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IT has been my endeavour in the following pages to 
bring together the results of such observations as many 
years' acquaintance with Melanesian people has enabled 
me to make. I had once hoped to have been able to give 
something more like a full account of the beliefs and 
practices of the natives of those islands concerning which 
I have had the opportunity of collecting information ; but 
my stay upon my last return to the Melanesian Mission 
was too short for this, and I have now to put forth what I 
know to be very incomplete. 

My observations and enquiries were carried on, and my 
notes were made, in the years from 1863, when I first 
visited the islands, to 1887, when I left the Mission ; partly 
in the Melanesian Islands, but mostly in Norfolk Island, 
where natives of many of these islands have for many 
years been brought together for instruction. Twice during 
this period I made with natives of the various islands a 
systematic enquiry into the religious beliefs and practices of 
the Melanesians, and the social regulations and conditions 
prevailing among them. On the first occasion I had, as re- 
gards the Banks' Islands, the very valuable assistance of a 
native who was a grown youth before his people had been 
at all affected by intercourse with Europeans or had heard 
any Christian teaching the Rev. George Sarawia, the first, 

vi Preface. 

and now for many years the leader, of the native clergy of 
that group. The results of these first enquiries appeared 
briefly in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of 
February, 1881 ; and these were carefully reviewed by me 
during my last stay in Norfolk Island in 1866 and 1867. 
I was so fortunate then as to meet there several old friends 
and pupils who had come down, for their health's sake and 
for other reasons, after a residence as teachers among their 
own people. They had been living in their various islands 
in a position and at an age which would make them ac- 
quainted with the views and habits of their countrymen, 
and they were able, and, I believe, entirely willing, to com- 
municate freely what they knew. It happened thus that I 
was able to go through the subjects which are treated of in 
this book with native instructors from the Solomon Islands, 
the Banks' Islands, and the Northern New Hebrides ; with 
Marsden Manekalea from Ysabel, Benjamin Bele from 
Florida, Joseph Wate from Saa, Walter Woser from Motlav, 
Arthur Arudulewari from Aurora, Lewis Tariliu from 
Pentecost, Martin Tangabe from Lepers' Island ; every one 
of them, in my opinion, a competent and trustworthy witness, 
though all were not equally intelligent. 

It has been my purpose to set forth as much as possible 
what natives say about themselves, not what Europeans 
say about them. For this reason, though the results of my 
own personal observations are given, I have refrained from 
asking or recording, except in a few instances where 
acknowledgment is made, the information which my 
colleagues in the Mission would have abundantly and 
willingly imparted. No one can be more sensible than 
myself of the incompleteness and insufficiency of what I 
venture to publish ; I know that I must have made many 
mistakes and missed much that I might have learnt. I 
have felt the truth of what Mr. Fison, late missionary in 

Preface. vii 

Fiji, to whom I am indebted for much instruction, has 
written : * When a European has been living for two or 
three years among savages he is sure to be fully convinced 
that he knows all about them ; when he has been ten years 
or so amongst them, if he be an observant man, he finds 
that he knows very little about them, and so begins to 
learn.' My own time of learning has been all too short. 
I have endeavoured as far as possible to give the natives' 
account of themselves by giving what I took down from 
their lips and translating what they wrote themselves. It 
is likely that under the circumstances of such enquiries 
much of the worst side of native life may be out of sight, 
and the view given seem generally more favourable than 
might be expected ; if it be so, I shall not regret it. 

I should have been glad if space had allowed me to treat 
at greater length the subject of the native Arts of Life, and 
to have given more of the Tales, which throw so much 
light upon native life and thought. The comparison of the 
Melanesian languages, customs, beliefs, and arts, with those 
of the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, will fix the 
ethnological place of the Melanesian people while it aids 
the general study of mankind. 

In conclusion, this book, though written by a missionary, 
with his full share of the prejudices and predilections 
belonging to missionaries, is not meant to have what is 
generally understood to be a missionary character ; but the 
writer is persuaded that one of the first duties of a mis- 
sionary is to try to understand the people among whom he 
works, and to this end he hopes that he may have con- 
tributed something that may help. 

March 12, 1891. 




*/Uroups of Melanesian Islands. Connexion East and West. Discovery. 
Spanish, French, English Discoverers. Names of Islands, native and 
geographical. Identification. Condition on discovery. Native view of 
discoverers. Geology. Volcanos. Coral. Reef Islands. Lakes. Water- 
falls. Zoology. , pp. 1-19 



Ethnology, Or igin.y/pi vision of people into Expgamous 

dreds, with Succession through the Mother. No Tribes. : Exception in 
X Eastern Solomon Islands, intercourse of sexes regulated and restricted. 
Incest. Guest- wives. Division into two King^ Banks' Islands; Families^ 
Adoption. New Hebrides. Question of Communal marriage. Testi- 
mony of language. Nearness of^ blood. Plural Divisions, Florida, 
Bugotu. ^A^omina.tion^,^^. ^jfoiems. Custom at Ulawa. Shifting 
predominance of Florida Tcema. Delation of sister's son and mother's 
brother. V Banks' Island System of Relationship, in Kinship, Family, by 
Marriage7""pedigree of Mota family. Step-father. Terms of relation- 
ship in Florida. System where descent follows the Father. Reserve. 
Avoidance, in Banlcs' Islands. Disuse of Names as words. New 
HeBrides 20-45 




VChiefs recognised by visitors. VHieir Power in Solomon Islands, Banks' 
Islands, and New Hebrides. \/Absence of History and Tradition, y 
Remarkable exception at Saa. Origin of that settlement. Chiefs there: 
Hereditary element. Chiefs in Florida ; in Banks' Islands. Alterna- 
tion of predominance in Kindreds. Chiefs in New Hebrides, Lepers' 
Island 46 



General agreement as to Property and Succession. /Divisions of Land, 
Bush, Gardens, Town. Sale of Land. Property in Fruit-trees. Tendency 
to succession of son to father. Solomon Islands, Florida. Land and 
Personal property. Banks' Islands, Redemption of father's land, Sale 
of land, Wills. New Hebrides, Pentecost Island, Lepers' Island . 59-68 



AVide extent of Secret Societies in Melanesia., Difference from Austra- 
lian Mysteries; no 'Making young men.' Social importances Exclu- 
sion of women. Conspicuous feature in native life. Banks' Islands, 
Tamate, ' Ghosts ' ; masks ; badges ; lodges. Salagoro ; hats ; mysterious 
sounds ; admission ; seclusion of neophytes ; license. Smaller Societies. 
Qatu ; dance ; initiation. New Hebrides, Aurora Island. Handiwork 
of ' ghosts.' -'Native account of Initiations. / Dances. Pentecost Island. 
The Qeta. Solomon Islands, Florida. Matairibala; origin; native 
account; downfall of the Mystery 69-100 



Presence of these Societies conspicuous in Torres Islands, Banks' Islands, 
and New Hebrides. The Gamal, club-house; the Club, the Suqe. 
Ranks. Social importance. Banks' Islands, Mota. Images ; hats. Santa 
Maria, Torres Islands. Admission and advance in rank ; Method and 
forms. Feasts ; dress. Women's Club. Kolekole ; decorations. Charms ; 
Feast of deliverance. New Hebrides, Aurora, Lepers' Island. Ranks 
and titles. Pentecost Island 101-115 

Contents. xi 



ifficulty of the subject. Language of Natives and Europeans. Mana ; 
stones ; charms. Spirits and Ghosts distinguished by natives. Differ- 
ence between religion of Eastern and Western Melanesia. Misuse of 
terms ; ' god ' and ' devil.' Banks' Islands, Spirits, vui. Solomon Is- 
lands, tindalo, Ghosts of worship. Example of Ganindo. Prayers and 
offerings 117-127 



Offerings at meals to the Dead. Difference between Sacrifices in Eastern 
and Western Melanesia. Solomon Islands ; Sacrifice to ghosts ; example 
at San Cristoval. Florida sacrifices, public and private ; first-fruits ; 
for war; for crops. Human sacrifices. Seven sacrifices at Saa. San 
Cristoval; Substitution. Santa Cruz. Banks' Islands; Offerings to 
Spirits at stones ; with money. Familiar spirits. New Hebrides, Aurora, 
Pentecost, Lepers' Island, Ambrym ...... 128-144 



Prayers and Invocations. To Ghosts in Solomon Islands, Florida, San 
Cristoval, Saa. To Spirits in Banks' Islands, Motlav, Mota. Invocations 
at sea. New Hebrides 145-149 



Little prominence of belief in Spirits in Solomon Islands. Kahausibware. 
Banks' Islands, vui. Native conceptions ; two orders of spirits. Nopitu. 
Qat ; Creation. Story and adventures of Qat ; Marawa, Qasavara. Story 
of flood. Santa Cruz. New Hebrides. Tagaro and Supwe ; Creation ; 
Winged women. Changeling spirits 150-172 



Images not idols . / Stones./Solomon Islands, Places of sepulture sacred ; 
Shrines. Other sacred places, Streams/' Florida, Bugotu. Sharks, snakes, 
frigate-birds, crocodiles. Banks' Islands and New Hebrides; Stones, 
heaps, streams and pools, trees, sharks, snakes, changeling snakes, king- 
fishers .... .... ^ ... 173-190 

xii Contents. 



Mana, and equivalent terms. Native belief in magic, (i) Sickness: 
causes. Solomon Islands. Treatment with charms ; medicine. Ghosts 
fighting; Sea-ghosts. Santa Cruz. Banks' Islands. New Hebrides. 
(2) Weather: weather doctoring ; Banks' Islands, charms. (3) Witch- 
craft : fragments of food ; bones ; ' ghost-shooter ' ; Metamorphosis. 
(4) Dreams: dreamers. (5) Prophecy: possession by ghosts ; prophets. 

(6) Divination: methods in Solomon Islands and Banks' Islands. 

(7) Ordeals. (8) Poison. (9) Tapu, taboo: Curses; Oaths. . 191-217 



Mildness believed to be possession by Spirits or Ghosts. Other forms of 
possession. Omens. Vampires. Tricks played by ghosts on men ; by 
men with ghosts. Form of possession in Torres Islands. Tricks. 
Sneezing ............ 218-227 



Couvade ; abortion ; infanticide ; twins. Birth. Weaning ; nose-boring ; 

clothing. Reserve. Separation of sexes. Initiation at Saa. Circumcision; 
tattoo. Intercourse of sexes ; harlots. Betrothal and Marriagey' Adul- 
tery. Divorce. Levirate. Widowhood ; mourning. 



Death. Soul called shadow. Native words translated soul, in Florida, 
Banks' Islands, New Hebrides. Ghosts, two classes. Burial customs in 
Florida and Bugotu. Hades ; ship and bridge of the dend. San Cris- 
toval, Sea-ghosts. Saa, ghosts; Hades; burial; relics; memorials. 
Santa Cruz. Torres Islands. Banks' Islands. Panoi. Origin of death ; 
burial ; driving away ghost ; funeral feasts ; death-days ; state of the 
dead ; judgment. Descents to Panoi. Aurora. Journey of the dead ; 
funeral ; death-meals. Lepers' Island. Origin of death ; burial ; 
Hades. Pentecost Island. Burying alive ..... 247-2 





Outrigger- canoes ; plank-built canoes ; voyages ; trade. Houses : dwel- 
ling-houses ; canoe -houses ; pile-houses ; tree-houses ; forts ; stone- 
buildings. Cultivations. Weapons. Fighting. Bows ; slings ; poisoned 
arrows. Shell and stone implements ; pottery ; stone-boiling. Fishing : 
hooks ; floats ; nets ; kites ; traps. Food ; Cookery. Native cloth ; Dress. 
Money : mat-money ; feather-money ; shell-money ; money-lending. 
Decorative Arts, in Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, Banks' Islands . 290-331 



Dances. Songs. Drums ; pipes ; stringed instrument ; ^olian flute. 
Games. Toys: kites; bull-roarer; rattles . . . . .332-342 



Cannibalism. Head-taking. Castaways. Slaves. Burning alive. Sun ; 
moon ; stars ; eclipses. Months and Seasons. Narcotics. Counting ; 


Measures. Salutations. Wild men 



I. Animal Stories. I. Heron and Turtle. 2. Three Fish. 3. Rat and 
Rail. 4. Birds' Voyage. 5. Shark and Snake. 6. Hen and Chickens., 

II. Myths, Tales of Origins. i. Kamakajaku. 2. Samuku. 3. The 
Mim. 4. Muesarava. 5. Tagaro's Departure. 6. How Tagaro made 
the Sea. 7. How Tagaro found Fish. 8. How the old Woman made 
the Sea. III. Wonder Tales. I. Dilingavuv. 2. Story of an Eel. 
3. Molgon and Molwor. 4. Ghost-wife. 5. Ganviviris. 6. The Little 
Orphan. 7. The Woman and Eel. 8. The Little Owl. 9. The Winged 
Wife. 10. Taso. n. Betawerai. 12. Basi and Dovaowari. 13. Dei- 
tari. 14. Tarkeke. 15. The Woman and Ghost. 16. Tagaro the 
Little. 17. Merambuto and Tagaro . . . . . . 356-411 


FRONTISPIECE. Stone buildings at Gaua, Santa Maria, Banks' Islands 
From a sketch by the Author. 

1. Map and Elevation of Mota. Sugarloaf Island, Banks' Islands . 15 

2. Masked Figure from New Caledonia 70 

From a photograph. 

3. Masked Figure of a Banks' Islands Tamate 73 

From a photograph by the Author. 

4. Tamate at Valuwa. Saddle Island, Banks' Islands ... 78 

From a sketch by the Author. 
5,6. Tamate Hats or Masks. Banks' Islands . ., *. . - 79 

From sketches by the Author. 

7. Masked Figures at Aurora Island, New Hebrides . . . 91 

From a photograph by Rev. C. Sice. 

5. Lano Hats or Masks. Banks' Islands . . . . . .104 

From a drawing "by a native. 

g. 3falo-saru Dancing Dress. Banks' Islands 108 

From a specimen in the British Museum. 

10. A Sea-ghost shooting a man fishing, at Saa, Solomon Islands . .197 

From a drawing by a native. 

11. A Sea-ghost. San Cristoval, Solomon Islands 250 

From a drawing by a native. 

12. A New Hebrides Canoe 2 gi 

From a sketch by the Author. 

13. A Mota Canoe. Banks' Islands 292 

From a photograph by the Author. 

14. A Santa Cruz Canoe 2 ^ 

From a slietch by the Author. 

15. Spear-rest in a Florida Canoe. Solomon Islands . . -295 

From a sketch by the Author. 

List of Illustrations. xv 


1 6. Figure-head of a Florida Canoe 296 

From a sketch by the A uthor. 

17. A House at Tega. Ysabel, Solomon Islands 300 

From a sketch by the Author. 

1 8. Shafts of Arrows. Santa Maria, Banks' Islands . . . . 311 

Draivn from specimens in the Author's collection by Rev. 
H. H. Minchin. 

19. Shell Adze from Torres Islands, in the Author's collection . .312 

Drawn by Rev. H. H. Minchin. 

20. Shell tool from Santa Cruz, in the Author's collection ; to be turned 

either way, and used as adze or axe . . . . . 313 

Drawn by Rev. H. If. Minchin. 

21. Shell Adze from Lepers' Island, New Hebrides, in the Author's 

collection 314 

Drawn by Rev. H. H. Minchin. 

22. Stone Adze from San Cristoval, Solomon Islands, in the Blackmore 

Museum, Salisbury 314 

23. Breadfruit Chopper from Mota, Banks' Islands, in the Blackmore 

Museum, Salisbury 315 

24. Shell Adze from Mota, Banks' Islands, in the Blackmore Museum, 

Salisbury 315 

25. Float for catching Flying-fish, from Santa Cruz, in the Blackmore 

Museum, Salisbury . . 317 

26. Float for catching Flying-fish, from Malanta, Solomon Islands, in the 

Author's collection . 317 

Drawn by Rev. S. H. Minchin. 

27. Sketch by the Author showing the Dress of Men and Women at 

Bellona Island, Solomon Islands 322 

28. Lime-box from Ysabel, Solomon Islands, in the Author's collection . 328 

Drawn by Rev. S. H. Minchin. 

29. Incised and whitened pattern on a Cocoa-nut Water-bottle from 

Ysabel, in the Author's collection 328 

From a rubbing. 

30. Incised patterns of two Banks' Islands Ear-ornaments . . . 329 

31. Incised ornament cut by A. Arudulewari of Aurora Island, New 

Hebrides . 330 

Drawn by Rev. H. H. Minchin. 

32. Incised and whitened ornament from Ysabel, Solomon Islands . 331 

From a rubbing. 

33. Drums at Ambrym, New Hebrides 337 

From a photograph by Capt. Acland, R.N. 


The orthography in use in the various native languages is not generally 
here employed in native words, but it occasionally appears. In such cases it 
is enough to observe that & = mb, d = nd, n is ng, g is ngg, and that g and q 
represent peculiar sounds. Excuse must be offered for the very ill-looking 
ngg, representing the ng in ' finger' ; a sound so distinct from the ng in 
' singer' that it is impossible to use, as in English, the same symbol for both. 
It is necessary to note that ng here always stands as ng in 'singer.' 



THERE are four groups of islands, within that region of the 
Western Pacific to which the name of Melanesia has been 
given, that form a curved belt following roughly the outline 
of the Australian coast, at a general distance of some fifteen 
hundred miles, and turning away from the important outlying 
Archipelago of Fiji ; these are the Solomon Islands, the 
Santa Cruz group, the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, 
and New Caledonia with the Loyalty Islands. There is 
an undoubted connexion of race, language and customs 
among the people who inhabit these groups ; a connexion 
which further extends itself throughout what is called 
Melanesia to New Guinea westwards, and eastwards to Fiji. 
The distinction between the Melanesian people of these groups 
and the Polynesians eastwards of Fiji is clearly marked and 
recognised, for the line which separates Melanesian from 
Polynesian falls between Fiji and Tonga. No such line can 
be drawn to mark such a boundary to the west till the 
Asiatic continent itself is reached. From the Polynesian? 
islands of the East Pacific on the one side, and from the 
Asiatic islands of the Malay Archipelago on the other, 
two currents of influence have poured and are pouring into 
Melanesia, the former much more modern and direct, the 
^ latter ancient and broken in its course. Upon these currents 
float respectively the kava root and the betel-nut.. The use 
of the betel is common to India, China, and the Melanesian 
islands as far to the east as Tikopia ; the Polynesian kavai 
has established itself in the New Hebrides, and is a novelty 
in some of the Banks' Islands ; it has not been carried across 


2 Introductory. [CH. 

the boundary of the betel-nut by the Polynesian settlers 
in the Reef Islands of Santa Cruz. The present work is 
not concerned at all with one of the four groups above 
mentioned, that of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands, 
nor with the larger southern members of the New Hebrides 
group ; its view is confined, except for occasional illustration, 
to the Solomon Islands, Ysabel, Florida, Savo, Guadalcanal*, 
Malanta, San Cristoval, Ulawa, to the Santa Cruz group, the 
Banks' and Torres Islands, and three of the northern New 
Hebrides, Aurora, Pentecost and Lepers' Islands. Within this 
field are contained certain islands inhabited by Polynesian 
colonists from the East who still retain their Polynesian 
speech. Such are Nupani, Pileni, Nukapu, and other reef 
islands of the Swallow group, where the physical character- 
istics of the Polynesian people may possibly be traced, but 
certainly are not conspicuous, having been lost by mixture 
with neighbouring Melanesians. In Rennell Island and Bellona 
Island, southern members of the Solomon group, the people 
are physically Polynesian ; a lad from Bellona, who was in 
New Zealand with Bishop Patteson, was in name (Te Kiu), 
colour, tattoo, and speech very much a Maori. Men from the 
Polynesian settlements on Mae and Fate in the New Hebrides 
have found the language of Ontong Java like their own. 

The discovery of these islands was prolonged through 
three centuries, and carried on by Spanish, French and 
English voyagers. The Spaniards found the Solomon Islands, 
Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands, and the northern New 
Hebrides ; the French added much later to the discoveries in 
these groups ; the English found, under Captain Cook, the 
principal islands of the New Hebrides and New Caledonia, 
and have filled in the charts. The Dutch discovered Fiji. 
The earliest, and certainly most interesting, discoveries were 
those of the Spaniards ; of Mendana in his two voyages 
of 1567 and 1595, and of Quiros and Torres in 1606 l . 

1 Dr. Guppy, in his Solomon Islands and their Natives, has discussed these 
discoveries at length with special reference to the Journal of Gallego. By the 
kindness of Mr. Woodford I have read the narrative of Cotoira. In both the 

i.] Discoveries. 3 

Mendana, despatched by the Viceroy of Peru, reached in 
1567 the first Melanesian land seen by Europeans, the great 
island which he named Santa Ysabel de la Estrella, and from 
thence the voyagers under his command discovered further 
and named the large islands Malaita, Guadalcanal, San 
Crist-oval, and the lesser islands, Sesarga, which is Savo, 
Florida with its islets, Ulawa, and the small islands near 
San Cristoval. To these he gave the name of the Solomon 
Islands, to mark his conjecture, or to suggest the belief, that 
he had discovered the source of the riches of Solomon. In 
his second voyage of 1595, undertaken for the purpose of 
colonizing the Solomon Islands, Mendana discovered Santa 
Cruz, and attempted to form a settlement there ; an attempt 
abandoned after two months, in consequence of his death and 
the sickness of the remnant of his crews. Quiros had been 
with Mendana, and was allowed in 1606 to carry out a 
project he had been continually urging of recovering and 
colonizing the Solomon group. Fortune however made him 
the discoverer of the New Hebrides, when he believed himself 
to have reached the great Austral Continent, in the island 
which still bears the name he gave it of Espiritu Santo. 
The first Melanesian islands however that he saw were those 
now known as the Banks' Islands, one of which, Santa Maria, 
retains the name he gave it : Torres, after parting from Quiros, 
saw and named the Torres Islands. After an interval of more 
than a century and a half, the French voyager Bougainville, 
in 1768, added Pentecost, Lepers' Island, and Malikolo to the 
discovery of Quiros, naming the group the Great Cyclades, 
and found the great islands of Choiseul and Bougainville 
beyond those discovered in the first voyage of Mendana. 

Polynesian word Te Ariki, the Chief, in the form Taurique, is given as the 
designation of the chiefs in Ysabel, where it is now entirely out of place. This 
is the less easy of explanation, as the other native words given appear to be 
those now in use. I may add that I have discussed the accounts of Mendana's 
discoveries, as related in Burney's and Dalrymple's collections, with natives of 
the Solomon and Santa Cruz Islands ; but unfortunately my notes on this 
subject have been lost. 

B 2 

4 Introductory. [CH. 

In the next year Surville passed through the same group ; 
the disastrous voyage of La Perouse ended at Vanikoro in 
1785. The southern islands of the group, which have since 
preserved the name he gave of the New Hebrides, were 
discovered by Cook in his second great voyage in 1774, and 
after these New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. Bligh, in 
his wonderful boat voyage after the mutiny of the Bounty, 
passed through and named the islands of the Banks' group. 

The names given by the Spaniards to the Solomon and Santa 
Cruz groups, and to the islands of Ysabel, Florida, Guadal- 
canar, San Cristoval, Santa Anna and Santa Catalina, to 
Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides and Santa Maria in the 
Banks' Islands, have maintained themselves; some of the 
French names have disappeared ; some, Aurora, Pentecost or 
Whitsuntide, Star Island, Gulf Island (for Ugi), have taken 
an English form. To some islands no new names have been 
given, native names, or what were supposed to be such, having 
been supplied by the natives, such as Ambry m, Api, Mallicollo ; 
in some cases the native name, or what was taken for it, as 
Malaita, has prevailed over the name given by the discoverer. 
To ascertain the native name, and the proper orthography of 
the native name, of an island is a matter of difficulty to 
a visitor. Large islands seldom have a name ; an enquirer 
pointing to the island as a whole, is given the name of the 
district or village to which he points, or perhaps that of some 
islet between him and the mainland ; or he may take the 
name of a man for that of a place *. Of the islands discovered 

1 The island of San Cristoval has been called Bauro by Europeans, 
not by natives, from the name of a part of it. A village on that island 
is marked on the Admiralty chart with the name of its chief. The island 
of Florida and its language has got the name of Anutha. and Anudha, 
from an islet between Mboli and Ravu. Bishop Patteson, on his visit in 
1862, was given by a native boy on board the name, in the form Anudha, 
of the islet Anuha, and took it for the name of the whole island. Melanesians 
who could not pronounce th called it Anuta ; Banks' Islanders, taking the 
first syllable to be the preposition 'at,' commonly used with names of places, 
call it Nuta, and Nut. The large island of Ysabel may be seen in some maps 
marked Mahaga, from a single village in Bugotu, the language of which was 
made known by Bishop Patteson. 

i.] Discoveries. 5 

by Mendana in his first voyage, Ysabel, Guadalcanar, and 
San Crist oval have no native names, though names of parts 
are often taken to designate the whole ; the second of these, 
so far as is known to them, is called Gera by natives of south- 
east Malanta and San Cristoval ; and the latter has become 
known as Bauro, from its most conspicuous part. It is strange 
that the large island which has somehow got the name of 
Malanta has a native name, at any rate all along the west side, 
Mala or Mara. The native name of Florida is Nggela, the 
same word as Gera ; and the island is known in Mala Masiki 
as * beyond Gela.' Savo is no doubt the island called Sesarga 
by the Spaniards, who heard the name Sabo, and misplaced 
it. The native Ulawa, heard by the Spaniards as Uraba, 
has lost the Spanish name of La Treguada, and retains 
on the charts Surville's Contrariete. The native name of 
Santa Cruz, the discovery of Mendana's second voyage, is 
Ndeni, from which the Nitendi of the charts has probably 
been derived \ 

The discovery of the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides by 
Quiros was preceded by a visit to Taumako, where he obtained 
information concerning some sixty islands known to the native 
voyagers. Nearly all of these probably are the small islands 
inhabited, like Taumako, by people of the Polynesian race, 

1 There can be little doubt that Gallego's Florida is a part of the Nggela of 
the natives, and probably Buena Vista is Vatilau. San Dimas, San German, 
Guadalupe, have been shewn by Mr. Woodford to be parts of Florida as they 
shew from the sea, not as the island is divided by unseen channels. The native 
names of the lesser islands near San Cristoval are, Ugi for Gulf Island, the 
Spanish San Juan ; 'Olu Malau, the Three Malau, for Three Sisters, Las Tres 
Marias ; Owa-raha, GreatOwa, for Santa Ana, and Owa-rii, Little Owa,for Santa 
Catalina. It is remarkable how much more accurate Gallego's Aguare is than 
the Yoriki of the charts or the Orika given by Dr. Guppy. Gallego's Hapa 
may represent Owa, though not so well as Oo-ah or Oa. Uraba is really 
nearer the native Ulawa than Ulaua, the native tongue, like the Spanish, 
readily interchanging 1 and r, w and b. How Mr. Brenchley got Ulakua 
cannot be explained, nor why a new form Ulava is introduced. A correct 
native name, it may be said, is rarely to be obtained from a trader; the early 
sea-going visitors make the form which is to stand for the native name, and 
hand it on. The only security is the writing of a native who knows. 

6 Introductory. [CH. 

who are great voyagers at the present day, and are easily dis- 
tinguished by their Polynesian tongue, though where they lie 
near larger islands of Melanesian population, the appearance of 
Polynesians has been lost 1 . Many of these islands are easily 
identified, and lie away from the New Hebrides 2 , but Quiros 
was led by his information to look for the large country 
of which he was in search towards the south, and he thought 
he found it in what he named Tierra Austral del Espiritu 
Santo. This island, now commonly known as Santo, has the 
native name of Marina. This was not the first land of the 
New Hebrides seen by Quiros ; after having apparently seen 
the light of a volcano in the night, he found himself in the 
morning in view of three islands, one the present Aurora of 
the New Hebrides, and two belonging to the Banks' Islands, 
the volcanic cone, Merlav, called by him Nuestra Senora de la 

1 I have myself witnessed the arrival of eleven canoes from Tikopia among 
the Banks' Islands. The men said they had come to see the islands, and 
were hospitably received. One was shot at Ureparapara, and they departed. 
Shortly before this a canoe from Tikopia had been driven by the wind to Mota, 
and the men in her most kindly treated, and the same thing had happened 
before and has happened since. The difference in size, manner, language and 
dress between the Tikopians and Banks' Islanders was conspicuous. The true 
name is pretty certainly Chikopia, since the Mota people learnt Sikopia from 
their visitors ; two Fijian islands are Cikobia = Thikombia. 

2 Chicayana is Sikaiana, Stewart Island; Guaytopo is Waitupu, Tracy Island, 
of the Ellice group ; Taukalo is Tokelau ; Nupani and Pileni are Reef Islands of 
Santa Cruz ; Manicolo no doubt stands for Vanikoro. Bishop Patteson in 1866 
found that the Eeef Islanders of Santa Cruz visited Taumako and Tikopia. It 
is excusable at sight to take the Pouro of Quiros for Bauro in San Cristoval, 
but in my opinion the attempted identification must completely fail. In 
the first place, Pouro and Bauro are far from being the same in sound when the 
confusion of English spelling is got rid of ; Quiros would never write ou for au. 
Secondly, Bauro is not and never was the native name of San Cristoval ; it is 
a name picked up by Europeans, I believe by Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand, 
and adopted for European convenience. Gallego calls, and properly, a part 
only of the island Paubro. Thirdly, arrows with points in form of a knife 
(a fair description of some Lepers' Island arrows) are wholly out of place in 
the Solomon Islands. Fourthly, the certain identifications of the islands 
named do not lead in that direction. In the same way, when it is understood 
that the name of the island in the Malay Archipelago is Buru, in Dutch 
spelling Boeroe, there can remain very little ground for identifying it with 
either Bauro or Bulotu, in French spelling Bourotou. 

i.] Discoveries. 7 

Luz, and Santa Maria. After having* visited the latter, 
he made his way to a larger island seen to the southward, 
and remained a month in the great bay of SS. Philip and James 
in Espiritu Santo. Merlav was renamed Pic de 1' Etoile 
by Bougainville, and is now Star Island. The eight islands of 
the Banks' group are: (i) Star Island, Merlav ; (2) Sainte Claire, 
Merig ; (3) Santa Maria, Gaua ; (4) Sugarloaf Island, Mota ; 
(5) Great Banks' Island, Vanua Lava ; (6) Saddle Island ; (7) 
Bligh Island, Ureparapara ; and (8) Rowa 1 . One of these, named 
Saddle Island by Bligh, has no native name as a whole ; another, 
the Reef Island of Rowa, has no geographical name. The 
Torres group consists of four islands, Hiw, Tegua, Lo, and Tog, 
and is now known as Vava ; there is no native name to 
the group. The native names of the three islands which 
with Espiritu Santo make up the northern New Hebrides are, 
Maewo, Aurora Island ; Araga, Pentecost Island ; and Omba, 
Lepers' Island. The two latter names present a difficulty, and 

1 Quiros named seven islands before he reached Espiritu Santo: San 
Kaymundo, Los Portales de Belen, La Vergel, Las Lagrimas de San Pedro, 
El Pilar de Zaragoza, Santa Maria, and Nuestra Senora de la Luz. The two 
latter alone are known. Bligh named Ureparapara after himself, Saddle Island 
and Sugarloaf Island (probably the Pillar of Quiros) after natural features, and 
Great Banks' Island, with the whole group, after Sir Joseph Banks. Besides the 
geographical names, these islands have mostly three sets of names. An island 
has its name in the local form and in the Mota form, which has come into use 
through the employment of the Mota tongue as a common language in the 
Melanesian Mission. Thus Vanua Lava, Gaua, Ureparapara, Meralava, 
are the Mota forms of Vono Lav, Gog, Norbarbar, Merlav. Another set 
of names was used by natives when sailing between the islands, with a 
view of concealing their course from unseen enemies ; Mota was Ure-kor, 
the place full of dried bread-fruit ; Ureparapara, full of slopes, was Ure-us, full 
of bows, Meralava, Ure-kere, full of clubs, the best bows and clubs being 
got there ; others were named after the food and other natural productions 
thought to characterise them. Misspelt and then misread, the rock Vat Ganai 
has become in maps the island Vatu Rhandi ; by a misreading of Gaua, Santa 
Maria, which is to its native inhabitants Gog, got with traders the nam e of Ganna. 
The Torres group has got the name of Vava, with the preposition ' at ' Avava, 
Ababa, from a part of one of the islands which Ureparapara people used 
to visit. Traders have fixed on Tog the name of Pukapuka, originally 
unknown among the natives. The Mota name for Lepers' Island, Opa, for 
Omba, has become well known. 

8 Introductory. [CH. 

bring in a point of much interest. In the native name of 
Pentecost a is really the preposition ' at ' ; Omba with the same 
preposition appears in charts as Aoba ; it would be reasonable 
therefore to write Raga as well as Omba, but custom in these 
matters must be allowed to prevail. The interest of the 
point lies in the connexion shewn by the common use of 
this preposition in place-names between Melanesia, the Malay 
Archipelago and Madagascar. Ethnological and historical 
questions are inseparable from the consideration of place- 
names ; for example, the questions whether the Bauro of 
the Solomon Islands is the same with the Bouro, properly 
Buru, near the Moluccas, or whether Futuna of the New 
Hebrides is named after Futuna, Home's Island. About one 
thing however there ought to be no disagreement; however 
difficult it may be to ascertain a native name and its ortho- 
graphy, European names should be written in the language 
to which they belong ; San Cristoval, or Cristobal, not 
Christoval ; Espiritu Santo, not Spirito Santo or St. Esprit ; 
and where French names are retained, Contrariete Island and 
Cape Zelee. 

Between the time of the discovery of the Solomon Islands 
by Mendana and the time in which the visits of whalers, 
traders and missionaries have become frequent, within the 
last thirty or forty years, very little if anything at all was 
done by Europeans to influence the character of native life. 
It is very interesting therefore to enquire in what particulars 
the Spaniards' account of what they discovered differs from 
what would be recorded by recent visitors. The place-names 
mentioned, with less error than is common now, are those still 
in use, Malaita for Mala, Uraba for Ulawa, Paubro for Bauro, 
Aguare for Owarii. The names of persons mentioned are such 
as are now in use ; one of the few words not names to 
be found in Gallego's narrative, benau, panale^ panay, is clearly 
pana, a kind of yam with prickles on the vines. In three points 
it may be observed that Gallego reports what would not 
have been lately seen. The natives are represented as at- 
tacking the Spaniards with bows and arrows everywhere, 

i.] Discoveries. 9 

except at San Cristoval, where darts are mentioned ; in recent 
times a voyager would not have found bows and arrows 
the usual weapon, but spears, except at Malanta. Gallego 
reports open cannibalism at Ysabel and Florida, whereas 
no modern visitor would have seen it except at San Cristoval. 
Nakedness is said by Gallego to have been complete, a point 
in which Figueroa differs from him, and complete nakedness 
would not have been found of late years anywhere but in 
Malanta. The probable conclusion is that, making allowance 
for lapses of memory on one side and exaggeration of fact on 
the other, the people, language, customs and condition of the 
people in the Solomon Islands have not changed since 
Mendana's discovery of 1567 I . 

The account of the visit of Mendana to Santa Cruz in 
1595 and of the Spanish attempt to form a settlement is 
ample and detailed ; and it was remarked by Bishop Patteson, 
who was probably the first European after Mendana's party to 
go about the native villages, that what he observed corre- 
sponded closely with the Spanish record. It is only within the 
last ten years that, by the courage and enterprise of the present 
Missionary Bishop John Selwyn, the island of Santa Cruz has 
again become open to friendly, and unhappily also to mis- 
chievous, approach. The present writer has gone through 
the account of Mendana's visit with natives of Santa Cruz, 
whose comments were certainly interesting. One point may 
be mentioned ; the Spaniards, failing to get the people of the 
main island to learn their language, sent to kidnap, after 
the fashion which from the beginning seems to have been 
natural to European visitors, some boys from the neighbouring 
Reef Islands, whom they had observed to be more intelligent 

1 Mr. Woodford, in Further Explorations in the Solomon Islands, has 
brought forward information from the Journal of Catoira, chief purser of 
Mendana's fleet. From this it appears that the use of the betel-nut was 
already established. Another native word, na mbolo, a pig, also occurs. 
Much may be learnt as to the present condition of the Solomon Islanders 
from Mr. Woodford's Naturalist among the Headhunters, as well as from 
Dr. Guppy's book ; but there is no picture of native life so good as that given 
in ' Percy Porno.' 

jo Introductory. [CH. 

than those of Santa Cruz. When this was related to a 
mixed group of Santa Cruz and Reef Island boys at Norfolk 
Island, it was at once declared that the Spaniards were quite 
right, that the Santa Cruz people now think the Keef Island boys 
sharper than their own ; because it is the custom of their 
fathers to take them with them on their voyages, which 
Santa Cruz men do not do. The very short stay of the 
Spaniards, soon assuming hostile relations, cannot be thought 
to have affected native life at all ; the looms with which 
they weave their mats, their fowls, common till lately to other 
islands with them, and many other things in which a 
difference has been observed, are mentioned in the Spanish 
narrative. There is nothing in the account of the discoveries 
of Quiros in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides to shew 
any difference between the condition of the native people 
then and in the later times, when they have become well 
known to Europeans ; but it may be observed that the 
Spaniards began to kidnap, doubtless with good intentions, 
and to recognise the ' devil ' of the natives. 

In the interval between the discoveries of Mendana and 
Quiros and the visits of whalers and missionaries in the 
present century, there is every reason to believe that all 
memory and tradition of white men had died away in the 
Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz l ; Europeans appeared again 
as perfect strangers. We are able therefore to conjecture 
how the first explorers appeared to the natives, when we know 
how we have ourselves appeared. To the old voyagers, as 

1 Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand began his missionary voyages in 1849, 
and visited the Solomon Islands in 1850 ; he landed on sixty islands in 1857, 
in which year the Banks' Islands became well known to him. In 1861 Bishop 
Patteson, in H. M. S. Cordelia, became acquainted with Florida and Ysabel, 
the yearly visits of the Melanesian Mission having before stopped short at 
Guadalcanar. From that year forward the work of the Mission has been 
regularly carried on within the limits of Ysabel to the west, and Mae, 
later Pentecost, to the south. When the present writer made his first voyage 
in the Mission vessel, the Southern Cross, in 1863, Bishop Patteson was 
generally conversant with the people and the languages of the islands from 
New Zealand to Ysabel. 

i. ] Discoveries. 1 1 

to later discoverers, it was a matter of course that hitherto 
unknown countries should be found, and that they should be 
inhabited by men unlike themselves ; but to the natives 
it was a strange thing- that there should be any men unlike 
themselves, or any unknown land for them to come from. 
There are still natives in these islands who remember when a 
white man was first seen, and what he was taken to be. In 
the Banks' Islands, for example, the natives believed the world 
to consist of their own group, with the Torres Islands, the three 
or four northern New Hebrides, and perhaps Tikopia, round 
which the ocean spread till it was shut in by the foundations 
of the sky. The first vessels they remember to have seen 
were whalers, which they did not believe to come from any 
country in the world ; they were indeed quite sure that they 
did not, but must have been made out at sea, because they 
knew that no men in the world had such vessels. In the 
same way they were sure that the voyagers were not men ; if 
they were they would be black. What were they then? 
They were ghosts, and being ghosts, of necessity those of men 
who had lived in the world. When Mr. Patteson first landed 
at Mota, the Mission party having been seen in the previous 
year at Vanua Lava, there was a division of opinion among 
the natives ; some said that the brothers of Qat had returned, 
certain supernatural beings of whom stories are told ; others 
maintained that they were ghosts. Mr. Patteson retired from 
the heat and crowd into an empty house, the owner of which 
had lately died ; this settled the question, he was the ghost 
of the late householder, and knew his home. A very short 
acquaintance with white visitors shews that they are not 
ghosts, but certainly does not shew that they are men ; 
the conjecture then is that they are beings of another order, 
spirits or demons, powerful no doubt, but mischievous. A 
ghost would be received in a peaceful and respectful manner, 
as European visitors have always in the first instance been 
received ; a being not a living man or ghost has wonderful 
things with him to see and to procure, but he probably brings 
disease and disaster. To the question why the Santa Cruz 

1 2 Introductory. [CH. 

people shot at Bishop Patteson's party in 1864, when, as 
far as can be known, they had not as yet any injuries from 
white men to avenge, the natives have replied that their 
elder men said that these strange beings would bring- nothing 
but harm, and that it was well to drive them away ; and as 
to shooting at them, they were not men. and the arrows could 
not do them much harm. It is sad to think how generally 
the elder men have, from their own point of view at least, 
been right ; iron, tobacco, calico, a wider knowledge of the 
world, have not compensated native people for new diseases 
and the weakening of social bonds 1 . White visitors have not 
meant to do the natives wrong, but they have in fact harmed 
them, and have not earned moral respect at any rate generally 
from them. Europeans have from the beginning of inter- 
course with Melanesian natives kidnapped them, and have 
persuaded themselves that they were doing them a service 
by bringing them into what is called contact with civilization ; 
the natives have from the first resented the kidnapping of their 
sons, and their sons, however much they may have wished to 
go away and have rejoiced in what they have learnt and 
acquired, will hardly be said by any impartial observer to have 
done any good when they have returned ; although- indeed to 
some people the power of speaking a little ' pigeon English,' for 
their convenience, seems to be a great improvement to a native. 
To a voyager among these Melanesian islands who has 
no special geological learning the generally volcanic character 

1 I believe there is no doubt that dysentery was unknown in the islands 
till natives returned from residence with Europeans. When the Nukapu 
men, whose kidnapping was the immediate cause of the death of Bishop 
Patteson, escaped from Fiji and made their way to their native island, 
dysentery, before unknown, broke out there. The absence of a native name 
for this and other diseases, is to some extent at least a proof of recent in- 
troduction. Within my own recollection syphilis, or the venereal disease 
which was taken for it, was unknown in the islands visited by the Mela- 
nesian Mission, except at San Cristoval, where alone intercourse with whalers 
and traders had been considerable. It has lately become widely known, 
and it is certain that it has been brought back by returned ' labourers,' male 
and female. 

i.] Geology. 13 

of them cannot fail to be apparent. The lofty land of Guadal- 
canar, rising- to a height of 8000 feet, and the high mountains 
of Espiritu Santo and New Caledonia, may be thought by 
him to have some other origin ; but he cannot miss the still 
active volcanos, or fail to observe that many islands have the 
shape of those that are active in a more or less perfect or 
ruinous condition. The vast cone of Lopevi in the New 
Hebrides rises to an apparent point at the height of 5000 feet, 
and has been seen to cast out smoke and ashes. Tinakula, as 
it is called, near Santa Cruz, the native name of which is 
Tamami, is a well-formed cone 3000 feet high. When Men- 
dana was attempting his settlement in i595> ^ ne point of the 
cone was blown away ; the volcano is now very active, throwing 
out glowing masses of lava, which roll down into the sea. 
The enormous crater of Ambrym, at the height of 3500 feet, 
is the centre of vast rugged fields of lava, hitherto unapproach- 
able ; round this main mass of the volcano there rise lateral 
cones no longer active, forest-covered to their peaks, and 
affording perhaps the most beautiful of Melanesian landscapes. 
When the Solomon Islands were discovered Savo was active. 
Some years ago an eruption was expected by the natives, 
because the old people remembered or had been told of 
considerable activity some fifty years before ; rumblings were 
then heard and smoke was seen at Florida : the steaming 
pool and hot stream flowing from it are often visited. In the 
Banks' Islands, Vanua Lava is always steaming from its 
sulphur springs. Great lateral cones on the north and east of 
this island are now extinct, but the streams which rise in the 
central mass run warm and stinking to the sea, and powder 
the rocks with sulphur. In Santa Maria above Lakona there 
are steaming vents on the ridge of the ancient crater now 
filled by a lake, and on the hill Garat, which has been thrown 
up within it, there is a group of hot pools, sulphurous 
jets, and basins of boiling mud within the encircling ridge, from 
which hot streams pour down into the lake 1 . Bligh Island, 

1 Any volcanic vent, from an active crater to a dead solfatara, is in the 
Banks' Islands a vuro. Three of those near Lakona have names, one, a deep 

14 Introductory. [CH. 

Ureparapara, is a remarkable example of the type of Amsterdam 
or St. Paul's Island in the Indian Ocean ; the sea enters the 
ancient crater, on the ridge of which, rising- to nearly 2000 feet, 
is a steaming vent. Star Island, Meralava, is a massive cone 
rising so steeply to a height of 3000 feet, that it surprises 
strangers that it should be inhabited. From below the cone 
appears to terminate in a cup with a broken lip, but Bishop 
Selwyn and Mr. Palmer, who reached the top in 1881, found 
a more recent crater, which no doubt was active when Quiros 
discovered the island : there is now no recollection of activity l . 
In the New Hebrides, volcanic action has not yet exhausted 
itself on Lepers' Island ; it is probable that besides the very 
conspicuous volcanos of Ambrym, Lopevi, and Yazur on 
Tanna, there are many solfataras and fumaroles as yet un- 
noticed in this group. 

All these volcanic islands, whether still in active operation, 
or still fuming with latent fires, or long ago extinct, have 
dead and living coral round their base. The greater number 
of the islands lie in a ruined mass, in contrast to the cones of 
Lopevi and Tinakula ; in some the volcanic form is hidden or 

pool sluggishly bubbling and steaming, is the Old Woman ; another briskly 
active is the Stranger's Wonder ; another, the New Vuro, though evidently 
not very recent, is very active and noisy. In the largest pool, some twenty feet 
across, two jets of steam raise the water to the height of a couple of feet, and 
after rain very much higher. When I was there in 1875 a new vent had been 
lately opened by an earthquake. 

1 Some years ago a native lad from Mota told me that he with a companion 
had mounted to this crater. They found at the top a bare stretch of stones, 
and within the crater a lake of black water, covered with a thick black cloud ; 
a heavy darkness filled the place, a huge bird soared round their heads, awe 
and horror fell upon them, and they turned and fled. It is easy to talk 
lightly about native superstitions. Mr. Palmer thus describes the crater. 
' We could see nothing at first, as a cloud was over, but presently it lifted, and 
we saw a large deep crater with splendid precipitous sides, in some places 
fully three hundred feet high. There is a small pool of water at the bottom, 
and rather on one side a second perfectly round crater, which we also deter- 
mined to look into. We descended through trees and mosses ; I was much 
interested in finding the tutu of New Zealand (coriaria sarmentoea), which I 
have never seen anywhere else in these islands ; the second crater goes down 
to a point, where the trees and ferns are of better growth.' 

i.] Volcanos. 15 

confused, in others lateral cones and craters plainly shew 
themselves ; a dense forest growth generally covers all from 
base to summit. All alike have coral forming a certain pro- 



portion of their mass, the rock of coral formation varying 
with its age. Elevated terraces of coral appear in Futuna and 
the Loyalty Islands. The figure of Mota, in the Banks' 
Islands, shews the primary cone with a shoulder of later 

1 6 Introductory. [CH. 

discharges standing upon a broad coral base uplifted some 200 
feet above the sea. On this raised surface lie blocks of volcanic 
stone, while the ravines cut deep through it by the torrents 
from above expose to view the madrepore and other corals of 
which it is composed ; on the beach water- worn fragments of 
both coral and volcanic rock lie among the living coral. 
In the Torres Islands terraces formed by successive upheavals 
are conspicuous ; nothing is seen but coral ; in one of the 
islands, at least, the natives have to dig for volcanic stone 
that will bear heat for their ovens. In the Banks' Islands it 
may be said that the land is being elevated ; a patch between 
Mota and Motalava has become much more shallow in the 
last few years. 

Florida in the Solomon group is divided into three parts by 
two channels called utuha, and calls to mind the mainland of 
the Aru Islands, as described in Mr. Wallace's Malay- Archi- 
pelago. Though the northernmost channel is pretty wide, the 
island in its native name, Nggela, and in native conception, is 
one, and neither of the three parts has a name of its own. A 
similar channel divides Mala masiki from Mala paina, little 
from great Malanta. In Florida, over the wider channel 
which is called from this utuJia ta na vula the Moon Channel, 
there is a cliff white as chalk. In the Banks' Islands small 
barren patches, rea, of coarse grass here and there appear ; 
in Florida large barren spaces of this kind are conspicuous, as 
they are on the opposite slopes of Guadalcanar, and change 
the aspect of the landscape to the eyes of one who comes from 
the forest-covered islands to the East J . 

1 The islands may be roughly classified according to the use of stone or shell 
implements in them. In the Banks' Islands, Torres Islands, and Santa Cruz, 
they had only shell adzes, and used obsidian flakes for cutting and scraping. 
In the Solomon Islands, except in Rennell and Bellona, and the New Hebrides, 
the implements were of stone, and flakes of chert were used ; but in the latter 
group on Lepers' Island, where the volcanic force is not yet exhausted, shell 
was the ancient use. Stone adzes in my possession from the Solomon Islands 
are of Andesite, a basaltic lava, from Florida compact andesite, from Ulawa 
altered andesite ; from the New Hebrides, one from Ambrym is Gabbro, 
one from Pentecost is Bastite serpentine. 

i.] Reef Islands. Lakes. Zoology. 17 

"Whether there are in this part of Melanesia any atolls 
properly so called may be a question. There are lagoon 
islands of two kinds. The Reef Islands of the Santa Cruz 
group show flat patches of sand and coral resting on the reefs ; 
such a one is Nukapu, where the lagoon is two miles across. 
The Matema group, part of the same Swallow group, consists 
of several sand islets resting on the edge of a very large 
and irregular reef ; two of the islets, which are only separated 
at high tide, are very characteristically inhabited, Nufilole by 
a score or two of Melanesians, and Fenua loa, as the name 
imports, by Polynesian colonists from, the East. On the other 
hand, Rowa in the Banks' group consists of five tiny islets on 
the bight of an irregular reef five miles long, the principal 
islet being formed upon a jagged point of volcanic rock, 
to all appearance a fragment of the edge of a sunken crater. 

The Tas in the middle of Santa Maria in the Banks' Islands 
is the only lake of considerable size known in Melanesia. 
It is about five miles long, occupying the hollow of the 
ancient crater, into which the steaming hill Garat has been 
intruded ; the waters pour out in a magnificent waterfall. 
There is a much smaller lake in Vanua Lava which feeds 
two fine cascades, and another on Lepers' Island with a 
volcanic vent upon its edge. Bishop Selwyn in 1888 found 
the lake at Tikopia covered with large water-lilies ; the Tas 
of Santa Maria will surely reward its first scientific visitor. 

A few words may be ventured on the natural history of this 
part of Melanesia. The cuscus common in the Solomon Islands 
does not reach to Santa Cruz ; it is believed to exist in 
Espiritu Santo, where Quiros reported that there were goats. 
The white cockatoo, abundant in the Solomon Islands generally, 
does not pass the two straits that separate respectively Guadal- 
canar and San Cristoval, Malanta and Ulawa ; but while 
Ulawa does not strike the unlearned visitor as different in its 
zoology from Malanta, the birds of San Cristoval seem few and 
strange. Frogs stop short of Santa Cruz, abundant as they 
are in the Solomons. A remarkable megapod is found in all 
the groups, if not of more than one species at any rate with 


1 8 Introductory. [CH. 

different habits. At Savo, where without any attempt at 
domestication they have become private property, they lay in a 
carefully divided and appropriated patch of sand, and come out of 
the bush, as the natives say, twice a day to lay and look after 
their eggs. In the Banks' Islands and the New Hebrides 
they lay their eggs in the hollow of a decayed tree or in a 
heap of rubbish they have scratched together. In the Banks' 
Islands these birds are called malau, as they are maleo in 
Celebes 1 . The native breed of fowls still abounds in Santa 
Cruz ; the imported fowls seem to have destroyed and replaced 
them in all the more commonly visited places, though they 
were common thirty years ago 2 . Crocodiles are abundant in 
the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz ; they are sometimes seen 
in the Banks' Islands, and one was lately killed in the Torres 
Islands ; they are known and named in the Northern New 
Hebrides. The name throughout is the same, vua or via, the 
Malay buaya, Malagasy voay. The natives of Ysabel maintain 
that they have four eyes, two for clear water, and two for 
mud. Snakes are not everywhere abundant ; at Mota in the 
Banks' Islands there are no land snakes, and the natives 
maintain that if imported they will not live ; in Vanua Lava 
and Saddle Island of the same group, those that live among 
the root-stems of the huge banyan-trees are said to attain an 
enormous size. The eels in the Tas of Santa Maria are some- 
times more than thirty inches in girth. It is tantalizing to 
those who suffer so much from mosquitos in the islands now to 
know that Mendana, who was two months at Santa Cruz, 

1 Mr. Wallace remarks of the maleo of Celebes, that the difference between 
the sexes is so slight that it is not always possible to distinguish it without 
dissection. At Savo it is asserted that there is no distinction of sex, all are 
hens ; ara mua pukua na tanotcmodika, they know no sexual impropriety. 

3 The rapidity with which imported fowls have replaced the indigenous 
breed is remarkable. I have no recollection myself of having seen native 
fowls, out of Santa Cruz, except in Lepers' Island and Florida. Mr. Woodford 
remarks, as a proof how little native tradition can be depended on, that 
natives assured him that there were no fowls in the Solomons until white men 
came. They meant, no doubt, fowls of the kind before them. I am not aware 
that any new name has come in anywhere in the Solomon Islands, as JcoTcok has 
in the Banks' Islands, for the new fowls. 

i.] Zoology. 19 

and Quiros, who lay a month in the great bay of Espiritu 
Santo, both declare that in their time there were no 
mosquitos, but it is probably the small house fly that is 
meant. The variety of the mosquitos of the present time is 
interesting with all the suffering they bring; in Mota there 
is but one kind, which bites only in the daylight; in Vanua 
Lava, in the rainy season, they drive the natives to bury them- 
selves in the sea-sand for sleep. The same name for the 
mosquito prevails from the Asiatic continent to Fiji ; and the 
odious blow-fly carries the same name and habits through all 
the islands. Dr. Guppy commends the habits of the Birgus 
latro to the attention of residents in the Pacific Ocean. The 
account of it in Hazlewood's Fiji Dictionary describes how 
the ugamde climbs cocoanut-trees, pierces and drinks the young 
nuts, husks and breaks the old nuts and eats the meat; how it 
is taken by tying grass round the tree it has ascended, so that 
when descending backwards it reaches as it believes the 
ground, and loosing its hold on the tree it falls and is stunned ; 
how it throws earth and stones into the face of its pursuers. 
The same crab or lobster is called ngair in the Banks' Islands, 
where the natives assert that when it seizes anything, such as 
a man's hand, with the left and smaller claw, it holds till 
sundown ; on which account that claw has the name of 
sundown, loaroro. They say also that when a ngair drops a 
cocoanut from the tree upon a stone to break it, he will only 
eat it if it is broken smooth ; if the fracture is jagged he will 
not touch it. The Wango people of San Cristoval go beyond 
probable fact when they relate that on moonlight nights they 
paddle over to the little island Biu, and quietly creeping up the 
beach find these crabs occupied in a dance, two large and old 
ones in the centre, beating time with one claw upon the other, 
and the rest circling round and waving their claws as the 
dancing natives wave their clubs ; so surprised they are taken 
in great numbers 1 . 

1 The natives do not believe in the existence of anthropoid apes. They 
believe in the existence of wild men, and Europeans for many years past have 
interpreted this belief to imply the existence of apes. See Chapter xviii. 

C 2 



THERE will be no attempt made here to deal with the 
Ethnology of Melanesia. The origin of the Melanesian 
people, in their various seats and in their various divisions, 
may be taken to be unknown ; as they themselves apparently 
have no traditions and no opinions about the matter, and in 
the stories which pass among them represent themselves to 
have been created where they are. The variety of their 
languages, and to a much less extent of their arts and 
customs, shews that they have not come in one body into 
the islands they now inhabit ; an examination of their lan- 
guages discovers a very considerable underlying sameness ; 
and the present book may be taken perhaps as an evidence 
of a large general resemblance in the religious beliefs and 
practices, the customs and ways of life, which prevail in the 
islands which are here embraced in a common view. As 
knowledge extends and detailed information is brought in 
from all sides, a connexion will no doubt be traced with 
regions beyond Melanesia ; the loom, for example, peculiar 
to Santa Cruz alone among the islands here treated of, may 
connect the people of that group with those of the Caroline 
Islands; many things in common between Fiji and Mada- 
gascar besides language may bring those countries and much 
that lies between them into whatever ethnographic province 
the latter is held to belong to ; but to endeavour to trace 
such connexion is beyond the present purpose, which is 
confined to the exhibition of the Melanesian people as they 

Exogamous Divisions. 2 1 

now appear. There are not wanting some myths of origin, 
over and above the stories of creation told of Koevasi, Qat, or 
Tagar. It is said at Saa for example, in Mara Masiki, that 
men sprung spontaneously from a sugar-cane of a particular 
sort, toJm nunu : two knots began to shoot, and the cane below 
each shoot burst asunder ; from one came out a man, and from 
the other a woman, the parents of mankind. It is of more 
consequence to observe the meaning of the words by which 
the people of the various islands describe themselves as men. 
It is said sometimes that people discovered in isolation from 
others call themselves merely ' men,' without a name for their 
race or nation, as if they thought themselves the only men in 
the world. In Melanesia, when natives were first asked who 
they were, they answered * men,' meaning that they were not 
demons or ghosts, but living men ; and they did so because 
they did not believe their visitors to be men, but ghosts them- 
selves, or demons, or spirits belonging to the sea. 

In the native view of mankind, almost everywhere in the 
islands which are here under consideration, nothing seems 
more fundamental than the division of the people into two or 
more classes, which are exogamous, and in which descent is 
counted through the mother. This seems to stand foremost 
as the native looks out upon his fellow men ; the knowledge 
of it forms probably the first social conception which shapes 
itself in the mind of the young Melanesian of either sex, and 
it is not too much to say that this division is the foundation 
on which the fabric of native society is built up. There are 
no Tribes among the natives ; if the word tribe is to be ap- 
plied as it is to the Maori people of New Zealand, or as it is 
used in Fiji. No portion of territory, however small, can be 
said to belong to any one of these divisions ; no single family 
of natives can fail to consist of members of more than one 
division y both divisions where there are two, and all the 
divisions where there are more than two, are intermixed in 
habitation and in property; whatever political organization 
can be found can never be described as that of a tribe grouped 
round its hereditary or elective chief. It is probably true 


22 Social Regulations. [CH. 

that in every account of Melanesian affairs given to the world 
tribes are spoken of; but a belief that every savage people is 
made up of tribes is part of the mental equipment of a civilized 
visitor; when one reads of the 'coast tribes' or the 'bush 
tribes/ nothing more is meant than the people who inhabit 
the coast or the inland part of some island. 

There is, however, one very remarkable exception to this 
general rule of division in the Solomon Islands ; it is not 
to be found in Ulawa, Ugi, and parts of San Cristoval, 
Malanta, and Guadalcanar, a district in which the languages 
also form a group by themselves, and in which a difference in 
the decorative art of the people, and in the appearance of the 
people themselves, thoroughly Melanesian as they are, can 
hardly escape notice. In this region, the boundaries of which 
are at present unknown, there is no division of the people into 
kindreds as elsewhere, and descent follows the father. This is 
so strange that to myself it seemed for a time incredible, and 
nothing but the repeated declarations of a native who is well 
acquainted with the division which prevails in other groups 
of islands, was sufficient to fix it with me as an ascertained 
fact. The particular or local causes which have brought about 
this exceptional state of things are unknown ; the fact of the 
exception is a valuable one to note *. 

Speaking generally, it may be said that to a Melanesian 
man all women, of his own generation at least, are either 
sisters or wives, to the Melanesian woman all men are either 
brothers or husbands. An excellent illustration of this is 
given in the story of Taso from Aurora in the New Hebrides, 
in which Qatu discovers and brings to his wife twin boys, 
children of his dead sister: his wife asks, 'Are these my 
children or my husbands ? ' and Qatu answers, ' Your husbands 
to be sure, they are my sister's children.' In that island 
there are two divisions of the people ; Qatu and his wife could 
not be of the same, Qatu and his sister and her children must 
be of the same ; the boys therefore were possible husbands of 

1 ' Descent is still uterine in some parts of Fiji ; most of the tribes, 
however, have advanced to agnatic descent.' Rev. L. Fison. 

ii.]. Restriction of Intercourse. 23 

Qatu's wife, but had they belonged to the other division their 
age would have made her count them her children rather than 
her brothers. It must not be understood that a Melanesian 
regards all women who are not of his own division as in fact 
his wives, or conceives himself to have rights which he may 
exercise in regard to those women of them who are unmarried ; 
but the women who may be his wives by marriage, and those 
who cannot possibly be so, stand in a widely different relation 
to him ; and it may be added that all women who may become 
wives in marriage and are not yet appropriated, are to a certain 
extent looked upon by those who maybe their husbands as open 
to a more or less legitimate intercourse. In fact appropriation 
of particular women to their own husbands, though established 
by every sanction of native custom, has by no means so strong 
a hold in native society, nor in all probability anything like 
so deep a foundation in the history of the native people, as 
the severance of either sex by divisions which most strictly 
limit the intercourse of men and women to those of the section 
or sections to which they do not themselves belong. Two 
proofs or exemplifications of this are conspicuous, (i) There is 
probably no place in which the common opinion of Melanesians 
approves the intercourse of unmarried youths and girls as a 
thing good in itself, though it allows it as a thing to be 
expected and to be excused ; but intercourse within the limit 
which restrains from marriage, where two members of the 
same division are concerned, is a crime, is incest. In Florida 
in old times the man would have been killed, and the woman 
made a harlot ; now that the severity of ancient manners is 
relaxed, money and pigs can condone the offence, but much 
more than is exacted if a man is found sinning with one who 
might possibly have become his wife. In the Banks' Islands, 
where the divisions of the people are two, if it became known 
that two members of one of them had been guilty of this dis- 
graceful crime, as they considered it, the people of the other 
division would come and destroy the gardens of those who 
belonged to that in which the offence had been committed, 
and these would make no resistance nor complaint. It was 

24 Social Regulations. [CH. 

the same in Lepers' Island ; where the offending" man had also 
to make large payment to the near relatives of the woman 
with whom he had offended, so as to appease their anger, and 
' fence against ' the fault. Cases of incest of this kind were 
always rare in all the islands, so strong was the feeling against 
intercourse within the kin. (2) The feeling on the other hand 
that the intercourse of the sexes was natural where the man 
and woman belonged to different divisions, was shewn by that 
feature of native hospitality which provided a guest with a 
temporary wife. That this is done now or has lately been 
done is readily denied in the Solomon and Banks' Islands, but 
is not denied in the Northern New Hebrides ; there can be 
little doubt that it was common everywhere. But the woman 
supplied to the guest was of necessity one who might have 
been his wife ; the companionship of one of his own kin never 
could be allowed. 

It will be convenient in the more particular treatment of 
this subject, to take examples first from the Banks' Islands and 
Northern New Hebrides, where the people are divided into two 
kins, and then from the Solomon Islands, where the divisions 
are more than two. The same two divisions run through the 
Banks' Islands, with the Torres Islands and the Northern New 
Hebrides. A Banks' islander wherever he goes in his own 
group knows his own kin, and if he passes to Aurora in the New 
Hebrides he finds the same. The Aurora men know well 
who are their kin in Pentecost and Lepers' Island ; the Lepers' 
islanders know theirs in Espiritu Santo. Strange, therefore, 
as the language is to a Mota man in Pentecost, or to a Lepers' 
islander in Motalava, each is at home in a way which would be 
impossible to him in the Solomon Islands 1 . In neither the 
Banks' Islands nor the New Hebrides is there a name to dis- 
tinguish the division or kindred ; nor is there any badge or 
emblem belonging to either ; in their small communities 
every neighbour is well known. Each of the divisions is in 

1 A Lepers' Island youth staying at Mota was delivered from some little 
difficulty with the remark, tanun we wia gai, gate tanun ta Qauro, He is 
a man of the right sort, not a Solomon islander. 

ii.] Banks Islands. Divisions. Adoption. 25 

Mota called a veve, in Motlav vev, a word which in itself 
signifies division. Those who are of one veve are said to be 
tavala ima to the others, that is ' of the other side of the house.' 
A woman who marries does not come over to her husband's 
side of the house ; she is said to be ape mateima, * at the door/ 
the doors being at the ends of the native houses ; nor does the 
husband go over to the wife's side ; the children belong to 
mother's side. All of the same ' side of the house ' are sogoi to 
one another. Hence a man's children are not his sogoi, his 
kindred ; his nearest relations are his sister's children. There 
is no account seriously given of the origin of the two divisions 
in the Banks' Islands. Within the two veve there are certain 
families among the Banks' Island people, the members of 
which have a certain family pride, and endeavour to keep up 
by intermarriage the family connexion. The best known of 
these is the Lo Sepere family, from the place of that name in 
Vanua Lava, where Qat is believed to have lived *. Adoption 
is common, and has no particular significance. Childless 
parents naturally adopt a child of kin to the wife, so that the 
adopted child occupies the position of one born in the house ; 
but if, as sometimes happens, an orphan child from the 
husband's kin is adopted out of pity, it is brought up as of kin 
to the wife, and care is taken to conceal the fact of adoption. 
When the child grows up and by some chance finds out that 
he has been brought up on the wrong ' side of the house,' he 
will leave his foster parents, and go and live with his own 
sogoi. Much grief and bitterness is caused by such a dis- 

In Aurora, Maewo, the nearest of the New Hebrides to the 
Banks' Islands, with one of which, Merlav, there is a good 
deal of communication, the members of the two divisions 

1 The Lo Sepere family of Vanua Lava is the same with the Tupueviga of 
Gaua and the Anamele of Mota. On the other side of the house the Tapulia 
of Gaua and Merlav are counted the same with three groups at Mota, viz. Alo 
Gapmaras of Takelvarea, the Wotawota of Maligo, and theLiwotuqe of Gatava. 
These family groups lie within the veve, but do not take in all the veve j neither 
side of the house is exhaustively divided into family groups. 

26 Social Regulations. [CH. 

speak of one another as ' of the other side/ ta tavuluna ; and 
they have a story that the first woman, a cowry shell that 
turned into a woman, called the men to her and divided them 
into her husbands and her brothers, fathers and maternal 
uncles, according to the present arrangements. The presence 
of families within the kin in this island is very remarkable. 
There are several in the northern part of the island, mostly 
named from the places where they are formed. There is one, 
however, named from the octopus, wirita, belonging originally 
to Bugita, a place upon the shore. The connexion between 
this family and the octopus is obscure ; they have no notion 
of descent from the wirita, and eat it as freely as other natives ; 
but if a man of another family desired to get wirita for food, 
he would take with him one of the wirita family to stand on 
the beach at Bugita, and cry out, ' So-and-so. wants wirita' ; 
then plenty would be taken. It seems rather as though the 
residence of this family where wirita are abundant, and where 
the beach would naturally be their preserve for fishing, had 
given rise to a belief in a connexion and to a name. Another 
family named ' At the Wotaga,' from their home near a 
certain fruit tree, would not bring up a light-coloured child ; 
if such a one were among them they thought that they would 
die 1 . 

In Araga, Pentecost Island, though irregular intercourse 
between members of the same kin is punished by the de- 
struction of the gardens of the offending side by the members 
of the other, yet marriages within the kin are not unknown. 
Those who contract them are despised, and even abhorred, 
but money and pigs having been given and received, the 
marriage stands. In Lepers' Island, Omba, the two divisions 
are called ' bunches of fruit,' wai vung, as if all the members 
hang on the same stalk. Their story is that when Tagar first 
made men he made two, both male, and then one of these 

1 To these lesser divisions or family groups my informant (A. Arudulewari) 
gives the name of reve, as to the two great kindreds. For example, he and 
Walter Gao are of the Wirita family, Tarisuluana is of the Ta Wongi, a place 
now deserted ; Vile is Ta Lau of the beach, Tilegi of Suwumea. 

ii.] Question of Communal Marriage. 27 

took a tuber of qew, a kind of yam, and threw it at the other, 
who at once turned into a woman, and cried with a loud 
voice that many men should die because of women. This 
woman had two daughters, who fell out ; and from one of 
these sprang- one waivung, and from the second the other. 
In case of the adoption of a child by a foster-mother who is of 
the other ( bunch,' the secret of the kindred is carefully kept ; 
the true state of the case is never mentioned by those who 
know it, until the time for marriage comes. This is done out 
of consideration for the feelings of the adopting parents ; but 
the repugnance to marriage within the kin is too great to 
allow of permanent concealment. 

The system of the division of the people into strictly 
exogamous kins is no doubt best seen and considered where 
the division is simple and separates the whole population on 
the one ' side of the house ' and the other. Two questions 
may here therefore be suitably raised; the first, whether in 
this division there are traces of a communal system of marriage ; 
the second, whether the system is sufficient to prevent that 
which it seems intended or maintained in order to prevent, 
namely, the marriage of persons too closely allied in blood. 
In regard to the first question it must be said, on the one 
hand, that the people have no memory of a time when all the 
women of one side were in fact common wives to the men of 
the other side, and that there is no occasion on which the 
women become common to the men who are not of their 
kin. The license of a gathering at a feast is confessed to be 
great, but it is disorderly and illegitimate, and is not defended 
on the ground of prescription. If a great man making a feast 
gives it to be understood that he will not allow the harmony 
of the gathering to be spoilt by jealous quarrelling about 
women, it is taken as a festive concession ; if he gives out that 
people are to behave well, they know that any one who takes 
liberties will have to answer for it, not only, as on ordinary 
occasions, to the injured husband, but to the powerful master 
of the feast. The stories also of the creation of mankind, 
and particularly of woman, represent individual marriage. 

28 Social Regulations. [CH. 

When Qat wove Iro Lei with pliant rods and made her live, it 
was to be his own wife ; his brothers tried to carry her off for 
themselves, one woman among- eleven of them, but they are 
said to be stealing her, not claiming a right. When he 
made men, male and female, he assigned to each man his 
wife. On the other side is to be set the testimony, the strong 
testimony, of words. This is given by the plural form in 
which the terms for ' mother ' and ' husband ' or ' wife ' are 
expressed. In the Mota language the form is very clear ; 
ra is the plural prefix ; the division, side, or kin, is the veve, 
and mother is ra veve ; soai is a member, as of a body, or a 
component part of a house or of a tree, and ra soai is either 
husband or wife. To interpret ra as a prefix of dignity is 
forbidden by the full consciousness of the natives themselves 
that it expresses plurality. The kin is the veve, a child's 
mother is 'they of the kin/ his kindred. A man's kindred 
are not called his veve because they are his mother's people ; 
she is called his veve, in the plural, his kindred, as if she were 
the representative of the kin ; as if he were not the child of 
the particular woman who bore him, but of the whole kindred 
for whom she brought him into the world. By a parallel use 
to this a plural form is given to the Mota word for child, 
reremera, with a doubled plural sign ; a single boy is called not 
' child ' but ' children,' as if his individuality were not dis- 
tinguished from the common offspring of his veve. The same 
plural prefix is found in other Banks' Island words meaning 
mother ; rave in Santa Maria, retne in Vanua Lava, reme in 
Torres Islands. The mother is called ratahi in W r hitsuntide, 
and rataJngi in Lepers' Island, that is the sisters, the sisterhood, 
because she represents the sister members of the waivung who 
are the mothers generally of the children. Similarly the one 
word used for husband or wife has the plural form. In Mota 
a man does not call his wife a member of him, a component 
part of him, but his members, his component parts ; and so a 
wife speaks of her husband. It is not that the man and his 
wife make up a composite body between them, but that the 
men on the one side and the women on the other make up a 

ii.] Testimony of Words. A gnatic Descent. 29 

composite married body. The Mota people know that the 
word they use means this ; it was owned to myself with a 
blush that it was so, with a Melanesian blush, and a protesta- 
tion that the word did not represent a fact. The word used 
in Motlav, part of Saddle Island, gives hardly the less con- 
firmation to this interpretation of the Mota word because it 
has not a plural form ; in Motlav ignige has the same meaning 1 
with the Mota soai ; a man says of his leg or his arm ignik, 
my member, one of my members, and he calls also his wife 
ignik, while she calls him the same. 

As concerns the second point in question, it is apparent that 
the strict rule of exogamy as regards the kin leaves marriage 
open to those who are very near in blood ; for a man is not of 
kin to his own children, and a man is not of kin to his 
brother's children. But although it is the intermarriage of 
sogoi, members of the same veve, that is strictly forbidden, 
and the descent is always counted by the mother, yet the 
blood connexion with the father and the father's near relations 
is never out of sight. Consequently the marriage of those 
who are near in blood, though they are not sogoi and may 
lawfully marry, is discountenanced. In Mota, for example, 
the children of a brother and sister are thought too near to 
marry. The brother and sister are both of one veve, A, as 
children of one mother ; the children of the sister are of her 
veve, A ; the brother's children are of the veve B, following 
their mother, who must needs be of the other side of the 
house. It appears then that the two cousins, children of a 
brother and sister, are not sogoi, one being A and the other B, 
and that they can marry. But they will not ; the match 
will not be made ; if they married they would be said to ' go 
wrong 1 .' It will be seen that the succession to property 
shews the same tendency, perhaps a recent tendency, to the 
recognition of agnatic descent. 

Florida, and the parts of the Solomon Islands adjacent to it, 
afford an example of the division of the people into more than 
two exogamous kindreds. In Florida these divisions are six, 

1 As in the case of Dudley and Agnes in the Mota pedigree further on. 

30 Social Regulations. [CH. 

called kema, and each has its distinguishing name. These 
are the Nggaombata, the Manukama or Honggokama, the 
Honggokiki, the Kakau, the Himbo, and the Lahi. But 
these six kema no doubt represent a much simpler original 
division ; for two of them have local names, of Nggaombata 
in Guadalcanar, and Himbo, the Simbo somewhat indefinitely 
placed among the islands to the west, from whence these two 
kema are known to have come. The Nggaombata and the 
Himbo, perhaps only as strangers, go together ; and the Lahi, 
a small division, are said to be so closely connected with Himbo 
that the members cannot intermarry. Whether Honggokama 
and Manukama are names of one kema, or of two divisions 
into which the one is separating, is a question. The Honggo- 
kama and the Honggo-kiki, the great and the little, are plainly 
parts of one original. It is not the case in Florida that an 
originally double division has simply split and split again ; 
but the settlement of foreigners has so complicated the 
arrangement that few natives profess to be able to follow it *. 
Yet the foreigners have undoubtedly brought with them a 
distinct sense of kinship with one or other of the local kema. 
The strict rule of exogamy is not a sufficient limit to the 
right of marriage ; here also, as in the eastern islands, it is 
supplemented by a strong public opinion as to what is right. 
A remarkable instance of this occurred a few years ago, when 
Takua, a considerable chief, took to himself the daughter 
of one of his wives. The girl was not, of course, of his own 
kema, and so far he was within his right, but the sense of 
decency and propriety of the people was outraged, and the man's 
influence as a chief was much diminished. In Bugotu of Ysabel 
there are three vinahuhu : Dhonggokama, Vihuvunagi, and Poso- 

1 This is illustrated by the case of Alfred Lombu, who, returning from 
Norfolk Island in search of a wife, proposed for a daughter of Takua, the chief 
of Mboli. The girl was not of the same kema in name with Lombu, and he 
maintained that he was not aware that his Jcema and hers were in fact the 
same; but Takua imposed upon him a heavy fine, seeing an opportunity for 
possessing himself of the money accumulated for the marriage, and professing 
great indignation at the outrage on propriety. 


Florida and Bugotu. 

mogo, not one of which now corresponds exactly with either of 
the Florida kema. But the Dhonggokama, they say, is the same 
as the ancient kema which has split into the Honggokama 
and Honggokiki in Florida ; and the other two may be well 
believed to be themselves the divided other member of the 
original pair. The meaning of the names of three of the 
Florida kema, besides the two that are local, are known ; 
Honggo is cat's-cradle, Manukama is an eagle, Kakau is a 
crab. It is evident that when the divisions of a people mul- 
tiply names must be given them ; where there are two ' sides of 
the house' no name is needed for either, but when a man may 
have wives and children of three or four kindreds not his own, 
a name for each kin is necessary to maintain the matriarchal 
system of descent through the mother. 

It adds very much to the distinction between these kema, 
that each has some one or more Into from which its members 
must keep clear, abstain from eating, approaching, or beholding 
it 1 . One of the very first lessons learnt by a Florida child is 
what is its buto, its abomination, to eat or touch or see which 
would be a dreadful thing. In one case, and in one case only, 
this Into is the living creature from which the kema takes its 
name ; the Kakau kin may not eat the Kakau crab. The 
Nggaombata may not eat the giant clam ; the Lahi may not 
eat of a white pig ; the Manukama may not eat the pigeon ; 
the Kakau, besides their eponymous crab, may not eat the 
parrot Trichoglossus Massena. The Manukama are at liberty 
to eat the bird from which they take their name. If the 
question be put to any member of these kema he will probably 
answer that his Into is his ancestor ; a Manukama will say 
that the pigeon he does not eat is his ancestor; but an 
intelligent native, describing this native custom, writes : 
* This is the explanation of the Into. We believe these tindalo 
(the object of worship in each kema) to have been once living 
men, and something that was with them, or with which they 
had to do, has become a thing forbidden, tambu^ and abominable, 

1 Thus in ' Percy Porno ' a man is horrified at seeing blue trousers, the 
colour of some part of the iuside of the shark, which was hia buto. 

3 2 Social Regulations. [CH. 

Into, to those to whom the tindalo belongs.' He gives the 
example of the clam of the Nggaombata. The ghost, tindalo, 
of a famous ancient member of that Jcema, named Polika, 
haunted a beach opposite Mage, and a large snake, poll, was 
believed to represent him there. The Nggaombata could not 
approach that beach, Polika was their buto 1 . On another 
beach where they catch fish wherewith to sacrifice to Polika 
is a ffima, a clam, which they call Polika, and used to believe 
to be in some way Polika ; hence the gima in their buto. 

There will occur at once the question whether in this we do 
not find totems. But it must be asked where are the totems? 
in the living creatures after which two of the divisions are 
named, or in those creatures which the members of the several 
divisions may not eat ? It is true that the Kakau kindred 
may not eat the crab kakau ; but the Manukama may eat 
the bird manukama. If there be a totem then it must be 
found in the buto ; in the pigeon of the Manukama and the 
giant clam of the Nggaobata, which are said to be ancestors. 
But it must be observed that the thing which it is abominable 
to eat is never believed to be the ancestor, certainly never the 
eponymous ancestor, of the clan ; it is said to represent some 
famous former member of the clan, one of a generation beyond 
that of the fathers of the present member of it, a kuJcua. The 
thing so far represents him that disrespect to it is disrespect 
to him. The most probable explanation of these buto may 
indeed throw light upon the origin of totems elsewhere, but 
can hardly give totems a home in the Solomon Islands. The 
buto of each kema is probably comparatively recent in Florida ; 
it has been introduced at Bugotu within the memory of living 
men. It is in all probability a form of the custom which 
prevails in Ulawa, another of the Solomon Islands. It was 
observed with surprise when a Mission school was established 

1 ^a lutodira Gaobata na tidalo eni, That ghost is the buto of the 
Nggaombata. The origin of the prohibition is respect for Polika ; those of his 
Jcema would not intrude upon the beach he haunted, nor would they eat the 
clam, because the clam on the reef represented him. They have now looked 
in vain for the snake. 

ii.] Florida Divisions. 33 

in that island, that the people of the place would not eat 
bananas, and had ceased to plant the tree. It was found 
that the origin of this restraint was recent and well re- 
membered ; a man of much influence had at his death not 
long- ago prohibited the eating of bananas after his decease, 
saying that he would be in the banana. The elder natives 
would still give his name and say, ' We cannot eat So-and- 
So.' When a few years had passed, if the restriction had 
held its ground, they would have said, ' We must not eat 
our ancestor.' This represents what is not uncommon also 
in Malanta near Ulawa, where, as in Florida also, a man 
will often declare that after death he will be seen as a 

These divisions, kema, are not political divisions 1 . It is not, 
as in the Banks' Islands where every house must needs contain 
members of both divisions, that every kema will be represented 
in every village, for one or two of the smaller may have no 
member there ; but every man's wife, or wives, and all his 
children, must needs be of a kema different from his own, and 
every village must have its population mixed. The property 
of the members of each kema is intermixed with that of the 
others. In a considerable village the principal chief is the 
head of the kema which predominates there, and he exercises 
his authority over all, while the principal men of the less 
numerous kema are lesser chiefs. It is evident that the pre- 
dominance of any kema cannot be permanent. A chiefs sons 
are jnone of them of his own kin ; and, as will be shewn, he 
passes on what he can of his property and authority to them. 
If then in a certain district one kindred is now most numerous, 
in the next generation it. cannot be so, for the children of 
those now most numerous will be naturally many more in 

1 When some outrage on white men has been committed the ' tribe ' is 
supposed responsible ; but any party of natives concerned is sure to be 
made up of members of both veve or several Jcema, and some of these prob- 
ably do not belong to the place where the outrage is committed. Of the five 
natives who cut off the boat at Mandoliana in 1880, only two were of the same 
kema, and only one was at home at Gaeta. 


34 Divisions of the People. [CH. 

number, and will none of them be of kin to their fathers. 
Thus it was that twenty years ago the Nggaombata was the 
dominant kema in Florida, and to be a great chief it was said 
that a man must be Nggaombata ; but now the Manukama 
are rising into the chief place, and supply the chiefs in many 
districts of the island. 

The system by which the Melanesian people are thus divided 
into exogamous groups in which descent follows the mother, 
receives of course the name of a Matriarchal system ; but it 
, must be understood that the mother is in no way the head of 
the family. The house of the family is the father's, the 
garden is his, the rule and government are his ; it is into the 
father's house that the young bridegroom takes his wife, if 
he has not one ready of his own. The closest relationship, 
however, according to native notions, is that which exists 
between the sister's son and the mother's brother, because the 
mother who transmits the kinship is not able to render the 
service which a man can give. A man's sons are not of his 
own kin, though he acts a father's part to them ; but the tie 
between his sister's children and himself has the strength of 
the traditional bond of all native society, that of kinship 
through the mother. The youth as he begins to feel social 
wants, over and above the food and shelter that his father 
gives him, looks to his mother's brother as the male re- 
presentative of his kin. It is well known that in Fiji the 
vasu, the sister's son, has extraordinary rights with his 
maternal uncle. The corresponding right is much less qon- 
spicuous and important than this in the Melanesian Islands 
west of Fiji ; but it is a matter of course that the nephew 
should look to his mother's brother for help of every kind, 
and that the uncle should look upon his sister's son as his 
special care; the closeness of this relation is fundamental. 
The connexion of kinship through the mother with the great 
exogamous group, and that of blood through the father with 
his family, thus stand in clear recognition, and to a certain 
extent necessarily conflict one with another. The connexion 
caused by marriage between members of the groups and 


Banks Island System. 


families is a third relation equally felt and expressed in words. 
The terms therefore in which the various degrees of relation- 
ship are conveyed fall into three classes ; the first of the kin- 
ship through the mother, the second of the family generally 
on father's and mother's side, the third those following on 

A complete view of the system of relationship with the 
terms that express it, in any one native field in Melanesia, 
cannot indeed be taken to shew what everywhere prevails, 
but as giving a representative example is very valuable ; the 
Mota system, which may well stand for that of the Banks' 
group, can perhaps be shewn completely and exactly. 

(i) It has been said that all the members of each of the two 
exogamous divisions of the people are sogoi, that is of kin, to 
one another ; the only other relation belonging to this kinship 
is that between the maternal uncle and his sister's children, 
male and female, expressed in the terms maraui and vanangoi. 
The uncle is maraui to his sister's child, the nephew or niece 
is vanangoi to the mother's brother ; but the nephew is also 
called maraui to his uncle. The relation passes on to the 
second generation ; the children of a man's sister's daughters 
are his vanangoi, they are still of his kin ; but his sister's son's 
children are of the other veve, the special tie of kindred is 
broken ; they are called his children, being brought up to stand 
in the same generation with their parents. A man's sister's 
child, his vanangoi, stands as if in the same generation with 

(3) Putting aside connexion by marriage, and the special 
relation of the maraui and vanangoi, which follows upon the 
passing of kindred through the mother, relationship generally 
can be arranged in four successive stages of generation ; the 
grandparents, the parents, the children, the grandchildren. 
Take the present generation, tarangiu, of young married men 
and women ; they are brothers and sisters ; the generation 
above them are their fathers and mothers ; the generation be- 
low them are their children ; the generation below that will be 
their grandchildren, to whom again all who come before their 

D 2 

36 Kinship and Marriage Connexion. [CH. 

parents are grandparents and ancestors. The terms tamai 
and veve must be translated by father and mother, and are 
used generally to all of the same generation with the parents 
who are ' near ' and belong to the family connexion. A child, 
son or daughter, is natm; grandparent and grandchild, 
ancestor and descendant, is tupui 1 . The terms equivalent to 
brother and sister are used on a different principle from that 
with which we are familiar, and according to which the sex of 
the person referred to determines the use of the word. In 
Melanesia, as elsewhere, one word describes the relationship 
of persons of the same sex, and the other word describes the 
relationship of persons of different sexes. Men are tasiu to 
men, and women tasiu to women ; men are tutuai to women, 
and women tutuai to men. There is a further difference, 
the sex being the same, the elder man or woman is tugui to 
the younger, the younger man or woman is tasiu to the elder ; 
but tasiu is the prevailing use. It may be observed in this 
system of terms of relationship that all of one generation, 
within the family connexion, are called fathers and mothers of 
all the children who form the generation below them ; a man's 
brothers are called fathers of his children, a woman's sisters 
are called mothers of her children ; a father's brothers call his 
children theirs, a mother's sisters call her children theirs. 
Upon this it has to be remarked that this wide use of the 
terms father and mother does not at all signify any looseness 
in the actual view of proper paternity and maternity; they 
are content with one word for father and uncle, for mother 
and aunt, when the special relation of the kinship of the 
mother's brother does not come in ; but the one who speaks 
has no confusion as to paternity in his mind, and will correct 
a misconception with the explanation, 'my own child, tur 

1 It may be observed that the principal terms of relationship are generally 
the same, not only in the Melanesian islands here in view, but throughout the 
languages with which the Melanesian languages are connected ; mother being 
an exception. Common words however are not alwavs used in the same appli- 
cation, as the Florida tubu is no doubt the Mota tupu. 

ii.] A Mota Family. 37 

natuk ; his real father, tur tamana ; tur tasina, his brother not 
his cousin V 

(3) A general term qaliga embraces all of the other side of 
the house who have been brought near by marriage, fathers- 
in-law, mothers-in-law, sons- and daughters-in-law, and all 
their brothers and sisters. A man and his wife's brother call 
one another wulus, and a woman and her husband's sister call 
one another walu ; but the man is also called walu ; and both 
terms are extended to the cousins of the husband or wife. A 
woman does not call her husband's brother her brother-in-law ; 
she is nothing to him, though her children, being his brother's 
children, are called his. A man calls his daughter-in-law 
tawarig. There is, moreover, a term of marriage relation to 
which no equivalent exists in English ; parents whose children 
Lave intermarried call one another gasala, which may be trans- 
lated fellow- wayfarers. 

A genealogical table or pedigree of a Mota family (see p. 38) 
will supply examples of the various relationships subsisting, 
and make clear the application of the various terms. The 
two veve^the two sides of the house, are distinguished by the 
letters A and IB for males, a and b for females. All A and #, 
B and b, are sogoi respectively, as belonging to the same side 
of the house ; and as besides they are * near ' to one another by 
blood, they will call one another tasiu and tutuai when the 
relationship strictly conveyed by those words is absent. The 
prefix Ro marks a feminine name. The points in the pedigree 
marked with asterisks require some explanation, but are 
almost entirely covered by the principle that a man's sister's 
son, his vanangol, takes his place in the family on the same 

1 Before the native use is well understood it is certainly perplexing and 
misleading. As an example, a boy named Tarioda came from Araga to Norfolk 
Island. Remembering a youth of the same name from the same island, I 
enquired if he had anything to do with him ; the boy answered that he was hi 
father, and that he had seen him and knew him, meaning that he was a cousin 
of his father's. Such an answer might well be the ground of a statement that 
paternity was very little thought of in the New Hebrides. English people 
probably had perfectly clear conceptions about family ties before they used the 
words uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew and niece. 





ii.] A Mota Family. 39 

level with his uncle, maraui, as if in the place of his mother. 
Thus Leveveg is in fact great-uncle to John and Agnes, but 
counts as uncle only "because they are grandchildren of his 
sister. The grandchildren of his brother are his grandchildren, 
tnpm, that is his great-nephews and nieces. For the same 
reason Leveveg, who is in fact maternal great-uncle to Dudley, 
counts as his maternal uncle, maraui, Dudley ascending into 
his mother's place. So Pantutun is first cousin to the mothers 
of Tavrowar and Mowur, and, being of the generation above 
them, would be called father or uncle, tamai, and they his 
children, if it were not that he is cousin to their mothers 
through his mother, whose place therefore he takes on the 
second ascending step, and becomes tvpui, great-uncle. Thus 
he is father, tamai, that is uncle, to his first cousins Arisqoe 
and Marostuwale ; and his sister Maututun is their mother or 
aunt ; because he ascends into his mother's place, who was 
their father's sister. The same rule makes Dudley father or 
uncle properly to his first cousins John and Agnes, though, as 
they are of the same generation and older than himself, he 
calls them improperly brother and sister : improperly, because 
they are not his sogoi, and he could in strictness, though not 
with public approval, marry Agnes. It is still more remark- 
able that John is properly father or uncle to his second cousins 
Tavrowar and Mowur, who are much older than himself ; but 
his father Pantutun is their great-uncle, tupui y and he is there- 
fore their uncle, tamai, or as it naturally sounds to us their 
father 1 . The case of Matevagqoe and Bo Tapermaro is distinct 
from this : he married her brother's daughter, and to do that 
must have been of her side of the house, her sogoi. If it had 
been her sister's daughter, she and her niece's husband would 
be qaliga but that cannot be between sogoi, so they call them- 
selves cousins, brother and sister. 

The pedigree here exhibited does not shew the polygamy 

1 It sometimes happens that a boy is in this way ' father ' to one old enough 
to be his natural father, or ' grandfather,' tupui, to one of his own age. When 
it is so the formal relationship is practically merged in the general tasiu, 

40 Kinship and Marriage Connexion. [CH. 

which existed in its early stages, and it may be asked whether 
the terms of relationship would not undergo some change in 
such a case ; whether, for example, the sons of the same father 
by two mothers would not be distinguished from the sons of 
the same father and mother. The answer is that no difference 
is made. A man's wives, if he should have many, must all be 
soffoi, of the same side of the house, calling one another sisters, 
and calling each the other's children hers, whether they were 
married to the same man or had different husbands. This 
does not however shut out altogether the relationship of 
step-father and mother. A man who has a son by one of his 
wives who is dead, does not bring in a step-mother to the boy 
if he adds another to his living wives ; the woman would 
come in as another mother, and the boy would take no notice. 
But if a woman with children loses her husband, and becomes 
the wife of a man who is not ' near ' to her previous husband, 
being of course sogoi but with no recent blood relation, the 
man will come in as step-father, and the term wsur, successor, 
is applied to him, the connexion being called mur-gae, bond of 
succession. A looser connexion than this is enough to make 
an mur\ as when a boy's father has had a wife, not the 
mother of the boy, who after becoming a widow marries 
another man ; the boy will take liberties with the man as 
having come into his father's place ; he will take yams from 
his garden. When a step-father sneezes the step-son will cry 
out, Mafia revereve gam o sulate ! a sneeze to draw out a worm 
for you ! the notion being that the former husband has a 
certain grudge against his successor, and sends a worm from a 
point of land on which ghosts congregate. 

Where, as in Florida and the neighbouring parts of the 
Solomon Islands, the divisions of the people are three, four, or 
six, and where a man may have a wife or wives from any one 
of them but his own, it would seem likely to be more difficult 
to keep accurate count of the various degrees of relationship 
in which people stand to one another ; and it is probable that, 
though the native system is precise in following every step 
and connexion, the people do in fact content themselves com- 


Florida Terms. 

monly with general terms. The special relation of the sister's 
son to his mother's brother is of course conspicuous ; each calls 
the other tumbu ; and this term is applied also to the father's 
mother's brother by his grand-nephew, and by the great-uncle 
to his sister's grandchild. In a generation of members of the 
same kema all of them call one another Jiogo in the same sex, 
and, with more or less attention to nearness of blood, brothers 
and sisters ; that is to say, an elder brother or sister is tuga to 
one of the same sex, and a younger brother or sister is tahi, 
while a brother or sister is vavine to one of the other sex. 
With the exception of the mother's brother, the blood rela- 
tions of the ascending generation are all father and mother, 
tama and Una. In the generation above, with the exception 
of the father's mother's brother aforesaid, who is tumbu^ all 
male and female are kuJcua. In descending a man's sons and 
daughters, and his brother's and cousin's children, are dale, 
distinguished as dale mane and dale vaivine, according to sex, 
a man's sister's child being tumbu ; and in the same way a 
woman's children and her sister's and female cousin's children 
and her husband's brother's and sister's children are all her 
children, dale mane male, dale vaivine female. Descending to 
the next generation, all are again Jcukua to their grandparents 
and great uncles and aunts, and all above them ; except that, 
as aforesaid, the relation of tumbu subsists between a great- 
nephew and his father's mother's brother. Husband and wife 
are tau. A father- or mother-in-law, and son- or daughter-in- 
law, is vnngo, the term being applied widely to persons con- 
nected by marriage who are not of the same generation. 
Brothers- and sisters-in-law, and generally persons of the same 
generation connected by marriage, are iva to one another 1 . 

It would seem that the absence of exogamous divisions of 
the population in that region of the Solomon Islands in which 
descent follows the father (namely, in Malanta, about Cape 
Zelee, in Ulawa, and in San Cristoval), must make the system 

1 The word mavu, which is used for ' namesake,' is also used as a term 
of family relationship. Unfortunately the full list of Florida terms made by 
me many years ago lacks a key. 

42 Kinship and Marriage Connexion. [CH. 

of family relationship very different there from that which 
has been described as prevailing in the Banks' Islands and in 
Florida. To a very considerable extent no doubt this is so ; 
but it is improbable that the peculiar closeness of relation 
between a man and his sister's son should entirely fail to ap- 
pear. , Of this I have little evidence to offer l ; .the families are 
formed upon the father, and the only restriction upon marriage 
is nearness in bloody To whatever extent, however, it may be 
that descent through the father removes that characteristic 
feature of the Melanesian family system which appears in the 
relation between the maternal uncle and his sister's child, it is 
certain that the main structure is the same as elsewhere ; that is 
to say, that no terms corresponding to uncle and aunt, nephew 
and niece } or cousin exist. All on the same level are brothers 
and sisters, if children of brothers and sisters or of cousins ; 
they look upon the children of brothers, sisters and cousins 
as their children, and the children call them all fathers and 
mothers ; the ancestors above father and mother, and the 
descendants in the second and lower generations, are all united 
under one general term, which covers ancestry and posterity 
alike. At Wango in San Cristoval, where owing to immo- 
rality and infanticide the population has been kept up by the 
adoption of children from the bush, adopted children take the 
position in the family which would have been theirs if they 
had been born in it ; although no blood relationship exists, they 
cannot marry those who are near through the adoptive father. 
These children appear to be by traders called slaves because they 
are bought ; the people themselves call them their children. 

^The subject of marriage relations is incomplete without notice, 
of the reserve so remarkably exercised towards the persons . 
and names of those who have become connected by marriage* . 
This J.s conspicuous in the Banks' Islands,, and makes but 
little show in the Solomon Islands. In Lepers' Island, a 

1 From Rev. R. B. Comins I learn that at Wango and Fagani in San 
Cristoval the term for the relation between the maternal uncle and his sister's 
child is maw. The terms iha, ifa, hungo, fungo, are the Florida iva and 
vungo ; 'ama, 'ina, 'cm, are tama, Una, taki. 

ii.] Reserve and Avoidance. 43 

singular reserve is strongly shewn, as it is in Fiji, by brothers 
and sisters, and also by mothers and sons ; but this reserve, 
though its existence and its cause may well throw light upon 
that exercised between those connected by marriage, has no 
proper place here. In Florida, in the Solomon Islands, there 
is no difficulty about meeting, or mentioning the name of, 
father- or mother-in-law, or any of a wife's kindred, and no 
extraordinary marks of respect are shewn. It is the same at 
Saa. The extraordinary separation of the sexes in Santa 
Cruz and the neighbouring islands, however instructive to 
observe in this connexion, does not follow on relation by 
marriage. In the Banks' Islands the rules of avoidance and 
reserve are very strict and minute. As regards the avoidance 
of the person, a man will not come near his wife's mother ; 
the avoidance is mutual ; if the two chance to meet in a path, 
the woman will step out of it and stand with her back turned 
till he has gone by, or perhaps if it be more convenient he 
will move out of the way. At Vanua Lava, in Port Patteson, 
a man would not follow his mother-in-law along the beach, 
nor she him, until the tide had washed out the footsteps of the 
first traveller from the sand. At the same time a man and his 
mother-in-law will talk at a distance. A man does not avoid 
his father-in-law, nor a woman hers. A man does not avoid 
his wife's brother, but will not sleep with him ; he does not 
avoid his son's wife, or his own wife's sister. Boys and girls 
who are engaged generally avoid one another, but through 
shyness, not by rule. Where the persons above mentioned do 
not avoid one another, they are careful to shew respect in not 
J;aking_anything from above the head or stepping over the 
legs of a father-in-law or wife's brother. It is disrespectful 
at all times for a young man to take anything from above an 
elder man's head, for there is something naturally sacred, 
rongO) about the head, and no one will take the liberty of 
stepping over the legs of any but a brother or intimate friend. 
To avoid the mention of a name shews a lower degree of 
respect than to avoid a person. A man who sits and talks 
with his wife's father will not mention his name, much less his 

44 Kinship and Marriage Connexion. [CH. 

wife's mother's name ; a man will not name Ms wife's brother, 
but he will name his wife's sister, she is nothing to him. A 
woman will not name, but does not avoid, her husband's 
father ; she will on no account name her daughter's husband. 
Two people whose children have intermarried, who are gasala, 
will not name each other. The reserve with regard to the 
name extends to the use of it, or of any part of it, in common 
conversation. A man on one occasion spoke to me of his 
house as a shed, and when that was not understood, went and 
touched it with his hand to shew what he meant ; a difficulty 
being still made, he looked round to be sure that no one was 
near and whispered, not the name of his son's wife, but the 
respectful substitute for her name, amen Mulegona, she who 
was with his son, and whose name was Tawurima, Hind-house *. 
Thus, referring to the Mota pedigree given on page 38, Leve- 
veg could not use the common words mate, to die, or qoe, 
pig, because of his son-in-law Matevagqoe ; Virsal could not use 
the common words panei, hand, or tutun, hot, because of his 
wife's brother's name, or even the numeral tuwale, one, because 
of his wife's cousin's name. To meet the difficulty caused by 
this limitation of vocabulary, a word may be used improperly 
like paito, shed, for ima, house ; or a knife may be called a 
cutter and a bow a shooter ; but there is a stock of words kept 
in use for this veiy purpose, to use which instead of the common 
words is called to un. Thus the un words used in the cases 
mentioned above would be karwae for qoe, saproro for mate, 
lima for panei, val for tuwale 2 . This avoidance of the person 
and of the name is ascribed by the natives themselves to a 
feeling of shyness and respect, a certain inward trembling 

1 The word amaia, with him, is used not only for a wife's name but in place 
of ' his wife ' ; nan amaia wa, then said his wife. In the case referred to, 
Tawurima, the name of the daughter-in-law, contains the word ima, house. 
The father of Tawurima, again, could not use the common word for to go, mule, 
because it is part of her husband's name, Mulegona. 

2 These un words are particularly valuable, because they often shew a 
connexion with other languages which does not appear in more common words. 
Words are not invented for this purpose ; words are taken which lie 
comparatively unused in the language. 

ii.] Reserve in the New Hebrides. 45 

which they say prevents their mentioning their own names 
also ; to blurt out a name is to take a liberty, to avoid the use 
of it shews delicate respect, and one will extend this respect 
to more distant connexions rather than apply it too narrowly. 
A native when asked the name of some other, will often turn 
to some bystander who answers for him, and the explanation 
is given in the one word qaliga. Respect is also shewn in 
Mota by using a dual pronoun in addressing or speaking of 
a single person; 'Where are you two going?' is asked of 
a qaliga, as if both husband and wife were present. 

In the New Hebrides the practice is much the same. 
In Lepers' Island a man speaks to his mother-in-law, and 
she to him, but they will not come near ; when he speaks to 
her she turns away. A mother-in-law or father-in-law does 
not mind using the name of daughter's husband or son's 
wife in speaking of them to others, but cannot use it in 
addressing them. When a woman calls to her son-in-law she 
addresses him as mim, you in the plural; when she sends 
a message to him she says, using his name, * They want 
Tanga to go to them/ that is, ' I want Tanga to come to me.' 
A daughter-in-law does not avoid her husband's father, a 
man sends his wife with messages to his father. A man will 
not speak at all the name of his wife's brother ; speaking of 
him he says, 'my brother-in-law,' speaking to him he says, 
'you' in the plural; if he meets him in the path he turns 
aside, and asks 'Wliere are you (plural) going?' In this case 
only it appears that the name is never spoken ; the reserve 
among connexions by marriage is much less marked than that 
between brother and sister. No one will step across the legs 
of another, or take anything from over his head, especially 
a brother's ; that is thought a serious piece of disrespect. Jin 
the neighbouring island of Araga, Pentecost, the intercourse 
of fathers- and mothers-in-law with their daughter's husband 
or son's wife is very little restricted; the chief, if not the 
only, reserve in speaking is exercised by engaged couples 
before the giving of property for the girl is complete ; this is 
called lalag. 



IT has been shewn that the social structure in these Mela- 
nesian islands is not tribal, and it will have been observed 
therefore that there can be no political structure held together 
by the power of tribal chiefs ; but chiefs exist, and still have 
in most islands important place and power, though never 
perhaps so much importance in the native view as . they have 
in the eyes of European visitors, who carry with them the 
persuasion that savage people are always ruled by chiefs. A 
trader or other visitor looks for a chief, and finds such a one 
as he expects ; a very insignificant person in this way comes 
to be called, and to call himself, the king of his island, and 
his consideration among his own people is of course enor- 
mously enhanced by what white people make of him. The 
practice moreover of the commanders of ships of war by which 
local chiefs are held responsible for the conduct of their people, 
and are treated as if they had considerable power, undoubtedly 
increases their importance, nor can that result be regretted. 
As a matter of fact the power of chiefs has hitherto rested 
upon the belief in their supernatural power derived from the 
spirits or ghosts with which they had intercourse. As this 
belief has failed, in the Banks' Islands for example some time 
ago, the position of a chief has tended to become obscure ; and 
as this belief is now being generally undermined a new kind 
of chief must needs arise, unless a time of anarchy is to begin. 
It will be well probably at the outset to give the account of a 
chiefs power and government in the Solomon Islands, the 
Banks' Islands, and the New Hebrides, as supplied by natives 

Power of Chiefs. 47 

of those groups respectively, who well knew what they were 
speaking about. A Florida Vunagi kept order in his place, ' 
directed the common operations and industries, represented 
his people with strangers, presided at sacrifices and led in war. 
He inflicted fines, and would order any one to be put to death. 
At Saa in Malanta the chief, Maelaha, is such by virtue of 
descent, a remarkable difference existing in many points 
between this people and Melanesians generally; the people 
work in his gardens, plant for him, build a house or canoe for 
him at his word. He inflicts fines, and can order a man to be 
put to death. At Banks' Islands the Tavusmele or JEtvmmel 
in former days kept order, gave commands about the common f" 
concerns of the place, arranged difficulties with neighbouring 
villages, could order an offender (one for example who had be- 
witched or poisoned another) to be put to death, or to pay a 
fine of pigs. In Lepers' Island the Ratakigi commands or 
forbids in such matters as fishing, voyaging, and building ; 
he can order an offender to be shot or clubbed, or to give 
a fine of pigs. In each of these cases it may be added that 
the chief has with him young men who have attached them- 
selves to him and carry out his commands, and that the 
chief has no more property in or dominion over land than 
another man. Further details as to* the position and power of 
chiefs in the various islands will be hereafter given. 

A point of difference between the Polynesian and Mela- 
nesian sections of the Pacific peoples is the conspicuous 
presence in the former, and the no less conspicuous absence 
in the latter, of native history and tradition. In the 
Melanesian islands, with one notable exception, the enquirer 
seeks in vain for antiquity; the memory of the past perishes 
quickly where all things soon pass away, where every building 
soon decays, where life is short, and no marked change of 
seasons makes people count by longer measures of time than 
months. While any one lives who remembers some famous 
man of the past his fame lingers, but it dies with the personal 
remembrance ; a man's ancestry goes back so far as living 
memory extends ; historical tradition can hardly be said to 

48 Social Regulations. [CH. 

exist. It is true that in Motlav, part of Saddle Island in 
the Banks' group, the people who now live in the islet of Ha 
and the coast opposite know where their families came from, 
from neighbouring islands, Mota, Vanua Lava, or from other 
parts of Saddle Island ; but it was only lately they say that 
they came to live where they are. In Araga, Pentecost 
Island of the New Hebrides, they shew their original seat at 
Atabulu, a village still remaining and held in high respect. 
But the little history that remains, and is vouched for by a 
multitude of sepulchral stones, is lost in the legend attaching 
to a sacred stone, of winged shape, tying in the village place. 
It is called Vingaga, Flyer with webbed wings, and represents 
one Vingaga, who came floating in a canoe to shore and 
founded that town. People, ata, collected and abode with him, 
bulu ; after a time he flew back to heaven. Ancient house 
sites, raised perhaps a yard above the ground, are to be seen at 
Atabulu, and at Anwalu near by, with stones over the graves 
of forgotten chiefs. In Maewo great heaps of stones mark the 
graves of great men of old times, such as none have been of 
late. In Motlav, near a famous and enormous natu tree, is a 
house-mound five feet high, where no habitations are now, 
and men say that it came down from his ancestors to the last 
man whose house stood on it ; and this is but a single known 
representative of the yavu of a Fiji family of rank 1 . The 
remarkable exception to this absence of history or tradition is 
found at Saa in Malanta, and is so remarkable and characteristic 
of native life that the story must be told at length. The larger 
and principal part of the present inhabitants of Saa ani menu 
came from Saa haalu, inland not very far off, eleven generations 
ago. The migration took place under the following circum- 
stances. There were four brothers at the ancient Saa, of whom 
the eldest was the chief; two were named Pau-ulo, the eldest 
Pauulo _paina, the great, the second Pauulo oou, the champion ; 

1 Mr. Fison writes, The higher the house-mound, the higher its occupant's 
rank : sa cere na nodra yavu, their house-mound is high, is still used to express 
that a family is of high rank/ The yavu is described as the ancestral town-lot 
on which the house is built. 

in.] History of Saa. 49 

the two younger had the same name, Ro Ute sen oo'u 1 . 
The chief was a quiet man ; the two youngest, aided by the 
second, were always fighting and damaging their neighbours' 
property; all Pauulo Paina's money was spent in paying 
compensation for their injuries and in making peace, and he 
told them he must leave them and go away. The neighbouring 
people, however, determined to make an end of their trouble ; 
they collected, and began to surround the village of Saa as 
night fell. Before their circle was complete the Saa people 
learnt their danger, gathered their women and children, and 
escaped unseen and unheard in the darkness, carrying with 
them three drums, which remained at the present Saa within 
the memory of old men yet alive. But when they were clear 
of the enemy and safe outside their line, they remembered 
that a bunch of areca-nuts from which Pauulo Paina had 
already taken some to chew with his betel leaves, and which 
would furnish means to the enemy of working his death 
with charms, was left behind. The two Ute agreed that 
one of them, if he died for it, must go for the nuts to save the 
elder brother, and the younger of the two took on himself the 
danger because he was the younger. The circle was now 
closed round the village, but it was still dark, and the enemy 
knowing nothing of the escape sat waiting for the dawn to 
make their onset. The young Ute took his seat among them 
as one of their party, and after a while said to them that he 
would steal in and see whether the Saa people were safe in 
their houses and could be surprised. Thus he passed through 
to the empty village, climbed the palm with a rope round his 
feet, gathered all the nuts remaining on the tree, and as he 
came down so twisted the stem that when his feet touched 
the ground it split into four, and fell with a crash upon the 
house. The enemy hearing the sound thought that the Saa 
people were not yet all asleep, and sat still ; Ute managed to 
pass through them unperceived with his nuts, and joined his 
friends. Thus they escaped and descended towards the coast ; 

1 The two having the same name were the ' Bonito-gutter champions' ; the 
Saa oo'u being the Mota wownt, a fine fellow, a favourite, a hero. 


50 Chiefs. [CH. 

and when they came to a fork where the path divided Pauulo 
Paina made a speech, saying that no fighters, bullies, thieves, 
or wizards were to follow him. One party then branched off 
with Pauulo Oou ; and lower down a second separation was 
made, so that in the end three settlements were formed of 
people who counted themselves of kin. The inhabitants of 
what is now Saa ani menu received trie fugitives with Pauulo 
Paina, and his descendants in the male line have ever since 
been the hereditary chiefs 1 . The descendants of the old in- 
habitants are now but few and of the lower orders, but they 
are still the owners of the land. It has never occurred to the 
Saa immigrants to dispossess them ; the new-comers remairi, 
even the chiefs, landless men, except so far as a little has been 
given to them and a little sold ; they have always been 
allowed what they wanted for their gardens, and have been con- 
tent. When the move was made there was no great difference 
in speech, and there is none now in words; but the older 
race speak very slowly, and may be distinguished now by that 
slow habit of speech. 

There are then at Saa, and at the other two settlements 
founded by the refugees from the ancient Saa, a family of 
chiefs with a history, and with descent in the male line. All 
of that family are born in a certain sense chiefs, the eldest son 
succeeding to the position of his father as principal chief 
unless he be judged incompetent. If he turns out a bad, 
vicious man he loses respect and power, and his brother in- 
sensibly replaces him. Sometimes a man will retire because 
he knows his own unfitness 2 . The chiefs power therefore 

1 The eleven generations from Pauulo to the present chiefs are kept in mind 
by the invocation of their successive names in sacrifices. 

2 At the time of writing the above there were three chiefs of high rank at 
Saa : the ostensible and acting chief was Dorawewe, but he is only the third 
son of his father, the late head chief. The son and heir of the eldest son was not 
yet grown up ; respect was paid to him for his birth, but he had little power, and 
the less because his character was bad and he went after women, and so did 
not gain personal respect. Watehaaodo, uncle on the mother's side to the young 
man, and himself of the chief's family, was guardian to him, and thence was an 
important man. It should be observed that thus the particularly close relation 

in.] Hereditary Element. 51 

at Saa comes from his birth and personal qualities, not from his 
intimacy with supernatural beings and his magical know- 
ledge ; he may have these, and is in fact pretty sure to 
have them, but if one, like Dorawewe now, sacrifices for 
the family, it is not as chief, but because he has had the 
knowledge how to do it passed on to him. In the same way 
the chief curses in the name of a lio'a, powerful ghost, for- 
bidding something to be done under the penalty of death, 
taboos, because of his ancestral connexion with that lioa. 
He inherits wealth from his father, and adds to it by the fines 
he imposes and by the gifts of the people ; but no wealth or 
success in war could make a man a chief at Saa if not born of 
the chief's family 1 . 

The hereditary element is not absent in the succession of 
chiefs in other islands, though it is by no means so operative 
as it appears to be. A story hereafter to be narrated illustrates 
the manner in which a man becomes a chief in Santa Cruz. 
The most conspicuous chief in Florida at the time and in the 
place in which Europeans became acquainted with that island 
was Takua of Boli, whose position it may be safely said was 
never so exalted in the eyes of the natives as in the eyes of their 
visitors. He was not a native' of Florida bu of Mala, and his 
greatness rested in its origin on a victory in which as a young 
man he took a principal part, when a confederation of enemies 
attacked the people of Ta na ihu in Florida, where he was then 
staying. His reputation for mana y spiritual power, was then 
established ; and from that, as a member of a powerful family 
of the Nggaombata, with his brothers Sauvui and Dikea. his 

of the mother's brother to his nephew maintains itself where the system has 
become patriarchal. 

1 The word used to designate a chief in Malanta, Ulawa, and San Cristoval, 
ma'eraka, maelaha, means literally great death or war, and shews that to the 
native mind a chief is a warrior. It is customary both at Saa and in Arosi, 
San Cristoval, to adopt by purchase into the chiefs family a boy who promises 
to be a stout warrior, and to bring him up to be the fighting man and champion 
of the town. Such a one I remember to have seen at Ubuna in Arosi, a dwarf, 
whom his purchasers had taken to be a remarkably strong and sturdy child, 
when he was really a boy much older than they thought. He turned out to be a 
maeraha indeed who scorned to use a shorter spear than full-grown men. 

E 2, 

52 Chiefs. [CH. 

influence increased. Thus according to a native account of the 
matter ' the origin of the power of chiefs, vunagi, lies entirely 
in the belief that they have communication with powerful 
ghosts, tindalo, and have that mana whereby they are able to 
bring the power of the tindalo to bear/ A chief would convey 
his knowledge of the way to approach and to use the_power^ 
of the tindalo to his son, his nephew, bk grandson,to whom 
also he bequeathed as far as he could his^ possessions.Thus he 
wasliBle^ to pass on his power to a~chosen successor among his 
relations, and a semblance of hereditary succession appeared. 
A man's position being in this way obtained, his own character 
and success enhanced it, weakness and failure lost it. Public 
opinion supported him in his claim for a general obedience, 
besides the dread universally felt of the tindalo power behind 
him. Thus if he imposed a fine, it was paid because his 
authority to impose it was recognized, and because it was 
firmly believed that he could bring calamity and sickness upon 
those who resisted him ; as soon as any considerable number 
of his people began to disbelieve in his tindalo his power to fine 
was shaken. But a chief had around him a band of retainers, 
young men mostly, from different parts of the island some of 
them, of various kema, who hung about him, living in his 
canoe-house, where they were always ready to do his bidding. 
These fought beside him and for him, executed his orders for 
punishment or rapine, got a share of his wealth, and did all 
they could to please him and grow great and wealthy with 
him. They would marry and settle round him if strangers 
in the place ; and thus a chief and his retainers would be by 
no means always the representatives of the people among 
whom they ruled, and who sometimes have suffered for their 
misdeeds 1 . The influence of a chief, if his band of retainers 
is large, and the district in which he rules is populous, extends 
widely in the island ; his brother chiefs aid him, and, for a 
consideration, carry out his wishes 2 . The power to impose a 

1 Julian Avenal, not Fergus M c lvor, represents such a Melanesian chief. 
3 Some years ago the captain of one of Her Majesty's ships laid upon Takua 
of Mboli the duty of apprehending a certain offender, and keeping him a 

in.] Chiefs in Florida. 53 

fine was an active one ; a chief forbids under penalty of a 
fine, which is a form of taboo ; he orders one who has done 
wrong or has offended him to pay a certain sum of money to 
him. Thus Takua imposed a heavy fine on the man who had 
proposed to marry within the prohibited degrees, and the 
offender had to hire an advocate to state his case discreetly, 
apologize, and beg off a part of the fine. The chief sends 
women or boys to fetch the fine he has imposed ; these sit at 
the man's door and dae, dun him by their presence and 
demands, till he pays. If he refuses, the chief sends his 
retainers to destroy and carry away his property. It is evident 
that a chief of sense, energy and good feeling, will use his 
power on the whole to the great advantage of the people ; but 
a bad use of a chiefs power is naturally common, in oppression, 
seizing land and property, increasing his stock of heads, and 
gaining a terrible reputation. For example, a man who had 
a private enemy would give money to a chief to have him 
killed, as one did not long ago to Dikea ; Dikea would send 
one of his young men to kill him. But sometimes the man 
would know his danger and send more money to the chief to 
save his life. Dikea would take both sums and do as he 

The power of a chief naturally diminished in old age, from 
inactivity, parsimony, and loss of reputation ; and, to the credit 
of the people, also if, like Takua when he took the daughter of 
one who was already his wife, he did what was held by them 
to be wrong. In any case some one was ready, it might be by 
degrees, to take the place of one whose force was waningjy/ A 
chief expecting his death prepared his son, nephew, or chosen 

prisoner till his return ; so at least the captain's orders were interpreted to the 
chief. Takua complained ; he could have him killed easily, he said, it would 
cost him but a trifle to get that clone, but to catch a man and keep him for ten 
months would be very difficult and very expensive. Things are now changed 
at Florida. Dikea of Ravu accused two men of taking fragments of his food 
to charm him ; they fled to Olevuga ; Dikea sent money to Lipa, chief of that 
place, to have them killed; Lipa sent it back. Dikea then sent money to 
Tambukoru of Honggo, asking him to attack Olevuga ; that chief refused, but 
kept the money. 

54 Chiefs. [CH. 

^successor, by imparting to him his tindalo knowledge ; but this 
"could not always be done, or the choice made might not be 


gf>rPpf,nKlp^r)Thft people then woold choose Fof~Ehemfsclves, and 
make over the dead" chief's property to their chosen head? 
Sometimes a man would assert himself and claim to be chie^ 
orPthe ground that the late chief had designated him, or 
_because he" had already a considerable following fbelonging^ 
perhaps to an increasing Jcema, as the dead chief to a de- 
creasing one), or boldly standing* forth and, ciying out to the 
people that he was chief. Without a chief a village would be 
broken up 1 . 

The very great part played in the native life of the Banks' 
Islands by the secret societies hereafter to be described, the 
Suqe and Tamate, has always obscured the appearance of such 
power as a chief would be expected to exercise. Any man 
whose influence was conspicuous was certainly high in these 
societies, and it would be wholly inconsistent with the social 
habits of the people that a man whose place in the Suqe was 
.insignificant should have any considerable power. Hence 
chiefs as such have hardly been recognized by the missionaries 
engaged inthis group, though traders have found chiefs and 
kings. When Mala many years ago forbade the use of bows, 
it was taken to be done by the power he had in all the societies 

1 Some years ago Lipa, the chief of Olevuga, was carried off as ' labour ' 
to Queensland, and the chiefless place was in confusion ; but Dikea of Ravu in 
the neighbourhood, one of the same Nggaombata family, sent directions 
to Olevuga that the people should choose their chief, and then came over with 
his party, and took Kosapau, whom they had chosen, by the hand, putting him 
forward as their chief. The people then knew that he would be supported, and 
obeyed him. But Lipa came back after a time, and Kosapau quietly took the second 
place. When Kalekona of Gaeta died there was no one to succeed him ; the 
chiefs of the other districts, his cousins, came to get their share of the property, 
and were hospitably entertained ; but the chiefs of Honggo, Liukolilia and 
Tambukoru, of the Manukama kema, would have attacked the Gaeta people in 
their headless state, if Charles Sapimbuana, the Christian teacher, himself a 
Manukama, had not got pigs and money together and bought them off. With- 
out a chief the Gaeta people would have dispersed ; no Christian could be a chief 
of the ancient sort, and the Christian teachers had all agreed among themselves 
that they would take no place of such authority. 

in.] Chiefs in Banks Islands. 55 

in Vanua Lava and Mota. Still there was a name meaning- 
chief, etvusmel) tavusmele, and a native of Motlav who resided 
some weeks in Florida, in the district where Takua was counted 
a great chief, bears witness that he saw no great difference 
between that vunagi and the etvusmel of his own home 1 . The 
succession of the Etvusmel is declared by him to have been 
from father to son, as far as can be remembered, an important 
point to notice where descent in family goes by the mother ; and 
it is said that the chief was always of the great clan or kin, 
the veve liwoa, an expression which also requires explanation. 
The explanation is that in practice, as in the devolution of 
/property and in the handing on of religious and magic rites, 
a man always put as far as he could his son into his own place, 
and a rich and powerful man would secure a high place in the 
Suqe for his son in very early years ; thus the great man's 
son would succeed to his place, and become to some extent an 
hereditary chief. The father and the son would always be of 
different sides of the house ; and, as at Florida the chiefs were 
generally of the kema which happened to be most numerous 
at the time, so in the Banks' Islands, where the divisions are 
but two, and each of them in alternate generations more 
numerous than the other, the chief man was regularly found 
on the most powerful side of the house. Thus it can be said 
that the succession of Etvusmel at Motlav has been from 
father to son as long as can be remembered, and will so con- 
tinue, though with lessened consequence. Besides those who 
were really chiefs many men were called * great men,' and had 
considerable influence in their villages, men who had been 

1 The name no doubt refers to the rank obtained in the Suqe club by 
killing pigs ; Ta vus mele is the man who kills for the mele. Even now when 
the population of Motlav is Christian, they still among themselves call Stephen 
Etvusmel at Losalav, and Abraham at Melwo, 'o sul we toga alalanrara, pa 
gate nom mava tama we tuai, the people remain under those two, but do not 
regard them with the same respect as in old days.' At Losalav the former 
Etvusmel, Molovlad, left a son who is now under Stephen ; and when the Litter 
dies this John Semtambok will succeed. So they agree among themselves now, 
on the ground that he is the son of the late chief, high in the Suqe club, and o? 
the side of the house that now predominates, i.e. of the veve liwoa. 

56 Chiefs. [CH. 

valiant and successful in war, and were high in the Suqe ; that 
is to say, men who were known to have mana, for a man's 
charms and amulets made him the great warrior, and his 
charms and stones made his pigs and yams to multiply, so that 
he could buy his steps in the society. The cleanliness and order 
of a Banks' Island village are not now what they were, since 
the authority of the ' great men ' has been diminished by the 
increasing enlightenment of the young people. 

In the Northern New Hebrides the position of a chief is 
more conspicuous ; though perhaps only because those who 
first made themselves acquainted with those islands have 
always taken them to be very important people. A man high 
in the Suqe, or a successful leader in war, had authority in 
his village in the northern part of Aurora, but seems to have 
had no designation as a chief. In Araga, Pentecost Island, 
and in Omba, Lepers' Island, the remarkable designation of a 
chief is Ratahigi. the word which stands for ' mother ' in 
those islands, and is no doubt identical with the Mota ratasiu, 
brothers. The probable origin of the use of a word meaning 
brotherhood or sisterhood as the name for the mother has 
been already suggested (page 38) ; the use of it to designate 
a chief seems certainly to point to the fact that the chief 
is looked upon as the representative of the brotherhood, of the 
kin. As has been pointed out, where there are two kindreds, 
and the son is not of the father's kin, it is natural that each 
kindred should preponderate in influence, because more in 
number, alternately, and that as son succeeds father, one 
of this kindred and the other of that, each in his turn should 
belong, to the kin which is in his time the great one. Hence 
they say that chiefs are hereditary, father being succeeded by 
son, or uncle by sister's son, in a general way as a matter of 
fact, though not always nor by rule. The son does not inherit 
chieftainship, but he inherits, if his father can manage it, 
what gives him chieftainship, his father's mana, his charms, 
magic songs, stones and apparatus, his knowledge of the way 
to approach spiritual beings, as well as his property. The 
present chief will teach his son his knowledge of supernatural 

HI.] Chiefs in New Hebrides. 57 

things, and hand over his means for using it ; he will buy him 
up high in the Suqe society, and give him and leave him 
property ; so the younger man is ready to take the place of 
chief when his father dies or fails through age. If a man 
has no son competent he may take his nephew ; sometimes, 
the son perhaps being too young, a chiefs brother will 
succeed him ; sometimes a man will set himself up when no 
successor is acknowledged, or the people will choose some one 
to lead them. Some years ago Mairuru, the chief of 
Walurigi, was a very great man ; he sent his son, a young 
boy, to be educated at Norfolk Island, and it was at once 
understood that a Christian education which shut out belief 
and practice of mana, shut him out from succession as a chief. 
If this son had settled in his father's village before the old 
man's death, he would no doubt have succeeded to some of his 
property and some of his consideration, but he was absent. 
When Mairuru died without an apparent successor, a certain 
man attempted to take his place ; he went into the late 
chief's sacred haunt, his tauten, in which he used to have his 
intercourse with the wui, spirits, and he declared that he 
heard some one whistle to him there. He told the people 
also that afterwards in the night he felt something come 
upon his breast, which he took in his hands, and found to be 
a stone in shape like the distinguishing part of a valued kind 
of pig * : then Mairuru, he said, himself appeared to him and 
gave him the mana, the magic chant, with which he was to 
work the stone for producing abundance of those pigs. When 
he showed the stone the people believed his story ; but in the 
event nothing came of his mana, and Mairuru had no suc- 
cessor. It appears, therefore, that in Lepers' Island and in 
Araga, as elsewhere, the real ground on which the power of 
a chief rests is that of belief in the mana he possesses, with 

1 In certain breeds of pigs in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, which 
are much valued on this account, there occur individual females which simulate 
the male sex. These are in the Banks' Islands rawe ; they furnish the finest 
tusks. Dr. Shortland has observed that the word rawe has in the Maori of 
New Zealand a sense which accounts for its application to these pigs. 

58 Chiefs. 

which also the wealth he has inherited with it, and all his 
success in life, are connected. The power of such a man is 
exercised directly over the people of his own village, and if 
his reputation for wana spreads abroad, he will have a wide 
influence in his islandjmd even j^evond it ; young men from 
other parts, as well as the youths of his village^ will come an3 
live in his gamali, his Suqe club-house, and will carry out his 
orders even to the punishment of death in peace, and fight 
for him in war. 



IN the character of property and in the laws of succession 
to property, there is hardly any difference to be found in the 
Melanesian islands with which we are concerned ; in all it 
may be said that property is in land and in personal posses- 
sions ; that there is a certain distinction between land which 
has been inherited and that which has been reclaimed from 
the waste ; that there is no strictly communal property in 
land ; and that with landed and personal property alike, the 
original right of succession is with the sister's children, 
except where, besides the very exceptional case of Saa, there 
comes in the succession of children to the property which 
their father has acquired for himself. 

The land may be considered everywhere to be divided into 
three parts : (i) the Town lots ; (2) the Garden ground ; _(g) 
the Bush. In Florida, (i) Na Komu, (2) Na Matanga, (3) Na 
Leiao ; in Santa Cruz, (i) Natalia, (2) Nabalo, (3) Nabanogabo ; 
in Mota, (i) Vanua, (2) Utag, (3) Mot; in Lepers' 
Island, (i) A Vanue, (2) A Labute, (3) A Labute virogi, which 
in Araga are (i) Vanua, (2) Lolgae, (3) Ute vono ; and these 
correspond to the Yavu, the Qele, the Veikau of Fiji 1 . Of 

1 Land tenure in Fiji has been described by the Rev. Lorimer Fison in a 
Paper printed in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute, February, 
1 88 1, and briefly as follows : ' The tenure of land is distinctly tribal, and the 
title is vested in all the full-born members of the tribe. The land is of three 
kinds : the yavu or town lot, the qde (nggele) or arable land, and the veilcau 

60 Property and Inheritance. [CH. 

these three divisions of the land, the bush, the uncleared 
forest, is not property; nor, as far as I am aware, do the 
natives fix any limit up to which they consider the bush 
to belong to the particular district or group of villages in 
which they live, although probably they would resent the 
felling of trees too near their own grounds. The gardens 
and the sites of the villages are all held in property, and 
pass by inheritance ; so that every part has its owner for 
the time, who possesses it as his share of the family property, 
but who can by no means alienate it as if it were simply 
his own. The chiefs, however powerful in some places they 
may be, have no more property in the land or more right 
over it in any of the islands than other men ; they often 
use their power tyrannically to drive away the owners of 
gardens which they covet, and they are very willing to meet 
the common European belief that a chief is the owner of 
the soil, by taking a price for land which is not theirs to sell ; 
but the ownership of every piece is remembered and will be 
asserted when occasion offers. The remarkable case of the 
landless chiefs at Saa (page 50) shews how fixed is the right 
of property in land. Before the coming of Europeans the 
sale of land was, at least at Saa, not unknown, but was at 
any rate uncommon ; of late, especially in the New Hebrides, 
much land has been sold to Europeans, some honestly and 
effectively, some by transactions in which the title of the vendor 
has been nothing but his willingness to receive some calico 
and guns. In a true sale the consent of all who have an 
interest in the property must be had, and the exact boundary 
of each parcel of land defined ; then the value of each piece 
and of each fruit-tree has to be ascertained, and the claim of 

or forest. The veiJcau is common to all members of a community, but the yavu 
and the qele are divided and subdivided. Each owner, however, holds for the 
household to which he belongs, the household holds for the clan, the clan for 
the tribe, the tribe for the community, and the community for posterity. Each 
generation has the usufruct only, and cannot alienate the land. The chiefs 
have overridden this rule, but most unjustly.' This will stand for the 
islands west of Fiji, with the important difference made by the absence of 

iv.] Land and Trees. 61 

every single individual discussed and satisfied. A fruit-tree 
planted on another's land, with his consent, remains the pro- 
perty of the planter and of his heirs 1 . It is important also to 
observe that the property, whether in the villages or in the 
gardens, does not lie in large divisions corresponding to the 
divisions of the people for marriage purposes into two or more 
kins or clans, the fcema of Florida, the veve of Mota, the wai 
vung of Lepers' Island ; but all are intermixed. It is probable 
enough that in the original formation of each settlement the 
several divisions of the people worked together to make 
their gardens ; as it is, families have formed themselves 
within the divisions, the land is held by families, sons work 
in their fathers' gardens who are not their kin ; there cannot 
be a family, or married couple, in which two kindreds at least 
have not a share. 

It is remarkable indeed how precisely alike in the Solomon 
Islands, the Banks' Islands, and the New Hebrides, the 
character of property in land reclaimed from the bush asserts 
itself to be ; and how the same effect has been produced of 
introducing or strengthening the tendency towards the 
succession of the son to his father's property, in place of the 
right of succession through the mother. This will be shewn, 
together with the very general agreement in the whole 
character of landed property and succession to it, as the 
subject is treated in some detail with examples taken from 
the several groups, beginning with Florida in the Solomon 
Islands, and passing eastwards through Santa Cruz and the 
Banks' Islands to the New Hebrides. 

In Florida the house sites in the Jcomu, like the gardens of 
the matanga^ are hereditary property; and, though there do 

1 In Fiji, ' Fruit-trees are often held by persons who do not own the land ; 
but there is a curious distinction here. The property in this case is rather in 
the fruit than in the tree, and is therefore not considered to be in the land. 
You may take the fruit, but you must not cut down the tree without the 
landowner's permission. A remarkable distinction was made by one of my 
Fijian informants. He who has a tree on another man's land may cut it down 
and take it away ; his axe does not touch the soil ; but he may not dig the tree 
up by the roots, for his digging-stick would turn up the soil.' Eev. L. Fison. 

62 Property and Inheritance. [CH. 

not appear to be any ancient village sites now occupied, the 
old sites are well remembered and their proprietors known. 
Members of the various kema dwelling- intermixed on their 
property in the village have their gardens intermixed in the 
matanga. It happens naturally, as a village is not inhabited 
by a local tribe, that some of the villagers have no property 
of their own in the village or in the neighbouring garden 
grounds, in which case their neighbours accommodate them 
with what they want. The matanga property is never ab- 
solutely in the individual but in the kema, being looked upon 
as having been cleared originally by the kema ; portions are 
occupied in hereditary succession by families within the kema, 
by an original agreement which now has come to be a 
right. These ancient family lands pass of right to members of 
the same kema, ordinarily the sister's children. The whole 
matanga near a town is seldom under cultivation at the same 
time; some may pass, if the place is deserted, entirely into 
bush again, but is never strictly leiao, for its character is 
remembered. In the neighbourhood of a prosperous village a 
man, and his sons working with him, will often clear a piece 
of bush land and make it matanga. This then passes to his 
sons without question, being held to be his own, and so long 
as it is clearly remembered how the land was acquired it 
passes from father to son ; but after a time the character of 
the property may be forgotten, and the nephews of a deceased 
proprietor will claim it from his sons and be supported by 
their kema ; serious quarrels arise in this way. A chief, 
vunagi, differs in no way from another man in his right to 
property in komu and matanga 1 -. If a man plants a cocoa- 
nut-tree, an areca palm-tree, or other useful tree on a friend's 
ground, the tree goes to the planter's son, and if the land- 
owner continues friendly will pass on without dispute. A 

1 Dikea the chief at Ravu drove away Logana and his family from that place 
on the pretext that Logana's brother-in-law had set fire to his canoe-house, but 
really to get possession of Logana's matanga, which was large and good. The 
dispossessed family at Olevuga keep their eyes on the property, waiting for 
Dikea's death to claim it. 

iv.] Personal Property. 63 

man also can plant in his own matanga fruit-trees expressly ! 
declared to be the property of his sons ; at his death the 
ground will pass to his nephews, his own kin, but his sons 
will own the trees. Florida people are very reckless however 
about destroying- fruit-trees. 

The succession to personal property in Florida is known to 
be originally with the members of the kema, the kin of the 
deceased. These will assemble after a death, and if the 
deceased be not very rich, will eat up his pigs and his food. 
A chief will sometimes take what he likes, but has no right 
to do it. A man before his death will direct that his canoe is 
to go to his son, and he will receive it ; otherwise son and 
nephew will each claim, and the stronger will get it. A rich 
man's money is divided among brothers, nephews, and, if they 
can get any, his sons, a fruitful source of quarrels ; but a man's 
wife, in prospect of his death, would hide a good deal of his 
money, and when the crowd assembled for the division of the 
inheritance had dispersed, would bring it out for herself and 
her sons. Chiefs used to hide their money and valuable 
property and tambu, taboo, the place ; now, when the fear of 
the tainbu is gone, the young people search for these hoards 
and take what they find. These Florida customs may be 
taken as representing those of the surrounding islands of the 
Solomon group. In Saa and its neighbourhood property of 
course descends entirely in the patriarchal line. In Santa 
Cruz a man's nephews regularly succeed to his property, 
in land, pigs, money and other things ; but the sons also in 
some cases succeed. A man there also has property in trees 
which are not on his own ground. 

In the Banks' Islands also the town land, the vanua, and 
the garden grounds, the utag, are so far private property that 
the owner can be found for each piece ; the owner being the 
one who has for his life the possession of the portion of the 
family land which he has inherited ; the lands and houses of 
the two veve are intermingled ; the succession to the land is 
rightly with the sister's children. Here also the utag is dis- 
tinguished into the ancient hereditary cultivated ground, and 

64 Property and Inheritance. [CH. 

that which has been reclaimed from the mot, the uncleared 
forest, by the present owner or his recent predecessors. In 
the first case the nephews on their mother's side of the 
previous proprietor occupy the ground, each taking the 
piece he wishes for his own garden, and all having col- 
lectively a property in the whole. The land of the other 
character passes to the children of the man who has cleared 
the forest from it ; his kin have no claim to it. The children 
divide it into separate lots, and do not in any way hold the 
property in common ; the eldest son will take the oldest 
plantation, and the youngest will have the latest which has 
not yet borne its crop 1 . Here the patriarchal succession is 
fixed ; in the other case it is coming in and has a recognized 
footing. It is common to make arrangements by which a 
man's children succeed him with the consent of the heirs at 
law. For example, when Woser's father died, who had held 
an utag at Motlav in common inheritance with his brother, 
Woser gave a pig to his uncle, and he thereupon relinquished 
his claim to half the property in the garden ground, which he 
did not use. The heir of the deceased, and the heir also in 
prospect of the deceased's brother, was the son of their sister ; 
and to him Woser gave money to quiet his claim. Upon this 
Woser, with his two brothers and two sisters, entered upon the 
utag as if they had inherited it ; that is, they occupied it by a 
common property in the whole and with a particular occu- 
pation of separate gardens. If a similar transaction were 
to follow upon the death of these present owners, who are not 
of their father's kin, the land would go to their children who 
will be not of their kin but of their mother's ; the property 
will thus revert to the veve to which it belongs. Sometimes 
a man before his death begs his brother not to disturb his son 
in his garden ; he agrees, and the son takes his father's place ; 

1 There is no right of primogeniture. Daughters inherit of right equally with 
sons, but in fact they rather transmit the inheritance to their children. So in 
Fiji, 'Daughters can scarcely be said to inherit land. Land is given with them 
at their marriage, but it is not given to them. If they hold it at all it is only 
a means of transmitting the land to their children.' Kev. L. Fison. 

iv.] Redemption. Trees. Houses. 65 

but the father was there of right, and the son has strictly no 
right; he therefore gives money to the natural heirs, his 
father's sister's children. In order to make a transaction of 
this kind secure, the son will put the money for the redemption 
of the garden upon his father's corpse when he is laid out for 
burial ; the nephews and heirs of the deceased take the money 
from their dead maraid in the presence of the assembled people, 
and never can deny that they have given up their right 1 . If 
a man's children at his death are not rich enough to redeem 
the whole utag they redeem a part. It is a part of the 
acknowledgment of the right of the sister's children, and a 
part of the satisfaction for it, that fruits and other produce are 
allowed them for a time out of the garden ; for these are the 
labour of the deceased, whose heirs his nephews and nieces of 
his own kin are ; the products of the new owner's work will 
not be claimed. Property in trees is distinct from that in \ 
land, and goes to the planter's children. In case therefore of ! 
a sale of land there is much variety in the title to the parcels 
of ground and in the ownership of the fruit-trees, the know- 
ledge of which is most minute and accurate. The exact 
limits of each bit of property are known, and the value of the 
right to be extinguished is discussed and settled by common 
consent 2 . 

The town lots in the vanua, the house sites, tano ima, are held 
in the same way. When a young man makes his own home 
he builds on the property of his kin, his mother's or his 
maternal uncle's. It happens naturally that the elder sons 

1 A pig has been seen delivered from the hand of a dead man at his funeral, 
probably with the same intention. 

2 Many years ago I completed the purchase of a piece of ground for a school 
at Navqoe in Mota, and found the rights, and the limits and value of the rights, 
of every man and woman concerned acknowledged and defined in a surprising 
manner. Each parcel of the land was known by boundaries drawn from tree 
to tree. The year before the purchase of another piece of ground for a similar 
purpose had been supposed to be completed, but when payment was being made 
at Navqoe the owner of a fruit-tree on the other ground put in his claim, which 
he had before omitted to make. He was accompanied by the owner of the 
ground on which the tree stood, who testified that the claim was good, for the 
claimant's grandfather had planted it. 

66 Property and Inheritance. [CH. 

have left their father's house on marriage before his death, or 
do so successively after his death; the youngest son then 
remains with his mother and keeps the house. In a village 
which is nourishing a new house is built on an old site, 
which therefore rises in time into something of a mound ; but 
villages are seldom permanent. When a new village is begun 
it may occupy an ancient site of late unused, in which case 
the property in the town lots is well remembered, or it may 
be a new occupation of ground for building. The vanua at 
Losalav in Motlav has been formed round a house built by the 
great-uncle of Woser, who gave two rawe pigs to the owner 
of the utag for the ground, and thus became the landlord ; 
his daughter afterwards, though she received nothing in the 
way of rent, was treated with respect by the householders 
because they were not on property of their own. 

Personal property the pigs which are so much valued, the 
money, canoes, ornaments, weapons, and the various imple- 
ments used in native life goes to the children generally ; but 
i the right of the sister's children is still maintained. When a 
:maii dies his brothers and kinsmen, sogoi, will come and carry 
off his pigs unless the children buy them off; but if a man 
before his death makes a sort of testament, vatavata varvarnanau^ 
declaring that he gives his property to his children and 
distributing it, they will not be disturbed in their inheritance. 
A great man often buried quantities of money, which was 
never found. In Lakona, part of Santa Maria, ( a man will 
hide some of his money ; then if he have a good son who helps 
him well in his garden or always gives him food, the father 
will make his hoard known to him, that it may be his ; if not 
it is g'one for ever.' In that place a man's money at his death 
is carefully distributed in short lengths among his children 
and his kinsmen, and his pigs are distributed in the same 
way ; the children give money and pigs to the kinsmen that 
they may keep his personal belongings, and his land and fruit- 
trees, which are then completely given up. In the case of the 
death of a native in some place in which he has settled as 
a stranger, or where he has been on a visit, his kinsmen, and 

iv.] New Hebrides. 67 

especially his sister's son, have a right to go and take what he 
may have left behind him ; but this is generally compounded 
for by a sum of money, tulag, after receiving which no further 
claim can be made. There is no doubt very often in such a 
case a suspicion or accusation of poisoning or witchcraft as the 
cause of death, for which compensation is demanded \ 

In the New Hebrides the ancient succession of the sister's 
son to his uncle's property appears to be strongly maintained 
in Araga, Pentecost Island, where the nephew succeeds to the 
house, the garden, and the pigs of his uncle, and the son takes 
nothing except what his father has given him in his lifetime ; 
and even if a man makes a garden for himself out of the bush 
it must go to his sister s son. It is very different, however, in 
Lepers' Island, where the right of the sister's son seems to be 
barely recognized, and the property in the villages and in the 
gardens is held by individuals as their own, not as belonging 
to the waivung. The town lots are fenced round, so that the 
houses stand in enclosures. A man's son succeeds to his house 
property, but will not live in the house so long as his mother 
and sisters are there, on account of those restrictions upon 
intercourse which have been already mentioned. Houses are 
renewed in the same place, but not always on the same site, 
and villages are often shifted, the property in the ground 
being borne in mind. A man's garden-ground, labute, goes to 
his sons, who arrange the division of it among themselves, 
unless their father has expressed his will 'about it before his 
death. Women do not succeed to land, but have a right to a 
share in the produce of their father's gardens, which indeed 
their brothers are considered to hold partly for them. A man 
can make himself a new garden out of the unappropriated 
ground fit for gardens, the labute virogi, loose, not tied up, 

1 For example, Wete's son had gone over from Merlav to Merig, and there he 
died, having been charmed by means of a fragment of his food at the instigation 
of a man whose wife is Wete's sister. So on the return of the party, when the 
cause of death comes out, Wete shoots his sister with his gun, because her 
husband had been the cause of the death of his son. The whole transaction is 
looked upon as a matter of course (the woman not being much hurt) ; Wete is 
on the best of terms with his neighbours and relations. 

68 Property and Inheritance. 

and there cannot be any difference between this and his here- 
ditary property. Gardens are all fenced. Fruit-trees planted on 
another man's land remain the property of the planter and his 
heirs. It is in the succession to a man's personal property 
that the rights of kinship assert themselves. On a man's 
death his sons distribute his pigs, money, and other possessions, 
among those of his waivung, a choice pig and a larger share of 
other things being given to the sister's son, because his special 
relationship is much regarded. A man, however, will make 
his will, expressing his wishes as to the disposition of his 
property before his death. The succession to property is a 
fruitful source of quarrels, and it is natural that opportunity 
should prevail over acknowledged right when the heirs are out 
of the way. 

There appears upon the whole a remarkable tendency 
throughout these islands of Melanesia towards the substitution 
of a man's own children for his sister's children, and others of 
his kin, in succession to his property; and this appears to 
begin where the property is the produce of the man's own 
industry, with the assistance in most cases of his sons, as in 
gardens newly cleared from the forest, in his money, his pigs, 
and his canoes. The original right of a man's own kin, and 
especially his sister's sons, to be his heirs not only to the 
hereditary lands which have come down in the kin but to 
personal property, is yet strongly maintained, even at Lepers' 
Island, where the a'dvance towards the patriarchal system has 
been so considerable. It is probable that even at Saa some- 
thing still survives of what must have been the original custom 
of the ancestors of that people, as well as of the rest of the 
Melanesians. It is evident that the newer form of succession 
depends upon the assertion of paternity ; and as it arises some- 
times on the occupation of new ground, it may be thought to 
be strengthened by the formation of new settlements after the 
family has established itself within the kin. 



THERE is certainly nothing- more characteristic of Melane- 
sian life than the presence of Societies which celebrate 
Mysteries strictly concealed from the uninitiated and from all 
females. A dress, with. a mask or hat, disguises the members 
if they appear in open day; they have strange cries and 
sounds by which they make their presence known when 
they are unseen. ' In some cases, as in Florida and Aurora, 
they make a public show of a piece of the handiwork of the 
ghosts with whom it is pretended that they have been as- 
sociating. Such societies are the Dukduk of New Britain 
described by Mr. Brown and Mr. Komilly, the Matambala of 
Florida, the Tamate of the Banks' Islands, the Qatu of the 
Northern New Hebrides. A photograph from New Caledonia 
shews a figure which can hardly be distinguished 'from that 
of a tamate from the Banks' Islands, and Mr. Romilly mentions 
an institution like the Dukduk in New Guinea. It is plain, 
therefore, that this institution extends very widely through 
Melanesia, and the Nanga of Fiji, though in some respects 
different, cannot be thought to be entirely distinct from it ; 
yet it is remarkable that nothing of the sort has as yet been 
found in Santa Cruz, or in the Solomon Islands east of 
Florida 1 . 

1 Of the two large islands of Guadalcanar and Malanta, only a very small 
part has come under observation. The Santa Cruz people do not seem to be 
closely connected with the Solomon islanders. When it is remembered that the 

Secret Societies and Mysteries. 


The Florida mysteries were believed to have been brought 
from Ysabel, where nothing of the kind has as yet been 

observed. This belief, how- 
ever, serves to point to a 
connexion with the Dukduk 
of New Britain, in the name 
of which a further connexion 
may probably be found. In 
all these societies the ghosts 
of the dead were supposed 
to be present ; in the Banks' 
Islands their name is 'The 
Ghosts ; ' in Santa Cruz a 
ghost is duka\ in Florida 
one method of consulting 
the ghosts of the dead is 
paluduka. It is very likely 
therefore that in New 
Britain the Dukduk are also 
' The Ghosts.' 

P~ One very important point 
of difference separates these 
from the bora of Australia, 
in which the grown youth 

of the tribe are 'made young men,' and have imparted to 
them some knowledge of the religious beliefs and practices 
of the elders. Grown men and infants, married and un- 
married, are equally admitted to the societies of Florida 
and the New Hebrides ; and if in the Banks' Islands it 
is not customary to admit boys very young, there is cer- 
tainly no limit of age as regards admission. It is no 
doubt the case that where these societies flourish, a youth 
who has not become a member of one of them does not 
take a position of full social equality with the young men 

Nanga appears to be limited to a part only of Viti Levu in Fiji, and for a long 
time escaped notice there, it is reasonable to look for the discovery of many 
secret societies in Melanesia which have not yet been observed. 


v.] Absence of Religious Character. 71 

who are members ; and also that such a young" man has 
probably no wife. Such a young man has not been able to 
meet the expense of initiation or of matrimony ; his friends, 
from carelessness or poverty, have let him grow up without 
making proper provision for him ; he remains uninitiated and 
unmarried from the same cause ; but initiation is by no means 
a preliminary step to matrimony. It is difficult, in view of 
the strict secrecy and solemnity of the mysteries, to believe 
that there is no knowledge imparted in initiation of a religious 
character. The outer world of women and children, and the 
uninitiated, matawonowono, whose eyes were closed, undoubt- 
edly believed that the initiated entered into association with 
the ghosts of the dead ; the strangle cries and awi'ul sounds 
that proceeded from the sacred and unapproachable lodge of 
the association, or from the forest when the members of it 
were abroad, were more than human in their ears ; the figures 
that appeared were not those of men. An accident would no 
doubt sometimes make it plain that it was a man, some one 
well known and recognized, who was figuring as a ghost ; 
but then his disguise was not the work of mortal hands ; and 
the shrewd conjecture that all the rest were as much men and 
neighbours as the one whose fall revealed him might be 
entertained, but would be dangerous to express. It was only 
when the neophyte was admitted into the mysterious pre- 
cincts that he found only his daily companions there, and 
learnt that there was nothing to be imparted to him except 
the knowledge how the sounds were produced, how the 
dresses and decorations were made, and in some cases a song 
and dance. There was no secret article of belief made known, 
and no secret form of worship practised. The ordinary forms 
of prayer and sacrifice were performed as elsewhere, though 
here in connexion with these mysteries. There were no forms 
of worship peculiar to the society, and no objects of worship 
of a kind unknown to those without. 

It is remarkable also that, as far as I have been able to 
ascertain, there is nothing or very little that is obscene, or 
more objectionable from a moral point of view than imposture 

72 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

combined with, a certain amount of tyranny and intimidation. 

In some places the neophytes had to endure hardships or even 
tortures, which were absent, however, in the Banks' Islands, 
[where these societies are very numerous. The property of 
the uninitiated was plundered, and themselves beaten and 
oppressed when the mysteries were at work ; all order and 
industry were upset. At the same time' hideous and obscene 
orgies were absent ; a native convert to Christianity might go 
into his lodge and find nothing there to offend him that he 
did not find in the village ; an European visitor might go in 
and find nothing more mysterious to be revealed to him than 
the hats and dresses and the appliances for producing the 
unearthly sounds. 

The Fijian nanga as described by Mr. 'Fison and Mr. Joske, 
to which the presence of women gives at once a different 
character, must be taken as representing these secret societies 
in that group, and it is reasonable to suppose direct connexion 
in origin between this and those that flourish in the islands 
further to the west. The institution in Fiji, however^ is so 
little conspicuous in the life of the people, probably because so 
limited in distribution, that it escaped for many years the 
observation of Mr. Fison himself. In the Banks' Islands 
the tamate would very soon call for notice. If no special 
celebration of the mysteries were being earned on, a visitor 
would soon become aware that there were near every village 
retreats frequented by most of his native companions, and 
unapproachable by some. The members of the societies would 
be proud to shew him these retreats and -the wonderful works 
of art they contained. Very few days would pass without the 
appearance of some masked figures, or the sound of some 
strange noise or cry. In that group the number of these 
societies is surprising ; some very insignificant, local, or 
recently started by individuals ; some select and respected ; 
one found everywhere, the principal and apparently original 
institution of the kind. In the Northern New Hebrides 
this Great Tamate of the Banks' Islands is not found, but 
others of the same character appear. I have seen a mask and 

Extent and Distribution. 


a secret lodge as far south as Ambrym. The figure in the 
photograph from New Caledonia is so nearly identical with 
that of a tamate of the Banks' Islands, that the identity of the 
institution may be conjectured, or at any rate a connexion 


must be taken to exist. Between the Banks' Islands and 
Florida the interval is considerable ; but scholars from Florida, 
on their way to Norfolk Island many years ago, recognized 
their own matabala in the salagoro of Mota, to which as 
strangers they were freely admitted. The result of their 
admission was fatal to the mystery in either institution. A 
Florida boy who had seen what the Mota salagoro was and 
contained, knew very well what sort of mysteries those were at 
home into which he had not yet been initiated, and he ceased 

74 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

to believe in their supernatural character. The uninitiated 
boys from the Banks' Islands heard in Norfolk Island from 
their Florida schoolfellows what they had seen, and the 
sacredness of the salagoro was lost for them. The secret was 
out many years ago, though in Florida the power of the 
mysteries was maintained till Christianity prevailed in the 
only part of the island in which the institution had a seat. 

In the Banks' Islands the tamate has survived the introduction 
of Christianity. All belief in the supernatural character of 
the associations has long disappeared, all women and children 
know that the tamate are men dressed in disguises made by 
themselves, and that the sounds and cries are naturally 
produced. But these societies had so important a place in the 
social arrangements of the people that they have held their 
ground as clubs. It is not only in the Banks' Islands that 
secrecy and a costume have their attractions. The secrecy of 
the lodges is still maintained, the salagoro is unapproachable 
by women and the uninitiated, the neophyte has still to go 
through his time of probation and seclusion, and the authority 
of the society is maintained by too much of the high-handed 
tyranny of old times 1 . In truth, the social power of these 
societies was too great to be readily dissolved, and in the 

1 It was a matter of principle with Bishop Patteson not to interfere 
in an arbitrary manner with the institutions of the people, but to leave 
it to their own sense of right and wrong, and their own knowledge of 
the character of what they did, to condemn or to tolerate what their growing 
enlightenment would call into question. So there arose among his early pupils 
the doubt whether it would be right for them as Christians to continue members 
of the tamate societies, to seek for admission into them, and frequent their 
lodges. The bishop put it to them that they should enquire and consult among 
themselves about the real character of the societies ; did they offer worship and 
prayer to ghosts or spirits ; were they required to take part in anything indecent 
or atrocious ; did membership involve any profession of belief or practice of 
superstition peculiar to the members ? After consultation they reported to him 
that they could not discover anything wrong in itself, except the pretence of 
association with ghosts, which had already ceased to be serious, and the beating 
and robbing of the uninitiated, which it was quite possible for them to refuse 
to take part in and to oppose. The bishop therefore would not condemn the 
societies, and in the Banks' Islands they continue to exist, and indeed to 
flourish more than it is at all desirable that they should. 

v.] Bunks Islands. 75 

absence of any strong" political organization the importance of 
the position of a member of the largest and most exclusive of 
the societies has been considerable. Many years ago I well 
remember how in the early morning of one day in the island of 
Mota a strange cry was heard repeated from every quarter, 
shrill, prolonged and unmistakeable. It was the cry of the 
tamate ; the members of the Great Tamate were all out and in 
possession of the island ; o vanua we gona, the country was in 
occupation, no one could go about, everything of the business 
of ordinary life was at a standstill till the tamate should be 
satisfied. Upon enquiry we were told that in the evening 
before a man in anger had taken up his bow. In accordance 
with the teaching of Bishop Patteson, and with the authority 
of the great man of the island, the society of the Great Tamate 
had forbidden the use of the bow and arrow in private quarrels 
under penalty of a fine to them. On this occasion the man 
who had been guilty of the offence hastened to atone for it 
with a pig, and all was quiet again. It is not surprising that 
membership in so powerful a society should be valued and not 
readily resigneti. 

I. The Sanies' Islands. The Banks' Islands, with the 
neighbouring Torres group, are undoubtedly the chief seat of 
these societies, which are there universally called ' The Ghosts,' 
o tamate, netmet. In the Torres Islands alone there are a 
hundred of them, and every man belongs to four or five. The 
chief society, the tamate liwoa of Mota, is present everywhere, 
though in some places it is not so important as some more 
exclusive one of local origin. Another association is distin- 
guished by its peculiar dance, and differs from the others in 
having no permanent lodge or club-house; this, the Qat, 
is found in all the Banks' Islands, but not in the Torres 
Islands. All these tamate associations have as their particular 
badge a leaf or a flower. The very numerous and well-marked 
varieties of the croton, which all have their native names, 
furnish the leaves ; the flowers are those of the many varieties 
of hibiscus, all also named/ To stick flowers in the hair, rou, 
is very common ; it is the particular part of the head which is 

76 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

ornamented by the particular flower that marks the member 
of the tamate. To assume the badge without being a member 
of a tamate is an offence against the society, to be punished 
according to the power and position of the society offended. 
In the Torres Islands, for example, one of the three great 
tamate societies is Nipir, and its badge is a hibiscus flower worn 
over the forehead. If any one not a member should be seen 
with this. flower thus worn, a bunch of flowers and leaves 
is set up in a public place by the society, and the offender 
knows that he must forfeit a pig. He brings his pig, ties it 
in the open space in the middle of his village, and stands by 
it ; one of the society then beats him for his presumption, and 
after that he has to go through the regular initiation with the 
payment of the entrance fees. 

' The origin of these societies in the Banks' Islands has no 
light thrown upon it, as in Florida, by tradition, and must be 
presumed therefore to belong to no recent times. There is a 
story that a woman received from a ghost, whom she saw in a 
tree, an image with the hat and cloak of a tamate, and that 
she kept this hidden behind a partition in her house. It 
became known that she had something wonderful concealed, 
and she admitted men on payment to a private view. When 
those who had partaken of the secret became numerous enough 
they took it out of the woman's hands, made a lodge for 
themselves, were taught by the image, which was all the 
while itself a ghost, how to make the dress, and thus set up 
the first tamate association, with the strictest exclusion of 
all women ever afterwards. From this story nothing can be 
learnt concerning the origin of so widely spread an institution. 
The multitude of minor associations, generally named after 
birds, are however mostly local, and may be thought to be 
modern. Any one might start a new society, and gather round 
him his co-founders, taking any object that might strike their 
fancy as the ground and symbol of their association. A 
visitor to Norfolk Island having seen there a bird that was 
strange to him, established on his return to Mota a society- 
called ' the Norfolk Island Bird.' Some such new foundations 

v.] Banks Islands. Lodges. 77 

will succeed and flourish, some will fail ; but the whole number 
in the Banks' Islands and the Torres Islands must be very 
great. Three or four may be common to all the group, some 
few common to two or more islands, the rest more or less 
closely localized. Some are exclusive with heavy entrance 
payments, and are used by elder men of good position; some 
are cheap and easy of entrance. I think it probable that 
where the Great Tamate is powerful, all the members of the 
other societies belong also to that and work together with it, 
except the younger members of the least important, the 
seclusion of which is comparatively little respected. / 

The lodge or secret resort of the Great Tamate is the salagoro^ 
established in some secluded place, generally amidst lofty trees, 
in the neighbourhood of every considerable village or group of 
villages. The path to it is marked where it diverges from the 
public path by bright orange-coloured fruits stuck on reeds, 
bunches of flowers, fronds of cycas, and the customary soloi, 
taboo marks, forbidding entrance. These are repeated at 
intervals till the winding path comes out into the open space 
in which the building stands. Such marks are quite sufficient 
to prevent intrusion, because they represent the whole force of 
the association, not because they rest on any specially religious 
sanction. The whole place is not sacred, rongo, it is set apart, 
tapu, by a sufficient authority. No woman or uninitiated 
person would think of approaching ; foreigners are admitted 
without difficulty; that is to say, those who do not belong to 
those neighbouring islands in which the society is known to 
have a place, Solomon islanders for example. If nothing in the 
way of initiation or particular celebration should be going on, 
the visitor will find only a few members in the place ; some who 
use it as a club for their meals, some whose business it is as 
newly-admitted members to prepare the meals, keep the place 
swept, and remain within for a fixed number of days. Very 
likely a cocoa-nut will be pointed out as representing some one 
whose personal attendance has been excused. The hats and 
dresses worn at the last dance or public demonstration may be 
inspected. The hats are really ingenious, and when new are 

Secret Societies and Mysteries. 


handsome. They are made of bark, painted with such 
vegetable preparations as it is a secret of the fraternity to 
compound, and adorned in bands and in rings round the eyes 
on either side with the scarlet seeds of the abrus precatorius. 
The hats receive the whole head, and come down upon the 


shoulders, where they meet the cloak with a fringe of cycas 
leaves. The shape of the hats is very various ; some have a 
strange resemblance to the cocked hats of naval officers, and 
it has been naturally supposed that the pattern has been taken 
from them. But it is very unlikely that a naval officer has 

Banks Islands. Hats. 


ever been seen in a cocked hat in the Banks' Islands, and the 
masks of that shape were certainly seen when masks were first 
seen there by Europeans 1 . Besides these hats the house of 


the salagoro will not be found to contain anything 1 more than 
the usual appliances for cooking- : a certain disappointment is 
probably experienced by every one who first penetrates into 
the mysterious precincts. There is one object, however, which 

1 It is true that when white men were seen with hats they were supposed by 
the natives to wear what corresponded to their own masks. The native name for 

8o Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

is not, or but lately was not, so readily made known. This is 
the apparatus by which the peculiar, and certainly very 
impressive, sound is made, which was believed by the outsiders 
to be the cry or voice of the ghosts. This is a flat, smooth stone, 
on which the butt-end of the stalk of a fan of palm is rubbed. 
The vibration of the fan produces an extraordinary sound, 
which can be modulated in strength and tone at the will of 
the performer, and which proceeding in the stillness of day- 
break from the mysterious recesses of the salagoro, may well 
have carried with it the assurance of a supernatural presence 
and power. The origin of this contrivance is thus narrated. 
Two members of the Great Tamate in Vanua Lava going 
together along the shore heard a strange and unearthly sound 
as they approached a point of land, the usual haunt of ghosts. 
They found this to be produced by an old woman sitting on 
the beach and rubbing down shells for money upon a stone, 
who was contriving to do her work and at the same time 
shelter herself from the sun, by using the handle of her 
palmleaf umbrella for the stick which holds the shell. The 
men perceived the value of the discovery for the purpose 
of their mysteries, ran in upon the woman and killed her, 
and carried off the stone and her umbrella. This apparatus 
does the work which the 'bull-roarer,' too well known in 
the Banks' Islands to be used in mysteries, performs else- 

To obtain admission into any of these societies is to tiro. 
Before admission can be obtained to the Great Tamate, the 
candidate or his friends has to mur with a pig of the valued 
kind called rawe ; and there is also a period of fasting to be 
gone through. When he is admitted he is brought into the 
salafforo, and deposits money at the successive stages of his 
advance, marked by the soloi beside the path till he comes 

a mask worn in one of these societies is the same as that given to the society 
itself, tamate, a ghost ; and tamate has long been established as the name of 
any European hat or cap. Hence it is natural rather to speak of these disguises 
as hats than as masks, and useful perhaps to do so, to distinguish them from the 
masks to cover the face which are in use elsewhere. 

Banks Island 'Tamate'. 


into the house. He has then to goto, remain secluded, so many 
days before he can go back into his village, and after that 
has to serve so many days more in the preparation of the 
daily oven. The number of days of seclusion and of at- 
tendance, and the amount of the admission fees, vary with 
the dignity of the society 1 . In Ureparapara, where the 
Great Tamate is not of much importance, there are three chief 
societies, Ni Pir, No Fov, Ne Menmendol, into which the ad- 
mission is difficult ; the new member has to goto for a hundred 

1 Mr. Palmer thus describes the initiation of children at Pek in Vanua 
Lava. ' A number of children were about to enter the Salagoro, which was the 
cause of the gathering. We passed through a tall screen of cocoa-nut leaves 
some twenty feet high, made so as to hide the precincts of the Salagoro from 
the uninitiated. In the courtyard of the village there was a group of children, 
some babies earned in their fathers' arms, all boys ; these were the candidates 
for admission into the Salagoro. We waited for a short time, when some one 
gave a signal, and one of the men gave a long, loud cry with all the strength of 
his lungs, and then came rushing from a path inland a curious figure I had 
seen dressing up for the occasion. This was the tamate wasawasa (the harmless 
ghost) who was to conduct the children into the Salagoro. He came along with 
a light, springy step, with two white rods in his hands, which he danced up 
and down. All you saw of the man were his two legs. On his head was 
a curious kind of hat or tamate ; it is a mask with holes or slits in it, 
through which he saw ; long fringes made of cocoa-nut leaves blanched 
covered his body entirely, and formed a kind of Inverness cape, through which 
his hands protruded. A singular effect is given to the figure by the peculiar 
high trotting action with which he rushes about, his leafy coat flying about him 
with a rustling noise. He came leaping into the tinesara over a stone wall 
with a springy bound, and danced round and round the group in the middle ; 
and then all at once with a shout rushed into the midst of them, and beat his 
two white wands together till they were broken to shreds over the heads of 
the group. One little fellow got frightened and rushed away, but he soon was 
brought back again. Then the tamate retired into the enclosure, and the group 
filed off in a procession round the tinesara, where a number of pigs were tied 
to stakes. The pigs got a smack from each child ; then they all went in single 
file into the tall enclosure. As we watched them, the same little fellow who 
was frightened before rushed back out of the screen, and after hiding himself 
for a moment jumped up and rushed away into the bush, amidst a roar of 
laughter. I heard afterwards that he ran away home, a distance of some five 
or six miles. This was only the preliminary ceremony. These children will 
have to remain in the enclosure forty or fifty days, till all the money and 
pigs are paid for the privilege of belonging to this club.' Island Voyage, 


82 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

days, and after that to attend to the oven for another hundred 
days. During his first hundred days he does not wash, and 
gets so dirty that when he comes out he is not recognized ; 
so dirty is he, they say, that he cannot be seen. In this 
island the Great Tamate, though it retains the name, has not 
even a salagoro ; a chamber for initiation is made in the 
gamal, the house of the Suqe Club ; the entrance payment 
is small, and infants are admitted. In the Banks' Islands 
also the lesser societies have no salagoro, whether they be 
exclusive like the Oviovi or insignificant like the Meretang\ 
the lodge is the sara. From all the lodges equally women, 
and the uninitiated, the matawonowono who have their eyes 
closed, are strictly excluded. Women will venture to stand 
near the entrance to the retreats of the lesser clubs, which 
are often very little secluded from the public road ; but 
the salagoro of the Great Tamate and the sara of the im- 
portant societies are very carefully respected. The croton 
leaves which are the badge of each are well known ; a 
member of any one will mark with such a leaf the fruit- 
trees or garden that he wishes to reserve for a particular 
use, and the prohibition will be observed ; he has behind 
him the whole tamate 1 , with whom an offender would have 
to deal. 

For the greater part of the year the salagoro or the sara is 
used as a kind of club ; the newly admitted members have the 
duty of preparing a daily meal, which attracts some who have 
no other engagement ; it affords a convenient and somewhat^ 
distinguished resort in the heat of the day. The European 
visitor will be likely to find there any man he wishes to see ; 
he will find a meal there himself when he desires it ; a yam 
from the salagoro oven will be sent to him as a compliment, 
of which no one will venture to partake whose eyes are still 
unopened. From time_to_time the members rouse themselves 

1 Order is kept in the same way among themselves. If any one has made 
a disturbance in the salagoro, a mafcomako, bunch of leaves, is set out, and 
the culprit has to put money upon it, to tape goro o makomaJco, make his 

v.] Banks Island 'Tamatel 83 

into activity, with a view to bring themselves into evidence, 
to attract recruits, to impress the people with a sense of their 
importance, and tb~enjoy a festival. Then they begin to make 
new masks and dresses within their lodge, and the solemn 
sound of the Huge tamale warns all without that the mysteries 
have begun. The country is said to be close, o vanua ive f/ona, 
no one can venture along the paths without the risk of being- 
beaten by the tarn ate. They assume the greatest license in 
carrying off all they want, robbing gardens and stripping 
fruit-trees for their feast, and then any one will suffer who 
has spoken or acted without due respect to the society. The 
ghosts in their disguise will rush into the villages, chasing the 
terrified women and children, and beating any whom they can 
catch ; the disadvantage of remaining outside as matawonowono 
is made apparent 1 . Many of the lesser societies, composed of 
those who are members also of the Great Tamate, whose power 
is at their back, practise the same tyranny; but there are 
some that do not terrify or beat, but come out to show their 
finery and dance. A pretty and pleasant scene it is when two 
or three figures dance forth into the sunshine of the village 
place ; their heads concealed in masks in shape like the cowls 
of Italian becchini, coming down in a point upon the breast, 
and with round eyes painted on the sides, white, and glisten- 
ing with scarlet seeds and the fresh green of the cycas fronds ; 
their bodies hidden in golden brown cloaks of sago leaves ; 

1 The smaller societies make their appearance with less pretence. ' On my 
way home I met a wild and grotesque-looking party of men ; they belonged to 
a tamate society, and they had been to pull a house to pieces in order to compel 
the owner, or his son perhaps, to join them. They were adorned with hibiscus 
flowers and croton leaves, their faces smudged with charcoal, and a leaf in the 
mouth, each carrying a stick. Two or three of these had on a tamate, a hat and 
mask, with a long fringe of leaves reaching down to the heels.' 'At this time 
of the year, when they are baking bread-fruit, some of the young men dress up 
in a mask and put on a dress of dried banana leaves, tied round the neck and 
reaching to the ground, and they dance along with a rustling noise from the dry 
leaves. They either talk gibberish or else in one of the neighbouring dialects. 
The women and children are supposed to be frightened of them, but they often 
give them their dried bread-fruit.' These are the Qasa. Rev. J. Palmer's 
Journals, Island Voyage, 1877, 1883. 

G 2, 

84 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

each holding in either hand a cycas frond as a martyr in a 
picture holds his palm. The women and the little children 
crowd around full of admiration mixed with awe ; ' these are 
good tamate, they never beat or chase us.' In Ureparapara it 
is not the custom to beat the outsiders, but they are not 
slack in insisting on their rules. When an initiation into 
their menmendol is going on there must be no smoke of fire ; 
if smoke is seen anywhere, their sagilo, a bunch of their 
flowers and leaves, is set up, and a pig must be given for the 

In the part of the New Hebrides which closely adjoins the 
Banks' Islands these tamate societies are not so common as in 
those islands ; but there are in Aurora, Araga (Pentecost 
Island), and Ambrym, mysterious associations which have a 
retreat unapproachable by the uninitiated, and a mask and 
dress. In the southern parts of Araga there is said to be what 
is called a tamate , but information fails concerning it ; in 
Ambrym I have been taken into a secret place and shown a 
mask fashioned upon a skull and furnished with a wig of hair, 
and moreover decorated with the tusks of a boar. At any 
rate the Araga tamate is different from the Qeta to be hereafter 

Different from these tamate societies in the Banks' Islands 
in having no permanent place of resort, and yet closely resem- 
bling them in all the most important characteristics, is the 
institution of the Qat, common to all the group. The great 
distinction of this, however, is the dance. The tamate will 
prepare and execute most elaborate performances of the dances 
of their islands, but the Qat itself is danced. For the initia- 
tion, whenever a sufficient number of candidates are forth- 
coming, an enclosure in a retired place is made by a fence of 
reeds, the two ends of which overlap to make an entrance, the 
shark's mouth as it is called, through which it is impossible 
to look. Here the neophytes remain, unwashed and blackened 
with ashes, for an appointed time, learning the dance and the 
song by which the steps of the dance are regulated. To 
obtain admission is, as with the tamate^ to tiro, and money 

v.] Banks Island 'Qatu! 85 

has to be paid ; children too young- to dance have the money 
paid for them and enter ; when they are big enough they go 
in again to learn the dance. Nothing can better represent to 
a visitor the scene of an initiation into religious mysteries than 
the jealously guarded enclosure from which in the dead of 
night strange sounds and loud calls proceed, and the name of 
which associates it with Qat, who may be taken for the god 
whom they worship 1 . But the name Qat refers to the hats 
and not to the v ui ; and enquiry does not discover anv 
religious meaning in the initiation. The neophytes learn a 
dance difficult of execution and requiring much practice, not 
because of a complicated figure, but from the rapidity and 
accuracy with which the steps are stamped. The steps, as in 
other dances, follow a song, and the tapping of a bamboo. 
The Mota song is as follows : Feve ! la us mae, na ven toa, to 
salsal, to salsal, Vevae, la us mae, na ven toa ; ' Mother ! bring 
a bow hither, that I may shoot a fowl, a flying fowl ; Mother, 
bring a bow hither, that I may shoot a fowl.' The same with 
slight verbal change is what is used in Santa Maria, and no 
doubt in the other islands also. As they dance this song is 
silently followed, or sung in a low voice. There are other 
songs learnt and sung in the nin which are not known to the 
uninitiated : I have one from Gaua in Santa Maria, beginning 
'Oh! make the fire and blow it into flame, we will finish 
covering in our oven/ and having nothing in it which might 
not be found in other songs. It may perhaps be thought that 
the simple words of the song with which the Qat is danced veil 
some mysterious meaning ; the initiated declare that it does 
not. When the appointed time is come the newly instructed 
dancers and the initiated come forth with lofty hats upon 
their heads. These hats, in which the Qat was no doubt 
originally danced, answer to the masks of the tamate, but are 

1 Thus Bishop Patteson described his first acquaintance with the Qatu at 
Mota. On that occasion a small boy was detected looking into the enclosure 
from a tree into which he had climbed ; he was seized and taken inside ; by 
way of punishment he was covered with the leaves of the Jcalato nettle-tree 
and he was compelled to join the neophytes. 

86 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

high and pointed, resting on the shoulders ; they are now so 
tall that they require guy ropes on either side to support 
them, and it is impossible to wear them and dance. The Qat 
dance is wonderful indeed. The open space in the middle of 
a village on a moonlight night is lined with the spectators ; 
the loud report of bursting bladders is heard from the wood 
around ; one after another the performers, with a surprisingly 
rapid stamping motion of the feet, enter upon the ground, and 
come to an equally surprising sudden halt ; the leader carries 
a length of bamboo made into a drum, with which he directs 
and controls the dance ; the rest carry in their hands their 
bows. When the dancers are numerous and expert the weight 
and accuracy with which they beat the ground is wonderful ; 
the island seems to shake beneath their feet. In Santa Maria, 
whether at Gaua or at Lakona, the Qat is more elaborate 
and difficult than in Mota or Motalava ; boys at Norfolk 
Island will never undertake it. A practice of three or four 
months is needed for this before newly-initiated performers 
can venture to come out and dance. In former times, when 
the newly-taught dancers made their first appearance, the old 
members past their dancing days from far and near would 
gather round with their bows in their hands and jealously 
watch the steps ; if they saw an error they would shoot ; 
and if any one were hit the blame was laid on the faulty 
dancer ; there was no quarrel with the shooter and no com- 
pensation to be made. 

II. The New Hebrides. In the Northern New Hebrides the 
Qatu, with other institutions of the same kind, has its place 
in Maewo, Omba, and Araga. In Omba, Lepers' Island, I know 
no more than that there is a Qatu, the hats for which are made 
in the shape of a shark ; from the other two islands information 
is abundant. In Maewo, Aurora, there is more than one Qatu, 
but one, the Qatu lata, is the chief. In all these there is 
initiation with trial of endurance by torments and hardships, 
but there is no secret imparted beyond the knowledge of the 
song and dance and the making of the decorations. For the 
initiation an enclosure is made with reeds near a group of 

v.] New Hebrides 'Qatu' 87 

villages ; into these the neophytes are gathered, and here 
they remain unwashed and with very little food and water 
till the appointed time has expired, which may be thirty 
days. During- this time they learn a dance, and songs, but 
they do not, as in the Banks' Islands, follow a song as they 
dance. Little boys are not initiated, because they could not 
endure the hardships and tortures to be gone through ; but 
they can enter by proxy; a man already initiated will go 
through a formal initiation for them. There is no limit of 
age, no period of life to which initiation is more appropriate 
than another ; it is a matter of payment, of giving pigs, which 
a wealthy man will give for his son or brother ; an infant and 
a grown-up man are equally admitted. The mark of a member 
of the Qatu is the flower of the nalnal, a scitamineous plant, 
which no outsider is allowed to wear. Those who enter these 
societies assume a new name, which however does not, as in 
the neighbouring island, supersede the old one. They become 
Tari, or Tula ; the young men, Tileg and Gao, though com- 
monly so called, are Tari-koli and Vula-ngoda in the Qatu. 
While the initiation is going on, if women assemble, as they 
do, to hear the singing in the enclosure where the neophytes 
are being taught, it is an allowed custom for men to carry 
them off and ravish them. For a woman to see the newly 
initiated until they have returned to ordinary life is a mortal 
offence. They come out black with dirt and soot, and are not 
to be seen till they have washed. Not long ago a girl from 
the Uta, inland, saw by accident this washing. She fled to 
Tanoriki, where the Mission school is, for refuge, but they 
could not protect her. The Uta people sent for her and she 
went, knowing that she could not fail to die, and they buried 
her, unresisting, alive. 

The great secret of the society is the making of the Qatu, 
from which the name is taken, and which corresponds to the 
qatu hats of the Banks' Islands, being in fact itself a hat or 
mask. It is made of tree-fern trunks; a pointed upright 
pact, large enough for a man to get within and carry it, and a 
cross-piece pointed at the ends. This cross is daubed with the 

88 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

white grated root of caladium, and painted with pigments only 
known within the society. The pointed top is adorned with a 
tuft of draeaBna leaves ; the ends are connected and kept firm 
by sticks ornamented with sago-palm frondlets ; two large 
eyes are painted on the front ; the back is covered with the 
hairy plexus from the sago fronds. When completed, and the 
day appointed comes, a man within it carries this forth with 
three other men supporting it ; in old days it was believed by 
outsiders to be the work of ghosts. The correspondence 
between this and the tindalo work of the Florida Matambala 
is as remarkable as it is complete. 

An account of his initiation into the chief Qatu, that called 
Qatu ta Gobio, was written for me by a native youth while his 
memory was fresh on the subject. He was probably sixteen 
years old when with two others he passed through what he 
thus relates. 

' Father, let me tell you how I went into the Qatu. I did 
not know what it was when my brother said to me, Now you 
are to go into the Qatu. Then I went, and there was a very 
great crowd in the place where they were celebrating the Qatu. 
Then my brother asked me, Are you strong? and I answered 
him and said, All right ! If I should die, all right ! After 
that I went where there was a building, a gamal, put up for 
the purpose not far from the village; my malo (dress) and 
ornaments were taken off, and I went inside. The gamal was 
narrow, low, and very long, and they had placed inside it two 
rows of Jcalato leaves (of the nettle-tree) sprinkled with salt- 
water, which met together about a yard from the ground. 
And I bent my knees and I ran into it. And that thing, the 
kalatO) that they had put in the gamal, bites exceedingly, and 
they had heated the salt-water before they poured it on the 
leaves, not stalks, nothing but leaves, and they bite exceed- 
ingly. Then when I came out from that thing I cried as 
I never did before or since, and nearly fainted with pain ; and 
I neither ate nor drank water, but did nothing but cry for 
two days, and then I ate food. And the pig (one of his 
brother's which had been given as an entrance fee) they 

v.] New Hebrides. A^t,rora Island. 89 

cooked in an oven ; and they gave me some before it was 
done, and I ate it. After that I was thirsty, and they made a 
very small hole in the ground by stamping with the heel and 
poured cocoa-nut juice into it, and I drank. And they dashed 
water over me, which caused great pain. And the food that 
they gave me was extremely bad. When I was hungry they 
roasted a caladium root over the fire and gave it me underdone ; 
and they trod my food into the ashes ; and the water they 
poured on the ground, and then I drank the water. And if I 
had refused they would have beaten me to death ; but I did 
not refuse, and I ate that food which they made so very bad 
for me. For my mashed food they mashed it on the ground ; 
and they grated bananas that were not full grown to make 
loko ) and stirred it together with dung ; but we three did not 
quite eat up that loko that they made. Then we had to take 
up live embers in our hands ; they stood round us with guns, 
and we laid hold on that burning fire ; they commanded us to 
do it, and we laid hold of that fire. And we lay down on the 
ground and they trod upon us ; they all ran over us, one of 
them taking the lead, and when he had stamped on us as 
he ran they all stamped on us. After that, when we rose 
from the ground, one man took a bow and pretended to 
shoot us. And we did not sit properly down, but lay down 
on the ground to eat our food, and our water also we lay 
down and drank. And with regard to that Qalu it is of 
tree-fern put together like planks, and we grated the qeta 
(caladium) and made the Qatu with it. And in the night 
after that we danced, and next morning we danced for the 
first time the Qatu dance ; and after we had been thirty 
days in that gamal we killed a pig, and then went back 
into the village and stayed in the gamal and cooked that pig. 
And if one washes to stay forty days in that gamal (i. e. of 
initiation) he then comes out ; but that nettle will not soon 
leave him.' 

Not satisfied with this experience, the same youth was 
afterwards admitted into another society in the way which he 
thus describes. 'Father, here again is another Qatu which 

9O Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

we call the Taputae, and exceedingly bad it is. It is well 
that I should tell you the story of what they did to me. 
It was thus. They dug a deep hole, but not very deep, and 
brought a great quantity of dung and put it in the hole, till 
it was full of that very nasty dung ; and they also poured 
water into the hole so that a man could sink in it. That 
hole was not like the well here, but it was dug like the drain 
by the kumara house beside the road ; such it was, and I 
got into it ; and this body of mine was all dung, and my 
hair also was all dung ; and there was a man who poured a 
great quantity of dung over me. Then I got out, and 
washed myself in good water. But those others, grown up 
men, did not get into that ; they did nothing but cry. 
Then some went away, and we danced in the night till morn- 
ing, and then we danced the Qatu dance. After that we 
killed a pig. And the women cannot eat that pig, nor can 
some men, because they have not yet been initiated; and 
that pig is all eaten up at once, none of it will be put by, it 
will be eaten quite up.' 

He adds that the bark of the varu, an hibiscus, is beaten 
out white for the decoration of this Qatu, and that the 
initiated will take a bit of this bark, catch a fish for it, and 
burn the bark as he cooks the fish, thinking that he will 
"thereby obtain mana, magical power, for catching that kind 
of fish. If as he carries this bark he meets an outsider in 
the path who sees it, he will either kill him on the spot, or else 
he will take a pig from him, and the members of the Qat will 
agree to eat the pig and let him live. 

There is in the same island another institution of the same 
character called the Welu. In this the neophyte lies down 
on his face in a hole in the ground cut exactly to his shape, 
and lighted cocoa-nut fronds are cast upon his back. He 
cannot move, and he will not cry. The scars remain upon 
his back the mark of membership. While initiation into 
this is going on there are certain trials or games. A bundle 
of sti< ks is tied with a band of some creeper, and one of the 
neophytes cuts at it with an axe. If he severs it with one 

v.] New Hebrides. Aurora Island. 91 

stroke his party score a gain; if he fails the initiated fall 
upon the others and they fight. The two parties also play 
the ' tug of war ' with a large creeper ; if the neophytes pull 
the others over they go the sooner out of the enclosure ; if 
the others prevail they have to wait. 

There are two things here which call for remark. The 
expression ' dancing the Qat/ and the fact that each mystery 
has its own dance, r to learn which is the chief part of the 


initiation, recall the dances of the Greek mysteries, and the 
African Bushman's use of ' dance ' as equivalent to ' mystery.' 
(Lang's Custom and Myth.) But it appears certain that in 
these Qatu and Welu there is no secret knowledge conveyed, 
no esoteric religious instruction given, no mystery but the 
construction of the Qatu figure and the manner of the Qatu 
dance. In the second place the question arises, why, if no 
other advantage is to be gained than the position of an 
initiated member, natives are willing to pay the entrance 

92 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

fees and suffer as they do. But as it is certain that there is 
no ' making- of young men,' and that initiation is not a step 
to matrimony, so it is equally certain that the social position 
of a native depends very much upon his membership of the 
most important of these clubs ; an outsider could never be 
a person of consequence ; a man of good social position 
would think it his duty to secure the same position for 
his son by entering- him early in the clubs to which he 
himself belonged. To receive a new member with trials of 
his endurance, to let him rise into equality only through 
pain and contumely, has been, and may still be. the way of 
Universities and Schools ; and there is no reason why the 
attraction of a mysterious secret which draws civilized men 
should not work upon the savage. The native neophyte 
also expected before his initiation that he really should 
join in company with the ghosts of the departed ; when 
he was illuminated he enjoyed the deception of those who 
followed him, and was well satisfied to eat their pigs and 
take their money. 

In the island of Araga, Pentecost or Whitsuntide, im- 
mediately south of Aurora, the institution is called the Qeta. 
I have the description of it from one who was made a member 
as an infant, but has seen all the proceedings of late years. 
The rites are celebrated at uncertain intervals, whenever there 
are a sufficient number of candidates forthcoming from a group 
of villages ; at intervals perhaps of six or ten years. Some 
great man (or two or three of them together) presides and 
manages the arrangements, and teaches the songs and dance ; 
the Qeta is said to be his or theirs. The scene of the meeting 
is some ule gogona, a place on which tapu has been laid. 
Many small houses are built there, in which the boys live 
during the first part of their seclusion. Boys of all ages are 
initiated, generally about the time of putting on the malo, the 
dress worn by men ; all are initiated sooner or later, none 
grow up without it; to put on the malo and to enter the 
Qeta are necessary steps in life. The entrance payment is 
a mat given by the father, or guardian, one for each boy. 

v.] New Hebrides. Pentecost Island. 93 

When the day appointed for the Qeta comes, all the initiated 
assemble at the place, and the women keep away. There is no 
enclosure, but when the ceremony begins a stick is laid upon 
the ground as a mark of entrance, and two companies of the 
initiated stand singing within the mark with a space between 
them. The boy who enters steps over the stick, and as he 
does so, if he has already a malo, they break unexpectedly his 
girdle string ; the malo falls and he enters naked. If the boy 
is too young to walk, he is carried over by his father or the 
friend who pays for him. The boys do not remain naked 
during the whole time of their seclusion, a fresh malo is given 
to each of them. My informant, himself initiated in his 
father's arms, began his story by saying that the Qeta was 
exceedingly bad. Being desired at the end of it to point out 
what there was exceedingly bad in the whole proceeding he 
referred to this, to expose a boy naked who had the malo was 
very bad indeed. When entered the neophytes stay in the 
houses, except when they come out to eat and sing and dance ; 
they have their bodies blackened with charcoal, and wear no 
ornaments. There are long rows of seats made on which the 
boys sit to eat ; the initiated feed them, giving each a bite, 
and the boys get nothing else to eat, though the initiated 
bring in food for themselves and eat it privately. The boys 
are taught a dance and song, singing aloud and dancing 
round the seats. The meaning of the song is trifling ; its use 
is to mark the steps of the dance. There is absolutely no 
secret, or any other knowledge communicated than that of 
the song and dance, and nothing else in the way of initiation. 
The time of seclusion is uncertain. After the first three days 
the greater number of the initiated go away ; food runs short, 
though the boys have very small bites ; they begin to scatter 
a little, not going into the villages, but living in little houses 
near the gardens, the men looking after and feeding each 
household of boys. The whole time of seclusion lasts about 
five months, that is to say that yams are planted when it 
begins and the harvest is waited for. In the later time the 
restriction as to food is easier, but no fish or shell-fish is 

94 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

allowed ; the beach is made gogona^ unapproachable, on their 
behalf; no one can go there to gather shell-fish. During the 
whole time of seclusion the boys are not allowed to wash, and 
their bodies have become quite black. The conclusion, there- 
fore, of the whole thing is that when the first yams are dug 
they assemble in one body and go down to the beach to wash 
and eat. The women then come and look at them. After 
this they return to their villages, and having become tari, 
they assume a name with that prefix, Tariliu, Tarisuluana. 
In all there appears to be no thought of intercourse with 
ghosts or spirits ; but no doubt the master of the qeta makes 
his prayers and offerings for success. 

III. Solomon Islands. From the New Hebrides to Florida 
in the Solomon Islands is a long step, but in the Matambala 
appears very plainly another form of the Qatu. The seat of 
it is a district of Florida called Belaga, where alone the rites 
were celebrated, men from the other districts coming to be 
initiated there. The origin of the institution is ascribed to 
one Siko, who came from Bugotu in Ysabel. To him sacrifices 
were made in their assemblies by a succession of men who had 
received the office till the year 1883, when the last embraced 
Christianity, and the Matambala came to an end. The mys- 
teries were celebrated at irregular intervals of six or ten years, 
but the initiated formed a permanent body, and a certain part 
of the beach at Belaga with the forest behind it was always 
tambu, so that no uninitiated person might enter the precincts, 
and no woman might pass along the beach. Within this 
sacred region there were twelve vunut/ia sanctuaries, and in 
each one a sacred vovoko house was built ; but the two vunutha 
at Materago and at Volotha were far more important than the 
rest, and the houses built there so sacred that no man entered 
them nor even approached them ; there were images in them 
of birds and fish, crocodiles and sharks, the sun and moon, and 
men. The building of these two houses was the beginning 
of the chief part of the proceedings. In all that they did 
they supposed themselves to be following the course of Siko's 

v.] Solomon Islands. Florida. 95 

I have a written account of the proceedings sent from Belaga 
by an old friend and pupil of mine, and explained to me in 
all particulars in Norfolk Island by a native of a neighbouring- 
district, who remembered his own initiation perfectly well. 
I have also been furnished by Bishop Selwyn with the account 
given to him at Belaga, the seat of the Matambala, by initiated 
men. It is not easy in all points to connect the two accounts, 
and some of the particulars are described with unnecessary 
minuteness, but the general course and character of the 
proceedings are plain 1 . The month in which the whole 
begins is that in which the canarium almonds become ripe, 
and the 'bigo, the gathering of the first-fruits, hereafter to be 
described, is the first step in the ceremonial. The cracking of 
the nuts begins at Gole and goes through the twelve places to 
Buthinigai. The women and children set baskets in rows 
along the road when the new moon of ligo is seen, and the 
men gather the almonds from morning till nightfall, and fill 
the baskets with them. The next moon is the moon of 
sweeping, and they sweep the paths from Gole to Buthinigai, 
signifying that the paths are now reserved for the Matambala. 
Then follows the time of the close tambu, when the whole 
district becomes sacred, and the Teimbelaga, when they all 
assemble at Materago to see the sasale dance of Siko in the 

On the following morning the Matambala, those already 

1 The native account begins, ' The Story of Siko who began it, a man from 
over sea. Siko was a man of former times, a countryman of Bugotu. And 
Doriki and he separated ; the reason of their separation was that Siko should 
not be chief, said Doriki, and Doriki should not be chief, said Siko ; and Doriki 
got the upper hand, so that Siko fled secretly, and made his way hither 
to Belaga ; he first came ashore down at Siota, and he liked the place there, 
but he looked back and still could see to Bugotu, so he put again into his 
canoe his men and property, and came along to Materago, where he could no 
longer see to Bugotu, and so there he dwelt. After that he divided them (the 
men with him) to twelve villages, to Gole, Vunavutu, Salesapa, Talabuga, 
Materago, Nagokania, Taiegu, Balotoga, Tangadala, Volotha, Mavealu, 
Buthinigai ; and he said to them, Let us do things as we did at Bugotu, said 
he to them. And he chose them to be chiefs in those villages,' their names 
being given, one to each village. 

96 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

initiated, go down to occupy houses that have been built upon 
the beach, and remain there till the proceedings are over. The 
initiated from each village take with them their friends who 
are to be admitted, but do not yet let them enter the wnutta, 
the sanctuary in the bush, where they themselves are occupied 
in making the structures of bamboo which are called the 
tindalo, the ghosts. These were of several forms. One called 
the Voi was described to the Bishop as a screen some ten feet 
long by nine high, made of bark painted and ornamented, and 
carried out by several men behind it into the open, where it 
could be seen by the women, children, and uninitiated, who 
firmly believed it to be not so much the handiwork of ghosts 
as an appearance of the ghosts themselves. Another, the 
Koitaba-vunutha, was so large that eighty or a hundred men 
inside it carried it down to the beach, where the outside 
population gazed at it. There was another instrument, the 
Kuku, a wooden club with a bird's head. One of the first pro- 
ceedings of the Matambala men after the paths were swept, 
and the country was made close, was to cut down tall bamboos 
for these structures, tie them in bundles, and lay them in the 
sun to dry. ' After a while they brought these down to the 
vunutha, and added length to length till they were extremely 
long ; and then they took vines and sago spathes and fastened 
them to the bamboos which they had prepared; and then 
they took coleus and turmeric ; the coleus they chewed for the 
juice and squeezed wild oranges to mix with it and make it 
red ; and the turmeric they pounded in a wooden pot. Then 
they painted with these things the sago spathes that they had 
fastened on to the bamboos, variegated and dazzling, very 
fearful for us to behold.' The tindalo figures, of which thirty 
or forty were made in one place, must have resembled the 
Qatu masks or hats of the Banks' Islands, though they were 
very much higher ; for like them they were conical in shape, 
and were moved by men inside them. 'And when all was 
finished they appointed their day for the spectacle ; and all 
the women and boys came out in the evening and viewed the 
tindalo 3 and all the men in the vmiutha held up and brought 

v.] Florida ' Matambala' 97 

down the tindalo images to the beach ; and all the women and 
the boys thought that they were nothing but ghosts, because 
they did not know how they were made. After that they 
appointed again the day after the morrow for the show, and 
when that day came the women again came out into the open 
for the spectacle. And when the show made in that way 
was over, the men took the tindalo images back into the 
vunutka, and burnt up with fire all those images. When that 
was done, all the men came back to their villages from 
the vunutha. And it was not possible to make known -to 
women and boys things of this kind ; but at length, when this 
Gospel reached us, then it came out, so that all the women 
and the boys and the uninitiated understood all about things 
of this kind.' 

The uninitiated were called telegai, the neophytes the new 
Matambala. As in the Banks' Islands and the New Hebrides, 
there was no knowledge communicated, except of the fact that 
whatever was done was the work of men and not of ghosts, 
which was no doubt a surprising revelation. Still, however, we 
may be sure that the Matambala, new and old, firmly believed 
that the art of making the images and the course of all their 
proceedings had been taught by Siko, now a tindalo, and that 
they were guided and enabled by the supernatural assistance of 
Siko and his companions, now tindalo, and by the ghosts also of 
their eminent predecessors in the Matambala, all of whom as 
well as Siko were invoked with sacrifices. But there was no 
esoteric doctrine taught, nor any secret imparted beyond that of 
the making of the images. On this point the witness of the 
initiated is as clear in Florida as in the Banks' Islands and the 
New Hebrides. A certain rite, or mark, of initiation there 
was ; the candidate clasped a tree, and was touched in six 
places with a fire-stick on shoulders, loins, and buttocks. 
When thus branded they were told that they were now Siko's 
men, or Siko's messengers. In admission to these mysteries, 
also, there was no limit of age, and no time of life more ap- 
propriate than another. Grown-up men were admitted, who 
generally came from other parts of the island ; at Belag^ 

98 Secret Societies and Mysteries. [CH. 

and the immediate neighbourhood the boys were initiated 
whenever the ceremonies took place. Young children, even 
sucklings, were made Matambala ; for the latter they would go 
into the villages and beg milk from the women, since the 
infants could not come out of the sacred precints and the 
women could not go in ; they were branded with the slender 
midribs of the leaflets of the cocoa-nut. Nothing was paid for 
entrance to the Matambala. The initiation of the new members 
was not performed till they had been some time living in the 
houses on the beach, while the mysterious figures were being 
constructed in the secret places in the wood ; it was part of 
their preparation that they should be frightened by the bird- 
headed clubs, the kuku. and they were threatened with death 
if they revealed the secrets. Altogether they remained away 
from their homes three months. 

During the whole of this time the Matambala, under cover of 
the terror of their pretended association with ghosts, and 
taking advantage of the closing of the paths, were playing 
tricks and robbing in all the country round. They would 
come as far as to Gaeta to steal pigs to sacrifice to Siko ; they 
would cut down trees to fall across the roads, and no one 
dared remove them ; they would pull down cocoa-nut palms 
and big trees with ropes in the night as a proof that the 
ghosts were abroad, for no mere man could be supposed so 
strong as to overthrow them. From time to time they 
sacrificed to Siko. More than once also they made their 
appearance in the villages. ' When the bamboos have been 
cut down, they appoint a three days' space for the going up 
inland of the ghosts (that is, of the Matambala), and when the 
three days' space is past, then about the time of the clock 
striking ten at night the ghosts go up. And all the women 
in the villages have been making tutu and^0&z (mashes of food) 
since morning. And when the night has come the men of the 
Matambala down at the beach take luro (bull-roarers), and 
seesee (bundles of cocoa-nut fronds to beat over a stick), and go 
up inland with them and approach the village ; and they beat 
the seesee and whirl the buro, and come into the village ; and 

Florida * Matambafal 


they whistle and cluck, and all the women in the village shut 
fast their houses and are much afraid, because they think that 
they are surely ghosts ; and they take the tutu and the gola, 
and give it to the ghosts outside. Then all the men cry 
mbuemlue, and go down back again to the shore. After that, 
again, they fix their day for the going up of the ghosts, and 
they fix the fourth day; and when the fourth day has come, 
and it is night, then they take again as before the seesee and 
the buro, and go out again, and go and beat the seesee and 
whirl the bwro, and whistle and cluck ; and again they give 
them the tutu and soisombi mixed with almonds ; and then all 
the men cry mbuemfate, and go down again to the beach.' The 
women prepared small holes in the wall of the house, through 
which to push out the food to the Matambala, a contrivance to 
prevent them from feeling the hands of the men. When the 
women hear the whistle they ask, ' Who are you, are you Siko ? ' 
and the man whistles in answer and takes the food. Great 
care was taken lest the men should be seen when the ghosts 
were believed to be about, and the Matambala were covered, as 
elsewhere, with a cloak of leaves ; but in the daytime they 
went among the women, gave notice of what the ghosts were 
going to do, and called attention to what had been done by 

The downfall of this superstition and imposture has been 
complete. It had long been undermined by the free admission 
of Florida boys and young men into the salagoro of the Banks' 
Islands, and the knowledge acquired there of what ghost 
mysteries really were. No Matambala celebration had taken 
place for some years ; all the young people knew how the 
thing was done, though the elders did not give up their belief 
in Siko, or the notion that there was something supernatural 
about it. At length, as said before, the man who knew how 
to sacrifice to Siko became a Christian, the sacred precincts 
were explored, bull-roarers became the playthings of the boys, 
and the old men sat and wept over the profanation and their 
loss of power and privilege *. 

1 ' I was sorry one day to hear that a lot of Gaeta young men had been 

H % 

ioo Secret Societies and Mysteries. 

I know of no other Matambala or similar institution in the 
Solomon Islands ; but in Malanta and Ulawa there is a period 
of seclusion for a boy as he grows up, which to a Banks' 
islander appears to be an entrance into the salagoro. 

chaffing some old fellows who came from Materago to such an extent that they 
sat down and cried bitterly.' Journal of Rev. A. Penny, under whose teaching 
the downfall of the mysteries was brought about. 



IN every village and group of houses in the Torres Islands, 
the Banks' Islands, and the Northern New Hebrides, is con- 
spicuous a building- which does not appear to be a dwelling- 
house. In a populous village of the Banks' Islands it is very 
long and low, with entrances at intervals along the sides 
below the wall-plate, with stone seats or a stone platform at 
the main entrances at either end, and low stone walls planted 
with dracaenas and crotons near the same, with the jawbones 
of pigs and backbones of fish hanging under the eaves ; and 
very often the clatter of pounding sticks in wooden vessels and 
white clouds of steam make known the preparation of a meal. 
This is a gamal. The same name, and a building of the same 
general character, with some difference of form, is to be found 
in the New Hebrides as far south as the Shepherd Islands at 
least. What are called ' Chiefs' houses ' in New Caledonia 
probably represent the same. In some of the Banks' Islands, 
again, a visitor on entering a village would see one or more 
platforms squarely built up of stones, with high, pointed 
little edifices upon them, open in the front like shrines, the 
embers of a fire below, and above an image grotesquely shaped 
in human form. He would naturally take these for shrines 
of idols with the altars of sacrifices to them ; but these also 
are gamal ; the little edifice is the eating-place of a man of 
rank ; the fire has cooked his food, which none but he in that 
place can eat, and the image is the emblem of his degree. 
In another island of the same group a gamal may be seen with 

IO2 Societies or Clubs. [CH. 

one end newly built and loftier than the rest, or else with one 
end in ruin while the rest is in good repair and full occupation. 
Here again there is a man, perhaps two or three, lately raised 
to a new degree, for whom a special eating-place has been 
prepared ; or the men of high degree have all died out from 
the village, and no one of lower rank can enter into their 
place. Within, these long buildings are found to be divided 
across by log fences, the iingtingiav, the fire-boundaries ; each 
division contains its oven, with the appliances for cookery 
around ; log pillows and mats complete the furniture. The 
gamaV is a club-house, and the club is called the Siiqe 
in the islands where I have any considerable acquaintance 
with it. 

In all the Melanesian groups it is the rule that there is in 
every village a building of public character, where the men 
eat and spend their time, the young men sleep, strangers are 
entertained ; where as in the Solomon Islands the canoes are 
kept ; where images are seen, and from which women are 
generally excluded ; the kiala of Florida, the oka of San 
Cristoval, the madai of Santa Cruz, the tambu house of traders, 
the hire of Fiji ; and all these no doubt correspond to the 
lalai and other public halls of the Malay Archipelago. 
But these are not club-houses, as are the gamal houses of the 
Suqe, which serve indeed to a considerable extent for public 
purposes, because almost every man is a member of the club, 
but are in fact the homes of a society in which every one has 
his place according to his rank in the society. 

The name Suqe is the same as that of the Wm, the super- 
natural personage, Supwe of the New Hebrides, but it is 
doubtful whether any connexion between the two really 
exists ; for in the Banks' Islands, where the society is in 
great vigour, there is no Vui Suqe known, and in Whitsun- 
tide of the New Hebrides, where the Wui, Supwe is recognized, 
the society has another name. Nothing is known of the 
origin of the club. It is not connected with the secret 
societies of the g-hosts, and is not a secret society of the same 
kind. The club-house is in the open, and every one, except 

vi.] Banks Islands ' Siiqe' 103 

when new members are admitted, can see what is going on, 
though women are most strictly excluded. It is a social, not 
at all a religious, institution ; yet, inasmuch as religious 
practices enter into the common life of the people, and all 
success and advance in life is believed to be due to mana, 
supernatural influence, the aid- of unseen powers is sought for 
by fasting, sacrifices, and prayers, in order to 'mount to the 
successive degrees of the society. To rise from step to step 
money is wanted, and food and pigs ; no one can get these 
unless he has mana for it ; therefore as mana gets a man on 
in the Suqe, so every one high in the Suqe is certainly a man 
with mana, and a man of authority, a great man, one who may 
be called a chief, whom traders may call a king. A man who 
has got to the very top and emerged, me wot, is a very great 
man indeed ; he has the title of Wetttka, as if he had reached 
the sky ; he is of a rank which very few have attained, and 
without his consent, to be obtained by substantial payment, 
no one can be advanced at all. In the Banks' Island stories 
the poor lad or orphan who becomes the Fortunate Youth 
rises to greatness by the Suqe ; he takes the highest grade in 
this instead of marrying the king's daughter. In the absence 
of any more directly political arrangements among the people, 
it is plain that a valuable bond of society is furnished by the 
Suqe t in which the male population generally is united, and in 
which a considerable power of control is vested in the elder 
and richer men, who can admit or reject candidates for the 
higher ranks as they think fit. The great mass of the natives 
never rise above the middle rank, many never arrive at that ; 
but almost all, for the exceptions are very rare, are brought 
while still boys into the society. A man who has never 
entered has the nickname of a lusa, a kind of flying fox which 
does not gather with the flocks of the common sort. At 
entrance and at every successive step money has to be paid to 
those who have already attained it, and a feast more or less 
costly given according to the rank to be attained. Hence, 
while hardly any lad is so friendless as not to enter the 
lowest division, hardly any live to rise to the highest place ; 


Societies or Clubs. 


unless indeed they have entered very young 1 , have had their 
early steps bought, for them, and have been very prosperous 
in their undertakings. The higher steps are occasion of large 
popular gatherings and feasts, with songs and dances, and 
come near to the kolekole hereafter to be described ; there are 
hats also and images appropriated to these highest ranks. 


The number of ovens and ranks varies in different islands ; 
the people of each think their own Suqe the correct one ; but 
all acknowledge the value of the respective ranks, though they 
may be attained under very various conditions. 

In the Banks' Islands the Suqe gf Mota has many steps 
and ovens, all av-tapug. Beginning with the lowest : (i) Eur- 

vi.] Banks Islands ' Suqe* 105 

won, (2) Avrig, (3) Qat tagiav, (4) Avtagataga, (5) Luwaiav, (6) 
Tamasuria, (7) Tavasuqe, (8) Tavasuqelava, (9) Kerepue, (jo) !/<?&, 
(u) 7<?z%, (12) Zflfto, (13) Poroporolava, (14) Wometeloa, (15) 
Welgan, (16) Wesukut y (17) Wetaur-o-meligo, (18) Tiqangwono. 
The lowest are commonly skipped over or taken together ; on 
the other hand, there are three degrees under the eleventh 
name, and two under the twelfth. Some of the names carry a 
meaning with them: avriy, the little fire; kerepue, the bottom 
of the bamboo water-carrier ; mele, the cycas, which has a certain 
sanctity; poroporolava, great joking ; wometeloa, the face of the 
sun ; wetaur-o-meligo, catches the clouds ; tiqangwono, shoots and 
completes. The lano wears a very tall conical hat, like that of 
the Qal, but sometimes forked; the por oporolava hasan-image 
of a man ringed black and white ; the wometeloa an image of 
a man carrying on his head with outstretched arms a disk 
representing the firmament, with heavenly bodies painted on 
it. These images are carried about at the feast which cele- 
brates the step in rank, and are afterwards set up in the little 
gamal in which the great man cooks his food ; the hat is 
worn by the new lano at the feast he makes, and is afterwards 
to be seen leaning against the gamal. At Gaua in Santa 
Maria the ovens are not so many ; boys begin high up,, so 
that a Gaua boy often ranks with a gray-haired Mota man. 
Those who reach the higher ranks build a gamal on a lofty 
platform of stones for every oven or step, for which at Mota 
they are content to raise the 'gamal end. In the Torres 
Islands, or at least in one of them, there are only seven ovens 
and degrees of ranks in the Huqa, as the Suqe is there called, 
and in the gamal, the first being the avlav, big fire, which 
is rather on the threshold of the gamal than in it. Young 
boys do not enter into the club there. In all these islands 
the distinction between each successive stage is strictly 
marked ; any one stepping over the boundary to the oven 
above him would be trampled to death by those on whom he 
had intruded. 

The way of entering the Suqe and making further advances 
in it is fixed and elaborate. The candidate must have in the 

io6 Societies or Clubs. [CH. 

first place his introducer, a boy's mother's brother by rights, 
whose good-will some months before must be secured by the 
present of a pig, which is made over formally to him with a 
slap upon its back. Having undertaken to make the suqe for 
his candidate, the patron makes a feast for him with a dance, 
decorating the village square with male pandanus flowers, and 
setting out money for him ; the partakers of the feast, in- 
cluding the candidate, make him a present of a little money, 
and he makes a return present to them ; they vene, shoot, and 
he sar, compensates. For the lowest grade in Mota the vene 
money is only half a fathom, returned with a full fathom ; for 
the higher grades very much money is required, and some- 
times money fails and pigs are brought in. A boy who has 
no property of his own is supplied by his father or some 
friend with what is necessary for engaging the patronage of 
his uncle, upon whom the expense chiefly falls. In the higher 
grades the candidate for advance still has his patron, but the 
expenses fall upon himself, aided by his friends with gifts, 
mategae, of pigs and money; his wife's father is expected to 
be liberal in this. The candidate makes a return to the 
patron as liberally as he can for all that he has done in his 
behalf. The formal entrance into the society, or into a higher 
grade in it, has two parts. When the time comes, a day 
having been appointed and made known, the women leave the 
village before nightfall, and the members meet in the gamal. 
The candidate goes into the division in which is the fire and 
oven to which he is to belong. His patron breaks the string 
of some money and sheds it into a basket ; the others put on 
the money a garland of bamboo leaves in the lower degrees, 
of cycas leaves for the mele, cycas, rank and all above it. 
This is to soso makomako, to fill the garland. The new 
member then sits, and some one who is chosen for his fluency 
of speech discourses to him, tells him that it is his duty to 
work for his oven and not to complain if his duties are hard. 
They then give him a bit of an almond, and each member 
takes a bit in his hand ; they all hold the almond to their 
lips, and at a certain word they negneg, eat together. The 

vi.] Banks Islands ' Suqe! 107 

word is only this, ' I give you food from my fire.' Then the 
money in the basket is distributed ; they sese makomalco, pull 
apart the garland. The gana tapug, the ceremonial eating, is 
thus finished in the night ; next morning, nowadays, comes 
the wol tapug, the buying of the suqe ; in former days an 
interval of ten days came in. The new member now breaks 
his money strings, touches the food of various kinds that he 
has provided, which he could not do before for he had been 
fasting for some days, and distributes his money and food to 
every fire-place in the gamal. A general feast follows. He 
himself has to goto, to remain in the gamal and eat only from 
his av tapug, his suqe fire, for so many days according to his 
rank ; for the middle ranks five days or ten, for the highest 
ranks many more. The feast made at the entrance to a 
higher rank is a public one, the distinction between the food 
cooked in the ceremonial fire, the av tapug^ and the rest 
being carefully preserved. Where, as in the highest ranks, 
there are but few present who can eat from the oven newly 
reached, food from it is sent to a distance to men of the same 
rank. The pigs also, the chief provision and mark of an 
abundant hospitality, are not killed and consumed at the 
feast ; they are sent off to different quarters, with a slap from 
the newly-raised member of the club, by whom or in behalf 
of whom they have been given, and sometimes with a 
ceremonial representation of being killed. For the lower 
ranks, or in a wealthy family where it is a matter of course 
that a boy should have his steps bought for him, the feast is 
a merry-making of the neighbours ; crowds flock to the great 
feasts and dances which are made when the highest steps are 
taken, and when the new man desires to make the most of his 
social elevation. There was a dress, malo-sarw, used only on such 
an occasion, now no longer to be seen ; a kind of cape, in 
four oblong parts, beautifully made in coloured matting, the 
highest product of Banks' Island art. The candidate for such 
steps would not be seen for many days before, being confined 
in an inner chamber in the gamal, and fasting there. On such 
an occasion, moreover, logs of a tree called palako are brought 


Societies or Clubs. 


out, which are supposed to be heavy with the ghostly power 
which they contain and symbolize, that mana without which 
nothing important can succeed. The incidents of one of 


these feasts are thus described : ' Seven palalco logs dressed in 
cycas leaves and flowers were brought in on the shoulders of 
men of rank, who walked as if the weight was heavy on 


Banks \ Islands ' Suge! 


them. Then, preceded by a man carrying aloft in a dish the 
money paid for the palako by the giver of the feast, the 
bearers danced round with them as if with burdened steps. 
A drum was beating all the time, and singing going on. 
The newly-advanced giver of the feast danced out and round, 
kicking up his heels behind him, and carrying a palm-leaf 
umbrella before his face, because of his modesty, they said, in 
his new position. Then a man of high position in the Suqe 
pranced forth and made a speech. The correct thing seems to 
be to pant a good deal, as other people cough, to disguise a 
want of eloquence ; it shews that the orator is a man of sub- 
stance, well fed and short-winded. He trotted backwards and 
forwards before the palakos, with his new messmate at his 
heels modestly covering his face. His speech was interpreted 
as to this effect : " This man has had difficulty in getting into 
this position ; he has been a long while about it, but we have 
now let him in. He has spent a great deal of money on 
these palakos and decorations, and he gives many pigs ; he 
does the thing very handsomely." Then the pigs were 
brought out one by one and smacked by the giver of the 
feast, as he handed them over to another great man who 
decided where they were to go. There were four or five great 
fat beasts, each with his own name, and several more of lesser 
dignity. As each pig was smacked, three other great men 
blew a loud blast on conch-shells. Then the new man laid 
out his money on the ground, and the conchs were blown 
again. The last act of the ceremony was the appearance of 
another great man with a bow and arrows. He and the 
modest host, with his palm-leaf over his face, capered about for 
a while, and then he made his speech to this effect : " The 
man who undertook to introduce this new member to his 
present position is dead ; but I have taken him up instead. 
He has done handsomely pigs, money, and everything that 
is right." Then he rushed at the biggest pig, whose name 
was Puss, and shot him with two arrows, much to his disgust. 
This was only a form of killing the pig, for the arrows were 
quite light ones. After this the host himself made a little 

no / Societies or Clubs. [CH. 

speech. I could not hear what he said ; he had not been 
allowed to eat for five days, and was weak; but I was told 
that it was to the effect that some people had said the money 
was not enough, and now here was some more.' 

Though women are completely excluded from the Suqe of 
the men, they have something of the sort among them- 
selves, which is called improperly by the same name. They 
admit to grades of honour on payment of money and making 
of a feast, and so become tavine motar, women of distinction. 
By their Suqe they become rich in money, with which to 
help their husbands in their steps in rank, and they plant 
their own gardens for the feasts. Thus they advance to be 
tattooed, to wear shell bracelets, to put on an ornamented 
pari, the woman's scanty garment, to decorate their faces 
with red earth, in all which glories the tavine worawora, the 
common woman, can have no share. But this is in the way 
of Ttolekoh rather than of suqe ; two things which become so 
connected in the higher ranks of men that an account of one 
is incomplete without an explanation of the other. 

A kolekoU is a feast with dancing and singing made in 
connexion with a certain object, and giving a certain rank 
marked by its appropriate ornament. A man makes such a 
feast for himself, or for his son or nephew. When one has 
reached the highest place in the Suqe, he can still advance 
in the world by kolekole and he often accompanies with 
these his regular progress in Suqe rank. The story of the Little 
Orphan exhibits in a succession of these festivals a picture 
of native grandeur and success. When a man builds a new 
house he will kole it, and a nule, a grotesque image, will 
remain as a memorial at the door. When a new gamal for 
the Suqe is built, or when a man adds a compartment for the 
oven, to which he has lately risen or is to rise, there is a 
kole-gamal. A stone is brought up from the beach and placed 
near the gamal., or a wona, a platform of stones, is built up, 
and a feast is made to kole it. The maker of the feast, or 
the youth in whose honour it is made, dances on the stone, 
and can wear upon his ankle afterwards a wetapup, an orna- 

vi.] Banks Islands ' SnqeJ ' Kolekole! 1 1 1 

ment of the fine feathers from near the eyes of fowls, dyed 
crimson and woven into a string, and the stone remains 
as a memorial. A kolekole ngere qoe gives the right to wear 
a necklace of ivetajmp, and the herb of the occasion dances 
in a hat. Another kind gives the right to wear a pig's -tail 
in the hair; I have seen a man at Mae wo with five and 
twenty. If a man had a wonderful or rare thing in his 
possession, brought from foreign parts perhaps, as a white 
cockatoo from the Solomon Islands, he might hole this ; or 
more probably he would take advantage of another man's 
feast, and dance about exhibiting it. Orators mounted on the 
gamal roof, or on the new-built house, would harangue the 
crowd, setting forth the virtues of the giver of the feast ; 
others would go about with baskets of his money proclaim- 
ing his liberality; the decorated palako logs heavy with 
mana would be carried in ; pigs would be dismissed to distant 
villages with a smack from the giver ; crowds from all parts 
assembled ; dancers and drummers exerted themselves in view 
of the morrow's payment ; women competed with new songs 
for a prize and honour. It was a great thing for a man to 
have a large assemblage at his feast, and a great satisfaction 
to his enemy to prevent it ; each would therefore use charms 
to further his purpose. A man would rub the leaves of a 
scented ginger-plant, or a strong-smelling erythrina, in his 
hands overnight and hang them over the fire ; he would chop 
the twigs and leaves, singing over them a charm ; he would 
chew and puff all night to get mana ; in the morning he 
would blow his shell trumpet to spread abroad the influence 
of his leaves, which would avut, draw a multitude to the feast. 
A counteracting charm from the adversary would make men 
feel disinclined to go. Another decoration to be obtained by 
giving a dance and feast is the urai non Qat of Mota, noran 
Qat of the Torres Islands, where perhaps it is now most 
practised, the head anointing of Qat. The head is smeared 
over with a mixture of a certain dust from a tree with the 
juice of coleus leaves and native oranges and salt water, which 
makes a brilliant red colour. There is another preparation of 

1 1 2 Societies or Clubs. [CH. 

yellow colour. The Vui Ro Som in the Story of Ganviviris, 
when she made her appearance with all the ornaments that 
money could procure the right to wear, was thus adorned. 

A feast of the same kind is held to commemorate a deliver- 
ance, a Vovo feast ; when the famine and misery following- on 
a disastrous hurricane had passed away at Mota, and food was 
once more abundant, then they celebrated a Vovo feast ; such 
a feast was made by a native of the same island when he had 
quite recovered from a slight wound received at Santa Cruz ; 
he danced about exhibiting his hat with the arrow through it. 

In the northern part of Maewo, Aurora, in the New 
Hebrides, the Suqe is now nearly extinct ; the old members 
use the gamal as a convenient resort, but no one cares for 
admission. The reason for this in a great measure is that 
a place in the Suqe was in old times valued for the advantages 
it carried with it after death. A native wrote that ' the reason 
for Suqe is this, that hereafter when a man comes to die, his 
soul may remain in happiness in that place Panoi ; but if any 
one should die who has not killed a pig, his soul will just stay 
on a tree, hanging for ever on it like a flying fox. On this 
account no man likes his son to remain without anything 
being done ; it is a matter of the first importance for him 
that he should get many pigs and seek money (i. e. mats), so 
that hereafter when all is prepared he may give that money 
to those who have already killed pigs, and that he may be all 
right.' Consequently, on the birth of a son a man s first care 
was to give a pig in his name to make a beginning of Suqe 
for him. But a place in the Suqe carried with it here also the 
same rank and consideration as in the Banks' Islands ; among 
children even, one whose father had not given a pig for his 
admission would be despised ; and when a man had killed his 
pigs properly afterwards on his own account his position in 
society was secured. * He can adorn himself with pigs' -tusks, 
and with that white shell-money that we have, and with the 
leaves of trees most thought of, croton and dracsena or cycas, 
and he thinks to himself, Now I am clear of trouble, there is 
nothing that weighs upon me now.' My friend adds that 

vi.] New Hebrides. Lepers Island. 113 

' there are some now who have perceived that there is no 
truth in this ; and these things they say are the deceits and 
vanities of the world.' 

In Omba, Lepers' Island, the Huge is in full vigour ; a 
gamali is a necessity for a man to eat in, if there be but 
a single dwelling-house. There are not many ranks and 
ovens ; a Lepers' Island gamali appears to a visitor from the 
Banks' Islands short, and lofty. There are but four ranks in 
the society, and therefore but four divisions, diringi, in the 
gamali ; the lowest the toa, the fowl ; the second moli ; the 
third levusi, meaning many; the highest vire, which means 
having fruited or flowered. But there are more ovens than 
one for each rank, and the member has to eat his way up 
through them before he can pass to the next division. So 
there are in one gamali five ovens for moli, and two for levusi. 
When a man has reached the highest rank of vire he can go 
on with it, making another feast and taking another name as 
often as he pleases, becoming every time a greater man. The 
lowest step does not confer a title, but a new name is assumed 
with the higher ranks, shewing the rank. These names, 
however, are not commonly used ; no one, for example, calls 
Tangamben Molimbembe, Moli-butterfly, the name belonging 
to his Moli rank ; but the number of names is great which 
belong to a man who has passed through all ranks and become 
many times a Vire. Age has nothing to do with entrance 
into the society, or with rising in the ranks ; it is merely a 
matter of giving pigs and mats, which serve for money. 
There is nothing whatever of initiation ; all males, except very 
little boys, are members and eat in the gamali. Their friends 
help the boys at first ; but it is the great aim of all to rise 
and gain social position. A boy has a fowl, toa, given him to 
start in life, and a fowl buys him his first step, the toa ; his 
fowls multiply, and he changes some of them for a young 
sow; so his property increases, and as he grows richer he 
desires to take each further step. The higher ranks of the 
Hiiqe give much power and authority, because those who have 
reached them can always keep back those who wish to rise, 

H4 Societies or Clubs. [CH. 

and the good- will of each one of them has to be secured. 
There is less strictness than in the Banks' Islands in the rule 
which keeps each man to his own oven ; one can descend 
from his own above and eat in a lower division, and if one 
should encroach on the place above him he would suffer only 
a fine of pigs. There is the same system of entrance as in the 
Banks' Islands, by which a patron introduces the new member 
and makes his huqe for him, gifts which are to a considerable 
extent reciprocal. The patron is properly one of the same 
family division, the uncle on the mother's side, or the brother. 
Thus, in the case of a boy whose rich father bought him up at 
once in early childhood to the rank of moli, the first step was 
to give a pig to the members of the boy's waivung, as an 
acknowledgment that he was intruding on their province, 
that the patriarchal was intruding on the matriarchal system. 
Afterwards his father gave him a pig, with which a feast was 
made in his name, and each person who took a piece of the 
pig gave a mat in return ; the man who took the head gave 
a mat a hundred fathoms long. Of these mats the boy gave 
his father fifty in return for the pig. Then he gave mats, or 
they were given in his name, to the moli whom he was to join ; 
and when he first went to eat' at their oven they made a 
little feast for him. His friends on his mother's side gave in 
his name a pig to his father, and made him a feast. 

At Whitsuntide Island, Araga, the word Loli takes the 
place of Snqe, but the thing is the same. All the male 
population are in fact members of the society ; wherever 
there is a dwelling-house, there is also a gamal. The divisions 
with the ovens, matan gaU, are twelve; (i) ma langgelu, 
the stage of youth; (2) gabi liv hangvulu, the oven of ten 
tusks ; (3) ma votu ; (4) gain rara, the oven of the ery- 
thrina leaf, which is the badge of the rank ; (5) woda, the 
stone-wall seat by the front of the gamal, on which no 
one below this rank may sit. These five are the inferior 
steps which fathers see that their boys take as soon as 
possible, and as quickly as they can afford to buy them up. 
Though the lowest is nominally that of grown youths, no 

vi.] New Hebrides. Whitsuntide Island. 1 1 5 

child is too young to be admitted for whom the father, or 
more properly the mother's brother, provides the entrance 
payments and presents of pigs and mats. Here, too, though 
in principle the mother's kin should take charge of the boy's 
advancement, the father in practice generally makes it his 
own business. The sixth step, moli, is the first that is 
important ; the youth takes the great loli, ma loli gaivua, and 
assumes a name with the prefix Moli. There are three steps 
of moli. The ninth rank is uclu> the tenth nggarae, the eleventh 
liws-i, the last vira. The patron, or father, of the new moli 
gives him when he attains that rank some of that white and 
beautiful shell-money, which, however, is not used as money, 
but is much valued for ornament. This is worth many pigs, 
and is worn on the arm or wrist in the string, or woven 
into an armlet. These family jewels remain as heirlooms, and 
are made up afresh for the successive wearers. Internal 
discipline is severe ; one who should intrude into the division 
of the gamal above his own would be clubbed or shot. To rise 
to the higher moli and the steps beyond is the ambition of 
every young man, and his friends are bound to help him ; for 
this sacrifices are made, and mana sought from Tagar. For 
gaining new steps in rank many pigs are wanted, many mats, 
abundant supplies of food ; such things come to the man 
supernaturally, he must have mana. The Vira is seldom 
reached ; the man of that rank, like Viradoro now, is in fact 
the chief ; he has great mana and the favour of Tagar, or he 
could not have risen to be what he is ; his authority is para- 
mount in the Loli, for none can rise without his consent, and 
every one is a member of the society and hopes to rise ; he 
has been fortunate in war, or he would not have survived ; 
he comes of a family of rich and leading men who bought his 
first steps when he was a child, and by whose wealth he has 
bought the higher ; he is the great man, the Eatahigi. 

I 2 



THE religion of the Melanesians is the expression of their 
conception of the supernatural, and embraces a very wide range 
of beliefs and practices, the limits of which it would be very 
difficult to define. It is equally difficult to ascertain with 
precision what these beliefs are. The ideas of the natives are 
not clear upon many points, they are not accustomed to present 
them in any systematic form among themselves. An observer 
who should set himself the task of making systematic enquiries, 
must find himself baffled at the outset by the multiplicity of 
the languages with which he has to deal. Suppose him to 
have as a medium of communication a language which he and 
those from whom he seeks information can use freely for the 
ordinary purposes of life, he finds that to fail when he seeks 
to know what is the real meaning of those expressions which 
his informant must needs use in his own tongue, because he 
knows no equivalent for them in the common language which 
is employed. Or if he gives what he supposes to be an equi- 
valent, it will often happen that he and the enquirer do not 
understand that word in the same sense. A missionary has 
his own difficulty in the fact that very much of his com- 
munication is with the young, who do not themselves know 
and understand very much of what their elders believe and 
practice. Converts are disposed to blacken generally and 
indiscriminately their own former state, and with greater zeal 
the present practices of others. There are some things they 
are really ashamed to speak of; and there are others which 

Difficulties. 1 1 7 

they think they ought to consider wrong", because they are 
associated in their memory with what they know to be really 
bad. Many a native Christian will roundly condemn native 
songs and dances, who, when questions begin to clear his 
mind, acknowledges that some dances are quite innocent, 
explains that none that he knows have any religious significance 
whatever, says that many songs also have nothing whatever bad 
in them, and writes out one or two as examples. Natives who 
are still heathen will speak with reserve of what still retains 
with them a sacred character, and a considerate missionary will 
respect such reserve ; if he should not respect it the native may 
very likely fail in his respect for him, and amuse himself at his 
expense. Few missionaries have time to make systematic 
enquiries ; if they do, they are likely to make them too soon, 
and for the whole of their after-career make whatever they 
observe fit into their early scheme of the native religion. 
Often missionaries, it is to be feared, so manage it that neither 
they nor the first generation of their converts really know 
what the old religion of the native people was. There is 
always with missionaries the difficulty of language ; a man 
may speak a native language every day for years and have 
reason to believe he speaks it well, but it will argue ill for his 
real acquaintance with it if he does not find out that he makes 
mistakes. Resident traders, if observant, are free from some 
of a missionary's difficulties ; but they have their own. The 
'pigeon English,' which is sure to come in, carries its own 
deceits ; ' plenty devil ' serves to convey much information ; a 
chief's grave is ' devil stones/ the dancing ground of a village 
is a ' devil ground/ the drums are idols, a dancing club is 
a ' devil stick V The most intelligent travellers and naval 

1 It may be asserted with confidence that a belief in a devil, that is of an 
evil spirit, has no place whatever in the native Melanesian mind. The word 
has certainly not been introduced in the Solomon or Banks' Islands by 
missionaries, who in those groups have never used the word devil. Yet most 
unfortunately it has corne to pass that the religious beliefs of European traders 
have been conveyed to the natives in the word ' devil,' which they use without 
knowing what it means. It is much to be wished that educated Europeans 
would not use the word so loosely as they do. 

n8 Religion. [CH. 

officers pass their short period of observation in this atmosphere 
of confusion. Besides, every one, missionary and visitor, carries 
with him some preconceived ideas ; he expects to see idols, 
and he sees them ; images are labelled idols in museums whose 
makers carved them for amusement ; a Solomon islander 
fashions the head of his lime-box stick into a grotesque figure, 
and it becomes the subject of a woodcut as ' a Solomon Island 
god.' It is extremely difficult for aiiy one to begin enquiries 
without some prepossessions, which, even if he can com- 
municate with the natives in their own language, affect his 
conception of the meaning of the answers he receives. The 
questions he puts guide the native to the answer he thinks 
he ought to give. The native, with very vague beliefs and 
notions floating in cloudy solution in his mind, finds in the 
questions of the European a thread on which these will preci- 
pitate themselves, and, without any intention to deceive, 
avails himself of the opportunity to clear his own mind while 
he satisfies the questioner. 

Some such statement as this of the difficulties in the way 
of a certain knowledge of the subject is a necessary intro- 
duction to the account which is given here of the religion 
of the Melanesians ; and it is desirable that the writer should 
disclaim pretension to accuracy or completeness. The general 
view which is presented must be taken with the particular 
examples of Melanesian belief and customs in matters of 
religion which follow. 

(i) The Melanesian mind is entirely possessed by the belief 
in a supernatural power or influence, called almost universally 
mana 1 . This is what works to effect everything which is 

1 Professor Max Miiller, in his Hibbert Lectures of 1878, did me the honour 
of quoting the following words from a letter. ' The religion of the Melanesians 
consists, as far as belief goes, in the persuasion that there is a supernatural 
power about belonging to the region of the unseen ; and, as far as practice goes, 
in the use of means of getting this power turned to their own benefit. The 
notion of a Supreme Being is altogether foreign to them, or indeed of any being 
occupying a very elevated place in their world. . . There is a belief in a force 
altogether distinct from physical power, which acts in all kinds of ways for 
good and evil, and which it is of the greatest advantage to possess or control. 

vii.] ' Mana' 119 

beyond the ordinary power of men, outside the common 
processes of nature ; it is present in the atmosphere of life, 
attaches itself to persons and to thing's, and is manifested 
by results which can only be ascribed to its operation. 
When one has got it he can use it and direct it, but its 
force may break forth at some new point ; the presence of it 
is ascertained by proof. A man comes by chance upon a 
stone which takes his fancy ; its shape is singular, it is like 
something 1 , it is certainly not a common stone, there must be 
mana in it. So he argues with himself, and he puts it to the 
proof ; he lays it at the root of a tree to the fruit of which it 
has a certain resemblance, or he buries it in the ground when 
he plants his garden ; an abundant crop on the tree or in the 
garden shews that he is right, the stone is mana x , has fchat 
power in it. Having that power it is a vehicle to convey 
mana to other stones. In the same way certain forms of 
words, generally in the form of a song, have power for certain 
purposes ; a charm of words is called a mana. But this power, 
though itself impersonal, is always connected with some person 
who directs it ; all spirits have it, ghosts generally, some men. 
If a stone is found to have a supernatural power, it is because 
a spirit has associated itself with it ; a dead man's bone has 

This is Mana. The word is common 1 believe to the whole Pacific, and people 
have tried very hard to describe what it is in different regions. I think I know 
what our people mean by it, and that meaning seems to me to cover all that I 

hear about it elsewhere. It is a power or influence, not physical, and in a way 

supernatural ; but it shews itself in physical force, or in any kind of power or 
excellence which a man possesses. This Mana is not fixed in anything, and 
can be conveyed in almost anything ; but spirits, whether disembodied souls or 
supernatural beings, have it and can impart it ; and it essentially belongs to 
personal beings to originate it, though it may act through the medium of water, 
or a stone, or a bone. All Melanesian religion consists, in fact, in getting this 
Mana for one's self, or getting it used for one's benefit all religion, that is, as 
far as religious practices go, prayers and sacrifices.' 

1 The word mana is both a noun substantive and a verb ; a transitive form 
of the verb, manag, manalii, manangi, means to impart mana, or to influence 
with it. An object in which mana resides, and a spirit which naturally has 
mana, is said to be mana, with the use of the verb ; a man has mana, but 
cannot properly be said to be mana. 

I2O Religion. [CH. 

with it mana, because the ghost is with the bone ; a man may 
have so close a connexion with a spirit or ghost that he has 
mana in himself also, and can so direct it as to effect what he 
desires ; a charm is powerful because the name of a spirit or 
ghost expressed in the form of words brings into it the power 
which the ghost or spirit exercises through it. Thus all 
conspicuous success is a proof that a man has mana ; his 
influence depends on the impression made on the people's 
mind that he has it ; he becomes a chief by virtue of it. 
Hence a man's power, though political or social in its cha- 
racter, is his mana ; the word is naturally used in accordance 
with the native conception of the character of all power and 
influence as supernatural. If a man has been successful in 
fighting, it has not been his natural strength of arm, quickness 
of eye, or readiness of resource that has won success ; he has 
certainly got the mana of a spirit or of some deceased warrior 
to empower him, conveyed in an amulet of a stone round his 
neck, or a tuft of leaves in his belt, in a tooth hung upon a 
finger of his bow hand, or in the form of words with which he 
brings supernatural assistance to his side. If a man's pigs 
multiply, and his gardens are productive, it is not because he 
is industrious and looks after his property, but because of the 
stones full of mana for pigs and yams that he possesses. Of 
course a yam naturally grows when planted, that is well 
known, but it will not be very large unless mana comes into 
play; a canoe will not be swift unless mana be brought to 
bear upon it, a net will not catch many fish, nor an arrow 
inflict a mortal wound. 

(2) The Melanesians believe in the 'existence of beings 
personal, intelligent, full of mana^ with a certain bodily form 
which is visible but not fleshly like the bodies of men. These 
they think to be more or less actively concerned in the 
affairs of men, and they invoke and otherwise approach them. 
These may be called spirits ; but it is most important to 
distinguish between spirits who are beings of an order 
higher than mankind, and the disembodied spirits of men, 
which have become in the vulgar sense of the word ghosts. 


Spirits and Ghosts. 


From the neglect of this distinction great confusion and 
misunderstanding- -arises ; and it is much to be desired that 
missionaries at any rate would carefully observe the dis- 
tinction. Any personal object of worship among 1 natives in 
all parts of the world is taken by the European observer 
to be a spirit or a god, or a devil ; but among 1 Melanesians 
at any rate it is very common to invoke departed relatives 
and friends, and to use religious rites addressed to them. A 
man therefore who is approaching- with some rite his dead 
father, whose spirit he believes to be existing- and pleased 
with his pious action, is thought to be worshipping a false 
god or deceiving spirit, and very probably is told that the 
being he worships does not exist. The perplexed native 
hears with one ear that there is no such thing as that 
departed spirit of a man which he venerates as a ghost but 
his instructor takes to be a god, and with the other that the 
soul never dies, and that his own spiritual interests are para- 
mount and eternal. They themselves make a clear distinction 
between the existing, conscious, powerful, disembodied spirits 
of the dead, and other spiritual beings that never have been 
men at all. It is true that the two orders of beings get 
confused in native language and thought, but their confu- 
sion begins at one end and the confusion of their visitors 
at another; they think so much and constantly of ghosts 
that they speak of beings who were never men as ghosts ; 
Europeans take the spirits of the lately dead for gods ; less 
educated Europeans call them roundly devils. All Mela- 
nesians, as far as my acquaintance with them extends, believe 
in the existence both of spirits that never were men, and of 
ghosts which are the disembodied souls of men deceased : to 
preserve as far as possible this distinction, the supernatural 
beings that were never in a human body are here called \ 
spirits, men's spirits that have left the body are called ghosts 1 . 1 

1 The Melanesian Mission, under the guidance of Bishop Patteson, has used 
in all the islands the English word G od. He considered the enormous difficulty, 
if not impossibility, of finding an adequate native expression in any one 
language, and further the very narrow limits within which such a word if it 

122 Religion. [CH. 

There is, however, a very remarkable difference between the 
natives of the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands to the east, 
and the natives of the Solomon Islands to the west ; the 
direction of the religious ideas and practices of the former is 
j towards spirits rather than ghosts, the latter pay very little 
attention to spirits and address themselves almost wholly to 
e^. ghosts. This goes with a much greater development of a 
sacrificial system in the west than in the east ; and goes 
along also with a certain advance in the arts of life. Enough is 
hardly known of the Santa Cruz people, who lie between, to 
speak with certainty, but they appear to range themselves, as 
they rather do geographically, on the side of the Solomon 
Islands. In Fiji it is the established custom to call the objects 
of the old worship gods ; but Mr. Fison was ' inclined to 
think all the spiritual beings of Fiji, including the gods, simply 
the Mota tamate? i. e. ghosts ; and the words of Mr. Hazel- 
wood, quoted by Mr. Brenchley (Cruise of the Curacoa, p. 181), 
confirm this view. Tuikilakila told one of the first mission- 
aries how he proposed to treat him. ' If you die first,' said he, 
' 1 shall make you my god.' And the same Tuikilakila would 
sometimes say of himself, ' I am a god.' It is added that he 
believed it too ; and his belief was surely correct. For it 
should be observed that the chief never said he was or should 
be a god, in English, but that he was or should be a kalou, 
in Fijian, and a kalou he no doubt became ; that is to say, on 
his decease his departed spirit was invoked and worshipped 
as he knew it would be. He used no verb * am' or ' shall be ' ; 
said only ' I a kalou? In Fiji also this worship of the dead, 
rather than of beings that never were in the flesh, accom- 
panies a more considerable advance in the arts of life than is 
found in, for example, the Banks' Islands. It is plain that 
the natives of the southern islands of the New Hebrides, 
though they are said to worship ' gods,' believe in the 
existence and power of spirits other than the disembodied 

could be found must be used, since the languages are at least as many as the 
islands. It is difficult to convey by description the ideas which ought to attach 
to the new word, but at least nothing erroneous is connoted by it. 

vii.] Misuse of Terms. Spirits. 123 

spirits of the dead, as well as of the ghosts of men. When a 
missionary visitor to Anaiteum reported that the people * lived 
under the most abject bondage to their NatmasesJ and called 
these 'gods,' he was evidently speaking of the ghosts, the 
Natmat of the Banks' Islands, for the word is no doubt the 
same. The belief in other spirits not ghosts of the dead, 
appears equally clear in the account given of the sacred stones 
and places, which correspond to those of the northern islands 
of the same group, and in the f minor deities ' said to be the 
progeny of Nugerain, and called ' gods of the sea, of the land, 
of mountains and valleys,' who represent the wui of Lepers' 
Island and Araga. There does not appear to be anywhere 
in Melanesia a belief in a spirit which animates any natural 
object, a tree, waterfall, storm or rock, so as to be to it 
what the soul is believed to be to the body of a man. 
Europeans it is true speak of the spirits of the sea or of the 
storm or of the forest ; but the native idea which they 
represent is that ghosts haunt the sea and the forest, having 
power to raise storms and to strike a traveller with disease, 
or that supernatural beings never men do the same. It 
may be said, then, that Melanesian religion divides the people 
into two groups ; one, where, with an accompanying belief in 
spirits never men, worship is directed to the ghosts of the 
dead, as in the Solomon Islands ; the other, where both ghosts 
and spirits have an important place, but the spirits have more 
worship than the ghosts, as is the case in the New Hebrides 
and in the Banks' Islands. 

(3) In the Banks' Islands a spirit is called a vui, and is 
thus described by a native who was exhorted to give as far as 
possible the original notion conveyed among the old people by 
the word, and gave his definition after considerable re- 
flection : * What is a vui ? It lives, thinks, has more 
intelligence than a man ; knows things which are secret 
without seeing ; is supernaturally powerful with mana ; has 
no form to be seen ; has no soul, because itself is like a soul.' 
But though the true conception of a vui represents it as in- 
corporeal, the stories about the vui who have names treat 

124 Religion. [CH. 

them as if they were men possessed of supernatural power. 
The wul of the Northern New Hebrides are the same. In 
the Solomon Islands it is difficult to get any definition of a 
spirit except that there are beings which were never men, 
and have not the bodily nature of a man. In San Cristoval 
such a being is called Figona or Hiona. Such was Kahausi- 
bware, a female, and a snake. The name hi'ona is known in 
Malanta also, but used with no very clear application ; they 
believe there also in urehi, not living men, nor the ghosts of 
dead men, that haunt big trees in the forest and snatch 
away the souls of men. These are seen like ghosts, but are 
not sacrificed to or invoked. The name vigona is known also 
at Florida, and is applied to beings whose power exercises 
itself in storms, rain, drought, calms, and in the growth of 
food ; but these the natives decline to admit to be simple 
spirits, thinking they must once have been men ; and doubt- 
less some so called were men not long ago. One being only 
is asserted there to be superhuman, never alive with a mere 
human life, and therefore not now a ghost; one that now 
receives no worship, but is the subject of stories only, without 
any religious consideration. This is Koevasi, a female. How 
she came into existence no one knows ; she made things of all 
kinds ; she became herself the mother of a woman from whom 
the people of the island descend. She was the author of death 
by resuming her cast-off skin ; she was the originator of the 
varying dialects of the islands round ; for having started on 
a voyage she was seized with ague, and shook so much that 
her utterance was confused.. Wherever she landed the people 
caught from her an almost unintelligible speech. The chill 
of this ague remains in the river Kakambona in Laudari, 
Guadalcanal ; Koevasi washed in it, and the water is now so 
cold that to wade into it makes one ill. 

These spirits, such as they are, have no position in the 
religion of the Solomon Islands ; the ghosts, the disembodied 
spirits 'of the dead, are objects of worship ; the tindalo of 
Florida, tidadko of Ysabel, tinda'o of Guadalcanar, lid a of Saa, 
'ataro of San Cristoval. But it must not be supposed that every 

VIL] Ghosts of Worship. Example. 125 

ghost becomes an object of worship. A man in danger may 
call upon his father, his grandfather, or his uncle ; his near- 
ness of kin is sufficient ground for \\L /The ghost who is to 
be worshipped is the spirit of a man who in his lifetime had 
mana in him ; the souls of common men are the common herd 
of ghosts, nobodies alike before and after death. The super- 
natural power abiding in the powerful living man abides in 
his ghost after death, with increased vigour and more ease of 
movement. After his death, therefore, it is expected that he 
should begin to work, and some one will come forward and claim 
particular acquaintance with the ghost ;/if his power should 
shew itself, his position is assured as one worthy to be in- 
voked, and to receive offerings, till his cultus gives way 
before the rising importance of one newly dead, and the 
sacred place where his shrine once stood and his relics were 
preserved is the only memorial of him that remains; if no 
proof of his activity appears, he sinks into oblivion at o 
An admirable example of the establishment of the worship 
of a tindalo in Florida is given in the story of Ganindo, 
for which I am indebted to Bishop Selwyn. There was a 
gathering of men at Honggo to go on a head-hunting 
expedition under the leading of Kulanikama the chief 
(himself afterwards a ghost of worship), and Ganindo was 
their great fighting man. They went to attack Gaeta, and 
Lumba of Gaeta shot Ganindo near the collar-bone with an 
arrow. Having failed in their purpose they returned to 
Honggo, and said they, * our friend is dead.' But as he still 
lived they took him over to Nggaombata in Guadalcanar, 
brought him back again, and put him on the hill Bonipari, 
where he died and was buried. Then they took his head, 
wove a basket for it, and built a house for it, and they said he 
was a tindalo. ( Let us go and take heads,' said they ; so they 
made an expedition. As they went they ceased paddling in a 
quiet place and waited till they felt their canoe rock under 
them ; then said they, ' Here is a tindalo. 1 To find out who 
he was they called the names of tindalos, and when they 
called the name of Ganindo the canoe shook again. In the 

126 Religion. [CH. 

same way they learnt what village they were to attack. 
Returning successful, they threw a spear into the roof of 
Ganindo's house, blew conchs, and danced around it crying, 
' Our tindalo is strong to kill.' Then they sacrificed to him, 
fish and food. Then they built him a new house, and made 
four images for the four corners, one of Ganindo himself, two 
of his sisters, and another. Then, when eight men had 
carried up the ridge covering for the house, eight men 
translated the relics to the shrine. One carried the bones 
of Ganindo, another his betel-nuts, another his lime-box, 
another his shell trumpet. They all went in crouching, as if 
under a heavy weight 1 , and singing slowly, ' Ma-i-i, ma-i-i, ka 
saka tua, hither, hither, let us lift the leg ; ' the eight legs 
were lifted together, and again they chanted 'ma-i-i, ma-i-i,' 
and at the last mai the eight legs went down together. With 
this solemn procession the relics were set upon a bamboo 
platform, and sacrifices to the new keramo were begun ; by 
Nisi first, then by Satani, then by Begoni, the last, at whose 
death some four years ago the sacrifices ceased, and the shrine 
fell to ruin before the advance of Christian teaching. To the 
natives of Florida this Ganindo was a tindalo, a ghost of 
worship, a keramo, a ghost powerful for w T ar ; he would be 
spoken of now by some Europeans as a god, by others as a 
devil, and the pigeon-English speaking natives now, who 
think that ' devil ' is the English for tindalo, would use the 
same word. The belief in Florida and the neighbouring parts 
is fixed that every tindalo was once a man ; yet some whose 
names are known to every one, Daula and Hauri, associated 
respectively with the frigate-bird and the shark, have passed 
far away from any historical remembrance; Daula, indeed, 
under the name of Kaula 2 , is venerated at Ulawa. Some 
also of the keramo, the tindalo of fighting, are known in 
Florida not to have been men of the island, but famous 
warriors of the western islands, where mana they think is 

1 The weight of mana, as in the palalto logs, page 108. 

2 As the Florida dale, child, is in Ulawa Jcale, and Wango 'ataro is Saa 

vii.] Prayers and Offerings. 127 

stronger ; who have only been known, and that of late years, 
in Florida in their spiritual state and power, but never in 
human form. At any rate the objects of religious worship 
are all tindalo ; and every tindalo was once a man, 

(4) Taking the islands of Melanesia, as many of them as 
come here into view, as a whole, it is found that Prayers 
and Offerings are made everywhere to spirits, to ghosts, or to 
both. The prayers are perhaps in some cases constraining 
charms, are certainly often forms of words believed to be ac- 
ceptable to the being addressed, and known only to those who 
have special access to him. But there are also natural calls 
for help in danger and distress. The offerings or sacrifices, 
whether made to spirits or to ghosts, and differing a good 
deal in eastern and western islands, have various motives. 
Some are propitiatory, substituting an animal for the person 
who has offended ; some deprecatory ; some are offered to con- 
ciliate and gratify with a view to gain ; some only to shew 
proper attention and respect or even affection ; but the notion 
of propitiation is not at all commonly present. There is noT 
j priestly order, and no persons who can properly be called 
i priests. Any man can have access to some object of worship, 
and most men in fact do have it, either by discovery of their 
own or by knowledge imparted to them by those who have 
before employed it. If the object of worship, as in some sacri- 
fices, is one common to the members of a community, the man 
who knows how to approach that object is in a way their priest 
and sacrifices for them all ; but it is in respect of that par- 
ticular function only that he has a sacred character ; and it is 
very much by virtue of that function that a man is a chief, and 
not at all because he is chief that he performs the sacrifice. 
Women and children generally are excluded from religious 
'rites. In close connexion with religious observances come 
the various practices of magic and witchcraft, of doctoring 
and weather- doc tor ing; for all is done by the aid of ghosts 
and spirits. 



THE simplest and most common sacrificial act is that of 
throwing a small portion of food to the dead ; this is probably 
a universal practice in Melanesia. A fragment of food ready 
to be eaten, of yam, a leaf of mallow, a bit of betel-nut, is 
thrown aside, and, where they drink kava, a libation is made 
of a few drops, as the share of departed friends, or as a 
memorial of them with which they will be gratified. This is 
done perhaps with the calling of the name of some one 
recently deceased or particularly in remembrance at the time, 
or else with a general regard to the ghosts of former members 
of the community. It is hardly thought that this becomes in 
fact the food of the departed, but somehow it is to their 
advantage, at any rate it pleases them. At the same time 
the living friends like to feel and shew remembrance of the 
dead who have sat with them around the oven ; and it is an 
opportunity of getting help from ghostly power, for which 
prayer is made. In the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands 
this domestic rite has not, so far as my knowledge goes, 
developed into any formal sacrifice, as it has in the Solomon 
Islands ; for it may be surely thought that the sacrifices of 
the latter islands have had their origin in such offerings to 
the dead. To place food on a burial-place or before some 
memorial image is common ; and to do this is to offer a kind 
of sacrifice, even if as in Santa Cruz the offering is soon taken 
away and eaten. But the natives do not call either of these 
offerings a sacrifice, do not use for either the words for which 

Solomon Island Sacrifice. 129 

in English no other translation can be found. The sacrifices, 
'in the more restricted sense, of the Solomon Islands are 
widely different from those of the New Hebrides and Banks' 
Islands ; in the western islands the offerings are made to 
ghosts, and consumed by fire as well as eaten ; in the eastern 
islands they are made to spirits, and there is no sacrificial 
fire or meal. In the former nothing is offered but food, in 
the latter money has a conspicuous place. 

(i) A Solomon Island sacrifice has been excellently de- 
scribed by a native of San Cristoval. ' In my country/ he 
wrote, ' they think that ghosts are many, very many indeed, 
some very powerful, and some not. There is one who is 
principal in war ; this one is truly mighty and strong, When 
our people wish to fight with any other place, the chief men 
of the village and the sacrificers and the old men, and the 
elder and younger men, assemble in the place sacred to this 
ghost ; and his name is Harumae. When they are thus 
assembled to sacrifice, the chief sacrificer goes and takes a 
pig ; and if it be not a barrow pig they would not sacrifice it 
to that ghost, he would reject it and not eat of it. The pig 
is killed (it is strangled), not by the chief sacrificer, but by 
those whom he chooses to assist, near the sacred place. Then 
they cut it up ; they take great care of the blood lest it should 
fall upon the ground; they bring a bowl and set the pig 
in it, and when they cut it up the blood runs down into it. 
When the cutting up is finished, the chief sacrificer takes a 
bit of flesh from the pig, and he takes a cocoa-nut shell and 
dips up some of the blood. Then he takes the blood and 
the bit of flesh and enters into the house (the shrine), and 
calls that ghost and says, " Harumae ! Chief in war ! we 
sacrifice to you with this pig, that you may help us to smite 
that place ; and whatsoever we shall carry away shall be your 
property, and we also will be yours." Then he burns the bit 
of flesh in a fire upon a stone, and pours down the blood upon 
the fire. Then the fire blazes greatly upwards to the roof, 
and the house is full of the smell of pig, a sign that the 
ghost has heard. But when the sacrificer went in he did not 

1 30 Sacrifices. [CH. 

go boldly, but with awe ; and this is the sign of it ; as he 

goes into the holy house he puts away his bag, and washes 

his hands thoroughly, to shew that the ghost shall not 

reject him with disgust ; just as when you go into the really 

Holy House you take off your hat from your head, a sign that 

you reverence the true Spirit.' The pig was afterwards eaten 

by the worshippers. To sacrifice in this way is called hoasi, 

the ghost to whom the sacrifice iff made 'ataro. It should 

be observed that Harumae had not been dead many years 

; when this account was written, the elder men remembered 

; him alive ; nor was he a great fighting man, but a kind and 

I generous man, thought to have much mana. His shrine was 

! a small house in the village, in which relics of him were kept. 

No one since his time had died whom the people thought 

worthy of such worship ; had it been so Harumae would have 

been neglected. 

In Florida, as has been said, the objects of worship are 
tindalOy to whom the food consumed in the fire is offered as 
their portion. Some are commonly known by name, others 
are known only .to one man and another who has found out 
or been taught how to approach them, and calls each tindalo 
his own, nagana. We are concerned here with sacrifices ; public, 
as offered to a well-known tindalo, powerful in such things as) 
concern the general well-being ; and private, offered by indi- 
viduals to the tindalo of whom they have particular knowledge \ 
In every village there was the tindalo accepted at the time, 
and the chief was the sacrificer. He had received from his 
predecessor the knowledge how to ' throw ' the sacrifice to this 
tindalo, and he imparted this knowledge to his son or nephew, 
whom he designed to leave as his successor. The place of 
sacrifice was near the village, an ancient one or newly made, 
according to the time in which this tindalo had been in vogue, 
an enclosure with a little house or shrine in which relics were 

1 The word for which f sacrifice ' is used as equivalent is in Florida sukagi, 
in Bugotu of Ysabel Jiavugagi. The sacrificer sacrifices with the offering to the 
tindalo in or at the place of sacrifice, na mane sukagi te nia sukagi na hanu 
vania na tindalo ta na malei ni sukagi. 

vni.] Florida Sacrifice. 131 

preserved. When a public sacrifice was performed the people 
of the place assembled, boys but not women being 1 present, 
near but not in the sacred place. Food is prepared, but not 
eaten till the sacrifice has been offered. The sacrificer alone 
enters the sacred place or shrine, and takes to it his son, or the 
person he has instructed. He makes a fire of small sticks, 
muttering words of mana, but he must not blow it. He takes 
some of the prepared food in a basket lined with dracsena 
leaves and others peculiar to this tindalo, some mash of yam 
or something of that kind ; part of this he throws upon the 
fire, calling the name of the tindalo, and the names of others 
with it ; he tells him to take his food, and makes petition for 
whatever is desired. The fire blazes up, a favourable sign that 
the tindalo are present and blow the fire ; the bit of food is 
consumed 1 . What remains the sacrificer takes back to the 
assembly and eats, giving some of it to his assistant. Then 
the people receive from him their portions of the food prepared, 
and eat it or take it away. While the sacrificing is going on 
there is a solemn silence. If a pig is killed on the occasion, 
the heart in Florida, at Bugotu the gullet, is burnt upon the 
sacrificial fire. One tindalo commonly known, whose worship 
is not local, is Manoga. At sacrifices offered to him little boys 
are present, and sometimes even women partake of the sacri- 
ficial food. ' He who throws the sacrifice when he invokes 
this tindalo heaves the offering round about, and calls him ; 
first tor the east, where rises the sun, saying*, If thou dwellest in 
the east, where rises the sun, Manoga! come hither and eat 
thy tutu mash ! Then turning he lifts it towards where sets 
the sun, and says, If thou dwellest in the west, where sets the 
sun, Manoga ! come hither and eat thy tutu \ There is not a 
quarter towards which he does not lift it up. And when he 
has finished lifting it he says, If thou dwellest in heaven above, 
Manoga ! come hither and eat thy tutu \ If thou dwellest in 
Burn or Hagetolu, the Pleiades or Orion's belt ; if below in 

1 It is denied that the food has a spirit, tarunga, corresponding to the 
tarunga which is the soul of a man ; but the food offered is tarungaga (with 
the adjectival termination), 'has a spiritual character.' 

K 2, 

132 Sacrifices. [CH. 

Turivatu ; if in the distant sea ; if on high in the sun, or in 
the moon ; if thou dwellest inland or by the shore, Manoga ! 
come hither and eat thy tutu ! ' This Manoga belongs parti- 
cularly to the Manukama or Lahi division of the Florida people, 
each division, kema, having- a tindalo whom they worship as 
peculiarly their own, and whom they vaguely call their 
ancestor ; Polika of the Nggaombata, Barego of the Kakau, 
Kuma of the Honggokama, Sisiro of the Himbo, Tindalo tambu, 
whose personal name is not known, of the Honggokiki. As 
these divisions are intermixed in the villages, though one is 
generally more largely represented in any one of them than 
the others, sacrifices are offered in each village or group of 
villages to each of these tindalo of the divisions ; and the 
sacrificer is the man who knows the particular leaves and 
creepers and species of dracsena, and ginger and shavings of a 
tree, and words of mana with which the tindalo is approached, 
knowledge which he has received from his predecessors. The 
sacrificer then of the dominant family division of the place is 
in fact the ostensible chief, the sacrificers of the less numerous 
divisions are minor chiefs. With the worship of these tindalo 
of larger and wider cultus is combined by the sacrificer that of 
lesser and more private keramo of fighting whom he knows. 
The local tindalo at the time in vogue, such as Ganindo, 
occupies a middle place between the general and particular 
objects of sacrificial worship. There are also the tindalo known 
to every one, who are particularly powerful in certain spheres, 
as Daula in the sea, and Pelu, one of the vigona, in gardens, 
and Hauri in fighting ; but only those who know the proper 
way to approach them can sacrifice to them before a voyage or 
planting or a fight. 

There were two general sacrifices in the year, in which the 
people of a village took part. The first, the bigo, was when 
the canarium nut, ngali, so much used in native cookery, 
was ripe 1 . None could be eaten till the sacrifice of the first- 
fruits was offered. The knowledge of the way to do this, and 

1 This sacrifice is described by Mr. Woodford (p. 26). In that part of 
Guadalcanal*, where I is dropped in many words, tindalo becomes tindao. 

VIIL] Florida First-fruits. Private Sacrifices. 133 

the consequent authority to open the season, was handed down 
with the knowledge of the tindalo concerned. The man who 
has the knowledge observes the time, and some day in the 
early morning he is heard to shout. He climbs a tree, gets 
some nuts, cracks them, eats, and puts some on the stones in 
his sacred place for the tindalo. Then the people generally 
can gather for themselves ; the chief sacrifices with food in 
which the new nuts are mixed on the stones of the village 
sanctuary; each man who has a tindalo does the same in his 
own sacred place. About two months after this there is 
another general sacrifice called the sukagi karango, when the 
food generally has been dug ; a man who digs up his yams, or 
gets in whatever harvest he has, makes his private sacrifice 
besides. At the general sacrifice pig or fish is offered. 

The private sacrifices of individuals are offered in the same 
way. A man has gained for himself, or had imparted to him, 
the knowledge of the leaves and bark and vines that some 
tindalo delights in, and with these he approaches him in the 
sacred place, vunutha, which is his own, and offers to him to 
keep himself in favour or to obtain something from him. 
There he invokes his familiar tindalo, joining with him some 
others, and offers in the fire his bit of food. A man will 
commonly have his keramo, a tindalo of killing, who will help 
him in fighting or in slaying his private enemy. He will 
pull up his ginger-plant, and judge from the ease with which 
it comes out of the earth whether he shall succeed or not ; he 
will make his sacrifice, and with the ginger and leaves on 
his shield and in his belt and right armlet will go to fight. 
He curses his enemy by his keramo, ' Siria eats thee, and I 
shall slay thee ; ' and if he kills him, he cries, ' Thine is this 
man, Siria! and do thou give me mana.' Manslaughter 
without the help of a tindalo would be dangerous to the 
manslayer ; the slain man's ghost would have power over him 
unless the mana of the keramo, a stronger ghost, were on his 
side. In case of failure the ghostly power on the enemy's 
side has been shewn to have the greater strength. A man 
must needs have his keramo, even if he had to buy one ; if 

134 Sacrifices. [CH. 

what his father or uncle taught and gave him did not succeed 
he tried another. A relic of the keramo (himself but lately a 
fighting man), a tooth or some hair in a little bag, was hung 
round the neck ; or the contents of the bag might be only a 
stone. These amulets, bomboso, were kept in the house, and 
were called a man's keramo, just as relics were called tindalo. 
The vigona, as has been said, have influence over weather and 
in gardens. If a man himself knows one he can operate for 
himself, otherwise he pays a mane nggehe vigona to do it for him. 
Such a one goes into the middle of the garden with mashed 
food in the palm of his left hand, and he strikes it with his 
right hand as he calls on his vigona to come and eat. He 
says, ' This produce thou shalt eat ; give mana to this garden, 
that food may be good and plentiful/ He digs holes at the 
four corners, and buries the leaves proper to his vigona, to give 
ghostly power to the garden, that it may be fruitful and to 
guard it ; stones are used for the same purpose. As the yams, 
or jpana, grow they are twined with the special creeper and 
fastened with the wood which the vigona loves. These tindalo 
of the gardens must not be offended by the entrance of men 
who have eaten pig's flesh or fish, or the flesh of the kandora 
cuscus, or shell-fish ; three or four days after they have eaten 
such things they may approach, the food offensive to the vigona 
having left their stomachs the crop will not be hurt. When 
the yam vines are being trained the men sleep near the 
gardens, and never approach their wives ; should they do so 
and tread the garden it would be spoilt. The man who has his 
own vigona can bring his power to bear in doing damage 
to another man's garden, being either moved by his own 
grudge or paid to do it ; backed by his own vigona he offends 
the vigona of the garden he designs to spoil by laying putrid 
things there. If after this the crop is good, the first vigona 
has been shewn to be stronger than the other. The names of 
sixteen of these vigona are generally known. When the crop 
is dug a portion of the fruits is burnt in sacrifice to the one 

Human sacrifices were occasionally made ; but there was no 

viir.] Human Sacrifices. 135 

sacrificial feast upon the flesh as when a pig was offered ; only 
little bits were eaten by those who desired to get fighting 
mana, by young men, and by elders for a special purpose. 
Such sacrifices were thought more effectual than others, and 
advantage was taken of a crime, or imputed crime, to take a 
life and offer the man to some tindalo. So within the memory 
of men still young, Dikea, the chief of Ravu, condemned one 
Gisukokovilo to death for stealing tobacco, and the grown lads 
of Handika ate bits of him cooked in the sacrificial fire. The 
same Dikea offered a human sacrifice in the year 1886. Two 
calamities had fallen upon Dikea. One of his wives proved 
false, and he sent her away, vowing that she should not return 
till he had sacrificed to Hauri. Also his son had died, and he 
made a vow that he would kill a man for him. Some thought 
that he would kill a man to bury with the boy, but he did not. 
He dug up his buried son that he might see him once more ; 
and again, according to the common practice, he took up his ' 
skull and set it in his sacred place. It was widely known 
that Dikea had made his vow, and that he would pay well for 
some one to kill. The Savo people had bought a captive boy 
in Guadalcanar, lame and nearly blind, and him, they brought 
and sold to Dikea for twenty coils of money. The boy, igno- 
rant of the language, did not know his fate. Dikea, laying his 
hand on the victim's breast, cried ' Hauri ! here is a man for 
you,' and his followers killed him with clubs and axes. His 
head was taken to set up with Dikea's collection of skulls, his 
legs were sent away to make known what had been done, but 
none of him was eaten : 'So Dikea sacrificed to Hauri with 
that boy.' In Bugotu of Ysabel the sacrifices, havugagi, are 
the same with those of Florida ; only the dwellers along the 
coast sacrificed human victims, and this practice they said, as 
in Florida, had come to them from further west. When the 
head of an enemy killed in a fight was brought in triumph, 
bits were cut off and burnt in sacrifice. A captive would be 
taken to the sacred place, the burial-place of the tindatko to 
whom the sacrifice was to be made, and there bound hand and 
foot. Then the men of the place, following the chief who led the 

136 Sacrifices. [CH. 

sacrifice, each beat him on the breast with their hands, calling 
on the tindatho, and giving him the victim. This was enough 
sometimes to cause death, otherwise they cut his throat. Then 
the sacrificer burnt a bit in the fire for the lindatho. Did the 
men assembled eat of the sacrifice ? Bera, the principal chief, 
at any rate used to do so till Wadrokal went there as a teacher ; 
he would cook an arm in the oven and eat it, having first 
sacrificed with a portion. Only six years ago Soga at Mang- 
gotu sacrificed a man. He accused some Bugotu visitors of 
charming one of his own friends to death ; eight of them he 
killed, but one he bound and took to the place where his 
friend was buried ; there he offered him to the ghost, now a 
tindatho, of the man supposed to have been bewitched ; but 
he did not eat of the sacrifice. In these, however, and in the 
lesser sacrifices, there is not commonly present the notion 
of propitiation, nor perhaps of substitution. When, as in 
the case of Dikea, misfortune is supposed to have followed on 
some offence, the offended tindalo is propitiated by the 
sacrifice, and this is done in case of sickness. But generally 
the object is rather to gain the favour and to retain the good 
will of the disembodied spirit. 

In Saa, near Cape Zelee in Malanta, there is found in some 
sacrifices a distinct substitution of the victim for the person on 
whose behalf the offering is made. The ghost of some departed 
warrior or otherwise powerful man becomes a lioa ; that of a 
warrior, if on experiment he is found to act, is like the keramo 
of Florida, a ghost of battle or of killing, lio'a ni mae. The 
names of many, as of recent chiefs, are generally known, but 
some are known only to those who have learnt the means of 
access to them. There is no one word used for sacrificing ; 
there are seven rites which an educated native of the place 
classes with the sacrifices of other islands, (i) The simplest 
is called Tau taha, as when one returning from a voyage puts 
food to the case containing the relics of his father, as did 
Ara'ana. In the course of a voyage also, when landing on an 
uninhabited islet, they will throw food and call on father, 
grandfather, and other deceased friends, and in any danger 

viii.] Seven Sacrifices at Saa. 137 

will do the same. Three other sacrifices have much in 
common, and it depends on the person called in and consulted 
to determine which shall be used, (a) One is called 'unu qo> 
this is, burning* a pig". This is offered in case of sickness, or 
when the failure of a garden crop shews that some lid a has 
been offended. A man known to be able to sacrifice is called 
in, and is ready to say that he knows what lio'a has caused 
the mischief. To him is sent a small pig, which is to take 
the place of the person whom the ghost lid a is plaguing ; and 
he takes it to the sacred place of that lid a somewhere under 
a tree, strangles it, and burns it whole in a fire kindled on 
the sacred stones or on the ground. He burns with it also 
grated yam and cocoa-nut mixed with fish ; and then he 
stands and calls with a loud voice on the lid a of the place, 
and with him he calls the names of all the ghosts of his family, 
his ancestors, and all who are deceased, down even to children 
and to women, and he names the giver of the pig for the food 
of these lid a. A bit of the mixed food he leaves unburnt, 
wraps it in a drac^na leaf, and puts it by the relic case of the 
man to whose ghost he has been sacrificing. He is rewarded 
for his services by a present of food. (3) Another is called 
toto 'akalo, dealing the soul. It is performed in the house of 
the sacrificer, who cooks a little pig or a dog, and cites the 
names of the lio'a who are causing the trouble, calling upon 
them to toto, clear away the mischief, whether sickness, charm, 
or curse, and to make the afflicted party clean. Then he takes 
the pig out and throws it into the sea, or sets it on a stone in the 
sacred place of the lio'a he has addressed ; ' he will not put it 
in a common place ; it is holy, it has taken away the mischief, 
it has made clean.' (4) The third of these is called toto epa 
Jianua^ clearing well the place, and is performed in the house 
of the sick person for whose benefit it is offered. They cook a 
pig or dog in the oven, cut it up, and lay all the parts in 
order. Then the sacrificer comes and sits at the head, and 
calls all the names of the dead members of the family of the 
lid a in order downwards, saying, * Help, deliver this man, cut 
short the line that has bound him.' Then the pig is eaten by 

138 Sacrifices. [CH. 

all present, except the women ; nothing 1 is burnt. The 
remaining sacrifices are those of first-fruits. (5) When the 
yams are ripe they fetch some from each garden to offer to 
the lid a. All the family who consider a certain line of 
ancestors to be the lio'a with whom they are concerned in this 
matter assemble, without the women, at the sacred place 
belonging to them. One goes into the sacred place with 
a yam, and cries with a loud voice to the lio'a, \ This is 
yours to eat,' and puts the yam by the skull which is in the 
place. The others call quietly upon the names of all the 
ancestors and give their yams, very many in number, because 
one from each garden is given to each lio'a. They add also 
awalosi, the edible flower of a reed. This offering of first-fruits 
is made in the early morning. If any one has in his house a 
relic, head, bones, or hair, he takes back a yam to set beside it. 

(6) First-fruits of flying fish. These fish, like the bonito, 
require a certain supernatural power to catch them ; it is not 
every canoe that goes after flying fish. When the season 
comes the men get their floats ready, and the women go into 
the gardens to dig new yams and make grated food. The men 
then get a few flying fish, and sacrifice with them. Some 
lio'a are sharks, and to them the first-fruits are offered. Some 
have sacred places ashore with figures of sharks set up, before 
which cooked flying fish are laid ; some ghost- sharks have no 
place on shore, and to them the fish are taken out to sea, their 
names are called, and the fish shred to them for their food. 

(7) The new canarium almonds cannot be eaten till the first- 
fruits have been offered to the lio'a, and a similar offering is 
made of the dried almonds before they are eaten, with added 

A sacrifice in San Cristoval has been already described. In 
case of sickness, where a certain malignant ghost named Tapia 
is believed to have seized on a man's soul and bound it to a 
banyan-tree, a sacrifice of substitution is offered. The man 
who has access to Tapia is employed to intercede ; he takes a 
pig or fish to the sacred place and offers it, saying, ' This is for 
you to eat in place of that man; eat this, don't kill him'; and 

vni.] Santa Cruz Sacrifices. 139 

he is then able to loose and take back the sick man's soul so 
that he may recover. 

At Santa Cruz, when a man of consideration dies, his ghost 
becomes a duka. A stock of wood is set up in his house 
to represent him. This remains, and is from time to time 
renewed, until after a time the man is forgotten, or the stock 
is neglected by the transference of attention to some newer 
and more successful duka. When the stock is first put up, a 
pig is killed, and the two strips of flesh from along the back- 
bone inside are put before the stock as food for the duka 
represented. These do not stay long, but are taken away and 
eaten. When the stocks are renewed the same is done again ; 
and from time to time offerings of food are made to the duka 
before the stock, laid there for a time, and then taken up and 
eaten. In case of danger at sea, a duka is called by name, a man's 
father or a deceased chief, or a certain Lata who is not remem- 
bered as a man, and a bit of food is thrown out ; ' This is for 
you to eat.' Betel-nuts are placed on sacred stones for the 
duka. When a garden is planted they spread feather-money 
and red native cloth round it for the duka, and take it away 
again. A patient who has recovered from sickness under the 
treatment of a native doctor gives a pig for the duka concerned 
in the cure ; and when a pig is killed a bit of meat is placed 
before the stock that represents him. Offerings of first-fruits 
of yams are made in the same way, in the form of mash or 
pudding. The economical offerings of Santa Cruz may be 
explained by the belief that the dnka, themselves immaterial, 
have taken the immaterial substance of their gifts ; the gross 
material therefore may be taken by fleshly men. 

(2) The character of what may be called sacrifices in the 
Banks' Islands and Northern New Hebrides differs very much 
from that of the sacrifices of the Solomon Islands in two 
respects ; the offerings are as a rule made to spirits and not to 
ghosts, and there is no use of fire to consume what is offered. 
It is true that fragments of food are thrown for the ghosts of 
the lately deceased ; by an action no doubt closely connected 
with the sacrifices of the western islands, but not with the 

1 40 Sacrifices. [CH. 

notion of a sacrifice as these more eastern people understand it. 
In the use of the word in the Banks' Islands which has been 
taken as equivalent to ' sacrifice,' viz. oloolo, it is important to 
observe that the word is not employed in reference to the 
spirit to whom the offering' is made, but to the man himself 
who presents the offering to the spirit 1 , which is the same 
thing 1 as to say that the word oloolo does not exactly mean to 
sacrifice. Still there is a sacrificial offering, and it is a means 
of propitiating a spirit after an offence, as well as a means of 
obtaining what is desired. Food also is by no means commonly 
the thing offered ; in the Banks' Islands perhaps nothing but 
native money is the offering. 

The spirits who are approached with these offerings are 
almost always connected with stones on which the offerings 
are made. Such stones have some of them been sacred to 
some spirit from ancient times, and the knowledge of the 
way to approach the spirit who is connected with them has 
been handed down to the man who now possesses it. But 
any man may find a stone for himself, the shape of which 
strikes his fancy, or some other object, an octopus in his hole, 
a shark, a snake, an eel, which seems to him something unusual, 
and therefore connected with a spirit. He gets money and 
scatters it about the stone, or on the place where he has seen 
the object of his fancy; then he goes home to sleep. He 
dreams that some one takes him to a place and shews him the 
pigs or money he is to have because of his connexion with the 
thing that he has found. This thing in the Banks' Islands 
becomes his tano-oloolo y the place of his offering, the object in 
regard to which offering is made to obtain pigs or money. 
His neighbours begin to know that he has it, and that his 
increasing wealth has its origin there ; they come to him 
therefore and obtain through him the good offices of the spirit 
he has come to know. He hands down the knowledge of this 
to his son or nephew. If a man is sick he gives another who 

1 A man is said to oloolo with the money to the man who knows the stone ; the 
latter is said to oloolo on the stone on behalf of the former, the former to oloolo 
to the latter in regard to the stone ; neither is said to oloolo to the vui spirit. 

viii.] Banks Islands Sacrifices. 141 

is known to have a stone of power, the spirit connected with 
which it is suggested that he has offended, a short string 
of money, and a bit of the pepper root, gea t that is used for 
kava ; the sick man is said to oloolo to the possessor of the 
stone. The latter takes the things offered to his sacred place 
and throws them down, saying, ' Let So-and-So recover.' 
When the sick man recovers he pays a fee. If a man desires 
to get the benefit of the stone, or whatever it is, known to 
another, with a view to increase of money, pigs or food, or 
success in fighting, the possessor of the stone will take him to 
his sacred place, where probably there are many stones, each 
good for its own purpose. The applicant will supply money, 
perhaps a hundred strings a few inches long. The introducer 
will shew him one stone and say, ' This is a big yam,' and the 
worshipper puts money down. Of another he says it is a boar, 
of another that it is a pig with tusks, and money is put down. 
The notion is that the spirit, vui y attached to the stone likes 
the money, which is allowed to remain upon or by the stone. 
In case the oloolo, the sacrifice, succeeds, the man benefited 
pays the man to whom the stones and spirits belong. If 
a man goes to sacrifice for success in fighting, he takes great 
care lest nothing sharp should prick or scratch him, or a stone 
bruise him ; in the one case he would be shot, in the other he 
would be clubbed. 

Some of these objects of sacrificial worship are well known, 
but can only be approached by the person to whom the 
right of access to them has been handed down ; there must 
be between the worshipper who desires advantage and the 
spirit who bestows it not only the medium of the stone, 
or whatever other material object the spirit is connected 
with, but also the man who through the stone has got a 
personal acquaintance with the spirit. In Vanua Lava, at 
Sarewoana near Alo Sepere, the legendary home of Qat, there 
is still the stump of a tree which Qat cut down for his canoe, an 
aged stump with young shoots springing from it ; men who are 
cutting a canoe make sacrifices at this stump, throwing down 
money there that their canoe may be swift and strong and never 

142 Sacrifices. [CH. 

wrecked. It does not appear that any one comes between the 
offerer and Qat in this, perhaps because Qat is known to every 
one. There is no doubt often a sacrifice, oloolo, made in the 
way of propitiation ; but a vui is not a malignant spirit that 
will do harm unless propitiated. If a man has heedlessly gone 
into a sacred place and is afraid that he has offended the spirit 
belonging to it, he will make his offering to the man whose 
sacred place it is, that he may appease the spirit ; and in the 
case of sickness there is always the presumption that some 
spirit has been offended. A man whose familiar spirit is 
associated with a snake, an eel, owl, crab or some such 
creature, visits it and makes his offerings to keep in favour 
with it, or to obtain its favour for some one from whom he 
receives money for an offering. They say that a man who has 
a mae, an amphibious snake to which a certain awful character 
belongs, as his familiar, goes to the sacred place it haunts and 
calls it till it comes. He sits down and the snake crawls over 
him, putting its tongue into his mouth, which he sucks. 
He scatters money for the spirit, for he does not offer to the 
snake but to the spirit, vui, that is with the snake and mani- 
fested in it. He does not invoke or pray to the spirit, but he 
may pray to the ghosts of his predecessors in this particular 
mystery. When a man visits his familiar in this way no one 
else is present, and the doubt has occurred to the native people 
whether there be a snake at all. It is certain that when 
a man has died who has been in the habit of receiving money 
to offer to the snake, and another who has received instructions 
from him as his successor has gone to reopen so profitable a 
connexion, the creature has not been found ; but then it is 
also concluded that the man and the snake die together. 
Money in this same way of sacrifice, if so it can be called, 
is scattered in a deep hole in a stream, or in a pool among 
the rocks upon the beach ; wherever some impressive touch of 
natural awe comes upon the native mind it apprehends the 
presence of some haunting vm, and is moved to an act of 
worship ; but it is not to the stone or stream or tree, or to the 
spirit of it, that the offering is made ; the vui is a person as a 

viii.] New Hebrides Sacrifices. 143 

man is, and its presence makes the place sacred. The number of 
men who in old times had a sacred place with a familiar spirit 
of their own was large, probably most of the grown-up men 
had one ; there was no priestly order, no sacred buildings, 
nothing to make a public show. 

In the Northern New Hebrides, spirits are approached very 
commonly at stones, and offerings are made to them upon the 
stones, to secure their favour or to reconcile them if offended. 
This is all the sacrifice there appears to be at Maewo, 
Aurora Island ; they use no word that can be translated 
' sacrifice/ unless it be turegi, which means to lay an offering 
upon a stone. A certain offering, however, is made to a ghost ; 
if a man's pig is lost he will go to the grave of a kinsman, 
put on the stones above it, qaru> a tuft of dracsena or croton 
leaves, and say, ' Get me back my pig.' The ghost will drive 
the pig back into the village. To offer thus is malai o qaru. 
At Whitsuntide, Araga, there are stones connected with spirits 
in sacred places which are known only to those who have 
discovered them, or have been introduced into acquaintance 
with the spirits by their predecessors. At these stones sacrifices 
are made. A young man wishes to get on in the Loli Society, 
to become rich, to live to be old, the main object being to be 
a great man in the Loli. Such a person makes his offering of 
a pig or mats to the man who is acquainted with the spirit, 
ma dugu doe lalainia\ for they say, as in the Banks' Islands, 
that the offering is not made to the spirit, but to the man who 
knows him. This go-between keeps the pig for himself. He 
goes to the sacred place taking the suppliant with him ; then 
he mutters to Tagaro the spirit, ' This man has given us two 
a pig, let him be great, let him be a full-grown man.' After 
this the supplicant can go and make his requests in the sacred 
place by himself. Sometimes a very young cocoa-nut is broken 
and the juice poured over his head as a sign that he is ad- 
mitted. They also put such a young cocoa-nut on the stone as 
an offering. Such sacrifices are made for sunshine, rain, and 
abundant crops. Offerings also are made to the ghosts of 
powerful men recently deceased, either at their graves or 

144 Sacrifices. 

where they are supposed to haunt. Men who know these 
and have access to them, take mats, food, pigs, living or 
cooked, into the sacred place and leave them there. At 
Lepers' Island they drugu to the men who have access to 
spirits, wui, in connexion with stones, giving money and pigs 
to them for their intercession ; but offerings are not com- 
monly made directly to wui, or to ghosts either. Offerings 
are made at sea near certain dangerous rocks ; a tuft of pig's 
hair or a fowl's feather from the cargo, or a bit of food, is 
thrown into the sea for Tagaro, that he may give a safe pas- 
sage to the canoe. Bishop Patteson noted in the course of his 
last voyage, that at Ambrym it was the practice for great 
men to burn a pig entirely, without any accompanying prayer, 
in their Suqe, with the view of obtaining mana. This must be 
looked upon as a sacrificial act. 

NOTE. The sacrifices of the Solomon Islands may well he traced to the 
desire of making the deceased still sharers of the common meal ; what is offered 
and burnt is common food. The further step of begging the offended ghost to 
take all and spare the sick is taken at Saa and San Cristoval. It should be 
remarked that there is nothing whatever to connect these sacrifices with the 
luto (page 32), which, if anything, may be taken for a totem. To connect the 
offering of money, in the Banks' Islands, to a spirit who is never the ghost of 
a man, nor at all the animating spirit of a natural object, with the sharing of 
the common meal with the deceased, is much more difficult. If there be a 
Melanesian sacrifice to a god it is to a vwi. To offer money is apparently to 
give what man most values, and what the spirit also loves. 



A MELANESIAN native in danger, difficulty and distress, will 
naturally call upon the beings in whose power to help him he 
believes. He will upon occasion do this with exclamations 
which express his feelings. This from his point of view 
would not be prayer, because it has no formal character. 
There are also songs, incantations, charms, which have 
power in them by virtue of the names or words contained in 
them. These are not addressed directly to the beings whose 
power they bring to bear, and would not be called prayers. 
There are besides invocations which may be called prayers, 
that is formal addresses to beg for succour or for aid. But it 
is certainly very difficult, if not impossible, to find in any 
Melanesian language a word which directly translates the 
word prayer, so closely does the notion of efficacy cling to" 
the form employed. Addresses which may be called prayers 
in the Solomon Islands are of course made to the beings to 
whom they look there for other than human aid, to the tindalo, 
ghosts now powerful of men deceased. The invocations used 
at sacrifices are prayers ; and those may properly be so called 
which are used at sea. Thus at Florida to Daula, a tindalo 
generally known and connected with the frigate-bird : ' Do 
thou draw the canoe, that it may reach the land ; speed my 
canoe, grandfather, that I may quickly reach the shore whither 
I am bound. Do thou, Daula, lighten the canoe, that it may 
quickly gain the land, and rise upon the shore.' They invoke 
also Bagea as their grandfather ; the word bagea meaning 


146 Prayers. [CH. 

shark, and any tindalo that has taken up its abode in a shark, 
or is represented by one, being called Bagea. They call also 
upon their immediate forefathers when in danger on the 
sea ; one on his grandfather, another on his father, another 
on some dead friend ; calling them with reverence, and 
saying, ' Save us on the deep, save us from the tempest, 
bring us to the shore.' Daula is invoked to aid in fishing : 
'If thou art powerful, mana, O Daula, put a fish or two 
into this net and let them die there.' After a good catch 
he is praised : ' Powerful, mana, is the tindalo of the net.' 
They rub fishing-lines with the leaves appropriated to such a 
tindalo. In San Cristoval the 'ataro ghosts are applied to for 
help in battle, in sickness, and for good crops ; but lihungai, 
the word they use, conveys rather the notion of charm than of 
prayer ; the formula is handed down from father to son, or is 
taught for a consideration. So at Saa a man who has no 
special connexion with a lid a ghost will, in danger at sea, 
call on his father or grandfather ; but one who knows some 
particular lioa uses some particular form of words he has learnt 
in which power over the elements resides, and when he has 
done that, calls on the man now dead who introduced him to 
the lioa and taught him the incantation, and after that again 
upon his father and his grandfather. 

The tataro of the Banks' Islands, which may be called a 
prayer, is strictly an invocation of the dead, and is no doubt 
so called because the form begins with the word tataro, which 
certainly is the 'ataro of San Cristoval, that is a ghost of 
power. The Banks' islanders are clear that tataro is properly 
made only to the dead ; yet the spirits, v ui, Qat and Marawa 
are addressed in the same way. A man in danger on the sea 
will call on deceased friends, particularly on one who has been 
in life a good sailor ; but if he only cries out as he might in 
common life that is no tataro^ which must be a form of words. 
The use of tataro in Motlav is thus described. A man is sick, 
and the cause of his sickness is suggested to be an offence 
against some sacred place near which he remembers himself 
to have intruded. Then the man to whom the sacred place 

ix.] Banks Island Prayers. 147 

belongs will, for payment, go and tataro for him there 
morning and evening. He calls aloud the name of the sick man, 
and listens for an answering sound, the cry of a kingfisher or 
of some other bird ; if he hears a sound he calls ' Come back ' 
to the life or soul of the sick man, runs back to the house 
where he lies, and cries ' He will live/ meaning that he brings 
back the life. If it happens that on his way to the sacred 
place a lizard runs up upon him, it is enough, he has the life 
and goes back with it. If a man who has a stone is going to 
it to offer, oloolo, upon it, and he sees a rat, crab, iguana, or 
lizard on the way, he scatters a little loose money for it, and 
says a tataro that he knows. When the oven is opened for a 
meal, one of the men will break off a bit of food and throw it 
against the side wall of the house with a tataro. In the same 
way when water is poured into the oven to make the steam, 
there is a tataro used against an enemy, or to get rain or 
sunshine. Some Mota forms are as follows. On opening an 
oven, when a leaf of cooked mallow is thrown for some dead 
person : ' Tataro this is a lucky bit for your eating ; they 
who have charmed your food, have clubbed you (as the case may 
be), take hold of their hands, drag them away to hell, let them 
be dead.' If after this the man at whom it was directed is 
heard to have met with an accident, ' Oh ho ! ' says the other, 
* my curse in eating has worked upon him, he is dead.' When 
water is poured into the oven : ' Tataro pour it on the head 
of him down there who has laid plots against me, has clubbed 
me, has shot me, has stolen this thing of mine (as the case 
may be), he shall die V On making a libation of kava before 
drinking: 'Tataro Grandfather! this is your lucky drop of 
kava ; let boars come in to me ; let rawe come in to me ; the 
money I have spent let it come back to me, the food that is 
gone let it come back hither to the house of you and me.' 

1 'Prayer in Fiji generally concluded with malignant requests as to the 
enemy. " Let us live, and let those that speak evil of us perish. Let the 
enemy be clubbed, swept away, uttery destroyed, piled in heaps. Let their 
teeth be broken. May they fall headlong into a pit. Let us live, and let our 
enemies perish." ' Kev. L. Fison. 

L 2 

1 48 Prayers. [CH. 

On starting on a voyage : ' Tataro Uncle ! Father ! plenty 
of boars for you, plenty of rawe, plenty of money ; kava for 
your drinking, lucky food for your eating in the canoe ; I 
pray you with this, look down upon me, let me go on a safe 
sea.' Or when the canoe labours with a heavy freight : 
' Take off your burden from us, that we may speed on a safe 
sea.' Another was used over the oven in the gamal of the 
Suqe club, the hole in which the fire is made : ' Grandfather ! 
may it be Father ! my Uncle ! my Greatuncle ! we two will 
go on with a hundred fathom of money of yours ; look down 
upon us two, do not look unfavourably upon us two ; let 
money abound to us two, boars, rawe, food ; let our suqe go on 
to the end ; let not our outrigger be broken ; you sit and look 
after us two ; let us two go on well, with no unfavourable 
looks upon us ; let us two come straight on in the hole of us 
three, in the hot suqe hole of us three, let the suqe come 
forth and advance. 3 There is no difference between these and 
the invocations of the spirits, vui, Qat and Marawa, except 
that these latter which follow, not being addressed to the 
dead, are not properly tataro. These three were used at sea : 
' Qate ! you and Marawa, cover over with your hand the blow- 
hole from me, that I may come into a quiet landing-place ; 
let it calm well down away from me. Let the canoe of you 
and me go up in a quiet landing-place,' ' Qate ! Mara wo ! 
look down upon me, prepare the sea of you and me, that I 
may go on a safe sea. Beat down the head of the waves from 
me, let the tide rip sink down away from me, beat it down 
level that it may go down and roll away, and I may come 
into a quiet landing-place.' * Qate ! Marawo ! may it be 
let the canoe of you and me turn into a whale, a flying-fish, 
an eagle ; let it leap on and on over the waves, let it go, let 
it pass out to my land.' In answer to such prayers as these 
it was supposed that Qat and Marawa would come and hold 
fast the mast and rigging of the canoe, preserve it from 
danger, and speed it on its course. 

In the Northern New Hebrides, in Aurora, they use the 
same word tataro for a form of words used for example in 

ix.] New Hebrides. 149 

a storm at sea, a spell that works by the supernatural power 
residing 1 in the words and in the names of the spirits 
mentioned. When in distress and danger they call to a dead 
father or friend, ' Take care of your canoe and mine,' it is a 
cry, not a tataro. The word is also used in Whitsuntide and 
Lepers' Island, and with probably the same limited applica- 
tion in strict native usage. 



BEINGS of a more or less distinctly spiritual nature, who 
at any rate never were men, have their place in the beliefs and 
in the stories of the Banks' Islands and the New Hebrides 
very much more than in the Solomon Islands. Koevasi, 
already mentioned, in Florida and Kahausibware in San Cris- 
toval belong to the latter group, and may well be supposed 
to be the same personage under different names. Both were 
never human, yet in some way originators of the human 
race ; both were female, both subjects of stories, not objects of 
worship. Kahausibware was a Hi'ona, a being of super- 
human character, dwelling on the mountain of Bauro, the 
central mass of San Cristoval, in the time of the infancy 
of the human race. She was a snake in outward form. 
There was in the same place a woman, a human being, the 
offspring in some way of Kahausibware. In those days all 
the fruits of the earth grew without labour, and all was of the 
best ; it was Kahausibware who made men, pigs, and other 
animals, cocoa-nuts, fruit-trees, and all the food with which the 
island is now furnished, and death had not yet appeared. The 
woman one day went to her work, and left her infant in the 
house in charge of the spirit snake, who was so much annoyed 
by the screaming of the child that she coiled herself round it 
and strangled it. The mother came in while the folds of the 
serpent's body were still wound round her child, and seizing 
an axe she began to chop the snake to pieces. As she 
chopped it asunder the parts came together again ; but the 

Solomon Islands. Banks Islands. 151 

snake at last could bear it no longer, and cried out weeping-, 
' I go, and who will help you now ? ' She made her way 
down to the sea accordingly, and her track became a water- 
course. Leaving the island, she swam across first to Ugi, but 
from thence she could see the Bauro mountain ; she went on 
further to Ulawa, and thence again to the south-east end of 
Malanta, but even there in clear weather she could see her 
former home. She crossed therefore to Marau, the south-east 
part of Guadalcanar nearest to San Cristoval. where the view 
of the mountain of Bauro is shut off by the nearer hills ; there 
she rests till the present day. Since her departure all things 
in San Cristoval have deteriorated. Snakes upon the Bauro 
mountain are venerated as the progeny or representatives of 
Kahausibware ; but they are simple snakes, and she was a 
Hi'ona, or Eigona. 

In the Banks* Islands and in the Northern New Hebrides 
the purely spiritual beings who are incorporeal are innumer- 
able and unnamed. These are they whose representative form 
is generally a stone, who haunt the places that are sacred 
because of their presence, and who connect themselves with 
certain snakes, owls, sharks, and other creatures. There is in 
these things a medium of communication with them, and 
they are powerful to assist those who can approach them, and 
also to injure men, though they are not of a malignant nature. 
They are certainly believed to have no body; yet it is 
impossible for the natives to conceive of them as entirely 
without form. Men, therefore, have declared that they have 
seen something, indistinct, with no definite outline, grey like 
dust, vanishing as soon as it was looked at, near a stone, and 
this must have been a spirit, vui, wui. But the same word is 
used to describe beings who are corporeal, and individually 
known and named. The natives will deny that these have 
bodies as men have, and assert that they are of the same 
nature as those which are incorporeal ; but yet in the stories 
that are told about them they figure as men, though possessed 
of powers which men can never have. Consistency can 
hardly be expected ; the native mind indeed aims high when 

152 Spirits. [CH. 

it conceives a being which lives and thinks and knows and 
has power in nature, without a gross body or even form ; but 
it fails when it comes to deal with an individual being of such 
a nature. Hence the stories represent a vui like a man with 
larger powers ; a native seeing some new and wonderful 
foreign work will cry ' A vui made it ! ', and receiving home 
a boy grown up in absence cries ' Me vui gai ! He's a vui to 
be sure ! ' 

It is remarkable again that of these superhuman beings 
who are called vui or wui in the Banks' Islands and New 
Hebrides, and whose actions are like those of men, there seem 
to be two kinds or orders. Qat in the Banks' Islands stories 
and Tagaro in the New Hebrides stories move like heroes or 
demigods amidst a lesser folk of dwarfs and trolls as full of 
mysterious magic power as they are, but comparatively rude 
and easily deceived. These lingered in the islands when Qat 
and his brothers and Tagaro and his brothers left them ; they 
have been seen of late in human form, smaller than the native 
people, darker, and with long straight hair. Marawa, the 
friend of Qat, was one of these. A man living in Vanua 
Lava but a few years ago, named Manlepei, going to the 
river side in early morning, saw a little man with long 
hanging hair, and followed him up the valley in which the 
river runs, till they came to a narrow gorge closed by a rock. 
The vui rapped upon this with his hand and it opened to him ; 
and as Manlepei followed close behind, it shut again upon 
them both. They were in a cave which was the vui's house. 
He said that he was Marawa, and that he would appear again 
to the man if he would go back to the village and bring him 
money. Manlepei prospered ever after through Marawa's 
aid, and he made no secret of the source of his prosperity; he 
was always ready to receive money from his neighbours on 
Marawa's behalf, and to procure for them a share in his good 
will. It is not long either since a female vui with a child 
was seen in Saddle Island, close to the house of a man who 
had often found a fine yam laid for him on the seat beside 
his door, and had observed that his money-bag was still full 

x.] Banks Islands. l Nopitu! 153 

after he had paid a debt. There was a woman living a few 
years ago in Mota whose father was a vui. Popular stories 
shewed how these beings were believed to be at hand in the 
affairs of men. A woman working in her garden heard a 
voice from the fruit of a gourd asking her for food ; when she 
pulled up a caladium or dug a yam another immediately came 
into its place ; but when she listened to another vui playing 
on his panpipe, the first in his jealousy conveyed away the 
garden and all. In these stories, and no doubt in common 
belief, there was a certain confusion between these spirits and 
ghosts of the departed. 

Some vui, spiritual beings, yet in some way corporeal, 
figure strangely in the stories of Mota as Nopitu, and of 
Motlav, in another form of the same word, as Demlnt. There 
is often a difficulty in understanding what is told about them, 
because the name Nopitu is given both to the spirit and to 
the person possessed by the spirit, who performs wonders by 
the power and in the name of the Nopitu who possesses him. 
Such a one would call himself Nopitu; rather, speaking of 
himself, will say not ' I,' but ' we two,' meaning the Nopitu 
in him and himself, or ' we ' when he is possessed by many. 
He would dance at a festival, such as a Jcolekole, as no man not 
possessed by a Nopitu could dance. He would scratch him- 
self, his arm or his head, and new money not yet strung would 
fall from his fingers ; Vetpepewu told me that he had seen 
money fall from a Nopitu at a Jcolekole bags full. One would 
shake himself on a mat and unstrung money would pour 
down into it. He would take a cocoa-nut to drink, and the by- 
standers would hear money pouring out instead of the liquor, 
and rattling against his teeth, and he would spit it up upon 
the ground. Tursal has seen at Mota a woman vomit native 
money a Nopitu possessed by such a spirit. To obtain the 
favour of the Nopitu men would offer, oloolo, as at a sacrifice, 
to the man possessed ; would give him a red yam and almonds ; 
he would eat the yam raw, and be heard crunching money 
with his teeth. If a young cocoa-nut was offered he would 
open the eye and drink, and then give it back full of money. 

154 Spirits. [CH. 

But a Nopitu would also manifest itself in a different manner. 
A party would be sitting round an evening fire, and one of 
them would hear a voice as if proceeding from his thigh, 
saying, ' Here am I, give me some food, I am hungry.' He 
would roast a little red yam, and when it was done fold it in 
the corner of the mat on which he was sitting. In a little 
while it would be gone, and then the Nopitu would begin to 
talk and sing in a voice so small and clear and sweet, that 
once heard it never could be forgotten ; but it sang the or- 
dinary Mota songs, while the men drummed an accompaniment 
for it. Then it would say, * I am going ; ' they would call 
it, and it was gone. Then a woman would feel it come 
to her, and sit upon her knee ; she would hear it cry 
' Mother ! Mother ! ' She would know it, and carry it in 
a mat upon her back like an infant. Sometimes a woman 
would hear a Nopitu say ' Mother, I am coming to you,' and 
she would feel the spirit entering into her, and it would be 
born afterwards as an ordinary child. Such a one, named 
Rongoloa, was not long ago still living at Motlav. The 
Nopitu, like other spirits, were the familiars only of those 
who knew them, and these were often women. If a man 
wished to know and become known to a Nopitu, he gave 
money to some woman who knew those spirits, and then one 
would come to him. 

The place of Qat in the popular beliefs of the Banks' Islands 
was so high and so conspicuous that when the people first 
became known to Europeans it was supposed that he was their 
god, the supreme creator of men and pigs and food. It is 
certain that he was believed to have made things in another 
sense from that in which men could be said to make them. 
To the present day a mother chides a sleepy, fractious child, or 
one crying with hunger, with the words, ' Do you think you 
are going to die ? Don't you know that Qat made you so ? ' 
If a pig comes indoors to sleep in bad weather, the man who 
drives it out says to it, ' Qat made you to stay outside.' 
These are not serious sayings ; but it was believed that Qat 
had made some creatures and fixed the natural condition of 

x.] Banks Islands. Qat. 155 

things in the world. The regular courses of the seasons are 
ascribed to him, the calm months from September to December, 
when the un, Palolo sea- worm, comes, the yearly blow, and the 
high tide in the month wotgoro ; but irregular rains, winds 
and calms are put to the account of the men who could influ- 
ence other vui spirits so as to produce them. The name of Qat 
is given also to remarkable objects and effects in nature ; when 
fish die in the sea from excessive heat of the sun, Qat is said 
to have poisoned them ; a kind of fungus is his basket, a fungia 
coral is his dish, the sulphur at the volcanic vents in Vanua 
Lava is his sauce, a beam of light shining through the roof in 
the dusty air is his spear; and the flying shadow of a solitary 
cloud over the sea is the shadow of Qat. With all this it is 
impossible to take Qat very seriously or to allow him divine 
rank. He is certainly not the lord of spirits. He is the hero 
of story-tellers, the ideal character of a good-natured people 
who profoundly believe in magic and greatly admire adroitness 
and success in the use of it ; Qat himself is good-natured, 
only playfully mischievous, and thoroughly enjoys the exercise 
of his wonderful powers 1 . When he is said to create he is 
adding only to the furniture of the world in which he was 
born, where there were already houses and canoes, weapons, 
ornaments, products of cultivated gardens and of such arts of 
life as the natives possessed when they were first visited 
by Europeans. It is difficult for the story-tellers to keep him 
distinct from ordinary men, though they always insist that 
he was a vui ; and though he certainly never was a man, the 
people of the place where he was born in Vanua Lava, Alo 
Sepere, claim him as their ancestor. 

It would be in vain to look for a connected history of Qat 
from his birth to his disappearance ; he is the central figure of 
a cycle of stories which vary in different parts of the islands 
of the Banks' group. All agree that he was born in Vanua 

1 One can hardly help observing the absence of obscenity and ferocity from 
these stories. Obscene tales, or parts of tales, no doubt are told where they 
are acceptable, but they do not make any considerable part of the commonly 
repeated legend. 

156 Spirits. [CH. 

Lava, and that finally he departed from the world. There 
are no doubt many of his feats and adventures which the 
natives have kept to themselves. The story which follows 
is translated, with additions from other sources, from the 
Mota of the late native Deacon Edward Wogale, himself 
of the Sepere stock. 

The Story of Qat. Qat was not without a beginning 1 , 
but he had a mother whose name was Qatgoro (otherwise 
Iro Ul), and this mother was a stone that burst asunder and 
brought him forth. He had no father, and he was born on 
the road. He grew up and talked at once. He asked his 
mother what his name was, saying that if he had a father or 
an uncle on his mother's side, one of them would name him ; 
then he gave himself the name of Qat. He had brothers 
also. The first was Tangaro Gilagilala, Tangaro the Wise, 
who understood all things, and could instruct the rest ; 
the second was Tangaro Loloqong, Tangaro the Fool, who 
was ignorant of everything, and behaved like a fool ; the 
others were Tangaro Siria, Tangaro Nolas, Tangaro Nokalato, 
Tangaro Noav, Tangaro Nopatau, Tangaro Noau, Tangaro 
Nomatig, Tangaro Novunue, Tangaro Novlog ; eleven of 
them, all Tangaro, twelve in all with Qat. The names of the 
last nine are made up of the names of the leaves of trees and 
plants, Nettle-leaf, Bread-fruit-leaf, Bamboo-leaf, Cocoa-nut- 
leaf, Umbrella-palm-leaf, added to Tangaro, which is no 
doubt the same with the Tagaro of the New Hebrides and 
the Tangaroa of the Polynesians. These all grew up as soon 
as they were born, and they took up their abode in the village 
Alo Sepere, where their mother, turned into a stone, may yet 
be seen. There Qat began to make things, men, pigs, trees, 
rocks, as the fancy took him. But when he had made all 
sorts of things he still knew not how to make night, and the 
daytime was always light. Then said his brothers to him, 
' Hallo ! Qat, this is not at all pleasant, here is nothing but 
day; can't you do something for us?' Then, seeking what he 
could do with the daylight, he heard that there was night at 
Vava, in the Torres Islands' ; so he took a pig and tied it, and 

x.] Story of Qat. 157 

put it into his canoe, and sailed over to Vava, where he 
bought night, qong, from I Qong, Night, who lived there. 
Others say that he paddled to the foot of the sky, to buy 
night from Night, and that Night blackened his eyebrows, 
and showed him sleep that evening, and taught him in the 
morning how to make the dawn. Qat returned to his brothers 
with the knowledge of night, and with a fowl and other 
birds, to give notice of the time for the return of light. So 
he bade them prepare themselves bed-places ; and they platted 
cocoa-nut fronds and spread them in the house. Then for the 
first time they saw the sun moving and sinking to the west, 
and called out to Qat that it was crawling away. ' It will 
soon be gone,' said he ; ' and if you see a change on the face of 
the earth, that is night.' Then he let go the night. ' What 
is this coming out of the sea,' they cried, * and covering the 
sky ? ' * That is night,' said he ; ' sit down on both sides of 
the house, and when you feel something in your eyes, lie down 
and be quiet.' Presently it was dark, and their eyes began to 
blink. 'Qat! Qat! what is this? shall we die ?' 'Shut 
your eyes,' said he ; * this is it, go to sleep.' When night had 
lasted long enough the cock began to crow and the birds to 
twitter ; Qat took a piece of red obsidian and cut the night 
with it 1 ; the light over which the night had spread itself 
shone forth again, and Oat's brothers awoke. After this he 
occupied himself again in making things. 

According to 'the story told at Lakona, in Santa Maria, Qat 
and Marawa (another vui who here corresponds to the Supwe 
of Maewo and Araga) dwelt in their place at Matan, near to 
the mountain Garat, where the volcanic fires still smoulder. 
They two made men in this way. Qat cut wood of dracaena- 
trees into shape ; he formed legs, arms, trunks, heads, and 
added ears and eyes ; then he fitted part to part, and six days 
he worked about it. After this he fixed the time of six days 
for them to come to life. Three days he hid them away, and 

1 Hence the expressions, o maran me teve, the morning has cut, and o mera 
ti lamasag, the dawn strikes upon the sky, mera being a common word 
for red. 

158 Spirits. [CH. 

three days he worked to give them life. He brought them 
forth and set them up before his face ; then he danced to 
them and saw that they moved a little ; he beat the drum for 
them, and saw that they moved more than before. Thus he 
beguiled them into life, so that they could stand of themselves. 
Then he divided them, setting each male by himself and giving 
him a female, and he called the two husband and wife. Three 
women he made, and three men. But Marawa made his of 
another tree, the tavisoviso ; he worked at them six days also, 
and set them up, and beat the drum for them, and gave them 
life as Oat had done for his. But when he saw them move 
he dug a pit, covered the bottom of it with cocoa-nut fronds, 
and buried his men and women in it for six days. Then when 
he scraped off the earth with his hands to view them, he found 
them all rotten and stinking ; and this was the origin of death 
among men. 

According to the story as told in Mota, Qat made men and 
pigs at first in the same form, but on his brothers remonstrating 
with him on the sameness of his creatures, he beat down the 
pigs to go on all fours and made men walk upright. Man 
was made of clay, the red clay from the marshy riverside at 
Vanua Lava. The first woman was Iro Vilgale. Qat took rods 
and rings of supple twigs and fashioned her as they make 
the tall hats for the qatu, binding on the rings to the rods, and 
covering all over with the spathes of sago-palms : hence her 
name from ml to bind, and gale to deceive. When all was 
finished he saw a smile, and then he knew that she was a 
living woman. 

Qat had, however, a wife, a female vui, Iro Lei by name, but 
he had no children. His brothers, who had no wives of their 
own, envied him the possession of the beautiful Ho Lei, as well 
as of his excellent canoe, and were always conspiring to get 
both into their own hands. When his work of creation was 
completed, Qat proposed to his brothers that they should cut 
canoes for themselves, and they began to work, each choosing 
a different kind of tree. Qat cut down a large tree well 
suited for a canoe, and worked secretly every day, but made no 

x.] Story of Qat. 159 

progress in his work ; every day when he returned to work he 
found the wood that he had chopped away replaced, and the 
tree made solid again. At length one evening when he had 
finished his day's work he lay down to watch, making himself 
small, and covering himself with a large chip which he drew 
away from the rest and hid. Presently he saw a little old 
man with long white hair creep out of the ground and begin 
to replace the chips, each in the place from which it had 
been cut, till the tree trunk was almost whole again. But 
there was one defective place to which the chip belonged 
which Qat had hidden, and the old man began to search for it, 
and Qat watched. After a while he saw it and advanced to 
take it ; but Qat leapt up from under it, lifting up his shell 
axe to cut him down. But Marawa, the spider, another very 
powerful vui, for this was he, entreated Qat, ' Ah, friend, don't 
kill me, and I will make your canoe all right again ; ' and he 
worked at it, and soon finished it with his nails 1 . When 
all the canoes were finished, Qat bade his brothers launch 
their own, and as each was launched he lifted his hand, and 
one by one they sank. Then Qat and Marawa appeared in 
the one that they had made, paddling swiftly about, to the 
astonishment of the brothers, who had not known that Qat had 
even begun to work. Having amused himself with their 
mortification, he recovered their canoes for them in the night. 
After this his brothers tried with many deceits to destroy Qat, 
so that they might possess themselves of his wife and his 
canoe. One day they took him to the hole of a land crab 
under a stone, which they had already so prepared by digging 
under it that it was ready to topple over upon him. Qat 
crawled into the hole and began to dig for the crab ; his 
brothers tipped over the stone upon him, and, thinking him 
crushed to death, ran off to seize Eo Lei and the canoe. But 
Qat called on Marawa by name, ' Marawa ! take me round about 
to Ro Lei,' and by the time that his brothers reached the 

1 Hence, when iron was seen in the form of nails, it was called at Mota 
Marawa' s finger-nails, pis Marawa, and pismarawa is now a widely accepted 
name for nails. 

160 Spirits. [CH. 

village, there was Qat to their astonishment sitting by the side 
of his wife. On another occasion they cut half through the 
bough of a fruit-tree, and persuaded Qat to go out for the nuts. 
When he fell as the branch broke, and as they thought was 
killed, Marawa again saved him ; and when they ran to seize 
his wife, they found him lying with his head upon her lap. 
Qat was himself always ready to play tricks on his brothers, 
but not in malice. One moonlight night he induced them to 
go and shoot flying foxes, and as they were going covered 
himself with boards, and flew up into a pandanus-tree and hung 
there like a bat. His brothers saw him, shot at him, and hit 
him. He spat out blood upon the ground, and they, making 
sure that he was wounded, mounted one after another into the 
tree to take the bat. As each one shot and climbed after him 
he flew off, and returned to hang again. When all had shot 
and climbed up he flew home, took out the arrows which had 
stuck into his covering of boards, and hung them up in the 
gamal. When his brothers returned he asked them what sport 
they had ; and when they told how they had shot and hit a 
wonderful bat, he made them look at the arrows and judge 
whose they were. Iro Lei took her part in these tricks. One 
day when Qat and his brothers were sailing in their canoes 
they saw a woman on a point of rock, who called each of them 
as he came near to come and have some of her food. Each as 
he drew near and saw that she was an old woman rejected her 
offer ; but Qat came up and took her into his canoe. They 
had rejected his much-coveted wife, for this was Ro Lei 
in disguise. 

Again they consulted how they might destroy him, and 
determined to entrap him while snaring birds. They prepared 
each one for himself his place in a nutmeg-tree, each in suc- 
cession further and further from the village, and the tree for 
Qat much further away than all. Then they took Qat out 
and shewed him his place. Qat mounted into his tree, and as 
soon as he was busy with his snares his brother nearest to 
him descended from his own place, ran beneath the tree 
where Qat was sitting, and said, ' My nutmeg, swell ! ' The 

x.] Adventures of Qat. 161 

nutmeg-tree instantly grew so large in the trunk that Qat's 
arms could never clasp it, and all its boughs and branches 
equally swelled out. But Qat did not at first discover this, 
because he was busy setting his snares ; his brother who had 
laid the spell upon the nutmeg-tree ran back, collecting the 
others as he went into the village ; they seized and carried 
off Ro Lei, dragged down the canoe into the sea, and paddled 
off at once. The island had already sunk out of their sight 
when they blew their shell trumpet to let Qat know that they 
were gone. When he heard it he knew what had happened, 
and would have followed them, but the size of the swelled 
branches of the nutmeg-tree made it impossible for him to 
descend; he tried and tried in vain, and then lifted up his 
voice and wept. His friend Marawa, the Spider, heard his 
cries, and came to ask him what was the matter. ' I can't get 
down,' said he ; ' my brothers have played me this trick.' 
' Down with you,' said Marawa, whose hair was exceedingly 
long and loose ; and he sent up his hair to Qat, who de- 
scended by it and ran into the village. There he found the 
rollers of his canoe alone remaining, and sought his wife in 
vain, for his brothers had taken off his wife and his canoe to 
be their own. Then Qat went inside his house, and took his 
cock's-tail plume, and his string of the smallest shell-money, 
his red earth, and his shell hatchet, and asked his mother for 
his banana fruit. ' They have plucked them all,' she answered, 
1 except these little ones at the end of the bunch.' ' Pluck 
them all off/ said Qat. Then he took a cocoa-nut-shell bottle 
and stowed all his things and his food within it, made him- 
self small and took his seat within it, and bade his mother 
count three waves, and at the fourth small wave to throw it 
into the sea. So Qat floated on and on in the bottle till he 
came up to the canoe in which his brothers were, for they had 
not yet reached land. Then he floated along before the bow 
of the canoe, and where he drifted they were forced to follow. 
By-and-by he took one of his bananas and ate it, and threw 
the skin into the sea where the canoe would come along. 
His brothers saw it, and remarked that it was like those 


1 62 Spirits. [CH. 

bananas of Qat's that they had taken ; they enquired among 
themselves who had been eating a banana, and when all denied, 
Tangaro the Wise spoke out : ' You fellows,' said he, ' it is 
Qat who has eaten this banana, and has thrown the skin of 
it here for us, to give us notice that he is not dead, but that he 
has escaped and is following us.' But the rest of them would 
not listen to him, declaring that Qat was dead. The same 
happened again when he threw out for them another banana 
skin. After this they saw the bottle itself in which Qat was 
floating, close up to the canoe, and one of them took it up, 
thinking that it was a good cocoa-nut, but when he smelt it 
and found the smell bad, he threw it away again. This they 
did one after another, except Tangaro the Wise, who did not 
happen to observe it. Then dat floated quickly to the shore 
of Maewo, and emerged from his bottle ; he colours his hair 
with the red earth, binds his small shell-money round his 
head, sticks his cock's-tail plume in his hair, takes his seat on 
the top of a male pandanus-tree on the beach, and there he 
sits and waits for his brothers to come to land who were still 
in the canoe. Presently they came through the reef and up 
to the shore, and then they looked up and saw him sitting 
in the pandanus, and enquired one of another who it was 
sitting 1 up there. ' It is Qat,' said Tangaro the Wise ; but 
his brothers argued that he could not have made his way 
thither, seeing that he was already dead. ' That is Qat, and 
no mistake,' said Tangaro the Wise ; for he knew better than 
his brothers about this and all other things. So they brought 
their canoe to land, but had no need to haul it up, for Qat 
made the rocks to rise and bear it high and dry. Qat leaped 
down upon them with his axe, and hewed the canoe to pieces 
for them with this song, ' Chop, chop the canoe ; whose 
canoe is it ? Marawa's canoe. My brothers tricked me about 
twisting a string swell nutmeg-tree and draw the snare. 
I had one canoe, my canoe slipped off from me.' So he 
chopped the canoe to pieces before their face. After this he 
made friends with them, and bade them live in harmony 

x.] Adventures of Qat. 163 

Another remarkable series of adventures were Qat's en- 
counters with Qasavara. This was a vui, very strong-, a great 
fighter, tyrant and cannibal, who dwelt in the island which 
was the home of Qat and his brothers. One day the brothers 
went to bathe, and found floating down the stream a fruit of 
the Tahitian chestnut, a make. The others took it up one 
after another and rejected it, thinking it was not good, but 
Qat took it and found it good, and gave it to his mother to 
cook. Each of the brothers as he returned from bathing went 
to their mother for food. She had nothing but Qat's make, 
and they each took a bit of it ; Tangaro the Fool finished it. 
Qat sent them to get some more, and following up the stream 
down which this fruit had floated they came upon the tree. 
They climbed upon it to gather the chestnuts, and Tangaro 
the Fool dropped one upon the house of Qasavara, over which 
the branches hung. Out came the ogre in a rage, seized and 
killed the brothers, and put them in his food-chest. Qat 
waited five days, then took his bow and arrows and shell 
hatchet and went in search. Following the stream he found 
the tree, and divining what had happened, brought out 
Qasavara by dropping a make on his house. They fought, and 
Qat killed Qasavara ; then, searching for his brothers, he found 
their bones in the food-chest. He revived them by blowing 
through a reed into their mouths, and bidding them, if they 
were his brothers, laugh. Another adventure not very con- 
sistent with this is thus narrated. Qasavara falling in with 
Qat and his brothers invited them to his village, and made a 
fire in his oven for them. When it was evening he told them 
that they were to sleep by themselves in his gamal ; but they, 
knowing that they would be killed, were exceedingly afraid. 
Night fell and they were very sleepy, and Qat called them to 
come to bed. He rapped asunder with his knuckles one of 
the rafters of the gamal^ and they all got inside and slept. 
In the middle of the night Qasavara and his men took clubs 
and bows and came to kill Qat's party, but not finding them 
in the sleeping places went back disappointed. At the 
approach of day the cock crew, and Qat awoke his brothers, 

M 1 

164 Spirits. [CH. 

bidding them crawl out at once, lest they should be seen 
leaving the rafter by daylight. So they came out; and 
when it was clear day Qasavara and his men running to the 
gamal found Qat and his brothers chatting together. ' Where 
did you sleep ? ' asked they. All of them answered that they 
had slept in the place appointed for them ; but Tangaro the 
Fool cried out, 'We slept in this rafter here/ to the great 
indignation of his brothers. Qasavara' s party again as the 
night drew on took counsel how they might kill them in the 
rafter ; but that night Qat rapped a side post with his 
knuckles, it opened and they slept within it. Qasavara's 
party came in the night and smashed the rafter, found no 
one there, and again retired. Next morning again they 
came into the gamal and found Qat and his brothers sitting 
unconcerned ; and again Tangaro the Fool confessed they 
had been sleeping in the side post. Next night again Qat 
opened the great main post and they slept in it, and again 
Qasavara came and smashed the side post, and found no one 
there. Tangaro the Fool again made known their retreat, 
though he had been warned and scolded by his brothers. 
Qasavara now determined to try another course, and to kill 
them as they were sitting at a feast ; that night Qat opened 
the ridge pole with a rap and they all slept in it. Knowing 
what was intended, Qat made his preparations to save his 
brothers by planting a casuarina-tree ; and he gave them his 
instructions what they were to do. ' When they are getting 
the food ready/ he said, { wash your hands with the salt-water 
in the bamboo water- vessels till they are empty ; and then 
when they are looking for salt-water, and wanting some one 
to go and fill the vessels, two of you are to offer to go ; and 
two are to go at once ; and when you get some way off smash 
the bamboo vessels on the ground, and climb up into the 
casuarina-tree. All of you are to do this.' They all agreed, 
and did as they were bid. Then, when the oven was all 
covered in, Qasavara's men cried out ' Hallo ! there is no salt- 
water! who will fetch some?' 'We two/ said two of Qat's 
brothers ; and they went, and smashed the water- vessels and 

x.] Qat and Qasavara. 165 

climbed into the casuarina-tree. Qasavara' s men waited for 
them till they were tired, and then asked some others to go ; 
two more of Qat's brothers went, and smashed the vessels 
and climbed into the tree. So it went on till all his brothers 
were in the tree, and Qat alone was left beside the oven with 
Qasavara and his men. Then as they opened the oven Qat 
sat with a large handful of food-bags beside the oven, and as 
they were taking out the food Qasavara struck at Qat with 
his club and missed him. Qat leapt away from him to the 
other side of the oven, and taking up food from within it 
cried, ' This for my brother, this for my mate/ and stowed 
it in the bags. Qasavara leapt across after him, struck 
at him and missed him again ; and Qat again jumped 
across, took up food with the same cry, and stowed it in 
his bags. So it went on till all the food in the oven was 
taken, and all the bags were full. Then Qat rose and ran 
to his brothers, and Qasavara after him, hitting at him with 
his club and missing him as he ran, chasing him till he 
reached his brothers. Then Qat jumped away from him into 
the tree, and Qasavara climbed after him. Qat's brothers 
were gathered together on the tree top, and Qat climbed to 
them, and there they sat still, for they could climb no 
higher. Then Qasavara climbed close to them, and stretched 
out his club at arm's length to strike them ; but Qat cried 
out ' My casuarina, lengthen ! ' So the casuarina elongated 
itself between Qat's party and Qasavara, and left him far 
below. But Qasavara climbed after them again, and again 
came close to them ; and again Qat cried, * Lengthen, my 
casuarina ! ' and again the tree lengthening itself carried Qat 
and his brothers away from Qasavara. So it went on till the 
tree top reached the sky. Then said Qat, 'Bend down, my 
casuarina ! ' and the tree bent its top down to Tatgan, and they 
all one after another got down to the ground there, and Qat 
the last of them. And as he reached the ground he held fast 
on to the top of the casuarina and waited before letting it go ; 
and Qasavara followed down after them and reached the end. 
Then cried Qat, ' Now I revenge myself.' ' Ah, Qat ! ' cried 

1 66 Spirits. [CH. 

Qasavara, * do me no harm ; take me kindly for one of your 
household, and I will work for you.' ' No, indeed/ said Qat, 
' but I will revenge myself for the mischief you have done me.' 
So he let go the tip of the casuarina-tree, and the tree sprang 
back and flipped off Qasavara, and his head knocked against 
the sky, and he fell back upon the earth ; and there he lay at 
length upon his face, and turned into a stone. And now they 
offer sacrifices at that stone for valour ; if any one desires to 
be valiant and strong in fighting, he offers at that stone, 
which they say is Qasavara 1 . 

The stone apparently is not at Tatgan in Vanua Lava, where 
it should be ; so they say it is in Gaua ; but it is agreed that 
Qat and his brothers took up their abode at Tatgan. It was, 
however, from Gaua that the story makes Qat to have taken 
his departure from the world. Where now in the centre of 
that island is the great lake, the Tas, there was formerly a 
great plain covered with forest. Qat cut himself a large canoe 
there out of one of the largest trees. While making it he was 
often ridiculed by his brothers, and asked how he would ever 
get so large a canoe to the sea. He answered always that they 
would see by-and-by. When the canoe was finished he took 
inside it his wife and brothers, collected the living creatures 
of the island, even those so small as ants, and shut himself 
with them inside the canoe, to which he had made a covering. 
Then came a deluge of rain ; the great hollow of the island 
became full of water, which burst through the surrounding hills 
where now descends the great waterfall of Gaua. The canoe 
tore a channel for itself out into the sea and disappeared. 
The people believed that the best of everything was taken from 
the islands when Qat so left them, and they looked forward to 
his return. W T hen for the first time Bishop Patteson and his 
companions went ashore at Mota, some of the natives now 
living remember that it was said that Qat and his brothers 
were returned. Some years after that a small trading vessel ran 

1 As Qasavara fell from heaven the women in their fright held their hands 
above their heads, but the men held theirs before their breasts ; consequently 
from that time forth men grow bald and the breasts of women protrude. 


Santa Cruz. Duka. 

i6 7 

on the reef at Gaua, and was lost. The old people, seeing her 
apparently standing in to the channel of the waterfall stream, 
cried out that Qat was come again, and that his canoe knew 
her own way home. It is likely now that the story will be 
told of eight persons in the canoe ; but it is certain that the 
story is older than any knowledge of Noah's ark among the 

It is very probable that Lata, who is said by the people of 
Santa Cruz to have made men and animals, is regarded by 
them as Qat was regarded by the people of the Banks' 
Islands ; and Tinota is a duka of the same kind with Lata. 
A story which is told of Natei, now the chief man at Nelua in 
Santa Cruz, shews a belief also in such beings as the Banks' 
islanders believed to dwell with them in their islands, and 
called md. The story is doubtless much older than Natei, as 
the similar story of Manlepei in Vanua Lava was doubtless 
told of some other man, and by some other man of himself, 
long before his time. The present younger generation at 
Santa Cruz seeing Natei a great man, and taking it of course 
that his greatness came by supernatural assistance, tell this 
story of him. When he was a yonng man, they say, he was 
following the upward course of a narrow valley looking for 
birds to make feather-money, and advanced far inland into the 
forest. A person met him and asked him who he was, and he 
answered that he was a man. To Natei' s like enquiry the 
same answer was made. This person then took him by a very 
good path up the valley, which narrowed into a ravine. This 
opened again into a space in which were good gardens and a 
village. The people there enquired of Natei where he lived, 
and promised him that they would visit him at Nelua in five 
days ; then he returned. Five days after the people of Nelua 
saw some people coming to their village, whom they took to 
be men from some inland place, and enquiring for Natei. His 
house was shewn to them and they entered it, and were never 
seen again. When he arrived and went into his house he 
found it hung round with feather-money brought to him by 
his visitors. It was known then that these were not mere 

1 68 Spirits. [CH. 

men, and it was remembered that they had long, straight hair. 
After this people would give Natei money and other things 
to obtain the favour of his friends, with whom he still kept up 
communication, and from that time he has thriven and risen 
in the world. 

The nearest of the Banks' Islands to the New Hebrides is 
Merlav, Star Island, and there Qat and his brothers are the 
subjects of the stories common in the rest of the group. The 
northernmost of the New Hebrides and nearest to Merlav is 
Maewo, Aurora, and there Qat, though not unknown, is not 
recognised as a spirit, but Tagaro takes his place. Qatu they 
said was a great man of old times, very high in the suqe, as 
men used to be and are no longer now. But Tagaro was a 
wui. Of any wu'i the belief in Maewo was that he had no 
bodily form ; any old man there would so describe one. Yet 
the stories of Tagaro, who was a wui, deal with him as the 
stories of the Banks' Islands deal with Qat. Of the brothers 
of Tagaro nothing is to be told, but his companion was Suqe- 
matua, who in all things was contrary to him. Tagaro wanted 
everything to be good, and would have no pain or suffering ; 
Suqe-matua would have all things bad. When Tagaro made 
things, he or Suqe-matua tossed them up into the air ; what 
Tagaro caught is good for food, what he missed is worthless. 
Tagaro lived at Mambarambara, and particularly at Hombio, 
not far from Tanoriki. He was not born there, but there he 
lived, made his canoe, built his house and his gamal^ and 
created and raised his food. His life was full of wonders ; his 
cocoa-nuts increased as he ate them ; dry nuts out of which 
he scooped the meat filled up again. Finally Tagaro became 
angry because some one stole his pig, and went off to Mamalu, 
no one knows where ; he turned the island upside down, and 
went off eastwards in his canoe from the east coast of the 
island, taking with him the best of everything, and never to 
return. He put out the fire, but threw back a fire-stick ; his 
shell trumpet lies on the beach in the form of a rock ; Lepers' 
Island is his canoe. His place at Hombio is very sacred ; his 
yams still remain there, and trail over a gamal called thegamal 

x.] New Hebrides. Tagaro. 169 

dam, the yam gamal. There is also one wui, Gaviga, and some 
say another, who rules over the dead ; but the multitude of the 
purely spiritual, incorporeal beings that are called wui belong 
to the sacred stones. In Araga, Whitsuntide Island, imme- 
diately south of Maewo, Tagaro has ten brothers, besides Suqe, 
who accompanies and thwarts him. Tagaro came down from 
heaven, made men and other things, and went back again to 
heaven. Suqe belonged to the earth ; his head was forked, 
therefore he had two thoughts in it. Whatever Tagaro did or 
made was right, Suqe was always wrong ; he would have men 
die only for five days ; he wanted to have six nights to one day ; 
he planted the scooped meat of the yam, not the rind. Tagaro 
sent him to a place where is a bottomless chasm, somewhere 
inland in Araga, where he rules over the ghosts of the dead. 
Tagaro when on earth, though a wui, had a human form, with 
superhuman power: He made the plain country by treading 
the ground with his feet ; where he did not tread are the hills. 
He had no wife or children of his own kind, but he became 
the father of a boy on earth. The boy kept asking his mother 
who his father was, and was told that he was in heaven. Then 
he must needs go to heaven to see his father, and his mother 
made him a bow and an arrow of an ere, a flowering reed. He 
shot up and hit the sky ; his ere turned into something like the 
aerial root of a banyan, up which the two climbed to heaven. 
There they found Tagaro sitting in a salite-iree, and fashioning 
images of himself out of the fruit. One of these he threw to 
the boy, who took it to his mother. She recognised the 
features, and told the boy it was his father. Tagaro consented 
to go back with them ; but as he descended he cut the line 
above them and below himself, and went back to heaven, 
while they came down to Atambulu, the original seat of men 
in that island. 

There are also many wui, all connected with stones and 
sacred places, whose names are only known to those who have 
access to them. These also may be seen, in rain or towards 
nightfall, and they give men food. When they appear they 
have long hair, sometimes long nails, and wear an old malo 

1 70 Spirits. [CH. 

waist-cloth. But these appear to be confused with the wild 
mountain creatures in human form, of whom tales are told in 
all the islands ; for one that Tapera saw not long- ago was a 
Sarivanua of the hills, standing- in the rain by a banyan -tree, 
with bananas in his hand. He was like a man with small 
legs ; when spoken to he did not answer, and when struck 
he did not feel. The multitude of wui, whose stones and 
haunts are sacred, are unknown by name, and have no form 
of body. 

In Omba, Lepers' Island, a spirit, vui, is thus defined : spirits 
are immortal ; have bodies, but invisible ; are like men, but do 
not eat and drink, and can be seen only by the dead. But 
there are others also that appear in bodily shape. Some are 
known by name, of whom the most remarkable are Nggelevu, 
who presides over the dead, and Tagaro and his brothers or 
companions. Suqe is not known in all parts of the island ; 
his place is perhaps supplied by Tagaro-lawua, who answers also 
to Tangaro-loloqong in the Banks' Island stories. It was 
Tagaro who made fruit-trees, food, pigs, and lastly men, and 
he is still invisibly active in human affairs, and therefore 
invoked in sickness and all difficulties. Tagaro-lawua, the 
Big, was a boaster and incapable ; Tagaro-mbiti, the Little? 
was exceedingly knowing and powerful ; if Tagaro is spoken 
of it is Tagaro-mbiti who is meant. As Qat is represented by 
Tagaro-mbiti, so Merambuto, also a vui, answers to Qasavara. 
He, like the other, tried to catch Tagaro's party by night and 
kill them, but Tagaro made them all sleep in a shell. Next 
morning Tagaro-lawua let out the secret, and Tagaro-mbiti 
made them sleep elsewhere. All the stones that are sacred are 
connected with Tagaro, though other spirits also are concerned ; 
all charms have their power from the name of Tagaro in them. 
There are besides, as in the neighbouring islands, spiritual 
beings, wi, not of the same order as Tagaro. They are super- 
human in nature and in power, and they can be seen. There 
is a man still living who one day followed his two wives down 
to the beach, and noticed there that some cocoa-nuts had been 
stolen from a heap he had made. Following footsteps he 

x.] Lepers Island. Tagaro-mbiti. 171 

found two female vui, who said they were hungry. He 
promised them food and brought it to them four baskets-full. 
One of the women was beautiful, the other full of sores. 
They asked him which he would have, and he answered that 
he would take them both. Thereupon each gave him a stone 
full of mana, one to get him ten barrow- pigs, the other for ten 
sows ; and they promised always to help him to get pigs, that 
he might mount to greatness in the Suqe. These women 
were vni, whose power lay in pigs ; nevertheless, to this day, 
when the man's wives go down to the beach for their fishing, 
they find fish caught and lying ready for them. It is well 
worthy of notice that Merambuto and his fellows are represented 
not only as to a certain extent mischievous and unfriendly, but 
also easily deceived and ignorant. This appears clearly in the 
story of Mevambuto and Tagaro-mbiti in the tree, where 
Merambuto did not know and dreaded as something unknown 
the conch-shell trumpet, as a Motlav story also represents a 
vui as afraid of the sound of a drum. On the side of Lepers' 
Island which is nearest to Araga the story of Suqe is told, and 
he is represented as always in the wrong, though he shares 
the work of creation with Tagaro. They two made the land, 
and the things upon it ; when they made the trees the fruit 
of Tagaro's was good for food, but Suqe's bitter ; when they 
made men, Tagaro said they should walk upright on two legs, 
Suqe that they should go like pigs ; Suqe wanted to have men 
sleep in the trunks of sago-palms, Tagaro said that they 
should work and dwell in houses ; so they always disagreed, 
and the word of Tagaro stood. It was Tagaro also who went 
to Maewo and brought back night in a shell. When he let 
it out and darkness crept over the sky, men wept and beat 
their houses. Tagaro is represented also as the father of ten 
sons, of whom Tagaro-mbiti, the Little, was the last, and 
exceedingly small. His brothers went out to work, but he 
stayed at home with a sore on his leg. They planted the 
leaves of the edible caladium, the top shoot of the banana, the 
vine of the yam ; but when they were gone he took the crown 
of the caladium, the suckers of the banana, the rind of the yam, 

172 Spirits. 

and planted them. His brothers scolded him for idleness, not 
knowing what he had done ; but when the season came round 
and they had nothing to eat, he shewed them his garden full 
\* of abundant food. It was Tagaro also (but Qatu in the 
Maewo story) who married the winged woman a Banewono- 
wono or Vinmara, Web- wing or Dove-skin from heaven. This 
was not exactly a spirit, vui, but one of a party of women with 
webbed wings like those of bats. These women flew down 
from heaven to bathe, and Tagaro watched them. He saw 
them take off their wings, stole one pair, and hid them at the 
foot of the main pillar of his house. He then returned and 
found all fled but the wingless one, and he took her to his 
house and presented her to his mother as his wife. After 
a time Tagaro took her to weed his garden, when the yams 
were not yet ripe, and as she weeded and touched the yam 
vines, ripe tubers came into her hand. Tagaro's brothers 
thought she was digging the yams before their time and 
scolded her; she went into the house and sat weeping at the 
foot of the pillar, and as she wept her tears fell, and wearing 
away the earth pattered down upon her wings. She heard 
the sound, took up her wings, and flew back to heaven. 

Beings called Tavogivogi must be classed as spirits : they 
are certainly not human beings, and correspond to the 
mysterious snakes called mae, which in neighbouring islands 
are believed to assume the form of men. A Tavogivogi is 
not thought ever to have the appearance of a snake ; one of 
them appears in the form of a youth or woman, in order to 
entice one of the opposite sex, and the young man or woman 
who yields to the seduction dies. There is no outward sign 
of the real character of the Tavogivogi, but the test is to 
ask the name of a tree, and a wrong answer will shew that 
there is deceit. Successful or not the Tavogivogi suddenly 
disappears, * like a bird,' but in the form of a bird or other 
creature. The young man goes home and sickens ; he re- 
members the sudden disappearance, knows what has befallen 
him, and never recovers. The name means ' changeling,' from 
the word, in the Banks' Islands wog> to change the form. 



IT is almost certain that idols find no place in the account 
which I now proceed to give of sacred places and objects as 
I am acquainted with them in Melanesia. It is true that the 
word is 5 commonly enough used to describe any kind of image 
of native workmanship, whether there be really something of 
a sacred character attached to it, or none whatever. The 
people of San Cristoval, Ugi, and Ulawa were conspicuous 
for their fondness for carving and the skill with which they 
worked ; a man among them would amuse himself by shaping 
a soft stone or bit of wood into a figure of a man or bird, or 
fish, as well as in carving by way of decoration what he made 
for use. I have seen at Fagani (Ha'ani) in San Cristoval 
a remarkably clever group over the apex of a gable, which 
represented a man climbing up to shoot an opossum, and the 
animal looking down upon him from the top of the pole in 
the most natural attitude. This would hardly be taken for 
an idol, but is as much an idol as many figures which have 
found their way into museums as such. The canoe-houses, 
common halls, public-houses, called in those parts oka, were 
full of carvings in the constructive as well as decorative parts. 
Some of these, the posts for example which support the ridge- 
pole and purlins, are often figures of men, who would be 
loosely called ancestors by the principal people of the village, 
and these would be treated with respect ; sometimes food and 
betel-nuts would be seen laid before them. But these had no 
sacred character, further than that they were memorials of 

1 74 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

deceased great men, whose ghosts visiting their accustomed 
abodes would be pleased 'at marks of memory and affection, 
and irritated by disrespect. There was no notion of the 
ghost of the dead taking up his abode in the image, nor was 
the image supposed to have any supernatural efficacy in itself. 
In any oha in Malanta may be seen an image of a shark, a 
sword-fish, or a bonito, before which portions of food are 
placed ; and these figures will be said to be fathers, grand- 
fathers, ancestors of those who thus respect them. These 
are indeed receptacles of the dead, not of their spirits, but of 
their mortal remains or relics ; such cannot be called idols. 
Although too they sometimes make other images and give 
the names of the dead to them by way of remembrance, they 
do not pray or sacrifice at such images, nor are they thought 
holy. In Florida a rudely-shaped image of a man might 
often have been seen in a sacred place near a village or by the 
sea-shore, with cocoa-nuts tied to it or food laid at its feet ; 
this would be a tindalo, an image representing some powerful 
man deceased ; the food would be for him to eat ; the image was 
sacred. That is to say, the image was a memorial of some 
tindalo, and was not thought to have power in itself, or to be 
inhabited by the ghost of the departed. Images representing 
a tindalo were also cut on the posts of the canoe-houses, mere 
memorials not much regarded, and approached without respect. 
The stocks set up in Santa Cruz to represent the dead are 
the simplest of memorials. In the Banks' Islands tree-fern 
trunks cut into very rude figures of men were often seen 
memorials made at funeral feasts, having really no sacred 
character at all. In the same islands the images carried 
about at the Suqe feasts, and afterwards set up in the eating- 
places proper to the rank they represent, may well be taken 
for idols by those who are not acquainted with their meaning ; 
and so indeed may the figure, the nule, into which the post 
of a house is cut, the building of which is celebrated by a 
kolekole. In the New Hebrides, at Ambrym, images of the 
dead whose death-feasts are to be celebrated are very elabo- 
rately prepared, not with any attempt at representing the 

xi. Images not Idols. Stones. 175 

figure of the particular deceased, but in conventional form ; 
sometimes carved out of tree-fern trunks, sometimes fashioned 
with wickerwork and sago spathes, and painted and adorned. 
Some shut up from common view by bamboo screens may 
probably belong to secret societies. In the same island drams 
are set up for funeral feasts with fantastic faces cut upon 
them, and these remain as in a manner images of the deceased, 
taken by visitors for idols or devil-drums. In the neighbour- 
ing islands similar images are made. 

Sacred places have almost always stones in them ; it is 
impossible to treat separately sacred places and sacred stones. 
But whereas some places are sacred because stones are there, 
the stones seen in other places have been taken there as part 
of the furniture of a sacred place. Some places also and 
stones may be said to have the origin of their sacredness in 
graves or relics of the dead, and so have had their character 
given them by men ; while others are sacred because the 
stones are there, the stones being sacred because associated 
with a spirit. It is well here to recall the distinction which 
seems so important between ghosts, the disembodied spirits 
of men deceased, and spirits, of another order from the souls 
of men, which have never been connected with a human 
body; and to remember that, speaking generally, the religion 
of the Solomon Islands is concerned with ghosts, that of the 
Banks' Islands and New Hebrides with spirits. 

The sacred places and objects of the Solomon Islands 
shall be first described ; and first of all those which belong to 
sepulture. In Florida a sacred place is called vunuka. 
These places are sometimes in the village, in which case they 
are fenced round lest they should be rashly trodden upon, 
sometimes in the garden-ground, sometimes in the bush. A 
vunuka is sacred to a tindalo, ghost of power, and sacrifices 
are offered to the tindalo in it. In some cases the vunuka 
is the burial-place of the man who has become tindalo, in 
others his relics have been translated there ; in some cases 
there is a shrine, and in some an image. There are generally 
if not always stones in such a sacred place ; some stone lying 

1 76 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

naturally there has struck the fancy of the man who began the 
cultus of the tindalo ; he thinks it a likely place for the ghost 
to haunt, and other smaller stones, and shells called peopeo, 
are added. When a vunuha has been established everything 
within it is sacred, tambu, and belongs to the tindalo. If a 
tree growing in one were to fall across a path no one would 
step over it. In entering a vunuha a man who knows the 
tindalo and sacrifices goes first, those who go with him 
treading in his footsteps ; in going out no one will look back, 
lest his soul should stay behind. No one would pass a vunuha 
when the sun was so low as to cast his shadow into it ; the 
ghost would draw it from him. If there were a shrine in a 
vunuha, only the sacrificer would enter it. Within it were the 
weapons and other properties used by the object of worship 
when alive, some said to be of great antiquity \ The school- 
boys now have broken down the shrines and pelted the images, 
arid the teachers have carried off the weapons. Dikea, a chief 
at Ravu, had ten vunuha of his own, one close to a garden that 
he wanted to enlarge. He was afraid to desecrate the sacred 
place himself lest the tindalo should do him mischief; he 
therefore sent for Gura and Kerekere, two young Christian 
teachers, to do it for him, because they would not be afraid. 
They took their scholars and went, the other boys not 
venturing near. They found in the vunuha one large stone 
in its natural bed, with smaller stones, peopeo shells, and leaves 
of ginger round it, all of which they threw about. The two 
tindalo to whom the place was sacred, Koli and Kukui, 
appeared afterwards in dreams to the heathen men, and 
threatened the desecrators ; Dikea waited till it was clear 
that they were none the worse, and then enlarged his garden. 
At Saa in Malanta all burying-places where common 
people are interred are so far sacred that no one will go there 

1 The vunuha of Pelosule at Olevuga contained an image thought to be of 
great antiquity ; a club sent to me from it is of a form never now seen in use. I 
have an adze taken from the vunuha of Murini at Belaga, on which the soot 
from sacrificial fires remains. The Kev. A. Penny has some tindalo relics 
believed by the natives to be very ancient. 

XL] Solomon Islands. Shrines. Sanctuaries. 177 

without due cause ; "but those places where the remains of 
people of rank are deposited, where sacrifices are offered, and 
which may be called family sanctuaries, are regarded with 
very great respect. Some of these are very ancient, the lio'a, 
or powerful ghost, who is worshipped there, being a remote 
ancestor. It sometimes happens that the man who has 
offered the sacrifice in such a place dies without having fully 
instructed his son in the proper chant of invocation with 
which the Ho a ought to be approached. The young man who 
succeeds him is then afraid to go there often, and begins a 
new place, taking some ashes from the old sacrificial fire-place 
to start the new sanctuary. It is not common in that part of 
Malanta to build shrines for relics, but it is sometimes done 
when the oJia^ canoe-house, is full. Such shrines are common 
in San Cristoval in the villages, and in the sacred places 
where great men have been buried. To trespass on these 
sacred places would be always likely to rouse the anger of the 
ghosts, some of whom besides are known to be of a malignant 
disposition. Such a one is Tapia, whose haunt is at the 
mouth of a river near Ha'ani, and sacrifice to whom has 
been already described. 

There are sacred places, however, in the Solomon Islands 
which are not places of sepulture, though none probably the 
sacredness of which does not depend on the presence of a 
ghost. In Florida the appearance of something wonderful 
will cause any place to become a vunuha, the wonder being 
an evidence of the ghostly presence. For example, a man 
planted in the bush near Olevuga some cocoa-nut and almond- 
trees, and not long after died. There then appeared among 
the trees a white Pandora, cuscus, a great rarity. This was 
assumed to be the appearance of the dead man, now a tindalo, 
and was called by his name. The place became a vunuha ; no 
one would gather the cocoa-nuts and almonds till two young 
Christian men of late have taken the sacred place and trees 
for a garden. Through this same part of the forest ran a 
stream full of eels (which Olevuga people will not eat), among 
them one so large that it was thought to be a tindalo, the 


1 78 Sacred Places and Things. [en. 

abode or representative of fome one dead; no one would 
bathe in that stream or drink from it, except one pool in it* 

coin < which for convenience wan not, eorihidcre<; ' 

lioli :il.-o there WJIH a sacred j ool vviUi a. l.niduJ.n c.el. In 

Bugotu, in Yeabel, is a pool which is the abode of a ghost of 

ancient in. .(:-, and into which crap of any pernon's food are 
thrown whom his enemies wish to charm. If the food is 
quickly devoured by the fish, which arc abundant, in the pool, 
MM- in;in will die ; if ol licrwisc, the man who knows the plaee 
and the ghost reports that the lindalo is unwilling 1 to do 
harm, his own friendly intervention having been probably 
paid for by the one who knows that liiw life is aimed al. To 
obtain gorxl cropH food is laid on stones in these sacred places, 
and for success in fishing fragments of cooked fish ; money 
ulo JH laid upon them in small quantities, the proprietor, so 
to speak, of the vunw/ta, who is acquainted with the ghost, in 
each caae offering on behalf of those who desire the good 
offices of the lindalo. Stones have thus a considerable place 
among the sacred objects of the Solomon Islands, though not 
a very conspicuous place, wherever their situation or something 
in their appearance has associated them with some powerful 
ghost. Those that are in open places are so far treated with 
reverence lh;il no one will o- o \< l( > r ,<;,r lliern, much less sit or 
ireiid upon Minn, while those in secret wicrrd places become 

in a way altars for sacrifice. But as in time the ghosts 
become euperHcdcd by later successors, there remains but a 
vague respectful feeling towards these stones. Small sacred 
stones acquire a redoubled efficacy as they take their place 
among the relics and implements of the deceased man of 
power, now himself become a ghost of power ; his sacrifices 
had been wont to reach the tindalo whose presence was 
soured to him by that stone, and now the presumed attach- 
ment of his ghost to the same gives credit and efficacy to the 
sacrifices offered near it or upon it to himself. 

Living sacred objects in the Solomon Islands are chiefly 
sharks, alligators, snakes, bonitos, and frigate-birds. Snakes 
which haunt a sacred place are themselves sacred, as belonging 

i: " Solomon Islands. Snakes. Sharks. \ 79 

to or serving- as an embodiment of the ghost; there was one 
in Saro, to look upon which caused death. In San Crktoral 
there is a special reverence for snakes as representatives of 
the spirit-snake Kahaimbware. Sharks are in all the*? 
islands Tery often thought to be the abode of ghosts, as men 
wffl before their death announce that they wffl appear as 
sharks, and afterwards any shark remarkable for size or colour 
which is observed to haunt a certain shore or roek is taken to 
be some one's ghost, and the name of the deceased is given to it. 
Such a one was Santahimaiawa at Ulawa, a dreaded man- 
to which offerings of porpoise teeth were made. At Saa 
food, such as cocoa-nuts from certain trees, is reserved 
to feed such a ghost-shark, and there are certain men of 
whom it is known that after death they will be in shark?, 
and who therefore are allowed to eat such food in the sacred 
place. Other men wffl join themselves to their company; a 
man wffl speak as with the voice of a shark -lio'a in him, and 
say, 'give me to eat of that food.' Such a man, if it appears 
that he is really taka. possessed of supernatural power, wffl 
after his death be counted himself as a shark&o'a ; but it is 
possible that he may faiL In Saa and in Ulawa if a sacred 
shark had attempted to seize a man and he had escaped, the 
people would be so much afraid of the shark's anger that 
they would throw the man back into the sea to be drowned. 
These sharks also were thought to aid in catching the bonito. 
for taking which supernatural power was necessary. There 
was not long ago near Makira in San Cristoval a shark very 
much respected, and fed with pig's flesh ; it was believed to 
have grown so large within a circle of rocks in which it lived 
that it was no longer able to pass through the narrow 
enhance. Sharks are very commonly believed to be the 
abode of ghosts in Florida and YsabeL and in Savo, where they 
are particularly numerous ; hence, though all sharks are not 
venerated, there is no living creature so commonly held sacred 
as a shark, and the tindalo of the shark, bagea, seem even to 
form a class of powerful supernatural beings. In Savo not long 
ago Lodo ii?d a shark that he used to feed, and to which he used 

X 2 

180 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

to sacrifice. He swam out to it with food, called it by its 
name, and it came to him. He had received his association 
with this shark from his ancestors, in the same way in which 
the connexion with other ghosts on shore and the knowledge 
of them was handed down from generation to generation ; for 
pfchis shark was a tindalo. There was the same association 
with alligators ; a chief of Bugotu within my memory had 
such a connexion with one, in which his son at Norfolk 
Island thoroughly believed. There was a story current also 
of an alligator which would come out of the sea and make 
itself at home in the Florida village in which the man whose 
ghost was in it had lived ; it was called by his name, and 
though there was one man who had a special connexion with 
it and was said to own it, it was friendly with all, and would 
let children ride upon its back ; but it must be confessed that 
though its existence was everywhere asserted, the village 
where it could be seen was never ascertained. A lizard seen 
to frequent a house after a death was taken to be the ghost 
returning to his old home. The sacred character of the 
frigate-bird is certain ; the figure of it, however conventional, 
is the most common ornament employed in the Solomon 
Islands, and is even cut upon the hands of the Bugotu people ; 
the oath by its name of daula is solemn and binding in 
Florida, where Daula is a tindalo ; as the kaula it is sacred at 
Ulawa ; just as many ghosts take up their abode in sharks, 
many also and powerful to aid at sea are those which abide in 
these birds. The ginger-plant has a certain sacred character 
in Florida and the neighbouring islands ; and so have besides 
the various objects, living and inanimate, from which the 
respective divisions of the people refrain as a matter of 
religious obligation. 

In Santa Cruz there are stones about which stories are told 
connecting them with the duka, whether ghosts or other 
spirits, which are the objects of worship ; and on these betel- 
nuts are placed as offerings. Passing eastwards to the Banks' 
Islands and the New Hebrides, a region is reached in which 
religion concerns itself chiefly with spirits that never were 

XL] Banks Islands and New Hebrides. Stones. 181 

embodied in men, and in which therefore sacred places and 
objects are generally such because of their connexion with 
spirits. Burial-places are certainly held in respect, especially 
the graves of men of importance in their time ; a certain 
sacredness attaches to all belonging to the dead ; but it is to 
the presence of a spirit, vui, that the special quality of most 
sacred places and objects belongs. In the Banks' Islands the 
difference between a naturally sacred character and that which 
follows upon an authoritative separation from common uses is 
marked by the use of two words, rongo and tapu or tam&u, 
(recognised in English as taboo,) corresponding with which in 
the New Hebrides are sapuga and gogona. A naturally sacred, 
rongo, sapuga^ character is given by the presence of a spirit, or 
association with one ; and in by far the greater number of 
instances it is found that a spirit is associated with a stone. 
In the Banks' Islands a man would happen upon a boulder of 
volcanic or coral rock, and would be struck with a belief that 
a spirit was connected with it. The stone then was rongo, and 
the place in which it lay was rongo ; the man constituted him- 
self the master of the sanctuary; it was his marana within 
which none but himself, or those brought in by him, could 
come. Some stones are known to all, and are of more common 
access. At Losalav in Saddle Island there is near the beach 
a natural ring of stones which has been from time immemorial 
a sacred place. The people call the ring a fence, the space 
within it a garden, and the stones that lie within yam, banana, 
kava pepper, and other roots and fruits commonly planted 
by them. These stones were used for offerings of money 
and sweet-smelling leaves, in the belief that the plants corre- 
sponding to the stones would flourish and abound. The 
character and influence of the spirit connected with any sacred 
stone was judged by the shape of the stone. If a man came 
upon a large stone with a number of small ones beneath it, 
lying like a sow among her litter, he was sure that to offer 
money upon it would bring him pigs. Such a stone is Ro 
Tortoros at Mota ; another Merina found and named from its 
shape the Pig ; his wealth in pigs resulted from his discovery. 


182 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

A stone with little disks upon it, a block of ancient coral, was 
good to bring- in money ; any fanciful interpretation of a mark 
on a stone or of its shape was enough to give a character to 
the stone and to the spirit associated with it ; the stone would 
not have that mark or shape without a reason. Many of these 
stones had names of their own, as above, as Puglava, ' much 
money out at interest,' at Luwai, and as more than one named 
simply Money. The spirits belonging to these stones are 
nameless ; their connexion each with its own stone is not 
clearly denned ; the stone, they say, is not the body of the 
spirit, nor is the spirit like the soul of the stone, for a stone 
certainly has no soul ; they say that the spirit is at the stone, 
o vui ape vatu, or near the stone, and it is the spirit not the 
stone that acts. Some of these stones have an ancient 
established sanctity ; only the few who know how to approach 
the spirit will visit them for sacrifice, all others pass by with 
awe, and will not tread the sacred ground about them. If by 
some mishap one finds that he has intruded on a sacred place, 
he hastens to engage the services of the man who knows the 
stone, to make an offering to the spirit, lest he should suffer 
from accident or sickness. There are some stones that have a 
sinister reputation, as those near which an accident has hap- 
pened ; and there are some upon which it is dangerous for a man's 
shadow to fall ; it is well to make offerings upon these, to keep 
the spirit in good humour. A stone which is good for success 
in fighting is also likely to do harm if not treated with due 
observance ; some stones have the name of galaqar, as though 
they would spring up like a trap upon the trespasser. Large 
stones as they naturally lie have a high place among the sacred 
objects of the New Hebrides. In Aurora some of these are 
believed to have been produced in the ancient time of universal 
darkness, gong tali, when, if two men were sitting at all apart, 
a stone would grow up out of the ground between them ; such 
are to be seen in the forest now, tall as a house and of strange 
shapes. These have no names, as some others have had from 
ancient times ; the common name for all sacred stones is matin. 
Some are vui who have turned into stones ; some in the sea are 

XL] New Hebrides. Stones. 183 

men of old time turned into stones ; some never were anything 
but stones, but have a vui connected with them ; some stones 
above the waterfall are called the * dwellers in the land,' the 
native people of the stream, and these have all their names. 
They have much spiritual power, for they are in a way the 
bodily presentment of the spirits to whom the stream belongs. 
When men go eel-fishing, they secure success by offering a bit 
of the first they catch upon the appropriate stone. Sacred 
stones of all kinds have spiritual power, mana, as belonging to 
spirits, in various degrees and to be obtained for various 
purposes. Some cause sickness of the soul, some have great 
power in a charm, when a bit taken with a prayer is pounded 
up with a fragment of the person's food to whom mischief is 
to be wrought. Sometimes in Aurora a stone is smeared with 
red earth ; in Pentecost and Lepers' Island one is anointed 
with the juice of a young cocoa-nut. In the last-named 
island no other offerings are made on stones ; men go to them 
in the sacred places in the forest and call upon Tagaro. There 
are also stones in the sea near Lepers' Island which belong to 
spirits, and which people in canoes will not approach lest 
sharks should eat them. 

The stones hitherto referred to are stones as they naturally 
lie, the presence of which, because of their association with a 
spirit, makes the ground about them a holy place, a tano rongo, 
or ute sapuga. But small stones that could be carried about 
had an active part in the native life of the Banks' Islands and 
the New Hebrides. The following are examples from the 
Banks' group. No garden was planted without stones buried 
in the ground to ensure a crop. A piece of Astrsea coral-stone 
water- worn on the beach often bears a surprising likeness to a 
bread-fruit. A man who should find one of these would try 
its powers by laying it at the root of a tree of his own, and a 
good crop would prove its connexion with a spirit good for 
bread-fruit. The happy owner would then for a consideration 
take stones of less marked character from other men, and let 
them lie near his, till the mana in his stone should be imparted 
to theirs. Likeness to other fruits or tubers would be the 

1 84 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

ground of a belief in similar powers. Stones were much used 
by weather-doctors. To make sunshine it might be enough 
only to smear a standing stone with red earth ; but it was 
very effectual to wind about a very round stone, a vat loa, 
sunstone, with red braid, and stick it with owls' feathers to 
represent rays, singing in a low voice the proper spell, and 
then to hang it on some high tree, a banyan or a casuarina in 
a sacred place. The stone to represent the sun might also be 
laid upon the ground with a circle of white rods radiating 
from it for its beams. There are stones of a remarkably long 
shape called in the Banks' Islands tamate gangan, that is, 
* eating ghost ' ; these are so powerful from the presence with 
them of a ghost, not of a spirit, that if a man's shadow fall on 
one it will draw out his soul from him, so that he will die. 
Such stones therefore are set in a house to guard it ; any one 
sent to his house by the owner in his absence will call out 
his sender's name, lest the ghost should think he has bad 
intentions and do him a mischief. Other stones, also con- 
nected with ghosts, have such power that when the owner of 
one puts it under his pillow and dreams of another man, that 
man will die. One who has such a stone is paid by an enemy 
to destroy a man in this way, and ' dreams him to an end,' ti 
qore mot. These stones are exceptional as deriving their power 
from the dead. Some again are called langaroa^ a name no 
doubt the same with that of the brothers of Qat. These a 
man would carry with him in a bag, or hang up in his house. 
If one went into a house where these stones were hanging and 
meddled with the property of the owner, and after a while an 
accident were to befall him, it would be said that the tangaroa 
had done it. Others, called tarunglea and varasurlea, were 
swung about in an invaded place to take away the courage of 
the invaders. Others were hung as amulets, soasoa, about a 
man's neck to keep him safe in danger ; others, again, would 
straighten the aim and strengthen the arm to shoot. There 
were others that women would take with them to bed in 
hopes of children. The stones on which, or with reference to 
which, sacrifices are made are by no means always such as 

XL] Sacred Stones. Heaps. 185 

naturally lie in situ, but are small, and may be lost. In such 
a case the owner of the stone, knowing that ghosts have 
hidden it, cries to them and they restore it ; although such a 
tano-oloolo is such by virtue of its association not with ghosts 
but spirits. 

Lepers' Island may supply examples of the use of portable 
stones in the Northern New Hebrides. Besides those which 
lie naturally in the bush, in the tauten, the sacred spot in 
which Tagaro is invoked, there are sacred stones which have 
more or less mana, and are effective for various purposes. Some 
are hung up in bags in the house. Some of these are in- 
herited from ancient times, and some are new ; some are good 
in fighting, some will produce food, some will cause a failure 
of crop ; none will cause a large general crop for the year 
(that must be done by forms of words), and none are good for 
fishing. None are used in planting a garden; in that the 
juice of a young cocoa-nut is sprinkled with charms upon the 
ground, and the shells are set up at the sides. Each stone has 
its appropriate charm with Tagaro' s name, sung over it when 
it is put to use. 

Though the superstitious regard for stones is so commonly 
shewn, and the superstitious uses of them are so multifarious, 
there are yet practices with regard to them in which the na- 
tives deny that there is any superstitious or religious meaning 
and intent, natural as it is that an observer should suppose it. 
Such is the practice of throwing stones upon a heap by the 
way-side. Such a heap is to be seen at Valuwa in Saddle 
Island ; each travelling stranger as he arrives casts his stone 
upon it. The natives declare that their notion is that days 
accumulate like stones ; a man as he adds his stone to the 
heap ' puts his day upon it.' At Pun in the same island is a 
heap of fruits of various trees ; a stranger as he comes gathers 
any fruit by the wayside and adds it to the heap. In each 
case it is a custom of the place ; the people there like it to be 
kept up, because the heaps shew how many visitors they have. 
Between Valuwa and Motlav the path runs between two large 
stones; travellers going from Motlav to Valuwa kick the 

1 86 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

stone to the right as they pass, and say, ' Let Valuwa be near 
and Motlav far ; ' travellers to Motlav kick the other stone 
and say, * Let Motlav be near and Valuwa afar.' This again 
is an old custom, not seriously thought of. Another custom 
common to the Banks' and Solomon Islands is that of throwing 
sticks, leaves, or stones upon a heap at a place of steep descent, 
or where a difficult path begins. They 'throw away their 
fatigue ; ' they certainly do not acknowledge that they make 
a prayer or offering *. 

Streams, or rather pools in streams, are sacred in the Banks' 
Islands by reason of the presence of a spirit. There is at 
Valuwa a deep hole into which no one dares to look ; if the 
reflection of a man's face should fall upon the surface of the 
water he would die ; the spirit would lay hold upon his life by 
means of it. Trees are sacred in a sacred place ; a banyan 
often harbours in the labyrinth of its stems and roots a sacred 
snake, that is, a spirit, and is therefore itself sacred. There 
are, however, two trees which have a certain inherent sacredness 
of their own, the casuarina, aru, and the cycas, mele. Nothing 
can be more weird and ghostly than an aged casuarina standing 
alone on a wind-beaten beach or rising on a lofty cliff, with 
bare grey stem and shadowless foliage, never without a voice 
whispering in a calm or shrieking in a breeze. The presence 
of one of these trees gives a certain sanctity and awfulness to 
a place ; hence to translate the word ' sanctuary ' the best 

1 Many years ago I observed beside a path in a wood in Norfolk Island a 
little heap of sticks evidently thrown thereby Melanesian boys passing on their 
way to fish at the foot of steep cliffs of difficult descent. I enquired of my 
companions, who smiled and did not answer. Long after, having read Mr. 
Forbes' Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago, I put the question 
again to boys from the Banks' Islands and from Florida. Both gave the same 
account, that it was done to ensure a safe descent in that place, and that it was 
common in their islands ; both declared that there was no thought of sacrifice 
or offering, and no prayer, only, if anything was said, the words ' There goes 
my fatigue.' Mr. Forbes mentions a similar practice twice, once in Sumatra 
(p. 1 6 6), where the porters placed handfuls of leaves on a stone and prayed for 
a dry day and good luck ; and again in Timor (p. 481), where at the commence- 
ment of a steep and precipitous descent the natives laid leaves and twigs on a 
mound 'to ensure a safe descent.' 

XL] Trees. Sharks. Snakes. 187 

Mota word is tano-aruaru, place of casuarinas. The cycas is 
also sacred, ronyo, but it is cut down without hesitation by the 
natives if it be in the way. Crotons and dracsenas have a 
certain sacredness in connexion with the dead. In Araga, 
Pentecost Island, there is a strange belief that the cycas-tree 
turns into a young man or woman, like the snake to be here- 
after mentioned ; only the ear remains unchanged, it shews a 
leaflet of the tree. 

The living creatures which are most commonly held sacred 
in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides are sharks and 
snakes ; all kingfishers have at least something of a sacred 
character, and some owls, crabs, lizards, eels, and such things 
as haunt a place sacred because of the presence of a spirit. In 
the Banks' Islands a shark may be a tangaroa, a sort of familiar 
spirit, or the abode of one. Some years ago Manurwar, son 
of Mala, the chief man in Vanua Lava, had such a shark, for 
which he had given money to a Maewo man to send it to 
him. It was very tame, and would come up to him when he 
went down to the beach at Nawono, and follow along in the 
surf as he walked along the shore. Tursal, my informant, had 
himself seen it do this. This corresponds with what has 
been above related of Lodo and his shark at Savo ; and the 
difference is instructive that in the Banks' Islands the shark 
was a spirit and in the Solomon Islands it was a ghost. In 
the New Hebrides some men have the power, as the natives 
believe, of changing themselves into sharks, as may be seen in 
the story of Tarkeke. A great deal of superstition is con- 
nected with snakes, not only because one is sure to be seen 
about a sacred place, but because the reptile is often thought 
to be otherwise connected with a vui, spirit, to have a spirit 
near it. In Mota there are no land- snakes ; in the other 
islands of the Banks' group some of enormous size are said to 
live in banyan-trees, and are held sacred. At Valuwa there 
are snakes which strangers are not allowed to see, lest some 
misfortune should follow. Ordinary snakes are killed. Those 
that are held sacred are not fed or worshipped, but such as are 
the familiars of individuals who know them receive sacrifices. 

1 88 Sacred Places and Things. [CH. 

In the New Hebrides snakes are perhaps more regarded than 
in the Banks' Islands. A native of Pentecost Island, if he 
sees one in a sacred place or in a house, will think that there 
is some reason for its appearing to him ; he will pour over 
himself the juice of a young cocoa-nut, and ever afterwards 
expect to find the world go well with him through the 
influence of the spirit, or it may be of the ghost, associated 
with the reptile. In Lepers' Island if a snake haunts a man's 
house, more particularly if it be a great man's house, they are 
persuaded that it is a spirit ; it is gogona, not to be lightly ap- 
proached ; it brings good luck to the house, and makes the 
owner rise in the Jiuqe society. The house itself is treated 
with respect ; no one \tfill throw a stone at it, or mount upon 
it ; the snake would resent such disrespect and make the 
offender ill. 

There is an amphibious sea-snake marked with bands of 
dark and light colour, which in the Banks' Islands and New 
Hebrides is always more or less dreaded whenever it is seen. 
In these islands it is generally called mae, and it is this kind 
of snake which becomes the familiar spirit of those who have, 
or profess to have, intercourse with it. In Araga, Pentecost, 
every mae is believed to have the supernatural power of mana ; 
one will do harm to men by taking away bits of their food into 
a sacred place, upon which their lips will swell and their bodies 
break out with ulcers. Some men turn into these snakes, 
and these snakes again turn into men. A mae does not behave 
like an ordinary snake ; it shews that it is something different, 
for example, by washing its young. In a certain gamal, club- 
house, in Araga, is a hollow piece of the wood of a certain tree 
they call bngo, in which is water. In the night a mother mae 
used to come and wash her young one in this water ; the 
people sleeping there used to hear it cry and knew what it 
was. They made a pipe to imitate the cry exactly, and use 
it now. The belief is most strong in all these islands that 
this snake turns itself into a young man or woman, generally 
into a young woman, to tempt one of the opposite sex ; to 
yield to the temptation causes death. 

XL] Channeling Snakes. 189 

It is possible to discover the deceit, but the discovery is 
often made too late. In Araga the changed mae may be 
known by the skin under the neck, which remains unchanged. 
It was only lately that a youth died at Vathuqe in that 
island who had been enticed by a changeling girl ; he saw 
her neck and came back and told his people ; they tried the 
proper remedy of smoke in vain. There is another test used 
in that island ; the suspected temptress is induced to sit upon 
a nettle-tree, and is convicted by her ignorance of its character. 
In the Banks' Islands a young man, as one has related his 
experience to myself, coming back from his fishing on the 
rocks towards sunset, will see a girl with her head bedecked 
with flowers beckoning to him from the slope of the cliff up 
which his path is leading him ; he recognizes the countenance 
of some girl of his own or a neighbouring village ; he stands 
and hesitates, and thinks she must be a mae ; he looks more 
closely, and observes that her elbows and knees bend the 
wrong way ; this reveals her true character, and he flies. If 
a young man can strike the temptress with a draca3na leaf she 
turns into her own shape and glides away a snake. At Gaua, 
Santa Maria, a man met one of these standing or variegated 
snakes, as they call them, mae tiratira, valeleas, on the beach 
at night in the form of a woman of the place. Seeing by her 
reversed joints what she was, he offered to go to the village 
and bring her money. When he returned he found her wait- 
ing for him in her proper form as a mae ; he scattered money 
upon her back , and she went off with it into the sea. More 
lately in the same place a young man just returned from 
'labour' in Queensland, saw one of these in the form of a 
young married woman of his village. She turned into the 
stalk of a creeper, as in that island it is believed that these 
creatures do. It is believed also that if the man can cut the 
creeper short he will live ; this young man accordingly broke 
this vine off short and got safe home. But since that time 
there has been something in the night disturbing those who 
sleep in the same club-house with him, and he has confessed 
that it is this snake-woman who comes to him in the night ; 

1 90 Sacred Places and Things. 

and all believe him. Sometimes a young- man will run home at 
night and lose his senses ; they are sure that he has been with 
a mae. Sometimes one will come in and lie down and sicken ; 
they press him, and he confesses what he has done and seen, 
and then he dies. Nothing seems to be more fixed in the 
minds of natives, even those who have some education, than 
the persuasion that all this is true. 

The sacred character of the kingfisher is remarkable, and 
the reason of it hard to find. In San Cristoval a kingfisher 
pecks the head of the lately separated soul which has not yet 
realized its condition, and it sinks into a ghost ; the natives 
therefore kill it, but young ones spring up from the blood of 
every one they kill. In the Banks' Islands every kingfisher, 
sigo, is sacred, rongo ; a spirit is connected with it ; not one is 
ever killed or eaten. It is a singular thing that they make 
halcyon days ; it is the name of the kingfisher that carries the 
magic power in the charm for sunshine, for the sigo is thought 
to control storms and rain, and the charm calls on it to eat 
the rising waves and make a calm. They declare that there 
are kingfishers at sea as well as on land, some of a species only 
seen at sea away from land. If a man going out on a journey 
hears a kingfisher cry, he thinks it is angry and forbids his 
going ; he therefore sings a charm : ' Tagar we me-e, neleket 
ni van barbar, ne lee we ni ver gor nangek me-e ! Good luck to 
me, let mischief pass beside me, let good hap come round 
before my face 1 ! ' 

1 In prose Mota ' Togara wia ma, o lea we tatas ni van parapara, o lea ice 
wia ni viro goro nanagok ma. 1 



THAT invisible power which is believed by the natives to 
cause all such effects as transcend their conception of the 
regular course of nature, and to reside in spiritual beings, 
whether in the spiritual part of living men or in the ghosts 
of the dead, being imparted by them to their names and to 
various things that belong to them, such as stones, snakes, 
and indeed objects of all sorts, is that generally known as 
mana. Without some understanding of this it is impossible 
to understand the religious beliefs and practices of the Mela- 
nesians; and this again is the active force in all they do and 
believe to be done in magic, white or black. By means of 
this men are able to control or direct the forces of nature, to 
make rain or sunshine, wind or calm, to cause sickness or re- 
move it, to know what is far off in time and space, to bring 
good luck and prosperity, or to blast and curse. No man, how- 
ever, has this power of his own ; all that he does is done by 
the aid of personal beings, ghosts or spirits ; he cannot be said, 
as a spirit can, to be mana himself, using the word to express 
a quality ; he can be said to have mana, it may be said to be 
with him, the word being used as a substantive. In the New 
Hebrides, the Banks' Islands, the Solomon Islands about 
Florida, as in New Zealand and many of the Pacific Islands, 
the word in use is mana. In Santa Cruz a different word, 
malete, is used, which bears however the same meaning. 
At Saa in Malanta all persons and things in which this 
supernatural power resides are said to be saka, that is, hot. 
Ghosts that are powerful are saka ; a man who has know- 

192 Magic. [CH. 

ledge of the things which have spiritual power is himself 
saka ; one who knows a charm which is saka mutters it 
over water, sarue, and makes the water ' hot/ haasaka. The 
people of Mala Masiki, the lesser part of the island, which 
is cut in two not far from its south-eastern end by a narrow 
channel, think that the men of the larger part, Mala Paina, 
are very saka. If one of these visiting the Saa people 
points with his finger, suisui, there is danger of death or 
calamity; if one of them spits on a man he dies at once. 
By whatever name it is called, it is the belief in this super- 
natural power, and in the efficacy of the various means by 
which spirits and ghosts can be induced to exercise it for the 
benefit of men, that is the foundation of the rites and practices 
which can be called religious ; and it is from the same belief 
that everything which may be called Magic and Witchcraft 
draws its origin. Wizards-, doctors, weather-mongers, prophets, 
diviners, dreamers, all alike, everywhere in the islands, work 
by this power. There are many of these who may be said to 
exercise their art as a profession ; they get their property and 
influence in this way. Every considerable village or settle- 
ment is sure to have some one who can control the weather and 
the waves, some one who knows how to treat sickness, some 
one who can work mischief with various charms. There may 
be one whose skill extends to all these branches ; but generally 
one man knows how to do one thing and one another. This 
various knowledge is handed down from father to son, from 
uncle to sister's son, in the same way as is the knowledge of 
the rites and methods of sacrifice and prayer ; and very often 
the same man who knows the sacrifice knows also the making 
of the weather, and of charms for many purposes besides. 
But as there is no order of priests, there is also no order of 
magicians or medicine-men. Almost every man of considera- 
tion knows how to approach some ghost or spirit, and has 
some secret of occult practices. Knowledge of either kind can 
be bought, if the possessor chooses to impart it to any other 
than the heirs of whatever he has besides. 

There is no doubt that those who exercise these arts really 

xii.] Native Belief in Charms. 193 

believe in the power of them as much as the people on whose 
behalf they exercise them. In some cases there is conscious 
deceit, such as has been many times confessed by those who 
have become Christians. A young- woman of my acquaintance 
in the Banks' Islands had a reputation for power of healing- 
toothache by a charm which had been taught her by an 
aged relative deceased. She would lay a certain leaf rolled 
up with certain muttered words upon the part inflamed ; and 
when in course of time the pain subsided, she would take out 
and unfold the leaf, and shew within it the little white maggot 
that was the cause of the trouble. When Christian teaching 
began in the island she made no difficulty about disclosing 
the secret, and all laughed over it together. It is likely 
enough also that a weather- doctor observed for himself, and 
was taught by his predecessor to observe, the signs of change 
and steadiness in weather, and brought his charms to work or 
kept them back according to his observations. But the means 
he used seemed to him to be so naturally effective, and had 
been so often followed by the results at which they were 
aimed, that he seriously believed in them ; and if sometimes 
they failed conspicuously, as when at Ysabel the weather- 
doctor's own house was blown down by a storm on the very 
day on which he had warranted a calm, there was also the ex- 
planation that another counter-charm had been at work and 
had been stronger. Such a supposition tended to confirm 
much more than to weaken the belief in the power of weather- 
doctors. It is not only in Melanesian islands that whatever 
confirms a belief is accepted and whatever makes against it is 
not weighed. Those who practised the various kinds of magic 
did believe very much in their own art. 

Though those who practise these various arts cannot be 
separated into various classes or orders, or even regarded as 
an order by themselves, inasmuch as they are mixed among 
the population, and practise as they know some more some 
fewer arts, it will be almost necessary to classify their 
practices. These may be arranged under the heads of Sick- 
ness, Weather, Witchcraft, Dreams, Prophecy and Divination, 


194 Magic. [CH. 

Ordeals, Poison, Curses. In all these whatever is done is 
believed to be effected by the mana of spirits and ghosts, 
acting through, various media, and brought to bear by secret 
forms of words to which the power to work is given by the 
names of the spirits or ghosts, or of the living or lifeless 
things to which this mysterious influence is attached. 

(i) Sickness. Any sickness that is serious is believed to be 
brought about by ghosts or spirits ; common complaints such 
as fever and ague are taken as coming in the course of nature. 
To say that savages are never ill without supposing a super- 
natural cause is not true of Melanesians ; they make up their 
minds as the sickness comes whether it is natural or not, and 
the more important the individual who is sick, the more likely 
his sickness is to be ascribed to the anger of a ghost whom he 
has offended, or to witchcraft. No great man would like to 
be told that he was ill by natural weakness or decay. The 
sickness is almost always believed to be caused by a ghost, not 
by a spirit. It happens, indeed, as in the New Hebrides, where 
spirits are the chief objects of religious regard, that a man 
knows that he has trespassed on a sacred place belonging to 
some spirit, or has an ill-wisher who has a spirit for a helper, 
and supposes therefore when he is ill that a spirit has brought 
his sickness on him. But generally it is to the ghosts of the 
dead that sickness is ascribed in the eastern islands as well as 
in the western ; recourse is had to them for aid in causing and 
removing sickness ; V and ghosts are believed to inflict sickness 
not only because some offence, such as a trespass, has been 
committed against them, or because one familiar with them 
has sought their aid with sacrifice and spells, but because there 
is a certain malignity in the feeling of all ghosts towards the 
living, who offend them by being alive. ' All human powers 
which are not merely bodily are believed to be enhanced by 
death ; the ghost therefore of an ill-conditioned powerful man 
is naturally thought ready to use his increased powers of 

Thus in Florida it is a tindalo, that is, a ghost of power, 
that causes illness ; it is a matter of conjecture which of the 

xii.] Florida. Sickness. 195 

known tindalos it may be. Sometimes a person has reason to 
think, or fancies, that he has offended his dead father, uncle, 
or brother. In that case no special intercessor is required ; 
the patient himself or one of the family will sacrifice, and beg 
the tindalo to take the sickness away; it is a family affair. 
Sometimes a sick man thinks it is his own familiar tindalo } 
and leaves his house to avoid him^ If the cause of sickness is 
a matter of conjecture, a mane kisu, one who understands these 
things, a doctor, is called in. He will say that he knows the 
offended ghost ; if it be a child he will say that it has trod in 
the sacred place, vunuha, of some tindalo whom he calls his own ; 
or else the parents will guess or enquire where the child has 
been, and will send for the mane kisu who has influence with 
the tindalo. of that place. The doctor called in will bind upon 
the patient the leaves belonging to his tindalo, will chew 
ginger and blow into the patient's ears and on that part of the 
skull which is soft in infants, will call on the name of the 
tindalo, and beg him to remove the sickness. When he makes 
his request, speaking in a low voice, he is said to kokoe 
liulivuti, to. speak, as the word is now used, in prayer. If the 
sickness continues, another tindalo or another mane kisu is tried. 
If no conjecture can be made as to the ghost probably offended, 
any mane kisu, for a fee in money, will undertake to get his 
own tindalo, who must know, to intercede with the one who is 
doing the mischief. In some cases it may be a likely guess 
that some one who has ill-will towards the sufferer has set his 
tindalo to afflict, as they say to eat, the patient ; he then may 
take money to call off the eating ghost. If he will not do this, 
another more powerful tindalo may be engaged through 
another mane kisu, who will prevail over the original assailant 
and drive him off. While these remedies are being tried the 
patient either recovers or dies ; if he recovers, the doctor under 
wEose treatment he began to mend has the credit and good 
payment ; ifh^dies^the power of the tindalo that has prevailed 
throughout is established. There is also mixed with this 
treatment something like the use of medicine, the effect of 
which, however, is always supposed to depend upon the tindalo 

o 2 

196 Magic. [CH. 

engaged. The mane klsu knows certain herbs, and warms them 
in a cocoa-nut shell over the fire ; the steam applied to the 
patient drives away the pain or the disease. For cough 
an infusion is drunk, the leaves being thrown away. The 
doctors also practise massage, kneading, squeezing, and rubbing 
the body and limbs of the patient. In Ysabel (and no doubt 
also in Florida) the doctor called in will discover the tindafho 
who causes the complaint he has to treat, by suspending a 
stone or heavy ornament at the end of a string which he holds 
in his hand, and calling over the names of the lately deceased ; 
when the name of him who causes the disease is called the 
stone swings in answer. Then it remains to ask what shall be 
given to appease the anger of the ghost a mash of yams, 
a fish, a pig, a man. The answer is given in the same way; 
whatever is desired is offered on the dead man's grave, and the 
sickness goes. 

In Wango in San Cristoval the natives not long ago believed 
that the ghosts, there called *adaro s actually fought with one 
another over the sick with spears. A man would have a 
grudge against another, and pay a wizard to bring an 'adaro to 
' eat ' him, to do him mischief. It would become known that 
he had given a pig, as it might be, to that wizard, and the 
man whose life was aimed at, or his friends, would go to 
another wizard, and by a larger fee secure as they hoped a 
stronger 'adaro for their side. The two ghosts would fight it 
out, or probably more than one would be engaged on either 
side ; the man would sicken, die, or keep his health, according 
to the issue of the unseen battle. Ghosts that haunt the sea 
are believed to shoot men on the reefs or in canoes with fish 
darted at them invisibly ; or if, as often happens, a flying-fish 
or gar-fish springs from the waves and strikes a man, they say 
that an 'adaro shoots it : it is no common fish, the man will die. 
Sick persons are commonly treated with ginger and other 
roots and leaves, and with water over which a charm has been 
muttered to give it healing power from an 'adaro. 
^ In Santa Cruz the cause of sickness is an offended duka, 
' ghost or spirit, and the doctor called in is a mendeka, a man 

XIL] Treatment of Sickness in Santa Cruz. 197 

with whom is the malete, which corresponds to the more 
common mana, and who has a du&a belonging to himself; for 
example, at Neula, where Neobla is the duka in vogue, they 
always send for Neobla's mendeka. The doctor comes and sits 
by the sick person, expecting the coming of the duka to him. 
Presently he cries with a loud voice that he is come, and then 
he gives the reason, supplied him by the duka, why the man 
is sick, and directs what satisfaction is to be made. The 
doctor always receives a fee. If the patient dies, the reason 


given is that some other duka with whom the doctor is not on 
good terms has been at work ; if he recovers he gives a pig 
for the duka, and a bit of it is put before the stock which 
represents him. Sometimes an offended duka will shoot a 
man, and the mendeka will extract the arrow-head, working it 
down from above into the sick man's foot with sweet herbs 
and cocoa-nut juice, singing in a low voice and muttering his 
charms, and finally bringing out a splinter of tree-fern wood 
from the sole. Sometimes very bitter juice squeezed out of 
certain leaves is given to the patient to drink, sometimes the 

198 Magic. [CH. 

treatment of a local pain is to squeeze leaves and herbs upon 
the part ; but it is the malete, and not the natural property of 
these medicines, that works the cure. 

In the Banks' Islands the gismana practised the same arts 
with his brethren of the west 1 . He worked the cause of pain 
and disease downwards, and extracted it ; he stroked the seat of 
pain and spat ; he sucked out or bit out from the seat of pain 
a fragment of wood, bone, or leaf: -for swellings he chewed 
certain herbs and leaves and blew, pupsag, upon the place ; he 
used fomentations and poultices of mallow leaves, for example, 
with some knowledge of the healing and soothing properties 
in them ; he gave the patient to drink water from a hollow in 
a sacred stone, or water in which stones full of mana for this 
purpose had been laid, from which probably European medicine 
came to be called pel mana ; and all was done by virtue of the 
mana conveyed in the charms sung over the remedy employed, 
songs which were themselves called mana, or in the muttered 
words, wosag, which took the disease away. Women had a 
share in the practice of this art ; some of them knew the 
charms by which the soul of a sick child which a ghost was 
drawing away could be recalled, and the ghost driven off ; the 
woman blowing on the child's eyes and calling the name of 
the attacking ghost. The gismana by no means confined 
himself to the care of the sick, all ways of working by means 
of mana were in his line of practice ; women, however, did not 

1 ' One of our native mission agents in Fiji assured me very earnestly that he 
had the power of expelling disease-causing spirits, and he gave me a minute 
description of his treatment. He passed his hands over the patient's body till 
he detected the spirit by a peculiar fluttering sensation in his finger ends. He 
then endeavoured to bring it down to one of the extremities, a foot or hand. 
Much patience and care were required, because these spirits are very cunning, 
and will double back and hide themselves in the trunk of the body if you 
give them a chance. " And even," he said, " when you have got the demon 
into a leg or an arm which you can grasp with your fingers, you must take care 
or he will escape you. He will lodge in the joints, and hide himself among the 
bones. Hard indeed it is to get him out of a joint ! But when you have drawn 
him down to a finger or a toe, you must pull him out with a sudden jerk, and 
throw him far away, and blow after him lest he should return." ' Rev. L. 

xii.] Sickness in New Hebrides. Weather. 199 

practise harmful arts 1 . In the New Hebrides the healing- of 
the sick belongs in Aurora to the gismana, in Lepers' Island 
to the tang aloe ngovo, in Pentecost to the mata tawaga, to those, 
that is to say, who have the knowledge of the songs and 
charms, believed to have come down from Tagaro himself, by 
which mana is conveyed and applied. In Aurora those who 
dream have the larger practice. In Pentecost and Lepers' 
Island the juice of a very young cocoa-nut, on which the doctor 
has blown, with a charm muttered or sung, is drunk by the 
patient or rubbed upon him, and water, with mana imparted 
to it in the same way, is also used. Sickness is generally 
supposed to be caused by ghosts, but as the sacred places and 
objects which may be profaned or lightly used belong to spirits, 
these are believed often to be angry, and to inflict pain and 
disease. The power of a spirit is also brought by a charm or 
curse to harm a man ; it is natural, therefore, that in the treat- 
ment of the sick recourse should be had to spirits, and above 
all to Tagaro, rather than to ghosts. The name of Tagaro 
controls both ghosts and spirits. In Pentecost the doctor will 
forbid some kind of food to the patient, and when he recovers 
bring him some of it to eat as a proof that he is well. In both 
islands women know how to relieve pain. In Pentecost the 
women use leaves as poultices, and when they take them off 
profess to take away with them the cause of pain a snake, a 
lizard, something from the beach ; ' but,' says a native who 
has undergone the treatment, ' no one sees the thing but the 
women, and the pain remains.' In Lepers' Island the female 
practitioner rubs the patient downwards with a bunch of leaves, 
such as she knows to have the proper qualities, singing and 
muttering her charms. She will work one day upon the head, 
and go on working downwards day by day, squeezing and 

1 ' They have a nice woman or two on the island (Mota) who are credited 
with a knowledge of bone-setting. One is a sensible woman, an old friend of 
mine, so I went for her and set her to work. She pokes and pulls about, and 
manages to get the bone into its place.' Rev. J. Palmer. The extreme 
dislike of natives, of the Banks' Islands at least, to washing when they are 
sick does not seem to have any superstitious origin ; they dread a chill. 

2oo Magic. [CH. 

rubbing and drawing* down the cause of pain, till she produces 
at last in her bunch of leaves a stone or a bone, or the bit of 
food perhaps by which the patient has been bewitched. In 
Pentecost if a man is delirious they say a mae, that snake of 
mysterious nature, is in his stomach. A doctor will then 
breathe his charm into a dry cocoa-nut husk which he has set 
on fire ; the patient sits over the smoke, and the snake, which 
is a ghost or spirit, is driven out. 

(2) Weather. In all these islands it is believed that spirits 
and ghosts have power over the weather ; it follows, therefore, 
that the men who have familiar intercourse with spirits and 
ghosts are believed to be able to move them to interfere for 
wind or calm, sunshine or rain, as may be desired. The 
spirits and ghosts also have imparted power to forms of words, 
stones, leaves, and other things, which therefore of themselves 
affect the weather ; and there is also a certain natural con- 
gruity between some of these things and the effect they 
produce, which seems to make them suitable vehicles of power. 
The men, therefore, who have and know these things have 
with them mana which they can use to benefit or to afflict 
friends and enemies, and to turn either way as it is made 
worth their while to turn it. There are everywhere, therefore, 
in these islands weather-doctors or weather-mongers who can 
control the aerial powers, and are willing to supply wind, 
calm, rain, sunshine, famine, and abundance at a price. These 
were generally also masters of other charms than those which 
affect the weather, some knew one weather charm and some 
another ; but there were generally in a community enough 
for all requirements. Their arts once secret are now pretty 
well known. In Florida the mane nggehe vigona, when a calm 
was wanted, tied together the leaves appropriate to his vigoua 
and hid them in the hollow of a tree where water was, calling 
upon the vigona spirit with the proper charm. This process 
would bring down rain to make the calm. If sunshine was 
required he tied the appropriate leaves and creeper-vines to 
the end of a bamboo, and held them over a fire. He fanned 
the fire with a song to give mana to the fire, and the fire gave 

xii.] Weather Doctors. 201 

mana to the leaves. Then he climbed a tree and fastened the 
bamboo to the topmost branch ; as the wind blew about the 
flexible bamboo the mana was cast abroad, and the sun shone 
out. To stop sunshine ginger-leaves were bound tight to- 
gether with others and kept in the wizard's bag. 

In the seafaring life of the Solomon Islands the maker of 
calms is a valuable citizen. The Santa Cruz people also are 
great voyagers, and their mendtka wizards control the weather 
on their expeditions, taking with them the stock which 
represents their duka^ and setting it up in the cabin on the 
stage of the canoe. The presence of his familiar chika being 
thus secured, the weather-doctor will undertake to provide fair 
wind or calm. In the same island to get sunshine the wizard 
puts up some burnt wood into a tree ; to get rain he throws 
down water at the foot of the stock of Tinota, an ancient 
duka ; to make wind he waves the branch of the tree which 
has this power ; in each case he chants the appropriate charm. 

The same things were done and similar methods followed in 
the Banks' Islands with the mana songs and mana stones a . The 
art is the same in the New Hebrides. To get rain the Aurora 
gismana puts a tuft of leaves which are mana for the purpose 
into the hollow of a stone, and upon this some branches of the 
piper methysticum, used for kava, pounded and crushed; to 
these he adds the one of his collection of stones which has mana 
for rain ; all is done with the singing of charms with Tagaro's 
name, and the whole is covered over. The mass ferments, 
and steam charged with mana goes up and makes clouds and 
rain. It will not do to pound the pepper too hard, lest the 
wind should blow too strong. This pepper is very powerful 
also for weather- making in Lepers' Island. To make a hot 
sun, the wizards hold branches of the plant, which they have 

1 As above, page 184. 'There was a large shell filled with earth, and a 
rounded oblong stone standing up in it, covered with red ochre, the whole thing 
surrounded by sticks, a sort of fence with a creeper twined in and out. 
I innocently asked my friend what this was ; " Me vil goro o Ian nan wa vus" 
he answered, "the wind is fenced or bound round, lest it blow hard." I asked 
whether the wind would not blow hard, and he answered " No, not while that 
lasts. When it rots then it can blow again." ' Rev. J. Palmer. 

202 Magic. [CH. 

already filled with mana by charms sung over them, over the 
fire in a house ; as they wilt, dry up and burn, so will the land. 
To make a famine they hang- cocoa-nut fronds, yams, and other 
food over the fire with the pepper branches. For rain they take 
plants which have much juice in them, and leaves and stalks 
of the via, the gigantic caladium, and crush them all together 
with songs to give them mana ; then all is put into a basket, 
and hidden in the hollow of a tree where water lies. To make 
a calm, leaves of a reed which is very light indeed, or pepper 
stalks, are cut in lengths and hung up in a tree. All the 
charms have their power because of Tagaro's name in them. 

Together with weather-charms may be classed those used 
in the Banks' Islands to assist a sow in her first litter of 
pigs: such as beating her back with branches of a pepper 
closely resembling that used for kava, strewing the blossoms of 
the wotaga, Barringtonia, upon her back, laying cocoa-nut 
fronds on her, breaking a bamboo water-vessel over her back so 
that the salt-water may run over her, hanging a bag full of 
native almonds above her head ; all being done with the ap- 
propriate form of words. Nets also used for the first time are 
charm id with leaves and the song mana for the purpose. In 
Lepers' Island when a large new canoe is finished, and is for the 
first time to be used, a very young cocoa-nut is made mana with 
a song which bids the canoe be swift, successful in trading, and 
vict rious in fighting, and it is then put on the outrigger. 
Then they make a short trial of the new canoe, and afterwards 
start with the conch trumpet and store of mats to trade for 
pigs. It would be hard indeed to draw a limit to the use of 
charms which, substantially the same in character with these, 
assist those who know them or pay for them, or else injur > or 
obstruct their enemies. In prospect of a fight, for example, 
besides his amulets and stones, a man in the Banks' Islands 
would strengthen his hand to shoot and kill by drinking an 
infusion of very bitter herbs and bark ; and by chewing other 
leaves and puffing forth their magic influence would dis- 
hearten an approaching enemy. 

(3) Witchcraft. The wizards who cure diseases are very 

xii.] Witchcraft. 'Garata.' 203 

often the same men who cause them, the mana derived from 
spirits and ghosts being in both cases the agent employed ; 
but it often happens that the darker secrets of the magic art 
are possessed and practised only by those whose power lies in 
doing harm, and who are resorted to when it is desired to 
bring evil upon an enemy. Their secrets, like others con- 
nected with mana, are passed down from one generation to 
another, and may be bought. The most common working of 
this malignant witchcraft is that, so common among savages, 
in which a fragment of food, bit of hair or nail, or anything 
closely connected with the person to be injured, is the medium 
through which the power of the ghost or spirit is brought to 
bear. Some relic such as a bone of the dead person whose 
ghost is set to work is, if not necessary, very desirable for 
bringing his power into the charm ; and a stone may have 
its mana for doing mischief. What is needed is the bringing 
together of the man who is to be injured and the spirit or 
ghost who is to injure him ; this can be done when some- 
thing which pertains to the man's person can be used, such as 
a hair, a nail, a leaf with which he has wiped the perspiration 
from his face, and with equal effect when a fragment of the 
food which has passed into the man forms the link of union. 
Hence in Florida when a scrap from a man's meal could be 
secreted and thrown into the vunuJia haunted by the tindalo 
ghost, the man would certainly be ill ; and in the New 
Hebrides when the mae snake carried away a fragment of 
food into the place sacred to a spirit, the man who had eaten 
of the food would sicken as the fragment decayed. It was 
for this reason a constant care to prevent anything that 
might be used in witchcraft from falling into the hands of 
ill-wishers ; it was the regular practice to hide hair and nail- 
parings, and to give the remains of food most carefully to the 
pigs 1 . In the Banks' Islands the fragment of food, or what- 

1 There is little doubt that the common practice of retiring into the sea or a 
river has its origin in the belief that water is a bar to the use of excrement in 
charms. It is remarkable that at Mota, where clefts in rocks are used, no 
doubt also for security, the word used is tas, which means sea. 

2O4 Magic. [CH. 

ever it may be, by which a man is charmed is called garata ; 
this was made up by the wizard with a bit of human bone, 
and smeared with a magic decoction in which it would rot 
away. Or the garata would be burnt, and while it was 
burning- the wizard sang his charm ; as the garata was 
consumed, the wizard burning it by degrees day after day, 
the man from whom it came sickened, and would die, the 
ghost of the man whose bone was burning would take away 
his life. If then any man who knows he has an enemy has 
reason himself to think that something has been taken from 
him, or his friends hear that a garata from him is in some 
wizard's hands, he or they will give money to get the 
fragment back ; and the enemy again and his friends will 
give more to secure the continuance of the charm. In Aurora 
the fragment of food is made up with certain leaves ; as these 
rot and stink the man dies. In Lepers' Island the garata is 
boiled, together with certain magical substances, in a clam 
shell with charms which call on Tagaro. It is evident that 
no one who intends to bring mischief to a man by a fragment 
of his food will partake of that food himself, because by doing 
so he would bring the mischief also on himself. Hence a 
native offering even a single banana to a visitor will bite the 
end of it before he gives it, and a European giving medicine 
to a sick native gives confidence by taking a little first 
himself 1 . 

Another charm is common to both eastern and western 
islands, which is called in the Banks' Islands talamatai. A 
bit of human bone, a fragment of coral, a splinter of wood, or 
of an arrow by which a man has died, is bound up with the 
leaves which have mana for the purpose, with the mana song ; 
by this means the power of the ghost is bound into the 
charm, and the talamatai is secretly planted in the path along 

1 ' He (Soga in Bugotu) was quite willing to try (quinine and brandy), so I 
proceeded to mix it solemnly before them all. Then ensued a curious scene. 
" Taste it," said Hugo. This I did, and he followed suit, and then all Soga's 
people had a little sip served out in a shell. This was to show there was no 
harm in the medicine.' Bishop Selwyn. 

xii.] 'Ghost-shooter! 205 

which the person at whom the charm is aimed must pass, so 
that the virtue of it may spring* out and strike him with 
disease. The tying and binding tight of the talamatai while 
the charm is chanted is what gives the magic power, and if 
the fibre to make the string is rolled in making it upon the 
skull of a former practiser of the art, its efficacy will be the 
greater 1 . The talamatai was made but lately in Yaluwa in 
Saddle Island ; but the wizard who tied the last brought 
out all his magic apparatus before the people of his village 
and smashed it with an axe. In Lepers' Island the same 
thing is called rango. 

Another remarkable engine of mischief is called in the 
Banks' Islands tamatetiqa, ghost-shooter. Since this is used 
also in Florida it may be supposed to be common to all these 
islands. A bit of bamboo is stuffed with leaves, a dead man's 
bone, and other magical ingredients, the proper mana song 
being chanted over it. Fasting in the Banks' Islands, but not 
apparently in the Solomon Islands, adds power to this and 
other charms. The man who has made or bought one of these 
holds it in his hand, with the open end of the bamboo 
covered with his thumb, till he sees his enemy ; then he lets 
out the magic influence and shoots his man. Some years ago 
in Mota a man named Isvitag waiting with his ghost-shooter 
in his hand for the man he meant to shoot, let fly too soon, 
just as a woman with a child upon her hip stepped across the 
path. It was his sister's child, his nearest of kin, and he was 
sure he had hit it full. To save it he put the contents of the 
bamboo into water, to prevent inflammation of the invisible 
wound, and the child took no hurt. A striking story was told 
me by Edwin Sakalraw of Ara of what he saw himself. A 
man in that islet was known to have prepared a tamatetiqa, 
and had declared his intention of shooting his enemy with it 
at an approaching feast ; but he would not tell who it was 
that he meant to kill, lest some friend of his should buy back 
the power of the charm from the wizard who had prepared it. 

1 According to the Mota expression they bind, we ml, a talamatai, and pour, 
u-e wuro, over a garata. 

206 Magic. [CH. 

To add force to the ghostly discharge he fasted so many days 
before the feast began that when the day arrived he was too 
weak to walk. When the people had assembled, he had 
himself carried out and set down at the edge of the open 
space where the dancing would go on. All the men there 
knew that there was one of them he meant to shoot ; no one 
knew whether it was himself. There he sat as the dancers 
rapidly passed him circling round, a fearful object, black with 
dirt and wasted to a skeleton with fasting, his tamatetiqa 
within his closed fingers stopped with his thumb, his trembling 
arm stretched out, and his bleared eyes watching for his enemy. 
Every man trembled inwardly as he danced by him, and the 
attention of the whole crowd was fixed on him. After a while, 
bewildered and dazed with his own weakness, the rapid move- 
ments of the dancers, and the noise, he mistook his man ; he 
raised his arm and lifted his thumb. The man he aimed at 
fell at once upon the ground, and the dancers stopped. Then 
he saw that he had failed, and that the wrong man was hit, 
and his distress was great ; but the man who had fallen and 
was ready to expire, when he was made to understand that no 
harm was meant him, took courage again to live, and presently 
revived. No doubt he would have died if the mistake had 
not been known. 

There is a strange method of magical attack used at Savo, 
and known at Florida, called vele, a word which means to 
pinch. The man who has the secret of this takes in a bag 
upon his back the leaves and other things in which mana for 
this purpose resides, and seeks to find the man alone he goes 
to injure. When he finds him, he seizes him, bites his neck, 
stuffs the magic leaves down his throat, and knocks him on 
the head with an axe, but not so as to kill him. He then 
leaves the man, who goes home, relates what has happened, and 
dies after two days, If the attack is made in the night, the man 
cannot tell who his assailant was ; but the vele is used also in 
broad daylight, and the assailant does not conceal himself, but 
tells his name and bids his victim make it known. As he goes 
home the charm makes him forget it. A strong man will not 

xii.] Metamorphosis. Dreams. 207 

be attacked in this way. The same thing is done in Guadal- 
canar, and the people of Saa at the extremity of Malanta hear 
of it at Marau Sound by the name of hele. At Lepers' Island, 
in the New Hebrides, the vequa very much resembles this. 
The wizard overcomes his victim with his charms, so that the 
man cannot distinctly see him or defend himself; then he 
shoots him with a little bow and arrow made of some charmed 
material, and strikes him with the arrow. The man does not 
know what is done to him, but he goes home, falls ill, and 
dies ; he can remember nothing to tell his friends, but they 
see the wound in his head where he was struck, and in his 
side where he was shot, and know what has happened 
to him. 

The practice of magic arts for mischief is in the Banks' 
Islands and in Lepers' Island called gaqaleva, and is always 
dreaded in case of sickness. In Lepers' Island the wizards 
who practise it are believed to have the power of changing 
their shape. The friends of any one suffering from sickness 
are always afraid lest the wizard who has caused the disease 
should come in some form, as of a blow-fly, and strike the 
patient ; they sit with him therefore and use counter-charms 
to guard him, and drive carefully away all flies, lest his enemy 
should come in that form. Some men by gaqaleva can turn 
into a shark and eat an enemy, or more commonly some one 
whom his enemy has hired the wizard to destroy. The story of 
Tarkeke shews this belief in Aurora also, where, as in Lepers' 
Island and in Pentecost, magicians turn into eagles and owls 
as well as sh'arks. This power is not always used for malicious 
ends, as was shewn by Molitavile at Lepers' Island. A vessel 
' recruiting labour/ called by the natives a ' thief-ship/ had 
carried away some people from the island, and their friends 
were very anxious to know what had become of them. Moli- 
tavile, who had the power of changing his form, undertook 
to turn himself into an eagle and fly after the vessel. He 
told all the people of the village in the first place to keep 
away from that side of the open space between the houses 
from whence he would take his flight. Then he entered 

2o8 Magic. [CH. 

into a house decorated with cocoa-nut fronds, and they 
saw no more ; but they knew that he drank the kava he 
had prepared, and then lay down till his soul went out 
of him in the form of a bird and followed the ship. After 
a while he emerged from the house, and told the people 
that all who had been carried away were well but one, 
who was dead. Long 1 afterwards, when some of those who 
were then on board returned, they said that he had brought 
back the truth, one of them by that time had died. 

(4) Dreams. The native belief as to the nature of dreams, 
and as to the part played by the soul of men in dreams, 
is a subject of enquiry which belongs rather to the general 
question as to the conceptions the people have of the nature of 
the soul itself and of human life ; but the use of dreaming as 
a branch of the practice of magic comes appropriately into 
view in this place. In Maewo, Aurora, in the New Hebrides, 
the dreaming-man, tatua qoreqore, who may be also in other 
ways a gismana in his use of supernatural power, is in request 
in cases of sickness. In an ordinary case, when it is supposed 
that a ghost is the cause of the complaint, the friends of the 
sick man send for the professional dreamer and give him now 
tobacco, as formerly they gave mats, to find out what ghost 
has been offended, and to make it up with him. He sleeps, 
and in his dream goes to the place where the sick man has 
been working ; there he meets some one, like an old man it is 
likely, of small size, who really is a ghost, and he learns from 
him what is his name. The ghost tells him that the sick man 
as he was working has encroached upon his ground, the place 
he haunts as his own, and that to punish him he has taken 
away his soul and impounded it in a magic fence in the garden. 
The dreamer begs for the return of the soul, and asks pardon 
on behalf of the sick man, who meant no disrespect ; the ghost 
pulls up the fence in which the soul is enclosed, and lets it out ; 
the man of course recovers. These dreamers are able also to 
visit Malanga, an abode of the dead. Sometimes if a child is 
sick it is supposed that there is some one in Malanga drawing 
away its soul. The conjecture is that the soul of the infant is 

XIL] Prophecy. 209 

in fact that of some one who has died and gone to Malanga, 
but has afterwards desired to come back to earth, and has been 
born as the infant that now is sick ; and, moreover, that the 
mother in Malanga, not wishing- to lose the society of her 
child there, is drawing back the re-born infant's soul. The 
dreamer having received his fee goes in a dream to Malanga, 
and intercedes with the mother there ; he gets back the soul, 
and the child recovers. In Saa also in the Solomon Islands, 
if a child starts in its sleep it is believed that some ghost is 
snatching away what must be called in translation its shadow. 
A wizard doctor undertakes to go in sleep and bring it back ; 
he dreams and goes ; if those who have taken the ' shadow ' let 
him take it back the child recovers, but if the child dies the 
dreamer reports that they would not let him come near them. 
In the same place when a thing is lost a wizard is engaged to 
find it in a dream. In Lepers' Island in case of theft or of any 
hidden crime some wizard who understands how to do it drinks 
kava, and so throws himself into a magic sleep. When he 
wakes he declares that he has seen the culprit and gives his 

(5) Prophecy. The knowledge of future events is believed 
to be conveyed to the people by a spirit or a ghost speaking 
with the voice of a man, one of the wizards, who is himself 
unconscious while he speaks. In Florida the men of a village 
would be sitting in their kiala^ canoe-house, and discussing 
some undertaking, an expedition probably to attack some 
unsuspecting village. One among them, known to have his 
own tindalo ghost of prophecy, would sneeze and begin to 
shake, a sign that the tindalo had entered into him ; his eyes 
would glare, his limbs twist, his whole body be convulsed, 
foam would burst from his lips ; then ' a voice, not his own, 
would be heard in his throat, allowing or disapproving of what 
was proposed. Such a man used no means of bringing on the 
ghost ; it came upon him, as he believed himself, at its own will, 
its mana overpowered him, and when it departed it left him 
quite exhausted. Still a man to whom this happened, when 
he had a reputation as a prophet, would be employed to assist 


2io Magic. [CH. 

in the council and make that a branch of his profession as a 
wizard. The description of prophecy given in San Cristoval 
is identical with the foregoing 1 . In Saa, men who are possessed 
with a lioa prophesy of things to come. In Lepers' Island 
it is believed that the spirit Tagaro puts his power as a spirit 
into a man, manag, so that he speaks what otherwise he could 
not, in the way of foretelling things to come, as well as of 
making known what is concealed. These prophets are con- 
sulted when a new gamali, the house of the Suqe Society, 
is to be built, to know if there will be peace or war ; because 
a number of people assemble for such a purpose, and if there is 
danger of fighting they will not leave their homes. 

(6) Divination. There are many methods by which ghosts 
and spirits are believed to make known to men who use them 
the secret things which the unassisted human intelligence 
could not find out ; and some of these hardly need perhaps the 
intervention of a wizard. These methods of divination differ 
very little in the various islands. In the Solomon Islands, 
in Florida for instance, when an expedition has started in a 
fleet of canoes, there is sometimes a hesitation whether they 
shall proceed, or a question in what direction they shall go. 
A mane kim divines ; he declares that he has felt a tindalo 
come on board, for one side of the canoe has been pressed down ; 
he asks therefore the question, ' Shall we go ? shall we go 
there ? ' If the canoe rocks the answer is in the affirmative, if 
it lies steady it is negative.!^. When a man is sick and it is 
desired to know what tindalo is eating him, the mane kisu who 
knows how to divine by paluduka is sent for. He comes, 
bringing some one with him to assist, and the two sit down, 
the wizard in front, the assistant at his back, and they hold a 
stick or bamboo by the two ends. The wizard begins to slap 
with one hand the end of the bamboo he holds, calling one 
after another the names of men not very long deceased ; when 
he names the one who is afflicting the sick man the stick of 
itself becomes violently agitated.^/ Another method of divina- 
tion is called gogondo. The operator who knows this art takes 
leaves of the dracsena equal in number to the tindalo ghosts he 

xii.] ~^y> Divination. 211 

knows, and with them other leaves, vines of creepers, and bark 
belonging- to each tindalo, in which the mana of each resides. 
With these he goes to the place sacred to his gogondo, and the 
people interested assemble. Then he ties the leaves to his 
own body, and begins to split each draca3na leaf down the 
middle. Each leaf answers to a tindalo, and if a leaf splits 
crooked it is the tindalo answering to it that is eating the 
sick man. The same gogondo is used to see whether a sick 
man will live or die ; if the leaf representing the patient 
splits clean he will recover, if crooked he will die. In Motlav 
and the other Banks' Islands they divined by means of a bam- 
boo into which a ghost had entered, and which pointed of 
itself to the thief or other culprit to be discovered. A common 
method of divination in the Banks' Islands is called so ilo, and 
is used to enquire where a lost person or thing is to be found, 
who is the thief, whether an absent friend is alive or dead. 
The hands are lifted over the head and rubbed together with 
a magic song calling on a ghost. The sign is given by the 
cracking of the joints ; when the question is of life or death,, 
if the thumbs or shoulders crack the man still lives, if the 
elbows crack he is dead. So if a man sneezes he will so ilo to 
know who it is that curses him ; he revolves his fists one over 
the other and then throws out his arms ; the revolving is the 
question, and the answer is given as he asks, ' Is it So-and- 
So ? ' and his elbows crack. Another method of divination was 
occasionally in use at Motlav in the same group. After a 
burial they would take a bag and put make, Tahitian chestnut, 
and scraped banana into it. Then a new bamboo some ten feet 
long was fitted to the bag and tied with one end in the mouth 
of it, and the bag was laid upon the grave, the men engaged 
in the affair holding the bamboo in their hands. The names 
of the recently dead were then called, and the men holding 
the bamboo felt the bag become heavy with the entrance of 
the ghost, which then went up from the bag into the hollow of 
the bamboo. The bamboo and its contents being carried into 
the village, the names of dead men were called over to find out 
whose ghost it was : when wrong names were called the free 

P 2, 

212 Magic. [CH. 

end of the bamboo moved from side to side while the other 
was held tight, at the right name the end moved briskly 
round and round. Then questions were put to the enclosed 
ghost, ' Who stole such a thing ? Who was guilty in such a 
case ? ' The bamboo pointed of itself at the culprit if present, 
or made signs as before when names were called. This bam- 
boo they say would run about with a man who had it lying 
only on the palms of his hands ; but, it is remarked by my 
native informant, though it moved in men's hands it never 
moved when no one touched it. 

(7) Ordeals. To clear or to convict a man accused of guilt 
there are ordeals managed by men with whom the magic in- 
struments, and the knowledge of the charms by which they 
can be used, remain. There are several ordeals used at Saa 
which may stand as examples from the Solomon Islands. One 
is called the dau fieu, stone working, the knowledge of the 
use of which is passed down from man to man with the magic 
stone which is employed. An accused person goes to the man 
who has the stone and engages him to undergo the ordeal. 
The people assemble and the accused denies the charge, and 
he submits to the ordeal through his compurgator. The 
latter heats the stone and throws it from hand to hand ; if 
his hands are not burnt the accused is pronounced innocent, 
and pays a porpoise-tooth fee. There is much preparation 
with a very young cocoa-nut, the flower of sugar-cane and 
chanted charms to make the proceeding saka, hot, with super- 
natural power. It is probable that sometimes the accusers 
make their preparations also with a bribe. Another consists 
in the application of a lighted bundle of cocoa-nut fronds to 
the legs of the accused, who stands up for it or is tied between 
two posts. This is done with charms by the man who manages 
it, and also gets his fee. In another the accused swallows a 
charmed stone heated by the wizard employed, and is innocent 
if he takes no harm. In a fourth the accused eats a bit of a 
cocoa-nut which has been made very saka for the purpose, 
and broken in pieces ; if he is guilty he falls afterwards from 
a tree or some other accident befalls him, or he pines away. 

xii.] Ordeals. Poison. 213 

Another method is to take almonds from a sacred place and 
mash them with a charm ; the accused eats and is judged 
guilty if he is the worse for it. There is again a very ancient 
spear at Saa, very saka, full of magic power, called usu, dog, 
because it has dogs' teeth upon it. This is placed on the 
head of the accused and he says, ' If I did the thing, may I 
die with this spear ; ' if he is guilty he sickens and dies with 
the power of the spear. There is also a very sacred song, 
very saka. The wizard who knows it sings it, and the ac- 
cused man says, ' Well, that song is for me ; if I did that let 
me and my children suffer.' Finally, there is the alligator 
ordeal, used in the passage between Mala Paina and Mala 
Masiki, where the reptiles are very numerous. A man ac- 
cused of serious crime is taken there ; the wizard who manages 
the ordeal calls the alligators with his charms, and the accused 
who is confident in his innocence and in the wizard's power 
dares to swim across. No one will hold him guilty if he 
escapes. In this ordeal also it is sometimes not the accused, 
but the man who knows the charm who submits himself to 
the test. In Lepers' Island a man to prove his innocence 
will submit to be shot at with arrows ; if he be hit he is of 
course guilty ; if he be innocent, Tagaro will protect him, just 
as he protects in fighting any young man whom he preserves 
that he may be prosperous and great. The favour of Tagaro 
in either case is sought for with the appropriate charm. 

(8) Poison. To the best of my knowledge the Melanesian 
people were not acquainted with the use of any substance 
which, when taken with food or drink, would be injurious by 
its natural properties, until they learnt the use of arsenic from 
Queensland. Returned ' labourers ' brought that back with 
them, and used it with fatal effect in the same way in which 
native poisoners used their own magical preparations, by 
mixing it in food ; and it is more than probable that the 
certain and fatal effect was believed then to be due to the 
powerful magical and not natural powers with which it was 
endued. At any rate, if what native magicians employed in 
poisoning food had any naturally noxious qualities (which is 

214 Magic. [CH. 

not denied), it was not any naturally noxious property which 
was expected to produce the injurious result ; nor when 
mischief followed was it ascribed to the natural quality of 
what had been administered ; the magic charms had in native 
belief the power of poisoning, and communicated it to the 
preparation which was mixed with the food. No doubt the 
materials over which the poison charm was sung were such as 
seemed to have a certain congruity with the effect to be 
produced. The secrets of poison-making have not become 
known ; but in Florida it is believed by the people that the 
liver of a black snake dried in the sun or over a fire was the 
chief ingredient in the poisons which were used there. There 
were certain persons who knew the art, and were hired to 
poison with maomao, made with the mana power of the tindalo 
ghost belonging to the sorcerer employed, and mixed in the 
food of the man whose life was aimed at. The Savo people 
were great poisoners ; Florida men who visited them were 
careful what they ate. The effect of the poison was that one 
who had taken it fell sick, vomited, and afterwards died. 
The practice of this art was dangerous to the poisoner ; a 
known poisoner was put to death in Florida, and so were 
many innocent persons suspected or accused. In the Banks' 
Islands to poison was to vangan pal, to feed by stealth. The 
Ureparapara people in that group had the repute of being 
poisoners, others would get poison from thence ; in Mota no 
one knew the art. In Lepers' Island poison is called, by a 
parallel expression, aruwana ; all that I have learnt of it is 
that the preparation of it is very secret, and that it is made 
with charms in the same way with the garata above described. 
In fact the correspondence between the native poison and the 
charm that works destruction through a fragment of food is 
complete : in the one case a portion of the food already eaten 
by the person to be injured is mixed with certain magically 
powerful substances; in the other the magically powerful 
substances are mixed in the food to be eaten. In either case, 
according to the native belief, the mischief was caused by 
magic. A man eating away from his closest friends was in 

xii.] Taboo. 215 

equal fear lest lie should be charmed through a fragment of his 
food or poisoned by what might be put into his food. The 
poisoned arrows, of which more hereafter, have never been 
found to have been prepared with anything which could be pro- 
perly said to be poison ; and undoubtedly the dreaded power of 
such arrows to give fatal wounds was by the natives believed 
to be due to the magic charms with which they were made, 
and to the dead man's bone with which they were pointed. 

(9) Tapu and Curses. The word taboo is one of the very 
few that the languages of the Pacific Ocean have given to the 
English language ; and something of its meaning therefore 
may be supposed to be understood. But the tapu or tambu of 
Melanesia is not so conspicuous in native life as the tapu of 
Polynesia ; and it differs also perhaps in this, that it never 
signifies any inherent holiness or awfulness, but always a 
sacred and unapproachable character which is imposed. This 
is not strictly accurate as regards the word in the Solomon 
Islands, where everything connected with a ghost of worship, 
tindalo, lio'a, or 'adaro, is tambu of itself ; it is accurate as con- 
cerns the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, where what is 
inherently sacred is rongo or sapuga. But still in cases where 
the English word taboo can be employed there is always in 
Melanesia human sanction and prohibition. Some thing, 
action, or place is made tambu or tapu by one who has the 
power to do it, any one whose standing among the people 
gives him confidence to lay this character upon it. The 
power at the back of the tapu or tambu is that of the ghost or 
spirit in whose name, or in reliance upon whom, it is pro- 
nounced ; for the tapu is a prohibition with a curse expressed 
or implied. Thus in Florida a chief will forbid something to 
be done or touched under a penalty; he has said, for example, 
tambu JiangalatU) any one who violates his prohibition must 
pay him a hundred strings of money ; it seems to the Euro- 
pean a proof of the power of the chief ; but to the native the 
power of the chief, in this and in everything else, rests on the 
persuasion that the chief has his tindalo at his back. The 
sense of this in the particular case is remote, the apprehension 

216 Magic. [CH. 

of angering the chief is present and effective, but the ultimate 
sanction is the power of the tindalo. If a common man 
were to take upon himself to tambu anything- he might, 
people would think that he would not do it unless he knew 
that he had the power to do it ; they would watch, and if any 
one who violated his tambu were to fall sick, he would be 
recognized at once as one who had a powerful tindalo, and he 
would rise. Each tindalo has his special leaf, and a man will 
set his tambu with the leaf of his tinclalo as a mark ; men do 
not always know whose leaf it is, but they know that they 
have to deal with a tindalo, not only with a man, if they dis- 
regard the mark. The tambu is too convenient an institution 
to drop when the original sanction of it has ceased to operate ; 
a native Christian teacher therefore does not hesitate, as a 
man of position in society, to set a tambu ; thieves he says are 
afraid of a man if not of a tindalo. In the Banks' Islands 
there is a minor prohibition, soloi, as well as the more solemn 
tapu, in which probably there is no direct reference to a super- 
natural sanction. But a man by virtue of the supernatural 
mana which accrues to him through his association with a 
spirit will va-tapu, separate from common use, a path, trees, 
part of the sea-beach, a canoe, a fishing-net, and no one would 
be surprised if sickness fell at once upon any one who should 
break the tapu. A person of no particular distinction would 
set his soloi before the trees or garden, the fruit and produce 
of which he wished to reserve for some feast, and intruders 
would know at any rate that he carried his bow and arrows. 
Stronger than any individual sanction was that of the secret 
societies called Tamate ; each had its leaf, and any member of 
one could set the leaf of his society as a mark, to disregard 
which would stir the anger of all the members. The payment 
of a pig or money would appease the individual or society 
whose prohibition had been despised. 

It is evident that a tambu approaches to ,a curse, when it is 
a prohibition resting on the invocation of an unseen power. 
Thus at Saa, a few years ago, the chief forbade the young 
people of the place to go to school, with a curse by the name 

xii.] Curses. 217 

of a lio'a, a ghost of power. In such a case if native ideas 
only had prevailed, money, pigs, or valuable gifts would have 
been sufficient to toto, make it up with, the chief, and he 
would have been willing to toto 'akalo (page 137), set the 
matter right by a sacrifice to the lio'a ; but in this case the 
Christian teachers, though really in some danger of their lives, 
refused to acknowledge the power of the lio'a and of the curse, 
and would give nothing to the chief, who thereupon professed 
himself quite unable to remove the curse. 

A curse by way of asseveration is very common in Florida, 
and no doubt in the other Solomon Islands. A man will deny 
an accusation by his forbidden food, butonggu ! by some tindalo, 
Daula, the ghostly frigate-bird, or Bagea, the ghostly shark. 
The Florida people, and their neighbours probably, were 
sufficiently advanced to garnish their conversation with profane 
and filthy swearing, even before 'contact with civilization ' put 
into their mouths those words which are too often the first 
they learn of English. I am not aware of the existence of this 
habit in the Banks' Islands. The more serious curse there is 
to vagona, to make into a tangle, to prohibit easy access 
or procedure, under the sanction of a spirit's power ; to swear 
therefore by the name of some ghost or spirit is to vava vago- 
gonag, that is, to speak making a supernatural power to 
intervene, the withdrawal of which can only be effected by a 
sufficient offering to appease the layer of the curse, who will 
proceed to satisfy the being invoked. To curse in the sense 
of expressing a wish for mischief, with a mental if not a verbal 
reference to a supernatural power, is to vivnag. Such may be 
called the formula used in pouring water into the native oven 
(page 147), and such a curse is supposed to be the cause of 
sneezing. The milder forms are those whereby a troublesome 
or impertinent request or remark is met ; ' Iniko o suri tamate, 
you are a dead man's bone ' ; and by what they call sending off, 
varoivog, to certain trees which have something of a sacred 
character, vawo mele! on a cycas, vawo aru ! on a casuarina, 
vawo poga ! forms which mean not much more than ' you be 
hanged ! ' 



IT is difficult to separate the practice of magic arts from the 
manifestation of a ghost's or spirit's power in possession; because 
a man may use some magic means to bring the possession upon 
himself, as" in the case of prophecy, and also because the 
connexion between the unseen powerful being and the man, 
in whatever way the connexion is made and works, is that 
which makes the wizard. Yet there is a distinction between 
the witchcraft and sorcery in which by magic charms the wizard 
brings the unseen power into action, and the spontaneous mani- 
festation of such power by the unseen being; even though 
there may be only a few who can interpret, or to whom the 
manifestations are made. In a case of madness the native 
belief is that the madman is possessed. There is at the same 
time a clear distinction drawn by the natives between the 
acts and words of the delirium of sickness in which as they say 
they wander, and those which are owing to possession. They 
are sorry for lunatics and are kind to them, though their 
remedies are rough. At Florida, for example, one Kandagaru 
of Boli went out of his mind, chased people, stole things and 
hid them. No one blamed him, because they knew that he was 
possessed by a tindalo ghost. His friends hired a wizard who 
removed the tindalo, and he recovered. In the same way not 
long ago in Lepers' Island there was a man who lost his senses. 
The people conjectured that he had unwittingly trodden on a 
sacred place belonging to Tagaro, and that the ghost of the 
man who lately sacrificed there was angry with him. The 

Possession by Ghosts. 219 

doctors were called in ; they found out whose ghost it was by 
calling on the names of dead men likely to have been offended, 
they washed him with water made powerful with charms, and 
they burned the vessel in which the magic water had been 
under his nose ; he got well. In a similar case they will put 
bits of the fringe of a mat, which has belonged to the deceased, 
into a cocoa-nut shell, and burn it under the nose of the 
possessed. There was another man who threw off his malo and 
went naked at a feast, a sure sign of being out of his mind ; he 
drew his bow at people, and carried things off. The people 
pitied him, and tried to cure him. When a man in such 
condition in that island spoke, it was not with his own voice, 
but with that of the dead man who possessed him ; and such 
a man would know where things were hidden ; when he was 
seen coming men would hide a bow or a club to try him, and 
he would always know where to find it. Thus the possession 
which causes madness cannot be quite distinguished from that 
which prophesies, and a man may pretend to be mad that he 
may get the reputation of being a prophet. At Saa a man 
will speak with the voice of a powerful man deceased, with 
contortions of the body which come upon him when he is 
possessed ; he calls himself, and is spoken to by others, by 
the name of the dead man who speaks through him ; he will 
eat fire, lift enormous weights, and foretell things to come. 
In the Banks' Islands the people make a distinction between 
possession by a ghost that enters a man for some particular 
purpose, and that by a ghost which comes for no other 
apparent cause than that being without a home in the abode 
of the dead he wanders mischievously about, a tamat lelera, a 
wandering ghost. Wonderful feats of strength and agility 
used to be performed under the influence of one of these 
' wandering ghosts ' ; a man would move with supernatural 
quickness from place to place, he would be heard shouting at 
one moment in a lofty tree on one side of a village, and in 
another moment in a tree on the opposite side, he would utter 
sounds such as no sane man could make, his strength was such 
that many men could hardly master him. Such a man was 

22O Possession. Intercourse with Ghosts. [CH. 

seized by his friends and held struggling in the smoke of 
strong smelling leaves, while they called one after another the 
names of the dead men whose ghosts were likely to be abroad ; 
when the right name was called the ghost departed, but 
sometimes this treatment failed. It was a different thing 
when, as used to happen in former days, a ghost from Panoi, 
the abode of the dead, would come for a certain purpose into a 
man and speak with his voice. This did not happen to all 
men alike, but to some who were subject to this possession. 
Such a man would somewhere see a ghost, come home and lie 
down sick. People would come to see him, and calling him by 
his name would ask what was the matter. He would answer, 
' It is not he, it is I,' that is, not the sick man, but the ghost 
who answers by his voice. Then they would call over the 
names of the lately deceased to see whose ghost it was, and 
when they hit on the right name he would answer, ' It is I.' 
Then he would begin to weep, and tell them that he had come 
back because he knew in Panoi that his wife and family were 
not duly cared for, or that his property was being wasted. 
He would scold his relatives for their misconduct, and he would 
tell them of things they did not know, such as where lost 
property would be found. Some one would then bring in a 
bunch of strong-smelling leaves to drive him away, and he 
would immediately perceive its presence ; they would hide it 
and deny in vain that they had brought it in. They caught 
hold of him struggling and howling, and put the leaves to his 
nose ; he seemed to die, the ghost departed from him as the 
soul departs from a dying man. After a while his senses 
would return, and he would declare that he knew nothing of 
what had been said or done since he saw that ghost and 
sickened. Such a medium as this, though not a wizard by 
profession, no doubt found it worth his while to receive these 
ghostly visits. 

An Omen is a spontaneous manifestation or warning given 
by supernatural power, and not obtained by the arts of 
divination. The sign given to a Florida party, when they 
start upon their voyage and wait for the rocking of their 

xiii.] Omens. Vampires. 221 

canoe, might be such if the sign were not given in answer to 
the wizard on board. True omens are observed at Saa. There 
is a small bird named wisi from its cry, which means ; No.' 
It has other notes which resemble the voice of a man talking. 
If men starting on an expedition hear the cry wisi ! it is not 
enough to turn them back perhaps, but if they fail they 
remember the warning ; if they hear the other notes they are 
confident of success. A man working in his garden hears the 
bird, and he asks, ' Is there fighting ? ' The bird answers 
wisi, No. He asks again, ' Is it a stranger come from far ? ' 
The bird answers wi#i t or chatters to give an affirmative reply. 
This is, however, not seriously thought of. If a frog, or some 
other creature that does not usually come indoors, is seen in a 
house it is an omen. They will go and enquire of a wizard 
what it means. If the creature comes and cries they know 
that soon there will be crying for a death. There is in that 
island a remarkable kind of snake rarely seen, called mati e 
sato ; it is about ten inches long, glistening like gold, and 
when full grown, the natives say, so resplendent that nothing 
of it can be clearly seen but its eyes and snout ; when it is 
taken into the hand it is exceedingly smooth and slippery. 
If one of these is seen in a house it is a sign of death ; if 
running, of violent death ; if quiet, of death by sickness. If 
the venomous snake au is seen in a house it is a sign of death 
or fighting or misfortune ; if coiled up it is a sign of quiet 
death ; if running, there will be violence. When a beginning 
is made of building a house or canoe, or of clearing a garden, 
a man will call aloud, and then if something remarkable 
appears it is a sign that the work will be interrupted by 
death or war ; if nothing comes, all will be well. The sacred 
character of the sigo, kingfisher,, in the Banks' Islands has been 
mentioned, and that its cry is ominous. It is the same in 
Lepers' Island, where, if a party is going to battle and a king- 
fisher, higo, cries to the right, it foretells victory ; if it cries to 
the left, it bodes failure. 

There is a belief in the Banks' Islands in the existence of a 
power like that of Vampires. A man or woman would obtain 

222 Possession. Intercourse with Ghosts. [CH. 

this power out of a morbid desire for communion with some 
ghost, and to gain it would steal and eat a morsel of a corpse. 
The ghost then of ,the dead man would join in a close friend- 
ship with the person who had eaten, and would gratify him by 
afflicting any one against whom his ghostly power might be 
directed. The man so afflicted would feel that something was 
influencing his life, and would come to dread some particular 
person among his neighbours, who was therefore suspected of 
being a talamaur. This latter when seized and tried in the 
smoke of strong-smelling leaves would call out the name of 
the dead man whose ghost was his familiar, often the names 
of more than one, and lastly the name of the man who was 
afflicted. The same name talamaur was given to one whose 
soul was supposed to go out and eat the soul or lingering life 
of a freshly-dead corpse. There was a woman some years ago 
of whom the story is told that she made no secret of doing 
this, and that once on the death of a neighbour she gave 
notice that she should go in the night and eat the corpse. 
The friends of the deceased therefore kept watch in the house 
where the corpse lay, and at dead of night heard a scratching 
at the door, followed by a rustling noise close by the corpse. One 
of them threw a stone and seemed to hit the unseen thing ; 
and in the morning the talamaur was found with a bruise on 
her arm which she confessed was caused by a stone thrown at her 
while she was eating the corpse. Such a woman would feel 
a morbid delight in the dread which she inspired, and would 
also be secretly rewarded by some whose secret spite she 

A certain mysterious power was believed to attach to some 
men in the Banks' Islands, which the natives find it difficult 
to explain. There is something belonging to a man called 
his wuqa or uqa. If a stranger sleeps in some one's habitual 
sleeping-place in his absence and afterwards finds himself un- 
well, he knows that the uqa of the man in whose place he 
slept has struck him there ; or if one leaves an associate and 
goes elsewhere to sleep, the uqa of the man he leaves will follow 
him and strike him ; he will rise in the morning weak and 


Tricks of Ghosts. 


languid, or if he had been unwell before he would be worse. 
Although this is not done by witchcraft a man is held re- 
sponsible for what his uqa does, and is made to pay money to 
the injured man, and by an act of his will to take off the 
malignant influence. 

Here may be mentioned also certain tricks which ghosts or 
spirits play on men, or which men know how to make them 
play. At Mota in the Banks' Islands a little boy named 
Peitavunana, heavenly water, was frightened and chased by a 
ghost up the mountain. He was sought for in vain, and a 
fight was threatened. They divined for him, go ilo, by crack- 
ing of the fingers (page 3ii), and a man from Vanua Lava 
announced that he would be found in a certain very inaccessible 
place. There he was found by Somwaswas at the root of a 
tree crying and calling on his mother, his body covered with 
excrement, the food of ghosts, and streaming with blood from 
the thorns through which he had been forced, and in his 
hand an unripe fruit of the mammy-apple. He said that his 
dead mother had come to him and given him the food. 
Another little boy, Nungwia, sleeping on the beach at night, 
was conveyed by a ghost into a very small cavity beneath a 
rock, into which it was impossible for him to have climbed. 
In Lepers' Island they have a way of playing with a ghost. 
They build a little house in the forest near their village and 
adorn it with leaves and cocoa-nut fronds. It has a partition 
dividing it in two, and a bamboo twelve or fifteen feet long 
is put within, half on one side of the partition, half on the 
other. The men assemble in the night to try the presence of 
a ghost, and sit in the house on one side only of the partition 
with their hands under one end of the bamboo. They shut 
their eyes, and call the names of the lately dead. When they 
feel the bamboo moving in their hands they know that the 
ghost is present whose name was the last they called. Then 
they ask, naming one of themselves, * Where is Tanga ? ' and 
the bamboo rises in their hands and strikes him, and then 
sinks back. They are sure then of the presence of the ghost, 
and tell him they will go outside ; and they go out, singing, 

224 Possession. Intercourse with Ghosts. [CH. 

with one end of the bamboo in their hands. Then the bamboo 
leads them as the ghost within it chooses. They make 
known what they wish by singing", and the bamboo makes 
them do the contrary to what they say they want ; if they 
sing that they will go up hill it drags them down. Finally, 
they sing that they wish not to return into the path, and they 
are led out of the bush into the path ; they sing that they do 
not want to go into the village, and they are taken there. 
In the same way a club is put at night into a cycas-tree, 
which has a sacred character, and when the name of some 
ghost is called it moves of itself and will lift and drag people 
about. In Mota a few years ago they tried again a practice 
of this kind long disused, with a success that caused alarm. 
A basket was fastened to the end of a bamboo and food put 
in it ; a man took the bamboo upon his shoulder and walked 
along, the basket at his back ; presently he felt a heavy 
weight in the basket as much as he could carry, a sign that a 
ghost had come into it. The bamboo then would drag people 
about, and put up into a tree would lift them from the ground. 
This resembles a good deal a method of divination used at 
Motlav, and described above, but there is no divination in 
these tricks. 

There was, and perhaps still is, in the Torres Islands some- 
thing similar to this, when ghosts influenced and took 
possession of people with the use of sticks. This has been 
described by a native under the name of Na tamet lingalinga^ 
by which name those who are subjected to the ghostly influence 
are called. It is done, he writes, on the fifth day after a death. 
There was a certain man at Lo who took the lead, and without 
whom nothing could be done ; he gave out that he would 
descend into Panoi, the abode of the dead, and he had with 
him certain others, assistants. He and his party were called 
simply ' ghosts ' when engaged in the affair. The first thing 
was to assemble those who were willing to be treated in a 
gamal, a public hall, perhaps twenty young men or boys, to 
make them lie down on the two sides, and to shake over them 
leaves and tips of the twigs of plants powerful and magical 

xiii.] Form of Possession in Torres Islands. 225 

with charms. Then the leader and his assistants went into all 
the sacred places which ghosts haunt, such as where men 
wash off the black of mourning, collecting as they went the 
ghosts and becoming themselves so much possessed that they 
appeared to have lost their senses, though they acted in a 
certain method. In the meanwhile the subjects lying in the 
gamal begin to be moved ; those who bring as they say the 
ghosts to them go quietly along both sides of the house with- 
out, and all at once strike the house along its whole length 
with the sticks they carry in their hands. This startles those 
inside, and they roll about on the ground distracted. Then 
the 'ghosts' enter in with their sticks, and in this performance 
each is believed to be some one deceased, one Tagilrow, another 
Qatawala ; they leap from side to side, turning their sticks 
over to be beaten by the subjects on one side and the other. 
The subjects are given sticks for this purpose, and as they 
strike the stick the ghost ' strikes,' possesses, them one after 
another. In this state the sticks draw them out into the 
open place of the village, where they are seen. They appear 
not to recognize or hear any one but the ' ghosts ' who have 
brought this upon them, and who alone can control them and 
prevent them from pulling down the houses ; for they have a 
rage for seizing and striking with anything, bows, clubs, 
bamboo water- vessels, or the rafters of the houses, and their 
strength is such that a full-grown man cannot hold a boy in 
this state. After a time the ' ghosts ' take them back into 
the gamal, and there they lie exhausted ; the ' ghosts ' go to 
drink kava, and as each drinks he pours away the dregs call- 
ing the name of one of the possessed, and the senses of each 
return as his name is called. It is five days, however, before 
they can go about again. This was done once after a 
Christian teacher had come to Lo, and two of his scholars 
whom he let go to prove that it was a deception were 

People in the Banks' Islands have certain tricks which 
those who do not understand them believe to be the work of 
ghosts. A man will hear a voice from the ground beneath 

226 Possession. Intercourse luith Ghosts. [CH. 

his feet, calling him by his name. This is said to be done by 
letting an open bamboo some foot or two into the ground in 
some place not far from the person to be addressed, where the 
operation will be unseen, and then speaking into the end of 
the bamboo, and directing the voice in the way the sound is 
meant to travel. Again, a family party working in their 
garden will see smoke and sparks ascending in the direction 
of their village ; they hear the hissing of the flames and the 
popping of the bamboo rafters ; they are sure that it is their 
own house burning, and run to save what they can. When 
they reach the village all is quiet, the houses are all standing 
with fastened doors, as in the hours of work. The trick 
has been played by a party who somewhere in a line with 
the house have made a fire, and exploding green reeds 
which fill with steam when heated in the fire, and beating 
with the tips of dry cocoa-nut fronds upon the ground, 
have imitated with wonderful exactness the noises of a house 
on fire. 

It will hardly be inappropriate here to introduce the 
Melanesian superstition about sneezing, to which some 
reference has been already made. In Florida when a man 
sneezes they think that some one is speaking of him, is 
angry with him, perhaps cursing him by calling on his own 
tindalo to eat him ; the man who sneezes calls upon his 
tlndalo to damage the man who is cursing him. In the 
same way at Saa if a man sneezes when he wakes, he cries, 
' Who calls me 1 If for good, well ; if for evil, may So-and-So 
(naming a litfa) defend me.' In the Banks' Islands also some 
one is supposed to be calling the name of a man when he 
sneezes, either for good or evil. In Motlav if a child sneezes, 
the mother will cry, ' Let him come back into the world ! let 
him remain.' In Mota they cry, ' Live, roll back to us ! ' 
The notion is that a ghost is drawing the child's soul away. 
It has been said that at Mota a man enquires when he 
sneezes by a certain divination who is cursing him ; he will 
also stamp with his foot and cry, ' Stamp down the mischief 
from me ! Let it be quiet ! Let them say their words in vain ; 

xni] Sneezing. 227 

let them lay their plots in vain ! ' 1 . There is a special form of 
words used when one's step-father sneezes (page 40). The 
native notions in the New Hebrides are much the same ; but 
in Lepers' Island, if an infant sneezes, it is a sign that its soul 
has been away, and has just come back ; the friends present 
cry out with good wishes. They judge in the same island by 
the character of the sneeze what is the motive with which 
the sneezer's name is being called ; if it be a gentle sneeze 
no harm is meant, a violent paroxysm is warning of a 

1 Vara sur o lea nan nau id masur nira vetcet ivora, nira sorsora 

Q 2 



IN attempting to trace the course of a Melanesian life 
from birth to burial we soon meet with practices connected 
with the Couvade. A proper Couvade has perhaps been 
observed in San Cristoval alone, when the young 1 father was 
found lying in after the birth of his child ; and it should be 
observed that this was where the child follows the father's 
kindred. There is much however which approaches this. At 
Saa it is not only the expectant mother who is careful what 
she eats, the father also both before and after the child's 
birth refrains from some kinds of food which would hurt the 
child. He will not eat pig's flesh, and he abstains from 
movements which are believed to do harm, upon the principle 
that the father's movements affect those of the child. A 
man will not do hard work, lift heavy weights, or go out to 
sea ; he keeps quiet lest the child should start, should over- 
strain itself, or should throw itself about as he paddles. In 
the Banks' Islands also, both parents are careful what 
they eat when the child is bom, they take only what if taken 
by the infant would not make it ill ; before the birth of her 
first child the mother must not eat fish caught by the hook, 
net, or trap. After the birth of the first child, the father 
does no heavy work for a month ; after the birth of any of 
his children, he takes care not to go into those sacred places, 
tano rongo, into which the child could not go without risk. 
It is the same in the New Hebrides; the expectant Araga 
father keeps away from sacred places, ute sapuga, before the 

Couvade. Infanticide. 


child's birth, and does not enter his house ; after the birth, he 
does work in looking after his wife and child, but he must 
not eat shell-fish and other produce of the beach, for the 
infant would suffer from ulcers if he did. In Lepers' Island, 
the father is very careful for ten days ; he does no work, will 
not climb a tree, or go far into the sea to bathe, for if he 
exerts himself the child will suffer. If during this time 
he goes to any distance, as to the beach, he brings back with 
him a little stone representing the infant's soul, which may 
have followed him ; arrived at home, he cries, ' Come hither,' 
and puts down the stone in the house ; then he waits till the 
child sneezes,, and he cries, ' Here it is,' knowing then that 
the soul has not been lost. 

Abortion and Infanticide were very common. If a woman 
did not want the trouble of bringing up a child, desired to 
appear young, was afraid her husband might think the birth 
before its time, or wished to spite her husband, she would find 
some one to procure abortion either by the juice of certain plants 
taken in drink or by twisting and squeezing the foetus. Infan- 
ticide was more prevalent in some islands than others ; since 
Christian teaching has been introduced a great change is visible 
in Maewo, Aurora Island, and at Wango in San Cristoval, 
where the birth of an infant was of late years indeed an un- 
usual thing, and all the children in the villages had been 
bought from inland. In those parts the old women of the vil- 
lage generally determined whether a newborn child should live ; 
if not promising in appearance, or likely to be troublesome, it 
was made away with, its mouth perhaps stuffed with leaves and 
the body cast into a hole and covered with a stone. In the 
Banks' Islands, if of the wrong sex or otherwise unwelcome, the 
infant was choked as soon as born. Male children were killed 
rather than female in that group ; if there were female children 
already, another would not be desired ; but the females were 
rather preserved, as it is important to observe, because of the 
family passing through the female side, as well as with the 
prospect of gain when the girl should be betrothed and married. 

There is nowhere in the groups generally the practice of 

230 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

killing one of twins, nor is there anywhere any dislike to the 
birth of twins further than from the trouble they entail. In 
some places, as at Saa, twins are liked ; at Motlav the people 
of a village are proud of their twins, and the parents and 
relations make much of them ; no one would adopt one of 
them, because it would spoil the pleasure of seeing them 
together, and deprive them of their natural right to be 
together ; the only sad thing about them is that they give 
much trouble, and that the parents will be so sorry if they die. 
In Florida alone there seems to be something of a suspicion 
that two fathers may be concerned ; but they take it that the 
woman has trespassed on the sacred place, vwnuka, of some 
ghost, tindalo, whose power lies that way. In Lepers' Island 
also it is thought that twins may be a gift of Tagaro. 
Women who want a child will go to a sacred place in hope 
that the spirit will give them one, and sometimes he gives 
them two. There is now in the island one Malavaiboe, Pig- 
twin, the survivor of twin sons of Arusese ; the people believe 
he will turn out a great man, not so much because he is a 
twin, as because Tagaro gave the twins of which he is one to 
their mother when she went to ask a child. 

At Saa, when a newborn infant is eight or ten days old a 
sacrifice, 'unu qo (page 137), is made to the family lio'a to provide 
against misfortune. In Lepers' Island when the infant is ten 
days old the mother is well again, and the father goes down 
to the beach to wash the things belonging to the child. As 
he goes he scatters along the path little toy bows, if it be a 
boy, a sign that he shall be a strong bowman ; if it be a girl, 
he throws down bits of the pandanus fibre out of which mats 
are made, for the mats which count as money are to be her 
work. In case the child dies after eating for the first time 
the parents will not eat that food afterwards themselves. At 
Araga, Pentecost Island, a first-born son remains ten days in 
the house in which he was born, during which time the father's 
kinsmen take food to the mother. On the tenth day they 
bring nothing, but the father gives them food and mats, which 
count as money, in as great quantity as he can afford. They, 

xiv.] Ceremonies in infancy. Dress. 231 

the kin of the father and therefore not kin of the infant, on 
that day perform a certain ceremony called huhuni ; they lay 
upon the infant's head mats and the strings with which pigs 
are tied, and the father tells them that he accepts this as a 
sign that hereafter they will feed and help his son. There is 
clearly in this a movement towards the patriarchal system, a 
recognition of the tie of blood through the father and of duties 
that follow from it. Another sign of the same advance of the 
father's right is to be seen in the very different custom that 
prevails in the Banks' Islands on the birth of a first-born son ; 
there is raised upon that event, a noisy and playful fight, vagalo, 
after which the father buys off the assailants with payment of 
money to the other veve, to the kinsmen that is of the child 
and his mother. It is hardly possible to be mistaken in 
taking this fight to be a ceremonial, if playful, assertion of the 
claim of the mother's kinsfolk to the child as one of themselves, 
and the father's payment to be the quieting of their claim and 
the securing of his own position as head of his own family. 

As children grow they remain in their tender years in the 
women's care within the house. They are commonly weaned 
when they can crawl. Their first advance in life when they 
are boys depends very much upon the custom of the place 
concerning clothing. In the Banks' Islands, where males of 
any age wore nothing, boys as they grew bigger were sent to 
sleep in the gamal, the public club-house ; the parents said 
'He is a boy, it is time to separate him from the girls.' 
They took their meals at home until sooner or later they had 
their place bought for them in the Suqe Club. In the 
Torres Islands the nose is bored on the third day for the 
future ornament. In Florida and its neighbourhood boys of 
six or seven put on the little wrapper worn by males, and are 
very particular about it. At Santa Cruz the boys go at first 
to the chiefs mandai, canoe-house and public hall, in the 
daytime and go home to sleep ; after a while they cease to 
return at night. Before dress in that island comes the indis- 
pensable nose-ring ; the hole for this is made in infancy and 
a little ring inserted. When the ears are bored it is a great 

232 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

occasion and a pig is killed, and so always when an additional 
hole is made, and a Santa Cruz boy may be seen with more 
than thirty ear-rings. The Santa Cruz dress is ample, and is 
assumed with a feast and killiDg of a pig. The boy's as- 
sumption of a dress depends therefore on the ability and 
willingness of his friends to provide the feast, and some big 
boys go naked. The dress in the New Hebrides, at Lepers' 
Island, and Pentecost differs little from that of Santa Cruz. 
The boy puts on his malo dress when his parents think him 
big enough, and sooner or later as they can afford to make a 
feast. Before this he has lived at home, but now he eats and 
sleeps in the gamali club-house, and now begins his strange 
and strict reserve of intercourse with his sisters and his 
mother. This begins in full force towards his sisters ; he 
must not use as a common noun the word which is the name 
or makes part of the name of any of them, and they avoid 
his name as carefully. He may go to his father's house to ask 
for food, but if his sister is within he has to go away 
before he eats ; if no sister is there he can sit down near the 
door and eat. If by chance brother and sister meet in the 
path she runs away or hides. If a boy on the sands knows 
that certain footsteps are his sister's, he will not follow them, 
nor will she his. This mutual avoidance begins when the 
boy is clothed or the girl tattooed. The partition between 
boys and girls without which a school cannot be carried on is 
not there to divide the sexes generally, but to separate brothers 
and sisters. This avoidance continues through life. The 
reserve between son and mother increases as the boy grows 
up, and is much more on her side than his. He goes to the 
house and asks for food; his mother brings it out but does 
not give it him, she puts it down for him to take ; if she calls 
him to come she speaks to him in the plural, in a more 
distant manner ; ( Come ye,' she says, mim vanai, not f Come 
thou.' If they talk together she sits at a little distance and 
turns away, for she is shy of her grown-up son. The meaning 
of all this is obvious. At Santa Cruz and the neighbouring 
islands the separation of the sexes in daily life is carried far,, 

xiv.] Avoidance. Noviciate at Saa. 233 

but has not this character. At Santa Cruz the men and 
women never work together promiscuously or assemble in 
one group ; men with their wives and children only, and men 
with their mothers, work in the gardens; when a crowd 
assembles the women collect aloof. In Nufilole, one of the 
Swallow group, the separation is complete ; men and women 
are never out together; in the morning the men go out 
first and come back, after that the women go and fetch water, 
when they return the men go out again. 

It has been said in Chapters V and VI that there is not 
known in these Islands of Melanesia any initiation or ' making 
of young men ' ; there is only the entrance into the various 
societies. The nearest approach to such initiation seems to be 
found at Saa. A chief's son in that part of Malanta goes 
early to the olia, canoe-house and public hall, while common 
children still eat and sleep at home ; he may go there when 
he is twelve years old. Before that they are very careful 
about him ; he must not go under the women's bedplace, his 
mother must never use bad words in scolding him, he must 
not consort with big boys who will teach him bad ways ; he is 
kept apart lest he Idu, fall, be low *. At first he goes only in 
the daytime to the oha^ and comes back to his mother to sleep. 
When the time comes he is put with boys of his own age to 
undergo a sort of noviciate. The custom is dying out ; boys 
used to stay in the oka sometimes for years. First of all there 
was a toto sacrifice (page 137) to purify the boys. Afterwards 
they went out every morning early in a canoe to catch the 
bonito-fish, till each boy had caug'ht one. Men paddled with 
the boys, a boy sitting behind a man ; when the man had a 
bite the boy behind him came forward and helped to haul it in ; 
the fish counted as the boy's, he had caught a fish which one 
must be saka^ be possessed of a certain mysterious power, to 

1 It is curious that the word lotu, commonly used for the profession of 
Christianity in Polynesia and in Fiji, should occur in this sense in the Solomon 
Islands. The meaning from which its use to describe the new religion came 
was that of bowing down as in prayer. To go where women may be above his 
head is degrading to a chief ; hence the refusal to go below on board a vessel. 

234 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

catch ; and he had reached a certain stage in life. A boy did 
not come out when he had caught his fish, he remained for 
the time fixed for him at his entrance, according to his father's 
rank, or that in which his father had aspired to set him ; for 
the length of his stay depended very much upon the expense 
to which his father proposed to go. One might come out 
before his time, as Wateaado did when his brother died and he 
was wanted to take his place. At certain intervals during 
this seclusion feasts were made, and a great one when a boy 
came out. There was no secret initiation, nothing whatever 
was taught the boys, the only thing they learnt was how to 
fish for bonito. They came out young men and strangers to 
the people of the village, out of whose sight they had grown 
up. This custom has now ceased at Saa. 

Circumcision is unknown in almost all the islands which are 
here in view ; it has come up from Ambrym to the lower end 
of Pentecost, as a prevailing custom, and not very lately. It 
is done at any age, whenever the boy's friends choose to make 
the feast. It is not a mark of initiation and has no religious 
or superstitious character ; it is a social distinction. It is 
known but not yet practised in Lepers' Island, but is said to 
have been already introduced into the southern part of Aurora. 
A sharp bamboo is used. There is no doubt that the custom, 
for it is not a rite, has come across from the eastwards to the 
Southern New Hebrides, and has been for some time in common 
use, the dress in some of those islands, if it may be so called, 
being adapted to it. 

The childhood of a girl can hardly be marked except by 
her advance towards matrimony, to which her being clothed 
and tattooed is in some places at least a necessary step. In 
Florida and the neighbouring parts, in Santa Cruz, in Pente- 
cost Island, and most of the New Hebrides, the women's dress 
is a petticoat of strings of fibre or of leaves. In the south- 
eastern Solomon Islands and the Banks' Islands the women 
wear a band with tufts or fringes, to which in Lepers' Island 
there is added out of doors a mat which envelopes the person. 
The moral character and training of the girls may well be 


Chastity. Harlots. 


noticed before their betrothal and marriage are taken in hand. 
Considerable laxity of intercourse between boys and girls 
undoubtedly existed, and unchastity was not very seriously 
regarded ; yet it is certain that in these islands generally 
there was by no means that insensibility in regard to female 
virtue with which the natives are so commonly charged. 
There is but too good a cause generally for the natives to. 
present at once their unchaste females to white visitors, and 
these then speak from experience little creditable to those of 
their colour who have preceded them. There is a considerable 
difference however to be observed between one island and 
another in this matter, an example of which appears in the 
presence'or absence of a word signifying a harlot. In Florida 
such a woman is called rembi, and occupied not long ago a 
recognized place in native life ; but it was in consequence 
generally of misconduct, such as adultery or fornication within 
the kema kin, that a woman was condemned by the chief of 
her place to such a life. She belonged to the chief, lived in 
one of his houses, and most of her earnings were his. When 
she had accumulated porpoise teeth and money she would be 
allowed to marry, being well worth having, and then reference 
to her former career would not be proper. While rembi she 
was not particularly despised ; no one would step over her legs, 
go too near to her, or talk to her without cause. At Wango 
in San Cristoval and in the neighbourhood girls were very 
loose before marriage, getting money for themselves privately 
by prostitution ; and besides, there are harlots, repi, there, some 
girls not yet married, and some widows. They considered 
themselves much stricter at Saa in Malanta ; a girl of family 
found pregnant before marriage would be killed, unless the 
paramour could pay enough to save her and make her his wife. 
A girl of no family, that is, not of the chiefs family, would 
not be killed, but might be allowed to become a harlot if not 
married by her lover. Sometimes a man allows his daughter 
to become a harlot to gain money ; and a chief at Ulawa will 
buy a girl from her father and keep her to earn money for him 
as well as for herself ; but such a repi in either island is not 

236 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

respected, is thought a low character, and will have but little 
given for her if she is married. The good families in Ulawa 
also are strict, and mothers look well after their girls. At 
Santa Cruz, where the separation of the sexes is so carefully 
maintained, there are certainly public courtesans. In the 
Banks' Islands there is no such thing known * ; it was 
always in old times the duty of parents to look well after 
their children both boys and girls, and to scold and correct 
them if they should see them going wrong ; girls were never 
allowed to go about alone without their mother or elder friend ; 
however common irregular intercourse may have been it was 
never allowed, never respectable, public feeling was on the side 
of virtue. There were respectable families where the girls 
were known or presumed to conduct themselves perfectly well, 
to toga mantag, and a girl from such a family would as a rule 
be chaste up to the time of her marriage. Bastards were very 
rare in the Banks' Islands 2 . A woman living without a 
husband would indeed sometimes be seen with children ; but 
then it was known in the place that she had been taken to 
wife by a man whose previous wife was jealous and had driven 
her from the house. In the Northern New Hebrides, as 
Pentecost and Lepers' Island, harlots are unknown, though 
there are unmarried girls and married women who are known 
to receive mats and ornaments in prostitution secretly. There 
is a story in Lepers' Island of a man with two wives who when 
he went from home hung a bag in his house which he 
expected to be filled with mats by the time he came home. 
In these islands also a reputation for chastity is valued for its 
own sake, and in respectable families care is taken of the 
girls. In every island it may be said that there are house- 
holds in which it is understood that the family is generally 

1 To translate the word harlot in Mota, it has been necessary to use the 
phrase tavine vilevilesom, a woman who gives money, with a singular inversion 
of meaning. In fact the women of bad character are those married women 
who give secretly money to youths by way of invitation. The youth gives 
back food by way of pledge. 

2 A bastard was called nat gaegae, a child of the thicket, and was said to be 
wota vanamecig, born without belongings, as a desert place is vanuavanameag. 


Betrothal. Tattoo. 


well conducted, and which are respectable accordingly, and 
everywhere there are families which are not respectable. 
Bastards are generally very rare. 

Betrothal comes very early in the life of many Melanesian 
girls ; a man with a son born to him looks out for the birth of 
a suitable girl to be his son's wife. This is especially the case 
with persons of consequence and wealth, and upon this begins 
the long series of payments and negotiations which come to 
their end at the marriage. The general character of these 
transactions may be understood from the ways in which 
matrimonial affairs are managed in the various islands. The 
first marriage of the young man may be taken to be in view ; 
wives are added to the first with less to do about it, but not with- 
out a good deal of bargaining on the part of the men concerned, 
and a great deal of business and talking on that of the women. 
In Florida the girl who has been engaged as an infant, and 
for whom some payment has been made on the engagement, 
is tattooed when she comes to the proper age for it. This, 
uhuuliU) is done by a man whose profession it is to do it, and 
who receives much money, pigs, and food in the exercise of his 
art; a feast is made for him and for the company assembled 
of friends and relations, who help to bear the expense. The 
pattern is first marked out in circles with a bamboo, and the 
skin is cut with the bone of a bat's wing. The amount 
of tattooing varies, but the pain and swelling is always con- 
siderable. No girl would be considered marriageable unless 
tattooed, and the operation performed is a sign that the time 
is come when the father of the young man to whom one is 
engaged should pay something down with a view to the 
marriage. Further advance, however, may be delayed for 
months or even years before the future father-in-law goes 
with his party to pay down the whole sum of money agreed 
upon. Then after staying two days at least, with endless 
difficulties interposed, the girl is given up, and an extra sum 
of money has to be paid, na rongo ni nggoti kekesa, the money to 
break the post near the door used to take hold of in going in 
and out of the house, to finish her going in and out of her old 


238 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

home. This is given to the women of the bride's party, who 
then take her by the hand and give her up. They lift her 
from the ground and carry her on the back of one of them out 
of the house to the other party, who then take her away. The 
bridegroom does not yet make his appearance. The bride then 
stays in her father-in-law's house two or three months waiting 
for her parents to bring their present of pigs and food. When 
they arrive with this they make a feast which is the wedding 
banquet, but neither they nor the young couple partake of it. 
This is the final ceremony; the young man takes his wife to 
his father's house or his own ; he is married, taulagi 1 . The 
amount given by the bridegroom's party varies according to 
the wealth and position of the families ; from fifty to a hundred 
rongo, coils of native money. When fifty is given, the bride's 
party give in return five pigs ; and when a hundred, ten pigs ; 
and they say that the money buys the pigs and not the damsel. 
It is the duty of the young man's relations to help him in 
this matter, and they are very willing to do it, if he on his 
part has been active and willing in garden-work and other 

At Saa in Malanta when little children have been betrothed, 
the girl, still very young, comes bringing her food with her 
to spend a month or two in her future father-in-law's house, 
and to become acquainted with the family. The betrothed 
children converse and play together at their ease, knowing 
what is proposed ; and this visit is repeated while the 
children are little from time to time, and part of the money, 
porpoise teeth, and dogs' teeth to be paid to the girl's 

1 ' During the morning of the feast, whilst the bride's relations are waiting 
about for the acknowledgment of their contributions to the wedding breakfast, it 
is the custom of the boys of the village to take their bows and arrows and prowl 
amongst these watchers, and so to irritate or alarm them by shooting amongst 
them, that they are glad to buy immunity from this dangerous amusement by 
paying a fish's tooth. They shot over their heads and past their ears, and 
between their feet, and through their hair, till one heard exclamations of 
disgust and annoyance on all sides.' Rev. J. H. Plant. It should be observed 
that this is in the bridegroom's village, and that the boys' object is to get 
bought off. 

Saa. Santa Cruz. Banks Islands. 239 

father is handed over *. In consequence of this familiarity, 
when the girl is marriageable and all is arranged she goes 
willingly enough to take up her abode in her new family, 
without any real or affected reluctance on her part, or lifting 
and carrying by her friends. It is sometimes, however, a long 
time before the marriage is consummated, through the shyness 
of the bridegroom, though the parents encourage the young 
couple to be friendly, and give them opportunities of talking 
and working together. The virginity of a bride is a matter 
of much concern to her friends, not only because the boy's 
friends will not pay what they have promised if her character 
in questionable, but because they value propriety. This all 
refers to the good families in the main ; among inferior 
people early betrothals are unusual ; the young people have not 
always made friends, and the taking of the bride to her new 
home is a greater affair. At Santa Cruz in the same way 
engagements of marriage are often made in infancy. The 
father looks out a suitable girl sooner or later, and the boy 
is not told. Presents and feather-money are interchanged 
between the parents on both sides. In course of time the boy 
is told that a girl is engaged for him, but is not told who she 
is ; he is warned only not to go near a certain house, and 
guesses who it is. The youth when the time comes is often 
very reluctant to marry, he cries and asks why they want 
him to go away. However, when he marries he brings his 
wife to his father's house, until he builds one for himself 2 . 

In the Banks' Islands arrangements are made by the friends, 
and the payment to be made agreed upon ; the young man, 
or his friends for him, la goro o tavine, give money and pigs to 
secure the woman, and her friends again tango goro o nago lagia, 
( lay hold on the face of the marriage,' by an answering present. 

1 On one occasion, when Bishop Selwyn was present, eighteen porpoise teeth, 
fifty strings of money, twenty pigs. 

2 I have been told by a Loyalty Island teacher living on the island that a 
young married couple do not cohabit, but meet secretly for a time. This 
however was not allowed to be correct by Santa Cruz boys of whom I 

240 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

When the matter is settled the bridegroom's friends make a 
feast, and the tail of the pig is given to the bride's father. 
After due payment of the money the girl is taken to wife 
without ceremony. If a girl were engaged to an old man or 
one she dislikes she might run off into the bush with the 
youth of her choice, and a pig given by his friends might 
settle the matter. The payments for a wife are not very 
heavy in this group, but vary in the different islands. A 
girl betrothed as a child is here often taken to her future 
home to be brought up there to ksow the people and, if she 
belongs to another island, the language of the place. Boys 
and girls, and young people generally, who are engaged are 
very shy about it, and will hardly look at one another ; but 
as the time for marriage draws on it is correct for the youth to 
make little presents and otherwise shew attention. 

In the Northern New Hebrides a girl betrothed in child- 
hood is taken to her future father-in-law's house and 
brought up there ; the boy often thinks she is his sister, and 
is much ashamed when he comes to know the relation in 
which he stands. This however is not the common way, for 
it is only the children of great people who are betrothed as 
infants. When the girl is old enough to be married in 
Araga she is sometimes tattooed, and always assumes her 
petticoat. There is some ceremony there when the marriage 
day arrives ; people assemble in the middle of the village, 
and the father of the bride or some friend of consequence 
makes a speech. The bridegroom sticks a branch of a 
dracsena into the ground and brings up the pigs, food, and 
mats given for the bride. Then the orator exhorts him to 
feed his wife properly and treat her kindly, and not to be 
sulky with her, and he hands over the young woman, who is 
attired in a new petticoat and wrapped in a new mat. There 
follows a feast, and the bridegroom goes round about his 
father-in-law or the orator, stroking him, to thank him. A 
sort of sham-fight takes place on the occasion, in which 
sometimes men are hurt, the two sides being the kinsmen of 
the bridegroom and of the bride ; if one of the bridegroom's 

xiv.] Betrothal. 241 

brethren is hurt, it is his business to make it up with him by 
a present. Whether this can be called capture is very 
doubtful ; but no doubt it represents the feeling's with which 
the bride's kinsmen regard the loss of her services ; it cannot 
be the loss of any rights of intercourse, since she was un- 
approachable by any of them. The bride is taken by female 
friends to the bridegroom's house or his father's, sometimes 
crying, and dragged along if she dislikes the match. An 
unwilling bride will refuse intercourse with her husband, or 
run away to some one she likes better ; in that case, if her 
return seems hopeless, a pig is given and she stays. Some- 
times, again, the young couple are so shy of one another that 
they will not speak after marriage, as it has not been proper 
to speak before ; the friends and neighbours do not approve 
of this, and it is on this account that it is thought wise 
to ensure mutual acquaintance and liking by bringing the 
engaged couple together as children. At Lepers' Island 
among people of consequence infant betrothals are the proper 
thing ; when a chief has a girl born to him another will 
come and secure her for his boy, giving a present and 
making a feast. If the boy is old enough at the time of the 
feast he is made to take a young drinking cocoa-nut, put a 
dracaena leaf into the eye of it, and give it to the infant's 
mother for the child to drink. This is called JiuJiu vuhe goroe, 
to give her suck with a drinking cocoa-nut and secure her 1 . 
When the betrothed girl is about ten years old, the boy's 
mother takes her to her own house to teach her household 
ways, and the children are for the time brought up together. 
When she is growing big her parents take her back for her 
tattooing, which is done in lines all over her body, with 
nothing on her face. Hitherto she has worn nothing except 
on great occasions ; now she is always clothed ; in the house 

1 ' When a female child is born, the father or mother of some male child 
brings him into the house with a bamboo of water, and the male child proceeds 
to wash the female, who henceforth becomes his betrothed, and they grow up 
together recognizing each other as man and wife.' Rev. C. Bice ; at Maewo, 
Aurora Island. 

242 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

she wears only the para, a fringed band, and out of doors she 
is wrapped in mats. At this time the women on both sides 
are very busy talking over the price to be paid by the 
bridegroom's friends, which varies much ; if the youth is 
the son of a great man, a tusked pig and a hundred mats 
are not too much, for common people two or three ordinary 
pigs and fifty mats will do. These arrangements often take 
a long time, for the women delight in them ; and while they 
go on the young couple are encouraged to converse and not 
be shy. At last the wedding day arrives ; the young man's 
friends take the pigs, mats, and uncooked food, and set them 
down in the middle of the bride's village. The bride's 
friends have already prepared cooked food, and the two 
parties eat together; the marriage is thus complete. The 
bride is carried on someone's back to her new home, wrapped 
in many mats, and with palm-fans held about her face, because 
she is supposed to be modest and shy. Formerly there was 
always a house built beforehand, and food prepared for the 
young couple, who ate together as a sign of union. Here, as 
elsewhere, a girl will run away to one she loves, and he may 
keep her if he can satisfy her friends ; but sometimes he is 
afraid of the disappointed bridegroom's friends, sometimes he 
is too poor to make it up with hers ; he is obliged then to 
decline to receive her, and she must go back, unless indeed 
she had rather strangle or hang herself. 

The reserve exercised between those who have been brought 
near by marriage, and the mutual avoidance of some, has been 
already mentioned, and must be understood to begin as soon 
as the engagement of the young couple is complete. There 
is a singular example of this kind of reserve at Florida, where 
there is no difficulty in meeting or using the names of persons 
connected by marriage. In case of a woman having had a 
lover before her marriage she will never after marriage mention 
his name, calling him a hanu, that person, and she will never 
meet him in the path. Her husband looks out for this, and 
observing who it is demands money of the former lover, and 
when that is paid no more notice is taken of the matter ; but 

xiv.] Adidtery. 243 

if satisfaction were refused a quarrel would ensue. A newly- 
married husband, without waiting- for observations, would 
often beat his bride to make her confess who her paramour 
had been. 

The old habits of the people in all the islands were very 
strict in regard to adultery. The punishment of the man 
was death ; but the punishment was very generally mitigated 
on payment of a fine. Thus in Florida an injured husband 
would give money to the chief to have the adulterer killed, 
and he, if he could, would make satisfaction in money to both 
chief and husband, and so save his life. The woman, however, 
would probably be made a rembi, harlot, for the profit of the 
chief. At Saa an adulterous wife is dismissed, and the 
adulterer is punished with death, exile, or fines. In case of 
adultery in a chief's family he will have the adulterer killed, 
or receiving a large fine will let him go to Ulawa and live ; 
a man's friends will sometimes hide him for a time, hoping 
that the chief will consent to take a fine, and if they find him 
implacable, will kill the man themselves or give him up. 
When the wrong has been done among lesser men, the friends 
of the husband and of the adulterer will often fight about the 
damages to be exacted ; and from this cause indeed most of 
the fighting throughout all the groups proceeds. A chief of 
Saa, Ulawa, Ugi, or San Cristoval, who has had the adulterer 
killed, makes a bea, a stage from which speeches are made, 
and rewards those who have killed him ; and for himself at 
Saa he makes the sacrifice toto 'akalo (page 137), to clear 
away any danger that may happen to him as the cause of 
death. In the Banks' Islands and Northern New Hebrides 
the treatment of adultery is very simple ; the man is shot or 
clubbed by the husband or his friends in their first indig- 
nation, and the woman is beaten, scolded, and threatened with 
death, but the matter is compromised very generally by 
payment of money and pigs. A wife jealous of her husband, 
or in any way incensed at him, would in former times throw 
herself from a cliff or tree, swim out to sea, hang or strangle 
herself, stab herself with an arrow, or thrust one down her 

H 2 

244 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. [CH. 

throat ; and a man jealous or quarrelling with his wife would 
do the like ; but now it is easy to go off with another's wife" 
or husband in a labour vessel to Queensland or Fiji. 

Divorce is easy and common, and may be said to be effected 
at the will of either party, though it is naturally more easy 
for a man to dismiss his wife than for a woman to leave her 
husband. The great difficulty is the property given for the 
wife ; a man does not wish to lose this, and will try many 
times to get back a runaway wife before he gives her 
up, giving presents to her relations. If the separation is 
amicable, the father of the woman will give back what he 
has received, having in view another son-in-law. After some 
time spent in wedlock the woman has worked out a good deal 
of what was given for her, and a pig or two on one side or the 
other settles all claims. It may be said that generally man 
and wife get on well together, and are united by their great 
fondness for their children. 

The Levirate obtains as a matter of course. The wife has 
been obtained for one member of a family by the contributions 
of the whole, and if that member fails by death, some other is 
ready to take his place, so that the property shall not be lost ; 
it is a matter of arrangement for convenience and economy 
whether a brother, cousin or uncle of the deceased shall take his 
widow. The brother naturally comes first ; if a more distant 
relation takes the woman he probably has to give a pig. 
In Lepers' Island if a man who is a somewhat distant cousin 
of the deceased wishes to take the widow, he adds a pig to the 
death-feast of the tenth or fiftieth day to signify and support 
his pretensions, and he probably gives another pig to the 
widow's sisters to obtain their good-will. If two men contend 
for the widow she selects one, and the fortunate suitor gives a 
pig to the disappointed. In fact a woman, when once the 
proper payment has been made for her, belongs to those who 
have paid, the family generally ; hence a man, as in the story 
of Ganviviris, will set up his sister's son in life by handing 
over to him one of his own wives ; not because the young 
man has a right to his uncle's wives, but because the woman 

xiv.] Polygamy. Polyandry. 245 

is already in the family. It is a rare thing that a woman 
should remain a widow long, but there is a period and sign of 
mourning. In San Cristoval men and women wear large 
tassels of grey shells as ear-rings for a mark of widowhood; to 
cut the hair short and daub the person with soot and ashes is 
very common. In the Banks' Islands the widow or widower 
refrains from some article of food, such as yam, for a year or 
lesser time, and wears a rope round the neck, a ganaro, as a 
sign of it. To val or naro in this way is a sign of mourning 
for any loss. 

Polygamy is the rule, though a considerable number of 
wives is found only with rich and elder men. One wife is 
commonly enough for a Florida man, who says that he can 
neither manage nor afford more than one. When a great 
man like Takua had seven it was thought a great many. At 
Visale in Guadalcanar Tekaunga has, or had, sixty wives; 
in Florida a wife costs much, in Guadalcanar but little. At 
Saa ordinary men have two wives, great men eight or ten. 
In the Banks' Islands a well-to-do man has ordinarily two 
wives, and may have three. A Vanua Lava man was not 
long ago believed to have thirty. As a man advances in 
life and survives his maternal uncles, his brothers, and his 
cousins, the widows of these tend to accumulate around him ; 
they are called his wives, live in houses round him and work 
for him, but he lives practically with two or three younger 
women whom he has taken for himself. In Lepers' Island, 
where men generally have two wives, a singular arrangement 
is approved of, whereby a man who has a young wife takes an 
elder woman, a widow, for a second, to look after the first. 
Some men there have three or four wives ; a great man 
lately had fifty wives, and his son and successor has already 
thirty ; a chief inland is credited with a hundred. Poly- 
gamy in all the islands is a fruitful cause of quarrels and 

Anything properly called Polyandry is unknown,- nor is it. 
easy for natives to conceive of it as a possible marriage state. 
Still cases are known in the Banks' Islands where two 

246 Birth. Childhood. Marriage. 

widowers live with one widow, and she is called wife to both, 
any child she may have being called the child of both. Such 
cohabitation, however, is not so much marriage as a convenient 
arrangement for people who find themselves alone in later 
life. In Lepers' Island, also, there has been a case lately in 
which two young men, brothers, returned from Queensland, 
have taken a young woman as a wife for both. The two men 
have their gamali, and she has a house ; there are two chil- 
dren. This is a new and unheard-of thing, brought, as the 
natives say, from Queensland T ; the young men could only 
get one woman to marry, and in their absence had lost all 
care for propriety. In the Banks' Islands also cases occur 
where a husband connives at his wife's connexion with another 
man ; this is not counted adultery because it is allowed ; it 
is not polyandry, for the second man is not a husband ; the 
thing is thought discreditable. 

1 ' Polyandry is to be seen under our eyes here in Fiji among the "imported 
labourers." ' Rev. L. Fison. The women being very few in proportion to the 
men become something like communal wives to those of their island, or group, 
one of whom they could have married at home. 



THAT death is the parting of soul and body, and that the 
departed soul continues in an intelligent and more or less 
active existence, is what Melanesians everywhere believe ; 
but what that is which in life abides with the body, and in 
death departs from it, and which, speaking of it in English, 
we call the soul, they find it very difficult to explain. Like 
people very much more advanced than themselves, they have 
not in the first place a perfectly clear conception of what it is ; 
and in the second place, like other people, they use words to 
represent these conceptions which they acknowledge to be 
more or less figurative and inexact, when the precise meaning 
of them is sought for. Nor is it any wonder that, believing 
that such a thing as what we call a soul exists in connexion 
with the body which they see, they speak of and conceive of 
the soul when separate from the body as if it were in some 
form and shape visible to the eyes. Thinking, to Melanesia-!! 
natives at any rate, is like seeing ; what is thought of must 
have some form to be thought of in ; and a visible thing that 
has a likeness to that which is thought of offers its name as a 
convenient means of expression. ' Suppose that there are 
people who call the soul a shadow, I do not in the least 
believe that they think the shadow a soul or the soul a 
shadow ; but they use the word shadow figuratively for 
that belonging to man which is like his shadow, definitely 
individual and inseparable from him, but unsubstantial. 
The Mota word we use for soul is in Maori a shadow, but 

248 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

no Mota man knows that it ever meant that. In fact my 
belief is that in the original language this word did not 
definitely mean either soul or shadow, but had a meaning one 
can conceive but not express, which has come out in one 
language meaning shadow, and in the other meaning some- 
thing like soul, i.e. second self 1 .' So Mr. Fison writes. * The 
Fijian word for soul is yalo, that for shadow yaloyalo. I have 
not been able to find any trace of the belief that shadow and 
soul are indentical. I believe that Williams' remark about 
the " two spirits " was the result of a confusion in his mind 
concerning yalo and yaloyalo' The civilized observer is 
always ready to assume that the savage takes a childish view 
and has absurd beliefs, when all the while, if the savage could 
put him to a close examination, his own conceptions would 
be found very indistinct and his expressions mainly figur- 
ative. Many a voyager, not an observer, carries away as a 
sort of joke the story that the natives think their shadows 
are their souls, who could not tell exactly what he means 
by the word ' soul ' which he uses himself. It may suffice 
to make the statement that, whatever word the Melane- 
sian people use for soul, they mean something esseutially 
belonging to each man's nature which carries life to his 
body with it, and is the seat of thought and intelligence, 
exercising therefore power which is not of the body and is 
invisible in its action. Further understanding of their con- 
ceptions cannot well fail to follow from the study of the 
words they use. 

It has been shown (page 1 21) that among Melanesians there 
is a universal belief in the existence of personal intelligent 
beings of power superior to that of men, and without bodies 
such as are the bodies of mankind ; and that these beings, 
whom we call spirits, are distinct from the disembodied spirits 
or souls of dead 'men which we call ghosts. It is not sur- 
prising, therefore, that the same word which is used for spirit 
should be used also to describe the soul of man while it is 
clothed with and animates his body. The soul of a living 
1 Quoted in Professor Max Miiller's Hibbert Lectures, p. 88. 


Souls. 249 

man in Florida is a tarunga, a spirit, individual, not corporeal, 
separable, though not in fact often separated during life from 
his body. So also is such a spirit as a vigona a tarunga^ 
though they are not very ready to acknowledge the existence 
of such a tarunga. During life a man's tarunga goes out of 
him in dreams and returns ; at death the tarunga departs 
finally from the body ; the corpse is simply a dead man, tinoni 
mate ; the separated soul is no longer tarunga, a spirit, but 
tindalo, a ghost. But tarunga is not equivalent to soul any 
more than spirit is equivalent to soul ; a soul is a tarunga, and 
no other name is given to it. Pigs have tarunga ; when a 
man sells a pig he takes back from it its tarunga in a dracsena 
leaf, which he hangs up in his house ; thus he does not lose 
more than the fleshly accidents of the pig, the tarunga remains 
waiting to animate some pig that will be born. A pig is an 
animal of distinction and has a tarunga ; yams and such 
things have none ; they do not live with any kind of in- 
telligence. Is it then to be said that a man and a pig 
are alike as regards the tarunga, that each has a soul ? The 
native to whom the question is put intelligibly will laugh ; 
such a thing cannot be ; when a man dies his tarunga is a 
ti?idalo,a ghost, and who ever heard of a pig tindalo l t In the 
Banks' Islands the spirit that never was a man, but was 
always superhuman in intelligence and power, and, as far as 
could be conceived of a personal being, was incorporeal, was 
called a vui (page 1 24). It would not be surprising, therefore, 
if the word vui were used to describe the soul ; and it is 
impossible to say that it would be incorrectly so used, for the 
nature of a vui and of a soul is the same (page 1 24) 2 . The 
words accepted in use to represent the English soul are in 
Motlav talegi, in Mota atai. A man's talegi goes out of him in 
sleep, not in all dreams, but in such as leave a vivid im- 
pression of scenes and persons visited when the man awakes. 

1 The word taluna, another form of tarunga, is found in Santa Cruz, but I 
am unable to assign to it any more particular meaning than ' spirit.' 

2 In fact I have known a native of Mota writing of his inward feelings to 
speak of his vui, na vuik. 

250 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

When a man fainted the talegi had gone out, but life remained. 
Life depends on the presence of the talegi in the body, health 
depends upon its sound condition. A ghost can damage the 
talegi) either spontaneously or moved by magic charms, and 
then the man falls sick, and his body is weak, or the ghost 
takes the talegi away, and the man lies just breathing' in his 
chest ; but it would not be said that all disease is the result 
of the talegi being taken or damaged ; it would not be said of 
ulcers for example. The talegi has no form, but it is like a 
reflection or a shadow. The Mota atai is no doubt the Maori 
ata, which means a shadow, but atai never means shadow in 
Mota, nor is niniai, which means shadow and reflection, ever 
used for soul. At the same time damage was thought to be 
done to the body by means of the shadow or reflection, as 
when the shadow fell upon a certain stone (pages 182, 4), or a 
man's face was reflected in a certain spring of water (page 186). 
The power of the spirit, vm 9 belonging to the stone or the 
spring could lay hold on the man by his shadow and reflection, 
as the power of a ghost could get a hold on a man by a 
fragment of his food, the shadow being in a way another 
person of the man. But that the shadow was the soul was 
never thought. So in Saa they talk of a ghost snatching 
away the shadow of a child that starts in sleep, and a 
doctor undertakes to bring it back ; but, says Joseph Wate, 
who tells the tale, ' they say shadow and they mean some- 
thing else, for the shadow of the child is seen all the while.' 
The use of the word atai in Mota seems properly and origin- 
ally to have been to signify something peculiarly and 
intimately connected with a person and sacred to him, some- 
thing that he has set his fancy upon when he has seen it in 
what has seemed to him a wonderful manner, or some one has 
shewn it to him as such. Whatever the thing might be the 
man believed it to be the reflection of his own personality; 
he and his atai flourished, suffered, lived and died together. 
But the word must not be supposed to have been borrowed 
from this use and applied secondarily to describe the soul ; the 
word carries a sense with it which is applicable alike to that 

xv.] Souls. 251 

second self, the visible object so mysteriously connected with 
the man, and to this invisible second self which we call the 
soul. There is another Mota word, tamaniu, which has almost 
if not quite the same meaning 1 as atai has when it describes 
something animate or inanimate which a man has come to be- 
lieve to have an existence intimately connected with his own. 
The word tamaniu may be taken to be properly ' likeness/ and 
the noun form of the adverb tama, as, like. It was not every 
one in Mota who had his tamaniu ; only some men fancied 
that they had this relation to a lizard, a snake, or it might be 
a stone ; sometimes the thing was sought for and found by 
drinking the infusion of certain leaves and heaping together 
the dregs ; then whatever living thing was first seen in or 
upon the heap was the tamaniu. It was watched but not fed 
or worshipped ; the natives believed that it came at call, and 
that the life of the man was bound up with the life of his 
tamaniu, if a living thing, or with its safety ; should it die, or 
if not living get broken or be lost, the man would die. 
Hence in case of sickness they would send to see if the tamaniu 
was safe and well. This word has never been used apparently 
for the soul in Mota ; but in Aurora in the New Hebrides it 
is the accepted equivalent. It is well worth observing that 
both the atai and the tamaniu, and it may be added the 
Motlav talegi, is something which has a substantial existence 
of its own, as when a snake or stone is a man's atai or tamaniu ; 
a soul then when called by these names is conceived of as 
something in a way substantial. There is another word used 
in Mota, never applied to the soul of man, but very illustrative 
of the native conceptions, and common also to Aurora, where it 
is used with a remarkable application ; this word is nunuai. 
In Mota it is the abiding or recurrent impression on the 
senses that is called a nunuai ; a man who has heard some 
startling scream in the course of the day has it ringing in his 
ears ; the scream is over and the sound is gone, but the nunuai 
remains ; a man fishing for flying-fish paddles all day alone in 
his canoe with a long light line fastened round his neck ; he 
lies down tired at night and feels the line pulling as if a fish 

252 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

were caught, though the line is no longer on his neck ; this is 
the nunuai of the line. To the native it is not a mere fancy, 
it is real, but it has no form or substance. A pig, therefore, 
ornaments or food have a nunuai ; but a pig has no atai, or 
may hesitatingly and carelessly be said to have one. This 
word is no doubt the same as niniai, shadow or reflection, 
meaning not shade, which is malumalu, but the definite figure 
cast by the interception of rays of light upon the ground, or 
formed by reflection in the water. There is no confusion in 
the native mind between a shadow and a reflection, but they 
use the one word to describe that definite individual something 
which, itself insubstantial, is so closely connected with the 
substance that gives it form. 

This word, in the form nunu, is used in Aurora to describe 
the fancied relation of an infant to some thing or person from 
which or from whom its origin is somehow derived. A woman 
before her child is born fancies that a cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, 
or some such thing has some original connexion with her 
infant. When the child is born it is the nunu of the cocoa-nut, 
or whatever it may be, and as it grows up it must by no means 
eat that thing, or it will be ill ; no one thinks that there is 
any real connexion in the way of parentage, but the child is a 
kind of echo. There is another way in which a child is the 
nunu of a person deceased. Thus Arudulewari is the nunu of a 
boy whom his mother brought up and who was much beloved 
by her. This boy died not long before Arudulewari was born, 
and then the mother believed that her foster-child had wished 
to come back to her, and that the infant was bis nunu. But 
Arudulewari is not that person, nor, as he says, is his soul 
supposed to be the soul of the dead boy; he himself is the nunu, 
the echo or reflection of -him. So Vilemalas, a name which 
means ' Bring-the-day-after,' was born after an adopted child 
of his mother's had been killed and not brought back till the 
day after, and he is the nunu of the slain person come in his 
piace. In Mota there is no such use of nunuai, but there is a 
notion that a man may have something, not exactly his atai 
or tamaniUy with which he is originally connected. A man 

xv.] Solomon Islands. Ghosts. 253 

will scatter money into a deep pool among the rocks on the 
shore into which the tide is pouring", a sacred place ; he will 
call on his near forefathers, dive in, and seat himself upon the 
bottom. If he sees anything- there, a crab or cuttle-fish 
perhaps, he fancies that is his real origin and beginning* ; he 
gets mana, supernatural power, from it, and pigs will multiply 
to him. At Maewo, Aurora, nunu is never the soul ; that is 
tamaniu\ and it is a very remarkable thing that the body 
is thought to be the integument of the soul. It is a strange 
thing that in the islands of the New Hebrides nearest to 
Aurora, in Pentecost and Lepers' Island, the word tamtegi 
is used for soul, for this is no doubt the Mota tamate, dead 
man ; the natives, however, have persisted in their assertion 
that they have no other word. 

We are now prepared to follow the corpse of the dead 
Melanesian to his burial, and his soul after its separation from 
the body to the abode of the dead ; and it is probably better 
to do this by taking the funeral customs and the beliefs 
concerning the state after death together as they are found in 
the various islands. It will be seen that there is a considerable 
agreement both in customs and beliefs, and a universal consent^ 
about some particulars, such as in belief in the continued 
existence of the separated soul, and in the practice of com- 
memorating the dead by feasts at which some portion of food 
is offered to them. In the Solomon Islands the ghost, being 
the principal object of worship, occupies, as has been shewn, a 
much higher place in the religious world of the natives than 
it does in the islands which lie to the eastward, and on that 
account it is desirable, before entering upon details, to draw 
the distinction between the two classes of ghosts which is 
generally recognized in the former islands. The distinction is j 
between ghosts of power and ghosts of no account, between 
those whose help is sought and their wrath deprecated, and 
those from whom nothing is expected and to whom no ob- 
servance is due. Among living men there are some who stand 
out distinguished for capacity in affairs, success in life, valour 
in fighting, and influence over others ; and these are so, it is 

254 Death. Biirial. After Death. [CH. 

believed, because of the supernatural and mysterious powers 
which they have, and which are derived from communication 
with those ghosts of the dead gone before them who are full 
of those same powers. On the death of a distinguished man 
his ghost retains the powers that belonged to him in life, in 
greater activity and with stronger force ; his ghost therefore 
is powerful and worshipful, and so long as he is remembered 
the aid of his powers is sought and worship is offered him ; 
he is the tindalo of Florida, the Zio'a of Saa. In every society, 
again, the multitude is composed of insignificant persons, 
* numerus fruges consumere nati,' of no particular account for 
valour, skill, or prosperity. The ghosts of such persons con- 
tinue their insignificance, and are nobodies after death as 
before ; they are ghosts because all men have souls, and the souls 
of dead men are ghosts ; they are dreaded because all ghosts are 
awful, but they get no worship and are soon only thought of 
as the crowd of the nameless population of the lower world. 

In the Solomon Islands, in Florida, when a man dies, his 
spirit, tarunga, becomes a ghost, tindalo, and the body is 
spoken of as a dead man, tinoni mate. Some ghosts are wor- 
shipped and exercise much spiritual activity in the world as 
tindalo (chaps, vii, viii) ; some pass at once out of the con- 
sideration of all but members of the family. The corpse is 
usually buried. Common men are buried in their garden 
ground, chiefs sometimes in the village, a chiefs child some- 
times in the house. The grave is not deep ; it becomes 
sacred in so far as no one will tread upon any grave, while 
the burial-place of a man whose tindalo has become an object 
of worship is a sanctuary, vunuha ; the skull is often dug 
up and hung in the house. Men and women are buried 
alike, their feet turned inland ; the return from the funeral 
is by another road than that along which the corpse was 
carried, lest the ghost should follow. A man is buried with 
money, porpoise teeth, and ornaments belonging to him, his 
bracelets put on upside down ; and these things are often 
afterwards secretly dug up again. Sometimes a man will 
express a wish to be cast into the sea; his friends then 

xv.] Florida. Burial Customs. 255 

paddle out with him, tie stones to his feet, and sink him. 
In Savo, near by, common men are thrown into the sea as a 
rule, and only great men buried. In Florida the funeral of a 
chief, or of one who is much esteemed, is delayed for two 
days after death ; and after the funeral the relatives and 
friends assemble to kilo dato na tinoni mate, that is to say, to 
partake of a funeral feast, and to hang up on the dead man's 
house his cloth, his axes, spears, shield, and other properties, 
heaping yams and other food upon the ground. At the feast 
a bit of the food is thrown into the fire for the deceased, with 
the call, ' This is for you.' As the mourners eat, they are 
anxious about swallowing the food well down ; if a morsel 
sticks in any one's throat, it is a butuli, a portent, the man 
will die. When they hang up the dead man's arms on his- 
house, they make great lamentations ; all remains afterwards 
untouched, the house goes to ruin, mantled as time goes on 
with the vines of the growing yams, a picturesque and 
indeed, perhaps, a touching sight; for these things are not 
set up that they may in a ghostly manner accompany their 
former owner, they are set there for a memorial of him as a 
great and valued man, like the hatchment of old times. 
With the same feeling they cut down a dead man's fruit- 
trees as a mark of respect and affection, not with any notion 
of these things serving him in the world of ghosts ; he ate of 
them, they say, when he was alive, he will never eat again, 
and no one else shall have them. There is a certain notion 
that burial is a benefit to the ghost ; if a man is killed any- 
where and his body is not buried, his ghost will haunt the 
place ; when a man's head has been taken, and his skull added 
to some chiefs collection, the ghost for a time, at least, 
haunts about ; and so it is also when the arms and legs of 
men murdered or executed for crimes are sent to distant 
places to shew what has been done. Ghosts of men whose 
heads have been taken are seen without their heads. The 
abode of the departed is Betindalo ; but yet ghosts not only 
haunt their burial-places and come to the sacrifices offered to 
them, but they are heard at play by night blowing panpipes, 

256 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

dancing and shouting. Betindalo is apparently situated in 
the south-eastern part of the great island of Guadalcanar, to 
which the ghosts pass over through the district of Florida 
nearest to it, Gaeta. Here appears a ship of the dead, almost 
alone in Melanesia. The Gaeta people used to believe that 
all the ghosts of Florida passed along a path through their 
gardens leading to a point of land where they assembled ; as 
they passed along nothing was seen, but a twittering sound 
was heard ; while they were waiting at the point their 
dancing was heard at night. From time to time a canoe 
came over from Guadalcanar and took the ghosts across to 
Galaga, opposite to Gaeta. They landed first upon a rock 
near to the shore, and there for the first time became aware 
that they were dead. Arrived upon the shore, they met a 
certain tindalo with a rod, which he thrust into the cartilage 
of their noses to see if they were pierced ; if that were so, 
there was a good path the ghosts could follow down towards 
Marau at the extremity of Guadalcanar ; ghosts who could 
not pass this test were not allowed to follow the path, but 
had to make their way as they could with pain and difficulty. 
Living men in canoes when nearing the shore at Galaga have 
seen the forms of the dead and recognized the persons, but 
on near approach they disappeared. A man not long ago 
alive at Gaeta once appeared to die, but revived to tell 
the story how he had passed with others along the path of 
ghosts, and had gone to take his place in the canoe which 
came for them at night ; but a tall black tindalo, he said, 
whom he recognized, forbad him to come aboard, and sent 
him back into the world again. 

At Bugotu, in Ysabel, the spirit, tamnga, leaving the dead 
man, tinoni dhehe, becomes a ghost, tindadJw ; the place of 
ghosts is the little island of Laulau, but they haunt their 
graves, and are seen at night, disappearing when approached. 
The ghosts, as they fly through the air and near Laulau, light 
first on certain rocks where they become aware of their sad 
condition. Living men visit the island, as in the story of 
Samuku, and see these rocks ; they see also forms as of men 

Bugotu. San Crist oval. 257 

which vanish as they are approached ; they find paths round 
the island neatly kept, and bathing-places cleared of stones ; 
if they hang up fish in the trees, they seek for them in vain 
in the morning ; marks made to shew a road are taken away. 
On the top of the island is a pool of water, Kolapapauro, and 
thither the ghosts, when they arrive, repair to present them- 
selves to Bolafagina, the tindaclho who is the lord of the 
place. Across the pool is a narrow tree-trunk lying, along 
which the ghosts advance ; Bolafagina examines their hands 
to see if they have the mark cut upon them (a conventional 
outline of the frigate-bird ; page 1 80) which admits them to 
his company; those who have it not are thrown from the tree 
into the gulf beneath, and perish out of their ghostly life. 
When a chief dies, they bury him so that his head is near 
the surface, and over it they keep a fire burning, so that they 
may take up the skull for preservation in the house of the 
man who succeeds to power. An expedition then starts to 
procure heads in honour of the deceased, now become a 
tindadJio to be worshipped. Any one not belonging to the 
place w r ill be killed for the sake of his head, and the heads 
procured are arranged upon the beach, and believed to add 
mana, spiritual power, to the new tindadko ; until these 
are procured the people of the place do not move about. 
The grave is built up with stones, and sacrifices are offered 
upon it 1 . 

At Wango in San Cristoval the soul, 'aunga (another form 
of tarunga), departed from the body becomes a ghost, 'ataro, and 
the ghost on leaving the body is believed to make its way to 
three small islands near Ulawa. On his first arrival there the 
ghost feels himself still a man, and does not realize his con- 
dition ; he finds friends, and gives them the news of the place 
he has just left. After some days a kingfisher pecks his head, 
and he becomes a mere ghost (page 190). The existence of 
the ghosts in these islands, Rondomana, is shadowy and 

1 . ' The dead man's wife and child were then dragged to the open grave and 
strangled there, and their bodies thrown in, together with his possessions, guns, 
rifles, money, and valuables of all kinds.' Rev. A. Penny. 


258 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

inactive ; they range aimlessly about and lodge in caves. Men 
landing on the islands in stress of weather see them on the 
beach ; but they dread living men,_and disappear when closely- 
approached. It must be taken that these 'ataro which abide 
in Rondomana are but the ghosts of common men who while 
they lived had no power, mana ; for there are 'ataro also which 
are active and powerful, feared, invoked, and propitiated, 
present in full activity in the places in which they dwelt as 
living men. Here, as elsewhere, a man's ghost has in greater 
force the power which the man had in his lifetime, when he 
had it from his communication with the ghosts that went 
before him ; and those who have lately died have most 
power, or at least are the most active sources of it. The 
ghost of 1he great man lately dead is most regarded; as 
the dead are forgotten their ghosts are superseded by later 
successors to the unseen power. The bodies of common 
people are cast into the sea, but men of consequence are 
buried, and some relic of them, skull, tooth, or finger-bone, 
is taken up and preserved in a shrine in the village. 
There are, therefore, land ghosts and sea ghosts. The former 
are seen about the villages and heard to speak, haunt- 
ing their graves and relics ; their appearance that of men 
lately dead, their voice a hollow whisper. Their aid can be 
obtained by those who know them, and they are believed to 
fight among themselves with ghostly weapons. The ghosts 
that haunt the sea have a great hold on the imagination of 
the natives of the south-eastern Solomon Islands, and as these 
people love to illustrate their life in sculpture and painting, 
they show us clearly what they conceive these ghosts to be. 
There was many years ago at Wango a canoe-house, oka, full 
of carvings and paintings representing native life ; it had 
along its wall-plates and lower purlins a series of pictures 
illustrating the principal affairs of life as naturally as may be 
seen in Egyptian tombs ; a feast from the first climbing after 
cocoa-nuts through all the processes of preparing and cooking 
food ; a fight upon the beach (the sea shewn to be so by the 
fishes depicted in it), with all its various action ; voyages and 

San Cnstoval. 



accidents at sea, and among 1 them a canoe attacked by what 
appeared at first sight demons horned and hoofed. These were 
the ghosts that haunt the sea, their forms having suffered a sea 
change, and composed as much as possible of fishes, their spears 
and arrows long-bodied garfish and flying-fish. If a man on 
returning from a canoe voyage or from fishing on the rocks 
falls ill, it is because one of these sea ghosts has shot him 
(page 196). These ghosts are therefore propitiated in any 


danger at sea with areca-nuts and fragments of food cast to 
them among the waves, and their anger is deprecated in 
prayers. Sharks also have 'ataro in them, the ghosts of 
those w 7 ho have foretold their future appearance in that form. 
In these islands, as elsewhere, the death-feast is held, and 
a morsel of food is thrown upon the fire as the dead man's 
share. A great man also was commemorated by an image of 
him in a canoe-house or on the stage put up at feasts, and 
before it food was placed. 

S 2 

260 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

At Saa, and in the neighbouring parts of Malanta, the same 
word is used for the soul of a living man and the ghost of an 
ordinary person, 'a/calo, which is another form of the 'ataro of 
San Cristoval. The 'akalo, which goes out of the body in 
dreams and returns again, goes out finally in death, leaving 
the body after a natural death rae, after a violent death lalamoa. 
The ghosts of ordinary people are 'akalo, and nothing else ; 
those of chiefs, valiant fighting men, men of conspicuous 
success in life, of men who are saka, have spiritual power, are 
expected to become lio'a, ghosts which again are sa&a, have 
spiritual power, and are worshipful accordingly ; as the ghost 
of a warrior when found by proof to act becomes lio'a ni mae, a 
ghost powerful for death. The origin of death is ascribed, as in 
the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, to the old woman who 
having changed her skin afterwards resumed the slough, which 
had caught upon a reed. All ghosts upon leaving the body 
swim first to a point of land at Saa, then to a point of Ulawa, 
then to the Three Sisters, ' Olu Malau, then to a point of San 
Cristoval near Hada, and lastly to Marapa, two islands lying 
off Marau in Guadalcanar. While the body is rotting the 
ghost is weak ; when the smell has ceased the ghost is strong, 
it is no longer a man. The ghostly inhabitants of Marapa 
live something like a worldly life ; the children chatter and 
annoy the elder ghosts, so they are placed apart upon the 
second island ; men and women ghosts are together, they have 
houses, gardens, and canoes, yet all is unsubstantial. Living 
men cross to Marapa and see nothing ; but there is water 
there in which laughter and cries are heard ; there are places 
where water is seen to have been disturbed, and the banks are 
wet as if bathers had been there. A dead chief makes his 
canoe and his house there, like those which his living son is 
building, but they are built of the soft esculent hibiscus, and 
come to nothing ; it is like the play of children. This ghostly 
life is not eternal ; the mere 'akalo soon turn into white ants' 
nests, which again become the food of the still vigorous ghosts; 
hence a living man says to his idle son, * When I die I shall 
have ants' nests to eat, but then what will you have ? ' The 

xv.] Saa. Hades. Burial. 

lioa ghosts of power last longer because they are saka, and the 
more saka they are the longer they last ; they are remembered 
and worshipped on earth, and so long their strength remains ; 
but when men forget them and turn to worship some more 
lately dead, and when no sacrificial food is offered them, their 
power fades away, and they turn into white ants' nests like 
the others. There are two rulers of Marapa, who are called 
lio'a, though not strictly so, because they were never men and 
never pass away the chief Kari'eu, and inferior to him, Kikiri- 
ba'u, the cutter off of heads. These two go about in their 
canoes, one collecting ghosts, the other heads ; in times of 
sickness at Saa if trunks of trees are seen floating by at sea 
they are said to be the canoes of Kari'eu and Kikiriba'u. The 
ghosts whose abode is in Marapa can return to Saa to visit 
their village and their friends again. They are seen like 
shadows, having a certain form fleeting and indistinct, some 
hideous, some not unpleasant. If one who sees a ghost is 
not frightened he can discern the features and know who 
it is ; but if he is frightened he sees only a dreadful some- 
thing. A man who for some reason wishes to see a ghost, 
puts lime from his betel-box upon his forehead, and then he 
plainly sees. 

The burial of common people at Saa is a simple affair ; an 
ordinary man is buried the day after death, a very inferior 
person at once. There is a common burial-place which does 
not get filled up because the bones are from time to time taken 
up, after the flesh has decayed, and heaped on one side. Men 
of some rank and consideration are not buried for two days ; 
women sit round the corpse and wail, i'o pe'i rae, and people 
assemble to see the dead man for the last time and to eat the 
funeral feast. If a very great man dies, or a man much 
beloved by his son, the body is hung up in his son's house, 
either in a canoe or enclosed in the figure of a sword-fish, Hi. 
Very favourite children are treated in the same way. The 
figure of the sword-fish is cemented like a canoe and painted ; 
no smell whatever proceeds from it. If the body is put into 
a canoe they make fine raspings or chippings of a certain tree 


262 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

to spread under and above it, and lay over that certain large 
leaves, and planks above all. The canoe is not closed over 
with cement, but there is very little smell. Sometimes the 
corpse is kept in this way for years, either in the house or in 
the ofia, the public canoe-house, waiting for a great funeral 
feast 1 . When a year of good crops arrives a man will say, 
' Now we will take out Father.' The corpse is taken then, if 
that of a comparatively inferior person, to the common burial- 
ground, if of a chief, to the family bury ing- place, where 
sacrifices are made as above (page 137) described. The skull 
and jawbone are taken out, and these are called mangite, which 
are sa&a, hot with spiritual power, and by means of which the 
help of the lio'a, the powerful ghost of the man whose relics 
these are, can be obtained. The mangite is enclosed in the 
hollow wooden figure of a bonito-fish, and set up in the house 
or in the oha, where it remains till the lio'a goes out of 
memory or credit. In the oha on the beach at Saa they lately 
made a boat-like receptacle, and put in it all the old mangite of 
forgotten lio'a. A man will sometimes hang up his wife in 
this way, and when she is taken out to the burying-place her 
jaw will be kept in a basket, or one of her teeth in a bit of 
bamboo, and hung up in the house as a memorial. It can 
be nothing more, for no woman's ghost can be a ghost of 
power, lio'a, nothing but a mere departed soul, akalo. Men 
will put food as an offering of affection and memory to 
these mangite, and to the figures and canoes containing 

Burial, however, is not universal at Saa. It often happens 
that the corpse of a chief or lesser man is thrown into the sea 
(to do which is called kulu rae), either at the request of the 
deceased, or to save trouble. The friends tie a bag of sand to 
the feet of the corpse, paddle out, and sink the corpse in a 
certain place where are hollow rocks below ; it never rises to 
the surface. When this is done a mangite is preserved, hair or 
nails, tied in a bundle and hung up. Sometimes, but rarely, 

1 A similar custom was observed by Mr. Forbes at Timor. Naturalist's 
Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago, p. 435. 

xv.j Saa. Burial. Santa Cruz. 263 

a corpse is burnt, at the wish of the deceased 1 . When this 
is done they preserve a mangite by wrapping- the head about, 
or enclosing- it in a hollowed stem of banana, to keep it from 
the fire. The place where a corpse is burnt is sacred. Some 
corpses, again, are laid in a canoe or on a stage beside a place 
of sacrifice, holes being made in the bottom of the canoe, and 
bamboos set to carry away rain-water and the liquor of the 
corpse into the ground. At one time they did at Saa what 
now they do in Bauro ; they poured water on the corpse until 
the flesh was consumed, and then took the skull as a mangite. 
In these methods of disposing of the distinguished dead, 
whose ghosts are expected to be lid a possessed of power, there 
may be seen very probably the effect of the belief, of which 
mention has been made, that the ghost continues weak while 
the corpse continues to smell ; the lioa of the dead man sunk 
in the sea, burnt, enclosed in a case, or rapidly denuded of 
flesh, is active and available at once. 

The ornaments of a dead man are buried with him, or are 
kept in remembrance of him. A man's cocoa-nut and bread- 
fruit-trees, and others, are cut down by his friends after his 
death, out of respect to him as they say; and they deny that 
they think that such things follow a man in any ghostly form, 
since it seems ridiculous to suppose that even pigs can have a 
soul, akalo. To cut trees down in this way is to ngoli ; for a 
dead chief they ngoli-taa, they fence round a certain plot of 
ground and put his canoe in it in memory of him, with his 
bowl and weapons ; his friends add such things of their own 
in honour of him, and decorate the fence with leaves and 
flowers. For a man of no great position they content them- 
selves with throwing yams and other food upon the roof of 
the dead man's house in memory of him. 

At Santa Cruz the corpse is buried in a very deep grave in 
the house, wrapped in many mats. For two days they cry 
over a man and then bury him ; on the fifth day the funeral 

1 This is the only example within my knowledge of the method of disposing 
of the dead which Dr. Guppy found to be common in the chiefs' families about 
the Bougainville Straits. 

264 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

meal is eaten and all is over. Inland they dig up the bones 
again to make arrowheads, and take the skull to keep in a 
chest in the house, saying that this is the man himself, and 
setting food before it. The departed souls are duka ; they 
assemble after death at a place called Natepapa, and from 
thence go on to the great volcano Tamami (called Tinakula), 
in which they are burnt and renewed, and where they stay. 
Nevertheless they haunt the bush in Santa Cruz, and are seen 
at night, and when it is wet and dark ; men see them like 
fire, with fire under their armpits like fire-flies, and are much 
afraid of them. 

The abode of the dead has in all these examples been shewn 
to be above ground, in islands more or less remote from those 
in which the living dwell, and all known and visited by living 
men. It is probable, however, that a certain belief in an 
underworld is also present, the Turivatu of the Florida invoca- 
tion in sacrifice (page 131), a region beneath the earth 
corresponding to that country above the sky where Kamaka- 
jaku or Vulaninggela visited the sun. The belief in Santa 
Cruz that ghosts pass into the great volcano implies some- 
thing of a descent below, as does the parallel belief at Savo 
that the volcanic crater there is the receptacle of departed 
spirits. When we pass, however, to the eastward the ghosts 
no longer have their abodes upon the surface of the earth, but 
underground. From the Torres Islands to Pentecost in the 
New Hebrides, the name of the nether-world is, with varia- 
tions, Panoi, to which all the openings whether by volcanic 
vents or unknown mouths throughout all these neighbouring 
islands lead. In all alike the ghosts assemble at certain 
places and go down to what is their proper place, though they 
can return again to earth. The locality of Panoi is unknown, 
save that it is underground ; and Panoi is one, not a separate 
receptacle for the ghosts of each separate island. The people 
of the Torres Islands, however, and those of Pentecost, do 
not know that they have a common belief and use a common 

In the Torres Islands the word used for soul is a form of 


Origin of Death. 

the Mota atai, nete. The departed soul goes down to Panoi 
near a rock called Vat tugua, not far from Lo, where a very 
ancient casuarina-tree growing at high- water mark overhangs 
the sea, and endures the heaviest storms and highest tides 
unmoved. In these islands the practice has prevailed of 
laying out the bodies of the dead on stages near the houses, 
to putrefy and decay ; but they now begin to bury. 

The story of the Origin of Death noticed in the account 
of Saa (page 260), has its parallel in the Banks' Islands and 
again in the New Hebrides. At first men never died, but 
when they advanced in life they cast their skins like snakes 
and crabs, and came out with youth renewed. After a time a 
woman growing old went to a stream to change her skin ; 
according to some she was the mother of Qat, according to 
others Ul-ta-marama, Change-skin of the world. She threw , 
off her old skin in the water, and observed that as it floated 
down it caught against a stick. Then she went home, 
where she had left her child. The child, however, refused to 
recognize her, crying that its mother was an old woman not 
like this young stranger ; and to pacify the child she went after 
her cast integument and put it on. From that time man- 
kind ceased to cast their skins and died. In another Banks' 
Island story this woman is Iro Puget, Bird's-nest Fern, the 
wife of Mate, Death \ There are many others. In one the 
cause of the introduction of Death was the inconvenience of 
the permanence of property in the same hands while men 
changed their skins and lived for ever. Qat therefore sent 
for Mate, who dwelt in Panoi, or by the side of a volcanic 
vent in Santa Maria, and assured him that he would only 
have to go to Vanua Lava and not be hurt. Death there- 
fore came forth ; they laid him on a board, killed a pig, and 
covered him over ; then they proceeded to divide his property 

1 There is a saying at Mota, when any one is observed not to have his ears 
bored, Iro Puget te nine wora o pue ape qatuma, ' Puget will break her bamboo 
water-carrier on your head.' The meaning is that Ko Puget will be met at the 
entrance to Panoi, and will so treat any one who has not followed the custom. 
This is parallel to what has been noticed at Florida and Bugotu. 

266 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

and eat the funeral feast. On the fifth day when the conch 
was blown to drive away the ghost, Qat opened the covering 
over Mate and found him gone ; nothing but bones remained. 
In the meanwhile Tangaro the Fool had been set to watch 
the way to Panoi, where the paths to the lower and upper 
worlds divided, lest Mate should go below ; the fool sat in 
front of the way to the world above, and let Mate go down 
to Panoi ; all men have since followed Death along that path. 
Another story makes the same fool under his name of 
Tagilingelinge the cause of death, because when Iro Puget 
set him to guard the way to Panoi in prospect of her own 
death, he pointed out that way to her descending ghost 
instead of the way back to the world, and so she, and all men 
after her, died and never came back to life. In Lakona, 
part of Santa Maria, the story goes that Marawa stole a 
woman whom Qat had made (page 157) ; and in the night 
while he and she were sleeping Qat came quietly, pulled out 
their teeth, and shaved their heads. Then he took the hairy 
plexus of the tree-fern and put it on their heads, giving the 
names of baldness and of the ' second hair/ as gray hair has 
since been called. Then he spread spider's web over their 
eyes, so that when they woke in the morning dimness was 
over their sight. The woman refused to go back to him ; so 
in a song he called for baldness, blindness, toothlessness, old 
age, and death, because she had disobeyed his word. 

The soul, atai or talegi, goes out of the body in some 
dreams, and if for some reason it does not come back the man 
is found dead in the morning ; when a man faints, mate mule, 
dies and goes, his soul really starts on the way to Panoi, but 
is sent back ; the other ghosts hustle him away from the 
mouth of the descent, or his father or friend turns him back, 
telling him that his time is not yet come ; so he relates 
when he returns. In true death the separation of soul and 
body is complete, the atai or talegi becomes o tamate or natmat, 
a dead-man, and the corpse also is spoken of by the same word. 
The ghost, however, does not at first go far, and possibly may 
be recalled ; the neighbours therefore bite the finger of the dead 

xv.] Banks Islands. Death. Biirial. 267 

or dying person to rouse him, and shout his name into his 
ear, in hope that the soul may hear it and return. The soul 
possibly may be caught. A woman at Mota some years ago 
who knew that a neighbour was at the point of death heard 
something rustling in her house, like the fluttering of a moth, 
just when cries and wailings told her that the soul had flown. 
She caught the fluttering thing between her hands and ran 
with it to the house of death, crying that she had caught the 
atai ; she opened her hands above the corpse's mouth to restore 
the soul, but there was no recovery. The ghost does not at 
once leave the neighbourhood of the body, it hangs about the 
house and the grave five or ten days, and shews its presence 
by noises in the house and lights upon the grave. It is not 
generally in the Banks' Islands thought desirable that the 
ghost should stay longer than the fifth day, and there is a 
custom of driving it away with shouts and blowing of conchs ; 
in some places bull-roarers are sounded. It will be con- 
venient to take the proceedings which fellow after death in 
the various islands of the group, before describing the course 
of the departed ghost into the lower world and its condition 
there. These proceedings consist of the mourning, the 
funeral, and the funeral-feasts. 

In the Banks' Islands the dead are generally buried. It is 
the duty of the members of the other Veve 9 of the other ' side 
of the house,' to dig the grave. The burial takes place earlier 
or later, according to the estimation in which the deceased is 
held. In an ordinary case it is on the second day ; the friends 
cry round the corpse, and women are hired to wail meanwhile. 
The place of burial is in the bush not far from the village ; 
but a great man, or one whose death was remarkable, was 
buried in the village near the gamal, and a favourite son or 
child in the house itself. In the latter case the grave was 
opened after fifty or a hundred days, and the bones taken up 
and hidden in the bush, or some of them hung up in the 
house. Some bodies were not buried, but laid up in the bush 
outside the village in a chest, pugoro, such as those in which 
dry bread-fruit is kept, and there left to decay. This is called 

268 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

to salo ; as is also the laying of the corpse in a shallow cave 
under a projecting rock. There was, however, and still remains, 
a custom in some places of keeping the body unburied and 
putrefying in the house as a mark of affection. At Gaua, in 
Santa Maria, it was the women's business to watch the corpse, 
laid on a mat over cross sticks between two slow fires in the 
house for ten days or more, till nothing but skin and bones 
was left ; during which time they drank the drippings of the 
corpse. The same was done in former days at Mota. The 
description of the funeral of a man of rank at Motlav will 
hold good generally of any of the Banks' Islands. The corpse 
of a great man was brought out into the open space in the 
middle of the village, loosely wrapped in a mat, with his 
malosaru dress of ceremony on, his som ta Rowa necklace round 
his neck, his forehead smeared, il, with red earth, mea, his 
armlets, and bracelets of pig's tusks reversed, but no bow 
at his hand, on his breast a cycas leaf, no mele, the mark of 
his .rank in the Suqe, and the leaves of the crotons, sasa, 
belonging to his Tamate societies. By his side were heaped 
bunches of cocoa-nuts tied together, and plenty of old dry 
cocoa-nuts, yams of various kinds, caladium, and all kinds of 
food, with a bunch of the leaves of a particular dracsena stuck 
upon the heap, the karia garame tamate, the ghost's tongue 
draca3na, all of which were afterwards heaped upon the grave. 
Then a man ready of speech made an address to the ghost, 
telling him, when they asked him in Panoi whether he were 
a great man, to say what was heaped beside him. The orator 
would not spare his faults 1 ; if he were a man of bad character 
he would say to him, ' Poor ghost ! will you be able to enter 
Panoi? I think not.' Then the burial took place. Upon 
the grave was set a bamboo vessel of water with a cocoa-nut- 
shell cup, and a little dish with a roasted yam in it ; as the 
food was eaten by rats they renewed it, for the rat might be 
the deceased himself, at any rate during the five days that the 
ghost remained about the place. At Gaua they hang up pigs 

1 ' I myself heard Parut at Mota abuse I Mala, because he had died without 
having completed his suqe for him.' Rev. J. Palmer. 

xv.] Banks Islands. Secret Burial. 269 

that they have killed, or parts of them, at the grave ; when 
the man goes down to Bono, Panoi, the ghosts there will see 
him come down with these, and think much of him. The 
Gaua people, however, deny that pigs have ghosts 1 . It is 
interesting to observe how a judgment upon a dead man's 
merits was pronounced. Not long ago when a corpse was 
being buried at Motlav, a man whom the deceased had ill 
used followed with a stone, and threw it on the body, crying 
out, ' You have ill used me, and persecuted me to kill me 
you have died first.' At Gaua when a great man died his 
friends would not make it known, lest those whom he had 
oppressed should come and spit at him after his death, or 
govgov him, stand bickering at him with crooked fingers and 
drawing in the lips, by way of curse. Relatives in Motlav 
watch the grave of a man whose life was bad, lest some man 
wronged by him should come at night and beat with a stone 
upon the grave, cursing him. Sometimes the friends will 
have a sham burial, and hide the grave in which the corpse is 
really laid ; because if a man in his lifetime has had mana to 
shoot and kill, to charm with the talamatai and in other ways, 
there will be mana for the same purpose in his corpse ; men 
will want to dig up his bones for arrows and for charms, and 
his skull to roll the string upon wherewith to tie their talamatai. 
So at Gaua when a body has been wasted over the fire, they 
bury the bones in the village under some large stone, and 
cover it with another stone, lest the bones should be taken up 
for arrows. At Ureparapara 2 as soon as a man dies his 

1 If the pigs that have been killed are seen in Panoi, it may be thought that 
they must have souls to be seen there, since their bodies are at the grave. But 
this is not the native notion ; of a pig or an ornament there is a certain some- 
thing, shadow, echo, of itself that can be seen, but there is not that which man 
has, the intelligent personal spiritual part which separates from the body in 
death. When a ghost is seen what is seen ? Not the soul, the atai, but the 
dead man, the tamate ; for the atai can never be seen, the nunuai, echo, of the 
body, its taqangiu, outline, can be seen, but indistinctly. When an English 
ghost appears in the dead man's habit as he lived, is it thought to be his soul 
that appears ? 

2 For this and for what follows concerning Lakona, I am indebted to the 
Rev. J. Palmer. 

2 jo Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

friends bring- a quantity of food of all kinds to hang- up on 
white peeled palako sticks round the corpse when it is laid 
out in the middle of the village. Then the orator makes his 
speech to the deceased, giving him messages to take to the 
dead, bids him carry the news of the place, especially what 
has been done and is intended to be done in the various 
societies, and tells him for whom in Panoi besides himself 
the food hanging round him is intended. When the speech 
is ended, two small yams or caladium roots are roasted over a 
fire of cocoa-nut fronds lighted for the purpose ; the cooking 
is only in show, and the food is scraped with the left hand 
instead of the right. A small joint of bamboo is filled with 
water, and put with the food into a new clean basket for the 
ghost. At the same time a pig is killed. When all this is 
done, the body is tied up in a mat and followed to the grave by 
all the men and women, the children remaining in the village. 
All the food is buried on the body ; or if there be too much, 
some is hung above the grave, whence the bolder people take 
it secretly and eat it. 

The ghost is driven away in the same island five days after 
death with a peculiar ceremony. Bags of small stones and 
short pieces of bamboo are provided for the people of the 
village, and are charmed by those who have the knowledge of 
the magic chant appropriate for the purpose. Two men, 
each with two white stones in his hands, sit in the dead 
man's house, one on either side. These men begin to clink 
the stones one against the other, the women begin to wail, 
the neighbours who have all assembled at one end of the 
village begin to march through it in a body to the other end, 
throwing the stones into the houses and all about, and 
beating the bamboos together. So they pass through till 
they come to the bush beyond, when they throw down the 
bamboos and bags. They have now driven out the ghost, 
who up to this time has been about the house, in which the 
widow has for these five days never left the dead man's bed 
except upon necessity ; and even then she leaves a cocoa-nut 
to represent her till she returns. At Motlav the ghost is not 

xv.] Driving away Ghosts. Funeral- Feasts. 271 

driven away unless the man who has died was badly afflicted 
with ulcers and sores, either &gov covered with sores, or a mama- 
mgata with a single large ulcer or more. When such a one 
is dying the people of his village send word in time to the 
next village westwards, as the ghost will go out following the 
sun, to warn them there to be prepared. When the gov is 
dead they bury him, and then, with shell- trumpets blowing 
and the stalks of cocoa-nut fronds stripped of some of the 
leaflets beating on the ground, they chase the ghost to the 
next village. The people of that village take up the chase, 
and hunt the ghost further westward ; and so on till the sea 
is reached. Then the frond stalks are thrown away and the 
people return, sure that the ghost has left the island, and will 
not strike another man with the disease. 

The series of funeral-feasts or death-meals, the ' eating the 
death ' as they call it, follows upon the funeral, or even begins 
before it, and is the most important part of the commemora- 
tion of the dead ; it may be said, indeed, to be one of the 
principal institutions of the islands. The number of the 
feasts and the length of time during which they are repeated 
varys very much in the various islands, and depend also upon 
the consideration in which the deceased is held. The meals are 
distinctly commemorative, but are not altogether devoid of the 
purpose of benefiting the dead ; it is thought that the ghost 
is gratified by the remembrance shewn of him, and honoured 
by the handsome performance of the duty; the living also 
solace themselves in their grief, and satisfy something of 
their sense of loss by affectionate commemoration. It is 
not easy to determine how far there is now any feeling that 
friendly association of the living and dead is continued by 
their both partaking of the meal, when a morsel of food is 
thrown aside with a call to the deceased. At ordinary meals 
when the oven is opened a bit of food is put aside for the 
dead, with the words ' This is for you, let our oven be well 
cooked.' At a death-meal the words are 'This is for thee.' 
It is readily denied now that the dead, either dead friends 
generally in the one case or the lately deceased in the 

272 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

other, are thought to come and eat the food, which they say 
is given as a friendly remembrance only, and in the way of 
associating together those whom death has separated ; but it 
can hardly be doubted that the original intention at least was 
a common participation in the meal. It is not altogether 
consistent, however, with the conception of an underground 
abode of the dead, that they should be conceived of as present 
at the later feasts, though the first of all is held while they 
are still believed to be about. The eating the death, gana 
matea, begins with the burial ; they eat first, as they say, his 
grave ; after that they ' eat his days.' The days are the fifth 
and the tenth, and after that every tenth day up to the 
hundredth, and it may be in the case of a father, wife, or 
mother even so far as the thousandth. At Nembek, a part of 
Gaua, where they lay the corpse between fires, they bury the 
remains and finish the death-meal on the fifth day. At 
Tarasag, near by, when a great man dies the people from all 
the villages around bring mashed yams the next morning to 
the place where the dead man lies, and eat them there. The 
people of the place begin the death- meals that day with a 
large ovenful, and continue on the tenth, and on every 
successive tenth day. Sometimes for a very great man they 
eat every day up to the fiftieth, and then start with the fifth 
and tenth day feasts. For counting the days so that the 
guests from distant villages may arrive on the proper days, 
they use cycas fronds, one in the hands of each party, on 
which the appointed days are marked by the pinching off or 
turning down of a leaflet as each day passes. At Ureparapara 
the first fire for the death-meal is lit on the day after the 
burial ; after that on each fifth day to the hundredth, and if 
they go beyond that every tenth day to the thousandth. At 
Lakona, in Santa Maria, immediately after the death the pigs 
of the deceased which he has left as legacies are distributed to 
his relatives, and one or two more are killed and the meat 
given to the people of the place. In the evening he is buried, 
or laid out in a chest or in a cave, and no food or water is 
put with him. Next morning begins the counting of the 


Banks Islands. Hades. 


death-days. If the deceased was a great man, a tavusmele, 
there will be a drum brought out and they will dance, to 
drive away their grief, as they say, so that they may eat the 
death-meal with cheerfulness ; visitors come to dance and are 
paid for it. The death-feast lasts only five days for a woman, 
six for a man. The concluding action is peculiar to Lakona ; 
on the sixth day after death each man kills a sow, and the 
women come and buy the meat, from which the last death- 
meal, called the Vulqat, is supplied. The next morning all is 
finished with a meal ' to clear away the Vulqat! 

The ghost when it leaves its former dwelling-place makes 
its way to Panoi, to which there are many entrances, called 
sura, in the various islands, some underground and unknown, 
some well known, like the rock Aliali on the mountain at 
Mota, volcanic vents on the burning hill Garat over the 
lake at Gaua, and the great mountain of Vanua Lava, the 
Sur-lav, great sura. The ghosts congregate on points of land 
before their departure, as well as at the mouth of the sura, 
where they are heard dancing, singing, shouting and whistling 
with land-crabs' claws on moonlight nights. To these points 
of land and the sura entrances to Panoi it was possible for 
ghosts who had already descended to return, and it was 
thought by some that they would come out to receive, 
sometimes with dancing, the freshly dead, shew them their 
various haunts, and conduct them to the underworld. There 
is also the notion that there are sura appropriated to particular 
classes of ghosts ; as the sure tupa, where simple harmless 
people congregate, and the sure lumayav, where youths go who 
die in the flower of their age, a place more pleasant than the 
rest, where all kinds of flowers abound and scented plants. 
This fancy was mostly that of women, who thought much of 
all who died young, and above all of those who had been shot 
for them, who had died on their account, me matewolira ti, 
paid for them the price of their death. 

A precise and consistent account of the condition of ghosts 
after they have arrived at Panoi, and of that place itself, is 
difficult indeed to obtain from the natives of this group ; nor 


274 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

perhaps is it reasonable to expect it. But the stories of 
descents to Panoi shew in their relation what are the common 
conceptions in the native mind. It does much to reconcile 
the varying- accounts to recognise the truth that Panoi is not 
a single receptacle the same for all, and that there is a 
corresponding distinction between one class of ghosts and 
another. This is clearly believed at Motlav, where they say 
that when a ghost goes down the sura it is met by another 
ghost, and according to the character of the man in life is 
allowed to enter into Panoi, or sent back to another place, 
dreading which it goes to wander on the earth. The true 
Panoi is a good place, and there is a bad place besides which 
is sometimes meant when the word Panoi is used. Thus, if a 
man has killed another by treachery or witchcraft, when after 
death he descends the sura he finds himself withstood at the 
entrance to Panoi by the ghost of the man he has wronged ; 
he sees another path leading to the bad place he dreads, and so 
he turns back to earth. If one has killed a good man without 
cause, the good man's ghost withstands his murderer ; if one 
man has killed another in fair fight he will not be withstood 
by the man he slew ; if a bad man slew a bad man both 
would be together, but not in the true Panoi. This division 
is very important that there are some ghosts who enter 
Panoi, and some who are not allowed to enter, these last 
being of bad character. Very important indeed also is it, as 
shewing native notions of moral right and wrong so often 
denied to them, to observe what sort of men were admitted 
and who were refused. Who was the man of good character 
in life ? It is answered that he was one who lived as he ought 
to do, me toga mantag, an answer that may have no moral 
meaning. But who was the man of bad character? It is 
answered, one who killed another without due cause, or had 
caused a death by charms, one who used to steal, to lie, one 
given to adultery. Thus those who enter into the true Panoi 
still live as they ought, we toga mantag, they live in harmony, 
in a good way of living ; those who remain in the bad place 
quarrel and lie in misery, not in physical pain indeed, but 

xv.] Banks Islands. Judgment. Childless Ghosts. 275 

restless, wandering back to earth, homeless, malignant, pitiable ; 
these are they who eat excrement and open their mouths for 
wind ; these are they who do harm to the living out of spite, 
who are dreaded as eating men's souls, who haunt the graves 
and woods. There is a singular belief at Lakona concerning 
this kind of judgment after death. The ghost's path leads 
him to the volcanic vents of the burning hill Garat, and as he 
runs along the ghosts assemble to receive him. They beat 
him, ghost as he already is, to death, then cut him to pieces, 
and each ghost will take a piece. They then put him 
together again, and if he has in his lifetime wrongfully shot 
the father, brother, or sogoi relation of any of the ghosts into 
whose hands he has fallen, or done any other wrong, the 
ghost who has the grievance will hide the piece of him that 
he has taken ; he will remain with some part of him deficient, 
and when he goes down to Panoi and the ghosts ask him 
what has become of that bit of him, he will tell them that 
some one has kept it from him because he had done him 

The ghost of a vasisgona, a woman who has died in childbed, 
cannot go to Panoi if her child lives, for she cannot leave her 
child. They therefore deceive her ghost by making up loosely 
a piece of a banana trunk in leaves, and laying it on her bosom 
when she is buried. Then, as she departs, she thinks she has 
the child with her ; as she goes the banana stalk slips about 
in the leaves and she thinks the child is moving ; and this in 
her bewildered new condition contents her, till she gets to 
Panoi and finds that she has been deceived. In the mean- 
while the child has been taken to another house, because they 
know that the mother will come back to take its soul. She 
seeks everywhere for the child in grief and rage without 
ceasing ; and the ghost of a vasisgona therefore is particularly 

Panoi is near, under the land of living men, as death is 
near to life. If a man is nearly killed he says, ' I have been 
close to Panoi, and have returned.' There is much there that 
is like the upper world, villages, houses, trees with red leaves, 

276 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

and there is day and night ; it is even a beautiful place, for 
at a great festival when the village place is bright with 
flowers and coloured leaves, and thronged with people dancing, 
drumming and singing, the saying is that it is ' like a sura, 
as if the mouth of Panoi were opened.' When a ghost first 
descends, he waits at first outside the ghostly village ; he is 
weak, and he stops till he has recovered strength. The 
ghosts make a dance in his honour. When he arrives they 
ask him, ' Have you come to stay ? ' If he has only fainted, 
it is then discovered, and he returns. The fresh ghost finds 
there something like an earthly life, but it is hollow and 
unreal. There is nothing that they do but talk and sing and 
dance ; there is no gamal, the indispensable club-house of 
earthly life ; men and women live together, without sexual 
intercourse ; there is no fighting, there is no one in authority, 
no vui, spirits, other than ghosts of men. A great man goes 
down like a great man, in all his finery of ornament. The 
pigs killed for his funeral feast, the food heaped upon his 
grave, do not go down as he does ; he is a tamate, a dead man, 
a ghost; he has as a dead man the atai, soul, that he had under 
different conditions as a living man ; his ornaments are on his 
person as a ghost, but the shadow, ninlai, of them only, for 
no such things, not even pigs, have atai. There is a further 
belief that there are compartments, enclosures fenced apart, in 
which those who have died violent deaths keep together ; those 
who have been shot are in one place together, those who were 
charmed to death in a second, those who have been clubbed 
in a third together. Those who have been shot keep rattling 
the reeds of the arrows they were shot with ; hence if a rat is 
heard in a house making that kind of noise the saying is that 
it is a reed-rattling ghost, tamate ninginwgi togo. Ghosts in 
Panoi have not knowledge of things out of their sight and 
hearing as the vni, spirits, have ; nevertheless they are invoked 
in time of need and distress, as if they could hear and help. 
They come upon earth when they please, and see how their 
friends and property are faring, and they hear the news from 
new-coming ghosts. These ghosts, as distinguished from 

xv.] Banks Islands. Descents to Hades. 277 

those who have no home in Panoi, are in a general way kindly 
to living- men ; though if their friends and property are 
damaged, they are angry and revengeful. It is true that men 
are afraid of these and all other ghosts, because a ghost is of 
itself a dreadful thing to a living man. They are seen, but 
not distinctly only their eyes like phosphorescent fungi, or 
something red. Life in Panoi is eternal, unless indeed, as 
some say, there are two Panois, one below the other, and the 
dead die from the upper to the lower, as living men die from 
earth; from the lower they never die, but turn into white 
ants' nests, te wog qatete nia. 

Descents to Panoi have been by no means uncommon. 
There was a woman, who died not many years ago, who once 
much desired to see her lately dead brother; she perfumed 
herself with water in which a dead rat had been steeped, to 
give herself a death-like smell, pulled up a bird's-nest fern, a 
puget, and descended by the hole she had opened. She had 
no difficulty in finding Panoi, and she saw friends there who 
were surprised to see her, and never discovered that she was 
alive. She found her brother lying in a house, because as a 
recent ghost he was not strong enough yet to move about. 
He cautioned her to eat nothing there, and she returned. 
This descent was in the body, as was that of one Molborbor 
of Valuwa, who went down and saw his wife ; but a man in 
Motlav, more lately dead, used to go down in sleep, his soul 
descending, and his body remaining as in a trance. He could 
do this at will, and received money for doing it, professing to 
visit the recently dead, about whom their friends were un- 
happy, and even to be able to bring them back. He never 
did in fact bring any back ; he said he had seen the persons 
and talked with them, but was prevented from bringing them 
back. He, too, prepared for his soul's descent by washing his 
body with water in which a putrid rat, snake or lizard had 
been steeped. There was a man in former days at Motlav, 
Vanvanvegirgir by name, who going down to Panoi in his 
falegi, soul, took once another man with him in his body. 
This man had lately lost his wife, and went to Vanvanvegirgir 

278 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

to enquire about her. He was instructed to give himself the 
appropriate smell with the liquor of a putrid black gecko, and 
was given a stick. The two then descended, and reached 
Panoi ; the ghosts detected the living man, and cried out, 
' The smell of that world ! ' The two declared that they were 
really dead, and to try them the ghosts brought out dead 
men's bones, to see if they would rattle them as ghosts do, 
by one, by two, by three ; they did this rightly and were 
allowed to go on. Vanvanvegirgir went forward to find the 
man's wife, and brought her to him ; they talked together, 
and the man begged her to go back to the world with him. 
That she said was impossible, and she gave him a shell 
armlet by which to remember her. He took her by the 
hand and began to drag her ; her hand came off, and her 
body came to pieces. For, as the story is explained, ghosts 
in Panoi have something more of body and substance than 
they have when they come back into the world ; else the 
man could not have taken hold of his dead wife's hand. 
When a ghost comes into the world, it is but a taqangm that 
is seen, a something circumscribed by an outline like a 
shadow ; but the ghost in Panoi, of which the other is prob- 
ably again the ghost, has a tarapei, a body, which has not 
only form and colour, but a certain consistency. There is 
still living in Vanua Lava a woman who turned her descent 
to Panoi to a useful purpose. Her husband, a Gaua man, 
died, and she herself was very ill and appeared to die. She 
recovered, however, and told the people that she had followed 
her husband to the hill Garat, and had seen him there bound 
hand and foot. The ghosts told her, she declared, that this 
was done because he had not paid his debts ; ' Go back,' they 
bade her, 'to the Gaua people, and say to them, Pay your 
debts, don't kill one another ; this is how we shall treat such 

The manner of burial in Ma wo, Aurora, in the New 
Hebrides, and the belief of the people there concerning the 
dead, is fully described in an account written by a native, of 
which what follows is generally a translation. In the first 

xv.] New Hebrides. Journey of the Dead. 279 

place, he says, they think that when the soul, tamani, leaves 
the body in death, it mounts into a tree in which is a bird's- 
nest fern, and sitting among the fronds, laughs and mocks at 
the people who are crying and making great lamentations 
over him. There he sits, wondering at them and ridiculing 
them. ' What are they crying for ? ' he says ; ' who is it they 
are sorry for ? Here am I.' For they think that the real 
thing is the soul, and that it has gone away from the body 
just as a man throws off his clothes and leaves them, and the 
clothes lie by themselves with nothing in them ; (the Maewo 
word gavui applies in such a case, the white of an egg is the 
gavui of it, the yolk the real thing ; the word for clothes is 
gavu> integument). Then the soul goes through his gardens 
and along his customary paths, and finally leaves the place. 
He runs along the line of hills till he reaches the end of the 
island, and there he comes to the place of recollection, the 
Maewo name for which is vat dodoma, the stone of thought ; 
if he remembers there his child or his wife or anything that 
belongs to him, he will run back and come to life again. In 
the same place also are two rocks with a deep ravine between 
them ; if the ghost clears this as he leaps across he is for 
ever dead, but if one fails he returns to life again. The ghost 
pursues his course running along the mountain range to the 
end opposite to Raga, Pentecost, at the mate tasi, land's end, 
or brink of sea, and when he arrives safely all the ghosts of 
those who have died before assemble and receive him joyfully. 
They believe also that as he runs the ghosts of those whom he 
has wronged in this world, whom he has foully slain by club 
or arrow, or has killed by charms, take a full revenge upon 
him, beating him, tearing him, and stabbing him with dag- 
gers, mataso, such as men stick pigs with ; one of them will 
say to him, ' While you were still in the world you thought 
yourself a valiant man ; but now we will take our revenge 
upon you.' Another path of the ghosts takes them to the 
northern point of Maewo, where there is a deep gully and 
three leaping-places, one for men, one for women, and one for 
ulcerous persons. It is a curse to wish a man may fall down 

280 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

there ; if a ghost falls in leaping he is smashed to pieces, but 
runs on and comes to the hill Tawu, which is very sacred to 
ghosts. Here is the mouth of the hollow which leads to 
Banoi, and here the newly-arrived ghost is beaten by those 
whom he has wronged, and they cry to him, ' Down already ! ' 
Here is Gaviga, a vm, the chief of Banoi, and Matamakira, or 
Salolo as the Tanoriki people say, a quarrelsome and ill- 
tempered man on earth ; these stand with large and sharp 
spears and try to stab the new-comers. There is a huge fierce 
pig also there, which will devour all who have not in their 
lifetime planted the emba y pandanus, from which mats are made. 
If one has planted such he can climb up out of the reach of 
the devouring beast, and for this reason every one likes to 
plant that tree. Here also, if a man's ears are not pierced, he is 
not allowed to drink water; if he is not tattooed, he must not 
eat good food. Here the ghosts of those who have not joined 
the Suqe hang like flying foxes upon the trees (chap. vi). 
In order that his child may have hereafter a good house in 
Banoi, a man, when the child is a year old, makes a little gamal^ 
club-house, in his garden for a boy, and puts in it a bow and 
arrows and a club ; for a girl he builds a little house, and plants 
an emba y pandanus, to make mats with beside it. The writer has 
not mentioned how the ghosts congregate at the entrance to 
the lower world, and wait there, and are heard by men, some 
at play and some crying with grief and pain ; the latter, the 
lately dead who had just become aware of their condition ; he 
allows that it is so believed, but says that the people of his 
place, Tanoriki, are not so well acquainted with these stories as 
the Tasmouri people, who live near this gulf down which the 
ghosts descend. It is believed also that the ghosts in Banoi 
are black, and feed on excrement, some of them at least ; and 
that the trees there have red leaves, and that the fowls there 
are also red. 

The writer goes on to describe the funeral and the death- 
meals. ' The first thing after the death of a man of some rank, 
is to cut in the bush certain vines which are called corpse- 
binding vines. Then they bring together many mats (such 

xv.] Aurora. Burial. 281 

as those which pass as money) to wrap the corpse in. Women 
bring- out mats, such as are used for sleeping on, and spread 
them in the open place in the middle of the village, and over 
these good clean mats. When these are ready, those who 
have been at work sit on the heap of mats and begin the 
wailing, so that people at a distance may know that the time 
has come to swathe the corpse. Then, all having assembled 
by the heap of mats, men and women carry out the corpse 
wrapped in a single mat from his house to the weeping crowd ; 
and when they lay him on the mats spread as a bed the 
crying is wonderful, nothing can be heard at all but that. 
They put on his belt and his malo dress, and smear him with 
red earth, and dress his hair with a cock's feather or pigs' 
tails. His mother, or wives or sisters, throw ashes over their 
heads and backs. When they have swathed the corpse in mats 
and bound all round with the vines, some man of the dead 
man's kin sits upon the bundle, and is carried with it by many 
men to the grave, which has, been dug by the side of the 
gamal. After this the wives of the deceased, or his father and 
mother, do not go about as usual for a hundred days, they 
spend the day at home. Men may walk about, but the female 
mourners cannot go into the open, and their faces may not be 
seen ; they stay indoors, and in the dark, and cover themselves 
with a large mat reaching to the ground. In the early 
morning the widow goes out of the house covered over with 
a mat, to weep at the graveside ; every day she does this till 
the hundredth day, and also in the afternoon ; and not she 
only, many people of the village weep. All the women put 
on a mat, "as large as a single plank," which remains on their 
head as a sign that they are in mourning for the death, and 
refrain from certain food ; but the immediate relatives of the 
deceased may not eat yam, caladium, bananas, or other good 
food ; they eat only the gigantic caladium, bread-fruit, cocoa- 
nuts, and mallow, and other things ; and all these they seek 
in the bush where they grow wild, not eating those which have 
been planted. They count five days, and then build up stones 
over the grave ; great heaps of stones, much larger than are 

2&2 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

now made, are seen where men of old times were buried. 
After that, if the deceased was a very great man with many 
gardens and pigs, they count fifty days, and then kill pigs on the 
day called the Ulogi or Sawana. On the Ulogi, the howling, 
at mid-day there is wailing at the grave-stones, which have 
been dressed and adorned with leaves and flowers ; some cry, 
and some begin a song sacred to the dead. When the ovens 
are opened the assembled crowd departs ; and the people of 
the village kill pigs, and they cut the point off the liver 
of each pig, and the brother of the deceased goes near the 
bush and calls the dead man's name, crying "This is for 
you to eat." 

f Upon this all cry again ; and all their body and face they 
smear over wifch ashes ; and they wear a cord round their necks 
for a hundred days, to shew that they are not eating good food. 
If they kill many pigs like this they think it is a good thing ; 
but if not, they think that the dead man has no proper 
existence, but hangs on tangled creepers, and to hang on 
creepers they think a miserable thing. That is the real reason 
why they kill pigs for a man who has died ; there is no other 
reason for it but that V 

' Meanwhile,' he continues, ' the ghosts have known the 
number of days since the last comer has died ; and the 
relatives of the dead man have counted the days to eat the death- 
meal for him, the fifth day or the tenth, and a .crowd has 

1 Bishop Selwyn witnessed a singular practice at Tanoriki in Aurora on the 
hundredth day after a woman's death, while the feast was being held. ' Pigs 
were killed and yams mashed and distributed, and then the men began to go 
into the bush and get long rods of a sort of ginger that tapered to a point. 
These they brandished with both hands, and looked anxiously down the path 
leading to the next village. Then the cry arose, "They are coming," and 
down came some ten or twelve men, mostly young, carrying on their heads 
baskets which they held with both hands, leaving their bodies completely 
exposed. Long before they came in sight one heard cracks like a whip, and 
saw the cause. If a smiter was ready he threw his rod back, and the sufferer 
instantly stood still and received an unmerciful thwack delivered with both 
hands, which shivered the rod to atoms. The point came right round the man's 
body, and I could see the long wheals afterwards, though the back was some- 
what protected by the string girdle they wear.' 

xv.] New Hebrides. Death-Meal. Origin of Death. 283 

come together to eat and to remember him and weep. Then 
they think that the ghosts and he who has lately died come 
back to the world for this, and that the ghosts call this the 
great feast of the man who died. They believe that they come 
and carry away food and pig's flesh for themselves to eat ; but 
men are not aware of their taking anything away, they speak 
figuratively. It is just as when a little mash, or cocoa-nut, or 
bit of pig is put upon a dead man's grave for him to eat ; they 
do not think that the ghosts take the things as men do ; not 
at all, the things remain all right ; but they think that they 
take away the tamani of the things. And if a little is given 
they think that they carry it away as if it were a great deal, 
and go down rejoicing to Banoi with shouting and with songs. 
Thus they do to the hundredth day, aud after that they think 
no more about it.' 

The Origin of Death was ascribed at Lepers' Island, both to 
the disuse of the power of changing the skin, and to the defect 
of nature which had not given men that power. Once upon 
a time a woman and a crab disputed the point, the woman 
maintaining that the crab was better than men, changing its 
shell, becoming young again, and living long. She wanted 
the crab to change bodies with her ; and she blamed Tagar 
because he did not make men rightly. But in accordance 
with the story which is told in varying forms in the Solomon 
Islands, the Banks' group, and the New Hebrides, men had 
in former times the power of changing their skin. There was 
an old woman who had two grandchildren. These two boys 
were one day playing at blocking back the water of a little 
brook, when the stream brought down a Tahitian chestnut. One 
of the boys took it, and gave it to his grandmother to roast. 
Afterwards the other boy, who had at first despised the chestnut, 
ran home unobserved and ate it, so that when the first boy went 
for it the chestnut was gone. The boy scolded his grandmother 
for neglect, and she, angry in her turn, said to the boys, ' You 
two don't wish to live for ever, but would rather that we should 
not live.' She had just come back from changing her skin in 
the water higher up in the stream which the boys were blocking 

284 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

back ; and they had seen the cast-off skin, picked it up with a 
stick, and thrown it out of the water. The old woman in her 
anger followed the stream down to the place where her skin 
was lying on the bank, and put it on again. Since that 
time mankind has lost the power of changing skins, and all 
have died. 

At death the soul, tamtegi, departs from the body. When 
it is certain that it is gone the wailing for death begins. 
At first the tamtegi does not go far away, and there are 
sounds which shew its presence ; they never drive it away, 
it is only the soul of one who has been eaten that is driven 
off with the blowing of conchs ; when the time comes it goes, 
and the time is a hundred days. The corpse is buried 
wrapped in the mats which serve as money. When Mairuru 
died they wrapped him at once in mats, and added more 
next day, till the corpse with its wraps was so large that it 
took two days to dig a grave for it, and on the third day 
they buried him. He was swathed in one hundred short mats 
and ten rolls of a hundred fathoms each ; but Mairuru was 
a very great man ; with common people fifty mats would be 
enough for a man, five for a boy. After the funeral pigs are 
killed, and five fowls, and the fowls are roasted over the fire. 
When the meal is ready the chief mourner takes a piece of 
fowl and of yam and calls the name of some person of the 
place who has died, saying, ' This is for you.' This he does 
till he has called all those whose death is remembered in the 
place, including the lately dead, and has given each a bit of 
fowl and yam. What remains he eats himself, and then the 
assembled mourners eat ; this is to ' eat the grave.' Counting 
five days from the death, they pr pare the oven for ' eating 
the death,' and when it is opened give morsels to the ghosts, 
as on the day of burial. The same is done on the tenth day, 
which is a great day with a large assemblage, and the same 
again at a similar feast on the fiftieth day. Every fifth day 
also there is a death-meal, and the hundredth is the last. On 
that day for a very great man there will be a hundred ovens. 
The last solemnity is remarkable. On the evening of that 

xv.] Lepers Island. Burial. Hades. 285 

day all the people assemble in the middle of the village ; a 
man of the waivung division to which the deceased did not 
belong, one near to him by male descent, mounts a tree 
and calls all the names of the deceased one after another, for 
a great man has many names (page 114) ; there is a solemn 
silence as the names are called, all listen for a sound ; if any 
sound is heard they take it for the answer of the dead, and all 
raise the wailing cry because it is the last time they will 
hear his voice. They have no thought of driving away the 
ghost ; they call to him to come and take all their food and 
all they have, and go with it to Nggalevu. If no sound 
answers to the last call they think he has already gone. A 
man is buried with his bow and arrows and his best orna- 
ments ; but his pigs'-tusk bracelets are put on upside down. 
Nggalevu will know him to be a great man by what he sees 
with him and upon him, for he will be seen as a man is seen 
though he be a ghost, a tamtegi ; what it is of the ornaments 
and other things that will be seen they have not considered, 
but certainly not a tamtegi^ nor a soul ; it raises a smile to 
ask whether there be the tamtegi of a bow. When a man 
dies his cocoa-nut-trees, fruit-trees, and things in his garden 
are cut down and destroyed. This is done, they say, out of a 
feeling of tenderness and sorrow; no one but he shall enjoy 

The dead man's soul when it leaves his dwelling-place 
makes its way along the mountain path to Manaro, to the 
lake which fills the crater of the island. Sometimes men 
notice recent footsteps on the path, and go down to the 
villages to ask who has died and just gone up. The abode 
of the dead is Lolomboetogitogi, and the descent to it is by a 
volcanic vent near the lake. There ghosts assemble, and there 
has always been Nggalevu, a vui, a spirit not a ghost, who 
is the master of the place, and receives the new-comers. 
There is also a pig by which they have to pass. Beside the 
lake, on the farther side, which no man has been known to 
reach, there is a volcanic vent which sends up clouds of steam. 
Men go up to the nearer side of the lake and climb a tree 

286 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

which overhangs it ; they cry aloud to Nggalevu to give 
a sign that he is there, and a column of steam goes up. In 
Lolomboetogitogi are trees and houses where the dead have 
their abode ; though they are thought to come out, and are 
seen like fire at night, or a man in the dusk sees something 
like a dead tree-fern trunk standing before him in the path, 
and fears to go on further. In Lolomboetogitogi the dead 
are thought to live a happy if an empty life, free from pain 
and sickness ; but there are those that come out for mischief, 
hunting men to add them to their company; and if a man 
has left children when he died, one of whom sickens after- 
wards, it is said that the dead father takes it. 

Two descents to Lolomboetogitogi are well remembered. 
A young man lost his wife and much desired once more to see 
her ; he took a friend and mounted to the lake ; they swam 
to a certain rocky islet, and the widower, giving one end of a 
clue to his friend, dived into the water ; as long as he was 
alive, he said, he would keep pulling at the line. He arrived 
at a village, and found an old friend, who warned him to keep 
by himself, and by no means to eat. His wife he could not 
see ; he took some sweet herbs growing in the village, and 
returned through the water to the rock. Another man still 
living went down by a banyan root in the forest, and found 
the village of the ghosts ; they gave him food, which he 
brought back with him without eating any, bananas old and 
black. Another descent is the subject of a story not seriously 
told or believed, a sort of parody on the above, which relates 
how a man made his way to an underworld of pigs, ureuremboe^ 
the pig- world, of which a snake, Tamatemboe, dead- man-pig, 
was the master ; the snake had stones in a lump *at its neck, 
and these stones were powerful for wealth in pigs ; so the man 
said who brought the stones with him, and had them for sale 
or hire. 

At Araga, Pentecost, there are two stories as to the Origin 
of Death. In one a man and a rat dispute, the rat saying 
that the man would die outright, but that himself would live 
again. The man and rat meet again in the path and quarrel, 

xv.] Pentecost Island. Burial. Hades. 287 

and the man kills the rat ; it begins to putrefy : ' How it 
stinks ! ' cries the man. ' You will be as bad,' says the rat. 
1 But I shall live again/ says the man. ' No ! like me/ says 
the rat. The other story is a variant of the common one 
about changing the skin. There was a man who had two 
boys living with him, and used to change his skin every day 
and come out to work with them. One evening he put on 
his old skin again, and the boys killed him because he had 
deceived them. If he had lived, all men would have changed 
their skins and never died. 

A ghost after death is atmat, dead-man, but, as in Lepers' 
Island, the same word is used to designate a man's soul when 
he is alive. At death the atmat leaves the body, but lingers 
near it for five days. It is not driven away, but goes off itself 
to the abode of the dead called Banoi ; in case of fainting, the 
man on recovering says he was not allowed to enter. The 
corpse is watched till it is buried ; in the case of a great man 
for three or four days ; it is then rolled in the mats valued as 
money and taken to the gamal ; if a great man, the mats are 
many, and the swathed corpse is set up between two stakes. 
After a time it is buried ; a great man is buried in the village 
place in a qaru, with stones set up and with dracaBnas and 
other coloured shrubs planted round. After the burial the 
fire is lighted for the death-meal, and they go on { eating the 
death ' for a hundred days, which are counted on a cycas leaf. 
By way of mourning the relatives smear themselves with 
smut and ashes. The ghosts, going away, or being let go, 
make their way down the coast, along the beach, to Vatang- 
gele, where they are heard singing, shouting, and drumming. 
The place of assembly before the descent into Banoi is a point 
of land opposite Ambrym, where there is a stream the ghosts 
cannot pass, and a tree from which they leap into the sea ; a 
shark waiting below bites off the noses of those who have not 
killed pigs in accordance with the customs of the island. 
There is a town in Banoi, with houses, trees, sweet-smelling 
plants, and shrubs with coloured leaves, but no gardens, because 
there is no work. The new-comer is weak at first, and rests 

288 Death. Burial. After Death. [CH. 

before lie begins to move about the place. A new arrival is 
greeted by a dance ; for the husband, wife, or friend of one 
already there they raparahi lolo, go through an elaborate 
performance. The ghosts of those who have died violent 
deaths keep together ; those who have been shot with the 
arrow sticking in the body, those who have been clubbed 
with the club fixed into the head ; those also who have died 
of cough keep together. When a ghost comes down with 
the instrument of death upon him, he tells who killed him, 
and when the murderer arrives the ghostly people will not 
receive him ; he has to stay apart with other murderers. To 
the question how one is received who has killed another in 
fair fight no certain answer can be given. As to the food of 
ghosts in Banoi there is a difference of opinion ; some say 
they eat nothing, some that they eat excrement and rotten 
erythrina wood ; probably the ghosts rejected by the happier 
crowd have the dismal food. Ghosts haunt especially their 
burial-places, and revenge themselves if offended; if a man 
has trespassed on the grave-place of a dead chief the ghost 
will smite him, and he will be sick. Ghosts seen appear like 
fire. My informants tell, me that no fragment of food is 
offered to a ghost, a doubtful statement ; but if they see 
bananas or other food rotting in a dead man's garden, they 
say it is the ghost's food, not meaning so much that the 
ghost eats this, as that as is the man so is his food 1 . 

It remains to notice what practice there appears to be in 
these islands of burying the living with the dead. A case is 
remembered at Saa, where the wife of a chief killed in fighting 
asked for death that she might follow her husband, and was 

1 At Ambrym they bury in the house ; after five months they dig up the 
bones, take the skull, jawbone and ribs and put them under the root of a hollow 
tree. The small bones they bury again in the house, the long bones they tie 
up in baskets with yams and other food and put up in a tree. The body of 
a great man is not buried ; it lies in the house in a canoe or in a drum, women 
and children sleep round it to watch and remove the worms ; after ten months 
they take up the skull, jawbone, and long bones of arms and legs and 
hang them in the house ; the other bones are wrapped together and sunk 
at sea. 

xv.] Burial. 289 

strangled accordingly. At Maewo it has often happened that 
a woman has demanded to be buried with her husband or a 
beloved child. Not long ago a woman insisted on it ; they 
dug a grave, wrapped her in mats, and buried her alive with 
her child. In Lepers' Island lately when Mairuru was buried, 
the people, accusing his wife of having poisoned him, wanted 
to bury her alive with him ; she consented, but the presence 
of a Christian native prevented this being done. The killing 
or burying alive of sick persons is another matter. 



THE foregoing chapters have been, mainly at least, con- 
cerned with subjects to deal with which such knowledge of 
the thoughts and ways of Melanesian people as can only be 
gained by personal acquaintance with them, and familiarity 
with their language, is most required. The present chapter will 
contain notices of such matters as lie much more upon the 
surface of native life, and are open to the observation of the 
visitor and traveller ; the arts, namely, in which the culture 
of the people expresses itself, by which they build and 
decorate canoes and houses, plant and cultivate their gardens, 
furnish themselves with weapons and implements for war 
and work, catch fish, prepare their food, furnish themselves 
with clothing and ornaments, make and use money as a 
medium of exchange. So long a catalogue of their arts of 
life shews that Melanesians do not take a very low place 
among the backward peoples of the world. To deal fully 
and adequately with these matters would require much space ; 
it is the less necessary to do so since much information has 
been already made public, as by Dr. Guppy for example, 
concerning the Solomon Islands ; but there is certainly room 
for additions, and even in these matters there is much value 
in what natives say about themselves. 

(i) Canoes. The inhabitants of groups of islands are likely to 
be seafaring people, and canoes are naturally among the first 
objects that present themselves to a visitor. Hardly any- 
thing seems in my remembrance to have been more striking 

Canoes. 291 

than the difference between the canoes of the natives when 
for the first time we passed from the New Hebrides and 
Banks' Islands to the Solomon Islands, and exchanged the 
clumsy outriggered tree-trunks of the Eastern groups for 
the elegant forms and brilliant ornaments of the plank-built 
craft of the West. But upon consideration, the outrigger 
canoe that sails must be thought to take a higher rank than 


one propelled by paddles only; and certainly the outrigger 
canoe is the one characteristic of Melanesia. It is only in the 
Solomon Islands that plank-built canoes are seen ; but there 
also small canoes with outriggers are used, and these are in 
fact the same with those of Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands 
and the New Hebrides ; all alike are hollowed trunks of trees 
with outriggers. Double canoes are nowhere seen in these 

U 2 

292 Arts of Life. [CH. 

islands as in Fiji ; but the aha, angga^ wangga, of the Banks' 
Islands and New Hebrides, is doubtless the same thing with 
the wangga of Fiji. The large sailing canoes, which in the 
New Hebrides will carry forty men, are also single trunks 
dug out and shaped for the hull, with sides built up and 
decks laid with planks tied on with sinnet. Before the time 
when the labour trade made the natives afraid to move 
about, and ' recruiting ' meant destruction of canoes for the 
capture of their crews, red ' butterfly ' sails were the common 
and pleasing ornament of an island scene in the New He- 
brides and Banks' groups. 


To take the example of a Mota aka. The sail, epa, was 
formed of mats, woven by women, and sewn together by men 
with needles of tree-fern wood, or the bone of a ray's sting. 
The mast, turgae, with a forked butt, was stepped upon the 
midmost of the three yoke-pieces, iwalia, which connected the 
outrigger, sama, with the hull. The yoke-pieces were fastened 
to the outrigger by being lashed to wooden pegs fixed into it. 
Upon the foot of the mast was stepped again the forked end 
of a boom, panel ; both were stayed with ropes, tali, and in 
the triangular space between the mast and boom was spread 
the sail, lashed to both, and sinking in a graceful curve 
between the two. A large paddle for steering, turwose, was 




tied to a horn, tiqa-taso, at the stern. The whole safety of 
the vessel depended on the strength and elasticity of the 
attachment of the outrigger to the hull. In former times the 
work of shaping the body of the canoe and adzing out the 
planks with which the sides were raised was done with shell 
adzes ; and the holes for the lashings were bored with the 
columella of a volute shell. A large canoe was owned in 
common by several men, or by one very important person ; 
money was paid for hire and freight. All canoes of any size 


had names ; when a new canoe came for the first time to 
land away from home the crew was pelted in a friendly 
way 1 . 

The Santa Cruz canoes, of better workmanship and form, 
are substantially the same as these ; the large sea-going 
canoes, loju, carry a large stage on either side above a very 

1 In the Torres Islands of late years there were no canoes ; the people were 
reduced to use catamarans of bamboo, if they wished to cross from one to 
another island. Their canoe-makers had died out, and they, very character- 
istically, acquiesced, as at Lakona also they did for a time, in going without. 

294 Arts of Life. [CH. 

narrow hull, and have a house upon one of them for the crew. 
In these canoes, with the large sail rising into curved horns, 
they make long voyages to Vanikoro and other islands that 
they know, steering by the stars. The Solomon Island 
plank-built canoe has probably not been developed in ignor- 
ance of the outrigger l . In the straits between long islands 
like Malanta and Guadalcanar the natives have prided them- 
selves on the skill with which they build and paddle their 
canoes. Ulawa was once a famous centre of manufacture 
and of sale 2 . Canoes from Saa would make a six days' 
voyage for trade and pleasure, to Owa, Santa Anna and 
Santa Catalina, in one direction, steering by the stars at 
night, and to Alite in the other. Large canoes again cross 
from Alite to Guadalcanar to exchange money and ornaments 
for food, and as they return heavily laden throw out floats of 
dry cocoa-nuts at night, to rest and sleep. The moon in her 
second quarter lying on her back is called in Florida a ' canoe 
of Mala.' A very graceful little catamaran is used within the 
reefs of San Cristoval ; five or six stems of the fronds of the 
sago-palm lashed together, the tips of them brought back by 
lines towards the butts, and the end of the high curved prow 
so formed decorated with a crimson streamer. A war canoe 
of the first rate is a long while in building ; for three suc- 
cessive years I had the opportunity of seeing one at Ha'ani, 
from the lea set up to gain funds when the work began to 
the last ornamentation with shell carvings and streamers. 
Such a canoe forty-five feet long would cany ninety men. The 
form of a Florida peko is more graceful than that of the Ulawa 
build ; the large one in Takua's great klala at Boli was sixty 

1 Dr. Guppy mentions Bishop Patteson's notice of an outrigger canoe at San 
Cristoval, said to have been built after a Santa Cruz model. Within the last 
few years again it has been said that at Ulawa they have lately learnt to 
catch sharks after a Santa Cruz fashion in outrigger canoes. .But they 
certainly caught sharks in that way more than twenty years ago ; and it is 
likely that if they had copied Santa Cruz canoes they had done so long before 
Bishop Patteson observed the outriggers. Such small canoes are not uncommon. 

2 A large Ulawa canoe is preserved in the Brenchley Museum at Maidstone ; 
another is in the British Museum. 

xvi.] Canoes. 295 

feet long by six feet wide, and the stem and stern turned np 
to the height of fifteen feet 1 . These canoes are all con- 
structed of planks adzed out so as to leave cleats by which 
they are lashed to curved rib-pieces of mangrove wood, which 
give the necessary stiffness to the vessel ; the edges of the 
planks being sewn together with sinnet, and the seam 


covered with cement. In. a war canoe a rest for spears and 
other weapons is set up amidships 2 , and various tindalo 

1 Every kind of canoe has Its own name ; as in Florida, where the general 
name is tiola, the peTco is the war canoe, with stem and stern running up to 
high flat ends, and long in proportion to its breadth ; mbinambina, with stern 
turned up as in a peJco, but with the head straight, with a guard of planks 
against the wash of the waves, and broader than a pelto in proportion to its 
length ; tola, with both ends turned up not very high ; roko, with ends not 
turned up at all. 

2 In Mr. Brenchley's ' Cruise of the Cura9oa' is reproduced a native picture 
of a canoe from Ugi, now at Maidstone, in which the spears are seen in their 
rest ; upon them is a bent bow set up upon its back, which is described as a 
bowl for propitiatory libations. Though the explanation is incorrect in this 
particular, sacrifices are commonly offered in canoes. The woodcut above shows 


Arts of Life. 


charms are fixed and hung on to the stem to secure quiet seas 
and a favourable result to expeditions 1 . Canoes of importance 
in these islands also have names, and festivities follow their 


completion ; one made at Olevuga was named Biku, after 
a relation of the owner ; it would carry thirty paddlers and 

a rest for spears forming part of a rib-piece cut out of a slab of wood and used 
to stiffen a canoe amidships. The figures represent a crocodile and a dog 
above, two men and two cockatoos below. To this rib-piece the cleats on the 
planks are seen to be lashed. 

1 In the woodcut above not only are the head, which, represents that taken 
when the canoe was first used, and the hanging board, which swings above 
the waves with a soothing motion, full of mana, but the bamboo tubes above 
wound round with red braid are stuffed with tindalo relics and leaves for 
protection and success. 

xvi.] Canoes. 297 

as many sitters ; when it was cemented with tita, a hundred 
pigs were killed for the feast. Such a canoe required a life 
for its inauguration 1 . 

In the Eastern Solomon Islands, if no victim was met with in 
the first voyage of a new canoe, the chief to whom the canoe 
belonged would privately arrange with some neighbouring 
chief to let him have one of his men, some friendless man 
probably, or a stranger, who would then be killed, perhaps as 
he went out to look at the new canoe. It was thought 
a kind thing to come behind and strike him without 
warning. Further west also captives were kept with a 
view to the taking of their heads when new canoes were 

It is remarkable that while the paddles used in the Eastern 
Solomon Islands as far as Florida are pointed, some very 
narrow and pointed indeed, those used in Ysabel have an 
obtusely pointed, short, and broad blade with a compara- 
tively long shaft, the latter having a crescent-shaped handle, 
and the former a crutch, for the upper hand. The paddles of 
the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides are comparatively 
shapeless and heavy. 

A custom common to the Solomon Islands and the Eastern 
groups is that of taking a new canoe about to show it with a 
large party who receive presents wherever they visit. A great 
deal of trading is carried on between the various islands of 
each group ; in two places the people live by commerce and 

1 For example, Dikea, the chief of Ravu in Florida, bought his peJco, named 
Lake (fire), at Olevuga in the same island, for sixty rongo, a large sum of 
money. It was brought over secretly and put into a Iciala, canoe-house, 
built out of sight, till a head should have been procured. Dikea sent to his 
brothers Sauvui and Takua for help, and when he saw their fire-signal at the 
mouth of the Vula passage in the night joined them there, bringing the 
new canoe, and as they passed through other canoes joined the expedition. 
Before daylight they had ambushed at Hagalu ; and in the morning a single 
man, Tibona, came by them in his canoe. They hid till he was past, and then 
drew down the new peko to chase him ; he dived to escape, but they caught 
and killed him, set up his head at the prow of the canoe, and paddled back to 
Kavu with shouting and blowing conch-shells ; the women and children how- 
ever would not go out to see. 

298 Arts of Life. [CH. 

manufactures. Rowa, one of the Banks' group, has but a 
tiny population on one of the islets of its reef. They still 
mainly obtain their food from Saddle Island and Vanua 
Lava, carrying over in exchange fish and the money that 
they make at home. Not many years ago it was believed 
that if food were grown at Rowa there would be a famine in 
Vanua Lava, and also that if a sow were taken there it would 
devour the people ; but the Christian teacher of the place, 
himself a Rowa man. has boldly met both dangers. The 
other seat of commerce is on the Alite islets close to the 
Malanta coast near Florida, the inhabitants of which are 
enemies to their neighbours of the mainland, and have no 
gardens there ; they buy their chief subsistence from 
Guadalcanal- with the money and the ornaments that they 

(2) Houses. The typical Melanesian house requires very 
little description ; a roof of bamboos bent over a ridge-pole, 
which is supported by two main posts, very low side walls, 
and the ends filled in with bamboo screens. The dwelling- 
houses in the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands are poor, 
and contain little that can be called furniture ; a chest on 
legs, cleverly made, to contain dried bread-fruit, a fire-place 
sunk into the ground, a hole and pile of stones for an oven ; 
wooden hooks, cut from branching trees, hanging from the 
roof with bags of food to protect them from the rats ; large 
wooden platters with their pestles, bowls, bamboos for water, 
and wicker dishes leaning against the side walls; a few 
w^ooden knives and tools stuck between the layers of thatch ; 
mats spread upon the floor ; these may be seen everywhere ; 
and often there is an inner chamber, screened off with reeds. 
The door is nothing but a number of stalks of sago fronds 
run through the middle by a stick which is thrust down 
between the double threshold of the doorway, and tied above, 
when the house is empty, from outside through an opening 
left above the doorway for the purpose l . The gamal, club- 

1 ' It seems to be the custom here (at Ureparapara), as well as in some 
parts of Vanua Lava, for three or four families to occupy a single house. These 

xvi.] Houses. 299 

house, is in construction the same, but larger, stronger, and 
furnished with openings in the sides as well as doorways 
at the ends. The roofing is thatch of the smaller sago- 
palm, which makes an excellent roof, and the preparation 
and fixing of which is the chief work of house-building. 
The palm frond, with its midrib removed, and the leaflets 
doubled over a reed, and pinned together with wooden skewers, 
or spikes from the base of sago fronds (the Malay atap], 
is in all the islands what a tile or slate or shingle is else- 
where. In the Solomon Islands the cocoa-nut frond is also 
used, the lesser sago being apparently unknown. The roofing 
there, however, is very fine, the ataps being laid very close 
together, and the thatch extremely thick in the large 
buildings such as the canoe-houses. These, oka in Malanta 
and San Cristoval, kiala in Florida and Ysabel, to which 
the Santa Cruz madai and ofilau correspond, are fine and 
spacious buildings ; the kiala at Kolakamboa in Florida 
was a hundred feet long by fifty wide, and fifty high ; 
an oha, in Ugi and San Cristoval at least, was decorated 
with all the skill of the noteworthy native artist 1 . In 
these the large canoes are kept, men congregate and young 
men sleep, strangers are entertained, the huge wooden 
bowls used in feasts are kept, the jawbones of pigs eaten 
or killed in such feasts are suspended, and the skulls of 
men killed in war, and sometimes no doubt also eaten in the 
place, are hung up ; in the oha also are the manglie of the 
dead (page 262). The posts which support the ridge-pole 
and the purlins of an oha are carved into figures of men, 
crocodiles and sharks ; a kiala is much less ornamented. 
A Solomon Island dwelling-house is certainly superior to 
one in the Eastern groups ; its walls are higher, it is more 
generally partitioned into chambers, and it is furnished with 


are built very long, and have slight divisions in them, seldom more than two 
feet high.' Bishop Selwyn, Journal, 1882. 

1 Brenchley's ' Cruise of the Cura9oa,' chap, xvi ; Guppy's ' Solomon Islands,' 
chap. iv. I have never seen any ornamentation so elaborate and interesting 
as that of an oha at Wango, long since fallen into decay. 


Arts of Life. 


bedsteads which lift the sleeper from the ground ; its higher 
and better-finished ridge-piece gives it a more picturesque 
appearance. When the visitor from the eastward reaches 
Florida he finds houses built on piles ; when he reaches Ysabel 
he sees tree-houses for the first time. The pile-houses are 
excellent dwellings, the side walls and the floor formed 
of split bamboos flattened and interlaced, and the face of the 


house handsomely ornamented with interlacing patterns of 
bamboo stained black. The dwelling-houses of chiefs are 
sometimes noble buildings ; a new one at Honggo mea- 
sured twenty-four paces long by nine wide, and was thirty 
feet high. The floor of this, of interlaced bamboo, was 
raised some height above the ground, and the hearth upon 
the ground occupied a sunken space. Inside such a house 
small houses for several wives are sometimes ranged against 

xvi.] Houses. Tree-houses. 301 

the walls, and sometimes a tiny house on piles is built in 
the middle. In former days when a chief's dwelling-house 
or canoe-house was finished a man's head was taken for it 
as for a new canoe ; a boy or woman was sometimes bought 
to be killed. It is a matter oT tradition that men were 
crushed under the base of the great pillar of such a house, 
when it was set in its place. The tree-houses, va&o, are not 
seen till Ysabel is reached, where they are needed as a refuge 
from the head-hunters. One of these to which Bishop 
Patteson mounted, was built at a height of ninety-four feet 
from the ground, and was approached by a ladder from a 
fortified rock below which the tree was rooted ; the house, 
which had a stage outside it, was eighteen feet long, ten 
feet broad, and eight feet high. The houses at Santa 
Cruz, according to the account given of the first discovery, 
were round ; they are now square, though round houses are 
said to be built. The only round house that has come under 
my notice was at Ha'ani in San Cristoval, one built to 
contain and shelter the village drums, and an excellent 
building. Sometimes in the Banks' Islands a gamal may 
be seen the rafters of which are curved. It may be well 
to notice here how the two words for house run through the 
islands ; one, which in Malay is ruma, varying from that 
form in San Cristoval to l ma in the Loyalty Islands and 
Santa Cruz ; the other, which is whare in New Zealand, not 
by any means so common, but vale and hale in the New 
Hebrides, vale, vathe and vae in the Solomon Islands 1 . The 
absence of ancient house-mounds has been observed (page 48), 
and accounted for by the little permanence of village sites. 
When a ruinous house is demolished to build another on 
the same site, it is found that the constant sweeping of the 

1 In Maewo, Aurora, * the ima is the married man's residence. Within 
this house the cooking of the food for the family is done, and the married 
couples live. This house is known from the rest by having the front and 
back ends worked with cane, and more pains are expended on the building of 
it. The vale has no fire-place for cooking, and is mostly used as the apart- 
ment of the young females before marriage, and for stowing anything that may 
be inconvenient in the ima.'' Journal of Rev. C. Bice, 1886. 

302 Arts of Life. [CH. 

floor has sunk it below the outside level, and that this again 
has been raised close round the house by accumulation of 
various rubbish. When the new house is to be built, the 
hollow inside is filled with the outside accumulation, and 
the result is a little elevation of the site. If then an ancient 
site is seen some four or five feet high, it must represent 
a pretty long occupation of the ground. 

In two islands far apart, in Ysabel and in Santa Maria, 
there are very remarkable structures to be seen. In Bugotu, 
Ysabel, Bishop Patteson slept in 1866 in a fortified place thus 
described. ' The site for the village has been chosen on a hill 
surmounted by steep, almost perpendicular coral rocks; the 
forest has been cleared for some space all round, so as to 
prevent any enemy from approaching unperceived ; there is a 
wall of stones of considerable height on that side where the 
rock is less precipitous, with one narrow entrance, approached 
only by a smooth slippery trunk of a tree, laid at a somewhat 
steep inclination over a hollow below.' So also at Tega the 
people built a toa, ' an impregnable fort on a rocky knoll in the 
midst of the village.' These forts are made for protection 
against head-hunters. The stone buildings in a village in 
Gaua, Santa Maria, are very extraordinary; nothing like 
them has been seen elsewhere in these islands. There are 
three small gamal houses on platforms about ten feet high, 
built up with stones untouched by any tool, and some of 
them three feet long by two deep. The building is wonder- 
fully square and regular ; the style quite Cyclopean, the large 
stones ingeniously fitted, and the interstices filled with small 
stones. Besides these platforms there are two or three 
obelisks about four feet high, and a little dolmen of three 
stones. There are also two wona platforms, such as are always 
seen near a gamal (page 101), but much larger, and built of 
large stones very squarely put together. In one of these is a 
passage for pigs with a stone lintel. These remarkable works 
are shown in the frontispiece. That such stone-work exists 
elsewhere in these islands cannot be positively denied, but 
none has been heard of, and in the neighbouring islands there 

xvi.] Stone-work. Cultivation. 303 

is nothing at all resembling- it. It would naturally be 
thought, therefore, to belong to former times and to a different 
population ; but it is indeed recent, and has proceeded from 
the ambition or the fancy of a single man but lately dead *. 
When he reached the rank in the suqe in which he had no 
equal, and had to eat alone, he determined to build his gamal 
unlike those of other men. When he took further steps, and 
made his kolekole feasts (page no), he did the same. For 
this he hired men from Lakona in the same island, where 
they build their wona with small stones ; they selected the 
stones that suited Vagalo's design, and worked under his 
direction. This example of originality, and of the individual 
enterprise which has produced a work single of its kind, 
seems most valuable. It may help to explain the strange 
trilithon at Tonga. 

(3) Cultivations. The Melanesians are a horticultural people ; 
the skill and care with which gardens were kept and planted 
could not from the first fail to strike their visitors, and 
marked them off by a distinction that cannot be mistaken from 
the natives of Australia. The Melanesian * labourer ' carried 
off to Queensland was amazed to find men who, though black, 
had no garden, and did not bring back very flattering ac- 
counts of white men's cultivation either. A garden of yams 
carefully trained on reeds, kept absolutely clear from weeds, 
and beautiful in the leafage of the vines, is a fine sight 
indeed ; gardens, in San Cristoval as an example, with the 
various plots within a common fence neatly marked and 
divided, shew the exact regard for individual rights ; gardens 
raised and worked in steps on the steep sides of Meralava 
have been formed with much skill and labour ; the irrigated 
gardens 2 of the esculent caladium or arum in Aurora and 

1 The death of this man Valago shewed his remarkable character. Finding 
himself weak with advancing years and wasted by disease, he compelled a 
young man to fight with him at close quarters. Having received an arrow 
wound he died, forbidding vengeance, but expressing satisfaction that men 
should say that ' Valago was shot, and did not die like a woman.' 

2 ' Every inch that was available was used for irrigation, by means of 
one little streamlet which is made to do a vast deal of work before it can 

304 Arts of Life. [CH. 

Vanua Lava (if any survive the ruin caused by the labour 
trade in the latter island), are a proof of considerable and very 
ancient skill in cultivation. The esculent caladium is grown 
for food in Egypt and in Syria, and its use stretches in an 
unbroken chain from China throughout the islands of the 
Indian and Pacific Oceans ; it is not by any accident that a 
dry garden, as opposed to an irrigated one, is called uma in 
Sumatra and in the New Hebrides l . The respective shares of 
men and women in garden work i* settled by local custom. 
Cultivation has produced a wonderful variety in yams, ba- 
nanas, bread-fruit, and no doubt other common food-producing 
plants ; I have a list of eighty names of varieties of yams, and 
sixty of bread-fruit, grown in the little island of Mota, 
most of which an experienced native recognizes and names at 
once. It may be said generally, that the natives are fond 
of planting flowering shrubs and sweet herbs about their 
villages, but this is much more seen in the Banks' Islands 
and New Hebrides than in the Solomon Islands. The beauty 
and variety of hibiscus, croton, dracsena, acalypha, amaranthus, 
are surprising; no village is without its ornamental plants 
and flowers. In the Banks' Islands they know how to graft 
the various kinds of croton ; taking two young branches of 
equal size and breaking the end off each, removing an inch of 
the bark from the stock and the same length of the wood from 
the scion, bringing the bark of each to meet exactly ; this is 
done in damp hot weather only. 

(4) Weapons.. The use of the bow is universal in the islands 
with which we are concerned ; but the bow is not universally 
the chief war weapon. The spear is in some islands so 
conspicuously the fighting weapon that it is easy for one who 

reach the sea in a course of about two miles.' Bishop Selwyn, Maewo, 

1 * This is now the first month of their preparation for yam planting, which 
they perform in different stages. After a man has marked out the range of 
his garden that is to be, he determines upon the day when they shall " umwa" 
it, that is clear out all the scrub and undergrowth. Here his friends make a 
" bee " for him, and get the business over in one day.' Kev. C. Bice, Maewo, 

xvi.] Weapons. Fighting. 305 

has seen a good deal of native life to deny that the bow is 
used in war, though, as in Florida for example, the use of 
it is not so very rare. In Florida, Guadalcanar, Ysabel, San 
Cristoval, and to a less degree in Malanta, the proper thing 
is to fight with spears ; and the fashion may not be of very 
long standing, if at least we may take the narrative of the 
first discoverers to be correct. With the spear comes the use 
of the shield; yet the San Cristoval spearmen use no such 
defence, but turn off spears thrown at them with long curved 
glaives, and the shields in use in Florida are not made in 
that island. Spears are generally made of palm wood, in 
Ysabel of ebony ; they are mostly barbed, but in Florida the 
kona are headed with human leg-bones, cut and broken into 
jagged points. The fighting with spears in the open, as on 
a beach, is not attended with much mortality, and comes 
very much to a series of duels ; when one was hit, his enemy 
would run in on him with his club. There are occasions on 
which a combined attack is made upon a village by enemies 
who have by payment and by promises secured the assistance 
of numerous allies, and such an attack, if not at once 
successful or defeated, becomes something like a siege ; but 
an open spear fight, the mutual spearing, vei totogoni, of 
Florida, is not common l ; ambushes set round a village in 
the night, or for a single man in the path, are more common 
and deadly; in these the tomahawk is now the effective 
weapon. When a young warrior in Florida killed his first 
man, he would let the blood run from the weapon into his 
mouth. The bows of Malanta, powerful weapons, are 
commonly used in war in that island. Slings are not- 
unknown in the Solomon Islands, and are said to have been 
brought into use for attacking the tree-houses. Men never 
like to go about without something in the hand, to be used 

1 According to Takua's account of the famous fight to which he owed his 
place in Florida, 200 canoes came together from the neighbouring parts to 
attack Ta-na-ihu. Their first onset being unsuccessful, because anticipated, 
they fought with spears on the slope of the hill for three days. The assailants 
then withdrew, without much loss on either side. 


306 Arts of Life. [CH. 

in a sudden quarrel perhaps ; in Florida and thereabouts a 
paddle-shaped club is a favourite walking weapon, ran ni Aba, 
the leaf, so called, of Aba, a place in Guadalcanar where they 
are made. The spears, shields, clubs, bows and arrows of the 
Solomon Islands are common in museums. The spear 1 is 
practically unknown as a weapon in the Banks' Islands, it 
comes into use, in company with the bow, in Ambrym ; the 
Espiritu Santo spear, with its triple point and graduated 
barbing- of human bone, is perhaps the mosfc fearful of all 
these weapons. Where they fought with bows, as in the 
Banks' Islands, an open battle was not common ; much 
shouting of defiance, cursing, abuse and boasting, stamping 
with the heel, and grasping of the ground with the toes, a 
great sign of valour, resulted in little bloodshed 2 . Slings, 
talvava, in the Banks' Islands were used chiefly in defence 
against a night attack ; when such was expected, men would 
from time to time sling stones down the paths by which the 
enemy would approach ; but skilful slingers would do good 
service in a fight. Clubs in the Banks' Islands never seem 
to have been the carefully, and indeed beautifully, shaped 
weapons used in the New Hebrides ; with these latter arrows 
are warded off in fighting. 

The Melanesian weapons, however, which demand most 
attention, and require most explanation, are the poisoned 
arrows, as yet so little understood. The belief in the deadly 
virulence of the poison used, and in the hideous methods of 
preparing it, is too firmly fixed to readily give way. Yet 
a careful examination of poisoned arrows and of their effects, 
by English and by French medical officers, has resulted twice 

1 Old men in the Torres Islands carry a heavy wooden pointed staff which 
may be called a pike. In the Banks' Islands a spear is called isar, stabber, 
but is only known in use, as in Aurora also, to stab pigs. 

2 About thirty years ago a combined attack was made by about 600 men from 
the southern parts of Vanua Lava upon the people of Port Patteson, who with 
tlieir allies numbered about half their assailants. Their women backed up 
the attacked party, encouraging them with cries and beating upon the trees. 
There was no great loss of life, and the assailants retired. Not half the 
number could be brought together now. 

xvi.] Poisoned Arrows. 307 

over in the declaration that the reputed poison-stuff on the 
arrows is not poisonous, and that therefore the fatal effects of 
wounds from the arrows are not due to the preparation which 
is reputed poisonous 1 . From the scientific side, then, the 
view is clear ; and if the matter is approached from the 
native side, it appears with equal plainness that the deadly 
quality which they believe to attach to these weapons does 
not belong- to what can properly be called poison. It has been 
said (page 313) that the Melanesian preparations wherewith 
deadly property was believed to be conveyed to food were not 
properly poisonous, that the effect was not thought to be 
produced by the natural properties of the substance used, but 
entirely by supernatural properties imparted by magic arts ; 
and this although there might be deleterious qualities in the 
stuff employed. Most certainly this is the native view of 
what is called poison on their arrows ; what is sought, and as 
they firmly believe obtained, is an arrow which shall have 
supernatural power, mana, to hurt, in the material of which it 
is made, and in the qualities added by charms and magical 

1 ' An Enquiry into the Reputed Poisonous Nature of the Arrows of the 
South Sea Islanders, by Staff-Surgeon A. B. Messer, M.D., E.N., published 
by the Authority of the Lords of the Admiralty,' 1876, has, with others, the 
following conclusions. ' That in the numerous cases in which men have been 
wounded by these arrows, no recorded instances are known of poisonous effects 
following.' ' That the "locked- jaw " is not the result of poison on the arrows ; 
and as this disease is the only cause of fatal results after these wounds, the 
arrows themselves are not in any way dangerous beyond the severity of their 
wounds, and the conditions under which they are received.' The Report of 
the Commission appointed by the Governor of New Caledonia in 1883 is 
quoted by Mr. Romilly in the chapter on Poisoned Arrows in ' The Western 
Pacific and New Guinea/ as completely dispelling ' the vulgar notion of the 
fatal nature of these weapons.' As Mr. Romilly refers to myself, I may say 
that in the two cases mentioned the man who died had been little influenced, 
and the one who survived much influenced by Mission teaching, to which 
indeed it is reasonable to ascribe a good deal of the absence of alarm and 
distress from his mind. His constant exclamation was ' My mind is easy, I 
have heard the Bishop/ In that year, 1870, I obtained without difficulty the 
information concerning these arrows in the Banks' Islands which is here set 
forth, and which all that I have learnt since from other islands has shown to 
be correct. I do not remember to have heard of the renewal of the poison, 
which is likely enough. 

X 2 

308 Arts of Life. [CH. 

preparations. That a punctured wound in the tropics is often 
followed by tetanus, that the breaking off of a fine point of 
bone in a wound is sure to be dangerous and likely to be 
fatal, that an acrid or burning substance introduced by the 
arrow into the wound will increase inflammation in it, are 
facts altogether outside the native field of view. The point 
is of a dead man's bone, and has therefore mana, it has been 
tied on with powerful mana charms, and has been smeared 
with stuff hot and burning, as the wound is meant to be, 
prepared and applied with charms ; that is what they mean 
by what we, not they, call poisoned arrows. And when the 
wound has been given, its fatal effect is to be aided and 
carried on by the same magic that has given supernatural 
power to the weapon. 

Poisoned arrows, as they are called 1 , are used in the Solomon 
Islands, Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands, and New Hebrides. 
In the Torres Islands and Lepers' Island arrows are used for 
fighting which are not poisoned, yet belong entirely to the 
same class with those that are, being as much valued, 
trusted and feared as the others ; a very instructive fact : in 
Lepers' Island both kinds are used. There is a great differ- 
ence in the size and weight of the arrows of various islands, 
and in the proportion of the parts, but the structure is every- 
where the same. There is a shaft of reed, a foreshaft of hard 
wood, tree-fern or palm, and a point of human bone ; the 
point is let into the foreshaft, and that into the shaft, and 
the joinings are firmly bound with fine string or fibre. 
Santa Cruz arrows are uniformly nearly four feet long, 
and weigh about two ounces ; Banks' Island arrows are 
about three feet nine inches long, and weigh about an 
ounce ; Torres Island arrows are only two feet ten inches 
long, weighing three-quarters of an ounce. The bone point 
of a Santa Cruz arrow is seven inches long, and the fore- 
shaft of hard wood, curiously carved and coloured, is sixteen 
inches long. The bone head of a Torres Island arrow is 

1 Natives would never use the same word for the preparation with which 
their arrows are smeared and for that which they mix with food. 

xvi.] Poisoned Arrows. 309 

a foot long, the fore-shaft eight inches, the reed-shaft twenty 
inches. The one is a heavy and powerful weapon, requiring 1 a 
large and powerful bow ; the other is slight and weak, little 
more than a human hone fitted for the bow; one is poisoned, 
the other is not ; both are in native estimation equally deadly. 
Some of the New Hebrides and Solomon Island arrows have a 
very small point of bone. It is the human bone first of all 
that in native opinion gives the arrow its efficacy; the bone 
of any dead man will do, because any ghost has mana to work 
on the wounded man ; but the bone of a man who was 
powerful when alive is more valued 1 . 

Though it is the human bone that gives in the first place 
the deadly quality to the arrow, yet the bone must be fitted 
into the shaft with the magic charms which secure super- 
natural power to the weapon. The maker sings or mutters 
charms as he ties the bone to the foreshaft ; hence, as I have 
been told, the mana is put in where the bone joins the foreshaft. 
These charms are known but to a few whose business it is 
to make the arrows ; but still if one should, as did the young 
man at Omba who made arrows of his brother's bones, take 
the bones of one he knew in life and call upon his ghost, 
as he would be sure to do, in binding on the head, no doubt 
his arrows would be perfectly well prepared. The 'poison,' 
again, is an addition to the power of the bone ; the magical 
efficacy of this preparation is added to the supernatural power 
residing in the dead man's bone. When the bone had made 
the wound, the dead man's power, which had been brought by 
incantations to the arrow, would make the wound fatal. The 
preparation of burning juices mixed with charms, and smeared 

1 The true Lepers' Island arrow, liwue, is made with a broad white head 
of human bone with jagged edges, nine or ten inches long, and without any 
preparation in the way of poison ; and they use also poisoned arrows made and 
bought in Maewo. To make the liwue the leg-bones of men of no particular 
consideration are taken up out of their graves. Not long ago there was a 
man in that island, who out of affection for his dead brother dug him up and 
made arrows of his bones. With these he went about speaking of himself as 
' I and my brother ; ' all were afraid of him, for they believed that his dead 
brother was at hand to help him. 

3io Arts of Life. [CH. 

upon the bone with charms, carries to the wound what is 
itself like inflammation, and the ghost will make it inflame. 

The treatment of the wounded man proceeds on the same 
principle. If the arrow, or a part of it, has been retained, or 
has been extracted with leaf poultices, it is kept in a damp place 
or in cool leaves ; then the inflammation will be little and soon 
subside. Shells, which have been made efficacious for the pur- 
pose by charms, are kept rattling above the house where the 
wounded man lies, to keep off the hostile ghost. In the same 
way the man who has inflicted the wound has by no means 
done all that he can do. He and his friends will drink hot 
and burning juices, and chew irritating leaves ; pungent and 
bitter herbs will be burnt to make an irritating smoke ; a 
bundle of leaves known to the shooter or bought from a wizard, 
a qesis, will be tied upon the bow that sent the arrow, to secure 
a fatal result ; the arrow-head, if recovered, will be put into 
the fire ; the bow will be kept near the fire to make the wound 
it has inflicted hot, or, as in Lepers' Island, will be put into a 
cave haunted by a ghost ; the bow-string will be kept taut 
and occasionally pulled, to bring on tension of the nerves and 
the spasms of tetanus to the wounded man. 

The preparation of the poisoned arrows in Aurora, New 
Hebrides, is thus described by a native writer : 'When they 
have dug up a dead man's bone they break it into splinters 
and cut it properly into shape, and sit down and rub it on a 
stone of brain-coral with water. After that it is fixed into a 
bit of tree-fern wood ; everyone cannot do that, it is some one 
who knows (the charms). When that is done, the thick juice 
of no-to (exca3varia agallocha) is put upon it. Then it is put 
in a cool place on the side wall of a public hall, and no fire is 
made there, so that the cold may strike upon it and it may 
turn like mould. Then they dig up the root of a creeper they 
call loki, and come back and strip off the bark and scrape the 
inner fibre into a leaf; and that, wrapped in another leaf, 
is put upon the fire. When it is cooked this is wrapped in 
the web from the spathe of a cocoa-nut, and squeezed into 
a leaf of the nettle-tree. Then with a piece of stick they 


Poisoned Arrows. 

smear it on the point of bone to help the toto. After this it 
is put again into a cool place, and it swells up in lumps, which 
as it dries become smooth again. Then it is 
fastened to the reed, and bound round with 
fine string. After that they take a green 
earth, which is only found in one place, and 
paint it over 1 . When it has been painted, 
they take it to the beach and dip it into the 
sea-water till it becomes hard ; then the toto 
(poisoned arrow) is finished.' In the neigh- 
bouring island of Whitsuntide they finish 
off with stuff found on rocks on the shore, 
thought by them to be the dung of crabs, and 
believed to have much magic power 2 . 

In Mota, in the Banks' Islands, the poison 
is made from the root of the climbing plant 
loki, cooked over the fire with the juice of 
pandanus root. This mixture is black and 
thick, and is smeared on the points of human 
bone, which are put in the sun to dry, and 
then kept five days indoors wrapped up, when 
the stun turns white. Another mixture which 
is thought to cause more inflammation and to 
act more quickly is made with the juice of 
toi, an euphorbia. The points of these arrows 

1 I was once assured by a young naval officer that he 
had seen putrid flesh upon the natives' arrows. Asked 
whether he had taken one into his hand to examine it, he 
replied with disgust that he would not have the thing 
near him. He probably to this day believes that he has the 
witness of his own eyes to the truth of the common belief. 

2 For the origin of these arrows at Maewo see the 
story of Muesarava. The writer of that story adds, ' And 
this Maewo toto is exceedingly mana ; if it hits any one 
by chance, without being shot at him, he dies. If it hits 
any one like that they always take care of salt-water ; any 
one who has eaten what is salt cannot go near the house 
where the man lies. And there is a filthy custom ; if 
any one has been with a woman he cannot possibly go 
near ; if he goes to-day, the man will die to-morrow.' 


312 Arts of Life. [CH. 

are protected with caps, and the arrows themselves carried in a 
quiver. The man in a rage who is ready to shoot pulls off the 
caps and thrusts them into his hair, and grasps a number of 
arrows in his bow hand. The shafts of these toto arrows are 
most elaborately ornamented in Santa Maria. No arrows are 

At Santa Cruz the foreshaft is of palm wood, carved with 
shark's tooth or shell, and painted red and white. The 

bone head is covered with 
a preparation of vegetable 
ashes, which gives great su- 
pernatural power. The fore- 
shaft is bound at intervals 
with a string of fibre, which 
is covered with the same 
sort of preparation which 
covers the bone point; and 
this binding is no doubt 
done with charms to fasten 
supernatural qualities on the 

The common result of a 
wound from any of these 
arrows, whether 'poisoned* 
or of bare bone, is certainly 
tetanus, which is expected. 
Even if, however, the loki 
be, as has been supposed, 

some kind of strychnine, 
SHELL ADZE. TORRES ISLANDS. .. . T, , , .. -, -. .-, 

it is well established that 

this is not the cause of the disease. If it be asked how 
the very common belief has arisen that these arrows are 
poisoned with putrefying human flesh, if the preparation be 
wholly vegetable as above described, I can but conjecture that 
natives answered ' dead man ' to early traders' enquiries. 
The native meant that the deadly qualities of the weapon 
came from the dead man of whose bone the head was made ; 

xvi.] Tools and Implements. 313 

the European, thinking of poison, not magic, supposed that 
the poison was from a corpse. If it be asked again why, if 
the arrows be not really poisoned, the natives are so much 
afraid of them and careful not to touch them, it is enough to 
say that they firmly believe that they are deadly, and that 
this belief will outlast the belief in the power of the charms 
with which they are made. 

(5) Tools and Implements. Before the introduction of 
metal, the adzes 
with which most 
of native work was 
done were in some 
islands of stone, in 
some of shell. The 
division is very 
clear: the Solomon 
islanders, except in 
Rennell and Bel- 

lona, use stone, and so do the New Hebrides 
people ; the Santa Cruz people, Torres islanders 
and Banks' islanders used shell, for adzes the 
giant clam shell. The form of Florida stone 
adzes and of the Santa Cruz shell adzes is 
the same, roughly cylindrical, the cutting 
edge being a segment of the circumference ; 
the stone adzes of the Eastern Solomon 
Islands and the New Hebrides, and the shell 
adzes of the Banks' Islands, have the same 
general form, a long oval section, the flattish 
sides meeting to form the edge. The shell SHELL ADZE. 
adzes of Santa Cruz are beautifully finished, SANTA CEUZ - 
those of the Banks' Islands often very rough. 
When iron was introduced the Banks' Islands people, seeing it 
in the form of hoop iron, were inclined to call it heaven-root, 
gar tuka, supposing ships to come from beyond the horizon, and 
to have brought some of the strong and hard base of the firma- 
ment ; when axes were seen they settled into the use of the word 

Arts of Life. 


talai, clam shell, for iron. In Florida, Solomon Islands, a stone 
adze was gila, the ira of San Cristoval, and whence they took 
halo for iron is not explained. It is interesting to observe that 
in Lepers' Island, the stone adzes were called talai maeto, black 
clam shell, a name now given to iron ; the native adze was 
evidently at first of shell, talai, and when stone was used the 
old name was retained. They still use the til, a volute shell, 



for working the inside of their canoes. Another shell, the 
tire, was used in the Banks' Islands for a chisel. The rapidity 
with which the shell and stone implements give way to iron 
is surprising. Santa Cruz was very little visited, almost un- 
visited, ten years ago, and it was difficult to get any shell 
specimens even five years ago. The crookedness and slight- 
ness of the wooden handles used in the Solomon Islands is 
surprising. For cutting threads, shaving, and fine carving, 


Implements. Stone-boiling. 


obsidian, chert, and sharks' teeth were used. The bamboo 
knife has hardly been superseded by steel or iron ; the edge 
will not stand long, but while it stands it is far sharper than 
a common steel knife in hands that know how to use it *. 

Pottery is unknown in the islands which are here in view, 
being present in well-known forms in Fiji, and in ruder 
unglazed dishes in Espiritu Santo. There may be room for 
question whether the wide circular wooden dishes, tapia, of the 



Banks' Islands, and the deep wooden pots, popo, bought by 
the Florida people from Guadalcanar, carry with them any 
reminiscence of fictile ware. The paltara, used to chop bread- 
fruit open in the Banks' Islands, is an interesting representation 
in wood of the shell adze. 

Stone-boiling, in Mota salo, was known all through the 
islands, though not very much practised for cooking, at least 

1 A saw is made in the Banks' Islands by rolling up a strip of bamboo in a 
spiral form. The name given to this implement, saosao, casts a doubt upon 
its native origin. 

316 Arts of Life. [CH. 

in the Banks' Islands, where the cream squeezed out from 
grated cocoa-nut was often cooked over the embers in the 
shells. The bowls of the south-eastern Solomon Islands, 
remarkable some of them for their enormous size, some for 
their fantastic shape, all for their really beautiful orna- 
mentation, represent stone-boiling- in purpose if not often 
in use. The oval wooden bowls, wumeto, of the Banks' 
Islands sometimes stand on legs. The pestles in very active 
use there for making mash, lot, in the broad wooden dishes 
are wooden, sometimes ornamented with the figure of a bird 
at the upper end, an almost solitary instance of carved figure 
ornament on the implements of those people. It need hardly 
be said that all Melanesian people are mat-makers ; the remark- 
able thing is that in Santa Cruz alone is found a loom with 
which beautiful mats are woven with the fibre of a banana 
cultivated for the purpose ; these looms are identical with 
those in use in the Caroline and Philippine Islands and in 

(6) Fishing. A large part of the subsistence of Melanesians 
is generally and naturally derived from the sea, though the 
character of the shore modifies the extent of fishing industry. 
Something to eat with vegetable food is always looked for; 
and shell-fish, octopus, and such things from the reefs are in 
daily request. Fish are caught by angling from the shore 
or from canoes, by nets, by shooting or spearing, in woven 
pots, by poison, and with the use of torches at night. Hooks, 
now generally superseded, were most commonly made of 
tortoise-shell ; in the Solomon Islands the hook common in 
the Pacific was beautifully made ; a piece of mother-of-pearl, 
with or without a wooden back, with a tortoise-shell hook 
lashed to it, and a few beads on a short string, requiring no 
bait. The very small fish-hooks of mother-of-pearl and tor- 
toise-shell, of either material alone, or of some shell which 
might imitate a bettle, at Savo, San Cristoval, Ulawa, were 
among the prettiest and most skilful products of native 
handiwork. The flying-fish is caught not with a hook, but 
with a double prickle of tortoise-shell, or spines from palms. 


Fishing Implements. 


To fish for these from a canoe a very long and 
light line is required ; in Santa Cruz and the 
Solomon Islands a 
float is used, a short 
stick, or wooden 
shaft shaped like a 
bird atop, weighted 
with a stone, a 
contrivance which 
must also be known 
in the Banks' Is- 
lands, since it has 
a name, wo-uto, 
there *. The stitch 
in netting is that 
familiar in Europe, SANTA CRUZ FLOAT. 
and nets are made 

extremely fine, and very large and strong. In the 
Solomon Islands no mesh is used for a very large 
net, but for a pig-net the loop is measured by 
the knee, for a turtle-net by a man's shoulders. 
Nets, sometimes fifty feet square, are used as seines, 
and are let down between stages in shoaling 
water ; they are cast by the hand, or sunk by the 
side of a canoe. An ingenious contrivance is where 
a square net has its four corners kept apart by two 
diagonal elastic rods, at the intersection of which 
the line by which it is lowered is attached ; when 

1 With reference to the remarks of Dr. Hickson (Naturalist 
in Celebes, p. 200) and Dr. Guppy (Solomon Islands, p. 151), it 
should be observed that these floats are used to catch only 
flying-fish, and that on account of their extreme shyness. In 
the Solomon Island floats, on which the figure of a bird occurs, 
the line is wound round the hollow of the bird's back and a 
projection below made for the purpose. For this the shape of 
a bird is certainly convenient, and the genius of those people 
leads them to ornamental forms. The Celebes floats seem 
certainly to represent those of the Solomon Islands in a remark- 
able and instructive way. 



1 8 Arts of Life. [CH. 

a fish is seen above the net the line is hauled up, the ends of 
the rods come together, and the net forms a bag containing 
the fish. Fishing with a kite is practised in the Solomon 
Islands and Santa Cruz ; the kite is flown from a canoe, and 
from it hangs a line with a tangle of spider's web or of fibre, 
which it drags along the water, and in which a fish with a 
projecting under jaw entangles its teeth. In Lepers' Island 
small fish are caught in nets made of spider's web ; in the 
Banks' Islands they are driven by children into barricades 
of dead coral. A singular method of catching sharks is 
practised at San Cristoval, which is said to have been 
borrowed from Santa Cruz ; an outrigger canoe is used with 
a bamboo stage on the outrigger ; one man paddles the canoe, 
another on the stage shakes cocoa-nut shells strung on a loop 
of bamboo to attract a shark ; when a shark comes near, the 
man substitutes a fish, and has a noose ready into which the 
shark swims ; when caught and hauled on to the stage the 
shark is despatched with a club. This goes on some way out 
from shore, to be clear of man-eating sharks, for those caught 
in this way are eaten. The dugong is taken, but rarely, at 
the Bugotu end of Ysabel. The reef and lagoon between Ka 
and Motlav is at times the scene of an exciting chase of fish, 
when a shoal is driven into the shallow of the reef by a long 
line of natives shouting and beating the water with their 
hands. I have seen at Lakona in Santa Maria, and no doubt 
the same thing is seen elsewhere, a large fish-trap in which 
reed fences lead the fish as the tide retires into circular 
enclosures from which they cannot retreat. Walls of stone 
to shut back fish as the tide ebbs are common in the New 
Hebrides. Fresh- water fish are abundant wherever there are 
streams and lakes ; some the natives recognise as peculiar to 
fresh-water, some they say live also in the sea, sale rua tasi ; in 
the mud of the irrigated gardens of Aurora an eatable fish is 
found. Eels are abundant, but in some places are not eaten. 
In the tas, the lake of Santa Maria, they are very large ; when 
the water is low the natives dig pits by the margin of the 
lake, and into these the eels find their way when the water 

xvi.] Food. Cooking. 319 

rises ; when it recedes again the eels are left behind and are 
shot and speared. Names of rank are given to the very 
largest eels, after the names of the Suqe ; it is the fashion to 
measure anything remarkable for size, and to hang up the 
measuring line in the gamal\ I have seen a measure of 
thirty inches the circumference of an eel not of the highest 

(7) Food and Cooking. The yam no doubt takes the highest 
place as the staple food of Melanesians, though in some 
places what is commonly known as taro, the esculent cala- 
dium, is much more grown. The number of varieties of 
yams in a single island has been noticed ; there is much dif- 
ference also in the general character of the tuber in eastern 
and western groups of islands, the Solomon Island yams 
being round and compact, and of no great size, while in the 
New Hebrides one at least has been measured by the height 
of a man of more than six feet. A species with a prickly 
vine, the tomago of the Banks' Islands, mitopu of Santa Cruz, 
pana of Florida, liana of San Cristoval, is very commonly 
grown; and another prickly kind is sometimes cultivated, 
which grows wild in the Banks' Islands, the qauro, and is 
eaten there grated and washed in sea- water when food is scarce. 
The caladium is only called taro by the natives when they 
think they are speaking English; there are many varieties 
grown in dry ground on the hills, as well as in the skilfully 
irrigated gardens of Aurora. The giant caladium, via alike in 
the Banks' Islands and Madagascar, is eaten in the New He- 
brides and the Solomon Islands. Bananas supply much food 
in numerous varieties ; in Lepers' Island the fruit seems to be 
eaten in larger proportion than elsewhere. The bread-fruit is 
scarce in the Solomon Islands, most abundant perhaps at Mota 
and the other Banks' Islands, where it forms an important 
part of the food supply when dried over a fire, wound round 
with strips of leaves, as is done also in the Solomon Islands, 
and preserved in chests. The making of anything like the 
madrai of Fiji from fermented bread-fruit is not practised. In 
the Banks' Islands the pith of the sago-palm is washed into 

320 Arts of Life. [CH. 

starch in a trough of the stem, and cooked in cakes, but it 
hardly ranks as an article of common food. In Santa Cruz it 
has an important place ; sago pith cooked whole was the main 
provision of canoes from Tikopia which visited the Banks' 
Islands one year during my stay. Melanesian natives are 
very fond of mashing yams, taro and bread-fruit, and eat the 
puddings so made with sauce of the cream-like juice squeezed 
out of scraped cocoa-nuts, and cooked by stone-boiling or in 
the shells upon a slow fire. The leaves of an hibiscus like the 
manihot and of many trees are cooked in the ovens. Tapioca 
has been introduced. The nuts of the canarium have a very 
important place in native cookery. Though a good deal of 
cookery is done by roasting upon the fire such things as fish, 
mash, eggs, wrapped in leaves and laid upon the embers, and 
thin yams continually scraped and turned, all the substantial 
meals are prepared in the native oven. There are differences 
in detail, but the method generally is the same, and the 
result admirable, the food being cooked by steam in its own 
juices. The hole in the ground which forms the oven is 
mostly permanent, with its heap of stones that will bear the 
fire lying by it ; the fire lighted in the hole which has been 
lined with stones heats those and others heaped upon it ; 
when the fire has burnt down, these latter stones are taken 
out with wooden tongs, the food wrapped in leaves is 
arranged within, hot stones are laid between the larger 
parcels, and the rest of the hot stones above all ; the whole is 
shut in with leaves, or may be covered in with earth ; water, 
salt or fresh, is poured in to make steam, and every escape of 
the steam is watched and closed. The process is lengthy, and 
gives much of the day's occupation to the native men, who 
cook for themselves; it is a pity, perhaps also because it 
takes less time, that the introduction of iron pots and sauce- 
pans is changing the native cooking for the worse. A good 
deal of care is taken about washing the hands before cooking, 
and to e&t panlepa, dirty-handed, is a discredit in the Banks' 
Islands. Fire is produced by the stick and groove. 

(8) Clothing. Bark- cloth, tapa, hammered out from the 




bark of paper mulberry is made, but roughly, in Ysabel, and 
worn in Florida ; it was made till lately in Ulawa and San 
Cristoval ; a rough kind, made perhaps always from the bark 
of banyan figs, is used in the New Hebrides. When such 
cloth was in use the name of it, e.g. tim in Ysabel and Florida, 
sala in Ulawa, was ready for European cloth. In Aurora gavu, 
and in the Banks' Islands nearest to Aurora gagavu^ is used for 
cloth, no doubt identical with the Maori kahu and kakahu. 
In Mota the word siqpa was applied at once to European 
clothes, which, as the natives knew nothing of tapa, was sur- 
prising. The native explanation is that the Tongans, who for 
two years visited the Banks' Islands and made a short settle- 
ment on Qakea, were clothed with siopa. They have in fact 
shifted the vowels in siapo, hiapo (the Maori hiako, bark), the 
name of bark cloth in Tonga and Samoa. In Motlav, again, 
the word malsam was applied to cloth, of which the first 
syllable is no doubt the common malo of Fiji and elsewhere. 
It was strange that among the people of the Banks' Islands, 
where the men were content to go without any covering at all, 
the art of making a very handsome and elaborate dress was 
known ; this was the malo saru, the malo put on over the head, 
of variegated matting work in four pieces joining at the neck, 
worn in dances by those of sufficient rank to do so. The art 
expired some years ago with the last two men who practised 
it. Two malo saru, probably the only existing examples, are in 
the British Museum, one of which is shewn on page 108. To 
all appearance the work, which much resembles that in the 
Santa Cruz mats, must, like those, have been produced in a 
kind of loom. 

The dress of women varies remarkably, and does not vary 
quite in accordance with the changes in the dress of men. In 
Florida and its neighbourhood in the Solomon Islands, where 
the male dress is scanty but perhaps sufficient, the women 
have short petticoats of fibre. In the south-eastern Solomon 
Islands the male attire is very scanty, and the women are 
contented with a fringe. The men again at Santa Cruz are 
amply clad in what may perhaps be called the dress of the 


Arts of Life 


Polynesian colonies, and the women wrap their bodies and 
cover their heads with mats. In the Banks' Islands the men 
wore nothing, and the women had a little double band, par i, 
ending in fringed tufts, of platted fibre, sometimes well orna- 
mented with a crimson dye. In Lepers' Island the dress 


of the men is the same with that of Santa Cruz ; the women 
indoors wear the pari, and out of the house wrap themselves in 
ample mats. But whereas the man's dress is the same in 
Pentecost as in Lepers' Island, the petticoat of the women 
again appears there, and continues southwards in the group. 

xvi.] Money. 323 

In Lepers' Island a crimson dye is applied to mats through 
a stencil of banana leaf. 

(9) Money. There is some recognized medium of exchange 
in all the islands now in view, but the shell currency of 
the Banks' Islands and of the Solomon Islands is perhaps 
alone worthy of the name of money. It is probable that 
the ornaments of the person most in vogue have every- 
where a certain relative value, and pass in exchange for 
food and other necessaries, and the general apparatus of 
native life. Besides these there are products of industry 
which are made for the single purpose of exchange, and 
which may be called Mat-money, Feather-money, and Shell- 
money. The Mat-money is in use in the Northern New 
Hebrides, Aurora, Pentecost and Lepers' Island. The mats 
are long and narrow, made for no other purpose than to 
represent value, and are in Aurora and Lepers' Island valued 
the more, the more ancient and black they are. Women 
plait them ; either those of the family, or women hired for 
the purpose. In Aurora the name is malo^ the name of 
the dress which is worn by some men there, as by all at 
Lepers' Island. The mats are kept in little houses specially 
built for them, in which a fire is kept always burning to 
blacken them ; when they hang with soot they are particularly 
valued. Their value, however, is estimated by the number of 
folds, which are counted in tens ; a mat of twenty folds is 
called double, one of thirty folds treble. Though these mats 
will buy anything of sufficient value to equal a mat, they 
are mostly used for buying the steps in the Suqe Club. 
If a man wants to raise funds for this, he sends a pig 
into a village where he knows mats are to be had, and 
he receives mats less in value than his pig; when he can 
repay the mats he recovers his pig. In Lepers' Island 
and in Pentecost these mats are called maraka. In the 
latter island red ones, bwana, a word which in San Cristoval 
means pandanus, are of most value ; in Lepers' Island the 
ancient and rotten ones which have long hung in the house 
are very choice, though the value still goes by the number 

Y 2 

324 Arts of Life. [CH. 

of folds. There are three lengths of mats in common use; 
some mats are a hundred fathoms long-, some when folded 
ten fathoms ; the width is about two feet. A middle- 
sized mat will buy a tusked pig. A rich man will keep 
fifty mats and more in his house, hung up and decaying, 
a proof of ancient wealth. Mat-money is also lent at interest, 
and so becomes a source of wealth ; there is no fixed rate 
of increase, the lender gets what he is able to insist upon, 
up to a double return. In these three islands the discs 
of shell, som, horn, are beautifully prepared and worked up 
into armlets and necklaces, which are much valued, but there 
is no use of them as money. Feather-money is peculiar to 
Santa Cruz ; it is made of the red feathers from under the 
wings of a parrot, Trichoglossus Massena. The birds are 
caught in the deep bush, where they are very tame, with 
bird-lime smeared on a rod which a man carries in his hand, 
and on which they perch ; he must take care not to eat 
anything hot or fat, or they will not come near him. The 
small red feathers are first gummed on to pigeon's feathers, 
and these are bound on to a prepared foundation in rows, 
so that only the red is seen. A length of this feather-money, 
called tavau, about fifteen feet long, is coiled up and packed 
with peculiar ornaments. Short pieces are made for con- 
venience in arranging about prices. On festive occasions 
the dancing ground, nava, fenced round with huge discs 
of coral, is hung with the uncoiled feather-money of those 
who make the feast. The people say that formerly they 
had also shell-money. Though this feather-money is peculiar 
to Santa Cruz, there is in the Banks' Islands, in Santa 
Maria and Meralava, where the som shells are not found, 
a medium of exchange of the same character. The little 
feathers near the eye of fowls are bound on strings, and 
generally dyed a fine crimson ; these are used as neck- 
laces or anklets, by way of ornament and distinction (kole 
wetapup, p. no), but also pass very much in the way of 
money. A braid not unlike this was formerly used in the 
Loyalty Islands as a medium of exchange, the red fur under 

xvi.] Money. 325 

the ears of the flying-fox being 1 used in the same way as the 
feathers. Shell-money in the Solomon Islands and the Banks' 
Islands differs widely in one respect ; in the former it is 
in some places carefully and evenly made, and is of two 
sorts of less and greater relative value 1 , while in the latter 
it is all alike rough and unfinished, only quantity being 
cared for ; but in the Banks' Islands the character of money 
is more clearly marked, and money-dealing surprisingly 
developed. In the Solomon Islands, porpoise teeth in San 
Cristoval and Malanta, dogs' teeth in Florida and Ysabel, 
are current with a tolerably fixed value ; of the dogs' teeth 
only that immediately behind the canines is valued, and these 
to be worth much must be very white and sound 2 . The 
shell-money used in Florida and at Saa is made at Alite, 
and is taken in exchange mostly for pigs. The discs are 
carefully and accurately made from certain shells broken and 
rubbed into shape, the holes for stringing being drilled 
with a pump-drill, in Florida puputa, in San Cristoval nono, 
armed with a point of flint or obsidian. These discs are 
used for ornaments as well as money. The money is either 
white, turombwto, or red, rongo ; all is generally called rongo, 
and there does not appear to be a definite proportion of value 
between the two kinds. Six coils, about ten fathoms, is 
called a rongo, and ten rongo of red or white is an isa. 
Anything can be bought with shell-money; and the money 
is lent, but without interest. In this last particular the 
Banks' islanders are so advanced that it is hard to believe 
them in other ways so much uncivilized. The material is 
rude enough, but the forms and terms of money-lending 
are most elaborate. To make the money, the body of a 
shell, som, is broken, and the tip rubbed on a stone by means 
of a pointed stick inserted in the broken end till the inner 

1 The Florida money is smoothly finished ; that used in Ysabel and Ulawa 
is much more rough ; a very small and finely-finished kind of great value is 
made at Haununu in San Cristoval ; about 50 discs of this, ^ of an inch in 
diameter, can be strung upon an inch of thread. 

2 In Florida I dog's tooth is equal in value to 5 porpoise teeth ; in San 
Cristoval I dog's is worth I or 2 porpoise's, according to quality. 

326 Arts of Life. [CH. 

hollow of the shell is reached ; into the hole thus appearing 
at the tip of the shell the stick is then inserted, and the 
broken base ground smooth on the stone. There is thus 
a shell used for each disc, and no drill is needed, as indeed 
none is known. The shell discs are strung upon a slender 
strip of the bark of a hibiscus. The shell-money, som, thus 
made is good for any kind of purchase, but the great use 
of it is in buying steps in the Suqe Club. The som is 
arranged and counted in coils ; two sticks are fixed in the 
ground and the som is wound, siga, upon them ; a turn from 
the one stick and back again is tal ; ten rounds, tal sangavul, 
is a hank or coil, qatagiu ; when the quantity is less than 
the qatagiu it is counted as so many tal. The full length 
of the turn is a full fathom, the measure of a man's arms 
stretched out, rova togtogoa ; if a smaller measure is used the 
qatagiu is named accordingly. Rich men accumulate large 
quantities of this money; a hundred qatagiu, however, is 
enough to make a man rich. Accumulation results from 
the system of the Suqe and Tamate Clubs above described 
(chapters v, vi), and also from the practice of money-lending ; 
but according to native ideas the unseen spiritual influence 
called mana was the cause of wealth. The rate of interest 
is cent, per cent, without regard to time. A man borrows, 
avn, and the owner lends, tawe ; a debt, pug t is thus 
established. A debt is not only contracted by borrowing, 
but a rich man upon occasion imposes a loan, which his 
friend for his own credit is bound to accept, and to dis- 
charge with a double return. The pressure put on a debtor 
who does not pay when payment is demanded is admirably 
effective. All the men of the creditor's place come and sit, 
bringing their wives with them, in the debtor's premises ; 
the debtor lights his fire and cooks food for them ; if the pay- 
ment is not forthcoming they stay over night, go home next 
morning, and after a while repeat the visit. The debtor's 
neighbours and friends pity him and help him with food and 
money, till he scrapes enough together to pay the debt. 
A man borrowing money of a friend to pay a debt asks him 

xvi.] Money. 327 

to shield him, ti fforo, to stand between him and his creditor. 
If a man borrows money and lends that again to another, 
he is said to tul the lender, to treat him unfairly; if a man 
uses money he has borrowed of one man to satisfy another 
creditor, he is said to divert the payment, viro goro, into 
another course. When a man borrows, say ten strings of 
money, from another, he will make the creditor his debtor 
also, by lending him say four strings of his own money ; 
this smaller loan is called a tano ravrav, a drawing-place, 
and to make it is said to put down rollers in the way as if 
to draw up a canoe, lango goro, because it is thought to make 
the transaction more easy for the borrower, who becomes the 
creditor of his creditor, and cannot so well be dunned by him. 
To pay a debt is to close it up, wono. Money transactions 
play a great part in native life : social advance is secured 
by possession of shell- money, because the steps in the Suqe 
Club cannot be taken without it ; social eminence is main- 
tained by it, because the moneyed man has his debtors under 
his thumb, and by the power he has of imposing a loan he 
can make rising men his debtors and keep them back. 
By the Suqe institution money was kept in continual cir- 
culation, alike in large and small quantities. The little 
reef island of Rowa supplies common money, and also the 
finer sort, which is used only as ornament. This is sometimes 
extremely small and finely made, and with it, before the 
introduction of beads, was sometimes strung a bit of remark- 
able stone or a concretion from some shell 1 . In the Torres 
Islands, where the material for shell-money is absent, they 
now buy with beads, which indeed have in the Banks' 
Islands to some extent superseded money for small purchases ; 
formerly their very pretty arrows were used in the way of 

1 The discs of Banks' Island money, which differs little in size from that of 
the Solomon Islands, are about \ of an inch in diameter. The length of ten 
upon the string is about an inch. The fine som ta Rowa is not more than ^ 
of an inch in diameter, and as many as 60 discs go on an inch of string. A 
puto lakai, rough pearl from a giant clam, when bored with a rat's tooth for 
stringing, will buy a large pig. 


Arts of Life. 


money, and in a lesser degree mats, and boars' tusks ; the 
head of the peculiar pig rawe, with its tusks, is still very 
valuable there. 


(10) Decorative Arts. There appear to be four distinct 
groups into which the languages of the Melanesian islands 


here in view naturally fall ; and each of these groups has a 
distinctive style of decoration. The Western and Eastern' 




Solomon Islands must be divided into two groups ; San 
Cristoval, Ulawa, and Eastern Malanta have their own style 
of art. Santa Cruz stands per- 
fectly distinct ; the Banks' Is- 
lands and the Northern New 
Hebrides must go together. 

i. Beginning in the west, if 
there be anything distinctive it 
may be found in such ornament 
as appears on the lime-boxes of 
Ysabel. But there is and has 
been so much intercourse with 
islands further west that the 
style of New Britain ornament 
is represented in the paddles, 
for example, of Bngotu. The 
beautifully made and orna- 
mented shields and clubs which 
have been common at Florida 
were made in Guadalcanar ; the 
discs of clam-shell covered with 
a plate of tortoise-shell cut into 
an open-work pattern belong to 
all these islands to the west. 
Patterns of lines and circles in 
tattooing or incised on cocoa-nut 
bottles are also characteristic. 
3. The carvings, paintings and 
representations of scenes of 
native life executed in San Cris- 
toval and its neighbourhood have 
been mentioned. Drawings by 
native boys, such as those on 
pages 196, 259, would not be 
found in other islands. The 
decoration and fantastic shapes 
of bowls cannot fail to strike 



Arts of Life. 


attention ; the nautilus-shell inlay on bottles, cups, spoons, is 
really excellent. The artistic faculty of these people is 
remarkable. From Malanta come combs which shew extra- 
ordinary beauty of decoration as well as neatness of make ; 
but they are the work of the inland people rather than of 
those whose skill is shewn in the ornamentation of canoes and 
canoe-houses. 3. The change of character in decoration when 


Santa Cruz is reached is unmistakeable. The 
ornamental bands in the mats shew perhaps 
nothing distinctive ; but while the fancy of the 
natives shews itself in the shapes into which 
their bowls and pillows are carved, there is a 
fixed determination of painted ornament to 
lines, crosses, and stars of black and red upon a 
white ground. Their love of turmeric as a dye 
for ornamented bags connects them with the 
Polynesian colonies, such as that in Mae in the 
New Hebrides. They stand alone in their love 
of tags and loose ends by way of ornament. 4. In the Banks' 
Islands and New Hebrides mats, baskets, bags are skilfully 
made and well ornamented; the decoration of reeds, as the 
shafts of arrows (page 311), and ear-ornaments with incised 
line patterns, is characteristic. It is remarkable that there is 
a style of pattern belonging to each island or neighbourhood ; 
in a handful of ear-ornaments, natives can pick out each one 

xvi.] Ornamentation. 331 

and determine with certainty where it was made. In the 
patterns of tattooing, where it is used in these groups, and 
in the stencilled figures used on the mats in the New Hebrides, 
the character of the ornamentation shewn in the ear-orna- 
ments is reproduced ; just as tattoo on the cheeks of the 
women of the Florida neighbourhood follows the pattern 
incised on the cocoa-nut bottles. 

With this conventional character of the ornament of each 
group or region there appears also upon occasion a remark- 
able freedom of ornamentation. The part of an ornamented 
walking-stick here shown was cut with a common knife in 
Norfolk Island by a native of Aurora, who was not at all 
aware that he was executing a work of art. A comparison of 
the graceful foliage ornamentation incised on the back of a 
nut-shell used as a casket with the lined pattern on the cocoa- 
nut bottle above, shews again an unexpected freedom in the 
art of Ysabel. 



(i) Dances. It may be confidently asserted that in the 
Melanesian islands here in view dances have absolutely no 
religious or superstitious character, although visitors find 
' devil dances ' and * devil grounds ' enough. Men and women 
always dance apart ; the songs which accompany the dances 
are undoubtedly some of them indecent, and I would by no 
means deny that there are indecent dances, though I never 
heard of them. There might be thought to be a superstitious 
character in those dances in which the performers are sup- 
posed fco be ' ghosts,' if it were not that ghosts were believed 
to amuse themselves with dancing as well as men ; it might 
be thoug*ht that when the members of tamate ghost clubs 
dance in masks representing birds or fish they are dancing in 
honour of what may be called their totems, if there were the 
least reason to believe that the emblems of the clubs had any 
character of the sort. An Ambrym drum set up when a 
death-feast is celebrated, and carved into a representation of a 
face, is no doubt meant to represent the deceased, so that it 
may be said that dances are performed before the images of 
ancestors, and the deceased may be called either 'god' or 
' devil,' according to the terms employed ; but after all it is 
but a festival in memory of some lately dead member of the 
community, and the dancing and drumming are parts of the 
festivity. Women's dances are everywhere ungraceful and 
uninteresting ; in the rorohi of Florida they sway their bodies 

Dances. 333 

and stamp their feet in a circle ; in the lenga of the Banks' 
Islands they stamp, and scream a song-. In a Banks' Island 
feast while the men sing- and dance round the drum, the 
women, two and two, with the arms of each over the other's 
neck, tramp round the dancing-ground with short heavy 
steps, shaking as they go. The most graceful men's dance 
I have seen is one in which in San Cristoval and Saa per- 
formers wave dancing clubs as they represent fighting scenes, 
with the accompaniment of a very soft and tuneful song. The 
general term for men's dancing in Florida is gavai\ in the 
iilaru they sit as if paddling ; in the hauhamumu there is a 
concert of many bamboo pipes blown in certain tunes, 
without a song; this is a performance learnt by men from 
ghosts, and brought over from Laudari in Guadalcanar. 
Parties of men practise these dances till they are perfect, 
and then start on a voyage about the neighbouring islands, 
going a-dancing, gavai tona, exhibiting their performance 
everywhere, and receiving hospitality and handsome presents 
wherever they go. After the return of such a party they will 
divide from two to five hundred rongo, a large sum of money, 
among them. In Santa Cruz every great man has near 
his house his dancing- ground, nava, fenced with huge discs 
of coral ; the great aim in dancing is to stamp the feet all 
together with the utmost exactness and the loudest shock. 
Many of the Banks' Island dances, in elaborate figures carried 
out with the greatest precision, are really beautiful and inter- 
esting ; the performers, with their heads wonderfully adorned, 
and their limbs decorated with shining fringes of unopened 
palm-fronds, advance and retire in two lines, interlace in curves, 
cross and recross in ranks, waving their arms and stamping 
their feet, on which rattling anklets of empty nuts are hung, 
to the beat of a bamboo drum carried by a leader, or beaten 
by a seated performer. To keep them right in their steps 
they repeat to themselves the words of the song belonging 
to the dance. In Maewo, Aurora, clapping of hands plays a 
great part in common dancing and singing. In Lepers' 
Island, when a hundred or more men dance and sing round a 

334 Dances. Music. Games. [CH. 

drum or drums in a due, ' the earth shakes under their feet, 
and the land resounds about them ; ' and indeed it is no 
wonder that such dances give excitement and delight. The 
favourite time for dancing is a moonlight night, if the dance 
is the chief thing in view ; the dancing and drumming of the 
common feast goes on in daytime. 

(2) Songs. Words fitted to music are the songs and poetry 
of the people ; the character of the tunes differing more in 
the various groups and islands than the general character of 
the words. There is no conception of poetry without a 
tune, though tunes without words are not unknown. In 
songs certain words or forms of expression, which are not 
used in common speech, are everywhere thought poetical and 
appropriate, and words are lengthened or shortened to fit 
what must be called the metre. In the Banks' Islands the 
use of a distinct song-dialect is very remarkable, in which not 
only are words used which are never used in speech, some 
probably archaic and some borrowed from a neighbouring 
island, and not only are words contracted or prolonged to suit 
the tune, but in each island the song-language is so different 
from that of ordinary speech that the two have the appear- 
ance of two dialects, as completely as in the Dialogue and 
Chorus of a Greek play. The difference is least conspicuous 
in Gaua, Santa Maria, most conspicuous probably in Mota. 
On one side of Mota songs are composed in something like 
the language of Gaua, on the other in something like that of 
Motlav; yet the language of no Mota song is the spoken 
language of Gaua or Motlav, nor is a Mota song quite in the 
song-dialect of Gaua or Motlav. Every one of the Banks' 
Islands has at least one form of speech for songs and another 
for common use, while some, like Mota, are not content with 
two. In Santa Maria, however, while the spoken language 
of Lakona is very different from that of Gaua, the songs are 
almost if not quite the same. A poet or poetess more or less 
distinguished is probably found in every considerable village 
throughout the islands ; when some remarkable event occurs, 
the launching of a canoe, a visit of strangers, or a feast, song- 

xvii.] Songs. 335 

makers are engaged to celebrate it and rewarded, or the 
occasion produces a song for which, in the Banks' Islands at 
any rate, a complimentary present is made. In Florida a 
song is linge ; a song about some one, in honour of him, is his 
song, na lingena ; in the Banks' Islands a song is as, and is 
called the song of the person celebrated, na asina ; to compose 
a song in Florida is to fit it, kanggea na linge, in Mota it 
is to measure it, towo as. New words are thus fitted to old 
tunes, but new tunes are invented, as well as old ones 
modified. In the Banks' Islands a song has certain regular 
successive parts with distinctive names, each introduced by a 
vocalic prelude which marks the qau-as, the knee, or turn, of 
the song. Some songs are led off by a single voice, we put, 
some begin with many voices together, we saru ; sometimes 
the party of singers is divided, some start the song, we tiu j 
the rest follow with an answering part, we sarav goro. Songs 
are no doubt often indecent and obscene, but there are many 
which are perfectly harmless, some pretty in tune and words, 
some in which poetry may be recognized, though much is 
conventional. The following song is surely not devoid of 
poetry, and might be so translated as to give a very favour- 
able impression of native powers. It was composed at 
Lakona, in Santa Maria, in honour of Maros in his absence at 
sea, whose song it therefore is, and who speaks in the exor- 
dium. ' Leale ! ale! I am an eagle, I have soared to the 
furthest dim horizon. I am an eagle, I have flown and 
lighted at Mota. I have sailed with whirring noise round 
the mountain. I have gone down island after island in the 
West to the base of heaven. I have sailed, I have seen the 
lands. I have sailed in circles, I have been strongly set. An 
ill wind has drifted me away, has drawn me away from you 
two. How shall I make my way round to you two? The 
sounding sea stretches empty to keep me away from you. 
You, Mother, you are crying for me, how shall I see your 
face ? You, Father, are crying for me, how shall I see your 
face ? I only long for you, and weep ; it is irksome to me; I 
go about as an orphan, I alone, and who is my companion? 

336 Dances. Music. Games. [CH. 

Roulsulwar (his little daughter), you are crying after me 
without the house.' (Repeat this first part ; then the poet 
speaks to Maros.) ' Youths 1 My friend, you have lingered ; 
I have lingered over your song. I have measured it, and 
lengthened out my voice, the sound of it has spread down 
hither to my place. Ask, hear ; who was it that measured 
the song of Maros? It was the song-measurer who sits by 
the way to Lakona.' Repeat the last part. The songs of 
Aurora strike visitors as more musical than most. The 
following is a translation of a song used in flying a kite in 
Lepers' Island. ' Wind ! wherever you may abide, wherever 
you may abide, Wind ! come hither ; pray take my kite away 
from me afar. E-u ! E-u ! Wind ! blow strong and steady, 
blow and come forth, O Wind ! ' 

(3) Musical Instruments. The drum, in many forms, may be 
said to be the characteristic instrument of Melanesia, yet 
there seems to be no use of such a thing in Florida, and 
perhaps no knowledge of a native drum in Santa Cruz. The 
common form of drum is represented by a joint of bamboo 
with an open longitudinal slit ; this may be seen in various 
sizes from the largest to small bamboos, and is followed in 
the form of the drums which are made of logs of trees. In 
these the trunk of a tree of a suitable kind and size is hollowed 
from a long and narrow opening at the side, the lip of which, 
cut thin, receives the beat of the drum -sticks. These drums 
are very resonant and well toned, and can be heard at a 
great distance. The skill of the drummers and the pieces 
they perform are not contemptible, when two or even three 
performers sit down to one drum and play some piece of 
native drum-music in the Banks' Islands, or when three 
drums of different size and tone, as I have heard at Saa, are 
played together with surprising precision and variety. At 
Saa and in San Cristoval there are large houses for the drums ; 
the story of the settlement at Saa (page 49) shews how good 
drums are valued. In the Banks' Islands a drum is kore y in 
Lepers' Island singling ; a large singling, and some are very 
large, has a handle left in the wood when the end is squared 


Musical Instruments. 


to help in moving it, and has a little house built over it to 
keep it from sun and weather. In all these islands the drums 
lie horizontally upon the ground, but in Ambrym and the 
Southern New Hebrides they stand erect, the butt buried in 
the earth and the tapering top shaped into a face. The 
bamboo drums if large are 
held by an assistant as the 
performer beats, small ones 
can be carried in a dancer's 
hand. Such instruments 
as these are no doubt im- 
properly called drums. I 
have seen the hollow trunk 
of a tree-fern set up in the 
ground, and a mat tied 
over it to form a drum- 
head, beaten with the fists, 
and also a thin broad slab 
of wood, probably cut from 
the buttress of a tree, laid 
over a hole dug in the 
ground and struck with a 
rammer ; these, however , 
rude, may be called true 
drums. Panpipes, vigo in 
Mota, galevu in Florida, 
luembalambala if of seven 
or eight pipes, nggovi if \ 
of three, in Lepers' Island, 
are common; it is the 
proper thing in some places to assist the instrument with a 
vocal sound. Some galevu have a double row of pipes, one of 
each pair open at the bottom, the other closed. Single 
bamboo pipes are blown in the Florida Jiauliamumu dance, 
two with each performer, or one of the largest size ; with 
these certain tunes, which have each their names, are played 
in concert with considerable musical effect. The reed, or 




Dances. Music. Games. 



(The treble and bass, with other notes between occasionally thrown in : 
written down by Mr. G. BAILEY of Norfolk Island.) 

"<^J f^"~j 

r ~T r r T 5 r r 

-!* 'f 51 ' i*- . f 5 *- i*- i** , I*- -p- i* . g a sC^s s ' 


xvii.] Musical Instruments. 339 

bamboo, pipes of the Banks' Islands, wecjore, produce a plaintive 
little music. The corresponding nggore of Lepers' Island is 
longer, some three feet, and has four holes, so that native 
songs can be played. The warn, double flute, of the same 
island consists of two lengths of slender bamboo with the 
knot between them ; on either side of the knot on the upper 
side is a hole, and at both ends two holes above and below. 
When the instrument is played the knot with its two holes 
goes into the performer's mouth, his outstretched hands 
support the bamboo, and he modulates the sound with his 
fingers and thumbs on the holes at the ends. The bamboo 
used is not more than two-thirds of an inch in diameter, for 
a strong sound is not liked ; the music of the waru is 'excellent 
to hear ' in native ears. In the Solomon Islands the bamboo 
jew's-harp, the nene of Florida, is common, which is unknown 
in the Eastern Islands. A stringed instrument is known in 
the Solomon Islands, the kalove of Florida. It is made of a 
piece of bent reed or bamboo a foot long and of half an inch 
diameter. From end to end of this two strings are stretched, 
passing over little bridges which are pushed up towards the 
end to tighten them ; the strings are tuned to one note. 
The performer holds the curved back of the instrument in his 
mouth, and strikes the strings with a little plectrum of reed 
held in his right hand ; with the fingers of his left hand he 
holds the kalove so that he keeps one of the strings per- 
manently stopped, and to produce higher notes can stop the 
free string as the tune requires it. The music thus produced 
is not very audible to any one but the performer, to whom it 
gives great delight. Among musical instruments must be 
included the castanets, of shells of nuts and seeds, worn upon 
the ankles in dancing, upon the wrists, and, as in Santa Cruz, 
hung upon dancing-clubs, for these are important accessories, 
especially in a stamping dance such as the Banks' Island qat. 
In the preparation for a feast in San Cristoval men sit 
together to scrape the cocoa-nuts 1 y and as they scrape follow 

1 To scrape the nut conveniently they use a seat like a quadruped, the body 
and head being the trunk of a small tree and the legs four branches ; the head 

Z 2 


340 Dances. Music. Games. [CH. 

the song they sing with the motion of their hands, rattling the 
castanets on their wrists together with admirable precision and 
variety to beguile their task. In the Banks' Islands, to add 
to the din of the multitude of drums big and little at a feast, 
I have seen a man shaking dry shells from the beach in a 
bag of matting. In Aurora they fasten bamboo rods pierced 
with holes to the tops of trees, and so contrive an ^Eolian 
flute, such as those mentioned by Dr. Tylor in his ' Early 
History of Mankind.' 

(4) Games. A game which belongs to the Banks' Islands and 
New Hebrides is tika, the Fiji tiqa, played with reeds dashed in 
such a manner upon the ground that they rise in the air and fly 
to a considerable distance. In some islands, as Santa Maria, a 
string is used to give impetus, and in some the reed is thrown also 
from the foot. The game is played by two parties, who count 
pigs for the furthest casts, the number of pigs counted as 
gained depending on the number of knots in the winning tika. 
There is a proper season for the game, that in which the yams 
are dug, the reeds on which the yam vines had been trained 
having apparently served originally for the tika. When two 
villages engage in a match they sometimes come to blows. 
There are marks on the tiqa to shew to whom they belonged. 
It is remarkable that in Mota a decimal set of numerals is 
used in this game, distinct from the quinary set used on every 
other occasion of counting ; in Florida also there are numerals 
used in a game, but only the common numerals in an altered 
form. In the Banks' Islands boys play at hide-and-seek, 
rurqonaqona ; there are two sides, and if the boy who is hiding 
is not found by the seekers, he suddenly jumps up and counts 
a pig against them. There is also a kind of prisoners' base, 
laptapau ; each party has a cooking-place, um> in which they 
are safe, and outside which they may be caught. In Lepers' 
Island they have football, played by men and boys in two 
sides between two fences, with a native orange, bread-fruit, or 
cocoa-nut; the goal is gained when the ball is driven out at 

is armed with a shell scraper. In the Museum at Batavia is a similar seat 
with the tail of a horse, and the scraper of iron. 

xvii.] Games. 341 

either end from between the fences ; a pig- is counted for each 
goal. In the same island in waliweli tambagau two parties sit 
opposite to one another in the moonlight ; a man or boy from 
one side comes forward holding the door-shutter of a house, 
tambagau t before him, and the other side guess who he is and 
call his name ; if they fail a pig is counted against them ; if 
they succeed one of their party takes the door. The women 
play the same among themselves. They have also a game 
like hunt-the-slipper, and play at hiding canarium almonds, 
counting pigs in success. Cat's-cradle,in Lepers' Island lelegaro, 
in Florida honggo, with many figures, is common throughout 
the islands. I have seen in Florida a game in which two 
parties of boys tossed backwards and forwards a rough ball on 
the points of sticks, the object being to keep it from the 
ground as long as possible. In the Solomon Islands the great 
game is throwing and dodging spears, or sticks instead of 
spears. This is to some extent represented in the Banks' 
Islands by two parties throwing native oranges at each other. 
At Lakona they used in a friendly way to resort to the sarevnate, 
the shooting-ground, and practise at one another with their 
bows and arrows. In the Banks' Islands and Torres Islands, 
and no doubt in other groups, they use the surf-board, tapa. 
In Mota, taptapui is racing to get first to a certain object ; 
tititiro is throwing at a tree or some other mark. Archery is 
practised with banana trunks set up as targets. Counting is 
made into a kind of game ; in the Banks' Islands strokes are 
arranged on the sand, or on a board, in a certain figure 
representing numbers, and these are counted with the finger 
accompanied by a whistled tune ; something of the same kind 
is done in Florida, sticking fingers into the sand in number 
according to a counting song brought from Alite. Boys 
sitting together in a narrow ring toss from side to side another 
who stands among them, and holds himself as stiffly as he can, 
so that he is thrown like a log of wood. Children in the 
Banks' Islands,, when a rainbow is seen, play at cutting off its 
end, tolo gasiosio ; if they can cut it short there will be no more 
rain. There is in the Banks' Islands a certain approach to 

342 Dances. Music. Games. 

acting ; a man will imitate the voice and gestures of another, 
the gait of a cripple, the fury of a man in a rage, or will 
pretend to be a woman, for the amusement of a crowd. 

(5) Tvy s - Kites, used in fishing in the Solomon Islands 
and Santa Cruz, are used as toys in the Banks' Islands and New 
Hebrides, though not commonly of late years. They have their 
season, being made and flown when the gardens are being 
cleared for planting. The kite is steadied by a long reed tail, 
and a good one will fly and hover very well. The name is in 
the Banks' Islands rea, in Lepers' Island mala, an eagle. The 
use of the bull-roarer, bnro, in the Mysteries at Florida, has 
been mentioned. It is there only that any superstitious 
character belongs to it. There is no mystery about it when 
it is used in the Banks' Islands to drive away a ghost, as 
in Mota, where it is called nanamatea, death-maker, or to 
make a mourning sound, as in Merlav, where it is called wo- 
ncng-tamb, a wailer, and used the night after a death. It 
is a common plaything ; in Vanua Lava they call it mala, 
a pig, from the noise it makes ; in Maewo it is tal-viv, a 
whirring string ; in Araga it is merely tavire bita, a bit of 
bamboo. Battles are merely toys ; in the Banks' Islands 
the dry seed-pods of a cassia are tied in a row between two 
strips of bamboo. In the same group the name of a toy, 
taplagolagO) has been adopted for the English wheel, and after 
that for any wheeled vehicle or machine. Children used to 
make a broad hoop of a sago frond, and set it running down 
hill, with the cry taplagolago ! ' it runs of itself ! ' Tops are 
made in the Solomon Islands of the nut of a palm and a pin 
of wood, the whole visible length of which, between two and 
three inches long, is below the head. To spin the top a 
doubled string is wound round the shaft, and the two ends 
are pulled smartly asunder. A similar top was used in Pitcairn 
Island by the half Tahitian children of the Bounty Mutineers. 

Whistling was hardly in native use as a way of producing a 
tune, though a song might be whistled without words. In 
the Banks' Islands there is a way of whistling a man's name 
to call him, woswos-lcglog. 



(i) Cannibalism. It may be safely asserted that in the 
Banks' Islands and Santa Cruz there has been no cannibalism, 
though the natives were not ignorant of the practice of it by 
others. When some fifty years ago a party of men from 
Tonga, as it is remembered, left the little island of Qakea, on 
which they had for a short time settled, the proofs that they 
had eaten those whom they had killed in the fighting which 
preceded their departure caused such horror and rage against 
them that a party returning a year after to the same place 
was immediately attacked. In the Solomon Islands it is 
strange that the practice has recently extended itself. It is 
asserted by the elder natives of Florida that man's flesh was 
never eaten except in sacrifice, and that the sacrificing of men 
is an introduction of late times from further west. The coast 
people of Bugotu say the same of themselves ; but they freely 
accuse the inland people of the same island, with whom they 
have a good deal of free intercourse, and whose speech is not 
very different from their own, of being cannibals, and of killing 
men for the sake of eating them. A few years ago one Nunu, 
an inland chief, was believed to say that pig's flesh was bad 
and man's flesh sweet to him ; a man who had mounted to his 
place and found himself in a sweat would sit down to cool 
before he showed himself ; Nunu took the sweat as a sign of 
fatness, and would desire to eat him. In Ulawa, again, there 

344 Miscellaneous. [CH. 

is no eating of men ; it is thought that the lio'a, the ghosts of 
power, do not like it ; and at Saa it was not the old custom of 
the place, the elder men even now will have nothing to do 
with it. The younger men have taken to it, and eat the 
bodies of men killed in battle ; they have followed the 
custom of men from the eastern coast who have lived with 
them, and of the Bauro men of San Cristoval whom they 
have visited. The natives of San Cristoval not only eat the 
bodies of those who are slain in battle, but sell the flesh. 
To kill for the purpose of eating human flesh, though not 
unknown, is rare, and is a thing which marks the man who 
has done it. This is a subject on which stories which come 
from traders are not very trustworthy. In the Northern 
New Hebrides there is no doubt cannibalism. I know 
nothing about it in Aurora, but have been told by an 
eye-witness of what is done in Pentecost. After a bitter 
fight they would take a slain enemy and eat him, as a sign of 
rage and indignation ; they would cook him in an oven, and 
each would eat a bit of him, women and children too. When 
there was a less bitter feeling, the flesh of a dead enemy was 
taken away by the conquerors to be cooked and given to their 
friends. In the neighbouring islands, and at the back of 
his own island, said my informant, they kill for the sake of 
eating. In Lepers' Island they still eat men. It was not the 
common fashion, however, to eat enemies killed in fair fight- 
ing, it was a murderer or particularly detested enemy who was 
eaten, in anger, and to treat him ill ; such a one was cooked 
like a pig, and men, elder women and boys ate him. The 
boys were afraid, but were made to do it. It is the feeling 
there that to eat human flesh is a dreadful thing, a man- 
eater is one afraid of nothing ; on this ground men will buy 
flesh when some one has been killed, that they may get the 
name of valiant men by eating it. A certain man in Lepers' 
Island mourned many days for his son, and would not eat till 
he bought a piece of human flesh for himself and his re- 
maining boy ; it was a horrid thing to do, appropriate to his 
gloomy grief. 

xviii.] Heads. Castaways. 345 

(2) Heads. Head-hunting is not practised by any of the 
natives eastwards from Ysabel; that is to say, they do not 
make expeditions for the sole purpose of obtaining heads. In 
Bugotu, the south-eastern extremity of Ysabel, the people have 
suffered and still suffer most seriously from the attacks of the 
head-hunters from beyond, whose expeditions, following the 
coasts from a great distance, and sometimes for months, have 
reached Malanta and Guadalcanar, in one most disgraceful 
instance the head-hunters being brought to Florida in an 
European vessel. The practice, however, of taking heads and 
preserving them as signs of power and success belongs to the 
Solomon Islands generally. The heads of enemies killed in 
fight are preserved as trophies, and set out on stages as in 
Florida, or hung up under the eaves of the canoe-house as in 
San Cristoval. When a chief in the exercise of his authority 
had a man killed for an offence, or had him murdered out of 
revenge or hatred, or for a sacrifice, he added the head to his 
collection ; it was a sign of his power and greatness. Hence, 
as the more heads he could show the more his power was in 
view, he was ready on every opportunity and on any pretext 
to take a life and a head. When a chief had a man killed, he 
would keep the head, but sent the legs and arms to his neigh- 
bours, to shew what he had done. If, for example, an accused 
man got away from Mboli in Florida to Savo, the Mboli chief 
would send a request, backed by a present of money, to the 
Savo chief to have him killed ; the Savo chief would keep 
the head and send a leg or arm to Florida, where the chief 
would hang it up to shew his power. The heads thus taken 
and preserved are distinct from those of deceased relatives, 
which are kept as memorials of affection. Skulls may be 
seen suspended equally at the entrance of a Solomon Island 
oka and a New Hebrides gamal, but the signification is, in 
all cases probably, distinct. 

(3) Castaways. A stranger as such was generally through- 
out the islands an enemy to be killed. Thus at Florida a 
stranger who had escaped from a wreck on to an islet was 
killed when seen, and spoken of as a cocoa-nut that had floated 

346 Miscellaneous. [CH. 

ashore. There was a common belief that a stranger would 
bring with him disease or some other mischief. But it was 
often a question whether a castaway was a stranger. If he 
were recognised as belonging to an hostile district, there was 
no doubt of his fate ; but if he fell into the hands of those 
to whose division, kerna or veve, he belonged, he would prob- 
ably be saved. It is a not uncommon thing that canoes 
should be blown from Santa Cruz and the Reef Islands to 
Malanta and Ulawa ; the men on board them were not 
wholly strangers, though personally unknown ; they were men 
and from known lands, not strange beings like white men 
from without the world. They were therefore received as 
guests, sometimes establishing themselves after a while by 
marriage, sometimes waiting an opportunity to return. 
Many single canoes from time to time have been blown away 
from Polynesian islands, and have drifted to the Banks' 
Islands ; in many cases the castaways have been kindly treated, 
and have added a strain to the native race. Within the 
last forty years men from Tikopia have twice been most 
kindly received at Mota. 

(4) Slaves. There is no such thing as slavery properly so 
called. In head-hunting expeditions prisoners are made for 
the sake of their heads, to be used when occasion requires, and 
such persons live with their captors in a condition very 
different from that of freedom, but they are not taken or 
maintained for the purposes of service. In the same islands 
when a successful attack and massacre enriches the victors 
with many heads, they spare and carry off children, whom they 
bring up among their own people. Such a seka will certainly 
be killed for a head or for a sacrifice before any native member 
of the community, but he lives as an adopted member, shares 
the work, pleasures, and dangers of those with whom he 
dwells, and often becomes a leading personage among them. 
A refugee or a castaway is not a slave but a guest ; his life 
is naturally much less valued than that of a man of the place, 
and useful services are expected from him, while he mixes 
freely and on equal terms with the common people. 

xviii.] Burying and Burning Alive. 347 

(5) Burying alive. Nothing- seems more inhuman than the 
practice of burying sick and aged people alive, yet it is 
certain that when this was done there was generally a kind- 
ness intended. It is true that sometimes the relatives of the 
sick became tired of waiting upon them, and buried them 
when they thought they ought to be ready for it ; but even 
in such cases the sick and aged acquiesced. It was common 
for them to beg their friends to put them out of their misery. 
Some years ago a man at Mota buried his brother, who was 
in extreme weakness from influenza ; but he heaped the earth 
loosely over his head, and went from time to time to ask 
him whether he were still alive. Of late years, though old 
people ask for it, their friends will not consent. Not long 
ago in Pentecost, a woman after a lingering sickness in a time 
of famine was buried, and was heard for three days crying 
in her grave. In Lepers' Island the patient was sometimes 
strangled, with his own consent 1 . 

(6) Burning alive. This has only been heard of at Araga, 
Pentecost Island. In fighting time there, if a great man 
were very angry with the hostile party, he would burn a 
wounded enemy. When peace had been made, and the chiefs 
had ordered all to behave well that the country might settle 
down in quiet, if any one committed such a crime as would 
break up the peace, such as adultery, they would tie him to a 
tree, heap firewood round him, and burn him alive, a proof 
to the opposite party of their detestation of his wickedness. 
This was not done coolly as a matter of course in the execu- 
tion of a law, but as a horrible thing to do, and done for the 
horror of it ; a horror renewed in the voice and face of the 
native who told me of the roaring* flames and shrieks of 

1 In the same island, in the bush country, there was a great man who had 
a poor brother. In a time of famine the poor man stole food, not asking food 
from his brother, or taking it from him. The chief buried his brother alive, 
in spite of his own wife's entreaties, and the poor man's supplications ; he 
bound him, dug a grave, put mats in it, threw him in and buried him. The 
act was shocking to the opinion of the islanders, but it marked a great man 
who would do what he chose. 

348 Miscellaneous. [CH. 

(7) Heavenly Bodies. There is no appearance of a belief 
that any heavenly bodies are living* beings ; in the Banks' 
Islands the Sun and Moon are thought to be rocks or islands. 
In Lepers' Island the story is told that the Sun and the 
Moon quarrelled while the Sun was making a mash of wild 
yam, and that he threw the mess in a rage at the Moon's face, 
on which the splashes are to be seen; but this is told without 
any serious belief. It is commonly believed that there is a 
human being, male or female, in the Moon. The stories of 
Vulaninggela and Kamakajaku shew the belief in Florida and 
Ysabel that there is a person who goes with the Sun and 
whose name is Sun, rather than that the Sun is a person. In 
Florida the name of the Man in the Moon is Ngava ; when 
the Moon rises full they cry ' There is Ngava sitting.' Every 
new moon is thought to be really new. No cause is supposed 
for eclipses, unless it be the magic of some weather-doctor ; 
an eclipse is a wonder, a portent, bringing an appalling sense 
of danger, which finds expression in shouting, blowing conchs, 
and beating house roofs, with no very distinct purpose of 
driving the fearful thing away. Eclipses of the sun are not 
recognised as occurring at Mota. When a remarkable comet, 
called in the Banks' Islands a ' smoking star,' appeared in 
the year 1882, the Lepers' islanders blew conchs to drive it. 
away, or at least to divert the mischief. A falling star is 
the same sort of portent ; some great man will die, there will 
be an attack of enemies. The appearance of two stars 
close together, warue in Lepers' Island, signifies war. The 
Solomon Islands people are more concerned about the stars 
than their Eastern brethren, perhaps because of their longer 
voyages ; the Santa Cruz people and Reef islanders excel all 
the rest in their practical astronomy. The Banks' islanders 
and Northern New Hebrides people content themselves with 
distinguishing the Pleiades, by which the approach of yam 
harvest is marked, and with calling the planets masoi, from their 
roundness, as distinct from vitu, stars. In Florida the early 
morning star is called gama ni votu, the quartz pebble for 
setting off to sea ; when it rises later it is gama ni ndani, 

xviii.] Heavenly Bodies. Seasons. 349 

the shining 1 stone of light ; the Pleiades are togo ni sanm, the 
company of maidens ; Orion's belt is the peko, the war canoe ; 
the evening* star is vaovarongo diva, listen for the oven, because 
the daily meal is taken as the evening draws on ; stars are 
called dead men's eyes. At Saa the Southern Cross is ape, 
the net, with four men letting- it down to catch the palolo, 
and the Pointers are two men cooking what has been caught, 
because the palolo appears when one of the Pointers appears 
above the horizon ; the Pleiades are apurunge, the tangle ; the 
Southern Triangle is Three men in a canoe ; Mars is the 
Red Pig. 

(8) Months and Seasons. The moon is naturally the 
measure of time; there is no native notion of a year as a 
period of fixed time ; the word, tau or niulu, which corresponds 
most nearly to the word year, signifies a season, and so now 
the space of time between recurring seasons ; thus the yam 
has its tau, its season of five moons from the planting, when 
the erythrina is in flower, till the harvest after the palolo 
has come and gone ; the bread-fruit has its tau during 
the winter months ; the banana and the cocoa-nut have no 
tau, being at all times in fruit. The notion of a year as the 
time from yam to yam, from palolo to palolo, has been 
readily received ; it is very doubtful if such a conception 
is anywhere purely native. It is impossible to fit the native 
succession of moons into a solar year ; months have their 
names from what is done and what happens when the moon 
appears and while it lasts ; the same moon has different 
names. If all the names of moons in use in one language 
were set in order the periods of time would overlap, and the 
native year would be artificially made up of twenty or thirty 
months. The moons and seasons of Mota in the Banks' 
Islands may serve as an example. The garden work of the 
year is the principal guide to the arrangement, the succession 
of (i) clearing garden ground, uma ; (2) cutting down the 
trees, tara ; (3) turning over and piling up the stuff, rakasag ; 
(4) burning it, sing ; (5) digging the holes for yams, nur, and 
planting, riv. Then follows the care of the yam plants till 

35 Miscellaneous. [CH. 

the harvest, after which preparation for the next crop begins 
again. At the same time the regular winds and calms are 
observed, the spring of grass, the conspicuous flowering of 
certain trees, the bursting into leaf of the few deciduous trees. 
When a certain grass, magoto, springs, the winter as it must 
be called is over ; when the erythrina, rara, is in flower it 
is the cool season ; magoto therefore and rara are names of 
seasons in native use, and answer roughly to summer and 
winter. The strange and exciting appearance of the well- 
known annelid, the palolo, un, sets a wide mark on the 
seasons. The April moon coincides pretty well with the 
time of the magoto qaro, the fresh grass ; clearing, uma, of 
gardens goes on, the trade wind is steady. This is followed 
by the magoto rango, the withered grass ; both are months 
of cutting down trees in the gardens, vule taratara, and 
in the latter the stuff is burnt. In July the erythrina, rara, 
begins to flower, it is the nago rara, the face of winter ; 
gardens are fenced, it is a moon of planting yams, vule vutvut. 
Planting continues into August, when the erythrina is in 
full flower, tur rara, the gaviga Malay apple flowering at 
the same time ; the south-east wind gauna blows ; the yams 
begin to shoot, and are stuck with reeds. In the next 
month the erythrina puts out its leaves, it is the end of it, 
kere rara ; the yam vines run up the reeds and are trained, 
taur, upon them ; the reeds are broken and bent over, ruqa, 
to let them run freely ; the ground is kept clear of weeds ; 
the tendrils curl, and the tubers are well formed. Then 
come the months of calm, when three moons are named from 
the un palolo, first the un rig, the little un, or the bitter, 
un gogona, when at the full moon a few of the annelids appear. 
It is now the tau matua, the season of maturity; yams can be 
eaten, and if the weather is favourable a second crop is 
planted. The un lava, great palolo, follows, when at the 
full moon for one night the annelid appears on the reefs 
in swarms ; the whole population is on the beach taking up 
the un in every vessel and with every contrivance. This 
is the moon of the yam harvest; the vines are cut, goro, 

xviii.] Mota Months. Narcotics. 351 

(in old days this was done with a shell), and the tubers 
very carefully taken up with digging- sticks to be stored. 
A few un appear at the next moon, the werei, which may 
be translated the rump, of the un. In this moon they 
begin again to uma, clear the gardens ; the wind blows again 
from the west, the ganoi, over Vanua Lava. It is now Novem- 
ber or December, the togalau wind blows from the north-west ; 
it is exceedingly hot, fish die in the shallow pools, the reeds 
shoot up into flower ; it is the moon of shooting up, vnle 
wotgoro. The next month is the vusiaru, the wind beats upon 
the casuarina trees upon the cliffs ; the next again is called 
tetemavuru, the wind blows hard and drives off flying frag- 
ments from the seeded reeds ; these are hurricane months. 
The last in order is the month that beats and rattles, lamasag 
noronoro, the dry reeds ; the wind blows strong and steady, 
work is begun again, they rakasag, to dry the rubbish of 
their clearings, and make ready the fences for new gardens. 
By this time the heat is past, the grass begins to spring 
again, and the winter months return. 

(9) Narcotics. The use of the areca nut mbua, chewed 
with the betel leaf, with the addition of coral lime, is universal 
in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz, and extends to 
Tikopia ; to the eastward it is unknown. Solomon islanders 
on their way to Norfolk Island look wistfully at a species of 
areca-palm in the Torres Islands, the nuts of which the 
natives of that group sometimes chew to quiet hunger, but 
which will not do for those who know the mbua, and they can 
replenish their stock of betel leaves in the New Hebrides, 
where that pepper grows naturally, but they feel that they 
have passed into a foreign region. In the Banks' Islands and 
New Hebrides they drink the infusion of the root of the Piper 
methysticum well known as kava, called gea at Mota, malowo 
in Aurora. This is in the Banks' Islands so recent an intro- 
duction that the use of it had not spread to Santa Maria a 
few years ago. The difference in the mode of preparation 
seems to point to two distinct sources or times of introduction. 
In the Banks' Islands drinking the gea is called woana ; the 

352 Miscellaneous. [c H . 

root is chewed by the drinker ; when the fibres are separated 
a little water is taken into the mouth to assist in squeezing 
out the saliva, water is added again in the cocoa-nut-shell cup, 
and the fibres being removed and well squeezed over the cup 
the potion is ready. In Aurora the malowo is pounded with 
a rough coral pestle and mortar. The moderate use of this 
narcotic has no bad effect ; excess, which is more common per- 
haps in the New Hebrides, makes a man listless and stupid. 
The plant used is not indigenous ; there is indeed a pepper of 
the same species very common, but it will not do for the 
woana. There is a certain sacred character about the plant, 
as has been shewn, and the use of it is confined to men. The 
introduction of tobacco into common use in the Northern New 
Hebrides and Banks' Islands is quite recent, but the people 
are now given up to the use of it. Smoking was universal in 
the Solomon Islands, at Florida, Ysabel, and San Cristoval, 
thirty years ago, with men, women, and infant children, and 
the tobacco was grown and prepared by the natives ; yet it 
was not known at Saa at that time, where it has since been 
introduced from Arosi in San Cristoval, and the elder men at 
Florida remember when it was a new thing in their childhood. 
There has been for many years a good deal of intercourse 
with whalers at San Cristoval ; they have no native name for 
tobacco there, and I believe never grew it ; its introduction 
then is readily accounted for. In Florida the native-grown 
tobacco, now discarded for the far stronger tambaika^ was called 
vavurU) and the dried leaves were made up in twists ; the pipe, 
formerly made of a shell and a reed in evident imitation of the 
European pipe, is still pipiala ; the old people say that the 
seed had come from a ship 1 . 

1 Logana at Florida, whom I should not take to be more than 60 years old, 
was grown up when he first saw a ship. The first he saw had two masts ; the 
people on board traded well and fairly, giving a piece of iron for a big yam, a 
hatchet for a cockatoo. This was probably the Southern Cross. The name 
given at first was ungaungau, not vaka as now. Ships were thought to belong 
to tindalo ghosts, and to portend a famine ; those who saw them ran away 
and hid themselves in their houses. Tobacco appears to Lave been introduced 


Counting. Measures. 


(10) Counting. Measures. The systems of numeration in 
use among- Melanesians might well here be exhibited and 
explained, but I have treated the subject elsewhere. It will be 
however reasonable to say something as to methods of counting. 
The fingers are the natural counters ; in the use of them there 
is curious variation. In the Banks' Islands the righb thumb 
is turned down first, and is followed by the fingers of the 
right hand and then of the left, both hands with closed fists 
being held up together to shew the completed ten. It is the 
number of fingers turned down that is to be noticed, not of 
those that stand up. In Florida they begin with the little 
finger. In Lepers' Island they begin with the thumb, but 
having reached five with the little finger they do not go on 
to the other hand, but throw up the fingers they have turned 
down, beginning with the forefinger and keeping the thumb 
for ten. The use of the cycas leaf for counting (page 272) is 
common to the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides. A string 
with knots to mark the 'days is used in the Solomon Islands. 
In Florida stones and canarium shells are used to help in 
counting ; at a feast a man will go round with a basket, and 
every one present will put some small thing into it, that so 
the number entertained may be known. At Saa when yams 
are counted two men count out each five, making ten, and as 
each ten is made they call out 'one,' 'two,' and so on. A 
man sits by, and when ' ten ' is called making a hundred, he 
puts down a little yam for a tally. 

The natural measure of length may be said to be the 
fathom, the width of the outstretched arms, the Florida goto, 
Mota rova. Examples of more particular measurements may 
be taken from Mota ; the taut fathom, rova togtogoa, is the 
line stretched as far as possible with the arms thrown back ; 
rova ate lue, the fathom of looking out, is that of a line 
stretched away as far as possible by the left hand, but held by 
the right upon the shoulder, where the face turns round to 

to Florida and Bugotu by Europeans who were not whalers ; their pipe in 
form, and perhaps in name, does not allow of a connexion with the tobacco- 
smoking of New Guinea. 

A a 

354 Miscellaneous. [CH. 

meet it ; another is avawo sus, from the outstretched left hand 
to the right nipple ; alo masale pei, at the watercourse, from 
the left hand to the breast bone. Lesser measurements are, 
alo vivngai, from the arm pit ; alo maluk, from the hollow of the 
elbow to the fingers' end ; sogo siwo, from wrist to finger end. 

(n) Salutations. People living in small communities and 
always in view of one another have little need for salutations, 
and there is little to be said upon the subject in regard to 
Melanesia. If any one passes through a village he will be asked 
whence he comes, and bid to go on, as a kind of salutation ; 
he will say on leaving, c You stay/ There is, however, in the 
Banks' Islands a friendly action called varpis\ two men insert 
each the middle finger of his right hand between two of his 
friend's fingers, grip them tight together, and then quickly 
pull them asunder with a crack. This is a greeting, a mark 
of fellowship and of approval. Kissing is not indigenous ; to 
punpun is analogous to it, snuffing with the nose, not rubbing 
noses, and this is not thought proper or becoming to be done 
except to children. Rubbing noses is practised in the Poly- 
nesian settlements only. It is not the custom to say 
anything by way of thanks ; it is rather improper to show 
emotion when anything is given, or when friends meet again ; 
silence with the eyes cast down is the sign of the inward 
trembling or shyness which they feel, or think they ought to 
feel, under these circumstances. There is .no lack of a word 
which may be fairly translated * thank ' ; and certainly no one 
who has given cause for it will say that Melanesians have no 
gratitude ; others probably are ready enough to say it. 

(12) Wild Men. In Florida they believe that on the 
mountains of Laudari, the part of Guadalcanar upon which 
their own island looks out, there are wild men whom they call 
Mumulou. They are men, and have language ; the hair of 
their heads is straight and reaching down their legs, their 
bodies are covered with long hair, and they have long nails ; 
they are large and tall, but not above the size of men. One 
was killed not long ago, the coast people of Laudari say, and 
so they know very well what they are like. They live in 

xviii.] Wild Men. 355 

caves in the mountains ; they plant nothing, and eat snakes 
and lizards. They eat any coast man they can catch ; they 
carry on their backs bags filled with pieces of obsidian, with 
which to pelt men whom they see, and they set nets round 
trees to catch men who have climbed them ; they use spears 
also. In Saa they say there are Mumu in the forest, human, 
very small in stature, but very strong and swift ; they have 
very long hair, and long nails, with which they tear the 
coast men to devour them ; they go about in threes, a male, a 
female, and a child. Lastly, Saa men who have been in the 
'thief-ships' have seen the Australian natives like the Mumu. 
In the New Hebrides, similar creatures are seen basking on 
the rocks of the slopes of the great volcano of Ambrym ; even 
in the little island of Mae they used to be seen for they are 
now extinct on the Three Hills. In Lepers' Island the wild 
men are called Mae ; they have long hair, long teeth, they 
dwell in caves, carry off pigs, and if they meet a man alone 
will seize and eat him. In the night they are heard crying 
in the valleys, and it is then said that the Mae is washing 
her child. The name shows some connexion with the super- 
stition described (page 188), but they call no snake a mae, and 
these are men. However much these stories vary, the belief 
may be said to be general from Ysabel to Mae, just as stories 
of wild men have been current in New Zealand. Descriptions 
very much like these have their place in grave treatises 
on mankind. It may be said to be certain that the 
Melanesian belief has no foundation in present fact in the 
existence either of ape-like men or man-like apes ; it may be 
a question whether the belief is founded on the memory of large 
simians in former seats of the Melanesian people. To myself, 
so far as it has any foundation at all in fact, it appears to 
be a fanciful exaggeration of the difference, which the coast 
people are much disposed to exaggerate, between themselves 
and the men of the uta, the inland tracts, who have no 
canoes and cannot swim, the true ' orang utan ' or man of the 
woods, the * man-bush ' of pigeon-English. 

A a 



THE native Stories or Folk-tales which follow are all of them, 
with the exception of the first, translated from the manuscripts 
written for me by natives of the various islands in which the 
stories are told. The first example was written down by the 
Rev. A. Penny at Florida, in the native language as he heard 
the story told. The translation is as accurate and literal in 
each case as I could make it ; the detailed prolixity of a native 
narrative is very characteristic ; and it is possible that, with 
the varying quality of the story- telling of the individual 
writers, there may appear something also of the different 
narrative style of the eastern and western groups of these 
islands of Melanesia. The value of truly native stories is 
beyond all question ; they exhibit native life in the particular 
details which come in the course of the narrative, they are full 
of the conceptions which the native people entertain about the 
world around them, they show the native mind active in fancy 
and imagination, and they form a rich store of subjects for 
comparison with the folk-tales of other parts of the world. 
To the question how far those who tell and those who hear 
these stories believe them to be true it is hard to give an 
answer. To some extent they are believed, and to a great 
extent they are treated as flights of fancy. A story-teller 
warming to his subject, and with all that he relates pictured 
in his mind, very likely believes it all as he tells the tale ; 
a story will be quoted to explain or confirm some statement, 

The Heron and the Turtle. 


and would have little effect if not brought forth as true ; 
a story, because it has always been told and heard, is not open 
to much doubt or criticism. But it may be safely said that to 
the natives a story is not a piece of history; the marvels are 
not very seriously taken, however much they are enjoyed ; 
anything 4 seems possible of course when magic is at work and 
when spirits are the agents ; that there are such spirits as 
Qat, for example, is not doubted, and the story goes that he 
performed certain feats. I cannot, however, think that the 
natives seriously believe that birds and fish talk ; I have 
never discovered from them that they do not distinguish 
between animate and inanimate things, between birds and 
beasts and men. When an owl in a story talks and cooks food, 
both actions are on a level, not of supposed fact but of fancy. 
The native mind is full of lively intelligence, and is by no 
means to be judged incapable of the invention of marvels and 
enjoyment of the flights of fancy ; though in the highest flights 
it moves in accordance with generally accepted beliefs. There 
is in Florida and in Mota a title for a story to tell, tugu ni 
pitu, kakae lea, which marks the character of the narrative. 

These stories are here divided into three classes : I. Animal 
Stories, concerned mostly with birds and fishes, as is natural 
in islands were mammals are very few; II. Stories con- 
taining Myths and Tales concerning the origin of things ; 
III. Wonder Tales. 



One day a Soo, Heron, caught his foot fast in the coral ; 
the tide came in, but his neck was long. When the tide 
reached to the top of his neck there came along a Shark 
Come and save me, says the Soo. Wait a bit, says the Shark. 
There comes a Boila ; Come and save my life, says the Soo ; 
and the Boila says to him, Wait a bit, says he. There comes 

358 Stories. [CH. 

the great Garfish ; Come and save me, brother, says the Soo ; 
the Garfish says, Wait a bit. There comes a Rock-cod ; Come 
and save my life, says the Soo ; Wait a bit, says the Rock-cod. 
There comes a Crocodile ; Come and save me, says the Soo ; 
Wait a bit, says the Crocodile. In the end all the fish came, 
and nothing could be done. Then comes a Turtle. Brother ! 
come here and save my life, says the Soo. And the Turtle says, 
You will pay me of course. And the Soo says, I have nothing 
with me to pay you with. And there was a sea-urchin 
alongside the Soo, and he says, I will pay you with money, 
says he. But the Turtle says, No. And the Soo says, Dog's 
teeth, and porpoise teeth ; but the Turtle says, No, I don't 
want it. Then he offers him the sea-urchin, and the Turtle 
eats it up with great delight, and says joyfully, Now I will 
save you, you have given me my pay. So he smashes to 
fragments the stone (that held the bird's foot) and the Soo 
is saved. And the Soo says, Now you have saved my life ; 
if ever hereafter you are in need, in case you are going to 
be killed and I should hear you call, I will come and save 
you, says he. 

After this the people of Hagelonga went to fish, and they 
let down their net and sat holding the corners of it on their 
tripods of poles. There comes a shark ; A fish below ! shall 
we pull up the net ? say some ; Not that, say the others. 
There comes a rock-cod ; A fish below ! shall we pull up ? 
say some ; No, say the others. In the end all the fish in the 
sea come along, and they don't pull up the net. Then comes 
round the turtle, and comes into the middle of the net, and 
they cry, Here he is ! we will see what he is worth. And 
the turtle comes right up into the net, and they take him, 
and tie him, and carry him ashore, and make a fence round 
him. And the chief of Hagelonga says, To-morrow we will 
split wood for him, and get leaves for him, and dig up yams 
for him, this turtle of ours, says the chief. So as soon as it 
was light they went off, and they split wood, and they 
gathered leaves, and they dug food ; and they appointed the 
boys to watch the turtle and went away. And when they 


The Heron and the T^lrtle. 


were far away the Soo comes along-, and the boys say to him, 
Where have you come from ? and the Soo says to them, 
I am just idling about ; and he says to them, Should you 
like me to dance for you ? says he. And the boys say, Yes, 
we should like you to dance for us. And the Soo says, Bring 
me the porpoise teeth and dog's teeth ornaments of your 
fathers and mothers, that I may dress myself up in the best. 
And they brought him the best ornaments, and he dressed 
himself out in them, and then he danced for them. So 
he danced along to the fence in which the Turtle was, and 
the Turtle saw him coming, and cried out, Now I am to die, 
my brother, cries he. And the Soo says to him, And now I 
shall save your life, because you saved mine before. And the 
Soo came into the house where the boys were, and there he 
danced for them. And he says, Kerembaembae ! Kerembaembae ! 
Loosed is your leg that they have tied ! and his leg is loosed. 
Kerembaembae ! Slipped out is your head ! and his head 
slipped out. Kerembaembae ! Clear the forepart ! and the fore- 
part of him was clear. Kerembaembae ! Clear the hinder part ! 
and his hinder part was clear. Kerembaembae ! Clear the rest 
of you ! and the rest of him was clear. Kerembaembae ! 
Follow the path ! Kerembaembae ! Reach the sand ! Kerembaem- 
bae ! Down with you into the sea ! Kerembaembae ! Dive out 
of sight ! Kerembaembae ! Go a fathom's length ! Kerembaembae ! 
Go two fathoms ! So he escaped with his life. And the 
people returned from inland and came out into the open, 
and looked at the fence. But the Soo was gone ; and they 
said, Some one has stolen our turtle ; and they asked the 
boys, and said, Who has been here now ? And the boys said, 
There was only a Soo came here and danced for us, and we 
gave him all your things, and he deceived us so that we 
did not go and look after the turtle, said the boys to them. 
And bad were the feelings of the people of the village ; and 
they went and looked at the path, and there they saw the 
traces of the turtle, and they said, Yes, he has saved himself 
for certain, nobody has stolen him, said they. 

3 6o 




The story of the Watwata (an Ostracion) and the Sole. The 
two were scratching one another, and the Sole said to the Wat- 
wata, Scratch me. But the Watwata said. No, you shall scratch 
me first. And the Sole scratched the Watwata, scratched him 
well. And the Watwata said, Brother, you have scratched me 
badly, but the Sole said, No, it is all right. And the Watwata 
said, Well ! now I shall scratch you in my turn. After that he 
scratched him, scratched him extremely thin. And the Sole 
said, Well! you have scratched me badly, but we two will 
play hide and seek. And the Sole said, You shall hide first. 
After that the Watwata hid, and got out of sight under a 
stone. The Sole sought him and found him. After that 
the Sole hid in his turn, and buried himself in the sand ; 
and the Watwata sought him in vain'. But the Song (a fish 
which shews its teeth) stood and laughed at it ; and he has 
grinned so ever since. It is finished. 


A Rat and a Rail (Porphyrio) were taking a walk together, 
and they found a gaviga-tree (eugenia) with ripe fruit. 
They stood under it and disputed as to which of them should 
climb up. The Rat said, Rail, climb up ! The Rail said, You ! 
So they disputed till the Rat climbed up. Then the Rail 
begged of the Rat, Brother, give me that black ripe one ; but 
the Rat ate it, and threw him down the stone. Then said the 
Rail again, Brother, give me that one, it is very ripe indeed ; 
but the Rat ate it all, and again threw down only the stone. 
Thus the Rail begged again and again for fruit, and the Rat 
treated him in the same way. At last the Rail made one more 
petition to the Rat, Brother, give me that one that is red ripe ; 
and the Rat took it and threw it down upon the forehead 
of the Rail, and there it stuck fast. Eh ! brother, said the 
Rail, you have made game of me, my brother ; but make 

xix.] The Birds Voyage. 361 

haste and come down, be quick about it. Then the Rail 
took the unfolded leaf of a dracsena ; and as the Rat was 
coming down the stem of the tree, he was standing- ready, 
and thrust it hard into the rump of the Rat, and there it 
stood fast. So the tail in the Rat's rump is the unfolded 
leaf of a dracama that the Rail fixed firmly there ; and on 
the forehead of the Rail is the gaviga fruit, still red, that the 
Rat threw down upon it. 


A Story to tell. They lived in their place. The tawan was 
in fruit at Qakea ; the wind began to blow ; then said they, 
Well, now at last we will paddle over and eat tawan. So they 
make a start and go, and come from here and there. And 
the renga, Green Parrot, says, I go with you ; but they say, 
O-o-o ! You just go back, lest your father should be angry 
with us about you. And he sings ' I go and tell my daddy ! 
the wind has blown hard against you ; beat against you, beat, 
beat ! ' Ah, well ! come along ! and he gets on board. Then says 
the Wasia, You fellows, where are you going to ? And they 
say, To Qakea, to eat tawan. So says he, I will go with you ; 
and they say, Stay where you are, lest your father and 
mother scold us on your account. Then he sings, ' I go and 
tell my daddy ! the wind has blown hard against you, beat 
against you, beat, beat ! ' Ah, well ! come along ! and he gets 
on board. Then the Pigeon says, You fellows, where are you 
going? And they say, For a voyage. And he says, I will 
go with you ; but they say, Not you ; lest your father should 
scold us about you. And he sings, ' I go and tell my daddy ! 
The wind has blown hard against you, beat against you, beat, 
beat ! ' Ah, well ! come along ! and he gets on board. And 
when all were on board there was a Hermit Crab sitting there, 
and he said, You fellows, just let me come. But they said, 
You just stay there to look after our island. And he said, 
Nay, my brothers, you won't make me miserable. And they 
said, No ! It is only we who can climb that are going, not you 

362 Stories. [CH. 

who crawl. And he says, Take me over ! I will sit under the 
tawan-trees, and you will eat making the fruit fall, and I will 
eat on the ground. So they said, Very well ! you have argued 
against us, but come along ; and he gets on board. Then the 
Weru says to the Crab, Friend, sit up this way near me ; and he 
crawls along and sits near him. Then the Weru says to him, 
Friend, while we two are sitting here, don't shuffle about, lest 
you make a hole in the canoe. (The canoe was the leaf of a 
giant arum.) And he says, Yes, I know all about that. But 
the Weru keeps an eye upon him, and if he shuffles with his 
claws the Weru says to him, Friend, I keep telling you, don't 
be shuffling about ; eh ! you will soon have made a hole in 
the canoe! But he says, Eh! Friend, I know all about it. 
The wind had come down into their sail, and they were 
already in the open sea ; and the Crab shuffled about, and his 
claw pierced right through the canoe, and the water came 
pouring quickly in. (In another version the Crab was set to 
bale the canoe, and scratched a hole.) And they cried out, 
Be quick 1 our canoe has a hole in it, the Crab had trodden it 
through. And they said, Well, let us leap overboard ; and they 
all of them leapt overboard, and the Crab leapt overboard, and 
sank right out of sight to the bottom of the sea ; but they all 
of them swam, and he crawled along on the bottom. And 
they all swam and came out upon the shore, but not he you 
may be sure. Then they said, Fellows! are we all men alive 
or not ? And some one said, No, there is one poor fellow our 
friend missing. So they said, Ah ! but who will swim after 
him, and dive in search of him ? And they spoke to one, and 
he refused, and to another, and he refused ; then said the Weru 
(eulabeornis), Here am I, I will go and look for him. So she 
swims, and dives, and does not find him, and comes up to the 
surface ; and dives again, and goes on diving, and her body 
turns black, and dives, and dives, and dives, and her eyes turn 
red. But the Crab had already crawled up ashore before them 
all ; and there he was quietly sitting. And they were on the 
sand in a clump of wislawe, when the Weru swam up ; and they 
said, Hallo ! Have you seen him, or not ? And she says, Ah ! 

xix.] The Birds Voyage. 363 

my brothers, you know that I have sought him, and have not 
seen him at all ; and I have dived and dived, and my body is 
black and blue, and my eyes are red ; and so I have swum up 
ashore. But as they are still together, they see the Crab 
crawling out into the open, and they say, Hallo ! where did 
you swim up from the sea ? And he said, Indeed when we 
became pieces of the wreck, you know, I sank right down, you 
know, to the bottom of the sea, and then I crawled here. And 
they said, Ewe! we said you were the missing one of our 
number, but it is not so, we are all safe. Come, let us tidy 
ourselves up. Then said the Tasis to the Tagere, Friend, come 
here and make me tidy; and the Qatman said to the Green 
Parrot, I will tidy you, and the Tatagoras said to the Wasia, I 
will tidy you ; and they all of them sat down in pairs. Then 
said the Rat to the Owl, Friend, come here, let me make you 
tidy; so he sits down and the Rat begins to make him tidy; 
and as he combs his head he keeps saying, ' Comb-comb-dung- 
dung, comb-comb-dung-dung ' ; and he dungs upon the head 
of the Owl. Then says the Rat, My paws are tired out, let 
some one else take my place. I will, says the Mes, the 
trichoglossus parrot ; so the Rat runs off, and the Mes sits down 
in his place. And the Mes parrot combs the Owl's head, and 
perceives that it smells, and Is-is ! cries the Parrot. And the 
Owl asks, Eh ? what is the matter, friend ? Oh ! nothing, he 
says. But he says, Speak out ; and the Parrot says, Oh ! your 
friend the Rat has played you a trick, he has played you a 
trick in tidying you ; he has made a pig of himself upon you. 
Then said the Owl, Really ! is that true? and he flies off and 
chases the Rat ; and the two go round and about. But the 
Rat saw a hole and ran into it, and the Owl sat by helpless. 
Then says he, What shall I do to this fellow who has made a 
mock of me ? and he cracks a cocoa-nut and sets it up opposite 
the mouth of the hole ; but the Rat did not come out. Then 
says he, What shall I do to deceive this Rat ? and he sought 
what he might do. Then says he, If I roast this red wasia 
caladium and try, will that do or not ? So he roasts it right 
off; and as he scrapes that root the smell goes out and reaches 

364 Stories. [CH. 

the Rat in the hole. And when it was cooked he broke it, and 
put it at the mouth of the hole. Then the Rat creeps out to 
eat thetfttfnz, and the Owl is staring- hard at the mouth of the 
hole, if perchance he may see the Rat creep out. And he says, 
That will do ; and now be sure you die this minute ! And 
the Rat came out to eat ; but the Owl swooped down upon him, 
and killed him you may be sure with his talons, and ate 
him up. 


This is about the Shark and the Snake. They quarrelled, 
and the Shark told the Snake to come down into the sea, that 
the Shark might eat him. The Snake said to him, They will 
kill you, and I shall eat a bit of you. Now when they killed 
the Shark, the Snake went down into the sea and ate the 


This is about a Hen that had ten Chickens. So they went 
about seeking their food, and they fell in with the tuber of a 
wild yam, a gigimbo. After a while the tuber got up and ate 
one of the chickens. They called to a Kite, which said to the 
Hen, Put them under me. So they got there and stayed. 
Presently the Tuber came, and asked the Kite, Where are 
they? He-i, said he, I don't know. So the Tuber scolded the 
Kite ; and the Kite flew down and took it up from the 
ground, and hovered with it in the sky, and then let it drop 
down to the ground. Then another took it up, and hovered 
in turn in the sky, and dropped it, and it fell down and broke 
in two. So the two Kites divided the Tuber between them ; 
therefore some of the tubers are good, and some are bad. We 
call the name of the good tuber nggeremanggeggneni. 

xix.] Kamakajaku. 365 


He dwelt upon the hill at Gaji ; and he was mending his 
nets, and he looked down upon the ocean, and saw it dark 
exceedingly. And his grandchildren went down to the sea to 
fish upon the reef, and Kamakajaku said to them, Go and 
dip salt-water for me in the place I see the sea like that, said 
he to them. And his grandchildren went forth and down and 
fished on the beach, and fished with nets ; and afterwards 
they dipped the salt-water, and came up and arrived at the 
village, and went and gave it to him. And he said to them, 
Give the dish hither, and I will pour it down and see if the 
blackness of it is like what I looked down upon, said he. 
And he poured it down, and looked and did not find it like 
what he looked down upon from his place upon the hill. 
And it was morning, and he took the salt-water-vessel, and 
went forth down, and put in his ear a bit of obsidian, and 
went down and came to the sea, and put down on the beach 
his bag and club and shield ; and so he took in his hand the 
vessel and waded, and went down from the shore, and looked 
up to the hill where he dwelt, and did not yet get sight of it, 
and swam still out from the shore till he saw the hill at Gaji, 
and then he dipped. And the surface of the sea sounded and 
bubbled, and he heard coming-to-him a Komlili (King-fish), 
a very great fish ; and it came and swallowed him, and went- 
off with him eastwards to the rising up of the sun, and went 
off with him till it arrived with him at a shallow place, and it 
threw itself about so that Kamakajaku perceived that there 
was a beach probably. Here am I, says he, and he thought 
of the obsidian in his ear, and felt for it and found it, and cut 
asunder the belly of the Kombili, and leapt out, and saw a 
brightness. And he sat down and pondered, Where I wonder 
am I ? he said. So up rose the Sun with a bang, and rolling, 
from side to side. And the Sun says, Don't stand in my way, 

366 Stories. [CH. 

you will die at once; stay on my right, says he. And he 
drew aside till the Sun rose away, and then he followed ; and 
they two went up towards heaven, and went on and arrived 
at the village of the Sun's children. And he said, Here you 
stay, said he ; so he stayed with them, with his children and 
grandchildren, and the Sun went off. And Kamakajaku 
stayed ; and they asked him, Whence did you come hither ? 
And he said, From the earth ; I dwelt in my place, and I 
dipped salt-water, and a big fish swallowed me, and so I 
arrived here at your good town. So they remained in 
company; and they ate only raw food, those people above ; 
and he shewed them fire, so that they ate cooked food. And 
they said to him, Don't go to that place, it is taboo, said 
they to him ; and they went their way. And he kept house, 
and thought what that was they had said ; Don't you go, they 
said, said he. And he went over, and opened up a stone which 
was the covering of a hole in the sky, and he looked down on 
his place at Gaji, and he cried. They brought him food, but it 
was not for him (he would not have it) ; so they asked him, 
Have you gone over by the further end of the house there ? 
We forbade you to go there. Yes. And do you want to go 
down ? And he said, Yes. And they made a house, and gave 
him a banana, and gave him seed of pau (to dye with), and 
they took a cane and tied it to the saddle-piece of the house, 
and he Kamakajaku sat in it. And they let it down. And 
they said, When the birds and such things cry, don't look 
out, but when the cicalas and the things that live on the 
earth cry, then you may look out ; and they let him down, 
let him down. And when one cane was too short, they tied 
another to it, and it reached down to the hill and rested. 
And his friends had been seeking him, because they thought 
that he was dead already. And on the day that he came 
down again from heaven, they rejoiced because they saw him 
again, and good was their heart. And he lived a long while, 
till he died on his hill Gaji. And it is finished; yes, it is 
just this, the Story of Kamakajaku. 

xix.] Samuku. The Mini. 367 


Samuku lived in his village, and built his house, and worked, 
and good and many were his affairs ; so he took a wife and 
married, and they two lived well, and agreed perfectly well 
together, and worked, and much was their food. And 
Samuku came home and asked for food, because he was 
hungry, and his wife had not prepared any food, and Sa- 
muku was angry with his wife, and scolded her greatly. 
And his wife said to him, I am tired of making food for you, 
your father and mother are dead, who is to make you food? 
Go and see them in Tuhilagi, says she. And Samuku was 
angry, and he sat and thought ; and he said, Good, I will go 
and see them. So he hauled down a canoe and put out to 
sea to Tuhilagi, and landed at Lelegia tarunga, the Ghosts' 
Mangroves, and stepped up the beach and went in shore, and 
found the company of ghosts. And they asked him, Why 
have you come here ? You are not dead yet, said they to 
him. And Samuku answered, My wife scolded me, and sent 
me here, said he. And at night he stayed in a house, and 
when it W 7 as morning the house disappeared. So he played 
them a trick and made a net, and they went to fish with it, 
and he saw the forms of the ghosts, and the net caught in the 
coral. And when it was light all the company of ghosts 
departed from him, and he went down and slept on the sand. 
And the people of a certain place found him and took hold 
of him, and took him to be with them till he died. Finished 
is the story of Samuku, not a very long one. 


They say* that the Mini people dragged the yams from 
place to place, having brought them ashore at Hiw, and 
then dragged them to Tugua, for which reason the yams 
at Hiw and at Tugua are very large and long. But when 
they dragged them along here to Lo, all the people were 
down on the reefs fishing and heard nothing of it ; nor 

368 Si ones. [CH. 

did they know anything- till they found the rind of the 
yams sticking- to the roots of the trees along 1 the path. 
These they picked up and planted; and on that account 
the Lo yams are not very large, but plentiful enough. 
Because the Mini people sliced their yams in half for the 
men of Hiw and of Tugua, and then passed on to Toga, 
and sliced again for them there, on which account the yams 
there are very large and long. Afterwards they crossed to 
Ureparapara, where the people sliced the yams in half and 
planted them. They did the same in all the islands that 
way ; it was only at Lo that the people did not see and hear 
what was going on. The crowns of the yams remained and 
were planted somewhere. The Mini people went dragging 
the yams through all the islands, shouting and calling to the 
men of every place to come and slice the yams, and take their 
burden from them. 


I have often heard them telling the story about it in this way. 
They say that in old times there was no fighting. But there 
was an old man whose name was Muesarava, who was blind 
and used to stay doing nothing in the house ; and he heard a 
pigeon calling, and took a bow and broad-headed arrow and 
went under the tree ; and the pigeon let drop a bit of the 
fruit it was eating, and that blind man shot at a venture into 
the tree, and hit the pigeon without seeing it. And he took it 
up, and went and put it into the oven together with the 
yams, and sat down and sang a song. But two young fellows 
came along and quietly opened that old man Muesarava's 
oven, and ate up his pigeon with some of his yams. Then 
they went to another place, and sang back a song to him ; 
and he heard it, and went back to eat his pigeon, but found 
when he uncovered the oven that it was eaten up, and that 
something not good had been put in its place. Then he 
was exceeding angry, and plotted a fight against the people 
of the place whence the two young men had come who had 

xix.] Origin of Poisoned Arrows. 369 

stolen and eaten Muesarava's food. And now Muesarava 
began to make fighting- arrows of men's bones. Muesarava 
went and grabbed up with his hands a boy who had died, and 
took his bones, and beat them to splinters and rubbed them 
sharp. But his enemies on their side knew nothing of that, 
they only cut wood into shape, or bones of fish or birds, and 
fixed them in their arrows, while Muesarava on his side 
prepared men's bones. And when they fought they shot at 
him and hit, but he did not die ; and he shot them and they 
could not live, but died outright all of them. And they 
fought again and shot at him, and hit him and he did not 
die ; but Muesarava shot at them and hit, and they all died. 
So it often happened, and they saw that they died in very 
great numbers ; and they asked Muesarava why it was that 
they shot him and he did not die, while he shot them and 
they all of them died. Therefore he told them and said, 
' Go and grub up one of the dead men I have shot, and scrape 
his bones, and point your arrows with that.' Upon this they 
listened to his counsel and did as he had said to them ; and 
when they fought again they shot him, and he straightway 

And that thing, the dead man's bone that Muesarava 
ground to a point for himself with his own hand, still 
remains, and has not yet been spoilt ; the reed-shaft has been 
spoilt and replaced over and over again, but that dead man's 
bone still remains ; I have seen it myself in my brother's 
possession ; it still remains. The people think a great deal of 
it, thinking that there is supernatural power, mana, in that 
toto arrow. If there is heard a rumour of fighting, and that 
is pointed in the direction whence it comes, the fighting 
comes to nothing. 


There was a man looking for his wife, and he came to 
Tagaro's village when he was not there ; and he wished 
to steal Tagaro's pig, a rawe, so he caught the pig and 

B b 

370 Stories. [CH. 

tied it with the vine of a wild yam. And Tagaro was still 
in the forest when he heard the noise, and he came back 
and found where the vine had been broken off, and he was 
exceedingly angry. So he cut out a canoe for himself, and 
carried all the things of this world into it, and put out the 
fire, but threw back a fire-brand. All the good things, they 
say, he took clean away. This is the story about Tagaro. 


They say that he made the sea, and that in old times the sea 
was quite small, like a common pool upon the beach, and that 
this pool was at the back of his house, and that there were fish 
in the pool, and that he had built a stone wall round it. And 
Tagaro was gone out to look at the various things he had 
made, and his wife was in the village, and his two children 
were at home, whom he had forbidden to go to the back of 
the house. So when he was gone the thought entered into 
the mind of those two, Why has our father forbidden us to go 
there ? And they were shooting at lizards and rats ; and 
after a while one said to the other, Let us go and see what 
that is he has bid us keep away from. So they went and 
saw the pool of salt-water with many fish crowding together 
in it. And one of the boys stood on the stones Tagaro had 
built up, and he sees the fish, and he shoots at one and hits it ; 
and as he runs to catch hold of it he threw down a stone, and 
then the water ran out. And Tagaro heard the roaring of the 
water and ran to stop it ; and the old woman laid herself 
down in the way of it, but nothing could be done ; those two 
boys who had thrown down the stone took clubs like knives 
and prepared a passage for the sea, one on one side and the 
other on the other side of the place, and the sea followed 
as it flowed. And they think that the old woman turned 
into a stone, and lies now on the part of Mae wo near 

xix.] Origin of Soles. 371 


They say that he drew down his canoe and paddled out in 
search of fish ; and he saw a great rock standing in the sea, and 
he floated gently without paddling to see whether he would find 
fish or not. And he saw many fish rising up to the surface 
from under his canoe, and he fed them with the food he had 
in his hand, and he perceived that these fish knew how to 
eat the food of the land. Then said he, I am going to leave 
you, but the day after to-morrow I shall grate some loJco for 
you to eat, and shall pour cocoa-nut sauce over it, and bring it 
here to you. So he left them and stayed, they say, one day 
at home. And when the second day came for him to go 
he took that loko which he had sauced with cocoa-nut juice, 
and launched his canoe, and paddled out to the place where 
those fish were. And he called them with a song, which he 
sang like this, Bulenggu sava ige ! ige wmveu, mo gaigei woworoa, 
mo gaigei woworoa sole, My fish, whatever you are, nice little 
fish, here is your food with sauce, your food done with cocoa- 
nut sauce. But there was another person, whose name was 
Merambuto, who stood on the beach, and heard Tagarombiti 
calling his fish with a song like that, and next day Merambuto, 
having made haste to prepare food in the night, drew down 
the canoe in the early morning, Tagarombiti' s canoe, and 
paddled out till he came to the place where Tagarombiti had 
floated before. And he sang again that song, Bulenggu sava 
iqe / Then those fish heard his voice that it was loud, and 


did not rise, because they knew it was a different person by 
his loud voice. And Merambuto perceived that they did riot 
rise, and he altered his voice so as to be small like Taga- 
rombiti's. And he called them with a small voice singing 
that song, Bulenggu sava ige ! Then those fish heard that the 
voice was small, and they rose all of them to the surface, and 
he caught every one of them with a hook. And he made 
haste to paddle ashore, and went back into his village, and 

B b 2 

37 2 Stories. [CH. 

made up a fire, and put the fish in the oven. But when 
it was broad daylight Tagarombiti went himself, and they 
were all gone ; and he understood that this thief Merambuto 
had caught all the fish, and paddled quickly back and hauled 
up his canoe. And he looked for footprints to know which 
way he had gone round ; and he found footprints and followed 
them, following on till he came to Merambuto's place ; and 
there he went into the house to him, and sat down with him 
in a friendly way. Then said Tagaro, What is that in the 
oven? I am hungry. And Merambuto said, That is my 
food, but it is very bad, you cannot eat it. Then says Taga- 
rombiti, Indeed ! is your food so very bad ? But those are my 
fish, and you have caught them all. And he struck him, and 
killed him in his house, and set fire to the house, and it was 
burnt and destroyed. And Tagarombiti took back the fish 
from the oven, and went back and put them into a little pool 
of salt-water, and the fish revived; one side of them was 
gone, one side still remained. And we call them, tavalm ige 
bnlei Tagaro, Tagaro's half-fish soles. 


Nobody knows what her name was, but she was an old 
woman. And there were two children who lived with her in 
her house, but nobody knows what their father's and mother's 
names were ; the story about them is that the mother of these 
two was the daughter of this old woman. Her house was a 
good one, fenced about with reeds ; there was a fence all 
round the house, and there was a fence also made against the 
back of the house, and those two children were forbidden to 
go into it, because she would be there by herself. And in 
that little fence at the back of the house she put carefully a 
leaf of the ma (gigantic caladium) ; and they say that in that 
leaf she always made water, and was always very strict in 
forbidding those two to go there, lest they should see it. 
And these two were both boys, and they were always shooting 

xix.] Dilingavuv. 373 

lizards. So one day when the old woman went into the 
garden to work and to bring- back food for the three of them, 
she said to those two, Don't you go there ! and they an- 
swered, Very well, we shall not go. And she went out of the 
house, and went into the gardens, and those two brothers 
played with their bows, shooting lizards. After a while one 
said to the other, It would be a good thing to go and see 
what it is where the old woman has forbidden us to go. 
Very well, said the other, let us go ; so they went, and they 
saw that via leaf and the water in it. Then they saw a 
lizard sitting on a part of that leaf, and one of them shot at 
it, but missed the lizard and hit the leaf, and the water that 
was in it burst quickly forth. And the old woman heard it, 
and perceived that those two had probably shot the leaf. And 
she stood up and cried with a loud voice, Horodali bulu, horo- 
dali bulu ! and twice again, Dali ure, dali ure ! (Pour round 
about and meet ! Round about the world !) And thus the 
sea for the first time stood full around the whole world, for 
before that they say there was no sea. So the old woman 
you may say made the sea herself. 


They were living in their place, and his companions made 
a garden, and planted bananas in it. When the bananas bore 
fruit and ripened Dilingavuv went every day and ate bananas 
in their garden, not eating on the ground, but climbing into 
the trees and eating. After a while he was discovered ; one 
of the party went into the garden and saw him up in a banana- 
tree eating ; so he ran and told the others. Says he, You 
fellows, I have seen the one who steals and eats our bananas. 
Then said Maraw-hihi, Hew out bows for us to go and shoot 
and kill him. But they said, Marawhihi, no one will be able 
to shoot and kill him. I will shoot him and kill him, said 
Marawhihi. It is wholly impossible, said they. However 

374 Stories. [CH. 

they hewed out bows, each for himself, and put points to their 
arrows ; and when that was done Marawhihi said, Let us go 
after him one by one. So one went first, and came to the 
garden, and saw him sitting up in the banana- tree, and went 
on tiptoe towards him to shoot him. But Dilingavuv stretched 
out his arms like a bat, and the man was afraid, and ran back 
and told the others. It can't possibly be done, said they. But 
Marawhihi said that one must go again, and another went, 
and the same thing happened again. Thus they all went in 
turn, and came back and disputed with Marawhihi, saying, It 
can't possibly be done. Then said Marawhihi, I shall do it 
myself, I shall shoot him and kill him. And this Marawhihi 
they say was more clever than them all ; and he went last and 
saw Dilingavuv sitting in the banana-tree, and he stepped 
along on tiptoe under the banana, and when Dilingavuv 
stretched out his arms he was not frightened at him ; but he 
shot him w r ith a bird arrow of casuarina wood, and hit him on 
the ear, and shot it right off; and he fell headlong to the 
ground. So Marawhihi ran and told his friends ; but Dili- 
gavuv got up from under the banana and went home to his 
mother. When he reached his mother's house, he called to 
her within, and she answered him and said, What is it, my 
son ? And he said, Give me an axe. And his mother said, 
What are you going to do with it ? But he deceived her, and 
did not tell her that Marawhihi had shot his ear off. Then he 
went and cut another ear for himself out of the root of a tree, 
and the name of that tree is the Raw, and as he was chopping 
the Raw root, he said, Chop in pieces ! chop asunder ! But 
Marawhihi had sent one of his men who went and listened, 
and heard him saying this, Chop in pieces ! chop asunder ! 
and he ran back and told Marawhihi that Dilingavuv was 
chopping himself out an ear in place of the other. After this 
Marawhihi and his men made a feast and danced, and danced 
every day. And when Dilingavuv heard of it, he said, I will 
go and have my revenge. So he gathered a great quantity of 
Tahitian chestnuts, and took fire, and collected stones, and 
took a dancing cloak of leaves, and went to them. But he did 

xix] Dilingavuv. The Eel. . 375 

not go right up to them into the open, but stayed beside the 
village. Then he made up a fire and roasted his chestnuts, 
and heated the stones, and dug a very deep hole and covered 
over the mouth of it with the dress of leaves ; and so he sat 
and watched them dancing. ' Before long as they were 
dancing one of them fell out to take breath ; and when he 
saw r Dilingavuv sitting and eating chestnuts, he called to him 
to give him one. Run over here, says Dilingavuv ; so he runs 
over to him, and sits down on this dancing dress ; and as he 
throws himself down to sit he goes clean down into the hole. 
And Dilingavuv played the same trick to all the company at 
that dance, and let them all down into that one pit, and 
Marawhihi last of all. Then he took the stones that he had 
heated over the fire, and threw them down into the hole to kill 
the men with heat ; but as he threw them down Marawhihi said 
to his companions, Come round over to this side of the pit, and 
they did so, and not one of them was killed. But Dilingavuv 
went home thinking he had killed them all. Then Maraw- 
hihi said to his men, Do you know how we shall save our 
lives ? and they answered, We are all dead already. Not at 
all, said he, I know very well that we shall not die. Then 
Marawhihi cast up his eyes out of the mouth of the pit, and 
saw a banyan branch bending over the pit ; and he said, Let 
us ker galgalaput at that banyan branch (shoot one arrow 
after another, making each one strike and fix itself into the 
one before it). And they did so ; and the reed-shafts of the 
arrows they had shot reached down to them into the pit. 
Then said Marawhihi, Climb up along the shafts ; and they 
said to him, You first, and we after you. So he climbed 
up on the line of arrows and got out of the pit, and so they all 
saved their lives. 


They were living in their place, and they were planting 
their gardens ; and one day when they went to plant, a boy 
said to his father and mother, To-morrow when you go again, 

376 Stories. [CH. 

you will put by a yam for me. Next morning' his father 
and mother went, and put by a yam for him ; and he roasted 
it and ate it, and then went and asked some other boys for 
more. But they scolded him, and said to him, What ! has 
your father gone and not left you anything to eat? They 
gave me some, he said, but I have eaten it all up. Why 
then do you ask for our food too ? they asked ; but he cried 
and said, Very well! I will tell mother and father by and 
bye that you have scolded me. When his father and mother 
came back, he said to them, When you both left me I ate 
up all my food, and went and begged some of theirs, and 
they were very angry with me ; so to-morrow when you go 
again to plant you are to put two yams for me. Next 
morning they two went planting again, and put two yams 
for the boy ; and when he had roasted them he went and 
followed a stream, and found a nice place, and sat down to 
eat. As he was eating, crumbs of food fell into the water, 
and an Eel came out and ate, and turned into a man, and 
rose up and came to the boy. When they two had eaten 
all the yam, the Eel said to the boy, To-morrow you will 
roast two yams again, and bring them here, and we two will 
eat them. After that the boy went home, and the Eel went 
back into the water ; and the boy said to his father and 
mother, To-morrow when you go you must put two yams for 
me ; and in the morning they put for him two yams. He 
roasted them, and took them in his hand, and went to his 
place and ate ; and the Eel came out again. When they 
had finished eating the Eel said to the boy, Let us anoint our 
heads. So they dressed their heads and adorned themselves, 
and went into the garden, and helped the people who were 
digging the ground. But when that Eel dug the ground all 
the people crowded to see him do it ; some went back to their 
digging, but the women would not do their work, and their hus- 
bands were exceedingly angry with the Eel, and rushed upon 
him, and would have killed him ; but the boy who came with 
him poured water on him, and he turned into an Eel again. 
And they caught hold of him, but he escaped; and they 

xix.] Molgon and Molwor. 377 

missed their hold upon him over and over again, and he 
jumped into the water. So they said, All right, we will 
make rain for him ; and they made a great rain, and the 
water swelled into a flood and carried the Eel to the beach. 
When the flood subsided they went down and found the Eel 
lying on the beach, and they cut him into short pieces, and 
left him. But the boy, his brother, ran down and saw the 
Eel lying there, and wept ; and his tears fell upon the Eel, 
and he turned into a man again, and stood up and said to 
his brother, You are to go up inland and tell your father and 
mother that you three are to go and take up your abode 
in another island. The boy therefore said to his father and 
mother, We three are to move to another island. After they 
had gone, one day an old woman was sitting, and she heard 
the Eel singing a song ; and she said to the people, Listen 
to that singing a song like the Eel ; but some of them 
answered, It is not that, the Eel is dead ; but they heard 
plainly the Eel's voice, and said, It is true, it is the 
Eel's voice. And when he had finished singing they heard 
a loud report ; and as they were sitting a very great surf 
rose and swept them away, all of them ; and they all died, 
and that island was entirely lost. 


The father and mother of these two brothers, who lived at 
Gaua, said to the elder of them, Molgon, you are to look well 
after him, the younger one, and feed him well. All right, he 
said ; and then their father and mother died. They two lived 
on ; and one day they drew down a canoe, and paddled up the 
course of a stream, and came upon apala/co fruit floating down it. 
They broke it in two and ate it. They paddled on and there 
came floating down two, one for one of them to eat, one for 
the other ; they paddled on and three came floating down, 
one for one, one for the other, and one they broke in two ; 
they paddled on and four came floating down, two for one, 
two for the other; they paddled on and five came floating 

378 Stories. [CH. 

down, two for one, two for the other, and one they broke in 
two ; they paddled on and six came floating down, three for 
one, three for the other ; they paddled on and seven came 
floating 1 down, three for one, three for the other, and one they 
broke in two ; they paddled on and eight came floating- down, 
four for one, four for the other ; they paddled on and nine 
came floating down, four for one, four for the other, and one 
they broke in two ; they paddled on and ten came floating 
down, five for one, five for the other ; they paddled on and 
saw the source from which the fruits had floated down. 
Then the first-born said to the younger, You sit here, and 1 
will go and gather for us both to eat. So he went and 
gathered fruit. But a woman, Roprialal, came out of her 
house, and looked down to where he was standing, and 
called him. He went to her, and she said to him, We two 
will cook food in the oven ; and they two cooked food in the 
oven, and afterwards they ate. He could not eat all the qeta, 
caladium, and he said to her, I will go with this to my 
brother, that he may eat it ; but the woman said, If you can't 
eat it all, throw it outside for the pigs ; and he cried. Then 
they made a mash, and he could not eat it all, and said to her, 
I shall take this for my brother to eat. But the woman said, 
Throw it outside to the pigs ; and he cried. Then she asked 
him, What is your name ? and he said, Molgon. And what 
is the name of that fellow over there ? and he said, Molwor. 
And she said, Aia ! true enough ! your name is Molgon, 
Go-catch, and you have come here and have caught on to the 
pigs which belong to you and me, and the house, and the 
gamal^ and the food, and the money; but he, his name is 
Molwor, Go-clear, and he has come here to be clear of all the 
goods of you and me. And he cried and cried. Then the 
woman said, Get up, let us go and see him ; and they went 
over and found him dead, lying in the canoe, for the sun had 
smitten him dead with its rays. And he cried and cried, and 
his tears dropped on his brother's breast, and he came to life 
again, and said to him, Brother, our father when he died told 
you to take care of me, but you have gone away to eat and 

xix.] The Ghost-wife. 379 

have not thought of me ; and he went on talking-. But the 
woman stood and urged him, saying, Come here ! we two 
will go up away from him again. Then as Molwor spoke to 
him, Molgon wept wonderfully ; and when he had finished 
speaking, Molwor sang a song to him, and got down from the 
canoe, and put his legs into the water, and began to turn into 
an eel ; and when he had quite finished his song he plunged 
into the water, and his brother who had been standing by 
leapt down also into the water. And the woman stood and 
looked down, and blood came up from the water. And they 
two turned into stones lying in the water-course ; and the 
woman stood and wept greatly, and went back again up the 


A story to tell. They were living and living in their 
place ; a famine prevailed. And there was a woman and her 
son, and they both were hungry. After a time the mother 
went to dig qauro, wild yams, for them to eat, and when she 
had finished digging the qauro she would return to her son in 
the village ; and as she went she found a gaviga (Malay apple) 
tree in fruit, in a deserted garden, and she put down her 
basket, and took a stick with a crook and pulled down the 
branches of the gaviga with it, and then she gathered with her 
hands and ate. And when she had finished eating she put 
some seeds into her basket ; and as she went along she broke 
the tips of the branches to mark the path. And when she had 
arrived at the village she said to her son, Take the things out 
of our basket ; and he took them out one by one, and as he 
took them out he found the gaviga seeds in the basket which 
his mother had put there. Then says her son to her, What 
is this you have been eating, and have put the seeds in the 
basket for me to see ? And his mother says, Where ? And 
her son takes out the gaviga seeds. Then says his mother to 
him, Esi ! I don't know ; somebody I suppose has put them 
there. But he says. No ! you have been eating them to-day, 

380 Stories. [CH. 

because I see plainly that the seeds are still moist. So he 
presses his mother hard to tell him ; and his mother tells 
him. And it was already evening, and she says to him, As 
you go along you will see a little path where the branches 
have their tips broken down, and you will pass through there 
and come out (upon the tree). So he follows the word his 
mother gave him ; and as he goes along the sun is setting, 
but he arrives at the gaviga-tree and climbs up. And when 
he had climbed up to eat it was dark. Then he sees some- 
thing flying to him on the gaviga and settling. Then says 
the ghost to the living man, Where do you come from ? And 
the man says to him, It is not as you suppose. Mother came 
here to dig qauro and she found this gaviga, and then she 
went home and told me, and after that I came here. Then 
said the ghost to him, She is my sister to be sure, and my own 
nephew are you ; come here and let me hide you, because we are 
many of us now coming here to eat gavigas. So he takes him 
and makes him sit down in the hollow of the gaviga ; and 
his uncle sat over the mouth of the hollow of the gaviga in 
which the man was. Then while he is in the hollow he hears 
a whirring sound coming, like birds, and settling on the top 
of the gaviga. Then says the man to the ghost his uncle. 
What is this? And he says to him, They are here already, 
some ghosts who are come to eat gavigas, and if you hear 
them buzzing in talk together don't be afraid, and don't let 
your bones quake, here am I with you. So he sits within ; 
and his uncle looks about, and sees two gavigas in a bunch, and 
says to another ghost. Pluck those two for me. And he gives 
them to him, and he eats one and gives the man the other. 
And he went on doing so for him till daylight; and when the 
day was dawning and some of the ghosts were taking flight 
he says to a damsel among them, Don't be in a hurry to fly 
off, you and I will fly together ; and she says, Very well. But 
when they had all the lot of them taken flight, and it was clear 
daylight, the ghost says to the man, Well now, come out ; 
and he comes out from the hollow of the gaviga-tree. Then 
says the ghost his uncle to him, Well, here is a damsel for 

xix.] The Ghost-wife. 381 

your wife. And the man says to the ghost, Ah, I don't 
know! will she be agreeable or not? And his uncle says, 
She agrees. Then the female agreed with the man, and they 
two went back into the village. And when the two arrived 
at the village his mother asked him, Where is that woman 
from ? And he says, She is my wife ; Uncle gave her to me. 
And she says, Who is Uncle ? And he says, Your brother of 
course, who died long ago ; when I went to eat gavigas and 
it was night I saw him fly first to me, and he put me in the 
hollow of the gaviga. Then says his mother, Very well, we 
three will live here, and she may live with you ; so the three 
lived together. And as the three lived together those two 
worked for yams and taro and tomago and hibiscus ; and as 
they were working so her husband appointed the time for his 
suqe, and appointed five days. And they waited counting 
the days, and when it came to the fifth day he went off, and 
he said to his wife, You two are not to come, you and our 
child ; you two go into the garden and weed away the grass 
from the taro, and when you have finished weeding go to the 
other part where it is ripe, and pull up for yourselves, and 
come back here. And she did so ; and when she had finished 
weeding she took up their child on her back ; but as the two 
came near the taro the woman stretched out her hand to pull 
some up, and there was a bunch of taro already in her hand ; 
and she put it aside ; and if she touched a hibiscus plant to 
pluck the leaves, behold, a bundle of hibiscus leaves again in 
her hand ; and if she essayed to lay hold on sticks for fire-wood, 
there was a faggot of fire-wood already in her hand ; and the 
two went home. And they two come back into the village, 
and light a fire for their oven, and do the necessary work 
about it, and cover it in. And she opens it, and then her 
husband comes back and asks her, Where have you two been ? 
And she says, In our garden. Then he says, But who gave 
you taro ? And he says, But I have seen that belonging to us 
still untouched. Then she says, Not so ; it was taken in our 
garden. Then he says again, Esi ! perhaps I did not observe 
exactly. - So they waited again five days for the rank of Qoro- 

382 Stories. [CH. 

qorolava ; and when it comes to that day he goes away again 
from those two ; and he makes the same arrangements and 
goes away. After that she takes her child up on her back, 
and goes with it to the yam garden ; and when they have arrived 
there she puts down her child and works at weeding. And 
when she has weeded all the place she does again as before ; 
if she essays to dig a yam for their food, and she lays hold on 
the leaf of the yam, there is a tuber already in her hand ; and 
if she essays to pluck hibiscus leaves, they are in her hand 
already; and if she essays to take a cocoa-nut, there is a cocoa- 
nut already in her hand. And the evening draws on, and the 
two go home ; and her husband comes home and sees them, and 
asks them, What have you two eaten ? And she says, We two 
have been in our garden working, and have dug a yam for 
our food, and plucked hibiscus leaves, and taken cocoa-nuts. 
But her husband says to her, Not so ; I have been into our 
garden and have seen one thing, but I have not seen at all 
that a yam has been dug, not at all ; and no cocoa-nut has 
been taken. And the woman says to him, Not so ; we two 
certainly have got the food in our garden. But the man 
says, Not so ; there is some one else probably who has given 
it to you. And she says, Who is there that will trouble 
himself about us ? he will be a ghost, I suppose ! And he 
says, Tell me who gives these things to you. Who should it 
be that would give me anything? says she. And the man 
says, No ! tell me the truth. Then the woman says to him, 
Well ! come along, we three will go into our garden. So the 
three set out and went and arrived ; and the woman says to 
him, W T ell ! look here, you are angry with us, but you may 
see for yourself. Then she touches taro. and it was as before, 
and yams, and it was so. Then the man says, Not so ; some 
one else has been giving you things. But as he says thus he 
lays hold on a stick and beats her, and says, You don't belong 
down here below, you belong above the sky. What have 
you been doing here? Get back into your own country. 
And she says, Very well, I will soon go back into my own 
country. And one day after again he beat her and went off. 

x i x . ] Ganviviris. 383 

And when she has seen that he is gone she gathers banyan 
leaves into a heap, and sets fire to them, and they burn. 
Then she says to her child, Sit here, and I will go to the 
other side of the fire ; and she goes fco the other side of the fire, 
and the smoke goes straight up into the clouds, and the 
child's mother goes up in it ; and her child cries beside the 
fire, and she goes on up into the clouds l . 


The story about what Ro Som did for Ganviviris is not an 
old one ; he was a man whom my father's grandfather and 
his friends had seen ; he was an orphan, his father was dead, 
and his mother too was dead, and he lived with his mother's 
brother. And his uncle did nothing for him in the suqe 
club, he still remained an avlava, because he was an idle 
fellow, and whenever they called him to go to work he would 
refuse, and when they were all gone inland to the gardens he 
would go down to the beach to shoot fish, and do nothing 
else day after day. But one day when they had called him to 
work and were all gone, he took his bow and went down to 
Ngerenow, and there he saw a sauma slowly swimming along 
and rolling from side to side quite close to him ; and he took 
an arrow tipped with casuarina wood, and drew his bow to 
shoot. And just as he was releasing the string he heard a 
voice inciting him and saying, Let fly! Let fly! And he 
drew down his arrow from the bow-string, thinking it was a 

1 Here the MS. ends. The story goes on to relate that the man found 
his child crying for its mother beside the fire, and refusing to be comforted. 
He sought help from all the birds and living creatures, but none would listen 
to him till he came to the Spider, marawa, who readily undertook to bring 
the child to its mother. He spun a line from earth to heaven, took the man 
and the child on his back and carried them safely up. A feast was going on 
in heaven, and the two sat down in the circle of spectators. The men were 
dancing round the drum, and the women tramping round in pairs. Each 
time the mother passed the child it cried out Mother ! She stopped at last 
and asked, Who is that cries Mother ! to me ? Recognizing her child and 
husband she agreed to return, and the Spider carried all three of them safe back 
to the earth. 

384 Stories. [CH. 

man, and he turned his head again and again to look behind 
him to see who it was, but there was no man. And he drew 
again, and heard again the voice inciting him ; and he looked 
again, for he still thought it was a man. And the third time 
he drew his bow, and heard the voice, and loosed the string 
and hit the sauma. And he ran down and caught the fish by 
the tail, and threw his arms round it ; but the fish struggled, 
throwing itself about, and carried him off into a dry cave, 
which was, they say, the dwelling of Ro Som (Money). And 
Ganviviris cried aloud, but the sauma turned into a woman, and 
said, Don't cry, it is I who have had pity on you. I have 
seen you every day, and now I am going to do you a service. 
You shall go back ; and when you go home you are to tell 
your uncle to bid his wives plait bags for you. and let them 
be ten, and make a chamber for yourself parted off from the 
house, and hang up all the bags in the open ; and don't eat 
anything to-day. So Ganviviris dived out of the cave, and 
went back into the village, and said to his uncle, Tata, tell 
those three to- plait me ten bags. And his uncle said to him, 
What have you got belonging to you to stow in them ? You 
are a penniless fellow, and one who never plants or gathers. 
But he says, E! just let me have them plaited. So his 
uncle said to his wives, You are to plait bags for Ganviviris. 
And they three cried, E-o-o ! who is to listen to him, an 
avlava, a fellow who does nothing at all ? But his uncle said, 
Plait them just to try what his nonsense means ; then we 
shall see what sort of property he has got to stow in them. 
So the three women plaited the bags. And in the night Ro 
Som came to Ganviviris and said, Make haste to hang up 
your bags. And next day he hung up the bags ; and in the 
night as he was lying down to sleep he heard the rafters 
creak again because of the money which was filling the bags ; 
and he got up and felt one after another those ten bags, 
every one quite full. And Ro Som said to him, Tell your 
uncle to give you his third wife. So he spoke out to him 
about it, and his uncle let him have one. And he said again, 
Tata, let us break up fire-wood for the day after to-morrow. 

xix.] Ganviviris. 385 

But his uncle said to him, What property have you got to 
give for us to buy your rank with, you a penniless fellow 
with nothing- coming in ? And he says, Lend me some 
money and a pig to make the first payments with ; but this 
he said to try him. And his uncle said to him, I shall not 
consent to let you have any property of mine ; why should I? 
you are an idle fellow. But he says, Tata, let us break up 
fire-wood the day after to-morrow, and to-morrow we will go 
into your gardens, and I will look for some taro there. So 
they went to the gardens, and he said to his uncle, Put up a 
palako as a warning against taking anything from these 
gardens. And his uncle said to him, You are putting a mark 
upon a great quantity ; what have you got of your own to pay 
so great a price with ? And he says, You will pay the great 
price. But he says, I shall not listen to you about my money 
and my food. So they went back again into the village, and 
all the people then heard of what had been done, and they 
laughed at Ganviviris, saying that he would never be able to 
eat his suqe rank. But next day they broke up fire- wood, and 
he bought taro with a great price, with ten coils of money for 
each garden. And his uncle said to him, You have bought 
food with a great price ; you have succeeded in that, but you 
have to give money all round for your snqe, where have you 
got anything for that ? And he says, That will be your doing 
of course. But his uncle had no wish to let him have his 
money; so he says, Let us bring the taro to-morrow, and 
crack almonds for the feast. And he said again to his 
uncle, Tata, let your children twist some cords. So his two 
children twisted, and his wives twisted ; and the neighbours 
asked his uncle saying, They are twisting cords, but where is 
the pig there tied up by the house ? And he says, Esi ! we have 
never seen any belonging to him, he is a pauper. But in the 
evening he went and got four pigs, and tied them up near the 
village. And he ate on one day the avirik and the qatagiav. 
And in the night Ro Som said to him, You are to take all 
your ranks in the suqe here at Qakea ; you are not to take 
any at Mota ; if you disobey my word in this you will die. 

c c 

386 Stories. [CH. 

And on the day he bought his rank he said to them, Have 
you made all the return for my money? And they said, When 
you have completed your distribution of property we will 
make an end of our return ; lest we should crush ourselves 
into poverty. So he went and loosed and brought out two 
rawe pigs and two boars, and he went into his house and 
carried out his money-bags on his backhand with that he 
made distribution ; and they were amazed at those rawe and 
boars, all of them with their tusks curled round till they met, 
that Ro Som had given to him. And after five days again 
they broke up fire-wood, and on the tenth day again he bought 
his steps of rank, the avtagataga and the luwaiav. And on 
the fifth day again they broke up fire-wood, and on the tenth 
day he bought his steps, the tamasuria and the tavai suqe ; 
and on the fifth day again he said, Let us break up fire-wood, 
and on the tenth day he bought the steps tavasuqelava and 
kerepue. And always he was buying food with large pay- 
ments, and he paddled over to Vanua Lava and bought with 
large sums there, and to Mota and bought with large sums 
there : and he went on in the suqe till he reached the weme- 
leloa. Then he desired to make his suqe also at Mota, and he 
went and built his house at Tasmate, and they broke up fire- 
wood and danced the taqesara. But he appointed the tenth day 
for a sawae, and on the ninth day he prepared mashed yams ; 
and at the sawae he appointed the tenth day for a kolekole. 
And at the kolekole ', when the noise of the sawae was sounding 
like thunder, and the feast was at its height, they saw a 
woman walking up the sloping ground below the cliff, using 
a spear for a walking stick, with bracelets on her arms reach- 
ing to the elbow, and on her right arm a boar's tusk, and her 
head smeared with red earth, and pigs' tails fastened to her 
hair ; and they thought that some visitors had just landed 
from a canoe. And she went straight to the house of Gan- 
viviris and passed out of sight within it ; and they went to 
see who it was and found no one there. And they told Gan- 
viviris, We have seen a woman go into your kole house, with 
bracelets and boars' tusks on her arms ; and he said, Don't 

xix.] The Little Orphan. 387 

mention it in the village. And he went up there to bring 
out his money-bags on his back, and he saw that his ten bags 
had nothing in them ; and he went outside and saw that all 
his pigs were gone ; his distribution of property came to 
nothing at all. And when the evening was dark, and Gan- 
viviris was sleeping in his house, they heard him cry out, 
and they asked him, What ails you? And he said, Esi! 
there is something, but I don't know what it is, that has 
happened to me. And he began to sicken on that very night, 
and on the fifth day he died. 


A story to tell. They were living in their place, the boys 
were growing up, and their father and mother said to them, 
Go down to the beach, and catch fish with hook and line for 
us, and we two will go inland and get vegetables for us all 
to eat with them. And they said, Very well ; and the two 
went up to the garden, and they went down to the beach. 
And as they were going along the path the Little Orphan said, 
Let me go with you. But they said E-o-o ! not you, a little 
orphan, we will go by ourselves alone, we who are children of 
fathers ; if you were to go with us what would you eat ? 
You have no father, you have no mother, who will give you 
food to eat with your fish? And they went first, and the 
Little Orphan behind. And those the children of fathers 
went down to the beach, and the Little Orphan went down 
a steep place eastwards to the landing-place at Sanwawa ; 
and there he fishes for himself with a line and hook. And 
when he sees those others mounting back into the island, 
he also strings his fish together and mounts back himself; 
and he comes near to them, and they say. Don't come together 
with us, you have no father and no mother to give you 
vegetable food to eat your fish with. So they mount up, 
and they before and he behind. But they go on the way 
homeward, and he stops short, and goes into his cave 
and roasts his fish. And when he has roasted them he takes 

c c 2, 

388 Stories. [CH. 

his fish up together and goes out, and goes out down to the 
beach, and sits down, and dips his fish into a little pool of 
salt-water, and eats them by themselves without any vegetable 
food. After this on another day they went again ; and the 
Little Orphan says, I will go with you ; and they say, No, we 
have already said that you the Little Orphan are not to come. 
If you come with us, and you catch fish, what have you to 
eat with them ? you have no food to eat your fish with. And 
they went before and he went after ; and they went to their 
place, and he to his. And he fishes with his hook and line 
and keeps his eye upon them ; and when he sees them 
mount up inland, he also mounts up himself. And they say 
to him, Don't, we tell you, be coming along with us ; if you 
come here who is there to give you food ? you have no father 
and no mother to give you food to eat your fish with. And 
they go on into the village, and he stops short, and roasts 
again his fish and eats them without vegetable food. After 
this on another day again they went ; and he said, Let me 
go with you ; but they said, You are not to go, we only 
shall go who have fathers and have mothers, you are not 
to come, a little orphan. And they went again before, and 
he behind, and they to their place and he to his. And as he 
stood down there, a fish comes on his hook first, and he runs 
up on the rocks and takes it off the hook ; and runs and 
lets down his hook into the water, and a tapanau is caught, 
and he takes it up, and runs up and puts it down into a little 
pool. And he runs over again and lets down his hook and a 
nongpitpit is caught ; and he runs up and puts it down into 
the pool ; and runs over and lets down his hook and a gavaru 
is caught, and he goes with it and puts it down into the pool, 
and runs over and lets down his hook, and a plaited hibiscus 
line (c/avani) is caught by him ; and he goes up with it and puts 
it down. And he runs over to let down his hook, and a woman 
and her child come up out of the sea to him ; and their name 
is Ho Som (Money), and he puts them down on the reef. 
Then Ro Som says to him, Let us three go together. And 
the Little Orphan says, E-o-o ! not you two ; I will go by 

xix.] The Little Orphan. 389 

myself. But she says, No, we three. But the Little Orphan 
says, No, you two must not ; I shall go by myself, because 
I have no food to feed you with. But she says, Never mind, 
string oui- fish together and we three will go. So the three 
went along and arrived at the Little Orphan's dwelling-place ; 
and he looks and sees a house and a gamal ; and he asks her, 
Whose house is this ? and whose gamal is this ? And Ro Som 
says to him, It is the house of us three, and your gamal. So 
they three enter into the house, and sit down. And Bo Som 
says to the Little Orphan, Come now, cook the fish for us 
three to eat. But he says What is there ? What are we 
going to eat the fish with? I told you that you two must 
not come with me ; I have no food. But she says, Cook 
the fish, we three will eat them with some vegetable food 
presently. So he makes up a fire for the fish, and puts hot 
stones inside them and wraps them in leaves, and puts them 
on the fire, and the three sit down and wait. Then Ro Som 
says to him, Now then, take down our fish. And he says, 
What are we to do ? What are we going to eat them with, I 
mean ? And she says, Look, there is a heap of cooked food 
there for us to eat the fish with. So he goes over to the fish, 
and takes them off the fire, and they three ate. And when 
they had finished eating he goes out of the house into the 
village and sees gardens, a banana garden, and &tomago garden, 
and a yam garden, a wowosa garden, a weswes garden, a 
sugar-cane garden ; and the bananas were beginning to rot, 
and the tomagos were sprouting afresh, and the yams were 
sprouting, and the reeds were throwing up flower stalks, and 
the qeta were beginning to rot. Then he said to his mother, 
Oh, mother, whose gardens are these here ? And Ro Som 
says, They belong to us three only; and she says to him, 
To-morrow you will make up fires in the gamal in every oven, 
and we two will be here in the house, and we three will make 
mixture of cooked food and scraped cocoa-nut for food for pigs. 
And says the Little Orphan, Very well, but what are we to 
feed with it ? But she says, Just get to work about it. So 
they two cooked a quantity of food in the oven inside the 

390 Stories. [CH. 

house, and he also cooked a quantity in the gamal\ and the 
pigs' food made by the two in the house was a hundred baskets- 
full and that in the gamal a hundred. And as soon as they 
covered in the ovens the food was cooked. And the Little 
Orphan mixed the food for his part in the gamal, and 
Som and her child mixed for their part in the house ; 
and when the three have finished mixing, they take the food 
out into the village place, and the Little Orphan puts his 
down on a stone, and Som and her child put theirs down 
at the door of the house. And Ro Som says, Well now, call 
the pigs, sumsum ; and the Little Orphan gets up and sumsums, 
and he hears continued squealing, and he sees boars with 
tusks that curl and meet, and rawe with tusks that curl 
and meet, and sows ; these all come rushing out to the three, 
and the three feed them and they eat. And while they are 
eating, Ro Som says to him, Have you got any uncle on your 
mother's side ? And he says, I have an uncle, but he does 
not come to look after me, and he gives me no food. Then 
said Ro Som, Run and say to him, Tata, come and make the 
payments for my steps in the suqe. So the wife of the uncle 
of the Little Orphan saw him coming, and she said to the 
people, Drive that boy away that is coming here ; who is 
there to attend to him, and give him food ? Then says the 
Little Orphan, Tata ! And his uncle says 0-e ! what is it ? 
And he says, Come out here. So his uncle came out to him ; 
and he says, Tata, pray come to me to pay, sar, for my steps. 
And his uncle says, Oh, but if I pay that, what will you vile 
pulai, return payment, with ? And his nephew says, Come let 
us go. So the Little Orphan led the way, and his uncle 
came behind, and they went on. And when they arrived 
beside the Little Orphan's village, his uncle sees a place where 
pigs have been rooting, and he says, Ah ! these pigs' rootings, 
whose are they ? And he says, Mine to be sure. But he says, 
Oh, I dare say ! Where are you going to get pigs from to 
be your property ? Then he sees also a garden, and he says, 
W T hose is this yam garden ? and he says, Mine. And his uncle 
says, I'll beat you for saying it; but he looks about and 

xix.] The Little Orphan. 391 

the bananas are rotting, and the caladium is rotting, and 
the tomagos are sprouting. And then he sees a house and 
says, But whose house is this ? and whose gawal is this ? 
And the Little Orphan says, My house and my gamal. And 
his uncle says, But how is it that you have got these ? Who 
is there who will assist you and give you thatch ? And the 
Little Orphan says to his uncle, Well, let those people give 
the first money, vene, for the avrik. And his uncle says to 
the people, Come, give in your money to begin with, I will 
sar, pay back, to you. And all the people say, You fellows ! 
how is it ? W'hat has he got to return with ? He has no 
money. But his uncle makes the first return, sar, payment 
to them, and when he had paid them all, the Little 
Orphan gives money for his uncle's property; and he says 
again, Tata, make payment again to them for the qatagiav. 
And they vene to his uncle, and he makes the full return 
to them all, and his nephew returns his property to him, 
pigs and money. And he says to his uncle again, Pay, 
sar, them again for the av tagataga, and he pays ; and 
when he has paid them all, his nephew makes the return of 
his property, gives pigs and money And he says again to his 
uncle, Tata, let those people again make, vene, their contribu- 
tion of money for the Imcai av ; and they make it ; and his 
uncle repays them ; and when he has paid them all, his 
nephew runs up into the house and brings money out on his 
back, and makes the return of his property to his uncle. And 
that food that they ate would never come to an end ; they 
made one cooking of it, and they still went on eating it for 
rank after rank in the suqe ; they eat, and they stay at it 
right through like that. Afterwards he says again to his 
uncle, Well now, pay them again for the tamasuria, and he 
pays them again ; and his nephew runs up again, and brings 
out again on his back bags of money, and gives pigs, and 
makes return of his property to his uncle. And the people 
still remain ; and he says again to his uncle, Tata, pay them 
again for the tavai suqe ; and he pays again ; and when he 
has paid them all, his nephew runs up and goes into the 

392 Stories. [CH. 

house, and carries out money again on his back, and gives 
pigs and rawes. and makes return of his uncle's property. 
And he says, Tata, pay again for the kerepue ; and he pays, 
and his nephew brings money, and pigs, and rawes, and gives 
them to his uncle. And he says again, Tata, pay them for the 
mele ; and he pays ; and his nephew runs up and goes into the 
house and carries out money, and gives pigs and rawes, and 
makes return of his uncle's property. And that money will 
never come to an end, because his mother was Ro Som (i. e. 
Money) ; and she sits in the house and is hard at work multi- 
plying that money. And he says again, Tata, pay them again 
for the tetug ; and he pays ; and his nephew runs up and goes 
into the house, and carries out money, and gives pigs and 
raweSy and makes return of his uncle's property. And he 
says again, Tata, pay them again for the lano ; and he pays 
them ; and his nephew makes return of his property again. 
And he says again, Tata, pay them for the qorqorolava ; and 
he pays ; and his nephew makes return of his property, brings 
pigs, and brings rawes, and makes return again to his uncle. 
And thus it went on till he rose to the top, till he ate right 
through all the ranks of the suqe. After that he says to his 
uncle again, Tata, let us two make a kolekole ; and his uncle 
says, Very well. And he makes a kolekole for a stone, a sewere, 
makes one for an image, nule, makes one for a gamal, makes 
one for a wenereqoe, pig's tail, makes one for a wetapup, 
chicken's feathers, makes one for a sarlano, a hat, makes one 
for a liwan tamate, figure of a ghost, all those kolekoles of 
every sort and kind he accomplished. After that his nephew 
made a return of his property; he returned, went on re- 
turning, returned to the uttermost his uncle's property. 
And his uncle killed pigs for him ; killed for the sewere, 
killed for the nule, killed for the gamal, killed for the wenere- 
qoe, killed for the wetapup, killed for the kolevat, the stone, 
killed for the qatqatmemea, the red head, killed for the sarlano, 
killed for the liwantamate. And when he had finished killing, 
his uncle commanded the people of his village to take his 
pigs, and his rawe, and his money, to carry away; to carry 

xix.] The Little Orphan. 393 

away his pigs, and to carry away his rawe, and to carry away 
his money. And his uncle went up to the door of the house, 
and said to his wives, Come along, get up you two, we three 
will go home ; one of you will lead a pig with a line, one of 
you will carry a bag of money on her back. But they said 
to him, No ! go home yourself, we two are going to stay and 
marry your nephew, the Little Orphan. And he says, Not 
so, you two cannot marry him because formerly you used 
contemptuous language to him ; has he become good again ? 
no, he is bad. I wanted to give him food, but you two 
forbade it, and I was prevented giving him food ; and I 
wanted to go and look after him, but you two forbade it, and 
my going to see him came to nothing ; and if you two are 
to make advances to him, is he good again? no, he is bad. 
You two could not eat, when you saw him it made you sick, 
and you two can't live with him. But they said, Not at all, 
you go home by yourself, we two are going to stay with him. 
Then his uncle says, No, get up both of you, we three are to 
go home. But they two say, No, you go home by yourself. 
Then says he, Who is it you two here are going to marry ? 
You two can't live with him, the object of your scorn. Then 
they two get up and the three go home together. And the 
Little Orphan goes into the house, and makes a fire, and puts 
pig's flesh into the oven to make it keep. And when he has 
finished with his pig, then comes a report of a voyage, that 
the Motalava people with the Losalava people are going to 
paddle over to Gaua. Then says the Little Orphan to his 
mother, Oh, mother, those people are going to paddle over to 
Gaua to-morrow, and may I ? And his mother says, You 
must not ; stay and look after your meat in the oven. But 
he says E-o-o ! not so, mother, I shall go on the voyage with 
them ; I am going to them, and you two will cook my pig 
for me. So it was night and morning ; and when morning 
was come he goes up inside the house and speaks to his 
mother and says, Well, mother, as I am going away from you 
two, and you two stay here, there is that heap of food you are 
to eat ; but these you are not to touch. And he goes off, and 

394 Stories. [CH. 

they start on their voyage. And when he reaches the landing- 
place^ he sees that those people have already dragged down 
the canoe and set it afloat on the edge of the sea ; and he 
runs and jumps up and climbs right up on board the canoe, 
and they paddle off. But they all of them had taken pigs 
with them, but the Little Orphan had not taken one for 
himself, and he had brought nothing but a cockle-shell in his 
hand, and that shell-fish was not opened. And when they 
brought the canoes to shore at Gaua, the people there came 
down to meet them, and one of them runs over and cries, 
Friend ! and touches his friend's hand, and the two go up the 
beach together ; and some other runs down and cries, This is 
my friend, and touches his hand, and they two walk up 
together; and some other runs down and cries, This is my 
friend, and takes him, and they two walk up ashore ; but 
that poor Little Orphan, they don't want to be friends with 
him. And they stay and stay, and the wind rises, and they 
are to start on their voyage ; and they set off and paddle, pad- 
dle on, and go out at Losalava. And when those people drag 
up their canoe (at Mota), he runs back, runs and runs, and 
reaches the house where they three lived, and goes straight 
inside the house, and sees the heap of yams still remaining as 
it was ; and he says, What have you two been eating ? this 
food still remains untouched. And they two say, We have 
been eating it to be sure, that food. But he says, No, there 
is some other man I think has been bringing you wild food of 
the forest. Now he makes a fool of himself in this, supposing 
that it was as if his mother were living with a man. But 
that female Ro Som wept exceedingly because he had been 
angry with her, and she and her child wept till the sun went 
down. Then the Little Orphan goes near to them, and lies 
upon their legs, and tries to console them, but can't succeed ; 
and they cried on, till they heard the nose of the Little 
Orphan whistling in sleep, and then they removed softly 
their legs, and put down his head on the ground ; and they 
run to the money-bags, and unloose the pig, and the two 
run off. And as they went out that village turned into a 

xix.] The Little Orphan. 395 

deserted garden. But as they ran away the old woman sat 
down, the bags of money were very heavy upon her, and one 
of the bags fell down. And a pig with tusks remained 
tied at that landing-place at Sanwawa, and that money-bag 
remained lying where it fell. And that Little Orphan woke 
and jumped up, and there he was in a deserted garden, and he 
ran looking for those two, and he came out upon the shore, 
and sees an old woman sitting there and asks, Oh ! have you 
seen anybody at all here just now ? And she sings, Look, look 
over there ! loio ! ialo ! the two are plunging back into the 
sea at the place where the Little Orphan had fished them up. 
It is finished. 

NOTE. Two more Stories from Mota in native MS. are too long for insertion 
in full. One is the Story of Wowu,t-ta-Taragaviga, whom his parents kept in 
the house till he was grown up, and then advanced to the highest suqe rank. 
Another man of the same island taking the same step sent a portion of his 
feast to Wowut-ta-Taragaviga by an orphan, all others being afraid of 
approaching the gamal of so high a rank. Wowut takes a liking to the 
orphan, and pays him with money. He goes again and again with food till he 
has * thousands of money, thousands of boars, thousands of pigs with curled 
tusks,' and with these advances himself to high suqe rank. Then Wowut 
dies, and directs that when his friend comes to mourn over him he is to be 
given his wife in memory of him. The other is the Story of Qat-wuruga, who 
was born of a mother who had been killed by a fall from a tree, and grew up 
in the forest like the children in the Story of Taso. His maternal uncle finds 
him and takes him home, where his uncle's wives neglect him and ill-use him, 
and give him his name of Scurfy-head. The boy begs his uncle to take him 
back to the forest, and he carries him out of the sight of the sea into the 
midst of the island, Vanua Lava. Then he settles himself, and after a while 
snares birds. One day the fat of a bird roasting over the fire fell through on 
to the head of Wetopunpun beneath the earth, and he comes up above ground. 
This is the boy's father, the ghost of his dead father, or a Vai spirit. With the 
charm ' Svso-punpun, Soso-punpun* (like the Kerembaembae of Story No. i) he 
makes food, gardens, a village, a gamal, pigs, fowls, a drum all native wealth. 
Qat-wuruga's uncle comes to see him, and undertakes his advance to the highest 
ranks of the snqe, receiving his due payment of pigs. His wives, incredulous 
at first, go to a kolekole and see the youth they have despised in all his 
splendour. They desire to stay as his wives, and make him cut open his 
breast and give them some of his liver to eat. A canoe from Maewo comes 
over, and they find the fresh emblems of his rank ; they challenge comparison 
with their own, and see open-mouthed with astonishment the number of 
jawbones of the pigs he has killed in his feasts. They beguile him to sleep, 
and carry him off to their own island to kill and eat him. While they are 

396 S lories. [CH. 

A woman went to lay pandanus leaves to weave mats 
with in the water, and she laid them there in the evening and 
went home. In the morning she went to take the leaves from 
the water; and when she went to take them out, behold, 
they were turned into an eel. Then she ran back and told it 
to some men who were engaged in the suqe, and they ran 
down and tied a cord to the eel and dragged it up to the 
village. But there was a lame man who could not go with 
them, and he lay in the gamal. club-house ; and by the side of 
the gamal there was a croton-tree ; and as they dragged up 
that eel it curled its tail round the croton, and the croton was 
nearly broken, and the lame man saw it. But they dragged 
hard at the eel and it loosed its tail from the croton, and they 
brought it into the village, and laid it at the entrance of the 
gamal. So when they ran off for fire- wood and banana leaves 
to cook it with, the eel said to the lame man, When they are 
eating don't you eat ; they shall eat by themselves. Con- 
sequently the lame man did not eat ; but they put the eel to 
be cooked in the oven of the suqe, and covered in the oven. 
And when they opened the oven they all took up pieces of 
the eel, every one of them a piece, and when the great man 
said to them, Now put them ready, then they all put them 
ready ; and after that he said again, Now let us eat, and they 
all took a bite at once. But as they bit once their legs 
turned into eels ; and they bit a second time and the bodies 
of them all turned into eels ; and they bit again, and they 
were all eels ; and the great man glided away first, and they 
all followed him into the water. 

making preparations for their dance and feast, one of their party takes pity on 
him, unties and delivers him; the two paddle back to Vanua Lava. But 
when they reach Qat-wuruga's place all has disappeared. When he was 
captured his father Wetopunpun had gone to the beach and sat there grieving. 
The Qakea people, seeing him there day after day, paddled over and took him 
to their place, where there was a famine. There with his charm * Soso-punpun ' 
he makes gardens full of food to appear. They envy him and he leaves them, 
and seeks a solitary place, where he sits down by the side of Ro Som with all 
his possessions round him. A stone there representing him is a place of 
sacrifice to this day. 

xix.] The Little Owl. The Winged Wife. 397 


This is about two women who were getting fire- wood, and 
found a young owl, a bird with white feathers and very large 
eyes; it was a young bird of this kind that they found. 
And one day the two women went to look at their little bird, 
and found that he was turned into a man ; so they took him 
into the village, and he became their husband. And the 
three lived always in perfect harmony together, and built 
their house, and worked in their garden, and so remained 
many years. But after that he took to beating them when 
they quarrelled, and they scolded him for it, saying, You 
there are a bird, and our property because we found you; 
why do you beat us like this? So he said he would leave 
them ; and in the evening he drank kava, and forbade them to 
blow the fire. But when he lay down to sleep the two 
women blew up the fire into a blaze, and looked at him, and 
he turned into a bird, and flew away. And the two women 
cried after him, and he threw down money to them. 


This is about the women that they say belonged to heaven, 
and had wings like birds ; and they came down to earth to 
bathe in the sea, and when they bathed they took off their 
wings. And as Qatu was going about, he chanced to see 
them ; and he took up one pair of wings and went back into 
the village and buried them at the foot of the main pillar of his 
house. Then he went back again and watched them. And 
when they had finished bathing they went and took up their 
wings and flew up to heaven ; but one could not fly because 
Qat had stolen her wings, and she was crying. So Qat goes 
up to her, and speaks deceitfully to her and asks her, What 
are you crying for ? And she says, They have taken away my 
wings. Then he takes her to his house and marries her. 
And Qat's mother takes her and they go to work ; and when 

398 Stories. [CH. 

the leaf of a yam touches her there are yams as if someone had 
already dug them up, and if a leaf of a banana again had 
touched her. just a single one, all the bananas were ripe at 
once. But when Qat's mother saw that things were so she 
scolded her ; but not Qat ; he was gone shooting birds. And 
when Qat's mother scolded her she went back into the village; 
and she sits beside the post of the house and cries. And 
as she cried her tears flowed down upon the ground and 
made a deep hole ; and the tears drop down and strike 
upon her wings, and she scratches away the earth and finds 
them, and flies back again to heaven. And when Qat was 
come home from shooting he sees that she is not there, and 
scolds his mother. Then he kills every one of his pigs, and 
fastens points to very many arrows, and climbs up on the top 
of his house, and shoots up to the sky. And when he sees 
that the arrow does not fall back he shoots again and hits the 
first arrow. And he shoots many times, and always hits, and 
the arrows reach down to the earth. And, behold, there is 
a banyan root following the arrows, and Qat takes a basket of 
pig's flesh in his hand and climbs up to heaven to seek his 
wife. And he finds a person hoeing ; and he finds his wife 
and takes her back ; and he says to the person who is hoeing, 
When you see a banyan root don't disturb it. But as the 
two went down by the banyan root and had not yet reached 
the ground, that person chopped the root off, and Qat fell down 
and was killed, and the woman flew back to heaven. That is 
the end of it. 


This is a story about Taso a man-eater. This Taso was a 
man who ate men, and there was a woman, the sister of Qatu, 
who was pregnant and near her time. Taso found her in the 
garden ground, in a thicket, and killed her ; but he did not 
eat her, because she was pregnant and her time was nearly 
come. She lay and rotted in the thicket, never having been 
brought in for burial. And while this corpse of a woman 

xix.] Taso. 399 

killed with a club, Gatu's sister, was lying- and rotting-, her 
two infants were alive, and as the mother rotted, it left them 
free. So they lay, and they rolled along on the smooth 
ground, and by and bye they grew strong. Then they found 
dry leaves in which rain water had collected and they sipped 
and drank ; and they came on to a root of qena (a gingi- 
beraceous plant) and sucked it, for this qena has a swollen 
lump at its root and water accumulates in a small hollow in it. 
So they clung to the qena root till they were strong and 
could move about, and then they began to wander, and made 
their way out of the thicket. And as they so wandered along 
they came to a place where there was a sow with young ; and 
they sat and looked at her. Now this sow was the property 
of their maternal uncle Qatu ; and they sat looking out for 
the cocoa-nuts with which the sow was fed. After a while 
their uncle Qatu came and sat down and called his sow, and 
the sow came with her litter of pigs, and Qatu cut up their 
food for them ; and when he had cut it up he did not sit there 
till it was all eaten and then go ; he went away before that, 
he turned his back and went. Then these two came forth 
and drove away the sow, and took from her the cocoa-nuts 
that had been cut up to eat them themselves, and sat down 
and ate. But the sow went up into the village and cried to 
her owner Qatu. Next morning when he came down to feed 
the sow they did the same thing ; the sow went off to her 
owner, and they gathered up the cut cocoa-nut in their arms 
and took it off to eat it themselves. And Qatu saw that his 
sow was always coming back to him, and was thin without 
any fat about her, and he asked himself, Why is it I wonder 
that my sow comes back to me, as if I had not fed her, and is 
not at all fat ? Let me sit and observe what it is that makes 
her come back to me up into the village. So after feeding her 
he pretended to go back, but went round and returned that 
he might see what it was that happened to his sow. And he 
stood and watched them coming out, light in complexion, 
wonderfully fair, as they came and stood and drove away the 
sow to take her food. And Qatu jumped out, and called to 

400 Stories. [CH. 

them, What, is it you who are always driving away my sow ? 
1 have seen her coming back to me. These two twins let the 
food slip from their arms and stood ashamed, biting their 
fingers. And Qatu asked them, Where do you come from? 
And they told him how they lay and rolled and found their 
way out of the thicket, and saw the water and drank it, and 
came to the root of qena and sucked it ; and how when they 
did so they grew strong, and saw the sow and filled their 
bellies with the food the sow was eating. And Qatu under- 
stood without mistake that these were the children of his 
sister whom Taso had killed long ago. 

Qatu called them and went up to the village and hid them 
at the further end of his house ; and he bade Ro Motari his 
wife to go into the garden and dig some yams, and bring 
hibiscus leaves, tender such as locusts eat, and come back to 
make a yam-mash for the two twins. And Ro Motari did 
so ; she went and gathered the leaves and dug the yams and 
came back and made the Mo. And when the oven was closed 
in Qatu bade Ro Motari to go and cut down cocoa-nut fronds 
for mats, and plait and spread them, and to make up a 
pillow. Then Qatu bids Ro Motari go to the further end of 
the house ; and she goes and sees the two little twins sitting 
at the further end of the house in the pig fence ; and she runs 
back and cries to Qatu, Lili ! Lili ! What are those little ones 
to me ? my children, or my brothers, or my grandchildren ? * 
Qatu says to her, O-o-o ! your grandchildren. So she took 
them gladly into the house, she and Qatu, and gave them 
food, and they stayed with him and Ro Motari. After a 
while they grew big, and Qatu shaped bows for them made of 
the rachis of the sago fronds ; and when they could shoot 
lizards he broke the bows and took them from them, and made 
different ones for them. And when they could shoot geckos 
he took the bows away from them and broke them and shaped 

1 In another version of the story, ' When Motari saw the two handsome 
boys with their white hair, she liked them and asked Qatu, Are these my chil- 
dren or my husbands? And Qatu said, Yes indeed, your husbands, for they 
are my sister's children.' 




different ones for them, and put points to their arrows. And 
when they could both shoot the small birds tatagoras he took 
the bows away and broke them, and made them bows much 
larger than before, and put points to their arrows, and then 
they could shoot doves. So they came to be able to shoot all 
kinds of birds ; and then he cut clubs for them, and they killed 
rats with them, and he took them away and broke them ; and 
presently when they were full-grown youths he made clubs 
for them again, for one a oi utu (Barringtonia fruit) with four 
corners to it, for the other a simple tarara with a ring and 

Qatu brought them up till they were quite big, and then 
one day he told them about Taso, saying that they were not 
to go carelessly about or go where Taso was without due 
cause, because he had killed their mother and was a man-eater. 
When they had considered this they set a taboo upon a banana 
belonging to them, and said to their uncle Qatu, If you go into 
the garden and see our bunch of bananas beginning to ripen at 
the top and ripening downwards to the end, Taso has killed us ; 
but if you see that it has begun to ripen at the end and is 
ripening upwards we shall have killed him. So their uncle 
turned his back and went his way, and the twins started off to 
take Taso by surprise. They came to Taso's place, but did 
not find him there, because he had gone down to the beach to 
sharpen his teeth 1 ; so the twins asked Taso's mother, Where 
is this Taso gone? We have come here to see him. And 
Taso's mother called to them to come up and sit by the gamal 
to wait for him, and they came up to the gamal and sat there 
waiting for Taso. Now short round yams had been dug, and 
a fire lighted in the gamal, and they heated the yams, and 
pulled out the stones that lined the ovens, and put them on 
the fire to pelt Taso with. There were two fire-places in the 
gamal, at the one end and at the other. And Taso's mother 
came down from the house ; and the old woman lay down on 
the ground and sang a song, crying down to Taso on the beach. 
This is the song : Taso ! sarosaro ganga tamate, a ganga i tuara, 
1 A tooth of Taso is still to be seen at Maewo. 


4O2 Stories. [CH. 

gaku i tuara. Taso ! (Taso ! look out for your dead man to 
eat, one for you, one for me. Taso !) Taso was sitting- on the 
beach, and heard his mother crying- to him, and he got up and 
came back along the path ; and as he came he turned his head 
from side to side and struck the trees, and they came down 
with a crash. But the twins had made ready for their attack 
on Taso, red-hot stones and cooked yams, and they stood with 
their feet firmly planted and waited for him inside the gamal, 
one at the one end of it, and the other at the other. Then 
they heard Taso come up and ask his mother, What is it, 
mother ? And she said, What is it but dead men for us to 
eat, sitting 1 there in ihe gamal? So Taso went on and up to 
the gamal, and as he got in over the rail at the door, one of 
the twins took up a red-hot stone and threw it at him and hit 
him, and when he ran down to the other end of the gamal^ the 
other twin threw at him and hit him Taso cried out, It is 
in vain that you throw at me, I will eat you both to-day. 
As he runs to one end of the gamal one of the twins 
throws at him, as he runs to the other the other throws ; so 
they g-o on at him till his bones shake within him, and he lies 
down and only groans. Then the twins leap upon him and 
beat him to death with their clubs. Then they go down to 
the house and drag out the old woman, Taso's mother, and 
club her ; they clubbed them both to death. Then they set 
fire to the houses over them, and went back homewards. But 
Qatu and Motari were standing in the garden listening to the 
popping of the bamboo rafters as they burnt, and wondering 
what was going on over there : ' Those two probably have 
come across Taso and he is killing them.' Qatu starts and 
goes off, and as he goes he meets them, and they tell him that 
they have killed Taso. And he said to them, I forbade you 
to go there, you have disobeyed me and gone, and very nearly 
he has eaten you. So it was finished ; they killed Taso and 
revenged their mother whom Taso had murdered. 

xix.] Betawerai. 403 


The beginning- was in this way; a woman and her child 
went to strip pandanns leaves for weaving mats, and the boy 
saw a young snake on the stalk of a leaf and begged his 
mother to let him have it for he wanted it ; his mother forbade 
him to take it. But he said that he wished for it, and so he 
laid hold on the little red snake, and took it and put it in the 
hollow trunk of a tree ; and the name of that tree is the 
nqava ; he put it into the hollow of that, and he used to feed it 
with rats or birds or black lizards, or pig's flesh, and that 
snake became extremely large. And one day when he killed 
a pig he went to give it some ; but that snake snatched the 
pig from him, and ate him up also, and crawled out of the 
hollow tree, and came into the village and ate up all the 
people in the place. But there was one pregnant woman who 
survived ; and she dug a pit, and took a thin flat stone and 
laid it over the pit, and she stayed within it. And she 
brought forth her children, twins, and they three remained in 
that pit in the ground. And the snake ate up all the people, 
and then went and took up its abode on a banyan-tree, and 
brought forth exceedingly many young ones, and two the 
chief among them. The name of one of these was Betawerai, 
and this one was not able to go about, but stayed always on 
a branch of the banyan. But we call the branch of a big 
tree like a banyan tawerai, like the flat of the hand, and this 
was named after that, Betawerai, At the branch. And the 
other one used to go very far away seeking diligently men or 
pigs to eat, and his name was Walolo. But one day those 
two, the children of the woman who had lived in the ground, 
begged of their mother to make them bows and arrows ; and 
after that they said they would go into the village and seek 
that snake to shoot it and kill it. But when they had gone 
and had seen from a distance that banyan where Betawerai 
and Walolo lived, they saw upon the branches, and on the 
little twigs, and on the leaves, nothing but snakes on that 

D d 2 

404 Stories. [CH. 

banyan. But Walolo was not on the tree, because he had 
gone across the sea and was still seeking 1 for men to devour. 
And these two boys went up to the banyan-tree and began to 
pelt it with sticks thrown end over end ; and while they were 
pelting so the snakes fell down in very great numbers. And 
Betawerai began to sing a song to make Walolo come quickly 
back and kill and eat them. And this was the song, Risuriw 
vano, Betawerai, a lang togalau, ti uvi goro nanagoku. Walolo ! 
Walolo ! go vano mai ! Walolo ! Walolo ! go vano mal ! Turn and 
come to Betawerai, the wind is North-west, it blows against 
my face. Walolo, Walolo, come hither! Walolo, Walolo, 
come hither! And they say that Walolo heard him singing, 
and thought that something had happened. And he came 
end over end like a stick, and as he came near he heard 
plainly that it was Betawerai's voice, and he thought that 
indeed there was surely a man there. Therefore he came end 
over end in haste, and came near to those two ; and one of 
them shot him, and then the other shot, and both hit him ; 
and he tried to rush upon them, and one shot, and the other 
shot, and both hit. And they went on shooting like this, till 
they shot him to death. And they went after Betawerai, and 
pulled him down to the ground and killed him. And when 
they had killed the snakes in this way they heaped them up 
at the roots of the banyan-tree, and brought plenty of wood 
and burned them up, a great heap of snakes, as a sign that 
the devouring snake was destroyed. And they three (the 
boys and their mother) returned to their village and dwelt 


She was a girl of Dama, and her mother, a snake, lived in 
a cave there. And there was a young man living at Tanoriki ; 
and one day Basi and another girl, her sister I suppose, went 
down to the beach to dip salt-water ; and Dovaowari was the 
name of the youth, and he also went down to bathe in the sea, 
but on another part of the beach. You know our ways, that 

xix.] Basi. 405 

we always like to dress our hair to make it white, and that the 
hair too may be curly, in ringlets, such as you always see 
with the Opa people. So these two girls stand looking over 
to the other part of the beach, and see the fellow bathing, and 
washing his hair till it was exceedingly white, and they say, 
Let us two go and see who that is bathing. And they went 
and saw that it was Dovaowari ; and he asked them what 
they were looking for, and they said that they had been 
standing far off and had seen him, and were come to look at 
him. And Basi said to the other girl, You go home to our 
mother, and tell her that I am going after Dovaowari. But 
Dovaowari forbade her in vain to follow him, saying that he 
was poor, and not one that had money, that he had no 
property and no garden ; and she disputed with him, saying 
that she would certainly go with him. So he said, Well, we 
will go together ; then that other girl went back to the mother 
of them both, the Snake, and Basi followed Dovaowari to be 
his wife, and so they married. But Basi kept going to her 
mother at Dama a long way off, and Dovao was vexed at it, 
and he told Basi to go and say to her mother that she was to 
move to that place so that all might live together. But 
Basi said, Mother cannot come here to this place; yet she 
went and entreated her, and she agreed that it would be 
possible to make the move. But the chief thing she thought 
of was how she should manage, because she was a snake very 
long and large, and if a small house were built for her it 
would not be enough. She considered, therefore, and said to 
Basi, Go and tell my son-in-law to build me a house, and let 
there be ten chambers in it. But Dovao did not yet know the 
truth, and when he heard about the house with ten chambers 
he was astonished at it, and thought to himself, What is 
this? When the house was finished, Basi earned the news 
saying, Your house is finished ; but she had said beforehand, 
I shall go in the night, and if my son-in-law should hear 
anything don't let him take notice of it. So in the middle of 
the night they heard an earthquake, and thunder, and a very 
great rumbling as if all the world would come to an end ; 

406 Stories. [CH. 

and when she reached that place, her tail entered first and 
coiled itself in the first chamber, and then in the second, until 
all those chambers were filled with the big snake ; and her 
head, a woman's, lay opposite the door, though the whole 
house was full of the snake. In the morning the people came 
to see this person, and saw that it was a snake with a human 
head. And whenever Dovao and Basi went anywhere and re- 
turned, she would go to her mother, that snake, and rub her 
nose upon her, and lie close upon her ; but her husband did not 
like that sort of thing. On that account (and because the snake 
devoured the pigs and fowls that came near the door), when 
there was a feast at another village at a distance, he told some 
of the people that he and his wife were going to the dance, 
and while they were away they were to set fire to the house 
and burn it so as to burn up the snake with it. But the snake 
knew this, and called Basi and told her that they were going 
to set fire upon her and burn her that night, and, When you 
are standing at the feast, she said, if you see sparks run quickly 
back to me. So it was done ; while she was dancing she saw 
sparks flying and ran quickly back and leapt herself into the 
fire, and both were burnt to death. And after a long while 
the liver that was burnt was found, and still remains, the 
liver of Basi and of her mother ; and I have seen a bone in 
possession of some wealthy people ; there is mana, magic 
power, in it, they say, for pigs, and for wicked intercourse 
with women when they blacken their faces under the eyes 
with it 1 . 


They say that Tari went into his garden to work, and as he 
was working something cut him, and he put the blood into a 
bamboo vessel, and went into the village, and set it by his 

1 The power of the liver to attract women was discovered by a boy playing 
with his bow and arrow as his mother worked in the garden near where the 
snake had been burnt. His arrow fell into the ashes of the liver, and seeing it 
blackened he smeared his face with the black stuff. 

xix.] Deitari. Tarkeke. 407 

fire-place, and there it stayed. And after many days when he 
was going" to work he told his wife to cook some food for him, 
and she went to get it. Bat when she came back into the 
house she found food already cooked, and she did not know 
who had prepared the food for her. Thus it happened very 
often, and the woman told her husband. And he when he 
heard it bade her sit and watch who it was that did it. So 
she sat by the side wall of the house, and saw Deitari (Tari's 
blood) creep out of the bamboo vessel which Tari had put 
aside ; and she saw that he was exceedingly fair, and she hid 
him. Then when Tari came in from work he asked his wife, 
Haven't you seen him ? And she said, What was that you 
put by the fire-place ? I did not put anything there, said he. 
But his wife said, Not so, you put something small there in a 
bamboo. Then he remembered about his blood, and he said 
to his wife, My blood was in that bamboo ; and his wife 
said, I saw him come out of that bamboo that you had put 
there. So she brought him forth, and Tari rejoiced very 
much to see him. And one day as they were living together 
the boys of the village, and Deitari with them, went to bathe 
in the stream, and sang songs. And there was a man called 
Taepupuliti, and they say that he changed himself into a 
fish, and went and devoured the boy who had come out 
of the bamboo, and went off with him into a different 
country. And Tari sent every kind of fish and bird to seek 
for Deitari ; and he found a little fish, extremely thin, and 
this fish and Deitari's father found him hidden at the back 
end of Taepupuliti's house. And they two, Tari and Taepu- 
puliti, sat down to drink kava ; and the father of the one 
whom the other had devoured let the liquor fall from his 
mouth as he drank, so that the kava did not strike (affect) 
him ; but as for the one who had eaten his child it struck 
him very much, and his father carried him off again. 


They say that he used to devour men in all the islands, and 
that he made the image of a fish with woven vines, and got 

408 Stories. [CH. 

into it and turned into a fish. And when he wanted to eat a 
man he entered into that fish and went to Opa or Raga. 
One day he went into his garden, and his son was in the 
village, and his father had forbidden the boy to go to the 
inner part of the house ; but his father had gone away and 
he and his mother were in the village, and he was playing 
about alone, and he thought he would go and see what it was 
that his father had forbidden him to see. So he went into 
the further end of the house, and saw the image of the fish 
lying, and got into it. And a kingfisher flies down as a sign 
if any one gets into the figure of the fish ; and the old 
woman lying in the house when she hears the kingfisher 
breaks a stick, and the image then goes into the sea. And 
when the boy got into the figure of the fish, and the king- 
fisher flew down to the roof of the house, and the old woman 
heard it, she broke a piece of fire-wood, and the image of 
the fish with the boy inside it went down into the sea, and 
crossed to Opa. And the father was in his garden and he 
heard a noise, and he ran as fast as he could, but found that 
the fish was already gone. So he weaves together the stuff 
that is on a cocoa-nut, in no particular shape, and puts it on his 
breast, and goes into the sea to seek the boy. And he finds 
him at Opa ; and the Opa people, they say, had very nearly 
shot him. And his father brought him home. And as they 
were coming back they saw a man in a bread-fruit-tree, and 
the father said to his son, Go and eat him ; and the son said 
to his father, How shall I go, father, because he is on dry 
land ? And his father hit him hard, and said, Go, for you 
want to eat a man. Then he went, and as he went up 
towards the shore the sea went up too upon the shore, and he 
was carried up into the bread-fruit-tree after that man and 
swallowed him. And they came back to the back part of the 
house, and put him there, for he was not yet dead. And 
when they put him there at the further end of the house, and 
he moved himself about, he saw the sea, and the shark, and 
the fishes with their mouths open to devour him. And so he 
stayed there and died. 

xix.] Tagaro and Mera-mbuto. 409 



This is about a woman who lost her husband, and went in 
search of him, and she had a child with her. And a ghost 
met the woman carrying the child on her hip, and the woman 
thought it was her husband. And the three went down to 
the beach to burn for fish. Then the ghost said to the 
woman, You go and burn for fish, and I will look after our child. 
And when the woman went with the torch the ghost ate one 
finger of the child. And its mother asked him what hurt the 
child, and the ghost said, Nothing, a mosquito bit it. After he 
had spoken the child ceased to cry, and the woman discovered 
that it was a ghost because it had eaten the child entirely up. 
Then she knew for certain that it was a ghost, because she 
had set up cocoa-nut branches along the shore, and the ghost 
when it had eaten the child went to eat the mother, and as 
he ran along to eat her he ate the branches she had set up, 
thinking that the branches were the woman. And the woman 
ran away fast and climbed into a pandanus-tree, and when the 
ghost would have climbed up to eat her the woman pelted 
him down with the fruits. And so she did till dawn ; and 
when it was light she saw that he turned into a hermit crab. 


They say that he went to a part of the island called 
Vagimbangga to pay for a pig there, and that on his return the 
sun set while he was still in the forest. And he was hungry, 
for he had nothing whatever to eat. Now beside that path 
they say there was a single gaviga-tree, with many branches, 
and also ripe fruit on it ; and he climbed up to eat, and to 
sleep awhile on that tree ; and in his hand was his conch- 
shell trumpet to blow as he went along the path. And in 
the middle of the night, when he had finished eating, he 
climbed further up to the top of that gaviga-tree to sleep and 
rest there ; and as he begins to fall asleep he hears the voices 

410 Stories. [CH. 

of a number of people coming along underneath the gaviga- 
tree. And he woke up thinking that it was probably his 
brothers looking for him ; but it was not so, these were 
different persons ; these were Mera-mbuto and his brothers 
coming along, and they climbed up the gaviga-tree them- 
selves. And Tagaro-mbiti sits perfectly still lest they should 
see him, and he hears one of them say l lneu ranganggu ngaha* 
This is my branch, and another cries [Ineu ranganggu ngaka? 
and so say all of them. Then says Mera-mbuto ' Ineu ranganggu 
ngalia lo vukungegi! This is my branch at the top ; and this 
he said with a loud voice. And Mera-mbuto climbed straight 
up to the top of that gaviga-tree, and there he found Tagaro- 
mbiti. Then says Mera-mbuto, Who are you ? And says he, 
I am Tagaro-mbiti. Now they say that this Mera-mbuto and 
his brothers had a cave for their dwelling. And he asked 
Tagaro again, What is that in your hand ? And he says, The 
voice of you and me to be sure. And he begged of him to 
speak in that conch that he might hear it ; but he said also, 
Wait a bit till I go back to my dwelling-place, and when I 
get there you will hear me whistle ; then you shall speak with 
the voice of us two that I may hear it for myself. And he 
made haste down from the tree, and his brothers said, Are we 
to come too ? No, says he, I am only going to get rid of a 
mess and then I shall come back. Thus he deceived them ; 
and when he reached his dwelling, the cave, he whistled 
for Tagaro to hear, that he might blow the conch. And 
Tagaro heard Mera-mbuto whistle, and he put forth all his 
strength to blow the conch hard, and he blew, and Mera- 
mbuto' s brothers fell every one of them from the tree ; and he 
himself was delighted and jumped high again and again in 
his cave, and his head struck against the rock, and the rock 
stuck fast into his head, and there he died. And his brothers 
who had fallen down died every one ; and on that account 
they say that bushes grew up in that place where Mera- 
mbuto's brothers fell. And when it was light Tagaro-mbiti 
returned to his home. 

xix.] Mera-mbuto and Tagaro. 411 


Mera-mbuto prepared food for himself, and then he invited 
Tagaro to come that they might eat together. So Tagaro 
came to him in his house ; and the food of Mera-mbuto was 
exceedingly bad, and as they ate Tagaro did not eat at all, but 
he wrapped the food up to deceive Mera-mbuto, and went and 
threw it away, and then went back to his house. Afterwards 
Tagaro sent after him saying, Mera-mbuto, come here to my 
house. Mera-mbuto came and they two ate. And the food 
was good ; Mera-mbuto liked Tagaro's food very much ; he had 
made his own not at all good. So Mera-mbuto considered 
silently, What sort of thing is this we two are eating ? So he 
asked Tagaro, and Tagaro said to him, I have grated up my 
barrow pig. So Mera-mbuto went and grated up his barrow 
pig, and in due course they two ate it. After this Tagaro 
invited Mera-mbuto to eat with him in return in his house. 
So he asked him again, What food is this we two are eating ? 
And Tagaro was tired of being asked, and deceived Mera-mbuto, 
saying to him, My mother ; I cooked her in the oven. So 
Mera-mbuto went home and cooked his mother in the oven. 
After this Tagaro said to him, Light a fire over me. So 
Mera-mbuto came, and tied up the door of Tagaro's house, 
bound it very tight, and set fire to Tagaro's house. Then 
Tagaro wept ; Mera-mbuto said to him, Don't cry, you deceived 
me formerly, now you are soon to die for it. He thought that 
Tagaro was dead; but not at all, he had dug a hole, and 
stayed in it. In the morning thinking that he was dead he 
came, and Tagaro had been long sitting ready for him. So 
Mera-mbuto asked him, Are you sitting like this ? Tagaro 
said, Yes. So Mera-mbuto said to him, My turn now, to-night 
you set fire to my house. So Tagaro set fire to his house, and 
the fire burnt him up. 


Abomination, buto, p. 31. 
Abortion, 229. 
Acting, 342. 
Admission to Clubs, 105. 

to Mysteries, 80. 
Adoption, 25, 27, 42, 51 note. 
Adultery, 243. 

Agnatic descent, 29. 

Alite, 298, 325. 

Alligators, see Crocodiles. 

Ambrym, 13, 72, 84, 144, 174, 288 

note, 306, 332, 337, 355. 
Amulets, 121, 134, 184. 
Anaiteum, 123. 
Animism, 123. 
Antiquity, 48. 

Apes, anthropoid, 19 note, 354. 
Araga, see Pentecost Island. 
Arrows, Poisoned, 215, 306. 
Arts of life, 290. 

Atai, 250. 
Atolls, 17. 

Aurora Island, Maewo, 6, 25, 86, 112, 
143, 168, 182, 199, 201, 240, 291, 
29 8 > 309, 3i 3> 3i9> 323, 333, 34, 
352> 369- 

Australian Mysteries, 70. 

Avoidance, 43, 232. 

Badges, 75, 82, 87, iio, 112. 

Bamboo Knife, 315. 

Bananas, 319. 

Banks' Islands, 2, 3, 4, 7 note, 16, 23, 
24, 29, 35, 43, 54, 63, 72, 75, 104, 
123, 139, 146, 151, 174, 181, 198, 
211, 214, 216, 219, 225, 229, 231, 
236, 239, 245, 265, 298, 306, 311, 
313, 3i8, 319, 322, 325, 333, 334, 
340, 342, 348, 353, 354. 

Bastards, 236. 

Bauro, 4 note, 6 note. 

Belief in Magic, 193. 

Bellona Island, 2, 16, 313, 322. 

Betel nut, I, 9 note, 351. 

Betrothal, 237, 238. 

Bice, Rev. C., 241 note, 301 note, 304 


Bird's-nest Fern, 265, 277, 279. 
Birgus latro, 19. 
Birth, 230. 
Biu Island, 19. 
Bligh, 4, 7 note. 

Island, see Ureparapara. 
Bonesetters, 198. 
Bonito, 179, 233. 
Bougainville, 3. 
Boundaries, 65 note. 
Bows, 8, 304. 

Bowls, 316. 

Breadfruit, 83 note, 319. 

Brenchley, Mr., 5, 122, 295, 299 note. 

Bridge of Dead, 257. 

Brothers and Sisters, 36, 232. 

Bugotu, 30, 135, 180, 196, 256, 299, 

300, 302, 318, 343, 345. 
Bull-roarers, 80, 98, 342. 
Burial, 254, 257, 258, 261, 263, 267, 

270, 278, 284, 287, 288 note. 
Burning alive, 347. 

the dead, 263. 
Burying alive, 288, 347. 

in sea, 254, 258, 262. 

wives, 257. 
Buto, 31. 

Caladium, 304 ; see Taro. 

Canarium, 132, 138, 320. 

Cannibalism, 343, 395 note, 398. 

Canoe-houses, 258, 299. 

Canoes, 290. 

Capture in Marriage, 238 note, 240. 



Carving, 172. 
Castanets, 339. 
Castaways, 345. 
Casuarina, 186. 
Catamarans, 293 note, 294. 
Cat's-cradle, 341. 
Cause of Sickness, 196. 
Celebes, 317 note. 

Changeling Snakes and Spirits, 172, 
187, 188. 

Trees, 187. 
Channels, 16. 
Charms in food, 49. 

sung, 119, 161, 190, 198, 202, 359, 


Chastity, 235. 

Chiefs, 46, 47, 50, 51, 54, 56, 60. 
Childhood, 231. 
Childless Ghost, 275. 
Children in Societies, 70, 81, 84, 92, 98. 
Circumcision, 234. 
Classes of Ghosts, 253. 
Cloak in Mysteries, 78, 8 1 note, 91, 99. 
Close-time in Mysteries, 83, 95. 
Cloth, 320. 
Clothing, 321. 
Club-houses, 102. 
Clubs, 306. 

Societies, 101, 103, 104, no, 112, 

Cockatoos, 17. 

Cocoa-nut, to mark absence, 77. 

Comet, 348. 

Comins, Rev. R. B., 42 note. 

Communal Marriage, 27. 

Contrarie"te Island, see Ulawa. 

Cook, Capt., 4. 

Cookery, 319. 

Coral, 14. 

Cotoira, 2 note, 9 note. 

Counting, 341, 353, 377. 

days, 272. 

song, 341. 
Couvade, 228. 
Creation, 26, 28, 154, 171. 
Cremation, 263. 
Crocodiles, 18, 179, 180. 
Cultivations, 303. 
Curses, 51, 147, 216. 
Cuscus, 17. 

Cycas, 1 86. 

Dances, 84, 87, 91, 93, 95, 332. 
Darkness universal, 182. 
Death, 247. 

Days, 271. 

Meals, see Funeral Feasts. 

Origin of, 260, 265. 
Decorations, in, 116, 386. 

Decorative Arts, 328. 
Deliverance Feast, 1 1 2. 
Descent in Family, 22, 41. 

to Hades, 277, 286. 

of Property, 59. 

Destruction of Property after Death, 

255, 263, 285. 
Devil, 117, 122. 
Discoveries, 2, 8. 
Diseases, 12 note. 
Disposing of corpses, 267, 269. 
Divination, 196, 210. 
Division of People, 21, 24, 400. 
Divorce, 244. 
Doctors, 195. 
Dreamers, 208. 
Dreams, 208, 249, 266. 
Dress, 107, 231, 234, 241, 321. 
Drill, 325. 

Driving Ghosts, 270. 
Drums, 175, 336. 
Dugong, 318. 
DuJcduk, 69. 
Dye, 3 22 > 3 2 3- 

Ear ornaments, 330. 

Ears pierced, 232, 265 note, 280. 

Eclipses, 348. 

Eels, 1 8, 318. 

Elevation of land, 16. 

Elopement, 240. 

Enclosures, 84, 86. 

Entrance to Clubs, 105. 

to Hades, 273. 

to Mysteries, see Initiation. 

payments, 81, 84, 92, 103, 106, 115. 
Espiritu Santo, 3, 6, 8, 17, 306, 315. 
Exclusion of Women, 128. 
Exogamy, 21, 24, 29, 34. 
Exorcism, 220. 

Fagani, see Ha'ani. 
Fainting, 260, 287. 
Familiar Spirits, 142. 
Family, 25, 26, 34, 68. 

System, 35, 40. 
Fasting, 107, 205. 
Feasts. 104, 108, no, 112. 

funeral, 255, 259, 261, 264, 271, 
273, 280, 282, 284, 287. 

Feather-money, 324. 

Fenua loa, 17. 

Fighting, 305. 

Figure-heads, 296. 

Figures in Mysteries, 87, 96. 

Fiji, 2, 22 note, 34, 43, 48, 59, 61 
note, 04 note, .69, 72, 122, 147 
note, 198 note, 246 note, 248, 315, 
3i9> 34- 



Fines, 30, 52. 

Fingers, counting on, 353. 

Fire, 320. 

First-fruits, 95, 133, 138, 139. 

Fishing, 316. 

hooks, 316. 

floats, 317. 

kites, 318. 
-nets, 317, 35 8 - 

traps, 318. 

Fison, Rev. Lorimer, 22 note, 48 note, 
59 note, 61 note, denote, 72, 122, 
147, 198, 246 note, 248. 

Flies, 1 8. 

Floats, 317. 

Flood, 1 66. 

Florida Island, 3, 5 note, 16, 23, 29, 
40, 61, 73, 94, I2 4 > !3, HS, 174. 
175, 180, 194, 200, 209, 210, 214, 
215, 217, 218, 235, 237, 242, 249, 
254, 2 57, 295, 3oo, 305, 325, 333, 
337, 343, 345, 34 8 > 35 2 > 353, 354- 

flutes, 339. 

^Eolian, 340. 
Food, 319. 

fragments of, 203. 

offered to Dead, 128, 147, 259, 271, 

of Ghosts, 260, 286, 288. 
Forbes, Mr., 186 note, 262 note. 
Forts, 302. 

Fowls, 10, 1 8. 
Fragments of food, 203. 
^Frigate-birds, 126, 145, 179, 180, 257. 
Frogs, 17. 
Fruit-trees, property in, 61, 62, 65, 

Funeral feasts, see Feasts. 

oration, 268. 
Funerals, 268, 281, 284, 287. 
Futuna Island, 8, 15. 

Gallego, 2 note, 5 note, 8. 
Gamal, 101, 113, 298. 
Games, 340. 
Gardens, 59, 68, 303, 349. 

Spirits, 134. 

Gaua, Santa Maria, 3, 13, 17, 85, 86, 

105, 166, 189, 268, 302. 
Geology, 13. 
Gera, Gela, 5, 16. 
Ghost-shooters, 205. 
Ghosts, n, 120, 125, 194, 196, 247, 

253, 260, 288. 

Societies of, 75. 

Ginger, 133, 180, 195, 197, 200. 
Gods, 122, 124. 
Grafting, 304. 
Graves, 257. 

Guadalcanal-, 5, 327, 354. 

Guest-wives, 24. 

Gulf Island, see Ugi. 

Guppy, Dr., 2 note, 5 note, 9 note, 19, 

263 note, 290, 294 note, 299 note, 

317 note. 

Ha'ani, 173, 294, 301. 

Hades, 255, 256, 260, 264, 273, 280, 

285, 287, 367, 395. 
Harlots, 235. 
Hats, 69, 77, 85, 104. 
Haunting Ghosts, 255, 258, 261, 264, 

267, 288. 
Head, 43, 45, 2^ note. 

hunting, 345. 

taking, 257, 297, 301, 345. 
Heaps of Stones, 1 85. 
Heavenly Bodies, 348. 
Hereditary Succession, 50, 55, 56. 
Hickson, Dr., 317 note. 

Hot Springs, 13. 
House-mounds, 48, 66, 68, 301. 
House-sites, 61, 65, 301. 
Houses, 298. 
Human Sacrifices, 134, 297, 301. 

Idols, 173. 

Images, 105, no, 173, 259. 

Implements, 313. 

Incest, 23, 30. 

Infancy, 230. 

Infanticide, 229. 

Inheritance, 50, 59, 64 note, 65, 67, 

Initiation, 70, 80, 84, 86, 88, 92, 97, 


Intercourse of Sexes, 23, 235. 
Invocations, 50, 145, 148. 
Iron, 313. 

Irregular intercourse, 23, 235. 
Irrigation, 303. 

Jew's-harps, 339. 
Joske, Mr., 72. 

Journey of the Dead, 256, 279, 285. 
Judgment after Death, 256, 257, 
269, 274. 

Kahausibware, 150. 

Kava, I, 3, 351. ' 

Kema, 30, 33. 

Kindreds, 24, 29. 

Kingfishers, 147, 190, 221, 257. 

Kinship, 21, 37, 40, 41. 

Kissing, 354. 

Kites, 342. 

fishing, 318. 

song, 336. 



Koevasi, 21. 
KoleJcole, no, 392. 

Lagoons, 17. 

Lakes, 17, 166. 

Lakona, Santa Maria, 13, 66, 86, 157, 

266, 272, 275, 293 note, 318, 341. 
Land, 29, 50, 59, 61, 65 rcote. 

reclaimed from forest, 61, 62, 64, 

Lang, Mr. A., 91. 

La Perouse, 4. 

Lepers' Island, 3, 14, 24, 26, 45, 56, 
67, 113, 170, 183, 199, 201, 207, 
210, 213, 214, 218, 223, 229, 230, 
232, 236, 322, 323, 337, 344, 347, 

348, 353. 355. 37 1 - 
Levirate, 244. 
Libations, 128, 147. 
License at Feasts, 27. 

of Societies, 83, 98. 
Lifting brides, 238, 242. 
Lizards, 180. 

Lodges, 72, 77. 

Looms, 10, 20, 316, 321. 

Lopevi, 13. 

Loyalty Islands, I, 15, 324. 

Madagascar, 21. 
Madness, 218. 
Mae, Three Hills. 
Maewo, see Aurora Island. 
Magic, 191. 

Sympathetic, 200, 214, 310. 
Magicians, 191. 

Mala, Malaita, Malanta, 3, 4, 5, 16, 

33. 330, 345, 34 6 - 

Paina and Masiki, 16. 
Malanta, see Saa. 
Malicolo, 3. 

Man, making of, 21, 157, 167, 171. 

in Moon, 348. 

Mana, 51, 57, 90, 103. 115, 119, 191, 

200, 307. 

Manslaughter, 133. 
Mara, see Mala. 

Marawa, 152, 157, 373, 383 note. 
Marina, Espiritu Santo. 
Marriage, 23, 27, 37, 238, 240, 242. 
Masks, 69, 72, 77, 83, 96. 
Mat, 316. 

money, 323. 
Matambala, 69, 94. 
Matema Group, 17. 
Maternal Descent, 21. 
Matriarchal System, 34. 
Max Miiller, Prof., 118 note. 
Measures, 353. 
Medicine, 195. 

Megapod, 17. 
Mendana, 2, 9. 
Meralava, Star Island. 
Merig, Sainte Claire Island. 
Merlav, Star Island.. 
Messer, Dr. R. N., 307 note. 
Metamorphosis, 207. 
Mission Voyages, 10 note. 
Money, 63, 66, 323. 

feather, 324. 

lending, 326. 

mat. 323. 

shell, 325. 
Months, 349. 
Moon, 348. 

Man in, 348. 
Mosquitos, 18. 

Mota, Sugarloaf Island, n, 15, 18, 
25, 35, 104, 147, 158, 223, 250, 
266, 292, 337, 340, 342, 346, 347, 

349, 353, 379- 
Mother-in-law, 42. 
Motlav, Saddle Island, 25, 47, 48, 55, 

66, 146, 181, 211, 249, 268, 274. 
Mourning, 245, 282. 
Music, 337. 

Musical Instruments, 336. 
Mysteries, 69. 

Names of Islands, 4, 5 note, 7. 

new personal, 87, 94, 114. 

not mentioned, 43. 
Nanga of Fiji, 69, 72. 
Narcotics, 351. 

Native Names of Islands, 4, 5, 7. 

Ndeni, Santa Cruz, 5. 

Nearness in blood, 29. 

Nets, 317. 

New Caledonia, 2, 13, 69, 73. 

New Hebrides, 2, 3, 6, 24, 56, 67, 72, 
84, 86, 124, 143, 148, 151, 199, 240, 
291, 298, 309, 313, 319, 337, 340, 

342, 344, 345, 348, 35 J , 353, 355- 
Nggela, Florida, 1 6. 
Nig-ht, 156, 171. 
Nitendi, 5. 
Nopitu, 153. 
Nose-rings, 231, 256. 
Nufilole Island, 17. 

Oaths, 217. 

Oba, Omba, Opa, see Lepers' Island. 

Offerings, 127. 

Olu Malau Islands, Three Sisters, 5 


Omens, 220. 
Ordeals, 212. 
Origin of Chiefs power, 51, 56, 116, 




Origin of Death, 260, 265, 283, 286. 

of Kindreds, 26. 

of Man, 21, 26. 
Original Self, 253. 
Ornamentation, 328. 
Ornaments buried, 254, 263, 268. 
Ovens, 320. 

Owa-raha and -rii, 5 note. 

Paddles, 297. 

Palmer, Rev. J., 14, 8 1 note, 83 note, 
iggnote, 201 note, 268 note, 269 note. 

Palolo, 356. 

Panoi, 264 ; see Hades. 

Panpipes, 337. 

Paternal Descent, 22, 41, 50. 

Path of the Dead, 256, 275, 278, 285. 

Patriarchal System, 22, 41, 50, 68. 

Patteson, Bishop, 4 note, 6 note, 9, 
10 note, n, 12 note, 74 note, 85 
note, 121 note, 144, 166, 294 note, 
301, 302. 

Pedigree of Mota family, 37. 

Penny, Kev. A., 99 note, 176 note, 
257 note, 356. 

Pentecost Island, Whitsuntide Island, 
Araga, 3, 26, 45, 48, 67, 92, 114, 169, 
183, 187, 188, 199, 209, 228,230, 
240, 253, 286, 311, 323, 344, 347. 

Personal Property, 63, 66, 67. 

Pigs, 57 note, 249. 

souls of, 249, 263, 269. 

world, 286. 
Pile-houses, 300. 

Piper methysticum, Kava, 351. 

Pipes, 337, 352. 

Pitcairn Island, 342. 

Places, Sacred, 173. 

Plant, Rev. J. H., 238 note. 

Poison, 213. 

Poisoned Arrows, 306, 368. 

Polyandry, 245. 

Polygamy, 39, 245. 

Polynesian Colonies, 2, 322. 

Possession, 153, 209, 218, 224. 

Pottery, 315. 

Power of Chiefs, 47, 51, 56,116, 167. 

Prayer, 127, 145, 148. 

Priests, 128, 132. 

Primogeniture, 64. 

Property, 33, 50, 59. 

personal, 63, 66, 67. 

in trees, 61, 65 note, 68. 
Prophecy, 209. 

Public Halls, 102. 

Qat, II, 21, 22, 154, 156, 397, 398. 

Society, 69, 75, 84, 86. 
Quiros, 2, 5, 7, note. 

Rainbow, 341. 

Rainmaking, 200. 

Ranks in Societies, 103, 104,113,115, 

385, 39 1 - 
Rattles, 342. 

Reclaimed Land, 61, 62, 64, 67. 
Red, 183. 

Redemption of Land, 65. 
Reef Islands, 1 7. 
Reef Islands of Santa Cruz, 2, 6, 9, 

17, 232, 346. 
Reflection, 250, 
Relation of Brother and Sister, 36. 

by Marriage, 37. 

in Polygamy, 39. 

of Sister's son, 24. 
Relationship, 35. 
Relics, 126, 134, 258, 262. 
Religion, 117, 123. 
Rennell Island, 2, 16, 313. 
Reserve, 42, 232, 242. 
Respect, 45. 

Restriction on intercourse of sexes, 

23, 43- 

on Marriage, 30. 
Retainers, 52, 58. 
Romilly, Mr., 307. 

Rowa Island, 7, 17, 298, 327. 
Rubbing noses, 354. 

Saa, Malanta, 48, 63, 124, 136, 176, 

191, 209, 212, 2l6, 219, 221, 230, 
233, 235, 238, 250, 260, 288, 299, 

35> 3i6, 336, 344, 349, 35 2 , 353, 


Sacred Places and Things, 173, 177. 
Sacrifices, 128, 144 note. 

in Ambry m, 144. 

in Aurora Island, 143. 

in Banks' Islands, 139. 

of First Fruits, 132, 138, 139. 

in Florida, 1 30. 

Human, 134. 

in Lepers' Island, 144. 

in New Hebrides, 139. 

in Pentecost Island, 143. 

at Saa, 136. 

in San Cristoval, 129, 138. 

at Santa Cruz, 1 39. 

in Ysabel, 135. 

Saddle Island, nee Motlav and Valuwa. 

Sago, 319. 

Salagoro, 73, 77. 

Sale of Land, 50, 60, 65 note. 

Salt; 311 note. 

Salutations, 354, 394. 

San Cristoval Island, 3, 4, 12 note, 
17, 41, 42 note, 51 note, 124, 129, 
138, 146, 150, 177, 179, 190, 196, 

E C 



228, 229, 235, 245, 294, 299, 303, 

305, 318, 325, 329, 333, 336, 344, 

345, 35 2 - 

Santa Ana Island, 5 note. 

Santa Catalina Island, 5 note. 

Santa Cruz Island, 2, 3, 5, 9, 17, 18, 
20, 43, 59, 63, 139, 167, 174, 1 80, 
196, 201, 231, 232, 239, 249 note, 
263, 293, 9oi, 312, 313, 317, 319, 
321, 324,333, 342, 348, 35i- 

Santa Maria Island, 3, 7, 13, 85, 86, 
105, 166, 189, 268, 302, 351. See 

Santo, Espiritu Santo. 

Savo, 3, 5, 13, 18, 179, 206, 214, 255, 


Saw, 315 note. , 

Sea-ghosts, 196, 258. 
Seasons, 349. 
Seclusion in Mysteries, 81, 84, 86, 93, 

95, 100. 
Secret Societies, 54, 69, 74 note, 75, 

76, 86, 91, 94. 
Selwyn, Bishop, 6 note, 10 note. 

Bishop John, 9, 14, 17, 95, 125, 
204, 239 note, 282 note, 298 note, 
303 note. 

Separation of Sexes, 43, 232. 
Sesarga Island, 5. 
Shadow, 176, 209, 247, 250. 
Sharks, 126, 179, 187, 259. 

fishing for, 318. 

Shell Implements, 16, 313. 

Money, 325. 
Shields, 305. 

v Ship of the Dead, 326 note. 

first seen, 352 note. 
Shrines, 126, 130, 175, 177. 
Sickness, 194. 

' Side of House,' 25. 

Sister's son, 34, 41, 380, 400. 

Slaves, 346. 

Slings, 305. 

Snakes, 18, 178, 187, 199. 

Sneezing, 40, 211, 226. 

Social Regulations, 20, 46. 

Societies, Clubs, 101, 103, 104, no, 


Sogoi, 25. 

Solomon Islands, 2, 3, 5 note, 22, 40, 
94, 124, 129, 175, 294, 309, 313, 
316, 317, 319, 339, 342, 343, 348, 

35i, 35 2 , 353- 
Songs, 85, 93, 334. 

Dialect, 334. 
Soul, 247, 267. 

Sounds in Mysteries. 80, 83, 95. 
Spanish Discoveries, 2. 

Names, 4. 

Spears, 305. 
Spells, 147. 
Spirits, 120, 123, 125, 134, 140, 150, 

151, 168, 248. 

Star Island, Meralava, 6, 7, 14, 303. 
Stars, 348. 
Stepfather, 40. 
Stone-boiling, 315. 

buildings, 302. 

implements, 16, 313. 

Stones, 119, 140, 143, 151, 169, 175, 

178, 180, 183, 185. 
Stories, 356. 
Streams, 177, 186. 
Stringed Instrument, 339. 
Succession of Chiefs, 53, 55,56. 

of Property, 29, 59, 61, 63, 66, 67, 

Sugarloaf Island, Mota. 
Suicide, 243. 
Sumatra, 186 note. 
Sun, 200, 348, 365. 

making, 184, 201. 
Sup we Spirit, 168. 

Suqe Club, 102, 112, 114, 385, 390. 

Surf-board, 341. 

Surville, 4. 

Swallow Group, 2, 17. 

Swearing, 217. 

Sympathetic Magic, 200, 214, 310. 

System of Relationship, 35. 

Taboo, tambu, tapu, 31, 63, 77, 82, 
94, 182, 215. 

Tagaro, 21, 168, 369. 

Tamate, 69, 72, 75, 266. 

Taro, 304, 319. 

Tas, 17, 1 86. 

Tattoo, 232, 234, 237, 240, 241, 331. 

Taumako, 5. 

Teeth, dog and porpoise, 325. 

Terms of Relationship, 35, 40. 

Tetanus, 312. 

Thanks, 354. 

Thatch, 299. 

Three Hills Island, 330, 355. 

Three Sisters Island, 5 note. 

Tikopia, i, 6 note, 17, 319, 346, 351. 

Timor, 186 note, 262 note. 

Tinakula, 13. 

Tindalo, 125, 249. 

Tobacco, 352. 

Tonga, 303, 321,343. 

Tools, 16, 313. 

Tops, 242. 

Torres, 2. 

Torres Islands, 3, 7, 16, 75, 104, in, 
224, 231, 264, 293 note, 306 note, 
307, 308, 313, 327, 351, 373- 


Totems, 32. 

Town lots, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67. 
Toys, 342. 
Trade, 297. 

Tradition, absence of, 47. 
Translation of Relics, 126. 
Treatment of Wounds, 310. 
Tree-houses, 301. 
Trees cut down at death, 255 

property in, 61, 65, 68. 

sacred, 186. 

Trials of the Dead. 256, 257, 265 note, 

275, 280, 287. 
Tribes, 21, 33 note. 
Tricks of Ghosts, 223. 
Twins, 230. 

Ugi, Gulf Mand, 5. 

CJlawa, Contrariety Island, 3, 5, 32, 

179, 1 80, 235, 294,343,346. 
Ureparapara, Bligh Island, 13, 81, 84, 

114, 269, 272, 298 note. 

Valuwa, Saddle Island, 185, 186, 205. 
Vampires, 221. 
Vanikoro Island, 4. 
Vanua Lava, Great Banks' Islands, 
n, 13, 17, 43, 141, 303, 306 note, 


Variety of Flowers and Plants, 304. 
Vat Ganai, 7 note. 
Vava, Torres Islands. 
Veve, 24, 28. 
Vigona, 151. 



Villages, 59, 61, 66. 
Visitors, appearance of, 10. 
Volcanos, 13. 
Vui, 123, 151. 

Wandering Ghosts, 219. 
Washing, 84, 86, 93, 320. 
Water, sacred, 177, 186. 
Weaning, 231. 
Weapons, 304. 
Weather Doctors, 184, 200. 

Spirits, 134. 
Whistling, 342. 
Widowhood, 245. 
Wild Men, 19 note, 354. 
Wills, 66, 68. 

Winged Women, 172, 397. 

Witchcraft, 191, 202. 

Wizards, 192. 

Women, exclusion of, 69, 74, 87, 92, 

94, I0 3- 

Clubs, no. 

Dress, 234, 241, 321. 
Woodford, Mr., 2 note, 5 note, 9 note, 

132 note. 

Words forbidden, 44. 
World, ii. 
Worship, 124. 

Yams, 319, 367. 

Ysabel Island, 3, 4 note, 30, 135, 175, 

180, 196, 256, 299, 300, 302, 318, 

343, 345, 34 8 - 

Zoology, 17. 




cop. 2 

Codrington, Robert Henry 
The Melanesians