Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/398

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Stories.

you will put by a yam for me. Next morning his father and mother went, and put by a yam for him; and he roasted it and ate it, and then went and asked some other boys for more. But they scolded him, and said to him, What! has your father gone and not left you anything to eat? They gave me some, he said, but I have eaten it all up. Why then do you ask for our food too? they asked; but he cried and said, Very well! I will tell mother and father by and bye that you have scolded me. When his father and mother came back, he said to them, When you both left me I ate up all my food, and went and begged some of theirs, and they were very angry with me; so to-morrow when you go again to plant you are to put two yams for me. Next morning they two went planting again, and put two yams for the boy; and when he had roasted them he went and followed a stream, and found a nice place, and sat down to eat. As he was eating, crumbs of food fell into the water, and an Eel came out and ate, and turned into a man, and rose up and came to the boy. When they two had eaten all the yam, the Eel said to the boy, To-morrow you will roast two yams again, and bring them here, and we two will eat them. After that the boy went home, and the Eel went back into the water; and the boy said to his father and mother, To-morrow when you go you must put two yams for me; and in the morning they put for him two yams. He roasted them, and took them in his hand, and went to his place and ate; and the Eel came out again. When they had finished eating the Eel said to the boy, Let us anoint our heads. So they dressed their heads and adorned themselves, and went into the garden, and helped the people who were digging the ground. But when that Eel dug the ground all the people crowded to see him do it; some went back to their digging, but the women would not do their work, and their husbands were exceedingly angry with the Eel, and rushed upon him, and would have killed him; but the boy who came with him poured water on him, and he turned into an Eel again. And they caught hold of him, but he escaped; and they