Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/807

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THE MAORIS OF NEW ZEALAND.

presents had been interchanged all were satisfied." It was sometimes the custom for a man who had many wives to lend one of them to a guest whom he wished to honor greatly.

Disease was supposed to be caused by the entry of an evil spirit into the body or by the anger of some deity or demon. Curses were sought through exorcisms, etc., by the priest; while for certain affections special methods of medical treatment were used, apparently with considerable success. Wounds were generally left to themselves, after broken pieces of spear or bone had been extracted; and they healed in a manner that a European could hardly credit.

To avoid having the home tapued by death, chiefs when dying were carried into some shed. At the sound of the wail from the wives and relatives, friends gathered and cut themselves with sharp shells and pieces of flint—women in the face, and men on one side of the neck. The hair was cut off on one side, while a few long locks were sometimes left untouched as a memorial of the departed. The burden of the lament was, "Go on, we follow." The friends, who came from long distances to mourn, wore wreaths of green leaves or lycopodium. Sometimes the body was buried; in other parts of the country it was placed in a little house with the greenstone club, etc., of the deceased; sometimes in two pieces of a canoe placed upright together, the corpse being tied in a sitting posture on a grating through which the decomposed parts fell; at other times it was placed in a small canoe and set up in the branches of a tree. Slaves were killed sometimes, and the chief wife strangled herself, to be buried with her lord. A taro root was placed in the hand of a dead child that it might have food for its journey to Reinga; food was also buried with a chief. The exhumation took place from a year to two years after death, with intricate ceremonies, including the consecration of the spade with which the body was dug up, the charms for the binding up of the bones, for the scraping, for the bearers, lustrations of those engaged, lifting the tapu from them, etc. The bones were scraped, anointed, decorated, painted, and set with feathers. When they had been seen and wept over by all the relatives, they were packed away in the dark ancestral burial cave, or else thrown into some inaccessible rift or deep chasm, lest some enemy might get hold of the skull, to taunt it or to use it as a baler for a canoe. Fish-hooks made from the jaws, and flutes, pins, etc., from the bones, were supposed to be terrible insults to the relatives. Hence the secret sepulture.

Murder must be revenged by every member of the tribe until satisfaction had been obtained. A chief, when dying, left as his last words a reminder of revenge for his people to carry out, and would generally nominate some one person to devote himself to