Page:Picturesque New Guinea.djvu/308

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114
PICTURESQUE NEW GUINEA.

collected, on the top of which may be seen tomahawks, beads, tobacco, toeas (armlets), spears, and pearl shell. The sorcerer holds in his hand a piece of an earthenware pot in which there is a parcel containing the splinters, and over which he is supposed to "Meamea." Lost canoes are always easily accounted for by these sorcerers. They have often tried to exorcise the white missionaries and teachers, but of no use, and they give up, saying, "God is strong." Many in the Motu tribe have thrown them over of late years, their revenue has been little. Very few of them come to church yet, we are friendly indeed. My real object in writing this chapter is for the following, which happened only a very short time ago, and four miles from here.

An old widow woman with her two sons, a few years ago, left the village of Kevana—forty miles from here (Port Moresby)—where a part of the Koitapu tribe live, and went to Padiri to live. She was always looked upon as a great sorceress, and her sons assisted her.

Unfortunately she boasted constantly of her great power, which was very displeasing to the chief Eheita and others. During the first months of last year we had no rain on the coast, and many of the plantations suffered in consequence. The old lady and her sons did not try to hide their having something to do with the drought, and for a long time were kept in food and other things; but no rain coming, it was too much for Eheita, and he determined to get rid of so obnoxious a personage and her sons. She was known to have a large bag containing pieces of all kinds of food, which she kept buried near her house. She told them she kept it to prevent rain, and to show them they had no power, that power of that kind rested with her. Eheita must have the bag. One morning very early he came with a pig to her, and begged her to give up the bag and all it contained. After some hesitation one of the sons was sent, and it was brought, Eheita taking it, and scattering the contents all round. The pig was killed and divided, the elder son went with his wife to a plantation to get food, the mother was under the house with a number of other women, and the younger son in the house. Eheita with two others followed to the plantation, and when he had done his work he would shout so that those in the village could do