Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/170

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Prayers.

On starting on a voyage: 'Tataro—Uncle! Father! plenty of boars for you, plenty of rawe, plenty of money; kava for your drinking, lucky food for your eating in the canoe; I pray you with this, look down upon me, let me go on a safe sea.' Or when the canoe labours with a heavy freight: 'Take off your burden from us, that we may speed on a safe sea.' Another was used over the oven in the gamal of the Suqe club, the hole in which the fire is made: 'Grandfather! may it be—Father! my Uncle! my Greatuncle! we two will go on with a hundred fathom of money of yours; look down upon us two, do not look unfavourably upon us two; let money abound to us two, boars, rawe, food; let our suqe go on to the end; let not our outrigger be broken; you sit and look after us two; let us two go on well, with no unfavourable looks upon us; let us two come straight on in the hole of us three, in the hot suqe hole of us three, let the suqe come forth and advance.' There is no difference between these and the invocations of the spirits, vui, Qat and Marawa, except that these latter which follow, not being addressed to the dead, are not properly tataro. These three were used at sea: 'Qate! you and Marawa, cover over with your hand the blow-hole from me, that I may come into a quiet landing-place; let it calm well down away from me. Let the canoe of you and me go up in a quiet landing-place,' 'Qate! Marawo! look down upon me, prepare the sea of you and me, that I may go on a safe sea. Beat down the head of the waves from me, let the tide rip sink down away from me, beat it down level that it may go down and roll away, and I may come into a quiet landing-place.' 'Qate! Marawo! may it be&mdsah;let the canoe of you and me turn into a whale, a flying-fish, an eagle; let it leap on and on over the waves, let it go, let it pass out to my land.' In answer to such prayers as these it was supposed that Qat and Marawa would come and hold fast the mast and rigging of the canoe, preserve it from danger, and speed it on its course.

In the Northern New Hebrides, in Aurora, they use the same word tataro for a form of words used for example in