Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/187

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Qat and Qasavara.

climbed into the casuarina-tree. Qasavara's men waited for them till they were tired, and then asked some others to go; two more of Qat's brothers went, and smashed the vessels and climbed into the tree. So it went on till all his brothers were in the tree, and Qat alone was left beside the oven with Qasavara and his men. Then as they opened the oven Qat sat with a large handful of food-bags beside the oven, and as they were taking out the food Qasavara struck at Qat with his club and missed him. Qat leapt away from him to the other side of the oven, and taking up food from within it cried, 'This for my brother, this for my mate,' and stowed it in the bags. Qasavara leapt across after him, struck at him and missed him again; and Qat again jumped across, took up food with the same cry, and stowed it in his bags. So it went on till all the food in the oven was taken, and all the bags were full. Then Qat rose and ran to his brothers, and Qasavara after him, hitting at him with his club and missing him as he ran, chasing him till he reached his brothers. Then Qat jumped away from him into the tree, and Qasavara climbed after him. Qat's brothers were gathered together on the tree top, and Qat climbed to them, and there they sat still, for they could climb no higher. Then Qasavara climbed close to them, and stretched out his club at arm's length to strike them; but Qat cried out 'My casuarina, lengthen!' So the casuarina elongated itself between Qat's party and Qasavara, and left him far below. But Qasavara climbed after them again, and again came close to them; and again Qat cried, 'Lengthen, my casuarina!' and again the tree lengthening itself carried Qat and his brothers away from Qasavara. So it went on till the tree top reached the sky. Then said Qat, 'Bend down, my casuarina!' and the tree bent its top down to Tatgan, and they all one after another got down to the ground there, and Qat the last of them. And as he reached the ground he held fast on to the top of the casuarina and waited before letting it go; and Qasavara followed down after them and reached the end. Then cried Qat, 'Now I revenge myself.' 'Ah, Qat!' cried