The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore/Chapter 19



The native Stories or Folk-tales which follow are all of them, with the exception of the first, translated from the manuscripts written for me by natives of the various islands in which the stories are told. The first example was written down by the Rev. A. Penny at Florida, in the native language as he heard the story told. The translation is as accurate and literal in each case as I could make it; the detailed prolixity of a native narrative is very characteristic; and it is possible that, with the varying quality of the story-telling of the individual writers, there may appear something also of the different narrative style of the eastern and western groups of these islands of Melanesia. The value of truly native stories is beyond all question; they exhibit native life in the particular details which come in the course of the narrative, they are full of the conceptions which the native people entertain about the world around them, they show the native mind active in fancy and imagination, and they form a rich store of subjects for comparison with the folk-tales of other parts of the world. To the question how far those who tell and those who hear these stories believe them to be true it is hard to give an answer. To some extent they are believed, and to a great extent they are treated as flights of fancy. A story-teller warming to his subject, and with all that he relates pictured in his mind, very likely believes it all as he tells the tale; a story will be quoted to explain or confirm some statement, and would have little effect if not brought forth as true; a story, because it has always been told and heard, is not open to much doubt or criticism. But it may be safely said that to the natives a story is not a piece of history; the marvels are not very seriously taken, however much they are enjoyed; anything seems possible of course when magic is at work and when spirits are the agents; that there are such spirits as Qat, for example, is not doubted, and the story goes that he performed certain feats. I cannot, however, think that the natives seriously believe that birds and fish talk; I have never discovered from them that they do not distinguish between animate and inanimate things, between birds and beasts and men. When an owl in a story talks and cooks food, both actions are on a level, not of supposed fact but of fancy. The native mind is full of lively intelligence, and is by no means to be judged incapable of the invention of marvels and enjoyment of the flights of fancy; though in the highest flights it moves in accordance with generally accepted beliefs. There is in Florida and in Mota a title for a story to tell, tugu ni pitu, kakae lea, which marks the character of the narrative.

These stories are here divided into three classes: I. Animal Stories, concerned mostly with birds and fishes, as is natural in islands were mammals are very few; II. Stories containing Myths and Tales concerning the origin of things; III. Wonder Tales.



1. The Heron and the Turtle. Florida.

One day a Soo, Heron, caught his foot fast in the coral; the tide came in, but his neck was long. When the tide reached to the top of his neck there came along a Shark Come and save me, says the Soo. Wait a bit, says the Shark. There comes a Boila; Come and save my life, says the Soo; and the Boila says to him, Wait a bit, says he. There comes the great Garfish; Come and save me, brother, says the Soo; the Garfish says, Wait a bit. There comes a Rock-cod; Come and save my life, says the Soo; Wait a bit, says the Rock-cod. There comes a Crocodile; Come and save me, says the Soo; Wait a bit, says the Crocodile. In the end all the fish came, and nothing could be done. Then comes a Turtle. Brother! come here and save my life, says the Soo. And the Turtle says, You will pay me of course. And the Soo says, I have nothing with me to pay you with. And there was a sea-urchin alongside the Soo, and he says, I will pay you with money, says he. But the Turtle says, No. And the Soo says, Dog's teeth, and porpoise teeth; but the Turtle says, No, I don't want it. Then he offers him the sea-urchin, and the Turtle eats it up with great delight, and says joyfully, Now I will save you, you have given me my pay. So he smashes to fragments the stone (that held the bird's foot) and the Soo is saved. And the Soo says, Now you have saved my life; if ever hereafter you are in need, in case you are going to be killed and I should hear you call, I will come and save you, says he.

After this the people of Hagelonga went to fish, and they let down their net and sat holding the corners of it on their tripods of poles. There comes a shark; A fish below! shall we pull up the net? say some; Not that, say the others. There comes a rock-cod; A fish below! shall we pull up? say some; No, say the others. In the end all the fish in the sea come along, and they don't pull up the net. Then comes round the turtle, and comes into the middle of the net, and they cry, Here he is! we will see what he is worth. And the turtle comes right up into the net, and they take him, and tie him, and carry him ashore, and make a fence round him. And the chief of Hagelonga says, To-morrow we will split wood for him, and get leaves for him, and dig up yams for him, this turtle of ours, says the chief. So as soon as it was light they went off, and they split wood, and they gathered leaves, and they dug food; and they appointed the boys to watch the turtle and went away. And when they were far away the Soo comes along, and the boys say to him, Where have you come from? and the Soo says to them, I am just idling about; and he says to them, Should you like me to dance for you? says he. And the boys say, Yes, we should like you to dance for us. And the Soo says, Bring me the porpoise teeth and dog's teeth ornaments of your fathers and mothers, that I may dress myself up in the best. And they brought him the best ornaments, and he dressed himself out in them, and then he danced for them. So he danced along to the fence in which the Turtle was, and the Turtle saw him coming, and cried out, Now I am to die, my brother, cries he. And the Soo says to him, And now I shall save your life, because you saved mine before. And the Soo came into the house where the boys were, and there he danced for them. And he says, Kerembaembae! Kerembaembae! Loosed is your leg that they have tied! and his leg is loosed. Kerembaembae! Slipped out is your head! and his head slipped out. Kerembaembae! Clear the forepart! and the forepart of him was clear. Kerembaembae! Clear the hinder part! and his hinder part was clear. Kerembaembae! Clear the rest of you! and the rest of him was clear. Kerembaembae! Follow the path! Kerembaembae! Reach the sand! Kerembaembae! Down with you into the sea! Kerembaembae! Dive out of sight! Kerembaembae! Go a fathom's length! Kerembaembae! Go two fathoms! So he escaped with his life. And the people returned from inland and came out into the open, and looked at the fence. But the Soo was gone; and they said, Some one has stolen our turtle; and they asked the boys, and said, Who has been here now? And the boys said, There was only a Soo came here and danced for us, and we gave him all your things, and he deceived us so that we did not go and look after the turtle, said the boys to them. And bad were the feelings of the people of the village; and they went and looked at the path, and there they saw the traces of the turtle, and they said, Yes, he has saved himself for certain, nobody has stolen him, said they.


2. The Three Fish. Ureparapara.

The story of the Watwata (an Ostracion) and the Sole. The two were scratching one another, and the Sole said to the Watwata, Scratch me. But the Watwata said. No, you shall scratch me first. And the Sole scratched the Watwata, scratched him well. And the Watwata said, Brother, you have scratched me badly, but the Sole said, No, it is all right. And the Watwata said, Well! now I shall scratch you in my turn. After that he scratched him, scratched him extremely thin. And the Sole said, Well! you have scratched me badly, but we two will play hide and seek. And the Sole said, You shall hide first. After that the Watwata hid, and got out of sight under a stone. The Sole sought him and found him. After that the Sole hid in his turn, and buried himself in the sand; and the Watwata sought him in vain. But the Song (a fish which shews its teeth) stood and laughed at it; and he has grinned so ever since. It is finished.


3. The Rat and the Rail. Ureparapara.

A Rat and a Rail (Porphyrio) were taking a walk together, and they found a gaviga-tree (eugenia) with ripe fruit. They stood under it and disputed as to which of them should climb up. The Rat said, Rail, climb up! The Rail said, You! So they disputed till the Rat climbed up. Then the Rail begged of the Rat, Brother, give me that black ripe one; but the Rat ate it, and threw him down the stone. Then said the Rail again, Brother, give me that one, it is very ripe indeed; but the Rat ate it all, and again threw down only the stone. Thus the Rail begged again and again for fruit, and the Rat treated him in the same way. At last the Rail made one more petition to the Rat, Brother, give me that one that is red ripe; and the Rat took it and threw it down upon the forehead of the Rail, and there it stuck fast. Eh! brother, said the Rail, you have made game of me, my brother; but make haste and come down, be quick about it. Then the Rail took the unfolded leaf of a dracæna; and as the Rat was coming down the stem of the tree, he was standing ready, and thrust it hard into the rump of the Rat, and there it stood fast. So the tail in the Rat's rump is the unfolded leaf of a dracæna that the Rail fixed firmly there; and on the forehead of the Rail is the gaviga fruit, still red, that the Rat threw down upon it.


4. The Birds' Voyage. Mota.

A Story to tell. They lived in their place. The tawan was in fruit at Qakea; the wind began to blow; then said they, Well, now at last we will paddle over and eat tawan. So they make a start and go, and come from here and there. And the renga, Green Parrot, says, I go with you; but they say, O-o-o! You just go back, lest your father should be angry with us about you. And he sings 'I go and tell my daddy! the wind has blown hard against you; beat against you, beat, beat!' Ah, well! come along! and he gets on board. Then says the Wasia, You fellows, where are you going to? And they say, To Qakea, to eat tawan. So says he, I will go with you; and they say, Stay where you are, lest your father and mother scold us on your account. Then he sings, 'I go and tell my daddy! the wind has blown hard against you, beat against you, beat, beat!' Ah, well! come along! and he gets on board. Then the Pigeon says, You fellows, where are you going? And they say, For a voyage. And he says, I will go with you; but they say, Not you; lest your father should scold us about you. And he sings, 'I go and tell my daddy! The wind has blown hard against you, beat against you, beat, beat! ' Ah, well! come along! and he gets on board. And when all were on board there was a Hermit Crab sitting there, and he said, You fellows, just let me come. But they said, You just stay there to look after our island. And he said, Nay, my brothers, you won't make me miserable. And they said, No! It is only we who can climb that are going, not you who crawl. And he says, Take me over! I will sit under the tawan-trees, and you will eat making the fruit fall, and I will eat on the ground. So they said, Very well! you have argued against us, but come along; and he gets on board. Then the Weru says to the Crab, Friend, sit up this way near me; and he crawls along and sits near him. Then the Weru says to him, Friend, while we two are sitting here, don't shuffle about, lest you make a hole in the canoe. (The canoe was the leaf of a giant arum.) And he says, Yes, I know all about that. But the Weru keeps an eye upon him, and if he shuffles with his claws the Weru says to him, Friend, I keep telling you, don't be shuffling about; eh! you will soon have made a hole in the canoe! But he says, Eh! Friend, I know all about it. The wind had come down into their sail, and they were already in the open sea; and the Crab shuffled about, and his claw pierced right through the canoe, and the water came pouring quickly in. (In another version the Crab was set to bale the canoe, and scratched a hole.) And they cried out, Be quick! our canoe has a hole in it, the Crab had trodden it through. And they said, Well, let us leap overboard; and they all of them leapt overboard, and the Crab leapt overboard, and sank right out of sight to the bottom of the sea; but they all of them swam, and he crawled along on the bottom. And they all swam and came out upon the shore, but not he you may be sure. Then they said, Fellows! are we all men alive or not? And some one said, No, there is one poor fellow our friend missing. So they said, Ah! but who will swim after him, and dive in search of him? And they spoke to one, and he refused, and to another, and he refused; then said the Weru (eulabeornis), Here am I, I will go and look for him. So she swims, and dives, and does not find him, and comes up to the surface; and dives again, and goes on diving, and her body turns black, and dives, and dives, and dives, and her eyes turn red. But the Crab had already crawled up ashore before them all; and there he was quietly sitting. And they were on the sand in a clump of wislawe, when the Weru swam up; and they said, Hallo! Have you seen him, or not? And she says, Ah! my brothers, you know that I have sought him, and have not seen him at all; and I have dived and dived, and my body is black and blue, and my eyes are red; and so I have swum up ashore. But as they are still together, they see the Crab crawling out into the open, and they say, Hallo! where did you swim up from the sea? And he said, Indeed when we became pieces of the wreck, you know, I sank right down, you know, to the bottom of the sea, and then I crawled here. And they said, Ewe! we said you were the missing one of our number, but it is not so, we are all safe. Come, let us tidy ourselves up. Then said the Tasis to the Tagere, Friend, come here and make me tidy; and the Qatman said to the Green Parrot, I will tidy you, and the Tatagoras said to the Wasia, I will tidy you; and they all of them sat down in pairs. Then said the Rat to the Owl, Friend, come here, let me make you tidy; so he sits down and the Rat begins to make him tidy; and as he combs his head he keeps saying, 'Comb-comb-dung-dung, comb-comb-dung-dung'; and he dungs upon the head of the Owl. Then says the Rat, My paws are tired out, let some one else take my place. I will, says the Mes, the trichoglossus parrot; so the Rat runs off, and the Mes sits down in his place. And the Mes parrot combs the Owl's head, and perceives that it smells, and Is-is! cries the Parrot. And the Owl asks, Eh? what is the matter, friend? Oh! nothing, he says. But he says, Speak out; and the Parrot says, Oh! your friend the Rat has played you a trick, he has played you a trick in tidying you; he has made a pig of himself upon you. Then said the Owl, Really! is that true? and he flies off and chases the Rat; and the two go round and about. But the Rat saw a hole and ran into it, and the Owl sat by helpless. Then says he, What shall I do to this fellow who has made a mock of me? and he cracks a cocoa-nut and sets it up opposite the mouth of the hole; but the Rat did not come out. Then says he, What shall I do to deceive this Rat? and he sought what he might do. Then says he, If I roast this red wasia caladium and try, will that do or not? So he roasts it right off; and as he scrapes that root the smell goes out and reaches the Rat in the hole. And when it was cooked he broke it, and put it at the mouth of the hole. Then the Rat creeps out to eat the wasia, and the Owl is staring hard at the mouth of the hole, if perchance he may see the Rat creep out. And he says, That will do; and now be sure you die this minute! And the Rat came out to eat; but the Owl swooped down upon him, and killed him you may be sure with his talons, and ate him up.


5. The Shark and the Snake. Lepers' Island.

This is about the Shark and the Snake. They quarrelled, and the Shark told the Snake to come down into the sea, that the Shark might eat him. The Snake said to him, They will kill you, and I shall eat a bit of you. Now when they killed the Shark, the Snake went down into the sea and ate the Shark.


6. The Hen and her Chickens. Lepers' Island.

This is about a Hen that had ten Chickens. So they went about seeking their food, and they fell in with the tuber of a wild yam, a gigimbo. After a while the tuber got up and ate one of the chickens. They called to a Kite, which said to the Hen, Put them under me. So they got there and stayed. Presently the Tuber came, and asked the Kite, Where are they? He-i, said he, I don't know. So the Tuber scolded the Kite; and the Kite flew down and took it up from the ground, and hovered with it in the sky, and then let it drop down to the ground. Then another took it up, and hovered in turn in the sky, and dropped it, and it fell down and broke in two. So the two Kites divided the Tuber between them; therefore some of the tubers are good, and some are bad. We call the name of the good tuber nggeremanggeggneni.



1. The Story of Kamakajaku. Bugotu, Ysabel Island.

He dwelt upon the hill at Gaji; and he was mending his nets, and he looked down upon the ocean, and saw it dark exceedingly. And his grandchildren went down to the sea to fish upon the reef, and Kamakajaku said to them, Go and dip salt-water for me in the place I see the sea like that, said he to them. And his grandchildren went forth and down and fished on the beach, and fished with nets; and afterwards they dipped the salt-water, and came up and arrived at the village, and went and gave it to him. And he said to them, Give the dish hither, and I will pour it down and see if the blackness of it is like what I looked down upon, said he. And he poured it down, and looked and did not find it like what he looked down upon from his place upon the hill. And it was morning, and he took the salt-water-vessel, and went forth down, and put in his ear a bit of obsidian, and went down and came to the sea, and put down on the beach his bag and club and shield; and so he took in his hand the vessel and waded, and went down from the shore, and looked up to the hill where he dwelt, and did not yet get sight of it, and swam still out from the shore till he saw the hill at Gaji, and then he dipped. And the surface of the sea sounded and bubbled, and he heard coming-to-him a Kombili (King-fish), a very great fish; and it came and swallowed him, and went-off with him eastwards to the rising up of the sun, and went off with him till it arrived with him at a shallow place, and it threw itself about so that Kamakajaku perceived that there was a beach probably. Here am I, says he, and he thought of the obsidian in his ear, and felt for it and found it, and cut asunder the belly of the Kombili, and leapt out, and saw a brightness. And he sat down and pondered, Where I wonder am I? he said. So up rose the Sun with a bang, and rolling, from side to side. And the Sun says, Don't stand in my way, you will die at once; stay on my right, says he. And he drew aside till the Sun rose away, and then he followed; and they two went up towards heaven, and went on and arrived at the village of the Sun's children. And he said, Here you stay, said he; so he stayed with them, with his children and grandchildren, and the Sun went off. And Kamakajaku stayed; and they asked him, Whence did you come hither? And he said, From the earth; I dwelt in my place, and I dipped salt-water, and a big fish swallowed me, and so I arrived here at your good town. So they remained in company; and they ate only raw food, those people above; and he shewed them fire, so that they ate cooked food. And they said to him, Don't go to that place, it is taboo, said they to him; and they went their way. And he kept house, and thought what that was they had said; Don't you go, they said, said he. And he went over, and opened up a stone which was the covering of a hole in the sky, and he looked down on his place at Gaji, and he cried. They brought him food, but it was not for him (he would not have it); so they asked him, Have you gone over by the further end of the house there? We forbade you to go there. Yes. And do you want to go down? And he said, Yes. And they made a house, and gave him a banana, and gave him seed of pau (to dye with), and they took a cane and tied it to the saddle-piece of the house, and he Kamakajaku sat in it. And they let it down. And they said, When the birds and such things cry, don't look out, but when the cicalas and the things that live on the earth cry, then you may look out; and they let him down, let him down. And when one cane was too short, they tied another to it, and it reached down to the hill and rested. And his friends had been seeking him, because they thought that he was dead already. And on the day that he came down again from heaven, they rejoiced because they saw him again, and good was their heart. And he lived a long while, till he died on his hill Gaji. And it is finished; yes, it is just this, the Story of Kamakajaku.


2. The Story of Samuku. Bugotu, Ysabel Island.

Samuku lived in his village, and built his house, and worked, and good and many were his affairs; so he took a wife and married, and they two lived well, and agreed perfectly well together, and worked, and much was their food. And Samuku came home and asked for food, because he was hungry, and his wife had not prepared any food, and Samuku was angry with his wife, and scolded her greatly. And his wife said to him, I am tired of making food for you, your father and mother are dead, who is to make you food? Go and see them in Tuhilagi, says she. And Samuku was angry, and he sat and thought; and he said, Good, I will go and see them. So he hauled down a canoe and put out to sea to Tuhilagi, and landed at Lelegia tarunga, the Ghosts' Mangroves, and stepped up the beach and went in shore, and found the company of ghosts. And they asked him, Why have you come here? You are not dead yet, said they to him. And Samuku answered, My wife scolded me, and sent me here, said he. And at night he stayed in a house, and when it W 7 as morning the house disappeared. So he played them a trick and made a net, and they went to fish with it, and he saw the forms of the ghosts, and the net caught in the coral. And when it was light all the company of ghosts departed from him, and he went down and slept on the sand. And the people of a certain place found him and took hold of him, and took him to be with them till he died. Finished is the story of Samuku, not a very long one.


3. The Mim. Torres Islands.

They say that the Mini people dragged the yams from place to place, having brought them ashore at Hiw, and then dragged them to Tugua, for which reason the yams at Hiw and at Tugua are very large and long. But when they dragged them along here to Lo, all the people were down on the reefs fishing and heard nothing of it; nor did they know anything till they found the rind of the yams sticking to the roots of the trees along the path. These they picked up and planted; and on that account the Lo yams are not very large, but plentiful enough. Because the Mini people sliced their yams in half for the men of Hiw and of Tugua, and then passed on to Toga, and sliced again for them there, on which account the yams there are very large and long. Afterwards they crossed to Ureparapara, where the people sliced the yams in half and planted them. They did the same in all the islands that way; it was only at Lo that the people did not see and hear what was going on. The crowns of the yams remained and were planted somewhere. The Mini people went dragging the yams through all the islands, shouting and calling to the men of every place to come and slice the yams, and take their burden from them.


4. The Origin of Poisoned Arrows. Aurora Island.

I have often heard them telling the story about it in this way. They say that in old times there was no fighting. But there was an old man whose name was Muesarava, who was blind and used to stay doing nothing in the house; and he heard a pigeon calling, and took a bow and broad-headed arrow and went under the tree; and the pigeon let drop a bit of the fruit it was eating, and that blind man shot at a venture into the tree, and hit the pigeon without seeing it. And he took it up, and went and put it into the oven together with the yams, and sat down and sang a song. But two young fellows came along and quietly opened that old man Muesarava's oven, and ate up his pigeon with some of his yams. Then they went to another place, and sang back a song to him; and he heard it, and went back to eat his pigeon, but found when he uncovered the oven that it was eaten up, and that something not good had been put in its place. Then he was exceeding angry, and plotted a fight against the people of the place whence the two young men had come who had stolen and eaten Muesarava's food. And now Muesarava began to make fighting arrows of men's bones. Muesarava went and grabbed up with his hands a boy who had died, and took his bones, and beat them to splinters and rubbed them sharp. But his enemies on their side knew nothing of that, they only cut wood into shape, or bones of fish or birds, and fixed them in their arrows, while Muesarava on his side prepared men's bones. And when they fought they shot at him and hit, but he did not die; and he shot them and they could not live, but died outright all of them. And they fought again and shot at him, and hit him and he did not die; but Muesarava shot at them and hit, and they all died. So it often happened, and they saw that they died in very great numbers; and they asked Muesarava why it was that they shot him and he did not die, while he shot them and they all of them died. Therefore he told them and said, 'Go and grub up one of the dead men I have shot, and scrape his bones, and point your arrows with that.' Upon this they listened to his counsel and did as he had said to them; and when they fought again they shot him, and he straightway died.

And that thing, the dead man's bone that Muesarava ground to a point for himself with his own hand, still remains, and has not yet been spoilt; the reed-shaft has been spoilt and replaced over and over again, but that dead man's bone still remains; I have seen it myself in my brother's possession; it still remains. The people think a great deal of it, thinking that there is supernatural power, mana, in that toto arrow. If there is heard a rumour of fighting, and that is pointed in the direction whence it comes, the fighting comes to nothing.


5. Tagaro's Departure. Aurora Island.

There was a man looking for his wife, and he came to Tagaro's village when he was not there; and he wished to steal Tagaro's pig, a rawe, so he caught the pig and tied it with the vine of a wild yam. And Tagaro was still in the forest when he heard the noise, and he came back and found where the vine had been broken off, and he was exceedingly angry. So he cut out a canoe for himself, and carried all the things of this world into it, and put out the fire, but threw back a fire-brand. All the good things, they say, he took clean away. This is the story about Tagaro.


6. How Tagaro Made The Sea. Aurora Island.

They say that he made the sea, and that in old times the sea was quite small, like a common pool upon the beach, and that this pool was at the back of his house, and that there were fish in the pool, and that he had built a stone wall round it. And Tagaro was gone out to look at the various things he had made, and his wife was in the village, and his two children were at home, whom he had forbidden to go to the back of the house. So when he was gone the thought entered into the mind of those two, Why has our father forbidden us to go there? And they were shooting at lizards and rats; and after a while one said to the other, Let us go and see what that is he has bid us keep away from. So they went and saw the pool of salt-water with many fish crowding together in it. And one of the boys stood on the stones Tagaro had built up, and he sees the fish, and he shoots at one and hits it; and as he runs to catch hold of it he threw down a stone, and then the water ran out. And Tagaro heard the roaring of the water and ran to stop it; and the old woman laid herself down in the way of it, but nothing could be done; those two boys who had thrown down the stone took clubs like knives and prepared a passage for the sea, one on one side and the other on the other side of the place, and the sea followed as it flowed. And they think that the old woman turned into a stone, and lies now on the part of Maewo near Raga.


7. How Tagaro The Little Found Fish. Lepers' Island.

They say that he drew down his canoe and paddled out in search of fish; and he saw a great rock standing in the sea, and he floated gently without paddling to see whether he would find fish or not. And he saw many fish rising up to the surface from under his canoe, and he fed them with the food he had in his hand, and he perceived that these fish knew how to eat the food of the land. Then said he, I am going to leave you, but the day after to-morrow I shall grate some loko for you to eat, and shall pour cocoa-nut sauce over it, and bring it here to you. So he left them and stayed, they say, one day at home. And when the second day came for him to go he took that loko which he had sauced with cocoa-nut juice, and launched his canoe, and paddled out to the place where those fish were. And he called them with a song, which he sang like this, Bulenggu sava ige! ige wuweu, mo gaigei woworoa, mo gaigei woworoa sobe, My fish, whatever you are, nice little fish, here is your food with sauce, your food done with cocoa-nut sauce. But there was another person, whose name was Merambuto, who stood on the beach, and heard Tagarombiti calling his fish with a song like that, and next day Merambuto, having made haste to prepare food in the night, drew down the canoe in the early morning, Tagarombiti' s canoe, and paddled out till he came to the place where Tagarombiti had floated before. And he sang again that song, Bulenggu sava ige!—Then those fish heard his voice that it was loud, and did not rise, because they knew it was a different person by his loud voice. And Merambuto perceived that they did not rise, and he altered his voice so as to be small like Tagarombiti's. And he called them with a small voice singing that song, Bulenggu sava ige!—Then those fish heard that the voice was small, and they rose all of them to the surface, and he caught every one of them with a hook. And he made haste to paddle ashore, and went back into his village, and made up a fire, and put the fish in the oven. But when it was broad daylight Tagarombiti went himself, and they were all gone; and he understood that this thief Merambuto had caught all the fish, and paddled quickly back and hauled up his canoe. And he looked for footprints to know which way he had gone round; and he found footprints and followed them, following on till he came to Merambuto's place; and there he went into the house to him, and sat down with him in a friendly way. Then said Tagaro, What is that in the oven? I am hungry. And Merambuto said, That is my food, but it is very bad, you cannot eat it. Then says Tagarombiti, Indeed! is your food so very bad? But those are my fish, and you have caught them all. And he struck him, and killed him in his house, and set fire to the house, and it was burnt and destroyed. And Tagarombiti took back the fish from the oven, and went back and put them into a little pool of salt-water, and the fish revived; one side of them was gone, one side still remained. And we call them, tavalm ige bulei Tagaro, Tagaro's half-fish—soles.


8. Story of The Old Woman, How She Made The Sea. Lepers' Island.

Nobody knows what her name was, but she was an old woman. And there were two children who lived with her in her house, but nobody knows what their father's and mother's names were; the story about them is that the mother of these two was the daughter of this old woman. Her house was a good one, fenced about with reeds; there was a fence all round the house, and there was a fence also made against the back of the house, and those two children were forbidden to go into it, because she would be there by herself. And in that little fence at the back of the house she put carefully a leaf of the via (gigantic caladium); and they say that in that leaf she always made water, and was always very strict in forbidding those two to go there, lest they should see it. And these two were both boys, and they were always shooting lizards. So one day when the old woman went into the garden to work and to bring back food for the three of them, she said to those two, Don't you go there! and they answered, Very well, we shall not go. And she went out of the house, and went into the gardens, and those two brothers played with their bows, shooting lizards. After a while one said to the other, It would be a good thing to go and see what it is where the old woman has forbidden us to go. Very well, said the other, let us go; so they went, and they saw that via leaf and the water in it. Then they saw a lizard sitting on a part of that leaf, and one of them shot at it, but missed the lizard and hit the leaf, and the water that was in it burst quickly forth. And the old woman heard it, and perceived that those two had probably shot the leaf. And she stood up and cried with a loud voice, Horodali bulu, horodali bulu! and twice again, Dali ure, dali ure! (Pour round about and meet! Round about the world!) And thus the sea for the first time stood full around the whole world, for before that they say there was no sea. So the old woman you may say made the sea herself.



1. The Story of Dilingavuv. Torres Islands.

They were living in their place, and his companions made a garden, and planted bananas in it. When the bananas bore fruit and ripened Dilingavuv went every day and ate bananas in their garden, not eating on the ground, but climbing into the trees and eating. After a while he was discovered; one of the party went into the garden and saw him up in a banana-tree eating; so he ran and told the others. Says he, You fellows, I have seen the one who steals and eats our bananas. Then said Maraw-hihi, Hew out bows for us to go and shoot and kill him. But they said, Marawhihi, no one will be able to shoot and kill him. I will shoot him and kill him, said Marawhihi. It is wholly impossible, said they. However they hewed out bows, each for himself, and put points to their arrows; and when that was done Marawhihi said, Let us go after him one by one. So one went first, and came to the garden, and saw him sitting up in the banana-tree, and went on tiptoe towards him to shoot him. But Dilingavuv stretched out his arms like a bat, and the man was afraid, and ran back and told the others. It can't possibly be done, said they. But Marawhihi said that one must go again, and another went, and the same thing happened again. Thus they all went in turn, and came back and disputed with Marawhihi, saying, It can't possibly be done. Then said Marawhihi, I shall do it myself, I shall shoot him and kill him. And this Marawhihi they say was more clever than them all; and he went last and saw Dilingavuv sitting in the banana-tree, and he stepped along on tiptoe under the banana, and when Dilingavuv stretched out his arms he was not frightened at him; but he shot him with a bird arrow of casuarina wood, and hit him on the ear, and shot it right off; and he fell headlong to the ground. So Marawhihi ran and told his friends; but Diligavuv got up from under the banana and went home to his mother. When he reached his mother's house, he called to her within, and she answered him and said, What is it, my son? And he said, Give me an axe. And his mother said, What are you going to do with it? But he deceived her, and did not tell her that Marawhihi had shot his ear off. Then he went and cut another ear for himself out of the root of a tree, and the name of that tree is the Raw, and as he was chopping the Raw root, he said, Chop in pieces! chop asunder! But Marawhihi had sent one of his men who went and listened, and heard him saying this, Chop in pieces! chop asunder! and he ran back and told Marawhihi that Dilingavuv was chopping himself out an ear in place of the other. After this Marawhihi and his men made a feast and danced, and danced every day. And when Dilingavuv heard of it, he said, I will go and have my revenge. So he gathered a great quantity of Tahitian chestnuts, and took fire, and collected stones, and took a dancing cloak of leaves, and went to them. But he did not go right up to them into the open, but stayed beside the village. Then he made up a fire and roasted his chestnuts, and heated the stones, and dug a very deep hole and covered over the mouth of it with the dress of leaves; and so he sat and watched them dancing. 'Before long as they were dancing one of them fell out to take breath; and when he saw Dilingavuv sitting and eating chestnuts, he called to him to give him one. Run over here, says Dilingavuv; so he runs over to him, and sits down on this dancing dress; and as he throws himself down to sit he goes clean down into the hole. And Dilingavuv played the same trick to all the company at that dance, and let them all down into that one pit, and Marawhihi last of all. Then he took the stones that he had heated over the fire, and threw them down into the hole to kill the men with heat; but as he threw them down Marawhihi said to his companions, Come round over to this side of the pit, and they did so, and not one of them was killed. But Dilingavuv went home thinking he had killed them all. Then Marawhihi said to his men, Do you know how we shall save our lives? and they answered, We are all dead already. Not at all, said he, I know very well that we shall not die. Then Marawhihi cast up his eyes out of the mouth of the pit, and saw a banyan branch bending over the pit; and he said, Let us ker galgalaput at that banyan branch (shoot one arrow after another, making each one strike and fix itself into the one before it). And they did so; and the reed-shafts of the arrows they had shot reached down to them into the pit. Then said Marawhihi, Climb up along the shafts; and they said to him, You first, and we after you. So he climbed up on the line of arrows and got out of the pit, and so they all saved their lives.


2. A Story About an Eel. Vanua Lava.

They were living in their place, and they were planting their gardens; and one day when they went to plant, a boy said to his father and mother, To-morrow when you go again, you will put by a yam for me. Next morning his father and mother went, and put by a yam for him; and he roasted it and ate it, and then went and asked some other boys for more. But they scolded him, and said to him, What! has your father gone and not left you anything to eat? They gave me some, he said, but I have eaten it all up. Why then do you ask for our food too? they asked; but he cried and said, Very well! I will tell mother and father by and bye that you have scolded me. When his father and mother came back, he said to them, When you both left me I ate up all my food, and went and begged some of theirs, and they were very angry with me; so to-morrow when you go again to plant you are to put two yams for me. Next morning they two went planting again, and put two yams for the boy; and when he had roasted them he went and followed a stream, and found a nice place, and sat down to eat. As he was eating, crumbs of food fell into the water, and an Eel came out and ate, and turned into a man, and rose up and came to the boy. When they two had eaten all the yam, the Eel said to the boy, To-morrow you will roast two yams again, and bring them here, and we two will eat them. After that the boy went home, and the Eel went back into the water; and the boy said to his father and mother, To-morrow when you go you must put two yams for me; and in the morning they put for him two yams. He roasted them, and took them in his hand, and went to his place and ate; and the Eel came out again. When they had finished eating the Eel said to the boy, Let us anoint our heads. So they dressed their heads and adorned themselves, and went into the garden, and helped the people who were digging the ground. But when that Eel dug the ground all the people crowded to see him do it; some went back to their digging, but the women would not do their work, and their husbands were exceedingly angry with the Eel, and rushed upon him, and would have killed him; but the boy who came with him poured water on him, and he turned into an Eel again. And they caught hold of him, but he escaped; and they missed their hold upon him over and over again, and he jumped into the water. So they said, All right, we will make rain for him; and they made a great rain, and the water swelled into a flood and carried the Eel to the beach. When the flood subsided they went down and found the Eel lying on the beach, and they cut him into short pieces, and left him. But the boy, his brother, ran down and saw the Eel lying there, and wept; and his tears fell upon the Eel, and he turned into a man again, and stood up and said to his brother, You are to go up inland and tell your father and mother that you three are to go and take up your abode in another island. The boy therefore said to his father and mother, We three are to move to another island. After they had gone, one day an old woman was sitting, and she heard the Eel singing a song; and she said to the people, Listen to that singing a song like the Eel; but some of them answered, It is not that, the Eel is dead; but they heard plainly the Eel's voice, and said, It is true, it is the Eel's voice. And when he had finished singing they heard a loud report; and as they were sitting a very great surf rose and swept them away, all of them; and they all died, and that island was entirely lost.


3. Molgon and Molwor. Vanua Lava.

The father and mother of these two brothers, who lived at Gaua, said to the elder of them, Molgon, you are to look well after him, the younger one, and feed him well. All right, he said; and then their father and mother died. They two lived on; and one day they drew down a canoe, and paddled up the course of a stream, and came upon a palako fruit floating down it. They broke it in two and ate it. They paddled on and there came floating down two, one for one of them to eat, one for the other; they paddled on and three came floating down, one for one, one for the other, and one they broke in two; they paddled on and four came floating down, two for one, two for the other; they paddled on and five came floating down, two for one, two for the other, and one they broke in two; they paddled on and six came floating down, three for one, three for the other; they paddled on and seven came floating down, three for one, three for the other, and one they broke in two; they paddled on and eight came floating down, four for one, four for the other; they paddled on and nine came floating down, four for one, four for the other, and one they broke in two; they paddled on and ten came floating down, five for one, five for the other; they paddled on and saw the source from which the fruits had floated down. Then the first-born said to the younger, You sit here, and 1 will go and gather for us both to eat. So he went and gathered fruit. But a woman, Roprialal, came out of her house, and looked down to where he was standing, and called him. He went to her, and she said to him, We two will cook food in the oven; and they two cooked food in the oven, and afterwards they ate. He could not eat all the qeta, caladium, and he said to her, I will go with this to my brother, that he may eat it; but the woman said, If you can't eat it all, throw it outside for the pigs; and he cried. Then they made a mash, and he could not eat it all, and said to her, I shall take this for my brother to eat. But the woman said, Throw it outside to the pigs; and he cried. Then she asked him, What is your name? and he said, Molgon. And what is the name of that fellow over there? and he said, Molwor. And she said, Aia! true enough! your name is Molgon, Go-catch, and you have come here and have caught on to the pigs which belong to you and me, and the house, and the gamal, and the food, and the money; but he, his name is Molwor, Go-clear, and he has come here to be clear of all the goods of you and me. And he cried and cried. Then the woman said, Get up, let us go and see him; and they went over and found him dead, lying in the canoe, for the sun had smitten him dead with its rays. And he cried and cried, and his tears dropped on his brother's breast, and he came to life again, and said to him, Brother, our father when he died told you to take care of me, but you have gone away to eat and have not thought of me; and he went on talking. But the woman stood and urged him, saying, Come here! we two will go up away from him again. Then as Molwor spoke to him, Molgon wept wonderfully; and when he had finished speaking, Molwor sang a song to him, and got down from the canoe, and put his legs into the water, and began to turn into an eel; and when he had quite finished his song he plunged into the water, and his brother who had been standing by leapt down also into the water. And the woman stood and looked down, and blood came up from the water. And they two turned into stones lying in the water-course; and the woman stood and wept greatly, and went back again up the hill.


4. The Ghost-Wife. Mota.

A story to tell. They were living and living in their place; a famine prevailed. And there was a woman and her son, and they both were hungry. After a time the mother went to dig qauro, wild yams, for them to eat, and when she had finished digging the qauro she would return to her son in the village; and as she went she found a gaviga (Malay apple) tree in fruit, in a deserted garden, and she put down her basket, and took a stick with a crook and pulled down the branches of the gaviga with it, and then she gathered with her hands and ate. And when she had finished eating she put some seeds into her basket; and as she went along she broke the tips of the branches to mark the path. And when she had arrived at the village she said to her son, Take the things out of our basket; and he took them out one by one, and as he took them out he found the gaviga seeds in the basket which his mother had put there. Then says her son to her, What is this you have been eating, and have put the seeds in the basket for me to see? And his mother says, Where? And her son takes out the gaviga seeds. Then says his mother to him, Esi! I don't know; somebody I suppose has put them there. But he says. No! you have been eating them to-day, because I see plainly that the seeds are still moist. So he presses his mother hard to tell him; and his mother tells him. And it was already evening, and she says to him, As you go along you will see a little path where the branches have their tips broken down, and you will pass through there and come out (upon the tree). So he follows the word his mother gave him; and as he goes along the sun is setting, but he arrives at the gaviga-tree and climbs up. And when he had climbed up to eat it was dark. Then he sees something flying to him on the gaviga and settling. Then says the ghost to the living man, Where do you come from? And the man says to him, It is not as you suppose. Mother came here to dig qauro and she found this gaviga, and then she went home and told me, and after that I came here. Then said the ghost to him, She is my sister to be sure, and my own nephew are you; come here and let me hide you, because we are many of us now coming here to eat gavigas. So he takes him and makes him sit down in the hollow of the gaviga; and his uncle sat over the mouth of the hollow of the gaviga in which the man was. Then while he is in the hollow he hears a whirring sound coming, like birds, and settling on the top of the gaviga. Then says the man to the ghost his uncle,What is this? And he says to him, They are here already, some ghosts who are come to eat gavigas, and if you hear them buzzing in talk together don't be afraid, and don't let your bones quake, here am I with you. So he sits within; and his uncle looks about, and sees two gavigas in a bunch, and says to another ghost, Pluck those two for me. And he gives them to him, and he eats one and gives the man the other. And he went on doing so for him till daylight; and when the day was dawning and some of the ghosts were taking flight he says to a damsel among them, Don't be in a hurry to fly off, you and I will fly together; and she says, Very well. But when they had all the lot of them taken flight, and it was clear daylight, the ghost says to the man, Well now, come out; and he comes out from the hollow of the gaviga-tree. Then says the ghost his uncle to him, Well, here is a damsel for your wife. And the man says to the ghost, Ah, I don't know! will she be agreeable or not? And his uncle says, She agrees. Then the female agreed with the man, and they two went back into the village. And when the two arrived at the village his mother asked him, Where is that woman from? And he says, She is my wife; Uncle gave her to me. And she says, Who is Uncle? And he says, Your brother of course, who died long ago; when I went to eat gavigas and it was night I saw him fly first to me, and he put me in the hollow of the gaviga. Then says his mother, Very well, we three will live here, and she may live with you; so the three lived together. And as the three lived together those two worked for yams and taro and tomago and hibiscus; and as they were working so her husband appointed the time for his suqe, and appointed five days. And they waited counting the days, and when it came to the fifth day he went off, and he said to his wife, You two are not to come, you and our child; you two go into the garden and weed away the grass from the taro, and when you have finished weeding go to the other part where it is ripe, and pull up for yourselves, and come back here. And she did so; and when she had finished weeding she took up their child on her back; but as the two came near the taro the woman stretched out her hand to pull some up, and there was a bunch of taro already in her hand; and she put it aside; and if she touched a hibiscus plant to pluck the leaves, behold, a bundle of hibiscus leaves again in her hand; and if she essayed to lay hold on sticks for fire-wood, there was a faggot of fire-wood already in her hand; and the two went home. And they two come back into the village, and light a fire for their oven, and do the necessary work about it, and cover it in. And she opens it, and then her husband comes back and asks her, Where have you two been? And she says, In our garden. Then he says, But who gave you taro? And he says, But I have seen that belonging to us still untouched. Then she says, Not so; it was taken in our garden. Then he says again, Esi! perhaps I did not observe exactly. So they waited again five days for the rank of Qoroqurolava; and when it comes to that day he goes away again from those two; and he makes the same arrangements and goes away. After that she takes her child up on her back, and goes with it to the yam garden; and when they have arrived there she puts down her child and works at weeding. And when she has weeded all the place she does again as before; if she essays to dig a yam for their food, and she lays hold on the leaf of the yam, there is a tuber already in her hand; and if she essays to pluck hibiscus leaves, they are in her hand already; and if she essays to take a cocoa-nut, there is a cocoa-nut already in her hand. And the evening draws on, and the two go home; and her husband comes home and sees them, and asks them, What have you two eaten? And she says, We two have been in our garden working, and have dug a yam for our food, and plucked hibiscus leaves, and taken cocoa-nuts. But her husband says to her, Not so; I have been into our garden and have seen one thing, but I have not seen at all that a yam has been dug, not at all; and no cocoa-nut has been taken. And the woman says to him, Not so; we two certainly have got the food in our garden. But the man says, Not so; there is some one else probably who has given it to you. And she says, Who is there that will trouble himself about us? he will be a ghost, I suppose! And he says, Tell me who gives these things to you. Who should it be that would give me anything? says she. And the man says, No! tell me the truth. Then the woman says to him, Well! come along, we three will go into our garden. So the three set out and went and arrived; and the woman says to him, Well! look here, you are angry with us, but you may see for yourself. Then she touches taro. and it was as before, and yams, and it was so. Then the man says, Not so; some one else has been giving you things. But as he says thus he lays hold on a stick and beats her, and says, You don't belong down here below, you belong above the sky. What have you been doing here? Get back into your own country. And she says, Very well, I will soon go back into my own country. And one day after again he beat her and went off. And when she has seen that he is gone she gathers banyan leaves into a heap, and sets fire to them, and they burn. Then she says to her child, Sit here, and I will go to the other side of the fire; and she goes to the other side of the fire, and the smoke goes straight up into the clouds, and the child's mother goes up in it; and her child cries beside the fire, and she goes on up into the clouds[1].


5. Ganviviris. Mota.

The story about what Ro Som did for Ganviviris is not an old one; he was a man whom my father's grandfather and his friends had seen; he was an orphan, his father was dead, and his mother too was dead, and he lived with his mother's brother. And his uncle did nothing for him in the suqe club, he still remained an avlava, because he was an idle fellow, and whenever they called him to go to work he would refuse, and when they were all gone inland to the gardens he would go down to the beach to shoot fish, and do nothing else day after day. But one day when they had called him to work and were all gone, he took his bow and went down to Ngerenow, and there he saw a sauma slowly swimming along and rolling from side to side quite close to him; and he took an arrow tipped with casuarina wood, and drew his bow to shoot. And just as he was releasing the string he heard a voice inciting him and saying, Let fly! Let fly! And he drew down his arrow from the bow-string, thinking it was a man, and he turned his head again and again to look behind him to see who it was, but there was no man. And he drew again, and heard again the voice inciting him; and he looked again, for he still thought it was a man. And the third time he drew his bow, and heard the voice, and loosed the string and hit the sauma. And he ran down and caught the fish by the tail, and threw his arms round it; but the fish struggled, throwing itself about, and carried him off into a dry cave, which was, they say, the dwelling of Ro Som (Money). And Ganviviris cried aloud, but the sauma turned into a woman, and said, Don't cry, it is I who have had pity on you. I have seen you every day, and now I am going to do you a service. You shall go back; and when you go home you are to tell your uncle to bid his wives plait bags for you. and let them be ten, and make a chamber for yourself parted off from the house, and hang up all the bags in the open; and don't eat anything to-day. So Ganviviris dived out of the cave, and went back into the village, and said to his uncle, Tata, tell those three to plait me ten bags. And his uncle said to him, What have you got belonging to you to stow in them? You are a penniless fellow, and one who never plants or gathers. But he says, E! just let me have them plaited. So his uncle said to his wives, You are to plait bags for Ganviviris. And they three cried, E-o-o! who is to listen to him, an avlava, a fellow who does nothing at all? But his uncle said, Plait them just to try what his nonsense means; then we shall see what sort of property he has got to stow in them. So the three women plaited the bags. And in the night Ro Som came to Ganviviris and said, Make haste to hang up your bags. And next day he hung up the bags; and in the night as he was lying down to sleep he heard the rafters creak again because of the money which was filling the bags; and he got up and felt one after another those ten bags, every one quite full. And Ro Som said to him, Tell your uncle to give you his third wife. So he spoke out to him about it, and his uncle let him have one. And he said again, Tata, let us break up fire-wood for the day after to-morrow. But his uncle said to him, What property have you got to give for us to buy your rank with, you a penniless fellow with nothing coming in? And he says, Lend me some money and a pig to make the first payments with; but this he said to try him. And his uncle said to him, I shall not consent to let you have any property of mine; why should I? you are an idle fellow. But he says, Tata, let us break up fire-wood the day after to-morrow, and to-morrow we will go into your gardens, and I will look for some taro there. So they went to the gardens, and he said to his uncle, Put up a palako as a warning against taking anything from these gardens. And his uncle said to him, You are putting a mark upon a great quantity; what have you got of your own to pay so great a price with? And he says, You will pay the great price. But he says, I shall not listen to you about my money and my food. So they went back again into the village, and all the people then heard of what had been done, and they laughed at Ganviviris, saying that he would never be able to eat his suqe rank. But next day they broke up fire-wood, and he bought taro with a great price, with ten coils of money for each garden. And his uncle said to him, You have bought food with a great price; you have succeeded in that, but you have to give money all round for your suqe, where have you got anything for that? And he says, That will be your doing of course. But his uncle had no wish to let him have his money; so he says, Let us bring the taro to-morrow, and crack almonds for the feast. And he said again to his uncle, Tata, let your children twist some cords. So his two children twisted, and his wives twisted; and the neighbours asked his uncle saying, They are twisting cords, but where is the pig there tied up by the house? And he says, Esi! we have never seen any belonging to him, he is a pauper. But in the evening he went and got four pigs, and tied them up near the village. And he ate on one day the avirik and the qatagiav. And in the night Ro Som said to him, You are to take all your ranks in the suqe here at Qakea; you are not to take any at Mota; if you disobey my word in this you will die. And on the day he bought his rank he said to them, Have you made all the return for my money? And they said, When you have completed your distribution of property we will make an end of our return; lest we should crush ourselves into poverty. So he went and loosed and brought out two rawe pigs and two boars, and he went into his house and carried out his money-bags on his backhand with that he made distribution; and they were amazed at those rawe and boars, all of them with their tusks curled round till they met, that Ro Som had given to him. And after five days again they broke up fire-wood, and on the tenth day again he bought his steps of rank, the avtagataga and the luwaiav. And on the fifth day again they broke up fire-wood, and on the tenth day he bought his steps, the tamasuria and the tavai suqe; and on the fifth day again he said, Let us break up fire-wood, and on the tenth day he bought the steps tavasuqelava and kerepue. And always he was buying food with large payments, and he paddled over to Vanua Lava and bought with large sums there, and to Mota and bought with large sums there: and he went on in the suqe till he reached the wemeteloa. Then he desired to make his suqe also at Mota, and he went and built his house at Tasmate, and they broke up firewood and danced the taqesara. But he appointed the tenth day for a sawae, and on the ninth day he prepared mashed yams; and at the sawae he appointed the tenth day for a kolekole. And at the kolekole, when the noise of the sawae was sounding like thunder, and the feast was at its height, they saw a woman walking up the sloping ground below the cliff, using a spear for a walking stick, with bracelets on her arms reaching to the elbow, and on her right arm a boar's tusk, and her head smeared with red earth, and pigs' tails fastened to her hair; and they thought that some visitors had just landed from a canoe. And she went straight to the house of Ganviviris and passed out of sight within it; and they went to see who it was and found no one there. And they told Ganviviris, We have seen a woman go into your kole house, with bracelets and boars' tusks on her arms; and he said, Don't mention it in the village. And he went up there to bring out his money-bags on his back, and he saw that his ten bags had nothing in them; and he went outside and saw that all his pigs were gone; his distribution of property came to nothing at all. And when the evening was dark, and Ganviviris was sleeping in his house, they heard him cry out, and they asked him, What ails you? And he said, Esi! there is something, but I don't know what it is, that has happened to me. And he began to sicken on that very night, and on the fifth day he died.


6. The Little Orphan. Mota.

A story to tell. They were living in their place, the boys were growing up, and their father and mother said to them, Go down to the beach, and catch fish with hook and line for us, and we two will go inland and get vegetables for us all to eat with them. And they said, Very well; and the two went up to the garden, and they went down to the beach. And as they were going along the path the Little Orphan said, Let me go with you. But they said E-o-o! not you, a little orphan, we will go by ourselves alone, we who are children of fathers; if you were to go with us what would you eat? You have no father, you have no mother, who will give you food to eat with your fish? And they went first, and the Little Orphan behind. And those the children of fathers went down to the beach, and the Little Orphan went down a steep place eastwards to the landing-place at Sanwawa; and there he fishes for himself with a line and hook. And when he sees those others mounting back into the island, he also strings his fish together and mounts back himself; and he comes near to them, and they say. Don't come together with us, you have no father and no mother to give you vegetable food to eat your fish with. So they mount up, and they before and he behind. But they go on the way homeward, and he stops short, and goes into his cave and roasts his fish. And when he has roasted them he takes his fish up together and goes out, and goes out down to the beach, and sits down, and dips his fish into a little pool of salt-water, and eats them by themselves without any vegetable food. After this on another day they went again; and the Little Orphan says, I will go with you; and they say, No, we have already said that you the Little Orphan are not to come. If you come with us, and you catch fish, what have you to eat with them? you have no food to eat your fish with. And they went before and he went after; and they went to their place, and he to his. And he fishes with his hook and line and keeps his eye upon them; and when he sees them mount up inland, he also mounts up himself. And they say to him, Don't, we tell you, be coming along with us; if you come here who is there to give you food? you have no father and no mother to give you food to eat your fish with. And they go on into the village, and he stops short, and roasts again his fish and eats them without vegetable food. After this on another day again they went; and he said, Let me go with you; but they said, You are not to go, we only shall go who have fathers and have mothers, you are not to come, a little orphan. And they went again before, and he behind, and they to their place and he to his. And as he stood down there, a fish comes on his hook first, and he runs up on the rocks and takes it off the hook; and runs and lets down his hook into the water, and a tapanau is caught, and he takes it up, and runs up and puts it down into a little pool. And he runs over again and lets down his hook and a nongpitpit is caught; and he runs up and puts it down into the pool; and runs over and lets down his hook and a gavaru is caught, and he goes with it and puts it down into the pool, and runs over and lets down his hook, and a plaited hibiscus line (gavanu) is caught by him; and he goes up with it and puts it down. And he runs over to let down his hook, and a woman and her child come up out of the sea to him; and their name is Ho Som (Money), and he puts them down on the reef. Then Ro Som says to him, Let us three go together. And the Little Orphan says, E-o-o! not you two; I will go by myself. But she says, No, we three. But the Little Orphan says, No, you two must not; I shall go by myself, because I have no food to feed you with. But she says, Never mind, string our fish together and we three will go. So the three went along and arrived at the Little Orphan's dwelling-place; and he looks and sees a house and a gamal; and he asks her, Whose house is this? and whose gamal is this? And Ro Som says to him, It is the house of us three, and your gamal. So they three enter into the house, and sit down. And Bo Som says to the Little Orphan, Come now, cook the fish for us three to eat. But he says What is there? What are we going to eat the fish with? I told you that you two must not come with me; I have no food. But she says, Cook the fish, we three will eat them with some vegetable food presently. So he makes up a fire for the fish, and puts hot stones inside them and wraps them in leaves, and puts them on the fire, and the three sit down and wait. Then Ro Som says to him, Now then, take down our fish. And he says, What are we to do? What are we going to eat them with, I mean? And she says, Look, there is a heap of cooked food there for us to eat the fish with. So he goes over to the fish, and takes them off the fire, and they three ate. And when they had finished eating he goes out of the house into the village and sees gardens, a banana garden, and a tomago garden, and a yam garden, a wowosa garden, a weswes garden, a sugar-cane garden; and the bananas were beginning to rot, and the tomagos were sprouting afresh, and the yams were sprouting, and the reeds were throwing up flower stalks, and the qeta were beginning to rot. Then he said to his mother, Oh, mother, whose gardens are these here? And Ro Som says, They belong to us three only; and she says to him, To-morrow you will make up fires in the gamal in every oven, and we two will be here in the house, and we three will make mixture of cooked food and scraped cocoa-nut for food for pigs. And says the Little Orphan, Very well, but what are we to feed with it? But she says, Just get to work about it. So they two cooked a quantity of food in the oven inside the house, and he also cooked a quantity in the gamal and the pigs' food made by the two in the house was a hundred basketsfull and that in the gamal a hundred. And as soon as they covered in the ovens the food was cooked. And the Little Orphan mixed the food for his part in the gamal, and Som and her child mixed for their part in the house; and when the three have finished mixing, they take the food out into the village place, and the Little Orphan puts his down on a stone, and Som and her child put theirs down at the door of the house. And Ro Som says, Well now, call the pigs, sumsum; and the Little Orphan gets up and sumsums, and he hears continued squealing, and he sees boars with tusks that curl and meet, and rawe with tusks that curl and meet, and sows; these all come rushing out to the three, and the three feed them and they eat. And while they are eating, Ro Som says to him, Have you got any uncle on your mother's side? And he says, I have an uncle, but he does not come to look after me, and he gives me no food. Then said Ro Som, Run and say to him, Tata, come and make the payments for my steps in the suqe. So the wife of the uncle of the Little Orphan saw him coming, and she said to the people, Drive that boy away that is coming here; who is there to attend to him, and give him food? Then says the Little Orphan, Tata! And his uncle says O-e! what is it? And he says, Come out here. So his uncle came out to him; and he says, Tata, pray come to me to pay, sar, for my steps. And his uncle says, Oh, but if I pay that, what will you vile pulai, return payment, with? And his nephew says, Come let us go. So the Little Orphan led the way, and his uncle came behind, and they went on. And when they arrived beside the Little Orphan's village, his uncle sees a place where pigs have been rooting, and he says, Ah! these pigs' rootings, whose are they? And he says, Mine to be sure. But he says, Oh, I dare say! Where are you going to get pigs from to be your property? Then he sees also a garden, and he says, Whose is this yam garden? and he says, Mine. And his uncle says, I'll beat you for saying it; but he looks about and the bananas are rotting, and the caladium is rotting, and the tomagos are sprouting. And then he sees a house and says, But whose house is this? and whose gawal is this? And the Little Orphan says, My house and my gamal. And his uncle says, But how is it that you have got these? Who is there who will assist you and give you thatch? And the Little Orphan says to his uncle, Well, let those people give the first money, vene, for the avrik. And his uncle says to the people, Come, give in your money to begin with, I will sar, pay back, to you. And all the people say, You fellows! how is it? What has he got to return with? He has no money. But his uncle makes the first return, sar, payment to them, and when he had paid them all, the Little Orphan gives money for his uncle's property; and he says again, Tata, make payment again to them for the qatagiav. And they vene to his uncle, and he makes the full return to them all, and his nephew returns his property to him, pigs and money. And he says to his uncle again, Pay, sar, them again for the av tagataga, and he pays; and when he has paid them all, his nephew makes the return of his property, gives pigs and money And he says again to his uncle, Tata, let those people again make, vene, their contribution of money for the luwai av; and they make it; and his uncle repays them; and when he has paid them all, his nephew runs up into the house and brings money out on his back, and makes the return of his property to his uncle. And that food that they ate would never come to an end; they made one cooking of it, and they still went on eating it for rank after rank in the suqe; they eat, and they stay at it right through like that. Afterwards he says again to his uncle, Well now, pay them again for the tamasuria, and he pays them again; and his nephew runs up again, and brings out again on his back bags of money, and gives pigs, and makes return of his property to his uncle. And the people still remain; and he says again to his uncle, Tata, pay them again for the tavai suqe; and he pays again; and when he has paid them all, his nephew runs up and goes into the house, and carries out money again on his back, and gives pigs and rawes. and makes return of his uncle's property. And he says, Tata, pay again for the kerepue; and he pays, and his nephew brings money, and pigs, and rawes, and gives them to his uncle. And he says again, Tata, pay them for the mele; and he pays; and his nephew runs up and goes into the house and carries out money, and gives pigs and rawes, and makes return of his uncle's property. And that money will never come to an end, because his mother was Ro Som (i. e. Money); and she sits in the house and is hard at work multiplying that money. And he says again, Tata, pay them again for the tetug; and he pays; and his nephew runs up and goes into the house, and carries out money, and gives pigs and rawes, and makes return of his uncle's property. And he says again, Tata, pay them again for the lano; and he pays them; and his nephew makes return of his property again. And he says again, Tata, pay them for the qorqorolava; and he pays; and his nephew makes return of his property, brings pigs, and brings rawes, and makes return again to his uncle. And thus it went on till he rose to the top, till he ate right through all the ranks of the suqe. After that he says to his uncle again, Tata, let us two make a kolekole; and his uncle says, Very well. And he makes a kolekole for a stone, a sewere, makes one for an image, nule, makes one for a gamal, makes one for a wenereqoe, pig's tail, makes one for a wetapup, chicken's feathers, makes one for a sarlano, a hat, makes one for a liwan tamate, figure of a ghost, all those kolekoles of every sort and kind he accomplished. After that his nephew made a return of his property; he returned, went on returning, returned to the uttermost his uncle's property. And his uncle killed pigs for him; killed for the sewere, killed for the nule, killed for the gamal, killed for the wenereqoe, killed for the wetapup, killed for the kolevat, the stone, killed for the qatqatmemea, the red head, killed for the sarlano, killed for the liwantamate. And when he had finished killing, his uncle commanded the people of his village to take his pigs, and his rawe, and his money, to carry away; to carry away his pigs, and to carry away his rawe, and to carry away his money. And his uncle went up to the door of the house, and said to his wives, Come along, get up you two, we three will go home; one of you will lead a pig with a line, one of you will carry a bag of money on her back. But they said to him, No! go home yourself, we two are going to stay and marry your nephew, the Little Orphan. And he says, Not so, you two cannot marry him because formerly you used contemptuous language to him; has he become good again? no, he is bad. I wanted to give him food, but you two forbade it, and I was prevented giving him food; and I wanted to go and look after him, but you two forbade it, and my going to see him came to nothing; and if you two are to make advances to him, is he good again? no, he is bad. You two could not eat, when you saw him it made you sick, and you two can't live with him. But they said, Not at all, you go home by yourself, we two are going to stay with him. Then his uncle says, No, get up both of you, we three are to go home. But they two say, No, you go home by yourself. Then says he, Who is it you two here are going to marry? You two can't live with him, the object of your scorn. Then they two get up and the three go home together. And the Little Orphan goes into the house, and makes a fire, and puts pig's flesh into the oven to make it keep. And when he has finished with his pig, then comes a report of a voyage, that the Motalava people with the Losalava people are going to paddle over to Gaua. Then says the Little Orphan to his mother, Oh, mother, those people are going to paddle over to Gaua tomorrow, and may I? And his mother says, You must not; stay and look after your meat in the oven. But he says E-o-o! not so, mother, I shall go on the voyage with them; I am going to them, and you two will cook my pig for me. So it was night and morning; and when morning was come he goes up inside the house and speaks to his mother and says, Well, mother, as I am going away from you two, and you two stay here, there is that heap of food you are to eat; but these you are not to touch. And he goes off, and they start on their voyage. And when he reaches the landing-place^ he sees that those people have already dragged down the canoe and set it afloat on the edge of the sea; and he runs and jumps up and climbs right up on board the canoe, and they paddle off. But they all of them had taken pigs with them, but the Little Orphan had not taken one for himself, and he had brought nothing but a cockle-shell in his hand, and that shell-fish was not opened. And when they brought the canoes to shore at Gaua, the people there came down to meet them, and one of them runs over and cries, Friend! and touches his friend's hand, and the two go up the beach together; and some other runs down and cries, This is my friend, and touches his hand, and they two walk up together; and some other runs down and cries, This is my friend, and takes him, and they two walk up ashore; but that poor Little Orphan, they don't want to be friends with him. And they stay and stay, and the wind rises, and they are to start on their voyage; and they set off and paddle, paddle on, and go out at Losalava. And when those people drag up their canoe (at Mota), he runs back, runs and runs, and reaches the house where they three lived, and goes straight inside the house, and sees the heap of yams still remaining as it was; and he says, What have you two been eating? this food still remains untouched. And they two say, We have been eating it to be sure, that food. But he says, No, there is some other man I think has been bringing you wild food of the forest. Now he makes a fool of himself in this, supposing that it was as if his mother were living with a man. But that female Ro Som wept exceedingly because he had been angry with her, and she and her child wept till the sun went down. Then the Little Orphan goes near to them, and lies upon their legs, and tries to console them, but can't succeed; and they cried on, till they heard the nose of the Little Orphan whistling in sleep, and then they removed softly their legs, and put down his head on the ground; and they run to the money-bags, and unloose the pig, and the two run off. And as they went out that village turned into a deserted garden. But as they ran away the old woman sat down, the bags of money were very heavy upon her, and one of the bags fell down. And a pig with tusks remained tied at that landing-place at Sanwawa, and that money-bag remained lying where it fell. And that Little Orphan woke and jumped up, and there he was in a deserted garden, and he ran looking for those two, and he came out upon the shore, and sees an old woman sitting there and asks, Oh! have you seen anybody at all here just now? And she sings, Look, look over there! loio! ialo! the two are plunging back into the sea at the place where the Little Orphan had fished them up. It is finished.[2]

7. The Woman and the Eel. Aurora.

A woman went to lay pandanus leaves to weave mats with in the water, and she laid them there in the evening and went home. In the morning she went to take the leaves from the water; and when she went to take them out, behold, they were turned into an eel. Then she ran back and told it to some men who were engaged in the suqe, and they ran down and tied a cord to the eel and dragged it up to the village. But there was a lame man who could not go with them, and he lay in the gamal, club-house; and by the side of the gamal there was a croton-tree; and as they dragged up that eel it curled its tail round the croton, and the croton was nearly broken, and the lame man saw it. But they dragged hard at the eel and it loosed its tail from the croton, and they brought it into the village, and laid it at the entrance of the gamal. So when they ran off for fire-wood and banana leaves to cook it with, the eel said to the lame man, When they are eating don't you eat; they shall eat by themselves. Consequently the lame man did not eat; but they put the eel to be cooked in the oven of the suqe, and covered in the oven. And when they opened the oven they all took up pieces of the eel, every one of them a piece, and when the great man said to them, Now put them ready, then they all put them ready; and after that he said again, Now let us eat, and they all took a bite at once. But as they bit once their legs turned into eels; and they bit a second time and the bodies of them all turned into eels; and they bit again, and they were all eels; and the great man glided away first, and they all followed him into the water.

8. The Little Owl. Aurora.

This is about two women who were getting fire-wood, and found a young owl, a bird with white feathers and very large eyes; it was a young bird of this kind that they found. And one day the two women went to look at their little bird, and found that he was turned into a man; so they took him into the village, and he became their husband. And the three lived always in perfect harmony together, and built their house, and worked in their garden, and so remained many years. But after that he took to beating them when they quarrelled, and they scolded him for it, saying, You there are a bird, and our property because we found you; why do you beat us like this? So he said he would leave them; and in the evening he drank kava, and forbade them to blow the fire. But when he lay down to sleep the two women blew up the fire into a blaze, and looked at him, and he turned into a bird, and flew away. And the two women cried after him, and he threw down money to them.


9. The Winged Wife. Aurora.

This is about the women that they say belonged to heaven, and had wings like birds; and they came down to earth to bathe in the sea, and when they bathed they took off their wings. And as Qatu was going about, he chanced to see them; and he took up one pair of wings and went back into the village and buried them at the foot of the main pillar of his house. Then he went back again and watched them. And when they had finished bathing they went and took up their wings and flew up to heaven; but one could not fly because Qat had stolen her wings, and she was crying. So Qat goes up to her, and speaks deceitfully to her and asks her, What are you crying for? And she says, They have taken away my wings. Then he takes her to his house and marries her. And Qat's mother takes her and they go to work; and when the leaf of a yam touches her there are yams as if someone had already dug them up, and if a leaf of a banana again had touched her. just a single one, all the bananas were ripe at once. But when Qat's mother saw that things were so she scolded her; but not Qat; he was gone shooting birds. And when Qat's mother scolded her she went back into the village; and she sits beside the post of the house and cries. And as she cried her tears flowed down upon the ground and made a deep hole; and the tears drop down and strike upon her wings, and she scratches away the earth and finds them, and flies back again to heaven. And when Qat was come home from shooting he sees that she is not there, and scolds his mother. Then he kills every one of his pigs, and fastens points to very many arrows, and climbs up on the top of his house, and shoots up to the sky. And when he sees that the arrow does not fall back he shoots again and hits the first arrow. And he shoots many times, and always hits, and the arrows reach down to the earth. And, behold, there is a banyan root following the arrows, and Qat takes a basket of pig's flesh in his hand and climbs up to heaven to seek his wife. And he finds a person hoeing; and he finds his wife and takes her back; and he says to the person who is hoeing, When you see a banyan root don't disturb it. But as the two went down by the banyan root and had not yet reached the ground, that person chopped the root off, and Qat fell down and was killed, and the woman flew back to heaven. That is the end of it.


10. The Story of Taso. Aurora.

This is a story about Taso a man-eater. This Taso was a man who ate men, and there was a woman, the sister of Qatu, who was pregnant and near her time. Taso found her in the garden ground, in a thicket, and killed her; but he did not eat her, because she was pregnant and her time was nearly come. She lay and rotted in the thicket, never having been brought in for burial. And while this corpse of a woman killed with a club, Gatu's sister, was lying and rotting, her two infants were alive, and as the mother rotted, it left them free. So they lay, and they rolled along on the smooth ground, and by and bye they grew strong. Then they found dry leaves in which rain water had collected and they sipped and drank; and they came on to a root of qena (a gingi-beraceous plant) and sucked it, for this qena has a swollen lump at its root and water accumulates in a small hollow in it. So they clung to the qena root till they were strong and could move about, and then they began to wander, and made their way out of the thicket. And as they so wandered along they came to a place where there was a sow with young; and they sat and looked at her. Now this sow was the property of their maternal uncle Qatu; and they sat looking out for the cocoa-nuts with which the sow was fed. After a while their uncle Qatu came and sat down and called his sow, and the sow came with her litter of pigs, and Qatu cut up their food for them; and when he had cut it up he did not sit there till it was all eaten and then go; he went away before that, he turned his back and went. Then these two came forth and drove away the sow, and took from her the cocoa-nuts that had been cut up to eat them themselves, and sat down and ate. But the sow went up into the village and cried to her owner Qatu. Next morning when he came down to feed the sow they did the same thing; the sow went off to her owner, and they gathered up the cut cocoa-nut in their arms and took it off to eat it themselves. And Qatu saw that his sow was always coming back to him, and was thin without any fat about her, and he asked himself, Why is it I wonder that my sow comes back to me, as if I had not fed her, and is not at all fat? Let me sit and observe what it is that makes her come back to me up into the village. So after feeding her he pretended to go back, but went round and returned that he might see what it was that happened to his sow. And he stood and watched them coming out, light in complexion, wonderfully fair, as they came and stood and drove away the sow to take her food. And Qatu jumped out, and called to them, What, is it you who are always driving away my sow? I have seen her coming back to me. These two twins let the food slip from their arms and stood ashamed, biting their fingers. And Qatu asked them, Where do you come from? And they told him how they lay and rolled and found their way out of the thicket, and saw the water and drank it, and came to the root of qena and sucked it; and how when they did so they grew strong, and saw the sow and filled their bellies with the food the sow was eating. And Qatu understood without mistake that these were the children of his sister whom Taso had killed long ago.

Qatu called them and went up to the village and hid them at the further end of his house; and he bade Ro Motari his wife to go into the garden and dig some yams, and bring hibiscus leaves, tender such as locusts eat, and come back to make a yam-mash for the two twins. And Ro Motari did so; she went and gathered the leaves and dug the yams and came back and made the loko. And when the oven was closed in Qatu bade Ro Motari to go and cut down cocoa-nut fronds for mats, and plait and spread them, and to make up a pillow. Then Qatu bids Ro Motari go to the further end of the house; and she goes and sees the two little twins sitting at the further end of the house in the pig fence; and she runs back and cries to Qatu, Lili! Lili! What are those little ones to me? my children, or my brothers, or my grandchildren?[3] Qatu says to her, O-o-o! your grandchildren. So she took them gladly into the house, she and Qatu, and gave them food, and they stayed with him and Ro Motari. After a while they grew big, and Qatu shaped bows for them made of the rachis of the sago fronds; and when they could shoot lizards he broke the bows and took them from them, and made different ones for them. And when they could shoot geckos he took the bows away from them and broke them and shaped different ones for them, and put points to their arrows. And when they could both shoot the small birds tatagoras he took the bows away and broke them, and made them bows much larger than before, and put points to their arrows, and then they could shoot doves. So they came to be able to shoot all kinds of birds; and then he cut clubs for them, and they killed rats with them, and he took them away and broke them; and presently when they were full-grown youths he made clubs for them again, for one a oi utu (Barringtonia fruit) with four corners to it, for the other a simple tarara with a ring and spike.

Qatu brought them up till they were quite big, and then one day he told them about Taso, saying that they were not to go carelessly about or go where Taso was without due cause, because he had killed their mother and was a man-eater. When they had considered this they set a taboo upon a banana belonging to them, and said to their uncle Qatu, If you go into the garden and see our bunch of bananas beginning to ripen at the top and ripening downwards to the end, Taso has killed us; but if you see that it has begun to ripen at the end and is ripening upwards we shall have killed him. So their uncle turned his back and went his way, and the twins started off to take Taso by surprise. They came to Taso's place, but did not find him there, because he had gone down to the beach to sharpen his teeth[4]; so the twins asked Taso's mother, Where is this Taso gone? We have come here to see him. And Taso's mother called to them to come up and sit by the gamal to wait for him, and they came up to the gamal and sat there waiting for Taso. Now short round yams had been dug, and a fire lighted in the gamal, and they heated the yams, and pulled out the stones that lined the ovens, and put them on the fire to pelt Taso with. There were two fire-places in the gamal, at the one end and at the other. And Taso's mother came down from the house; and the old woman lay down on the ground and sang a song, crying down to Taso on the beach. This is the song: Taso! sarosaro ganga tamate, a ganga i tuara, gaku i tuara. Taso! (Taso! look out for your dead man to eat, one for you, one for me. Taso!) Taso was sitting on the beach, and heard his mother crying to him, and he got up and came back along the path; and as he came he turned his head from side to side and struck the trees, and they came down with a crash. But the twins had made ready for their attack on Taso, red-hot stones and cooked yams, and they stood with their feet firmly planted and waited for him inside the gamal, one at the one end of it, and the other at the other. Then they heard Taso come up and ask his mother, What is it, mother? And she said, What is it but dead men for us to eat, sitting there in the gamal? So Taso went on and up to the gamal, and as he got in over the rail at the door, one of the twins took up a red-hot stone and threw it at him and hit him, and when he ran down to the other end of the gamal, the other twin threw at him and hit him Taso cried out, It is in vain that you throw at me, I will eat you both to-day. As he runs to one end of the gamal one of the twins throws at him, as he runs to the other the other throws; so they go on at him till his bones shake within him, and he lies down and only groans. Then the twins leap upon him and beat him to death with their clubs. Then they go down to the house and drag out the old woman, Taso's mother, and club her; they clubbed them both to death. Then they set fire to the houses over them, and went back homewards. But Qatu and Motari were standing in the garden listening to the popping of the bamboo rafters as they burnt, and wondering what was going on over there: 'Those two probably have come across Taso and he is killing them.' Qatu starts and goes off, and as he goes he meets them, and they tell him that they have killed Taso. And he said to them, I forbade you to go there, you have disobeyed me and gone, and very nearly he has eaten you. So it was finished; they killed Taso and revenged their mother whom Taso had murdered.


11. About Betawerai a Snake. Aurora.

The beginning was in this way; a woman and her child went to strip pandanus leaves for weaving mats, and the boy saw a young snake on the stalk of a leaf and begged his mother to let him have it for he wanted it; his mother forbade him to take it. But he said that he wished for it, and so he laid hold on the little red snake, and took it and put it in the hollow trunk of a tree; and the name of that tree is the uqava; he put it into the hollow of that, and he used to feed it with rats or birds or black lizards, or pig’s flesh, and that snake became extremely large. And one day when he killed a pig he went to give it some; but that snake snatched the pig from him, and ate him up also, and crawled out of the hollow tree, and came into the village and ate up all the people in the place. But there was one pregnant woman who survived; and she dug a pit, and took a thin flat stone and laid it over the pit, and she stayed within it. And she brought forth her children, twins, and they three remained in that pit in the ground. And the snake ate up all the people, and then went and took up its abode on a banyan-tree, and brought forth exceedingly many young ones, and two the chief among them. The name of one of these was Betawerai, and this one was not able to go about, but stayed always on a branch of the banyan. But we call the branch of a big tree like a banyan tawerai, like the flat of the hand, and this was named after that, Betawerai, At the branch. And the other one used to go very far away seeking diligently men or pigs to eat, and his name was Walolo. But one day those two, the children of the woman who had lived in the ground, begged of their mother to make them bows and arrows; and after that they said they would go into the village and seek that snake to shoot it and kill it. But when they had gone and had seen from a distance that banyan where Betawerai and Walolo lived, they saw upon the branches, and on the little twigs, and on the leaves, nothing but snakes on that banyan. But Walolo was not on the tree, because he had gone across the sea and was still seeking for men to devour. And these two boys went up to the banyan-tree and began to pelt it with sticks thrown end over end; and while they were pelting so the snakes fell down in very great numbers. And Betawerai began to sing a song to make Walolo come quickly back and kill and eat them. And this was the song, Risurisu vano, Betawerai, a lang togalau, ti uvi goro nanagoku. Walolo! Walolo! go vano mai! Walolo! Walolo! go vano mai! Turn and come to Betawerai, the wind is North-west, it blows against my face. Walolo, Walolo, come hither! Walolo, Walolo, come hither! And they say that Walolo heard him singing, and thought that something had happened. And he came end over end like a stick, and as he came near he heard plainly that it was Betawerai’s voice, and he thought that indeed there was surely a man there. Therefore he came end over end in haste, and came near to those two; and one of them shot him, and then the other shot, and both hit him; and he tried to rush upon them, and one shot, and the other shot, and both hit. And they went on shooting like this, till they shot him to death. And they went after Betawerai, and pulled him down to the ground and killed him. And when they had killed the snakes in this way they heaped them up at the roots of the banyan-tree, and brought plenty of wood and burned them up, a great heap of snakes, as a sign that the devouring snake was destroyed. And they three (the boys and their mother) returned to their village and dwelt there.


12. The Story of Basi and Dovaowari. Aurora.

She was a girl of Dama, and her mother, a snake, lived in a cave there. And there was a young man living at Tanoriki; and one day Basi and another girl, her sister I suppose, went down to the beach to dip salt-water; and Dovaowari was the name of the youth, and he also went down to bathe in the sea, but on another part of the beach. You know our ways, that we always like to dress our hair to make it white, and that the hair too may be curly, in ringlets, such as you always see with the Opa people. So these two girls stand looking over to the other part of the beach, and see the fellow bathing, and washing his hair till it was exceedingly white, and they say, Let us two go and see who that is bathing. And they went and saw that it was Dovaowari; and he asked them what they were looking for, and they said that they had been standing far off and had seen him, and were come to look at him. And Basi said to the other girl, You go home to our mother, and tell her that I am going after Dovaowari. But Dovaowari forbade her in vain to follow him, saying that he was poor, and not one that had money, that he had no property and no garden; and she disputed with him, saying that she would certainly go with him. So he said, Well, we will go together; then that other girl went back to the mother of them both, the Snake, and Basi followed Dovaowari to be his wife, and so they married. But Basi kept going to her mother at Dama a long way off, and Dovao was vexed at it, and he told Basi to go and say to her mother that she was to move to that place so that all might live together. But Basi said, Mother cannot come here to this place; yet she went and entreated her, and she agreed that it would be possible to make the move. But the chief thing she thought of was how she should manage, because she was a snake very long and large, and if a small house were built for her it would not be enough. She considered, therefore, and said to Basi, Go and tell my son-in-law to build me a house, and let there be ten chambers in it. But Dovao did not yet know the truth, and when he heard about the house with ten chambers he was astonished at it, and thought to himself, What is this? When the house was finished, Basi earned the news saying, Your house is finished; but she had said beforehand, I shall go in the night, and if my son-in-law should hear anything don't let him take notice of it. So in the middle of the night they heard an earthquake, and thunder, and a very great rumbling as if all the world would come to an end; 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[5].


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 fire-place, and there it stayed. And after many days when he was going to work he told his wife to cook some food for him, and she went to get it. Bat when she came back into the house she found food already cooked, and she did not know who had prepared the food for her. Thus it happened very often, and the woman told her husband. And he when he heard it bade her sit and watch who it was that did it. So she sat by the side wall of the house, and saw Deitari (Tari's blood) creep out of the bamboo vessel which Tari had put aside; and she saw that he was exceedingly fair, and she hid him. Then when Tari came in from work he asked his wife, Haven't you seen him? And she said, What was that you put by the fire-place? I did not put anything there, said he. But his wife said, Not so, you put something small there in a bamboo. Then he remembered about his blood, and he said to his wife, My blood was in that bamboo; and his wife said, I saw him come out of that bamboo that you had put there. So she brought him forth, and Tari rejoiced very much to see him. And one day as they were living together the boys of the village, and Deitari with them, went to bathe in the stream, and sang songs. And there was a man called Taepupuliti, and they say that he changed himself into a fish, and went and devoured the boy who had come out of the bamboo, and went off with him into a different country. And Tari sent every kind of fish and bird to seek for Deitari; and he found a little fish, extremely thin, and this fish and Deitari's father found him hidden at the back end of Taepupuliti's house. And they two, Tari and Taepupuliti, sat down to drink kava; and the father of the one whom the other had devoured let the liquor fall from his mouth as he drank, so that the kava did not strike (affect) him; but as for the one who had eaten his child it struck him very much, and his father carried him off again.


14. Taekeke. Aurora.

They say that he used to devour men in all the islands, and that he made the image of a fish with woven vines, and got into it and turned into a fish. And when he wanted to eat a man he entered into that fish and went to Opa or Raga. One day he went into his garden, and his son was in the village, and his father had forbidden the boy to go to the inner part of the house; but his father had gone away and he and his mother were in the village, and he was playing about alone, and he thought he would go and see what it was that his father had forbidden him to see. So he went into the further end of the house, and saw the image of the fish lying, and got into it. And a kingfisher flies down as a sign if any one gets into the figure of the fish; and the old woman lying in the house when she hears the kingfisher breaks a stick, and the image then goes into the sea. And when the boy got into the figure of the fish, and the king-fisher flew down to the roof of the house, and the old woman heard it, she broke a piece of fire-wood, and the image of the fish with the boy inside it went down into the sea, and crossed to Opa. And the father was in his garden and he heard a noise, and he ran as fast as he could, but found that the fish was already gone. So he weaves together the stuff that is on a cocoa-nut, in no particular shape, and puts it on his breast, and goes into the sea to seek the boy. And he finds him at Opa; and the Opa people, they say, had very nearly shot him. And his father brought him home. And as they were coming back they saw a man in a bread-fruit-tree, and the father said to his son, Go and eat him; and the son said to his father, How shall I go, father, because he is on dry land? And his father hit him hard, and said, Go, for you want to eat a man. Then he went, and as he went up towards the shore the sea went up too upon the shore, and he was carried up into the bread-fruit-tree after that man and swallowed him. And they came back to the back part of the house, and put him there, for he was not yet dead. And when they put him there at the further end of the house, and he moved himself about, he saw the sea, and the shark, and the fishes with their mouths open to devour him. And so he stayed there and died.


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 of a number of people coming along underneath the gaviga-tree. And he woke up thinking that it was probably his brothers looking for him; but it was not so, these were different persons; these were Mera-mbuto and his brothers coming along, and they climbed up the gaviga-tree themselves. And Tagaro-mbiti sits perfectly still lest they should see him, and he hears one of them say ’lneu ranganggu ngaha' This is my branch, and another cries 'Ineu ranganggu ngaka,’ and so say all of them. Then says Mera-mbuto 'Ineu ranganggu ngalia lo vukungegi! This is my branch at the top; and this he said with a loud voice. And Mera-mbuto climbed straight up to the top of that gaviga-tree, and there he found Tagaro-mbiti. Then says Mera-mbuto, Who are you? And says he, I am Tagaro-mbiti. Now they say that this Mera-mbuto and his brothers had a cave for their dwelling. And he asked Tagaro again, What is that in your hand? And he says, The voice of you and me to be sure. And he begged of him to speak in that conch that he might hear it; but he said also, Wait a bit till I go back to my dwelling-place, and when I get there you will hear me whistle; then you shall speak with the voice of us two that I may hear it for myself. And he made haste down from the tree, and his brothers said, Are we to come too? No, says he, I am only going to get rid of a mess and then I shall come back. Thus he deceived them; and when he reached his dwelling, the cave, he whistled for Tagaro to hear, that he might blow the conch. And Tagaro heard Mera-mbuto whistle, and he put forth all his strength to blow the conch hard, and he blew, and Mera-mbuto's brothers fell every one of them from the tree; and he himself was delighted and jumped high again and again in his cave, and his head struck against the rock, and the rock stuck fast into his head, and there he died. And his brothers who had fallen down died every one; and on that account they say that bushes grew up in that place where Mera-mbuto's brothers fell. And when it was light Tagaro-mbiti returned to his home.


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.

  1. Here the MS. ends. The story goes on to relate that the man found his child crying for its mother beside the fire, and refusing to be comforted. He sought help from all the birds and living creatures, but none would listen to him till he came to the Spider, marawa, who readily undertook to bring the child to its mother. He spun a line from earth to heaven, took the man and the child on his back and carried them safely up. A feast was going on in heaven, and the two sat down in the circle of spectators. The men were dancing round the drum, and the women tramping round in pairs. Each time the mother passed the child it cried out Mother! She stopped at last and asked, Who is that cries Mother! to me? Recognizing her child and husband she agreed to return, and the Spider carried all three of them safe back to the earth.
  2. Note.—Two more Stories from Mota in native MS. are too long for insertion in full. One is the Story of Wowut-ta-Taragaviga, whom his parents kept in the house till he was grown up, and then advanced to the highest suqe rank. Another man of the same island taking the same step sent a portion of his feast to Wowut-ta-Taragaviga by an orphan, all others being afraid of approaching the gamal of so high a rank. Wowut takes a liking to the orphan, and pays him with money. He goes again and again with food till he has 'thousands of money, thousands of boars, thousands of pigs with curled tusks,' and with these advances himself to high suqe rank. Then Wowut dies, and directs that when his friend comes to mourn over him he is to be given his wife in memory of him. The other is the Story of Qat-wuruga, who was born of a mother who had been killed by a fall from a tree, and grew up in the forest like the children in the Story of Taso. His maternal uncle finds him and takes him home, where his uncle's wives neglect him and ill-use him, and give him his name of Scurfy-head. The boy begs his uncle to take him back to the forest, and he carries him out of the sight of the sea into the midst of the island, Vanua Lava. Then he settles himself, and after a while snares birds. One day the fat of a bird roasting over the fire fell through on to the head of Wetopunpun beneath the earth, and he comes up above ground. This is the boy's father, the ghost of his dead father, or a Vui spirit. With the charm 'Soso-punpun, Soso-punpun' (like the Kerembaembae of Story No. 1) he makes food, gardens, a village, a gamal, pigs, fowls, a drum&mdsh;all native wealth. Qat-wuruga's uncle comes to see him, and undertakes his advance to the highest ranks of the suqe, receiving his due payment of pigs. His wives, incredulous at first, go to a kolekole and see the youth they have despised in all his splendour. They desire to stay as his wives, and make him cut open his breast and give them some of his liver to eat. A canoe from Maewo comes over, and they find the fresh emblems of his rank; they challenge comparison with their own, and see open-mouthed with astonishment the number of jawbones of the pigs he has killed in his feasts. They beguile him to sleep, and carry him off to their own island to kill and eat him. While they are making preparations for their dance and feast, one of their party takes pity on him, unties and delivers him; the two paddle back to Vanua Lava. But when they reach Qat-wuruga's place all has disappeared. When he was captured his father Wetopunpun had gone to the beach and sat there grieving. The Qakea people, seeing him there day after day, paddled over and took him to their place, where there was a famine. There with his charm Soso-punpun he makes gardens full of food to appear. They envy him and he leaves them, and seeks a solitary place, where he sits down by the side of Ro Som with all his possessions round him. A stone there representing him is a place of sacrifice to this day.
  3. In another version of the story, 'When Motari saw the two handsome boys with their white hair, she liked them and asked Qatu, Are these my children or my husbands? And Qatu said, Yes indeed, your husbands, for they are my sister's children.'
  4. A tooth of Taso is still to be seen at Maewo.
  5. 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.