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Curses.

of a lio'a, a ghost of power. In such a case if native ideas only had prevailed, money, pigs, or valuable gifts would have been sufficient to toto, make it up with, the chief, and he would have been willing to toto 'akalo (page 137), set the matter right by a sacrifice to the lio'a; but in this case the Christian teachers, though really in some danger of their lives, refused to acknowledge the power of the lio'a and of the curse, and would give nothing to the chief, who thereupon professed himself quite unable to remove the curse.

A curse by way of asseveration is very common in Florida, and no doubt in the other Solomon Islands. A man will deny an accusation by his forbidden food, butonggu! by some tindalo, Daula, the ghostly frigate-bird, or Bagea, the ghostly shark. The Florida people, and their neighbours probably, were sufficiently advanced to garnish their conversation with profane and filthy swearing, even before 'contact with civilization' put into their mouths those words which are too often the first they learn of English. I am not aware of the existence of this habit in the Banks' Islands. The more serious curse there is to vagona, to make into a tangle, to prohibit easy access or procedure, under the sanction of a spirit's power; to swear therefore by the name of some ghost or spirit is to vava vagogonag, that is, to speak making a supernatural power to intervene, the withdrawal of which can only be effected by a sufficient offering to appease the layer of the curse, who will proceed to satisfy the being invoked. To curse in the sense of expressing a wish for mischief, with a mental if not a verbal reference to a supernatural power, is to vivnag. Such may be called the formula used in pouring water into the native oven (page 147), and such a curse is supposed to be the cause of sneezing. The milder forms are those whereby a troublesome or impertinent request or remark is met; 'Iniko o suri tamate, you are a dead man's bone'; and by what they call sending off, varoivog, to certain trees which have something of a sacred character, vawo mele! on a cycas, vawo aru! on a casuarina, vawo poga! forms which mean not much more than 'you be hanged!'