Sivut kuvina

VIII. TALES OF AGRICULTURE (no. 261-271; cf. Index).


261. An old Bóigu woman named Méte was once cutting up an otóro tree into firewood. Suddenly a large splinter whirled up into the air with a whizzing sound, Bigu-bigu-bigu," and fell down close to the woman; one end sticking into the ground. The woman picked it up and on her return home said to her husband, That thing here, I been hit him along firewood. That piece he been fly, he make noise all same drum, 'Buuu-bigu-bigu-bigu'. He come down, close up hit me." ,,You keep him," the man said, and he thought to himself, By-and-by he come speak along dream." At sunset the woman was made "lazy", and soon she fell into a heavy sleep. The splinter of wood came to her and said, "Mother, that me, that my name boigu (or bigu, for it called out its own name when whirling round). You go bush, cut him skin belong one wood stirivari, make him rope. You make hole along me close to nose, make fast rope. That time you plant him umámu (yam), you spit him out medicine along garden. You make medicine along woman belong you, rub me along kasávo (semen) and áe-gádi (secretion from the vulva), you sling me round. I make him that medicine fly all over garden, I make noise too, bigu, bigu. That me make altogether garden move, make him grow. What side wind, you go stand up that side. That me proper thing for umámu, medicine go all over garden, belong banana, taro, sweet potato, too. You make (swing) me along nigori too (the turtle-breeding ceremony), make him water lucky. You learn (teach) him people, you stow away along (from) woman, byand-by no more kaikai."

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In the morning the man and woman let the people first go to their gardens whereupon they followed them and hid in the bush. The woman told her husband her dream, and they prepared the bull-roarer as she had been taught, and attached a string to it. The woman swung it round first, and it produced such a sound that the man nearly ran away in terror. Next he swung the bull-roarer, and the ground moved, and the noise resounded like thunder from one end of the island to the other. The Bóigu people could hear the noise and were so frightened that some of them shrieked out and fulfilled their wants involuntarily, for the bull-roarer was a stupendous thing. What name (what is) that noise?" the people shouted. What place he come from? from ground? from heaven?"

The man summoned all the other men, but the women, Méte included, and the children were sent away to Káwamúdo. He donned all his ornaments and sat down in the middle and


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said to the rest, „What thing I show you fellow, no good you show woman, no good you show boy, no man learn (teach) woman belong him; that belong me altogether man, that belong you me (our) kaikai. New boy by-and-by me learn him." Standing up and drawing his bow at the people the man said, What man he tell him woman I shoot him." Then he swung the bull-roarer round producing a tremendous sound. The people all ran away, some jumped into the water, and others hid themselves under bushes or in holes in the trees. The man shouted after them, „You fellow no run awaw, belong you me (us), everybody." The women too heard the sound: "What name (what is) that thing?" they wondered, "I fright!" Mete thought, „Oh, man belong me he make him people savy now," but she too, pretended to be frightened.

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The man let the others swing the bull-roarer too, and everyone of them went afterwards and made a similar thing for himself, and the sound of bull-roarers was heard all over Bóigu. The first man taught the rest how to use them when planting yams. The Sáibai and Búdji men and many other people came to find out what the wonderful sound was, and all wanted bullroarers. They brought their women to the Bóigu men as the price of their admission into the secret, and somewhat reluctantly the Bóigu men gave them bull-roarers and showed them how to handle them. The use of bull-roarers began in Bóigu and spread thence all over the country. The old people prepared the secret „medicine" for the bull-roarers, and the younger men only used them when ready, for not until they had attained a considerable age were all the details revealed to them. (Námai, Mawáta).


A. All the yams came from Búdji, but formerly they did not grow well. A Búdji woman discovered the use of bull-roarers exactly as in the first version. Máigidúbu, the snake man (cf. no. 414), came and taught her in a dream how to swing the instrument in order to wake him up ground“ before planting yams. She imparted this knowledge to her husband and all the Búdji people. After using the bull-roarers the people put them down on the eastern side of their gardens, the purpose being to shut him that side where sun he come, no want sun burn him yam.' Then they danced in their gardens with their bows and arrows drawn and sang,


„Sa sa kóko bábi sa." „Sa sa iru bábi sa.“ Babi means "grow" and kóko and iru are two kinds of yam. And they went through the names of all the different kinds of yam in the same way. When the planting was over and the people had returned home, one of the leaders performed the karéa rite (cf. p. 14) calling upon all the different yams to grow. These observances are still kept up. (Gaméa, Mawáta).

THE FIRST COCONUT (Kíwai version).

262. The Neiábo people in Díbiri were bailing out a creek on the Gáma-óromo (river). There was a woman named Kakinábo who had a large growth like a ball hanging between her legs, and the other women were ashamed on her account. Some of the people sent her and a man named Barikábo to the bush to fetch some bark of a te palm which was needed for bailing out the water. When the two were alone in the bush Barikábo had connection with the woman, and in the act the "string" which held the large ball was severed, and the thing dropped off. The man and woman pitched it into the water without thinking anything further about it. On

their return the people called out, "Oh. that woman he all right, nice now.
now, that's why me fellow send you two go there." And the two were married.

Another day Kakinábo went to swim in the creek. While she was in the water the same large ball which was floating about there followed her closely wherever she went. She thought that it was a fish and called to Barikábo, More better you come close along water, every time one good fellow fish come swim." Barikábo fetched his gonéa (conical fish-trap) and tried to catch the supposed fish, for neither of them knew what it really was. Barikábo tipped the gonea over the fish, but the ball broke its. way through the basket-work of the trap and escaped. The woman scolded him for his clumsiness, and he tried to think of a better device for catching the fish.

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The following day Barikábo provided himself with a bow and three-pronged arrow, and he and his wife went together to the creek. When the ball came floating along Barikábo shot his arrow at it, and one of the points which was made of hard páruu (the surface wood of a palm) penetrated the shell, while the two others which were made of hevágore-wood broke off. 61 Barikábo picked up the thing and looked at it: What name (what is) this one?" he exclaimed, ,,he no fish. More better I chuck him away." And he threw it away into the brushwood near by. The man and woman did not know that they had made" that thing.

One night the ball came to Barikábo in a dream and said, "Father, you been chuck me away, you been forget. You go look what place you been chuck me. That tree he stop that place, that me." Barikábo woke up and thought, "Oh, that thing I chuck away, he come along

When daylight came and the birds began to cry, he called his dogs and went out. But instead of looking for pigs he went straight to the place indicated in the dream. There stood a large coconut tree. Plenty of nuts were hanging on the tree, and many dry ones were lying on the ground. Barikábo thought, "I been chuck away that thing, I think he no fish, he no good. That (is) good fellow thing, I been forget all about that good thing."

He husked one of the nuts, broke it open, and by way of trial gave a piece of the kernel to one dog which he did not care about, not one of the good dogs. But the good dogs all sprang up, bit the other, and snatched away the coconut which they devoured. They licked their lips and whined for more. The man waited a little, but as nothing happened, he thought, ,,Oh, that good kaikai," and he broke off a small piece and tasted it himself, and it was nice.

Barikábo picked up one dry and one green coconut and brought them home in a temporary basked (kamasu). He did not speak to anybody but hung up the basket over his sleeping place, thinking, "More better I sleep first, I wait what time that dog he die, what time I lose him life. Suppose to-morrow I life, I learn (teach) him people." In the night he dreamt that the coconut came and said, „Father, you no fright. I been come before, you find me again. That's my name coconut, that's my name ói, that's my name gágama (cf. no. 4)," and it went through all its names, seven in number. Then it continued,,,Me fellow half belong kaikai, half belong drink water. You go learn (teach) him people. Me no belong bad thing, me belong make life; man he hungry he kaikai me, make everybody grow."

Barikábo got up and felt very glad. He produced the coconuts and showed them to the people, saying, "You fellow see him here, name belong coconut, ói. He good kaikai, you take out skin, everybody kaikai. To-morrow you me (we) go take plenty coconut."

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The next day a great many people assembled and went to see the coconut palm. Barikábo placed them in groups round the tree and said to the first group, „You stand up here, this side belong you fellow, green coconut on top, dry coconut along ground." To the next group he said, "Coconut on top (and) along ground, altogether this side he belong you." Thus he marked out which nuts belonged to the different groups of people. All collected their coconuts and went home, and the dry nuts were planted together with a certain medicine" which consisted of a small piece of the skin of a crocodile. The coconut had taught. Barikábo to use that „medicine" which referred to the time when the coconut had floated in the water like a fish or a crocodile. Even now the people use the same „medicine" when planting coconuts. (Námai, Mawáta).

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A. The Díbiri people were bailing out the water of a river in order to find Mérave's drum (cf. no. 56). Kakinado, a woman, had a coconut hanging between her legs, and a man named Rasúsure cut it off under exactly the same circumstances as in the first version. They threw the coconut into the water, where one day it was speared by Rasúsure as told before, and since then every coconut has a hole where one of the points penetrated the shell and two marks from the other points (cf. no. 263). The man afterwards found the coconut tree and distributed the nuts among the people (Gibúma, Mawáta).

B. The origin of the first coconut was the same as in the two preceding versions. The man's name was Barikábo and the woman's Gágena. The nut was speared in the water by Barikábo, thence the hole and the two marks in the shell. Barikábo was visited by the tree in a dream, and he made his dogs eat a little of the kernel. The old men examined the nuts, but none of them knew what they were, and a blind man tasted them first. Nábeamuro (cf. no. 57), Mórigiro (cf. no. 57), Begerédubu (cf. no. 109), and Meséde (cf. no. 45), were among the people who assembled to see the tree. The men tried in vain to climb the palm, and it was only after the women had flung up their grass petticoats into the leaf-axils by way of decorating the tree that some boy managed to get up. The women's petticoats are still to be seen in the axils of the leaves; there is a sort of frilly piece that suggests a skirt. Some people obtained many coconuts and others none or only a few, this is why the number of coconut trees varies so much in different villages. (Káku, Ipisía).

C. (Continuation of no. 56 A). The first coconut derived its origin from a woman as in the previous versions. A man speared it in the water and threw it on shore where it began to grow. The man was told of its existence in a dream, and first made a small dog, then the other dogs, and lastly an old man and woman try the new food. When the people assembled at the coconut palm a man was sent up to fetch some nuts but he slid down. A woman then took off her grass petticoat which was tied round the ankles of a boy to support his feet, and then he managed to climb up. One of the large leaves was once about to fall down, and a woman was sent to tie it up with her grass petticoat, and ever since the leaf-axils are provided with fibrous envelopes which look like women's' skirts. All the people went home with their share of nuts. The Dáru people did not put their nuts in their canoes, as the rest did, but tied them on to the canoe outriggers, and they were washed away. For that reason there were formerly no coconut palms in Dáru. (Tom, Mawáta).


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D. A coconut once came floating from Díbiri to Kiwai and was speared there by a man who took it to be a fish. The coconut struck root, and the tree was found by the same man who made his dogs first taste the kernel. The coconuts were distributed all over the country. (Gabía, Ipisía).

E. Barikábo relieved Kakinábo from the first coconut as told above. Subsequently it was speared by him and struck root. A hunter named Oge (cf. no. 56 B) found the grown coconut tree,


and through him the nuts were distributed among the people. The women decorated the leaf-axils with their petticoats. A man named Kakináburo climbed up the palm, and wherever he rested his head against the trunk it was stained by the red paint with which he had smeared his hair, and since then the trunks of some palms are reddish. For some reason Kakináburo while climbing the palm could neither get up nor down, and was transformed into a sunúbu (ants'-nest), and therefore such are found on the trunks of coconut palms. (Nosóro and Oboráme).

F. A hunter in Díbiri once found a coconut floating in the water, and from it the first coconut palm grew up. The man made his dogs taste the kernel and afterwards distributed the nuts among the people. (Nátai, Ipisía).

.G. When a woman, Kakinábo by name, was once swimming in the water a fruit-spike of a coconut palm passed into her de (vulva) and caused her to become pregnant, and some time afterwards she brought forth a coconut. The rest of the tale runs much like the other versions. (Gaméa, Mawáta).

H. In Rep. Cambr. Anthrop. Exp. vol. v. p. 103. The Stranding of the First Coconut in Muralug. The coconut floated to Muralug from Daudai. A woman who was bathing in the sea saw it and thinking that it was a fish asked her husband to shoot it. He did so and threw the nut on to the shore, and there it started to grow. One night the tree came to him in a dream and told him its various uses. He found the tree and let first the ants and then the bees and dogs taste the kernel of a nut, and finally he ate it himself and found it good.


I. Ibid., vol. vi. p. 52. Discovery of the Use of Coconuts as Food. Gedori, of Mergar in Mer, cut down some coconut trees and one of the nuts rolled into the sea. Thinking that it was a fish he speared it, and the three prongs of his fish-spear penetrated the holes of the nut. He tested the kernel by giving some scrapings to ants, and then ate some himself.

THE FIRST COCONUT (Másingára version).

263. A man named Dági lived alone with his two wives Púepúe and Pópe. He had many children, among them a son named Núe whose mother was Púepúe.

One night the wild fowl was crying in a warakara-tree in the bush, Kekakó knaio nuenue-nue." Dági listened and thought, "Oh, all time wild fowl he sing out name belong my pickaninny." He told Núe to make a gáta (three-pronged arrow), and another night, just before dawn, when the bird was calling, he sent the boy to kill it. Núe went and shot it with the gáta, one of the points pierced the body whereas two broke off (this has reference to the hole and two small depressions in a coconut, cf. no. 262 A). He brought the bird home and said, "Father, he here that man he been sing out me all time." Dági sent him back and said, "Where ne (droppings) belong that pigeon (bird) he stop, you dig him ground, plant him pigeon, nebáre (rump) he go on top, head he go down." And the boy did so.

The thing began to grow with miraculous rapidity, and by the time the boy had got back to his father there stood a tall coconut tree full of fruit, some of which was ripe and had fallen down. One day Núe came back and seeing the tree exclaimed, "Uéi! What name that fruit?" He planted some of the ripe coconuts, and again by the time he had arrived home, they had grown into large trees, some with red and some with green fruit. Núe did not tell his father


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