Ballads eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 53 pages of information about Ballads.

{1j} “Namunu-ura.”  The complete name is Namunu-ura te aropa.  Why it should be pronounced Namunu, dactyllically, I cannot see, but so I have always heard it.  This was the clan immediately beyond the Tevas on the south coast of the island.  At the date of the tale the clan organisation must have been very weak.  There is no particular mention of Tamatea’s mother going to Papara, to the head chief of her own clan, which would appear her natural recourse.  On the other hand, she seems to have visited various lesser chiefs among the Tevas, and these to have excused themselves solely on the danger of the enterprise.  The broad distinction here drawn between Nateva and Namunu-ura is therefore not impossibly anachronistic.

{1k} “Hiopa the king.”  Hiopa was really the name of the king (chief) of Vaiau; but I could never learn that of the king of Paea—­pronounce to rhyme with the Indian ayah—­and I gave the name where it was most needed.  This note must appear otiose indeed to readers who have never heard of either of these two gentlemen; and perhaps there is only one person in the world capable at once of reading my verses and spying the inaccuracy.  For him, for Mr. Tati Salmon, hereditary high chief of the Tevas, the note is solely written:  a small attention from a clansman to his chief.

{1l} “Let the pigs be tapu.”  It is impossible to explain tapu in a note; we have it as an English word, taboo.  Suffice it, that a thing which was tapu must not be touched, nor a place that was tapu visited.

{1m} “Fish, the food of desire.”  There is a special word in the Tahitian language to signify hungering after fish.  I may remark that here is one of my chief difficulties about the whole story.  How did king, commons, women, and all come to eat together at this feast?  But it troubled none of my numerous authorities; so there must certainly be some natural explanation.

{1n} “The mustering word of the clan.”

Teva te ua,
Teva te matai!

Teva the wind,
Teva the rain !

{1o} “The star of the dead.”  Venus as a morning star.  I have collected much curious evidence as to this belief.  The dead retain their taste for a fish diet, enter into copartnery with living fishers, and haunt the reef and the lagoon.  The conclusion attributed to the nameless lady of the legend would be reached to-day, under the like circumstances, by ninety per cent of Polynesians:  and here I probably understate by one-tenth.

{1p} See note “1o” above.

THE FEAST OF FAMINE MARQUESAN MANNERS

I. THE PRIEST’S VIGIL

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Ballads from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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