Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/308

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Death. Burial. After Death..

which overhangs it; they cry aloud to Nggalevu to give a sign that he is there, and a column of steam goes up. In Lolomboetogitogi are trees and houses where the dead have their abode; though they are thought to come out, and are seen like fire at night, or a man in the dusk sees something like a dead tree-fern trunk standing before him in the path, and fears to go on further. In Lolomboetogitogi the dead are thought to live a happy if an empty life, free from pain and sickness; but there are those that come out for mischief, hunting men to add them to their company; and if a man has left children when he died, one of whom sickens afterwards, it is said that the dead father takes it.

Two descents to Lolomboetogitogi are well remembered. A young man lost his wife and much desired once more to see her; he took a friend and mounted to the lake; they swam to a certain rocky islet, and the widower, giving one end of a clue to his friend, dived into the water; as long as he was alive, he said, he would keep pulling at the line. He arrived at a village, and found an old friend, who warned him to keep by himself, and by no means to eat. His wife he could not see; he took some sweet herbs growing in the village, and returned through the water to the rock. Another man still living went down by a banyan root in the forest, and found the village of the ghosts; they gave him food, which he brought back with him without eating any, bananas old and black. Another descent is the subject of a story not seriously told or believed, a sort of parody on the above, which relates how a man made his way to an underworld of pigs, ureuremboe, the pig-world, of which a snake, Tamatemboe, dead-man-pig, was the master; the snake had stones in a lump at its neck, and these stones were powerful for wealth in pigs; so the man said who brought the stones with him, and had them for sale or hire.

At Araga, Pentecost, there are two stories as to the Origin of Death. In one a man and a rat dispute, the rat saying that the man would die outright, but that himself would live again. The man and rat meet again in the path and quarrel,