Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/222

This page has been validated.
200
[ch.
Magic.

rubbing and drawing down the cause of pain, till she produces at last in her bunch of leaves a stone or a bone, or the bit of food perhaps by which the patient has been bewitched. In Pentecost if a man is delirious they say a mae, that snake of mysterious nature, is in his stomach. A doctor will then breathe his charm into a dry cocoa-nut husk which he has set on fire; the patient sits over the smoke, and the snake, which is a ghost or spirit, is driven out.

(2) Weather. In all these islands it is believed that spirits and ghosts have power over the weather; it follows, therefore, that the men who have familiar intercourse with spirits and ghosts are believed to be able to move them to interfere for wind or calm, sunshine or rain, as may be desired. The spirits and ghosts also have imparted power to forms of words, stones, leaves, and other things, which therefore of themselves affect the weather; and there is also a certain natural congruity between some of these things and the effect they produce, which seems to make them suitable vehicles of power. The men, therefore, who have and know these things have with them mana which they can use to benefit or to afflict friends and enemies, and to turn either way as it is made worth their while to turn it. There are everywhere, therefore, in these islands weather-doctors or weather-mongers who can control the aerial powers, and are willing to supply wind, calm, rain, sunshine, famine, and abundance at a price. These were generally also masters of other charms than those which affect the weather, some knew one weather charm and some another; but there were generally in a community enough for all requirements. Their arts once secret are now pretty well known. In Florida the mane nggehe vigona, when a calm was wanted, tied together the leaves appropriate to his vigona and hid them in the hollow of a tree where water was, calling upon the vigona spirit with the proper charm. This process would bring down rain to make the calm. If sunshine was required he tied the appropriate leaves and creeper-vines to the end of a bamboo, and held them over a fire. He fanned the fire with a song to give mana to the fire, and the fire gave