Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/112

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Secret Societies and Mysteries.

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 morning, 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 backā€”the mark of membership. While initiation into this is going on there are certain trials or games. A bundle of sticks 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