The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

The Mafulu villages are generally situated on narrow plateaux or ridges, sloping down on each side; but the plateaux are not usually so narrow, nor the slopes so steep, as are those of the Kuni district, and the villages themselves are not generally so narrow, as the contour of the country does not involve these conditions to the same extent.  Also the Mafulu villages are on the lower ridges only, and not on the high mountains; but the actual elevations above sea-level of these lower ridges are, I think, generally higher than those of the top ridges of the Kuni.  Plate 54 shows the position and surroundings of the village of Salube (community of Auga), and is a good representative example, except that the plate does not show any open grassland.

The villages are, or were, protected with stockades and with pits outside the stockades, and sometimes with platforms on trees near the stockade boundaries, from which platforms the inhabitants can shoot and hurl stones upon an enemy climbing up the slope.  The stockade is made of timber, is about 15 to 25 feet high, and is generally constructed in three or more parallel rows or lines, each of the lines having openings, but the openings never being opposite to one another.  These protections have now, however, been largely, though not entirely, discontinued. [60] It is, or was, also the practice, when expecting an attack, to put into the ground in the approaches to the village calthrop-like arrow-headed objects, with their points projecting upwards.

The average size of the villages is small compared with that of the large villages of Mekeo, some of them having only six or eight houses, though many villages have thirty houses, and some of them have fifty or sixty or more.  The houses and emone are much smaller than those of Mekeo, and much ruder and simpler in construction and they have no carving or other decoration.  There are no communal houses.

The houses are ranged in two parallel rows along the side of the ridge, with an open village space between them, the space being considerably longer than it is broad, and more or less irregular in shape.  The houses are generally built with their door-openings facing inwards towards the village enclosure.

At one end of the village, and facing down the open space, is the chief’s or sub-chief’s emone.  These are, like the Roro marea and the Mekeo ufu, used, not only in connection with ceremonies, but also as living houses for men, especially unmarried men, and for the accommodation of visitors to the village.  There are probably also in the village the emone of one or more of the notables before mentioned, of which one will be at the other end of the village and any others will be among the houses at the side of, and facing into, the village enclosure.  There are not often more than three emone, true or otherwise, in one village.

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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