Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/252

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Birth. Childhood. Marriage.

killing one of twins, nor is there anywhere any dislike to the birth of twins further than from the trouble they entail. In some places, as at Saa, twins are liked; at Motlav the people of a village are proud of their twins, and the parents and relations make much of them; no one would adopt one of them, because it would spoil the pleasure of seeing them together, and deprive them of their natural right to be together; the only sad thing about them is that they give much trouble, and that the parents will be so sorry if they die. In Florida alone there seems to be something of a suspicion that two fathers may be concerned; but they take it that the woman has trespassed on the sacred place, vunuha, of some ghost, tindalo, whose power lies that way. In Lepers' Island also it is thought that twins may be a gift of Tagaro. Women who want a child will go to a sacred place in hope that the spirit will give them one, and sometimes he gives them two. There is now in the island one Malavaiboe, Pigtwin, the survivor of twin sons of Arusese; the people believe he will turn out a great man, not so much because he is a twin, as because Tagaro gave the twins of which he is one to their mother when she went to ask a child.

At Saa, when a newborn infant is eight or ten days old a sacrifice, 'unu qo (page 137), is made to the family lio'a to provide against misfortune. In Lepers' Island when the infant is ten days old the mother is well again, and the father goes down to the beach to wash the things belonging to the child. As he goes he scatters along the path little toy bows, if it be a boy, a sign that he shall be a strong bowman; if it be a girl, he throws down bits of the pandanus fibre out of which mats are made, for the mats which count as money are to be her work. In case the child dies after eating for the first time the parents will not eat that food afterwards themselves. At Araga, Pentecost Island, a first-born son remains ten days in the house in which he was born, during which time the father's kinsmen take food to the mother. On the tenth day they bring nothing, but the father gives them food and mats, which count as money, in as great quantity as he can afford. They,