Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/190

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men, and it was remembered that they had long, straight hair. After this people would give Natei money and other things to obtain the favour of his friends, with whom he still kept up communication, and from that time he has thriven and risen in the world.

The nearest of the Banks' Islands to the New Hebrides is Merlav, Star Island, and there Qat and his brothers are the subjects of the stories common in the rest of the group. The northernmost of the New Hebrides and nearest to Merlav is Maewo, Aurora, and there Qat, though not unknown, is not recognised as a spirit, but Tagaro takes his place. Qatu they said was a great man of old times, very high in the suqe, as men used to be and are no longer now. But Tagaro was a wui. Of any wui the belief in Maewo was that he had no bodily form; any old man there would so describe one. Yet the stories of Tagaro, who was a wui, deal with him as the stories of the Banks' Islands deal with Qat. Of the brothers of Tagaro nothing is to be told, but his companion was Suqe-matua, who in all things was contrary to him. Tagaro wanted everything to be good, and would have no pain or suffering; Suqe-matua would have all things bad. When Tagaro made things, he or Suqe-matua tossed them up into the air; what Tagaro caught is good for food, what he missed is worthless. Tagaro lived at Mambarambara, and particularly at Hombio, not far from Tanoriki. He was not born there, but there he lived, made his canoe, built his house and his gamal, and created and raised his food. His life was full of wonders; his cocoa-nuts increased as he ate them; dry nuts out of which he scooped the meat filled up again. Finally Tagaro became angry because some one stole his pig, and went off to Mamalu, no one knows where; he turned the island upside down, and went off eastwards in his canoe from the east coast of the island, taking with him the best of everything, and never to return. He put out the fire, but threw back a fire-stick; his shell trumpet lies on the beach in the form of a rock; Lepers' Island is his canoe. His place at Hombio is very sacred; his yams still remain there, and trail over a gamal called the gamal