Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/180

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three days he worked to give them life. He brought them forth and set them up before his face; then he danced to them and saw that they moved a little; he beat the drum for them, and saw that they moved more than before. Thus he beguiled them into life, so that they could stand of themselves. Then he divided them, setting each male by himself and giving him a female, and he called the two husband and wife. Three women he made, and three men. But Marawa made his of another tree, the tavisoviso; he worked at them six days also, and set them up, and beat the drum for them, and gave them life as Qat had done for his. But when he saw them move he dug a pit, covered the bottom of it with cocoa-nut fronds, and buried his men and women in it for six days. Then when he scraped off the earth with his hands to view them, he found them all rotten and stinking; and this was the origin of death among men.

According to the story as told in Mota, Qat made men and pigs at first in the same form, but on his brothers remonstrating with him on the sameness of his creatures, he beat down the pigs to go on all fours and made men walk upright. Man was made of clay, the red clay from the marshy riverside at Vanua Lava. The first woman was Iro Vilgale. Qat took rods and rings of supple twigs and fashioned her as they make the tall hats for the qatu, binding on the rings to the rods, and covering all over with the spathes of sago-palms: hence her name from vil to bind, and gale to deceive. When all was finished he saw a smile, and then he knew that she was a living woman.

Qat had, however, a wife, a female vui, Iro Lei by name, but he had no children. His brothers, who had no wives of their own, envied him the possession of the beautiful Ho Lei, as well as of his excellent canoe, and were always conspiring to get both into their own hands. When his work of creation was completed, Qat proposed to his brothers that they should cut canoes for themselves, and they began to work, each choosing a different kind of tree. Qat cut down a large tree well suited for a canoe, and worked secretly every day, but made no