Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/293
TWO NEW GUINEA STORIES.
do not be afraid, die I shall not, but if I should there are others to take my place. Come, and we shall go to Veata." Consenting, we started, and walked for nearly a mile, when we came to Veata's village. At this season the Maivans turn night into day, because of the mosquitoes. They walk and sit about and smoke all night, and sleep during the day. In walking through the village during the day, groups on mats, dead asleep, may be seen everywhere. Except Rakaanya, of the Humphrey group, I know no place to beat Maiva for these annoying creatures. One of my boat's crew said, "Their noise is loud as Rouna (a large waterfall), and their bites I cannot describe." A teacher walking through the village one evening saw a man killing and eating these enemies. "What, are they nice that you eat them?" "No, but they take my blood, and I kill and eat them in revenge."
Veata, with his wife, was sitting on his platform in the dark, afraid to have a light near that would draw the mosquitos. "Friend, I have come to see your kohu, and especially the burning one." Having strongly impressed on Miria, going along, the necessity of his assisting me, I found now I was about attaining my object. "Tamate, you will see it, they are with my sister; whilst with me I lost father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife and children; and, being frightened, I gave them to my one sister to keep, and she hides them in the earth." After a chew of betel nut we start for the sister's, where he begs to remain awhile to follow us in a short time. On arriving at the Mission House Miria told the natives about to keep away as Veata was coming with his kohu. The teacher's wife had to leave the house, and I with the teacher long waited. The wife, tiring of the long delay, returned and informed us it would be long ere he came, as he was "going through his prayers," and there sure enough he was, on a platform near our house, busily engaged with his bags in front of him. After a long stay Miria entered and saw the house cleared, then Veata came, put down my curtain that makes my end of the house private, asked me to take the light inside, showed me where I was to sit and not lean over his things. Again he began, "Tamate, I think it is good and no harm will come to you; but do not show them to any Maivan or Motuan."