In the Aryan Hindu cults stars were revered, and by the non-Aryan Gonds were worshiped, but there is no star-god proper. The early Hebrews may have practiced some sort of star-worship; there are traces of such a cult among their neighbors the Arabs. It has been supposed that the pre-Islamic Arabs worshiped the planet Venus under the name Al-Uzza, but this is not certain.
"They throw a thing that cuts now," said Ikki, rustling down the bank; for Ikki was considered uncommonly good eating by the Gonds they called him Ho-Igoo and he knew something of the wicked little Gondee axe that whirls across a clearing like a dragon-fly.
These Sontals reminded me of the Gónds whom I had seen, though they seemed to be far manlier representatives of the autochthonal races of India than the former. They are said to number about a million, and inhabit a belt of country some four hundred miles long by one hundred broad, including the Rajmahal Mountains, and extending from near the Bay of Bengal to the edge of Behar.
'Le Seigneur, says the old formula, 'enferme ses manants comme sous porte et gonds, du ciel a la terre. Tout est a lui, foret chenue, oiseau dans l'air, poisson dans l'eau, bete an buisson, l'onde qui coule, la cloche dont le son au loin roule. Such was his old state of sovereignty, a local god rather than a mere king.
Bowing forward and drawing up his right leg till the heel of the right foot was set some three inches above the inside of the left knee-cap, he met the blow standing on one leg exactly as Gonds stand when they meditate and ready for the fall that would follow.
There was a small village of Gonds, or Korkus, like a toy thing, the houses woven from split bamboo, nestling against the billowing hills. "Here we will rest and eat," Barlow said to the Gulab. "As the Sahib wishes," she answered, and smiled at him like a child.
It is only recently that the sacrifice of children in the New Year festival at the mouth of the Ganges has been abolished; and it is doubtful whether, in spite of the efforts of the British Government, it has been completely put down among the wild tribes, as the Gonds and the Khonds. The records of China, from the eighth century B.C. onward are said to prove the existence of human sacrifice.
The Gonds of India, a Dravidian race, kidnapped Brahman boys, and kept them as victims to be sacrificed on various occasions. At sowing and reaping, after a triumphal procession, one of the lads was slain by being punctured with a poisoned arrow. His blood was then sprinkled over the ploughed field or the ripe crop, and his flesh was devoured.
We passed Cabul merchants peddling their dried fruit on shaggy-haired camels; to these succeeded, in more lonesome portions of the road, small groups of Korkas, wretched remnants of one of the autochthonal families of Central India even lower in the scale of civilization than the Gonds, among whom they are found; and to these the richly-caparisoned elephants of some wealthy Bhopal gentleman making a journey.
So they sent for the head-man of the nearest tribe of wandering Gonds little, wise, and very black hunters, living in the deep Jungle, whose fathers came of the oldest race in India the aboriginal owners of the land.