Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/151

This page has been validated.
Solomon Island Sacrifice.

in English no other translation can be found. The sacrifices, in the more restricted sense, of the Solomon Islands are widely different from those of the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands; in the western islands the offerings are made to ghosts, and consumed by fire as well as eaten; in the eastern islands they are made to spirits, and there is no sacrificial fire or meal. In the former nothing is offered but food, in the latter money has a conspicuous place.

(1) A Solomon Island sacrifice has been excellently described by a native of San Cristoval. 'In my country,’ he wrote, 'they think that ghosts are many, very many indeed, some very powerful, and some not. There is one who is principal in war; this one is truly mighty and strong, When our people wish to fight with any other place, the chief men of the village and the sacrificers and the old men, and the elder and younger men, assemble in the place sacred to this ghost; and his name is Harumae. When they are thus assembled to sacrifice, the chief sacrificer goes and takes a pig; and if it be not a barrow pig they would not sacrifice it to that ghost, he would reject it and not eat of it. The pig is killed (it is strangled), not by the chief sacrificer, but by those whom he chooses to assist, near the sacred place. Then they cut it up; they take great care of the blood lest it should fall upon the ground; they bring a bowl and set the pig in it, and when they cut it up the blood runs down into it. When the cutting up is finished, the chief sacrificer takes a bit of flesh from the pig, and he takes a cocoa-nut shell and dips up some of the blood. Then he takes the blood and the bit of flesh and enters into the house (the shrine), and calls that ghost and says, "Harumae! Chief in war! we sacrifice to you with this pig, that you may help us to smite that place; and whatsoever we shall carry away shall be your property, and we also will be yours." Then he burns the bit of flesh in a fire upon a stone, and pours down the blood upon the fire. Then the fire blazes greatly upwards to the roof, and the house is full of the smell of pig, a sign that the ghost has heard. But when the sacrificer went in he did not