Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/245

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Tricks of Ghosts.

languid, or if he had been unwell before he would be worse. Although this is not done by witchcraft a man is held responsible for what his uqa does, and is made to pay money to the injured man, and by an act of his will to take off the malignant influence.

Here may be mentioned also certain tricks which ghosts or spirits play on men, or which men know how to make them play. At Mota in the Banks' Islands a little boy named Peitavunana, heavenly water, was frightened and chased by a ghost up the mountain. He was sought for in vain, and a fight was threatened. They divined for him, so ilo, by cracking of the fingers (page 311), and a man from Vanua Lava announced that he would be found in a certain very inaccessible place. There he was found by Somwaswas at the root of a tree crying and calling on his mother, his body covered with excrement, the food of ghosts, and streaming with blood from the thorns through which he had been forced, and in his hand an unripe fruit of the mammy-apple. He said that his dead mother had come to him and given him the food. Another little boy, Nungwia, sleeping on the beach at night, was conveyed by a ghost into a very small cavity beneath a rock, into which it was impossible for him to have climbed. In Lepers' Island they have a way of playing with a ghost. They build a little house in the forest near their village and adorn it with leaves and cocoa-nut fronds. It has a partition dividing it in two, and a bamboo twelve or fifteen feet long is put within, half on one side of the partition, half on the other. The men assemble in the night to try the presence of a ghost, and sit in the house on one side only of the partition with their hands under one end of the bamboo. They shut their eyes, and call the names of the lately dead. When they feel the bamboo moving in their hands they know that the ghost is present whose name was the last they called. Then they ask, naming one of themselves, ’Where is Tanga?' and the bamboo rises in their hands and strikes him, and then sinks back. They are sure then of the presence of the ghost, and tell him they will go outside; and they go out, singing,