Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/433

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Mera-mbuto and Tagaro.

17. About Mera-Mbito and Tagaro. Lepers' Island.

Mera-mbuto prepared food for himself, and then he invited Tagaro to come that they might eat together. So Tagaro came to him in his house; and the food of Mera-mbuto was exceedingly bad, and as they ate Tagaro did not eat at all, but he wrapped the food up to deceive Mera-mbuto, and went and threw it away, and then went back to his house. Afterwards Tagaro sent after him saying, Mera-mbuto, come here to my house. Mera-mbuto came and they two ate. And the food was good; Mera-mbuto liked Tagaro's food very much; he had made his own not at all good. So Mera-mbuto considered silently, What sort of thing is this we two are eating? So he asked Tagaro, and Tagaro said to him, I have grated up my barrow pig. So Mera-mbuto went and grated up his barrow pig, and in due course they two ate it. After this Tagaro invited Mera-mbuto to eat with him in return in his house. So he asked him again, What food is this we two are eating? And Tagaro was tired of being asked, and deceived Mera-mbuto, saying to him, My mother; I cooked her in the oven. So Mera-mbuto went home and cooked his mother in the oven. After this Tagaro said to him, Light a fire over me. So Mera-mbuto came, and tied up the door of Tagaro's house, bound it very tight, and set fire to Tagaro's house. Then Tagaro wept; Mera-mbuto said to him, Don't cry, you deceived me formerly, now you are soon to die for it. He thought that Tagaro was dead; but not at all, he had dug a hole, and stayed in it. In the morning thinking that he was dead he came, and Tagaro had been long sitting ready for him. So Mera-mbuto asked him, Are you sitting like this? Tagaro said, Yes. So Mera-mbuto said to him, My turn now, to-night you set fire to my house. So Tagaro set fire to his house, and the fire burnt him up.