Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/144

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Religion.

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 towards spirits rather than ghosts, the latter pay very little attention to spirits and address themselves almost wholly to 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. Hazelwood, quoted by Mr. Brenchley (Cruise of the CuraƧoa, p. 181), confirm this view. Tuikilakila told one of the first missionaries how he proposed to treat him. 'If you die first,' said he, 'I 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, accompanies 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.