Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/373

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Mota Months. Narcotics.

(in old days this was done with a shell), and the tubers very carefully taken up with digging sticks to be stored. A few un appear at the next moon, the werei, which may be translated the rump, of the un. In this moon they begin again to uma, clear the gardens; the wind blows again from the west, the ganoi, over Vanua Lava. It is now November or December, the togalau wind blows from the north-west; it is exceedingly hot, fish die in the shallow pools, the reeds shoot up into flower; it is the moon of shooting up, vule wotgoro. The next month is the vusiaru, the wind beats upon the casuarina trees upon the cliffs; the next again is called tetemavuru, the wind blows hard and drives off flying fragments from the seeded reeds; these are hurricane months. The last in order is the month that beats and rattles, lamasag noronoro, the dry reeds; the wind blows strong and steady, work is begun again, they rakasag, to dry the rubbish of their clearings, and make ready the fences for new gardens. By this time the heat is past, the grass begins to spring again, and the winter months return.

(9) Narcotics. The use of the areca nut mbua, chewed with the betel leaf, with the addition of coral lime, is universal in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz, and extends to Tikopia; to the eastward it is unknown. Solomon islanders on their way to Norfolk Island look wistfully at a species of areca-palm in the Torres Islands, the nuts of which the natives of that group sometimes chew to quiet hunger, but which will not do for those who know the mbua, and they can replenish their stock of betel leaves in the New Hebrides, where that pepper grows naturally, but they feel that they have passed into a foreign region. In the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides they drink the infusion of the root of the Piper methysticum well known as kava, called gea at Mota, malowo in Aurora. This is in the Banks' Islands so recent an introduction that the use of it had not spread to Santa Maria a few years ago. The difference in the mode of preparation seems to point to two distinct sources or times of introduction. In the Banks' Islands drinking the gea is called woana; the