Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/298

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Death. Burial. After Death.

and there is day and night; it is even a beautiful place, for at a great festival when the village place is bright with flowers and coloured leaves, and thronged with people dancing, drumming and singing, the saying is that it is 'like a sura, as if the mouth of Panoi were opened.' When a ghost first descends, he waits at first outside the ghostly village; he is weak, and he stops till he has recovered strength. The ghosts make a dance in his honour. When he arrives they ask him, 'Have you come to stay?' If he has only fainted, it is then discovered, and he returns. The fresh ghost finds there something like an earthly life, but it is hollow and unreal. There is nothing that they do but talk and sing and dance; there is no gamal, the indispensable club-house of earthly life; men and women live together, without sexual intercourse; there is no fighting, there is no one in authority, no vui, spirits, other than ghosts of men. A great man goes down like a great man, in all his finery of ornament. The pigs killed for his funeral feast, the food heaped upon his grave, do not go down as he does; he is a tamate, a dead man, a ghost; he has as a dead man the atai, soul, that he had under different conditions as a living man; his ornaments are on his person as a ghost, but the shadow, niniai, of them only, for no such things, not even pigs, have atai. There is a further belief that there are compartments, enclosures fenced apart, in which those who have died violent deaths keep together; those who have been shot are in one place together, those who were charmed to death in a second, those who have been clubbed in a third together. Those who have been shot keep rattling the reeds of the arrows they were shot with; hence if a rat is heard in a house making that kind of noise the saying is that it is a reed-rattling ghost, tamate ninginingi togo. Ghosts in Panoi have not knowledge of things out of their sight and hearing as the vui, spirits, have; nevertheless they are invoked in time of need and distress, as if they could hear and help. They come upon earth when they please, and see how their friends and property are faring, and they hear the news from new-coming ghosts. These ghosts, as distinguished from