Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/340

This page has been validated.
Arts of Life.

a fish is seen above the net the line is hauled up, the ends of the rods come together, and the net forms a bag containing the fish. Fishing with a kite is practised in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz; the kite is flown from a canoe, and from it hangs a line with a tangle of spider's web or of fibre, which it drags along the water, and in which a fish with a projecting under jaw entangles its teeth. In Lepers' Island small fish are caught in nets made of spider's web; in the Banks' Islands they are driven by children into barricades of dead coral. A singular method of catching sharks is practised at San Cristoval, which is said to have been borrowed from Santa Cruz; an outrigger canoe is used with a bamboo stage on the outrigger; one man paddles the canoe, another on the stage shakes cocoa-nut shells strung on a loop of bamboo to attract a shark; when a shark comes near, the man substitutes a fish, and has a noose ready into which the shark swims; when caught and hauled on to the stage the shark is despatched with a club. This goes on some way out from shore, to be clear of man-eating sharks, for those caught in this way are eaten. The dugong is taken, but rarely, at the Bugotu end of Ysabel. The reef and lagoon between Ra and Motlav is at times the scene of an exciting chase of fish, when a shoal is driven into the shallow of the reef by a long line of natives shouting and beating the water with their hands. I have seen at Lakona in Santa Maria, and no doubt the same thing is seen elsewhere, a large fish-trap in which reed fences lead the fish as the tide retires into circular enclosures from which they cannot retreat. Walls of stone to shut back fish as the tide ebbs are common in the New Hebrides. Fresh-water fish are abundant wherever there are streams and lakes; some the natives recognise as peculiar to fresh-water, some they say live also in the sea, sale rua tasi; in the mud of the irrigated gardens of Aurora an eatable fish is found. Eels are abundant, but in some places are not eaten. In the tas, the lake of Santa Maria, they are very large; when the water is low the natives dig pits by the margin of the lake, and into these the eels find their way when the water