Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/169

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Banks' Island Prayers.

belongs will, for payment, go and tataro for him there morning and evening. He calls aloud the name of the sick man, and listens for an answering sound, the cry of a kingfisher or of some other bird; if he hears a sound he calls 'Come back' to the life or soul of the sick man, runs back to the house where he lies, and cries 'He will live', meaning that he brings back the life. If it happens that on his way to the sacred place a lizard runs up upon him, it is enough, he has the life and goes back with it. If a man who has a stone is going to it to offer, oloolo, upon it, and he sees a rat, crab, iguana, or lizard on the way, he scatters a little loose money for it, and says a tataro that he knows. When the oven is opened for a meal, one of the men will break off a bit of food and throw it against the side wall of the house with a tataro. In the same way when water is poured into the oven to make the steam, there is a tataro used against an enemy, or to get rain or sunshine. Some Mota forms are as follows. On opening an oven, when a leaf of cooked mallow is thrown for some dead person: 'Tataro—this is a lucky bit for your eating; they who have charmed your food, have clubbed you (as the case may be), take hold of their hands, drag them away to hell, let them be dead.' If after this the man at whom it was directed is heard to have met with an accident, 'Oh ho!' says the other, 'my curse in eating has worked upon him, he is dead.' When water is poured into the oven: 'Tataro—pour it on the head of him down there who has laid plots against me, has clubbed me, has shot me, has stolen this thing of mine (as the case may be), he shall die[1] On making a libation of kava before drinking: 'Tataro—Grandfather! this is your lucky drop of kava; let boars come in to me; let rawe come in to me; the money I have spent let it come back to me, the food that is gone let it come back hither to the house of you and me.'

  1. 'Prayer in Fiji generally concluded with malignant requests as to the enemy. "Let us live, and let those that speak evil of us perish. Let the enemy be clubbed, swept away, utterly destroyed, piled in heaps. Let their teeth be broken. May they fall headlong into a pit. Let us live, and let our enemies perish."'—Rev. L. Fison.