Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/291

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Banks' Islands. Secret Burial.

that they have killed, or parts of them, at the grave; when the man goes down to Bono, Panoi, the ghosts there will see him come down with these, and think much of him. The Gaua people, however, deny that pigs have ghosts[1]. It is interesting to observe how a judgment upon a dead man's merits was pronounced. Not long ago when a corpse was being buried at Motlav, a man whom the deceased had ill used followed with a stone, and threw it on the body, crying out, 'You have ill used me, and persecuted me to kill me—you have died first.' At Gaua when a great man died his friends would not make it known, lest those whom he had oppressed should come and spit at him after his death, or govgov him, stand bickering at him with crooked fingers and drawing in the lips, by way of curse. Relatives in Motlav watch the grave of a man whose life was bad, lest some man wronged by him should come at night and beat with a stone upon the grave, cursing him. Sometimes the friends will have a sham burial, and hide the grave in which the corpse is really laid; because if a man in his lifetime has had mana to shoot and kill, to charm with the talamatai and in other ways, there will be mana for the same purpose in his corpse; men will want to dig up his bones for arrows and for charms, and his skull to roll the string upon wherewith to tie their talamatai. So at Gaua when a body has been wasted over the fire, they bury the bones in the village under some large stone, and cover it with another stone, lest the ones should be taken up for arrows. At Ureparapara[2] as soon as a man dies his

  1. If the pigs that have been killed are seen in Panoi, it may be thought that they must have souls to be seen there, since their bodies are at the grave. But this is not the native notion; of a pig or an ornament there is a certain something, shadow, echo, of itself that can be seen, but there is not that which man has, the intelligent personal spiritual part which separates from the body in death. When a ghost is seen what is seen? Not the soul, the atai, but the dead man, the tamate; for the atai can never be seen, the nunuai, echo, of the body, its taqangiu, outline, can be seen, but indistinctly. When an English ghost appears in the dead man's habit as he lived, is it thought to be his soul that appears?
  2. For this and for what follows concerning Lakona, I am indebted to the Rev. J. Palmer.