Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/278

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Death. Burial. After Death.

dancing and shouting. Betindalo is apparently situated in the south-eastern part of the great island of Guadalcanar, to which the ghosts pass over through the district of Florida nearest to it, Gaeta. Here appears a ship of the dead, almost alone in Melanesia. The Gaeta people used to believe that all the ghosts of Florida passed along a path through their gardens leading to a point of land where they assembled; as they passed along nothing was seen, but a twittering sound was heard; while they were waiting at the point their dancing was heard at night. From time to time a canoe came over from Guadalcanar and took the ghosts across to Galaga, opposite to Gaeta. They landed first upon a rock near to the shore, and there for the first time became aware that they were dead. Arrived upon the shore, they met a certain tindalo with a rod, which he thrust into the cartilage of their noses to see if they were pierced; if that were so, there was a good path the ghosts could follow down towards Marau at the extremity of Guadalcanar; ghosts who could not pass this test were not allowed to follow the path, but had to make their way as they could with pain and difficulty. Living men in canoes when nearing the shore at Galaga have seen the forms of the dead and recognized the persons, but on near approach they disappeared. A man not long ago alive at Gaeta once appeared to die, but revived to tell the story how he had passed with others along the path of ghosts, and had gone to take his place in the canoe which came for them at night; but a tall black tindalo, he said, whom he recognized, forbad him to come aboard, and sent him back into the world again.

At Bugotu, in Ysabel, the spirit, tarunga, leaving the dead man, tinoni dhehe, becomes a ghost, tindadho; the place of ghosts is the little island of Laulau, but they haunt their graves, and are seen at night, disappearing when approached. The ghosts, as they fly through the air and near Laulau, light first on certain rocks where they become aware of their sad condition. Living men visit the island, as in the story of Samuku, and see these rocks; they see also forms as of men