BIRD DIVINATION AMONGTUIETIBETANS.
3renderingofthe introductory noteprefacing the'table.In regardto the latter, M. BACOTsinclined toview it as a series of rebuses
which seemtohave the raven as their subject. He consequentlytakes every verse (tbe entire prefaceis composed of twenty-nineverses, each consisting of a dactyland two trochees,-a metrepeculiarlyTibetanandnotbasedonany Sanskrit model)asasingle unit;whileinmy opinion theverses are mutually connected,and their interrelation brings out a coherent account furnishingthe explanation for the divination table.As indicated by the verytitle ofhis essay, M.
regardsthe latter as a list of fore-bodings announced by lightning; andin column I of the Tableworked up by him, we meet the translationen casd'eclairal'est,etc.The Tibetanequivalentfor this renderingisnian zer na, whichliterally means, "if there is evil speaking."No authority, native orforeign,isknown to me which wouldjustifythetranslationofthisphrase by anythinglike "flash oflightning;"itsimplymeans"toutterbadwords,"whichmayaugur misfortune;henceian,as
(Dictionary, p. 126) says,has the further meaning of"evil, imprecation." The phrase nan smrasisrenderedinthe dic-tionary Zla-bai od-snait (fol. 29b,Peking, 1838)intoMongolmaghukdldksdn. In the present case, the term itan zer,referstothe unpleasantandunlucky soundsof the
voice ofthecroworraven, which indeed, as expresslystatedin theprefatory note,isthesubjectofdivinationin thisTable. Moreover,theprefaceleavesno doubt astowho the recipientof theofferingsis.Itisplainlytold thereinVerse 8 (4 in the numberingofM.
gtor-manibya-la gtor,"theofferingismadetothebird,"and this birdcertainlyis theraven
spokenof in Verse1, againmen-tionedin Verse17,theirvarioustonesbeingdescribed in V. 25-29.In thisTable,itis, accordingly,thequestiononly oftheraven,
1)The differentiationf theTibetanwordsfor "raven"and"crow"sexplainedbelow,in thefirstnoterelatingto the translationofthepreface.