MAN AND BEAST

by Sir Richard F. Burton, Arabian Nights, 1885

Modern science which, out of the depths of its self-consciousness, has settled so many disputed questions, speaking by the organs of Messieurs Woodman and Tidy (Medical Jurisprudence) has decided that none of the lower animals can bear issue to man. But the voice of the world is against them and as Voltaire says one cannot be cleverer than everybody. To begin with there is the will: the she-quadruman shows a distinct lust for man by fondling him and displaying her parts as if to entice him. That carnal connexion has actually taken place cannot be doubted: my late friend Mirza Ali Akbar, of Bombay, the famous Munshi to Sir Charles Napier during the conquest of Sind, a man perfectly veracious and trustworthy, assured me that in the Gujurat province he had witnessed a case with his own eyes. He had gone out 'to the jungle', as the phrase is, with another Moslem who, after keeping him waiting for an unconscionable time, was found carnally united to a she-monkey. My friend, indignant as a good Moslem should be, reproved him for his bestiality and then asked him how it had come to pass: the man answered that the she-monkey came regularly to look at him on certain occasions, that he was in the habit of throwing her something to eat and that her gratitude displayed such sexuality that he was tempted and 'fell'.

That the male monkey shows an equal desire for the woman is known to every frequenter of the Zoo. I once led a party of English girls to see a collection of mandrils and other anthropoid apes in the Ménagerie of a well-known Russian millionaire, near Florence, when the priapism displayed was such that the girls turned back and fled in fright.

In the motherlands of these anthropoids (the Gaboon, Malacca, etc.), the belief is universal and women have the liveliest fear of them. In 1853 when the Crimean war was brewing a dog-faced baboon in Cairo broke away from his Kuraydati (ape-leader), threw a girl in the street and was about to ravish her when a sentinel drew his bayonet and killed the beast. The event was looked upon as an evil omen by the older men, who shook their heads and declared that these were bad times when apes attempted to ravish the daughters of Moslems. But some will say that the grand test, the existence of the mule between man and monkey, though generally believed in, is characteristically absent, absent as the 'missing link' which goes so far as to invalidate Darwinism in one and perhaps the most important part of its contention. Of course the offspring of such union would be destroyed, yet the fact of our never having found a trace of it except in legend and idle story seems to militate against its existence. When, however, man shall become Homo sapiens he will cast off the prejudices of the cradle and the nursery and will ascertain by actual experiment if human being and monkey can breed together.

The lowest order of bimana and the highest order of quadrumana may, under most favourable circumstances, bear issue and the mule, who would own half a soul, might prove most serviceable as a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, in fact as an agricultural labourer. All we can say is that such miscegenation stands in the category of things not proven and we must object to science declaring them non-existing. A correspondent favours me with the following note upon the subject: Castanheda (Annals of Portugal) relates that a woman was transported to an island inhabited by monkeys and took up her abode in a cavern where she was visited by a huge baboon. He brought her apples and fruit and at last had connection with her, the result being two children in two to three years; but when she was being carried off by a ship the parent monkey kissed his progeny. The woman was taken to Lisbon and imprisoned for life by the King. Langius, Virgilius Polydorus and others quote many instances of monstrous births in Rome resulting from the connection of women with dogs and bears, and cows with horses, etc. The following relative conditions are deduced on the authority of MM. Jean Polfya and Mauriceau: (1) If the sexual organism of man or woman be more powerful than that of the monkey, dog, etc. the result will be a monster in the semblance of man; (2) If vice versa the appearance will be that of a beast; (3) If both are equal the result will be a distinct sub-species as of the horse with the ass.

The private parts of the monkey although they erect stiffly, like the priapus of Osiris when swearing upon his phallus, are not of the girth sufficient to produce that friction which is essential to a woman's pleasure. I may here allude to the general disappointment in England and America caused by the exhibition of my friend Paul de Chaillu's gorillas: he had modestly removed penis and testicles, the latter being somewhat like a bull's, and his squeamishness caused not a little grumbling and sense of grievance – especially amongst the curious sex.

The large Cynocephalus is exceedingly dangerous. When travelling on the Gold Coast with my late friend Colonel De Ruvignes, we suddenly came in the grey of the morning upon a herd of these beasts. We dismounted, hobbled our nags and sat down, sword and revolver in hand. Luckily it was feeding time for the vicious brutes, which scowled at us but did not attack us. During my fours years' service on the West African Coast I heard enough to satisfy me that these powerful beasts often kill men and rape women; but I could not convince myself that they ever kept the women as concubines.

Bestiality, very rare in Arabia is fatally common amongst those most debauched of debauched races, the Egyptian proper and the Sindis. Hence the Pentateuch, whose object was to breed a larger population of fighting men, made death the penalty for lying with a beast (Deut. xxvii. 21). C.S. Sonnini (Travels, English translation, p.663) gives a curious account of Fellah lewdness. "The female crocodile during congress is turned upon her back (?) and cannot rise without difficulty. Will it be believed that there are men who take advantage of the helpless situation of the female, drive off the male, and supplant him in this frightful intercourse? Horrible embraces, the knowledge of which was wanting to complete the disgusting history of human perversity!" The French traveller forgets to add the superstitious explanation of this congress which is the sovereignest charm for rising to rank and riches.