Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/229

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Metamorphosis. Dreams.

be attacked in this way. The same thing is done in Guadalcanar, and the people of Saa at the extremity of Malanta hear of it at Marau Sound by the name of hele. At Lepers' Island, in the New Hebrides, the vequa very much resembles this. The wizard overcomes his victim with his charms, so that the man cannot distinctly see him or defend himself; then he shoots him with a little bow and arrow made of some charmed material, and strikes him with the arrow. The man does not know what is done to him, but he goes home, falls ill, and dies; he can remember nothing to tell his friends, but they see the wound in his head where he was struck, and in his side where he was shot, and know what has happened to him.

The practice of magic arts for mischief is in the Banks' Islands and in Lepers' Island called gaqaleva, and is always dreaded in case of sickness. In Lepers' Island the wizards who practise it are believed to have the power of changing their shape. The friends of any one suffering from sickness are always afraid lest the wizard who has caused the disease should come in some form, as of a blow-fly, and strike the patient; they sit with him therefore and use counter-charms to guard him, and drive carefully away all flies, lest his enemy should come in that form. Some men by gaqaleva can turn into a shark and eat an enemy, or more commonly some one whom his enemy has hired the wizard to destroy. The story of Tarkeke shews this belief in Aurora also, where, as in Lepers' Island and in Pentecost, magicians turn into eagles and owls as well as sharks. This power is not always used for malicious ends, as was shewn by Molitavile at Lepers' Island. A vessel 'recruiting labour,' called by the natives a 'thief-ship,' had carried away some people from the island, and their friends were very anxious to know what had become of them. Molitavile, who had the power of changing his form, undertook to turn himself into an eagle and fly after the vessel. He told all the people of the village in the first place to keep away from that side of the open space between the houses from whence he would take his flight. Then he entered