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The royal excrement

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Chapter Summary

Even the kings have to urinate and defecate, like mere mortals. Such gestures are unworthy of a monarch, and, in societies, are performed. Accordingly, not a single ethnographer of the Grassifields has enquired about the relevant habits of the kings. The author raised the question a couple of times, with little success, so his information is indirect and incomplete. The body of the king is sacred and only alluded to by metaphors. His eyes are his 'stars', his 'skin' is his 'thing'. He does not defecate but 'he harvests his medicines'. This information is weak but significant. The royal faeces are compared to medicinal plants. They are 'harvested', that is, collected, and not expelled. They have power. One should conclude that, as is usually the case with medicines, they can be beneficial or malefic depending on the use that is made of them, and on the intentions behind such use.

Keywords: Grassifields; king; medicinal plants; royal faeces



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