Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/185

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Adventures of Qat.

Another remarkable series of adventures were Qat's encounters with Qasavara. This was a vui, very strong, a great fighter, tyrant and cannibal, who dwelt in the island which was the home of Qat and his brothers. One day the brothers went to bathe, and found floating down the stream a fruit of the Tahitian chestnut, a make. The others took it up one after another and rejected it, thinking it was not good, but Qat took it and found it good, and gave it to his mother to cook. Each of the brothers as he returned from bathing went to their mother for food. She had nothing but Qat's make, and they each took a bit of it; Tangaro the Fool finished it. Qat sent them to get some more, and following up the stream down which this fruit had floated they came upon the tree. They climbed upon it to gather the chestnuts, and Tangaro the Fool dropped one upon the house of Qasavara, over which the branches hung. Out came the ogre in a rage, seized and killed the brothers, and put them in his food-chest. Qat waited five days, then took his bow and arrows and shell hatchet and went in search. Following the stream he found the tree, and divining what had happened, brought out Qasavara by dropping a make on his house. They fought, and Qat killed Qasavara; then, searching for his brothers, he found their bones in the food-chest. He revived them by blowing through a reed into their mouths, and bidding them, if they were his brothers, laugh. Another adventure not very consistent with this is thus narrated. Qasavara falling in with Qat and his brothers invited them to his village, and made a fire in his oven for them. When it was evening he told them that they were to sleep by themselves in his gamal; but they, knowing that they would be killed, were exceedingly afraid. Night fell and they were very sleepy, and Qat called them to come to bed. He rapped asunder with his knuckles one of the rafters of the gamal, and they all got inside and slept. In the middle of the night Qasavara and his men took clubs and bows and came to kill Qat's party, but not finding them in the sleeping places went back disappointed. At the approach of day the cock crew, and Qat awoke his brothers,