Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/206

This page has been validated.
184
[ch.
Sacred Places and Things.

ground of a belief in similar powers. Stones were much used by weather-doctors. To make sunshine it might be enough only to smear a standing stone with red earth; but it was very effectual to wind about a very round stone, a vat loa, sunstone, with red braid, and stick it with owls' feathers to represent rays, singing in a low voice the proper spell, and then to hang it on some high tree, a banyan or a casuarina in a sacred place. The stone to represent the sun might also be laid upon the ground with a circle of white rods radiating from it for its beams. There are stones of a remarkably long shape called in the Banks' Islands tamate gangan, that is, 'eating ghost'; these are so powerful from the presence with them of a ghost, not of a spirit, that if a man's shadow fall on one it will draw out his soul from him, so that he will die. Such stones therefore are set in a house to guard it; any one sent to his house by the owner in his absence will call out his sender's name, lest the ghost should think he has bad intentions and do him a mischief. Other stones, also connected with ghosts, have such power that when the owner of one puts it under his pillow and dreams of another man, that man will die. One who has such a stone is paid by an enemy to destroy a man in this way, and 'dreams him to an end,' ti qore mot. These stones are exceptional as deriving their power from the dead. Some again are called tangaroa, a name no doubt the same with that of the brothers of Qat. These a man would carry with him in a bag, or hang up in his house. If one went into a house where these stones were hanging and meddled with the property of the owner, and after a while an accident were to befall him, it would be said that the tangaroa had done it. Others, called tarunglea and varasurlea, were swung about in an invaded place to take away the courage of the invaders. Others were hung as amulets, soasoa, about a man's neck to keep him safe in danger; others, again, would straighten the aim and strengthen the arm to shoot. There were others that women would take with them to bed in hopes of children. The stones on which, or with reference to which, sacrifices are made are by no means always such as