Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/275

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Solomon Islands. Ghosts.

will scatter money into a deep pool among the rocks on the shore into which the tide is pouring, a sacred place; he will call on his near forefathers, dive in, and seat himself upon the bottom. If he sees anything there, a crab or cuttle-fish perhaps, he fancies that is his real origin and beginning; he gets mana, supernatural power, from it, and pigs will multiply to him. At Maewo, Aurora, nunu is never the soul; that is tamaniu; and it is a very remarkable thing that the body is thought to be the integument of the soul. It is a strange thing that in the islands of the New Hebrides nearest to Aurora, in Pentecost and Lepers' Island, the word tamtegi is used for soul, for this is no doubt the Mota tamate, dead man; the natives, however, have persisted in their assertion that they have no other word.

We are now prepared to follow the corpse of the dead Melanesian to his burial, and his soul after its separation from the body to the abode of the dead; and it is probably better to do this by taking the funeral customs and the beliefs concerning the state after death together as they are found in the various islands. It will be seen that there is a considerable agreement both in customs and beliefs, and a universal consent about some particulars, such as in belief in the continued existence of the separated soul, and in the practice of commemorating the dead by feasts at which some portion of food is offered to them. In the Solomon Islands the ghost, being the principal object of worship, occupies, as has been shewn, a much higher place in the religious world of the natives than it does in the islands which lie to the eastward, and on that account it is desirable, before entering upon details, to draw the distinction between the two classes of ghosts which is generally recognized in the former islands. The distinction is between ghosts of power and ghosts of no account, between those whose help is sought and their wrath deprecated, and those from whom nothing is expected and to whom no observance is due. Among living men there are some who stand out distinguished for capacity in affairs, success in life, valour in fighting, and influence over others; and these are so, it is