Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/48

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[ch.
Social Regulations.

speak of one another as 'of the other side,' ta tavuluna; and they have a story that the first woman, a cowry shell that turned into a woman, called the men to her and divided them into her husbands and her brothers, fathers and maternal uncles, according to the present arrangements. The presence of families within the kin in this island is very remarkable. There are several in the northern part of the island, mostly named from the places where they are formed. There is one, however, named from the octopus, wirita, belonging originally to Bugita, a place upon the shore. The connexion between this family and the octopus is obscure; they have no notion of descent from the wirita, and eat it as freely as other natives; but if a man of another family desired to get wirita for food, he would take with him one of the wirita family to stand on the beach at Bugita, and cry out, 'So-and-so wants wirita'; then plenty would be taken. It seems rather as though the residence of this family where wirita are abundant, and where the beach would naturally be their preserve for fishing, had given rise to a belief in a connexion and to a name. Another family named 'At the Wotaga,' from their home near a certain fruit tree, would not bring up a light-coloured child; if such a one were among them they thought that they would die[1].

In Araga, Pentecost Island, though irregular intercourse between members of the same kin is punished by the destruction of the gardens of the offending side by the members of the other, yet marriages within the kin are not unknown. Those who contract them are despised, and even abhorred, but money and pigs having been given and received, the marriage stands. In Lepers' Island, Omba, the two divisions are called 'bunches of fruit,' wai vung, as if all the members hang on the same stalk. Their story is that when Tagar first made men he made two, both male, and then one of these

  1. To these lesser divisions or family groups my informant (A. Arudulewari) gives the name of veve, as to the two great kindreds. For example, he and Walter Gao are of the Wirita family, Tarisuluana is of the Ta Wongi, a place now deserted; Vile is Ta Lau of the beach, Tilegi of Suwumea.