Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/273

This page has been validated.
xv.]
251
Souls.

second self, the visible object so mysteriously connected with the man, and to this invisible second self which we call the soul. There is another Mota word, tamaniu, which has almost if not quite the same meaning as atai has when it describes something animate or inanimate which a man has come to believe to have an existence intimately connected with his own. The word tamaniu may be taken to be properly 'likeness,' and the noun form of the adverb tama, as, like. It was not every one in Mota who had his tamaniu; only some men fancied that they had this relation to a lizard, a snake, or it might be a stone; sometimes the thing was sought for and found by drinking the infusion of certain leaves and heaping together the dregs; then whatever living thing was first seen in or upon the heap was the tamaniu. It was watched but not fed or worshipped; the natives believed that it came at call, and that the life of the man was bound up with the life of his tamaniu, if a living thing, or with its safety; should it die, or if not living get broken or be lost, the man would die. Hence in case of sickness they would send to see if the tamaniu was safe and well. This word has never been used apparently for the soul in Mota; but in Aurora in the New Hebrides it is the accepted equivalent. It is well worth observing that both the atai and the tamaniu, and it may be added the Motlav talegi, is something which has a substantial existence of its own, as when a snake or stone is a man's atai or tamaniu; a soul then when called by these names is conceived of as something in a way substantial. There is another word used in Mota, never applied to the soul of man, but very illustrative of the native conceptions, and common also to Aurora, where it is used with a remarkable application; this word is nunuai. In Mota it is the abiding or recurrent impression on the senses that is called a nunuai; a man who has heard some startling scream in the course of the day has it ringing in his ears; the scream is over and the sound is gone, but the nunuai remains; a man fishing for flying-fish paddles all day alone in his canoe with a long light line fastened round his neck; he lies down tired at night and feels the line pulling as if a fish