Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/428

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and when she reached that place, her tail entered first and coiled itself in the first chamber, and then in the second, until all those chambers were filled with the big snake; and her head, a woman's, lay opposite the door, though the whole house was full of the snake. In the morning the people came to see this person, and saw that it was a snake with a human head. And whenever Dovao and Basi went anywhere and returned, she would go to her mother, that snake, and rub her nose upon her, and lie close upon her; but her husband did not like that sort of thing. On that account (and because the snake devoured the pigs and fowls that came near the door), when there was a feast at another village at a distance, he told some of the people that he and his wife were going to the dance, and while they were away they were to set fire to the house and burn it so as to burn up the snake with it. But the snake knew this, and called Basi and told her that they were going to set fire upon her and burn her that night, and, When you are standing at the feast, she said, if you see sparks run quickly back to me. So it was done; while she was dancing she saw sparks flying and ran quickly back and leapt herself into the fire, and both were burnt to death. And after a long while the liver that was burnt was found, and still remains, the liver of Basi and of her mother; and I have seen a bone in possession of some wealthy people; there is mana, magic power, in it, they say, for pigs, and for wicked intercourse with women when they blacken their faces under the eyes with it[1].

13. The Story of Deitari. Aurora.

They say that Tari went into his garden to work, and as he was working something cut him, and he put the blood into a bamboo vessel, and went into the village, and set it by his

  1. The power of the liver to attract women was discovered by a boy playing with his bow and arrow as his mother worked in the garden near where the snake had been burnt. His arrow fell into the ashes of the liver, and seeing it blackened he smeared his face with the black stuff.