Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/191

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New Hebrides. Tagaro.

dam, the yam gamal. There is also one wui, Gaviga, and some say another, who rules over the dead; but the multitude of the purely spiritual, incorporeal beings that are called wui belong to the sacred stones. In Araga, Whitsuntide Island, immediately south of Maewo, Tagaro has ten brothers, besides Suqe, who accompanies and thwarts him. Tagaro came down from heaven, made men and other things, and went back again to heaven. Suqe belonged to the earth; his head was forked, therefore he had two thoughts in it. Whatever Tagaro did or made was right, Suqe was always wrong; he would have men die only for five days; he wanted to have six nights to one day; he planted the scooped meat of the yam, not the rind. Tagaro sent him to a place where is a bottomless chasm, somewhere inland in Araga, where he rules over the ghosts of the dead. Tagaro when on earth, though a wui, had a human form, with superhuman power. He made the plain country by treading the ground with his feet; where he did not tread are the hills. He had no wife or children of his own kind, but he became the father of a boy on earth. The boy kept asking his mother who his father was, and was told that he was in heaven. Then he must needs go to heaven to see his father, and his mother made him a bow and an arrow of an ere, a flowering reed. He shot up and hit the sky; his ere turned into something like the aerial root of a banyan, up which the two climbed to heaven. There they found Tagaro sitting in a salite-tree, and fashioning images of himself out of the fruit. One of these he threw to the boy, who took it to his mother. She recognised the features, and told the boy it was his father. Tagaro consented to go back with them; but as he descended he cut the line above them and below himself, and went back to heaven, while they came down to Atambulu, the original seat of men in that island.

There are also many wui, all connected with stones and sacred places, whose names are only known to those who have access to them. These also may be seen, in rain or towards nightfall, and they give men food. When they appear they have long hair, sometimes long nails, and wear an old malo