Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/365

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(1) Cannibalism. It may be safely asserted that in the Banks' Islands and Santa Cruz there has been no cannibalism, though the natives were not ignorant of the practice of it by others. When some fifty years ago a party of men from Tonga, as it is remembered, left the little island of Qakea, on which they had for a short time settled, the proofs that they had eaten those whom they had killed in the fighting which preceded their departure caused such horror and rage against them that a party returning a year after to the same place was immediately attacked. In the Solomon Islands it is strange that the practice has recently extended itself. It is asserted by the elder natives of Florida that man's flesh was never eaten except in sacrifice, and that the sacrificing of men is an introduction of late times from further west. The coast people of Bugotu say the same of themselves; but they freely accuse the inland people of the same island, with whom they have a good deal of free intercourse, and whose speech is not very different from their own, of being cannibals, and of killing men for the sake of eating them. A few years ago one Nunu, an inland chief, was believed to say that pig's flesh was bad and man's flesh sweet to him; a man who had mounted to his place and found himself in a sweat would sit down to cool before he showed himself; Nunu took the sweat as a sign of fatness, and would desire to eat him. In Ulawa, again, there