Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/279

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Bugotu. San Cristoval.

which vanish as they are approached; they find paths round the island neatly kept, and bathing-places cleared of stones; if they hang up fish in the trees, they seek for them in vain in the morning; marks made to shew a road are taken away. On the top of the island is a pool of water, Kolapapauro, and thither the ghosts, when they arrive, repair to present themselves to Bolafagina, the tindadho who is the lord of the place. Across the pool is a narrow tree-trunk lying, along which the ghosts advance; Bolafagina examines their hands to see if they have the mark cut upon them (a conventional outline of the frigate-bird; page 180) which admits them to his company; those who have it not are thrown from the tree into the gulf beneath, and perish out of their ghostly life. When a chief dies, they bury him so that his head is near the surface, and over it they keep a fire burning, so that they may take up the skull for preservation in the house of the man who succeeds to power. An expedition then starts to procure heads in honour of the deceased, now become a tindadho to be worshipped. Any one not belonging to the place will be killed for the sake of his head, and the heads procured are arranged upon the beach, and believed to add mana, spiritual power, to the new tindadho; until these are procured the people of the place do not move about. The grave is built up with stones, and sacrifices are offered upon it[1].

At Wango in San Cristoval the soul, 'aunga (another form of tarunga), departed from the body becomes a ghost, 'ataro, and the ghost on leaving the body is believed to make its way to three small islands near Ulawa. On his first arrival there the ghost feels himself still a man, and does not realize his condition; he finds friends, and gives them the news of the place he has just left. After some days a kingfisher pecks his head, and he becomes a mere ghost (page 190). The existence of the ghosts in these islands, Rondomana, is shadowy and

  1. 'The dead man's wife and child were then dragged to the open grave and strangled there, and their bodies thrown in, together with his possessions, guns, rifles, money, and valuables of all kinds.'—Rev. A. Penny.