Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/276

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[ch.
Death. Burial. After Death.

believed, because of the supernatural and mysterious powers which they have, and which are derived from communication with those ghosts of the dead gone before them who are full of those same powers. On the death of a distinguished man his ghost retains the powers that belonged to him in life, in greater activity and with stronger force; his ghost therefore is powerful and worshipful, and so long as he is remembered the aid of his powers is sought and worship is offered him; he is the tindalo of Florida, the lio'a of Saa. In every society, again, the multitude is composed of insignificant persons, 'numerus fruges consumere nati,' of no particular account for valour, skill, or prosperity. The ghosts of such persons continue their insignificance, and are nobodies after death as before; they are ghosts because all men have souls, and the souls of dead men are ghosts; they are dreaded because all ghosts are awful, but they get no worship and are soon only thought of as the crowd of the nameless population of the lower world.

In the Solomon Islands, in Florida, when a man dies, his spirit, tarunga, becomes a ghost, tindalo, and the body is spoken of as a dead man, tinoni mate. Some ghosts are worshipped and exercise much spiritual activity in the world as tindalo (chaps, vii, viii); some pass at once out of the consideration of all but members of the family. The corpse is usually buried. Common men are buried in their garden ground, chiefs sometimes in the village, a chiefs child sometimes in the house. The grave is not deep; it becomes sacred in so far as no one will tread upon any grave, while the burial-place of a man whose tindalo has become an object of worship is a sanctuary, vunuha; the skull is often dug up and hung in the house. Men and women are buried alike, their feet turned inland; the return from the funeral is by another road than that along which the corpse was carried, lest the ghost should follow. A man is buried with money, porpoise teeth, and ornaments belonging to him, his bracelets put on upside down; and these things are often afterwards secretly dug up again. Sometimes a man will express a wish to be cast into the sea; his friends then