Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/274

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252
[ch.
Death. Burial. After Death.

were caught, though the line is no longer on his neck; this is the nunuai of the line. To the native it is not a mere fancy, it is real, but it has no form or substance. A pig, therefore, ornaments or food have a nunuai; but a pig has no atai, or may hesitatingly and carelessly be said to have one. This word is no doubt the same as niniai, shadow or reflection, meaning not shade, which is malumalu, but the definite figure cast by the interception of rays of light upon the ground, or formed by reflection in the water. There is no confusion in the native mind between a shadow and a reflection, but they use the one word to describe that definite individual something which, itself insubstantial, is so closely connected with the substance that gives it form.

This word, in the form nunu, is used in Aurora to describe the fancied relation of an infant to some thing or person from which or from whom its origin is somehow derived. A woman before her child is born fancies that a cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, or some such thing has some original connexion with her infant. When the child is born it is the nunu of the cocoa-nut, or whatever it may be, and as it grows up it must by no means eat that thing, or it will be ill; no one thinks that there is any real connexion in the way of parentage, but the child is a kind of echo. There is another way in which a child is the nunu of a person deceased. Thus Arudulewari is the nunu of a boy whom his mother brought up and who was much beloved by her. This boy died not long before Arudulewari was born, and then the mother believed that her foster-child had wished to come back to her, and that the infant was his nunu. But Arudulewari is not that person, nor, as he says, is his soul supposed to be the soul of the dead boy; he himself is the nunu, the echo or reflection of him. So Vilemalas, a name which means 'Bring-the-day-after,' was born after an adopted child of his mother's had been killed and not brought back till the day after, and he is the nunu of the slain person come in his piace. In Mota there is no such use of nunuai, but there is a notion that a man may have something, not exactly his atai or tamaniu, with which he is originally connected. A man