the tau as a cattle-mark.§
The word was so general as to be equally shared by Aryan and Semitic peoples—Greek τανρoς, Latin taurus, Russian tur, Welsh tarw, Gaelic tarbh, Irish tor, Icelandic stjorr, English steer, Sanscrit sthaura, &c., Chaldean tora, Ethiopian tore, Arabic thawr, Hebrew shor. Probably the one class of language has adopted the word from the other in ages unthinkably remote. Whether the Polynesian tau form has lost its final r, or whether the others have added it I do not know, but there is one signification at least in which the r sound is found in the Islands—viz., Maori tau, a rope (German tau, a rope; Icelandic taumr, a rein; English tow, &c.), where taura also means “rope.” But the Tahitian taura means “a herd.” And, while this coincidence fixes the derivation, we find that in all Polynesian dialects except Maori∥ a second signi-
[Footnote] * Samoan tae, excrement, to gather up rubbish; Tongan tae, excrement; Maori tutae, ordure, &c.
[Footnote] † “Ancient Alphabets in Polynesia,” “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. XX., p. 353.
[Footnote] ‡ See Haug, “Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion of the Parsis,” p. 136.
[Footnote] § Taylor (“The Alphabet”) says that “tau, the last of the letters, is the ‘sign’ or ‘cross’ used for marking the ownership of beasts” (32). Ezekiel, ix., 4). Bishop Andrews says, “This reward (Ezekiel, ix., 4) is for those whose foreheads are marked with tau” (“Sermons,” Luke, xvii., 32).
[Footnote] ∥ The Maori form here is probably Tauira, a certain mythological personage, &c., for whom see “Ancient Alphabets in Polynesia,” p. 363, “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. xx.
fication connects it with vaka or waka. We have seen how vaka means not only a canoe, but a medium of the gods, a priest of a deity; so we get also a secondary meaning for taura: Samoan, taula, the priest of a deity; Hawaiian, kaula (taula), a prophet; Tongan, taula, a priest (tau, to address in prayer); Marquesan, taua (taura), a priest; Mangarewan, taura, a priest. The persistent Hawaiian change of t to k, common in Polynesia (even in Maori words between themselves, as whaki=whati, &c.), gives perhaps the key to the whole matter—that is to say, tau is kau (cow), and taura is kaura. Thus, Maori tau, “to float,” approaches in meaning kau, “to swim;” taupua, “to float,” compares with poranga (po-ranga), “to float,” and porena (po-rena), “to float, as oil.” (Bo = cattle-words.) Marquesan tau means both “to carry on the back” and to “arrive by sea.”* With the bearing or carrying words we have the same interchangeable sense, the Hawaiian kauo and kauwo, “to draw, drag along,” meaning also “a special blessing or favour” (as vaka and taura meant priestly interceders). Maori tautau, an ear-ornament, = kai, an ear-ornament (cf. Sanscrit gotra (lit. “possessor of cows”), = jewels, treasures). Tau means, in Maori, the ridge of a hill; taukaka, spur of a hill; taumata, brow of a hill. The northern boundary of the lands of Arya was the Taurus range, and the word tau has been kept in the Caucasus, &c., as the name of a hill, or range of hills, to the present day; the names of hills are Mala Tau, Mishirge Tau, &c. “Tau—like Taueru, in the Tyrol—is applied more often to a range than to any individual top.”† The Polynesian chief variant seems to be tara, this being used, in a secondary sense, particularly for “horn.”‡ Perhaps the most general application of the word “horn” in ancient times was as a symbol (1) of lunar deities, (2) of male or regal power. Isis with the cow's head; Artemis Taurica;§ the horned Hera; Ishtar (Ashtaroth), called in the Septuagint (Tobit, i., 5) “the she-Baal, the cow,” &c., are instances of lunar deities. Tara means, in Maori, a point, spear-point; rays, to throw out rays; courage, mettle.∥ The bull (symbolized
[Footnote] * What is the derivation of Maori taupo, “a loadstone"? Can it be possible that the magnetic needle was known in those far-back days of the Polynesian migration! Was the arrow of Abaris, by which he guided himself whither he wished to go, a tir (or tau) arrow?
[Footnote] † Mr. Freshfield's “Suanetia,” “Trans. Royal Geog. Soc.,” June, 1888, p. 349.
[Footnote] ‡ In Lithuanian taure signifies a drinking-horn, as the Irish bubhal, horn, is connected with Latin bubalus.
[Footnote] § Diana was not so named from the Taurican Chersonese. She was “bicornis regina siderum.” (Horat., “Carmen Sæc.,” 35.)
[Footnote] ∥ Also membrum virile.
by the horns) is universally typical of cosmical, regal, or national power, and also of masculine force.*
The Aramean tur, a “height” (tau), meant also “bull” and “prince.” I will requote Mr. Colenso's translation of tara o te marama as “cusps of the moon”—the moon's horns. The Tahitian and Mangarevan vocabularies both give tara as “horn.” “Spear-point” is a more common word, of course, with modern Polynesians, but the connection is clear: in the words of Macrobius, “Under the name of arrows, the darting of the rays is shown.”† The English word “star” has been derived from a root star, to strew, spread; the Sanscrit taras (star) being supposed to have lost an initial s. But the Maori tara, to throw out rays, to emit light, would seem to have been nearer the simple notion of primitive men than any other: if so, the excrescent s was very early introduced. The Icelandic tarra, to spread out, has not the prefixed s. The Maori putara (pu-tara; pu=to blow) means “a trumpet, a shell used like a horn for signals” (Williams's Diet.).
A curious fact in connection with tara is that this word is used as denoting “a fable” (korero tara). Perhaps the stories of the elders respecting the taura or tara—impossible creatures, as the new generations of islanders began to believe—made all fabulous narratives be called tara. Samoan, tala, a tale, narrative; Hawaiian, tala, to proclaim; Tongan, tala, to tell. (Cf. Icelandic tala, to talk.) These, again, compare with the curious meaning of kau in Maori, as “non est”—as, kahore-kau, not at all; rakau-kau, not having trees (rakau = tree): Mangarevan kakautara, babel, confusion; and the Tahitian aai (ka-kai), a tale or fable (our old friend kai or kye, cows). This tara, an idle tale, in its Samoan compound, tala-gafa, “to recite a pedigree,” also compares with Maori kau-whau (kau-whau), to recite old legends or genealogies—perhaps legends of Kau or Tara.
The English etymology of “tale” gives “a number, reckoning, narrative;” Dutch, taal, language, tongue, speech: both from Teutonic tala, a tale, number. In Maori, tau (ta-tau) means to count; so that tau and tara would be forms of ✓ taur, and the original idea “mustering” or counting cattle. The Sanscrit tara, “a spell for banishing demons” (Benfey), =Maori tara, to influence by charms. The Maori pu-tatara (or putara, also putetere), “a trumpet,” compares with Old Dutch tateren, to sound with a shrill noise, to tara-tantara with a trumpet (Hexham); Low German tateln, to tattle. Cf. Maori tutara, small-talk, gossip, chatter.
[Footnote] *Cf. Irish tar, I dare; Gothic dars, I dare; Welsh tar, shock, impulse (tarw, bull); Icelandic thoran, courage; Hindi dhor, cattle.
[Footnote] † Sat. i., 17.
Maori tara shows its tau derivation also in the floating sense: Tau, to float, = Sanscrit tara, crossing over, a ferry-boat; tarana, a raft, boat; tarad, a raft, float, &c.
I wrote in the first part of this paper that not only did the cattle provide for the material wants of primitive pastoral communities, but also gave them their deities. I have to show another curious interchange here of the words po and kau (cattle-words) with names of Maori supernatural beings of the lower class. The great deities of Polynesia, Tu, Tane, Tangaroa, Rongo, &c., grew to heights as great above the petty crowd of minor divinities as did Zeus, Indra, Ishtar, and Apis above their half-forgotten forerunners. In New Zealand there existed a belief in a class of malicious demons called kahukahu. The word is sometimes applied to a ghost or spirit of a dead person; but properly it was used only for the spirit of a child being unborn. They were regarded as “germs” of human beings, which had untimely perished. Thus it was that a certain garment of females was called kahukahu, and why the walls of a house were tapu. (“Ko te kahukahu piri-tara-whare.”)* This was perhaps the reason why the kahukahu were called “house-dwelling spirits” (atua-noho-whare)—on account of the tabooed walls of a dwelling. (Cf. Fijian kau-tabu, the wall-plates of a house.) In both Ireland and Scotland the Tarans were supposed to be the wandering evil spirits of unbaptized children. But the peculiar origin of the Maori demon leaves no doubt as to the meaning. To the Aryan the cow was a sacred symbol, the emblem of maternity and of femininity: the Sanscrit matar, “mother,” is also “cow.” Their Brahmin descendant has always held the “killer of the cow” in greater horror than we could feel for any possible sacrilege. It was the connection of this idea of femininity with the name of the cow-symbol of maternity which caused the panniculus to be called kahukahu. That at such a period women were looked upon in old times as unclean, so that even their glance defiled, we have much evidence in ancient writings, and this would account for these supposed germs of humanity being looked upon as evil spirits. A synonym for these demons is Atua-poke (unclean deities). When I assert that these spirits, kahukahu, are the
[Footnote] * Verbi kahukahu significatio simplex est panniculus: et panniculus quo utitur femina menstrualis nomine kahukahu dicitur κατ' ∊υoχην. Apud populum Novæ Zelandæ creditur sanguinem utero sub tempus menstruale effusum continere germina hominis; et secundùm præcepta veteris superstitionis panniculus sanguine menstruali imbutus habebatur sacer (tapu), haud aliter quàm si formam humanam accepisset: mulierum autem mos est hos panniculos intra juncos parietum abdere: et hâc de causâ paries est domûs pars adèo sacra ut nemo illi innixus sedere audeat. (See Shortland's “Maori Religion,” p. 107.)
“bogeys” of our childhood I shall doubtless cause a smile to appear on the faces of my readers; but the facts are very stubborn. In Maori, poke (boke) means “to appear as a spirit” (Williams's Dict.), and is, I believe, associated with po, either as the abode of souls or as the Cosmic Cow. While engaged in gathering information as to the word popoa, “food eaten for the dead,” I learnt much concerning these poke spirits. Several classes of spirits are poke, but especially the malignant kahukahu; but, whereas the latter is essentially unclean, the spirit of a dead man only becomes poke if the rites of the funeral offering are neglected,* their manes not being of themselves able to kill or injure living persons, but only to incite the atuas (demons) to do so: the spirit of the adult, if neglected or revengeful, could only plant the germs for the other poke spirits to nourish. This was the reason why (as amongst the Aryans) it was a great misfortune to a chief to be without legitimate offspring, and not to have a child to make the death-offering.† Hence come the proverbs “Kahore he uri, he tangi”—“Without offspring, wailing”—and “Ka ora koe, ka pihea”—“You will live (be immortal), having the death-song chanted.”‡
If, then, the Maori poke means unclean, evil spirit, to appear as a spirit, we shall find connected with it the Samoan po'e (poke), “to be afraid,” and in this sense a host of words in the Indo-European languages for “spirit” and “fear.” The English word boggle—to start aside, swerve from fear—is
[Footnote] * For description of the offerings of cakes, &c., made for the dead in ancient India and Persia, see Tylor's “Primitive Culture,” ii., 30, 30; Ward's “Hindoos,” vol. ii., 332. For the Roman festival in honour of the dead (Feralia) see Lempriere, “Clas. Dict.”
“Parva petunt manes. Pietas pro divite grata est
Munere. Non avidos Styx habet ima deos.”
—Ovid, Fast, ii., 533.
[Footnote] ‡ Mr. Locke, R.M., of Napier, a Maori scholar and “initiate” of priestcraft, informed me that the sacred food for the dead—popoa—was the bread made from the pollen of the bulrush (Typha angustifolia). Those who wish to know more concerning this bread (called pua when “common”) will do well to read the Rev. R. Taylor's (“Te Ika-a-Maui”) account of it. He states that Scinde (India) is the only other place where the bread made from bulrush-pollen is eaten. It is in Scinde called “boor,” according to Professor Lindley. “Boor” is evidently the New Zealand pua (anglice poo-ah), with the broadened ah into ar, of which I before spoke. Captain Wood, in “Journey to the Source of the Oxus” (61), tells us, “It is the solitary bulrush-gatherer, who, with only his mussuk (inflated-hide float) for support, braves all the dangers of the stream to procure the root of the bulrush as food for himself and his little ones.” For evidence as to Maoris eating root of bulrush, see Colenso, “Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” vol. 1., 348. The bulrush plant is called in New Zealand raupo (rau-po), where rau = “leaf.” What does po mean here? Bull? As the etymology of “bulrush” is unknown, the word may be older than has been thought.
connected with bogle, a spectre; Welsh bwg, a goblin; our bug and bugbear, a spectre; and is the Irish puka, an elf, the “Puck” of Shakespeare.* Bugaboo, with its cattle termination (bu or bw), evidently belongs to pastoral demons. Welsh, bw, threat, terror, bugbear; bw-bachu, to scare; buw, a cow; bwla, a bull; bwci, a hobgoblin; pwca, fiend; pwci, goblin: Spanish, bu, a word used to frighten children: German, böse, evil, devil: Danish, pokker, devil (in English, Piers Plowman and Matthews's Bible give pouk for devil): Gaelic, bodachs, an evil spirit: Manx, boa, a cow, fear, affright; boag, a bogey; boo, fear: Scottish, bo (also bu and boo), a word of terror, connected by Jamieson (“Scot. Dict.”) with Teutonic bauw, larva, spectrum; also puke, an evil spirit. Grimm, in his “Teutonic Mythology,” gives very many words on this form—popel, pobelmann, popanz, &c.—as ghosts for frightening children, and belonging to the class of spirits called bull-man, buller-man, poltergeist, &c. Icelandic, bola, to bully; boli, bull. In obsolete provincial English† we have bo, hobgoblin; bogge, bugbear; boll, a ghost; bole, a bull; boman, a hobgoblin. The word seems everywhere. The tutelary deities of the Battahs of Sumatra are called Bogus, and are the souls of the dead. The Motu, a Polynesian-speaking people among the blacks of New Guinea, call a fool bobo, as do the Spanish; but boloa is “possession by an evil spirit.” The Malays of the Peninsula have an evil spirit called Polong, an elfin creature which feeds on the blood of its possessor. In Puck-hairy we have a sprite named after these animal deities. Hairiness is one of their attributes. Thus the Vulgate has “et pilosi saltabunt ibi” (Isaiah, xiii., 21), where the Lxx. has δαμóνα. These bo words receive strongest confirmation as to their ultimate signification when we compare them with the “cow” words. Scottish cow or kow, a hobgoblin, to depress with fear. This is also the English sense “to cow,” “to cower.” Icelandic, kuga, to cow, tyrannous (kusa, a cow). Scottish, cow-man, a name for the devil (just as “bull-man” and “bull-beggar”); cowin, an alarm, a fright; wirry-cow, a goblin, the devil; cow-carl, a bugbear; water-cow, a spirit of the waters. I think that these words show that our “bogeys” had a cattle origin, and that the Maori poke (pouke, puck, &c.) and kahukahu (kow of Scottish) have probably the same source.
In conclusion, I will point out that the curious series of “coincidences” is completed by the words for “herd.” I have considered that kahu (Rarotongan kau) is the same word
[Footnote] * Keightley, in his “Fairy Mythology,” says that “pixy” is “pucksy;” pooka or phooka, a spectre, a dark-looking thing like a colt.
[Footnote] † Wright's “Provincial Dict.”
as kau, because the meanings of kau, kahu, tau, tahu, ngau, ngahu, constantly cross and interchange in Polynesia, as chewing, floating, clothing, &c. Kahui is a “herd” in Maori, as taura is “herd” in Tahitian.* We have already seen that kau meant a troop of persons, a fleet of canoes, &c. (Cf. Lithuanian gauja, a herd = Sanscrit gavya, a herd of cattle.) There is a Polynesian word mu (Anglice, moo) which seems to be a “herd” word, and there is nothing ridiculous in the idea that a word springing from the idea of lowing cattle should have many derivatives. In Maori mumu means a gentle sound, a “murmur” (another instance of added r). The English murmur comes through French from Latin murmur. Icelandic, murra; German, murren, to murmur. The English mumble, mummer, &c., are formed in the same way; but we are told by Skeat that the sound mum is “used by nurses to frighten children, like the English bo.” We find from another author that “bo is essentially a Tauric word.”† And the German mummel, a bugbear, compares with an infinite number of others indicating “fear” and “cattle.” The Greek Bo∊n; an ox-hide, Boáw to roar, bawl, stands side by side with the primitive μükáoμai (mukaomai), to low, bellow; μükητlkós bellowing (perhaps μüψíos, countless); μύζω, to murmur (μvμύ).‡ Portuguese, mugido, lowing: Latin, mugire, to bellow: Scottish, moo, the act of lowing; moolat, to murmur. The Gond mura = cow; and in Silong (Archipelago), while k'bau is buffalo (Malay, karbau), the cow is called l'mu. On the Polynesian side, beside the Maori words mumu, murmur, and mui, to swarm, we have—Tahitian, mumu, to make a confused noise; mutamuta, to mutter (another coincidence?); omumu, to whisper: Hawaian, mumu, to hum; mumuhu, to sound as many voices; mumulu, to come together in a crowd: Tongan, mumu, to collect together; mumuhu, the sound of sea or wind: Mangarevan, mumu, an idiot, a fool; as the Spanish and Motu have bobo, fool: Samoan, mu, to murmur; mumu, to go in swarms: Fijian, mumu, to go in troops. I think it can hardly be doubted that these words signify not only “murmur,” but the murmuring arising from crowds or herds coming together, as Maori popo means to crowd, throng.
If I should be asked to what conclusion I had come as to the genesis of these words, I should reply that it appears from the evidence that there was probably a root AK, which sometimes became ka or aka. This ak acquired in one direction a (digamma) prefix v or b, and became vak; in another
[Footnote] * Kahui may be a compound of hui, to assemble; but, on the other hand, hui is probably an abraded form of kahui.
[Footnote] † “Phallicism,” Hargrave Jennings, p. 209.
[Footnote] ‡ As to “murmur” and “multitude,” see Canon Farrar's “Language and Languages,” p. 140.
direction ka became nga, ngau, and kau. The ak, ok, uks, ox, vaks, vach, &c., became associated mainly with the idea of “carrying,” whilst ngau and kau (gnaw and cow) remained connected with “ruminating” and “milking.” It is an exceedingly difficult thing to say which of two primitive ideas is the archaic one, when we have such a vast distance of time through which to reach. The Sanscrit açva, horse (açva = equa), is supposed to have had its radical meaning in “swift;” but if the root aç means “permeare, penetrare” (according to Pictet), it may have had its first origin in ak, from “dashing, butting” (Maori, aki, to dash; a, to drive: Sanscrit, aj, to drive: Latin, ago: Samoan, aga, to act, to go: Icelandic, aka (ok, oku, ekit), to drive, transport). “Swift” would be a secondary attribute, attaching itself to the horse, and produced by the horse, after he had received his ak (“bearing”) name. Skeat considers “acre” as probably either pasturage or hunting-ground (✓ag, to drive; or ak, to pierce). I would make one suggestion in regard to this common origin of horse and ox name, and that is that the word was at first applied to neither, but to another animal partaking of the nature both of ox and horse. I mean the yak of the Pamir ancient cradle-land. In the “Journey to the Source of the Oxus” (p. 208 et seq.) there is a notice of “a yak, or kash-gow, as the animal is here called, standing before a door with its bridle in the hand of a Kirghiz boy…. It stood about 3ft. 6in. high, and was very hairy and powerful. Its belly reached within 6in. of the ground, which was swept by its bushy tail. The long hair streamed down from its dewlap and forelegs, giving it, but for the horns, the appearance of a huge Newfoundland dog. It bore a light saddle with horn stirrups, and a cord let through the cartilage of the nose served for a bridle…. The yak is to the inhabitant of Pamir and Thibet what the reindeer is to the Laplander in northern Europe…. He frequents the mountain slopes and their level summits. Wherever the mercury does not rise above zero, there is a climate for the yak. The heat of summer sends the animal to what is termed the old ice—that is, to the regions of eternal snow—the calf being retained below as a pledge for the mother's returning, in which she never fails. In the summer the women, like the pastoral inhabitants of the Alps, encamp in the higher valleys which are interspersed among the snowy mountains, and devote their whole time to the dairy. The men remain on the plain and attend to the agricultural part of the establishment, but occasionally visit the upper stations; and all speak in rapture of these summer wanderings. The kash-gows are gregarious, and set the wolves which here abound at defiance. Their hair is clipped once a year, in the
spring. The tail is the well-known chowry of Hindostan; but in this country its strong, wiry, and pliant hair is made into ropes, which for strength do not yield to those manufactured from hemp. The hair of the body is woven into mats, and also into a strong fabric which makes excellent riding-trousers. The milk of the yak is richer than that of the common cow, though the quantity it yields is less.” There is no part of the world “where there are such numbers of wild animals as may be met on the slopes of northern Thibet. Here, in one day, the traveller may see hundreds of herds of yaks, wild asses, and antelopes, and these show no signs of alarm at the approach of man. Their numbers may be estimated not by tens or hundreds of thousands, but by million.”* This animal, then, milk-bearing, load-carrying, garment-supplying, assembling in droves, with horns of ox and tail of horse, loving the cold and ice, may have been the true primal domestic animal of that land of the early Aryans where there were “two months of summer and ten of winter.” The word aleph, the Semitic word for “ox,” was certainly anciently applied to this animal. Schrader† says of the obelisk of Salmanassar that the word “ox” refers to the jak-ox represented on the corresponding relief.
[Footnote] * Prejevalesky's “Journeys and Discoveries in Central Asia,” “Trans. Roy. Geographical Soc.,” April, 1887, 223.
[Footnote] † “Cuneiform Inscriptions,” vol. i., 177.