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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/522

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Melanesian Folk-Tales.

log between the jaws, dug out the fish, and carried it to his mother to cook. Next she cautioned him against a bird which would swoop upon him and pierce him with its beak. He saved himself from this by setting up a banana-stalk in the canoe, while he hid himself below; the bird swooped and fastened its beak in the banana, Lata seized it, broke its wings, and took it to his mother to cook. His mother then warned him of one thing more, a huge sea monster, like a whale, which swallowed down canoes. Into this monster's stomach Lata was carried by a current which sucked in his canoe with sail standing; and in it he found a man and woman who had eaten their clothes and their hair for hunger. To feed them he made a fire with the wrecks of the canoes lying about, and cut off some of the whale's liver to roast. Lavalu, the monster, cried out that he was killing him; and Lata answered, that if he wished to live he must carry him home. This he did, making so high a tide that he was stranded on the shore of Sta. Cruz. Lata dragged out his canoe, and gave Lavalu over to the crabs. His mother next warned him of a tide that would break his canoe; but he took out hermit crabs, which bit the waves, so that he passed through safely. Then his mother warned him of the Tapakola at Nupani. He sailed, therefore, immediately to Nupani, and was invited by the Tapakola to her house, where she sat in ambush for him over the only door left open, intending to kill him as he stooped to enter. He pushed open another door, and came in unhurt. All the night she watched to kill him when asleep, but, though he slept, he had covered his eyes with shining shells, which made him appear to be awake. In the morning he invited Tapakola to come with him in his canoe, and drowned her on the voyage home.

The next adventure of Lata, in which he deceived a snake, is not of much interest.

After that his mother bade him remember that there remained the great Land Crab at Netepa (Taumako in