Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/332

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Arts of Life.

upon the bone with charms, carries to the wound what is itself like inflammation, and the ghost will make it inflame.

The treatment of the wounded man proceeds on the same principle. If the arrow, or a part of it, has been retained, or has been extracted with leaf poultices, it is kept in a damp place or in cool leaves; then the inflammation will be little and soon subside. Shells, which have been made efficacious for the purpose by charms, are kept rattling above the house where the wounded man lies, to keep off the hostile ghost. In the same way the man who has inflicted the wound has by no means done all that he can do. He and his friends will drink hot and burning juices, and chew irritating leaves; pungent and bitter herbs will be burnt to make an irritating smoke; a bundle of leaves known to the shooter or bought from a wizard, a qesis, will be tied upon the bow that sent the arrow, to secure a fatal result; the arrow-head, if recovered, will be put into the fire; the bow will be kept near the fire to make the wound it has inflicted hot, or, as in Lepers' Island, will be put into a cave haunted by a ghost; the bow-string will be kept taut and occasionally pulled, to bring on tension of the nerves and the spasms of tetanus to the wounded man.

The preparation of the poisoned arrows in Aurora, New Hebrides, is thus described by a native writer: 'When they have dug up a dead man's bone they break it into splinters and cut it properly into shape, and sit down and rub it on a stone of brain-coral with water. After that it is fixed into a bit of tree-fern wood; everyone cannot do that, it is some one who knows (the charms). When that is done, the thick juice of no-to (excævaria agallocha) is put upon it. Then it is put in a cool place on the side wall of a public hall, and no fire is made there, so that the cold may strike upon it and it may turn like mould. Then they dig up the root of a creeper they call loki, and come back and strip off the bark and scrape the inner fibre into a leaf; and that, wrapped in another leaf, is put upon the fire. When it is cooked this is wrapped in the web from the spathe of a cocoa-nut, and squeezed into a leaf of the nettle-tree. Then with a piece of stick they