Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/184

This page has been validated.

bananas of Qat's that they had taken; they enquired among themselves who had been eating a banana, and when all denied, Tangaro the Wise spoke out: 'You fellows,' said he, 'it is Qat who has eaten this banana, and has thrown the skin of it here for us, to give us notice that he is not dead, but that he has escaped and is following us.' But the rest of them would not listen to him, declaring that Qat was dead. The same happened again when he threw out for them another banana skin. After this they saw the bottle itself in which Qat was floating, close up to the canoe, and one of them took it up, thinking that it was a good cocoa-nut, but when he smelt it and found the smell bad, he threw it away again. This they did one after another, except Tangaro the Wise, who did not happen to observe it. Then dat floated quickly to the shore of Maewo, and emerged from his bottle; he colours his hair with the red earth, binds his small shell-money round his head, sticks his cock's-tail plume in his hair, takes his seat on the top of a male pandanus-tree on the beach, and there he sits and waits for his brothers to come to land who were still in the canoe. Presently they came through the reef and up to the shore, and then they looked up and saw him sitting in the pandanus, and enquired one of another who it was sitting up there. 'It is Qat,' said Tangaro the Wise; but his brothers argued that he could not have made his way thither, seeing that he was already dead. 'That is Qat, and no mistake,' said Tangaro the Wise; for he knew better than his brothers about this and all other things. So they brought their canoe to land, but had no need to haul it up, for Qat made the rocks to rise and bear it high and dry. Qat leaped down upon them with his axe, and hewed the canoe to pieces for them with this song,—'Chop, chop the canoe; whose canoe is it? Marawa's canoe. My brothers tricked me about twisting a string—swell nutmeg-tree—and draw the snare. I had one canoe, my canoe slipped off from me.' So he chopped the canoe to pieces before their face. After this he made friends with them, and bade them live in harmony together.