Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/304

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Death. Burial. After Death.

now made, are seen where men of old times were buried. After that, if the deceased was a very great man with many gardens and pigs, they count fifty days, and then kill pigs on the day called the Ulogi or Sawana. On the Ulogi, the howling, at mid-day there is wailing at the grave-stones, which have been dressed and adorned with leaves and flowers; some cry, and some begin a song sacred to the dead. When the ovens are opened the assembled crowd departs; and the people of the village kill pigs, and they cut the point off the liver of each pig, and the brother of the deceased goes near the bush and calls the dead man's name, crying "This is for you to eat."

'Upon this all cry again; and all their body and face they smear over with ashes; and they wear a cord round their necks for a hundred days, to shew that they are not eating good food. If they kill many pigs like this they think it is a good thing; but if not, they think that the dead man has no proper existence, but hangs on tangled creepers, and to hang on creepers they think a miserable thing. That is the real reason why they kill pigs for a man who has died; there is no other reason for it but that[1].'

'Meanwhile,' he continues, 'the ghosts have known the number of days since the last comer has died; and the relatives of the dead man have counted the days to eat the death-meal for him, the fifth day or the tenth, and a crowd has

  1. Bishop Selwyn witnessed a singular practice at Tanoriki in Aurora on the hundredth day after a woman's death, while the feast was being held. 'Pigs were killed and yams mashed and distributed, and then the men began to go into the bush and get long rods of a sort of ginger that tapered to a point. These they brandished with both hands, and looked anxiously down the path leading to the next village. Then the cry arose, "They are coming," and down came some ten or twelve men, mostly young, carrying on their heads baskets which they held with both hands, leaving their bodies completely exposed. Long before they came in sight one heard cracks like a whip, and saw the cause. If a smiter was ready he threw his rod back, and the sufferer instantly stood still and received an unmerciful thwack delivered with both hands, which shivered the rod to atoms. The point came right round the man's body, and I could see the long wheals afterwards, though the back was somewhat protected by the string girdle they wear.'