Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/53

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Florida and Bugotu.

mogo, not one of which now corresponds exactly with either of the Florida kema. But the Dhonggokama, they say, is the same as the ancient kema which has split into the Honggokama and Honggokiki in Florida; and the other two may be well believed to be themselves the divided other member of the original pair. The meaning of the names of three of the Florida kema, besides the two that are local, are known; Honggo is cat's-cradle, Manukama is an eagle, Kakau is a crab. It is evident that when the divisions of a people multiple names must be given them; where there are two 'sides of the house' no name is needed for either, but when a man may have wives and children of three or four kindreds not his own, a name for each kin is necessary to maintain the matriarchal system of descent through the mother.

It adds very much to the distinction between these kema, that each has some one or more buto from which its members must keep clear, abstain from eating, approaching, or beholding it[1]. One of the very first lessons learnt by a Florida child is what is its buto, its abomination, to eat or touch or see which would be a dreadful thing. In one case, and in one case only, this buto is the living creature from which the kema takes its name; the Kakau kin may not eat the Kakau crab. The Nggaombata may not eat the giant clam; the Lahi may not eat of a white pig; the Manukama may not eat the pigeon; the Kakau, besides their eponymous crab, may not eat the parrot Trichoglossus Massena. The Manukama are at liberty to eat the bird from which they take their name. If the question be put to any member of these kema he will probably answer that his buto is his ancestor; a Manukama will say that the pigeon he does not eat is his ancestor; but an intelligent native, describing this native custom, writes:—'This is the explanation of the buto. We believe these tindalo (the object of worship in each kema) to have been once living men, and something that was with them, or with which they had to do, has become a thing forbidden, tambu, and abominable,

  1. Thus in 'Percy Pomo' a man is horrified at seeing blue trousers, the colour of some part of the inside of the shark, which was his buto.