Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/174

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Spirits.

it conceives a being which lives and thinks and knows and has power in nature, without a gross body or even form; but it fails when it comes to deal with an individual being of such a nature. Hence the stories represent a vui like a man with larger powers; a native seeing some new and wonderful foreign work will cry 'A vui made it!', and receiving home a boy grown up in absence cries 'Me vui gai! He's a vui to be sure!'

It is remarkable again that of these superhuman beings who are called vui or wui; in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, and whose actions are like those of men, there seem to be two kinds or orders. Qat in the Banks' Islands stories and Tagaro in the New Hebrides stories move like heroes or demigods amidst a lesser folk of dwarfs and trolls as full of mysterious magic power as they are, but comparatively rude and easily deceived. These lingered in the islands when Qat and his brothers and Tagaro and his brothers left them; they have been seen of late in human form, smaller than the native people, darker, and with long straight hair. Marawa, the friend of Qat, was one of these. A man living in Vanua Lava but a few years ago, named Manlepei, going to the river side in early morning, saw a little man with long hanging hair, and followed him up the valley in which the river runs, till they came to a narrow gorge closed by a rock. The vui rapped upon this with his hand and it opened to him; and as Manlepei followed close behind, it shut again upon them both. They were in a cave which was the vui's house. He said that he was Marawa, and that he would appear again to the man if he would go back to the village and bring him money. Manlepei prospered ever after through Marawa's aid, and he made no secret of the source of his prosperity; he was always ready to receive money from his neighbours on Marawa's behalf, and to procure for them a share in his good will. It is not long either since a female vui with a child was seen in Saddle Island, close to the house of a man who had often found a fine yam laid for him on the seat beside his door, and had observed that his money-bag was still full