Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/419

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The Little Owl. The Winged Wife.

8. The Little Owl. Aurora.

This is about two women who were getting fire-wood, and found a young owl, a bird with white feathers and very large eyes; it was a young bird of this kind that they found. And one day the two women went to look at their little bird, and found that he was turned into a man; so they took him into the village, and he became their husband. And the three lived always in perfect harmony together, and built their house, and worked in their garden, and so remained many years. But after that he took to beating them when they quarrelled, and they scolded him for it, saying, You there are a bird, and our property because we found you; why do you beat us like this? So he said he would leave them; and in the evening he drank kava, and forbade them to blow the fire. But when he lay down to sleep the two women blew up the fire into a blaze, and looked at him, and he turned into a bird, and flew away. And the two women cried after him, and he threw down money to them.


9. The Winged Wife. Aurora.

This is about the women that they say belonged to heaven, and had wings like birds; and they came down to earth to bathe in the sea, and when they bathed they took off their wings. And as Qatu was going about, he chanced to see them; and he took up one pair of wings and went back into the village and buried them at the foot of the main pillar of his house. Then he went back again and watched them. And when they had finished bathing they went and took up their wings and flew up to heaven; but one could not fly because Qat had stolen her wings, and she was crying. So Qat goes up to her, and speaks deceitfully to her and asks her, What are you crying for? And she says, They have taken away my wings. Then he takes her to his house and marries her. And Qat's mother takes her and they go to work; and when