Project Canterbury


Darkness and Dawn




Descriptive of the work of the Melanesian Mission.



By the



With a Foreword by the Right Reverend Bishop Wilson (late Bishop of Melanesia).



Published by

The Australian Board of Missions,

242 Pitt Street, Sydney.



Wholly set up and printed in Australia by D. S. Ford, 729 George-street



Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2008

Native Round Houses at Timotu, Solomons.

[3] A Foreword.

THE greatest obstacle to Missionary Work is the ignorance of the nature of it amongst people at Home. They imagine that the heathen have no need for Jesus Christ; that they are quite happy in their beautiful surroundings; that they are better left alone; that the missionary, when he comes, spoils them. They are generally completely ignorant also of the manner of going to work; they picture him with his English Bible in hand preaching under a palm tree, and it is not surprising, therefore, that they think that he would he more useful if he stayed in his own country, and made known the Gospel to the "heathen" at Home. Anything which will pierce through this ignorance, and dispel it is to the advantage of the Church in her missionary work abroad.

In "Darkness and Dawn" we have a very realistic picture given us of what heathen life really is, and what missionaries do, and of the outcome of their work. It is a picture drawn by one who was placed in one of the darkest of the Pacific Islands nearly twenty years ago, where cannibalism was common and life extremely insecure. For a hundred reasons "lives" were required to "wash" a canoe; to give luck to a new house; to remove a chief's displeasure on a woman's curse; to avenge a wrong; and for many other purposes. Mr. Ivens has painted in his background in dark colours indeed, but none too dark, if he was to be true to fact. Indeed all his scenes are taken from actual life. Things which he makes his characters do, have actually happened. Moreover, the characters are real Melanesians, [3/4] that is to say, they speak exactly as Melanesians speak, and it is only one who has lived for many years amongst them in their own homes, and has learnt himself to "think black," to talk their languages, who could give this inside view of Melanesian life, with the light breaking in upon it, and the gradual illumination of it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the surprising change of thought, and abandonment of bloody customs which had enslaved these people and their forefathers for thousands of years.

No one would ask "Is it worth doing?" if they once understood what Christian Missions in wild lands are doing. This play is to make children understand. They will, I hope, see now why Jesus Christ bade His disciples go into all the world to preach the Gospel, and why every Christian man, woman, and child, wherever they live, should for Christ's sake and for pity's sake, take their part in giving to the heathen world that new life which is only to be found through Christ.

Late Bishop of Melanesia.

January 23, 1914.

[5] Darkness and Dawn.

A missionary play descriptive of the work of the Melanesian Mission.



Figona, a sorcerer (Fig-ona).
Tataro, his friend (Ta-ta-ro).
Sapi, son of Figona (Sap-i).
The Bishop.
A white missionary.
Four Native men, Rowo, (Row-o), Vano, (Van-o), Longa, (Long-a), Lau, (as "lou" in "loud").
Veveg, schoolboy, (Vev-eg).
Other Native men, two Native women, Native children. Native children at School at S. Barnabas, Norfolk Island.



Spears, shields, clubs, bows and arrows, fish and dogs' teeth, native money (red and white), lime boxes, betel nuts (green olives will do), Native combs, string bags, earrings of tortoise shell, or of shell, large round baskets, water bottles, round "Navy Bread" biscuits, (imitation in wood), Jew's harp (English), fishhooks, print (Turkey Red), needle and cotton, red handkerchief, clay pipes and wax matches, broom, bottles, tables and chairs, lantern, tomahawk, bell, clock, drums, bead necklaces, seed rattles.


Melanesians are of a dark brown "chocolate" colour. The skin may be coloured with coconut oil and brawn umber. The teeth of the elders are blackened.

Clothe the men and boys, Acts I. and III., in close-fitting under garments of a brown material. Round the waist, Act I., they will wear a malo (sulu) of a dark material, plain, with the ends hanging down in front and behind; in Act II., the malo should be of a bright red material and is tied right round the waist. No boots or shoes are worn. The head is bare.

Clothe the women and girls, Acts I. and III., in closefitting under-garments of a brown material, over the shoulders they should wear a shawl of dark coloured material, plain. Native grass skirts may be worn, or a short petticoat with strips of a drab colour, an inch in width, sewn on lengthwise, to represent dried grass or leaves of pandanus. In Act III. skirts of bright coloured print are to be worn. No boots or shoes. The head is bare and the hair is short.



The consonants are as in English; the vowels have the "Continental" sound. Every vowel is sounded. The syllables in the hymns, songs, etc., are marked with hyphens.


It is suggested that lantern slides of Melanesia and of Norfolk Island be used during the play to increase the effect.

[7] Darkness and Dawn.



Two men, Figona and Tataro, seated on the ground. Each wears a woven string bag over his shoulders. Tortoise-shell rings hang from their ears. Figona the sorcerer has one side of his head whitened, and on each cheek he has the mark of the frigate bird, Daula, painted in white. This mark is like the letter w inverted, and consists of four plain strokes.

Tataro.--Brother, it is already the time of the ripe almonds and the trees are alive with pigeons, eating their fill of the nuts. To-night, also, the moon is full, and I judge that now we can look for the trade-wind to cease blowing.

Figona.--Yes, Tataro, to-day I have been to the shrine of my ancestral Spirit to offer the sacrifice for a calm. I have called on Sigo the kingfisher to eat the waves and make a calm. We shall now have halcyon days. Already it is done! Do you see the big white clouds piling up there on the hills of Mala? Sowo! Well that is the fence I have put round the trade wind Ara lest it blow.

Tataro.--The Mala men will be sure to arrive at this full moon with our new canoe, and then during your calm (significantly) we can go a-fishing. But where is our chief?

Figona.--He is still away in his gardens sulking. He vows that nothing will appease his wrath except a head.

Tataro.--The gods grant that the canoe arrives during your calm, then shall its prows be properly ornamented with a head, and our chief, our own head, shall return to our midst. (Cries heard, "ku-kao-wè").

Figona.--Hark! they are shouting down at the beach.

[8] Tataro.--Verily, it is the Mala men with our canoe. The fishing will be good.

Enter man, Rowo.-- A comb thrust in his hair.

Rowo.--The Mala men have brought the chief's new canoe. Hai! ah, beautiful is it to look upon, a very crescent moon in shape and full twelve fathoms long! Its sides are all a-glitter with pearl shell, masses of evening clouds adorn the gunwales, two rows of white cowries deck the stem and stern as they tower in the air! (dances) Oh, that there may be a calm that so we may go a-fishing!

Figona.--Go, Rowo, bid them get the net into the canoe, and you, Tataro, go and tell a lad to go up to the village and bid the women prepare food, and climb for betel nuts and pull green coconuts. The fishing party will be off before sunrise. The gods will ensure them good fishing!

Tataro.--May Manoga send them a victim! (exeunt).

Figona.--By Hauri and by Daula lord of the sky, and by the mighty Bagea lord of the deep, a victim shall not be wanting to us! Your portion he is, oh, my lords! I grasp here his jawbone, I loosen his teeth for him, I gouge out his eyes, I break his collarbones, I hold his backbone. Be he a-drinking he shall die! be he a-planting he shall die! Does he fall down in his garden he shall die! be he eating betel nut and turn giddy he shall die! does his lime stick scratch his palate he shall die! does he stumble he shall die! does he cut himself he shall die! And thereto I plight my troth. And now to find the chief and inform him of this. (exit).

(Cries heard, talking and chattering. Enter women and children; they pass across the stage carrying food-baskets and water-bottles. One woman speaks: "Atu! Atu! on! on! we must hurry to the beach. The men are taking the chief's fishing net and are going a-fishing in his new canoe. We must take them this food and water. Atu! Atu! hurry on!")



Figona and Tataro, both seated on the ground. Figona has a big round navy bread biscuit suspended from his neck.

Tataro.--What is that big moon you wear round your neck, brother?

[9] Figona.--This? I got it from over there on the lee shore. They had a lot of them and they hung them up as festoons in the canoe house. Mine I hung round my neck like one of our pearl shell ornaments.

Tataro.--Wherever did they come from, those moons?

Figona.--The lee shore people got them out of a big square thing that was floating in the sea opposite their village.

Tataro.--Whatever sort of a thing was that?

Figona.--Well, they saw it floating there for some days. The birds kept settling on it, but no one would venture out near it, for all said that it was a ghost. One day they took ropes from the forest and they called on all their ghosts to help them, and then they went out in their canoes, and with the help of the ghosts they towed it ashore.

Tataro.--What was it made of, this big square thing?

Figona.--Esi! Who can say! stone I should think. They searched in vain for any opening in it, and so they battered and battered it with rocks till they made a hole in it. The inside they found full of big round moons like this. (Takes it off his neck). The thing itself they broke up and used the pieces to chop with.

Tataro.--Whatever is it? It smells good. Perhaps it's food! let me try what it eats like. (Takes hold of it).

Figona.--Fool, do you want to die? (Snatches it.) How could anyone eat a thing like this and live?

Tataro.--But what about the yarn we heard of the men who came from the sun-rising and were wrecked on the coast of Mala? Did we not hear that their food was things like this? Bissiketti I think they called them.

Figona.--And who said they were men that shipwrecked lot? They were the ghosts of our own people come back to us from their home in the East. As for your bassitekki, you know what the ghosts' food is,--ants' nests and rottenness.

(Enter two men, Rowo and Vano, with spears and shields.)

Tataro.--Ah, our canoe has returned.

Figona.--Well, what sort of a catch did you have?

Both.--The gods gave us no fish! (Flourishing spears)

Tataro.--Your spears are blood-stained! What kind of fish have you caught?

Rowo.--We went out thirty strong in our new canoe. Merrily the paddles dipped, the water foamed in our wake. Our leader, Ramo, sat in the middle, his head bowed down, not wishing to look up till he should see the one devoted to the gods.

[10] Vano.--Some canoes passed us and asked us where we were going; we gave answer that we were taking the net in the chief's new canoe and were going a-fishing.

Rowo. --When we reached the tide rip by the cape we ceased paddling and threw offerings overboard. Then we asked, "Are we going to be successful to-day, grandfather? Are we likely to wash our canoes?" Suddenly the canoe began to rock, and we knew that Bagea, our father had heard us and would prosper our journey. Our hearts rejoiced, and once more away we sped.

Vano.--Further on we spied a man standing on the rock trolling for garfish. He saw us and made to flee, but the gods kept him fixed to the spot. As we came abreast of him he asked, where we were going, and we said we were taking our net and going a-fishing. He asked us to give him a betel nut. Our leader took one from his bag and looking up threw it ashore to him. Here was our victim! we hurled a spear at him and missed.

Rowo.--He turned and fled into the bush. We cried to Hauri to consume him that we might slay him. Then we raced ashore after him and surrounded him. His head now kisses the water at the prow of the canoe.

Figona.--Great is the power of the gods!

Tataro.--The canoe has now been properly washed. We must now throw money to the chief and bring him back to live amongst us.



Children seated, playing at cats' cradle; boys with toy bows and arrows. Figona and Tataro seated on the ground eating betel nut, lime boxes in their hands, both wear small woven bays over their shoulders.

Tataro.--Figona, what is the price of the wife you are buying for your son?

Figona.--Ten strings of red money, ten strings of white, one hundred porpoise teeth, one hundred dogs' teeth, and ten live pigs. (Draws strings of white and red money, porpoise teeth and dogs' teeth out of his bag.)

Tataro.--Has the whole sum been made up in full?

Figona.--Truly we had to dun our friends for it, but the sum is perfect now. Nine live pigs have been put into the sty but the tenth has escaped into the bush. The young men must go after it with the dogs.

Tataro.--Why are you getting a local girl? A girl from a distance would surely be better, a wife cannot lord it over her husband when she has none of her family near at hand to back her up.

[11] Figona.--Well, we have tried all the villages round for a suitable girl without finding one as a wife for my son. In one place the girls were too lanky to please me, in another they gabbled too much in their talk, in another they used too much wood in their cooking, in another village the men folk did not bother much about washing themselves, and in the last one we went to the men actually wore two bags apiece! After all, there's no place like home! So I am buying one of our own village girls.

Tataro.--By my forbidden food, you are right!

(Shouting heard without, crying and wailing.) Party of men enters, a girl between them dragged hither and thither. Her mother and other women following. The mother wails.

Mother.--Arè! Arè! daleng-gu, daleng-gu inau! O, my child, my dear child!

(Enter two men, Rowo and Vano; wedding party remains on stage.)

Rowo.--By Bagea the great shark we have seen strange things to-day!

Vano.--True is that word! what a size their canoe was!

Rowo.--Size indeed! what was it they called it? aka? vaka? Vaka I think it was.

Vano.--And the inside of it! and the depth of it! why it went right down to the bottom of the sea!

Rowo.--And its pillars! they were as tall as coconut trees! And its ropes! like the creepers in the forest!

Vano.--And the men on it! Their faces and hands are white!

Tataro.--Are they white all over, these men?

Vano.--Esi! Who can say! Only their faces and hands are to be seen. They are all swathed from their ancles up to their chins in cloths like corpses ready for burial.

Figona.--How could anyone be white all over unless he were a ghost of the dead! As for their hands being white are not the palms of our hands white and the soles of our feet too for that matter?

Vano.--You can't see their feet, they are covered up with great black shiny boxes, and ha! ha! you should see the marks they make on the ground! Why an enemy could follow their footsteps anywhere!

Rowo.--Nay, but I say they are white all over, for I took one of them to the river to bathe and he pulled off the cloths from his arms and legs and his body was white all over like a cockatoo's.


[12] Rowo.--Oh, but they have a clumsy way of walking; they stumble over the stones and the tree roots on the path, and are ever ready to fall! Their foot-boxes knock all the bark off the tree roots, and they never turn their feet in like we do when we walk, and they swing their arms about thus, and get scratched with the thorns on the side of the path.

Vano.--One of them has four eyes like a crocodile!

Rowo.--They never look where they are going, and they run their faces full into the spiders' webs over the paths, and they get bitten all over with the green ants.

Vano.--One they called "cookee" performed a marvel before my eyes! he pulled out his teeth and then put them back in his mouth again


Rowo.--Their skin is quite soft, and their teeth are as white as a little child's. We blacken our teeth with oko to make them firm, and we leave white teeth to babes who know not how to eat betel nut. (Rattles his lime box.)

Vano.--Excellent is their sambeeree, wonderful things they have to sell! Loud is the cry of their Jew's harps! (plays one.)

Rowo.--And lovely is their tobacco, and see how easy they can make fire, no more rubbing two sticks for me! (Strikes a match and smokes a new clay pipe.)

All.--Hai! Marvellous!

Vano.--And see their fish hooks! (Children crowd round him asking for them) These Beesopay gave me.

Figona.--Who is this Fisookay?

Vano.--Oh, he is the chief of the Vaka people. He keeps all the tobacco and fish hooks and pipes.

Figona.--What do they want, these vaka people? I am afraid of their white faces. No doubt they are the ghosts of the dead come back to us from their home in the sun-rising. We shall soon all he eating ants' nests and rottenness!

Tataro.--Yes it must be Quat and his company returned. He went to sea in a big banyan tree, a paka lava like this vaka and now he has come to take us all away!

Rowo.--The sailey-manney who went with me to bathe, carried a long black hollow bamboo. He kept looking up into the almond trees for pigeons, but his eyes were very blind, and even when I shewed them to him he could hardly make them out. He pointed at one with his black bamboo and blew down it thus, puff! how it roared and smoked, fire came out of it and the thunder of it made the pigeon drop down dead! I was frightened and ran away.

[13] Tataro.--Ha! by my mother let him not thus blow on us!

(Shouts of "vaka" heard)

Tataro.--Hark, they are crying out "Vaka."

(Boy, Sapi, enters.)

Sapi.--The men of the vaka are coming ashore in a little canoe; two black men are paddling, and a white man is with them. But whatever sort of paddling is this? (Imitates rowing). Truly they are ghosts, for they paddle on without looking where they are going, and their backs are turned to the shore! I am going to run away.

(Enter Bishop. Clad in cloth trousers, black alpaca coat, with helmet. Women and children back away from him. Bishop holds out a red handerchief, child shyly takes it. He gives fishhooks to the children who hold out their hands shyly. Gives tobacco and clay pipes to the men, who put them into their bags. He gives a piece of print to Figona whose wife immediately snatches it. Some woman holds up a little boy, hisses to call attention, and says, "Where is his cloth?" The Bishop singles out a boy, Sapi, the one who had previously run away, ties red handkerchief round his neck.)

Bishop.-What is your name, boy?

Boy hangs his head, the others answer, "Sapi, son of Figona."

The children crowd round the Bishop, plucking his sleeve and calling out "Tambaika! pipiala! fisooka!"

Bishop (placing his hand on Sapi).--Will you give me this boy? I will bring him back at the time of the next ripening of the nuts.

Women.--No! no! he must not take our children!

Bishop.--See, I will give this for him. (Produces a tomahawk.)

(Figona holds out his hand for the tomahawk, and the Bishop smiles and leads the boy away.)

Figona.--When you return, Sapi, mind you bring us plenty of axes and fishhooks.

(Women lament, Arè! Arè!)

[14] ACT II.


Bell rings Enter schoolboys, wearing short blue dungaree trousers and red shirts, with leather belts. Girls in red print dresses, with elastic belt. White instructor at piano. The following rounds to be sung:--

(1) Three blind mice.

Ilo we toa
Ilo we toa Ilo we toa
Me ta-ta-ga ro ge-ne qua
Me te-ve mot na go-lo-ra
Sa si me ge o va-sa-sa.

(2) Scotland's burning.

Av ti gao-gao, av ti gao-gao
Pun ma-te, pun ma-te
Av gao, av gao
Ling o pei wa, ling o pei wa.

(Bell tolls for service.)

Instructor.--There is the Chapel bell. The girls will go out first, the boys will follow.

(When outside they sing a hymn. A. & M. 332.)

(1) A-va-wo tau-we Cal-va-ry
Me wo-so Lord Jesus;
A pan ge-a-re va-nu-a
Me tun-kel ni-na nol.

(2) Sin no-nom vi-tag pu-gai nol,
Sin va-rong-o ni-na,
Sin wa-ka non o ma-ra-na
Mun na-ra-na rong-o,

(3) E! ga-te viv-tig ra-ra-kut
Me lav i Lord Je-sus!
Na pu-ga-ra val ta-nun nol
Me qui-sang ma-tei-a.

[15] (4) Tur Nat-un God i Es tu-ai
Me va-es ni-na nol;
Tur ta-pe-va me sing-a lue
Lo non o ma-te-a.

(5) Na to-qua-mam, Lord, sur-i-ko,
Kam-am a mang-mang-as,
Gai ning-a nom o ma-ra-na
Lo es ti ga-la-va. Amen.

(Bell rings loudly and furiously. All the schoolchildren come rushing in shouting Aka! Aka! Ship! ship!" "Where is she anchored, at Cascades or in Town?" "Come on, let us be off and meet them!" "I wonder who has come!" "Now we shall get coconuts and yams!" All scatter, singing the round "Come follow me":

Tur van ma ra-gai ni-na mu-1e qua-rig lo tu-quei.
Ko we ma-ros kam-am we ge o sa-va si que va-no qua-rig a-mai-ko?
Vut-vut o ta-no, war-ir o nam qua, pa-so nan i-ni-na ta-vig quet.)

(A spear seen in entry, enter Figona carrying shield and spear, and dressed in old shirt and trousers, woven bag over shoulder.)

Figona.--So! Ha! this then is the place! By my forbidden food, I nearly died on the way up! What terrible things I have seen on this island! For my part I would sooner face a canoe-full of headhunters than meet one of those pigs with the spikes on their heads! I had to go through a whole herd of them, and the way they opened their mouths and roared at me--"moo!" and the way their tails flew round! But what a fearsome one that was that had a man seated on top! When he came up to me I was verily in great fear, but I stood my ground and brandished my spear thus! My mind was to kill him but they made me drop my spear. Had I but thrown once! What was the name of that thing? Ah, yes, I remember, "'Orsey," of course. I expect it eats men. I hope there are no more of them!

(Enter Sapi, a school boy.)

Sapi.--Figona, my father, wherever have you got to?

Figona.--I say, Sapi, I want to smoke. (Producing his pipe). O my forbidden food! (Covers his eyes.) I must not look on him! The clothes on his legs are the colour of the shark's inside! It is forbidden for my eyes to see such a sight!

[16] Sapi.--Console yourself, my father, I will tie this red malo round me. (Ties piece of Turkey Red round his trousers.)

Figona.--Sapi, I want to smoke and I have no light.

Sapi.--You mustn't smoke here in the quadrangle.

Figona.--Why not?

Sapi.--This place is holy ground, but we may smoke in our little cubby houses down there.

(Clock strikes.)

Figona, (listening)--What is that noise?

Sapi.--That is the clock striking.

Figona.--Well, and what does that mean?

Sapi.--Oh, we are all to go to dinner now.

Figona.--Dinner, yes I'm hungry, have you any bread fruit here?

Sapi.--No, but we have plenty of sweet potatoes.

Figona.--No yams?

Sapi.--No, but any amount of bananas.

Figona.--Pah! no self-respecting person would think of eating bananas. Did not Daula, our grandfather the lord of the sky curse all such food? Give me a betel nut.

Sapi.--There are none here, they won't grow in this island, it's too far out of the tropics.

Figona.--Well this is a country for babes! Fancy no chance of betel nuts till I get home again! Why my teeth will get as white as these white men's teeth. I wish I had never come on their ship, but I wanted to have a trip and to see the countries beyond the end of the sky, and to get axes and knives and fishhooks.

Sapi.--Come along we shall be late for dinner and grace will have been said.

Figona.--But whatever is there to eat?

Sapi.--To-day we have biscuits and meat.

Figona.--Your bissitekki I like well enough, though I once thought they were ghosts' food, and cow's flesh is good too. Humph! there was a day when we dined off what we called "long pig," but there was no pork about it!



School children.

Veveg.--Let us play at tug-o'-war. Two Solomon Islanders will pull two Banks' Islanders. Here is our house broom, that will do to pull with. Now sit down and pull, put the soles of your feet together.

[17] (They pull. The onlookers encourage them. The Southerners win.)

Veveg.--There, that is a pig for the Northerners to eat; the Southerners are the winners. Now the Northerners must give them back their pig and get even. Let us have a competition in telling folklore stories. The Northerners begin.

First Boy.--I shall begin with the story of Creation. Our forefathers used to think that the Creator's name was Quat. He first made men and pigs, but he made them all in the same shape. When his brothers complained that all his creatures were alike he beat down the pigs to go on all fours and the men he made to walk upright. Man was made of clay, the red clay by the river side, at Vanua Lava. The first woman was Iro Vil Galè, Mistress Fashioned-in-sport. Quat took reeds and rings of twigs and fashioned her just as they make the dancing hats, binding the rings on to the rods. When all was finished he saw a smile and then he knew she was a living woman.

Veveg.--Now the Northerners.

Second Boy.--We shall tell you how our forefathers said death came into the world. Once upon a time there was an old woman whose name was Koivassi, who used to be nurse to her two grandchildren. One day she went to bathe and left the two children to keep house while she was away. When she got to the water she took off her skin and threw it into the water and it was carried down till it caught on a snag. She finished bathing and hurried home. The two children ran out to meet her but instead of smiling at her as usual, they shut the door on her exclaiming "You are not our grandmother, you are not our grandmother!" To pacify the children she went and got her old cast-off skin and put it on again. From that time, men all began to cast their skins like a snake, and so death came into the world.

Veveg.--I judge that to be the better story, the pig has been returned, both sides have had a win. Now let us have a dance.

(The dancers wear skirts of green glazed lining cut into strips to represent the fronds of the coconut palm. These skirts should be of sufficient length to hide the trousers. The hair may be decorated with white feathers, and bead necklaces may be worn. Seed rattles may be worn on the left ankles. Clubs may be carried in the right hand. The dancers stand four abreast and about two feet [17/18] apart. The singing is done by a group of four seated in front on the ground, and striking native drums. The drums mark the time. The dancers act as chorus and repeat the last syllable or syllables at the places marked "chorus." The legs are kept eighteen inches apart, the body is bent well forward over the left knee, the opening position is with half left turn. At every second note of the music stamp the left foot and strike with the club in time with the music, changing (from half left turn to half right turn and vice versa at the singing of the chorus, and the third time make a complete turn and finish half left turn on the third chorus "karo," then repeat third position with reverse action, and at the last chorus finish in first position. The front row of dancers keeps passing to the rear, two by the left and two by the right; the back rows keep moving up, all in time with the music. After singing the air right through once the front rank passes to the rear. Those not carrying clubs clap the hands with the arms held stiffly between the knees, and palms hollow, as the feet are stamped, and in time with the music. At the finish, the dancers spring into the air with shouts or with a whirring noise made with the tongue.




Teacher.--Our lesson is, Saul at Damascus, Acts 9.

(The answers are made by the class in rotation.)

[19] Teacher.--When God appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, did He tell him fully what to do?

Answer.--No, He bid him go to the city and there it would be told him what to do.

Teacher.--Tell me, what means did God use to inform Saul?

Answer.--He sent a man named Ananias to tell him God's will and to baptize him.

Teacher.--Did God not speak to him Himself?

Answer.--No, He sent a man to tell him.

Teacher.--And Cornelius too, how did God instruct him?

Answer.--He sent Peter to tell him the way of salvation.

Teacher.--How did Jesus provide for, men to hear the Gospel?

Answer.--He sent the Twelve Apostles and the seventy disciples to tell them.

Teacher.--But tell me, what is the greatest proof of all that it is through man himself that God chooses to declare His will for man?

Answer.--God sent His Son to become Man, and to live on the earth as Man, and to teach men, and then die for men.

Teacher.--What does Jesus Christ call us men?

Answer.--His brethren.

Teacher.--And Who is the Mediator between God and man?

Answer.--The Man Christ Jesus.

Teacher.--What means does God employ then to make His will known to us?

Answer.--He uses men to teach men.

Teacher.--Can they do this by themselves?

Answer.--No, but God makes them able.

Teacher.--How came it that you have heard the Gospel?

Answer.--Because God sent missionaries to teach us.

Teacher.--How are all your people who are still in darkness to hear it?

Answer (all looking up shyly) I suppose we must teach them.

Teacher.--Yes, indeed you must. God has taught you to believe in Him, to pray to Him and to hope for salvation through His Son. He has taught you His love in sending His Son to die for you, and now He calls you to help your brethren, who yet are ignorant of the light. You can do it through Jesus Who strengtheneth you. Our own forefathers were not more able to teach their people once than you to teach your people now. You remember our Lord's parable about the draw-net, [19/20] well, you our trained teachers must be the black meshes of the net whilst we your white teachers are the white corks.

(Exeunt children.)

(Boy, Veveg, shyly returns.)

Teacher soliloquises.--Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send forth labourers into His harvest! Ay! He will reap it in His own time but it may be that we have been praying too long for white labourers when all the while here are these dear lads ready and willing to do the work. They are used to the climate and they know the minds of their people. May God the Holy Ghost enliven their minds and consciences that they may be fired to be His instruments in turning their people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God! (Sees boy). Well, my son, what is it you want?

Veveg. (shrugs left shoulder)--Oh, nothing!

(Teacher arranges papers, etc.)



Veveg.--I heard what you said just now.


Veveg.--I have been thinking over our lesson to-day. I mean, what you said about our hearts having been enlightened, and about God's love in sending His Son to live amongst men, and I think it would be good if I were to go and work on a heathen island like Mala, since there are so many teachers in our own place.

Teacher.--But what about your relations? Would they be willing? Your father and mother are old, and you are their only son.

Veveg.--My father and mother are both Christians, and they know the words of the Lord Jesus, how He bids His disciples go and teach all nations. They two will be willing to give me up and they live amongst their own people and will be cared for.

Teacher.--But the people of Mala are very wild and fierce.

Veveg.--But is not God there also, and did not Jesus say, "Lo, I am with you all the days?"

Teacher (Lays his hand on the boy's shoulder).--I am glad, Veveg, that you are thus moved by the Holy Spirit, we two will pray to Him to direct you aright and to bless your parents. We must have another talk about it. (Bell rings.) There is the bell ringing for bed. Good night.

[21] ACT III.

A number of Natives seated on floor or standing outside

(Enter missionary.)

Missionary--Good morning all.

(Man, Rowo, presents a bottle.)

Missionary.--Well, how is this? All that medicine gone? Why, there was enough to last you for several days!

Rowo.--My father, I drank a little, just that much, (puts finger on bottle) as you told me, and it did me much good; so I thought that if I were to drink a big drink of it I should get well quick. Thus I drank it all off at once. Please give me some in case I am ill again.

(Man, Vano, holds up bottle rolled up in many wrappers of leaves.)

Missionary.--Well, what have you got there?

Vano.--We want to know if this is a bottle of poison?

Missionary.--Where did it come from? (Unwraps it).

Vano.--They brought it back from Queensland, and we all were frightened of it. They said it was poison, and that they would put it into our food.

Missionary.--Humph! I don't think that you need have any fear of it: at any rate we'll empty it out. (Reads label), "Eyedrops as before."

Longa (pulling sleeve).--Father, I had one dose of that medicine and the sickness left my head and settled in my side; then another dose sent it to the other side. Then it went into my legs, and now it is in my feet. If the pain had worked upwards I should have died. When I have another dose it will go right out at my toes. Father (pleadingly) I should like a little tobacco. You have cured me, now please give me a smoke!

First Woman (pushing another forward).--Father, this woman wants some thread to sew with.

Missionary.--Well, I have only one reel, but you can have some of that. (Breaks off some.)

Second Woman.--Thread is not much use without a needle.

Missionary.--Dear me, do you think I keep a shop! however, I can find one for you. (Gives one.)

[22] Lau.--What means this writing on this paper? The man who owned it was working in Queensland. He is dead now, and all the people are saying that the paper is English money.

Missionary (reading).--"This is to certify that Jimmy Crow is a fully-qualified seaman! "No money there I fear!

(Second woman beckons him, fingers held downwards, and bent inwards.)

Woman.--Needle and thread are very good, but I have no cloth to sew!

Missionary.--Well, this is really too much. I only have one piece of print left, and I was keeping it for one of my boat's crew.

Woman.--Give it to me, please, I want it. (Gives her piece of Turkey Red).

Missionary.--And now you must all go away.


(Enter Native Teacher, Sapi, clad in shirt and trousers.)

Missionary.--Well, Sapi, this has been a trying morning. There has been such a crowd of people about, and the way they watched me! Their eyes followed my every movement, and all of them were making the most open and frank comments on everything!

Sapi.--Do you remember the two old men to whom you gave a piece of preserved peach yesterday? I overheard one of them say to the other, "Brother, when I was working in Bundaberg, I never ate anything like this," "I should think not," replied the other, "you were only a hired man working for wages, and this is kings' food!"

Missionary.--My bacon caused the greatest excitement. The cook boy was very proud of showing it. They could hardly believe that it was pig. "Wouldn't it go bad?" "Had it really come from Sydney?" Why, when they killed a pig it had to be all eaten forthwith, and here was I eating pig that had come across the sea and was still fit to eat. Behold another of the white man's wonders!

Sapi.--Yes, things will not keep in this climate, but I did hear of some of the heathen villages on the other coast who made yam puddings in preparation for a feast that was to take place twelve months later! I shouldn't care to be one of the guests at their feast!

[23] Missionary.--As I was going through the village this morning, I had an admiring crowd of boys at my heels. A man stepped out of a house and beckoned me to stand up against a coconut tree. Then one of the boys climbed up the tree and chopped a mark in it to show my height.

Sapi.--Yes, and now everyone who passes by will stand and measure himself there, and all will exclaim at your height.

Missionary.--My experience at the bathing pool was rather trying to my nerves. I found some of the Port Adam people there, and they had never seen a white skin before. Old Oikata was with them and he very much wanted to feel my arm, but I laughed and put him off with a present of a bit of soap.

Sapi.--He was the chief who was keeping prisoner those two men from Santa Cruz whom the Bishop got hold of and returned to their home, and thus opened the way again to Santa Cruz.

Missionary.--Many a man has he killed! How delighted white children would have been to see such a famous person. Fancy meeting a cannibal and a murderer as you are going into your bath!

Sapi.--My father, all our people are saying how marvellous it is that you should be able to talk our language. Christianity is ever so much more real to them now that they hear you speaking their words and applying them to their lives. The old words that belonged to their heathen religion and to their sacrifices have been given a new meaning in Christ, and the old natural religion of our ancestors has thus been consecrated to the service of God. Old things have indeed become new!

Missionary.--You and I have a big task before us, Sapi. God wishes that all men everywhere should hear in their own tongue of His wonderful works; and every language is ennobled and indeed attains its highest destiny when the message of the Gospel is conveyed in it; and what a delight it is, both for people and priest, when the Holy Mysteries can be celebrated, and the Holy Food offered, in words that are the people's very own!

Sapi.--Let us set to work at once! I will have a talk with some of the older men, they know our language best, and will be able to give us the most fitting words.

(Enter man, Rowo.)

Rowo.--My father, can you come with me and give the chief some medicine, he is very ill with fever?

[24] Missionary.--What do you say, Sapi? I might give him some quinine, but since he is still a heathen it might be risky. In the event of his not recovering there might be a danger of our being accused of having caused his death.

Sapi.--No, we must all taste it first before we give it to him, and then all the people will know that we are not trying to charm him to death with it.

Missionary.--Very well, you two go and prepare them and I will follow. I must take the medicine into church and say a prayer over it and ask God to bless it so that the man may recover. With the chief favourable to us we shall have a better chance of being listened to.





Group of natives seated on floor. Combs in hair, bags over shoulders. White Missionary seated at table. He is clothed in white duck, or wears white cassock.

Rowo.--Father, we want you to decide what we are to do in the case of a pig that breaks into the gardens.

Missionary.--Isn't that a matter that the village council can decide for themselves?

Rowo.--Yes, but we cannot agree among ourselves and we want you to settle the matter for us.

Missionary.--Well, what is your own native law in the matter?

Rowo.--Ah, pigs that eat our gardens are very fruitful causes of strife. Once they have acquired the habit there is no cure for them. Generally the owner of the garden in his anger kills the pig straight away.

Missionary.--And what happens then?

Rowo.--Oh, there is a row and the owner of the pig demands payment.

Missionary.--Well, I think your best plan is this. Go to the owner of the pig and ask him if he will make good the damage done. If he assents, the pig lives, if not, he dies.

All.--It is a good word, it shall be so.

Vano.--There is another matter that we want to speak about. We have been talking among ourselves and we want you to start a store so that we may buy things from you.

[25] Missionary.--But I have not come among you to provide you with things for your bodies. My concern is with your souls, and now that I live amongst you, you must regard me as the purveyor of spiritual things.

Vano.--Yes, my father, that is so indeed, but you brought some very nice axes, and a large axe is a very good thing! If you are our father you must provide for us your children.

Missionary.-I will try and get a trader to come here and open a store.

All.--That will be very good. We want English things.

Missionary.-And now I want to speak to the young men. I heard some of them were tormenting some of the old men and making fun of them, laughing at the old heathen superstitions. I think that more respect should be shewn to age.

Longa.--Yes, but they humbugged us in heathen days, and pretended that those noises you heard us making with the bull roarers were made by the ghosts. They used to go about at night in dresses of leaves, whirling bull roarers and whistling and pretending they were ghosts and demanding yam mashes and puddings and all kinds of food. We, poor frightened ones, not being initiated, handed out bowls of food through a slit above the door, and then these men took the food away and ate it with their friends who were in the secret. Now that the people have given up worshipping the ghosts, and the secrets are all known, we have taken the bull roarers for ourselves.

Missionary.--Well, we must all act in love and commend our religion by shewing kindness, even to those who have deceived us.

All.--It is good, they must not be teased any more.

Lau.--A crocodile took one of the women at our village, Salenga, as she was standing in the sea filling her bamboo with salt water. The heathen party say that the ghosts sent the crocodile, because they were angry at no one worshipping them any longer, and some of the people have left off coming to school, and the heathen demand that we pay a fine to the woman's relations.

Missionary.--What do you yourselves say about it?

Lau.--Some of us tried to find the crocodile and kill it, for we know now that God is the Maker and Master of the sea and all that is in it, but in heathen days we all believed in the anger of the ghosts and in their power to work evil thus.

[26] Missionary.--I grieve over the woman's death, but human life all the world over is frequently at the mercy of such things as these crocodiles. Some day God will assert his mastery over all these evil things and Death and Hell will acknowledge Him as Lord. We must pray that these people come back to the light. Stand firm and act in love towards them that are without, and in time you will win them all.



Two natives, Tataro and Figona, seated on floor or oil chairs. Table, papers, etc.

Tataro.--Our father is late to-night. He was called away to the other end of the village. Our work nears completion, brother, we shall soon be able to read the Gospel written in our own language.

Figona.--What a change has come over our lives, brother, since the Gospel light began to shine in our land! Nowadays we can travel anywhere and have no need to carry weapons. Even when Soga died no one was killed, and no sacrifices were made to the ghosts; we went on with our ordinary work just the same, we were able to bathe and to eat our food in peace just as if nothing had happened. And you know what the old customs were when a chief died!

Tataro.--Yes, now we dwell in peace and love with all our neighbours. In the old days we were almost afraid to leave home, and at nights we never slept properly but had always to keep watch, and now we can shut our doors and sleep till morning. Many a man was shot at night in his house as he sat in the light of his fire!

Figona.--Look, too, at the numbers of children there are in the village! The new teaching has stopped the mothers from killing the babies.

Tataro.--When my father died, they were all at me to kill someone to make things square, but I said that I had done with killing, and that I intended now to save life instead of taking it. So I have adopted a boy and have given him my father's name.

Figona.--I hear that Horo of Ramo has asked for a teacher. When his son died he was weighed down with grief, and he wants to know what this new teaching is about the life beyond the grave. He heard us talking about it when he carne here on a visit. He wants to be taught so that he may be able to find his son when he dies.

[27] Tataro.--Ha! we used to think that old Kikiri Kwau, the ghostly executioner, came in his canoe and took away souls of the dead to their Paradise at Malapa.

Figona.--Yes, and a poor life they had of it there! Only a make-believe kind of existence and then turning into ants' nests. My father hid all his money during his lifetime so that when he died he might have much treasure in Paradise. I suppose that if ever I find it it will all have perished and be good for nothing. What queer notions we had in our heathen days, only the merest shadow of the truth!

(Enter Missionary, carrying lantern.)

Missionary.--Well my two friends, and what are you talking about?

Figona.--We were talking about the difference between our lives now and when we believed in the ghosts. As for me, when I believed in the ghosts, I was like a woman carrying a heavy load. I could not run and I was forced to look at every step I took lest I should do something I ought not to and hurt myself. But now my burden has gone and I feel as light as a dead leaf, I fear to tread nowhere.

Missionary.--Yes, God has worked wonders in your life and in the lives of many here.

Tataro.--To me everything seems new. You say just what we heard before, but the words seem to have a new meaning and a new power. We two here, Figona and I, could not even wish to think the old thoughts or to lead the old life.

Missionary.--Surely you two know what it is, what power alone can change the thoughts and wishes of the heart?

Both (slowly and earnestly).--It must be the work of the Holy Ghost.

Missionary.--I feel sure it is, and I thank God for it. I am reaping now the fruit, but the seed was sown by those dear lads from the Norfolk Island school.

Figona. (musingly).--The old life was evil. What we have been taught about God is the truth. We two feel it so in our hearts. New desires and new hopes have sprung up in us. The new life is full of joy and hope.

Tataro.--But it is all so weighty, we are afraid. Suppose that after making the promises in Baptism we were to go back!

Missionary.--What is it that you two fear? God's power and love or your own weakness?

Figona.--No, it is not that we doubt His power and love, but what if we were to fall away?

[28] Missionary.--Doesn't He promise His help to those who need it?

Tataro.--Yes, we both know that.

Missionary--Do you two pray to Him?

Figona.--We don't know how to pray properly, but we say, "God, enlighten our hearts and take away the darkness. We believe in Your love because You sent Jesus to become man and to die for us, but we can't understand it all. Make us fit to be baptised."

Missionary.--If you two men really long to lead a new life and pray to God to strengthen you, then come in faith nothing doubting.

Both. (Earnestly)--That is indeed our desire.

Missionary.--And who shall then say that because this people may be doomed to die out it is of no use or a waste of time carrying the Gospel to them? Is it not rather a case where we ought to be more anxious to gather up the fragments, to do God's work while it is yet day? Let us thank God that the light has shined upon them who sat in the region and shadow of death!

(People all enter. They sing Hymn A. & M. 80.)

(1) O sul me to-ga lo-lo-quong
Me i-lo va-la-war.
O sul me to-ga lo ma-tea
We rong-o-tag o es.

(2) I va-es-u me wo-ta ma
Me tak ma o mar-an;
Me a-ra o sil-sil-i-ga,
Me ma-na o ma-tea.

(3) Ni we tak ma o ta-ma-ta
O ling-e ta-pe-va;
O ta-nun nol te pul-pul kel
Ul mot o va-ga-lo.

(4) Je-sus me wo-ta. Nat-un God
Me ta-nun pe-ni-na.
O sul me to-ga lo-lo-quong
Me i-lo va-la-war. Amen.



(1) On the names of the actors in the play.

Figona is a San Cristoval word and is used to describe those spiritual beings, the object of worship, which are never regarded by the native mind as having once been men. The same word appears in Florida as Vigona, and in Ulawa as Hi'ona.

Tataro is a Mota word, and is equivalent to the San Cristoval word 'ataro, or the Sa'a word 'akalo, that is, a ghost of power. The tataro of the Banks Islands is strictly an invocation of the dead, and is no doubt so called because the form begins with the word tataro.

Rowo, Vano, are Mota words, and are used as adverbs of direction. Longa and Lau are Florida words, and are used as adverbs of direction. Sapi is a shortened form of the Florida name Sapibuana. Charles Sapibuana was one of the best of the Florida native teachers. He was taken away as a small boy by Bishop Patteson to Norfolk Island in 1867, and was a contemporary of Joseph Wate, who went up to Norfolk Island the same voyage. Sapibuana was ordained deacon by Bishop J. R. Selwyn, but died at Norfolk Island when reading for priest's orders.

Veveg is a Mota word, and means "judge."

(2) The use of the term "The gods."

Melanesians believe in the existence of both spirits and ghosts. It is most important to distinguish between spirits who are beings of an order higher than mankind and the disembodied spirits of men, which have become in the vulgar sense of the word ghosts. All Melanesians believe in thee existence both of spirits that never were men, and of ghosts which are the disembodied souls of men deceased. The Melanesian Mission, under the guidance of Bishop Patteson, has used in all the islands the English word God. (Codrington Mel. Anthrop. p. 120.)

In Act I. the term "the gods" is used for the sake of the audience, since any personal object of worship among natives is taken by the European observer to be a god or a devil.

[30] (3) The washing of the canoe.

In Florida and in the islands in the west of the Solomons names were given to the large canoes. One made at Olevuga was called Biku, after a relation of its owner. It would carry thirty paddlers and as many sitters. When it was cemented with tita a hundred pigs were killed for the feast. Such a canoe required a life for its inauguration. In the Eastern Solomons if no victim were met with in the first voyage of a new canoe, the chief to whom the canoe belonged would privately arrange with some neighbouring chief to let him have some one of his men, some friendless man probably, or some stranger, who would then be killed, perhaps as he went out to look at the new canoe. Further west also captives were kept with a view to the taking of their heads when new canoes were launched. (Codrington Mel. Anthrop, p. 297.)

(4) Daula, Hauri, Manoga, Bagea.

In the Solomon Islands the ghosts, the disembodied spirits of the dead, are the sole objects of worship. The belief in Florida and the neighbouring parts is fixed that every tindalo (the objects of worship) was once a man, yet some whose names are known to everyone, Daula and Hauri, associated respectively with the frigate-bird and the shark, have passed far away from any historical remembrance. Daula, indeed, under the name of Kaula, is venerated at Ulawa. One tindalo commonly known, whose worship in Florida is not local, is Manoga. At sacrifices offered to him little boys are present, and sometimes even women partake of the sacrificial food. (Mel. Anthrop. p.p. 126, 131.)

They invoke also bagea as their grandfather, the word bagea meaning any shark, and any tindalo that has taken up its abode in a shark, or is represented by one, being called Bagea. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 145.)

In the Solomon Islands when an expedition has started there is sometimes a hesitation whether they shall proceed. A Sorcerer divines; he declares that he has felt a tindalo come on board, for one side of the canoe has been pressed down; he therefore asks the question, "Shall we go on?" If the canoe rocks the answer is in the affirmative; if it lies steady it is negative. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 210.)

A man will deny an accusation by his forbidden food, butunggu! by some tindalo, Daula, the ghostly frigate-bird, or Bagea, the ghostly shark. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 217.)

[31] (5) Biscuits called moons.

In the days before any white man had ever landed at Ulawa, in the S.E. Solomons, the people there saw an object floating in the sea off the island. The strange appearance of it was quite sufficient to cause them to associate it with the ghosts, 'akalo, and so to abstain from approaching it all closely. It really was an iron ship's tank filled with round large Navy Bread biscuits, and probably it had been washed off some whaler. At last after much summoning of the ghosts to their aid they got ropes and creepers out of the forest and proceeded to tow it ashore. They were ignorant of the secret of the lid, and they battered a hole in its side with rocks. Of course no one dared to eat of the biscuits, and they were all hung up in festoons round the various-canoe houses in the island. The old men in Ulawa in quite recent days always spoke of biscuits (now much prized) as "moons." The iron lid of the tank served as a bell in the early days of the school at Madoa, Ulawa.

(6) Ghosts' Food.

The belief at Sa'a is that all ghosts upon leaving the body swim first to the S.E. Cape, Nieeahau, then to Cape Arona in Ulawa, then to the Three Sisters, then to Hada in San Cristoval, and lastly to Malapa, two islands in Marau Sound, Guadalcanar. The ghostly inhabitants of Malapa live something like a worldly life; the children chatter and annoy the older ghosts, so they are placed apart on the other island; there are houses, gardens and canoes, yet all is unsubstantial. This ghostly life is not eternal; the mere 'akalo (ghosts of ordinary people) turn into white ants' nests, which again become the food of the still vigorous ghosts. The lioa ghosts of power last longer, but in time they turn into ants' nests also. There are two rulers of Malapa--Kari'eu and Kikiri-kwau, the cutter-off of heads. These two go about in their canoes, one collecting ghosts, the other heads. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 260.)

(7) Control of the weather.

In Melanesia it is believed that spirits and ghosts have power over the weather; it follows, then, that the men who have familiar intercourse with spirits and ghosts are believed to be able to move them to interfere for wind or calm, sunshine or rain, as may be desired. In Florida the mane nggehe vigona, when a calm was wanted, tied together the leaves appropriate to his vigona and hid them in the [31/32] hollow of a tree where water was, calling on the vigona spirit with the proper charm. The same things were done in the Banks' Islands. There was a large shell filled with earth, and a rounded oblong stone standing up in it, the whole thing surrounded with sticks, a sort of fence with a creeper twined in and out. I innocently asked my friend what this was; "the wind is fenced or bound round, lest it blow hard" he answered. I asked whether the wind would nor blow hard, and he answered "No, not while that lasts, when it rots then it can blew again." (Mel. Anthrop. p. 200.)

(8) Early opinion of natives as to white men.

When Mr. Patteson first landed in Mota, the Mission party having been seen in the previous year at Vanua Lava, there was a division of opinion among the natives; some said that the brothers of Quat had returned, certain supernatural beings of whom stories are told; others maintained that they were ghosts. Mr. Patteson retired from the heat and crowd into an empty house, the owner of which had lately died; this settled the question, he was the ghost of the late householder, and knew his home. To the question why the Santa Cruz people shot at Bishop Patteson's party in 1864, when, as far as can be known, they had not as yet any injuries from white men to avenge, the natives have replied that their elder men said that these strange beings would bring nothing but disaster, and that it was as well to drive them away; and as to shooting at them, they were not men, and the arrows could not do them much harm. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 11.)

It was from Gaua that the story makes Quat to have taken his departure from the world. Where now in the centre of that island there is a great lake, there was formerly a great plain covered with forest. Quat cut himself a large canoe there. His brothers ridiculed him and asked how he would ever get so large a canoe to sea. When the canoe was finished he took inside it his wife and brothers. Then came a deluge of rain; the great hollow of the island became full of water, which burst through the surrounding hills where now descends the great waterfall of Gaua. The canoe tore a channel for itself out into the sea and disappeared. Some years after Bishop Patteson's first landing at Mota, a small trading vessel ran on the reef at Gaua and was lost. The old people, seeing her apparently standing in to the channel of the waterfall stream, cried out that Quat was come again, and that his canoe knew her own way home. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 166.)

[33] (9) Four eyes like a crocodile.

This of course refers to the wearing of eyeglasses. The natives of Ysabel maintain that crocodiles have four eyes, two for clear water, and two for mud.

(10) Early opinion of natives as to guns.

The people of Sa'a, Malaita, gave the name of 'uhi'uhi, i.e., blow-blow, to the guns used by their white visitors. Presumably the smoke of the discharge was considered as coming from a fire inside the gun which the man holding it blew upon and caused to flame. They had no conception as to what the missile was that was discharged by the gun, and probably they connected the report of the gun with thunder and lightning.

(11) Forbidden food

One of the very first lessons learnt by a Florida child is what is its buto, its abomination, to eat or touch or see which would be a dreadful thing. In one case this buto is the living creature from which the clan takes its name; the Kakau clan may not eat the Kakau crab. The Lahi clan may not eat of a white pig; the Manukama may not eat the pigeon. (Mel. Anthrop. p. 31.)

(12) Superstition as to the eating of bananas.

It was observed with surprise when a Mission school was established at Ulawa, that the people of the place would not eat bananas, and had ceased to plant the tree. It was found that the origin of this restraint was recent and well remembered; a man of much influence had at his death not long ago prohibited the eating of bananas after his decease, saying that he would be in the banana. The elder natives would still give his name and say, "We cannot eat so-and-so." When a few years had passed, if the restriction had held its ground, they would have said, "We must not eat our ancestor." (Mel. Anthrop. p. 32.)

(13) The leader of the expedition sitting in the canoe with head bowed.

A chief of Malaita, or a fighting man, Ramo, would bind himself by an oath, ha'apunge, on the death of anyone belonging to him, a child or a dependent, whether that death were due to sickness or accident, or to the strategy of the enemy, that he would avenge the death and would kill the first person his eyes alighted on. Accordingly, if on his expedition he were met by a friendly traveller, or met friends in a canoe, he kept his face averted from them.

[34] (14) Bull-roarers.

The bull-roarer is the name given to the apparatus by which the peculiar, and certainly very impressive sound is made, which was believed by the outsiders to be the cry or voice of the ghosts. This is s smooth flat stone, on which the butt end of a fan or palm is rubbed. The vibration of the fan produces an extraordinary sound, which can be modulated in strength and tone at the will of the performer, and which proceeding in the stillness of daybreak from the mysterious recesses of the men's clubhouse, may well have carried with it the assurance of a supernatural presence and power.

In Florida, the bull-roarers were associated with the secret society, the Matlambala. When the worship of the ghosts was given up throughout Florida owing to the progress of Christianity, the sacred precincts of the Matambala sanctuaries were explored, bull-roarers became the plaything of the boys, and the old men sat and wept over the profanation and their loss of power and privilege. (Mel. Anthrop. p.p. 80, 98).

(15) Reasons assigned for the refusing of girls as prospective wives.

The account is taken from a native story. The excuses are purely fictitious, and in most of the cases are merely trumped up, but when applied to the villages in question they show a good deal of dry wit and form a fair commentary on the habits of the people of the various places.

(16) The word Vaka as meaning ship.

The Mota word for canoe aka came to be used also of ship. Mota speaking natives accompanied Bishop Patteson to the Solomons, and from them the use of the word aka came into general use, either in the form of vaka in Florida, or haka in San Cristoval and Malaita.

(17) Sambeeree (Florida sambiri) means "trade, barter." Pipiala may be the Florida form of the English word "pipe."

(18) Act II, Scene I, "a pig for the Southerners to eat."

The winners in a game are said (by the people of Mota) to place a pig for their opponents to eat. If a point is scored on the other side the pig is said to be returned.

(19) The music set for the dance was copied from Guppy's Solomon Islands p. 141. The air was first heard in the Western Solomons.

Natives of Obid, Ulawa, Solomons.

Three Melanesian Deacons.

Project Canterbury