Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 65 pages of information about Ballads.

{1a} “The aito,” quasi champion, or brave.  One skilled in the use of some weapon, who wandered the country challenging distinguished rivals and taking part in local quarrels.  It was in the natural course of his advancement to be at last employed by a chief, or king; and it would then be a part of his duties to purvey the victim for sacrifice.  One of the doomed families was indicated; the aito took his weapon and went forth alone; a little behind him bearers followed with the sacrificial basket.  Sometimes the victim showed fight, sometimes prevailed; more often, without doubt, he fell.  But whatever body was found, the bearers indifferently took up.

{1b} “Pai,” “Honoura,” and “Ahupu.”  Legendary persons of Tahiti, all natives of Taiarapu.  Of the first two, I have collected singular although imperfect legends, which I hope soon to lay before the public in another place.  Of Ahupu, except in snatches of song, little memory appears to linger.  She dwelt at least about Tepari,—­“the sea-cliffs,”—­the eastern fastness of the isle; walked by paths known only to herself upon the mountains; was courted by dangerous suitors who came swimming from adjacent islands, and defended and rescued (as I gather) by the loyalty of native fish.  My anxiety to learn more of “Ahupu Vehine” became (during my stay in Taiarapu) a cause of some diversion to that mirthful people, the inhabitants.

{1c} “Covered an oven.”  The cooking fire is made in a hole in the ground, and is then buried.

{1d} “Flies.”  This is perhaps an anachronism.  Even speaking of to-day in Tahiti, the phrase would have to be understood as referring mainly to mosquitoes, and these only in watered valleys with close woods, such as I suppose to form the surroundings of Rahero’s homestead.  Quarter of a mile away, where the air moves freely, you shall look in vain for one.

{1e} “Hook” of mother-of-pearl.  Bright-hook fishing, and that with the spear, appear to be the favourite native methods.

{1f} “Leaves,” the plates of Tahiti.

{1g} “Yottowas,” so spelt for convenience of pronunciation, quasi Tacksmen in the Scottish Highlands.  The organisation of eight subdistricts and eight yottowas to a division, which was in use (until yesterday) among the Tevas, I have attributed without authority to the next clan:  see page 33.

{1h} “Omare,” pronounce as a dactyl.  A loaded quarter-staff, one of the two favourite weapons of the Tahitian brave; the javelin, or casting spear, was the other.

{1i} “The ribbon of light.”  Still to be seen (and heard) spinning from one marae to another on Tahiti; or so I have it upon evidence that would rejoice the Psychical Society.

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Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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