Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/192

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Spirits.

waist-cloth. But these appear to be confused with the wild mountain creatures in human form, of whom tales are told in all the islands; for one that Tapera saw not long ago was a Sarivanua of the hills, standing in the rain by a banyan-tree, with bananas in his hand. He was like a man with small legs; when spoken to he did not answer, and when struck he did not feel. The multitude of wui, whose stones and haunts are sacred, are unknown by name, and have no form of body.

In Omba, Lepers' Island, a spirit, vui, is thus defined: spirits are immortal; have bodies, but invisible; are like men, but do not eat and drink, and can be seen only by the dead. But there are others also that appear in bodily shape. Some are known by name, of whom the most remarkable are Nggelevu, who presides over the dead, and Tagaro and his brothers or companions. Suqe is not known in all parts of the island; his place is perhaps supplied by Tagaro-lawua, who answers also to Tangaro-loloqong in the Banks' Island stories. It was Tagaro who made fruit-trees, food, pigs, and lastly men, and he is still invisibly active in human affairs, and therefore invoked in sickness and all difficulties. Tagaro-lawua, the Big, was a boaster and incapable; Tagaro-mbiti, the Little, was exceedingly knowing and powerful; if Tagaro is spoken of it is Tagaro-mbiti who is meant. As Qat is represented by Tagaro-mbiti, so Merambuto, also a vui, answers to Qasavara. He, like the other, tried to catch Tagaro's party by night and kill them, but Tagaro made them all sleep in a shell. Next morning Tagaro-lawua let out the secret, and Tagaro-mbiti made them sleep elsewhere. All the stones that are sacred are connected with Tagaro, though other spirits also are concerned; all charms have their power from the name of Tagaro in them. There are besides, as in the neighbouring islands, spiritual beings, vui, not of the same order as Tagaro. They are superhuman in nature and in power, and they can be seen. There is a man still living who one day followed his two wives down to the beach, and noticed there that some cocoa-nuts had been stolen from a heap he had made. Following footsteps he