Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/113

This page has been validated.
v.]
91
New Hebrides. Aurora Island.

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, to learn which is the chief part of the


Masked Dancers at Aurora.

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