Saturday, September 27, 2008


Of Native American origin, this word refers to “The Great Spirit of Peace.” Consider this anecdote: “The chief invited a great council and organized the Society of the Magic Word. Every member promised that whenever the greeting ‘Boneka’ were given him, he would smile and bow and answer, ‘Ranokoli.’ The greeting meant ‘Peace,’ and the answer, ‘I forgive.’ Then, one by one, the law-giver called his councilors before him, and to each he said: ‘The Great Spirit is in this greeting. I defy you to hear it and keep a sober face.’ Then he said ‘Boneka,’ and the man would try to resist the influence of the spirit, but soon smiled in spite of himself, amid the laughter of the tribe, and said ‘Ranokoli.’ Thereafter, when a quarrel arose between two people, an outsider, approaching, would greet them with the magic word, and immediately they would bow and smile, and answer, ‘I forgive’” (Irving Bacheller, Silas Strong, 1906).

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