Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/431

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Tagaro and Mera-mbuto.

15. The Woman and the Ghost. Aurora.

This is about a woman who lost her husband, and went in search of him, and she had a child with her. And a ghost met the woman carrying the child on her hip, and the woman thought it was her husband. And the three went down to the beach to burn for fish. Then the ghost said to the woman, You go and burn for fish, and I will look after our child. And when the woman went with the torch the ghost ate one finger of the child. And its mother asked him what hurt the child, and the ghost said, Nothing, a mosquito bit it. After he had spoken the child ceased to cry, and the woman discovered that it was a ghost because it had eaten the child entirely up. Then she knew for certain that it was a ghost, because she had set up cocoa-nut branches along the shore, and the ghost when it had eaten the child went to eat the mother, and as he ran along to eat her he ate the branches she had set up, thinking that the branches were the woman. And the woman ran away fast and climbed into a pandanus-tree, and when the ghost would have climbed up to eat her the woman pelted him down with the fruits. And so she did till dawn; and when it was light she saw that he turned into a hermit crab.


16. A Story about Tagaro the Little.
Lepers' Island.

They say that he went to a part of the island called Vagimbangga to pay for a pig there, and that on his return the sun set while he was still in the forest. And he was hungry, for he had nothing whatever to eat. Now beside that path they say there was a single gaviga-tree, with many branches, and also ripe fruit on it; and he climbed up to eat, and to sleep awhile on that tree; and in his hand was his conch-shell trumpet to blow as he went along the path. And in the middle of the night, when he had finished eating, he climbed further up to the top of that gaviga-tree to sleep and rest there; and as he begins to fall asleep he hears the voices