The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 290 pages of information about The Mafulu.

Dealing with this question of imitation as a whole, and taking into consideration the apparently marked similarities between the dancing of the two tribes of natives and the two genera of birds, and the further element, perhaps not so strong, as to the similarities in distribution upon the bodies of their decorations, and bearing in mind the evidence obtained from native sources, which, though obviously only fragmentary and insufficient in character, is so far as it goes distinctly confirmatory, I am impelled to suggest that Father Clauser’s theory is not without foundation, and indeed amounts, subject to the question of the species of bird of paradise, to a very substantial possibility.  And it is undoubtedly an interesting one. [94]

Toys and Games.

The Mafulu children have neither dolls nor other toys, and do not make cat’s-cradles.  The young boys amuse themselves with small bows and arrows and spears, which they make themselves.  One common sport is for the boys, armed with their spears, to stand in a row and for another boy to roll in front of them a ball, made out of the root of a banana tree, with its many rootlets intertwined, and for the boys to try to hit it with their spears as it passes them.  A similar game is played in Mekeo and on the coast; but there the ball is often made out of the outer fibre of a cocoanut.  Small boys and girls amuse themselves with glissading down the steep grassy slopes.  There is also a sort of fighting game for boys, in which young men sometimes join.  A number of them divide themselves into two opposing groups, all armed with little darts, made of reeds on which a few leaves are left at the head ends; and these two groups mutually attack each other, advancing and retreating, according to the fortunes of the fight.  Boys, and men also, play at tug-of-war, using long canes for ropes; and boys and girls have swings, constructed either by looping two flexible rope-like tree stems together at the bottom, or with a single rope, with a loop at the bottom, in which to place their feet.  But there are no racing or jumping or gymnastic games, and no group or singing children’s games.


Counting, Currency and Trade


Mafulu counting is accomplished by the use of two numerals (one and two) and of the word “another” and of their hands and feet [95]; and with these materials they have phraseology for counting up to twenty as follows:—­

1 = Fida (one).

2 = Gegedo (two).

3 = Gegedo minda (two and another).

4 = Gegedo ta gegedo (two and two).

5 = Gegedo ta gegedo minda (two and two and another) [or Bodo fida (one hand)].

6 = Gegedo ta gegedo ta gegedo (two and two and two).

7 = Gegedo ta gegedo ta gegedo minda (two and two and two and another) [or Bodo fida ta gegedo (one hand and two) ].

Project Gutenberg
The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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