Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/224

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already filled with mana by charms sung over them, over the fire in a house; as they wilt, dry up and burn, so will the land. To make a famine they hang cocoa-nut fronds, yams, and other food over the fire with the pepper branches. For rain they take plants which have much juice in them, and leaves and stalks of the via, the gigantic caladium, and crush them all together with songs to give them mana; then all is put into a basket, and hidden in the hollow of a tree where water lies. To make a calm, leaves of a reed which is very light indeed, or pepper stalks, are cut in lengths and hung up in a tree. All the charms have their power because of Tagaro's name in them.

Together with weather-charms may be classed those used in the Banks' Islands to assist a sow in her first litter of pigs: such as beating her back with branches of a pepper closely resembling that used for kava, strewing the blossoms of the wotaga, Barringtonia, upon her back, laying cocoa-nut fronds on her, breaking a bamboo water-vessel over her back so that the salt-water may run over her, hanging a bag full of native almonds above her head; all being done with the appropriate form of words. Nets also used for the first time are charm id with leaves and the song mana for the purpose. In Lepers' Island when a large new canoe is finished, and is for the first time to be used, a very young cocoa-nut is made mana with a song which bids the canoe be swift, successful in trading, and victrious in fighting, and it is then put on the outrigger. Then they make a short trial of the new canoe, and afterwards start with the conch trumpet and store of mats to trade for pigs. It would be hard indeed to draw a limit to the use of charms which, substantially the same in character with these, assist those who know them or pay for them, or else injure or obstruct their enemies. In prospect of a fight, for example, besides his amulets and stones, a man in the Banks' Islands would strengthen his hand to shoot and kill by drinking an infusion of very bitter herbs and bark; and by chewing other leaves and puffing forth their magic influence would dishearten an approaching enemy.

(3) Witchcraft. The wizards who cure diseases are very