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quietly out; others curled up on the ground and fell asleep.

Try-It dug his hand into his overalls pocket and drew forth a mouth organ. Putting it to his lips, he breathed out sleepy strains. A little tot in the back row stood up to do a dance in time to the music, while others clapped their hands, but in a few moments everyone was asleep but the schoolmaster. He played on. I could see his long bony legs doing a sort of dance beneath the table. Presently his head began to nod, his arms dropped to his side.

By that time I too had become so drowsy that it was all I could do to stumble across the road into the store. Peni, my store boy, was snoring on the counter. In the corner old William and his crony, Bones, had fallen asleep over a game of checkers. The village street was blazing in the sunlight, and not a soul to be seen the length of it. I went upstairs and stretched out in my steamer chair, intending to read for a few moments, but the book fell from my hands before I had reached the end of the first paragraph. It's a busy life we PukaPukans lead.

One evening, after his hard day's work at the schoolhouse, Sea Foam called at the store. I could see that he had some request to make, for his bearing was both dignified and obsequious. It was like this, he explained: The Reverend Mr. Johns was expected to visit the island by return of Captain Viggo's schooner, and Sea Foam wished to make a fine showing in the school. He remembered that on Rarotonga the school children often sang certain patriotic songs in English, which greatly pleased the missionaries. Now if I would consent to teach the PukaPuka children some such song, Sea Foam would esteem it a great favor.

I readily agreed, and entered the schoolhouse the next morning just as

lessons were beginning. I wrote the verses of 'God Save the King' on the blackboard and then had the children repeat the lines of the first stanza after me. They quickly memorized it, although they were ignorant of the import. In three days' time they had memorized the three stanzas.

Then I began to teach them the air. I played it over and over on my accordion, singing to my own accompaniment. When I thought I had it well impressed upon their minds I rose, swung my hands bandmaster fashion, and said: 'One, two, three, sing!'

Good Lord! I soon realized that I might as well try to teach them Parsifal. However, for a month I persevered and for a month completely failed to din the melody into their heads. They simply could not grasp it, but must chant the words in their own guttural manner, with grunts and weird arpeggios. I then tried various other songs: "The Wearing of the Green,' 'Hail Columbia,' 'Marching through Georgia,' but the result was the same.

After two months of intermittent effort I decided to give up the business. But one evening I chanced to pick up my accordion and finger the keys idly, singing to myself. My friends paid little attention, for American or European music nearly always bores the Puka-Pukans unless it be a song they themselves have adopted and completely transformed for their own use. I went on from one song to another as they happened to come to me, and presently found myself singing the rollicking old slavers' chantey, 'It's Time for Us to Go.'

'A quick run to the south we had, and when we made the bight,

We kept the offing all day long and crossed the bar at night.

Six hundred niggers in the hold and seventy we did stow,

And when we'd clapped the hatches on 't was time for us to go.

"Time for us to go,

Time for us to go,

And when we'd clapped the hatches on
"Twas time for us to go.'

Old William pricked up his ears and Peni leaned forward to mumble something vaguely like 'Time for us to go.' And to my astonishment Little Sea hummed the air without a mistake.

Instantly the thought came to me that this was the song to teach the school children. It had a fine swing to it and the air was one they could master. The next morning I returned to the schoolhouse, and a day or two later I had one hundred and twenty children lustily singing:

"Time for us to go,

Time for us to go,

When the money's out and the liquor's done, Why, it's time for us to go.'

I have since had certain prickings of conscience because of this affair, for when the Reverend Mr. Johns came and Sea Foam had the children rise to greet him with this old slavers' chantey, the missionary was very much upset. I have a warm spot in my heart for the Reverend: he is a truly good man, though somewhat narrow-minded. He knew, of course, that I had taught the children this sinful song, but he never once reproached me. He merely told Sea Foam, later, that he was pleased to find the children learning English so rapidly, but on the whole he believed it would be better for them to learn no more secular songs. Perhaps it was preferable for them to continue with their hymns,' Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow!' and 'Bringing in the Sheaves,' in the native tongue.


When I first came to Puka-Puka, the house on the west side of the trading station was occupied by Old Man

Breadfruit, his wife, and family. One of his children was a tall thin lad named Wail-of-Woe, who was given this name because at the time of his birth neighbors were wailing over the body of a dead baby. Thus most native names are acquired. A man

may be called Sickness, because of some illness in the family at the time of his birth, or Many Fish, in honor of a record catch of albacore.

As I have said, Wail-of-Woe was thin. He coughed frequently, and I soon realized that he was consumptive -in other words, doomed, for I have never known a Puka-Pukan to survive tuberculosis. Two thirds of the deaths on the island are caused by this disease. Nevertheless Wail-of-Woe began to think of marriage and soon found the girl of his heart, Sun-Eater, the unwieldy daughter of Rock Grouper. My first intimation of the match was when Rock Grouper came into my store to spend a carefully hoarded bag of money on trousers, shirt, arm bands, red necktie, green hat-ribbon, a bottle of perfume, and a pair of Boston garters for his prospective son-in-law. It is the island custom for the bride's relatives to clothe the groom for the marriage, while the groom's relatives deck out the bride. Later in the day Breadfruit and his kin came to purchase a great quantity of finery for Sun-Eater: ribbons, calico, Jap lace, Swiss embroidery, and yards and yards of white muslin.

On the day of the wedding all the villagers gathered in the road to see the bride and groom pass churchward. Wail-of-Woe walked ahead, very stiff and self-conscious in all his new clothes and some borrowed ones as well. His red necktie and the green ribbon wound many times around Tihoti's bowler hat were very conspicuous, almost as much so as his Boston garters, which had been attached outside the legs of his trousers. As there were no socks to

support, the ends flapped against his bony legs. He had also borrowed Abel's wonderful squeaking shoes.

Sun-Eater walked a modest distance behind, her comfortable girth increased by ten yards of muslin dress and a dozen chemises and petticoats borrowed from her friends. The skirts of her dress dragged on the ground, and so many ruffles had been attached here and there that only her chubby face and the tips of her fingers were visible. Perched on top of her head was a pandanus-leaf hat of native manufacture, decorated with innumerable ribbons and streamers, including two old red-and-black typewriter ribbons I had contributed.

All of us then followed to the church, and after Sea Foam had married them Wail-of-Woe and his wife repaired to Breadfruit's house, where they sat stiffly on a mat placed before the door.

Then began the most important part of the wedding-day ceremonies. With a loud whoop, Rock Grouper, the bride's father, rushed from his house across the street with an old patched singlet in one hand and two yards of dungaree in the other. Stopping before the married pair, he did an extemporaneous dance to the accompaniment of a weird song. Then, holding the singlet and the dungaree aloft, he shouted: "This is a day of great sadness! Gaze at these, O people of Puka-Puka! A new singlet which cost me twelve shillings [I had sold it to him six months before for three], and all thrown away on this good-for-nothing, ugly imbecile, Wailof-Woe!'

Here Wail-of-Woe nodded his head sympathetically as though in full agreement with his father-in-law. With another whoop Rock Grouper continued:

"This marriage is none of my doing! I have been against it from the first! For years I have refused to let my fine fat daughter marry this ne'er-do-well.

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Look at her, people of Puka-Puka! She has the royal blood of Peru Island in her stomach: a finer, fatter woman is not to be found and all, all thrown away on the worthless idiot, Wail-ofWoe! Curse him, the bag of bones! Not only does he steal my beautiful daughter, but he robs me of my substance as well! See! The very clothes on his back-it was I who bought them, for I was ashamed, knowing that without my help he would come naked to the wedding! And now he takes my beautiful singlet, too! Aué! My beautiful new twelve-shilling singlet! Aué! I am now a pauper!'

With that he furiously threw the ragged singlet at Wail-of-Woe, and hurled after it the two yards of dungaree. He had worked himself into an almost frenzied state, and tears of self-pity were actually flowing down his cheeks.

Then came Breadfruit, as speedily as his elephantiac legs would permit. Six yards of cheap print cloth streamed from one hand, and in the other was a pair of old white cotton stockings.

"This is a day of great sorrow!' he yelled, waving the stockings. 'Weep with me, people of Puka-Puka, for today a penniless woman, old enough to be his mother, has robbed me of my son! For years I forbade the match, but at last the tears of Sun-Eater's family softened my heart and I foolishly consented to this marriage. I was ashamed, so I threw away all my wealth to clothe the hussy! Look at her great mouth that would frighten a shark! Her hair is falling out with old age, and she has hardly a tooth in her head! And gaze upon my fine son, the flower of the young men, thrown away upon this hideous cannibal!'

Here Sun-Eater nodded her head in agreement, as did the rest of the throng. With many a despairing grunt, Breadfruit moved clumsily through the steps of a dance; then, flinging the

print cloth and stockings at the bride, he moaned: 'Now I am a pauper! Everything is taken from me — my son, these beautiful stockings, six yards of the finest cloth, which cost me five shillings a yard [I had sold it to him at ninepence]-all is gone, thrown away on this loose woman!'

Thus went the Puka-Puka ceremony of 'making big.' No wedding would be complete without it.

Wildly waving his arms, George, the Leeward Village dandy, sprang before the couple, flourishing a bottle of hair oil and yelling that it had cost him eighteen shillings. Everyone knew that the price was one and sixpence, but that mattered nothing. He, the generous George, cared nothing for expense. He was more than willing to buy costly gifts for Sun-Eater; for, he admitted, she had been his sweetheart in the past, but he had generously given her her freedom when he learned that poor old Wail-of-Woe wanted to marry her. Then he took from Wail-ofWoe's head the bowler hat he had lent him for the wedding, threw the bottle of hair oil into Sun-Eater's lap, and strode off at a manly gait.

Old Mama, the wife of William the heathen, came next. She was dressed in her mildewed bedgown and flourished a handkerchief in her hand. I had sold her the handkerchief that morning for ninepence. Mama screamed that this was no ordinary handkerchief, but a particularly fine one that her friend the trader had brought with him from his own land and had reluctantly sold to her for nine shillings. Such a splendid gift was quite thrown away on such a skeleton as Wail-of-Woe; however, since he was her nephew, she would give it to him merely as a matter of family pride. She then put her withered limbs through a dance movement.

Many others, friends and relatives, brought gifts, each of them trying to

outdo the others in praising his gift and disparaging the bride or groom. I presented a bag of flour, and when I turned away without 'making big,' Peni, my store boy, jumped up and spoke in my stead, bouncing the price of the flour to as many pounds as it was shillings. Then my old friend William joined him, and together they heaped insults on Sun-Eater and Wail-of-Woe, telling them how utterly unworthy they were to receive this priceless gift from the white trader, a man known as far away as Apia and Tahiti and Rarotonga for his great deeds and his unheard-of generosity.

"There!' said Peni, coming up to me. 'If I had not spoken, people would have thought that was only an ordinary fifteen-shilling bag of flour.'

'So it was,' I replied. Peni gave me an astonished glance.

'But it is n't now!' he said, and I think he believed it.

Some brought presents of roast chickens and pigs; others brought drinking nuts, fish, and taro cooked into puddings. When evening had set in the food was so divided that all those who had taken part in the gift-giving should have a share. The other gifts were kept by Wail-of-Woe and his wife, although at some marriages even the offerings of clothing, perfume, and so forth are divided. In that case a man who has given the groom a pair of trousers may very well take them home with him again, or perhaps a shirt or a pair of secondhand shoes in place of them. At this particular kind of 'making big' George invariably presents the groom with his British army overcoat and Scratch-Woman's offering to the bride is the black lace dress handed down from mother to daughter in her family for many years. The understanding is, of course, that these articles shall be returned to the donors when the division of spoils takes place.


A year after his marriage Wail-ofWoe was in the last stages of consumption. Bosun-Woman and Jeffrey, her husband, visited him daily, for one is the island undertaker and the other the island doctor.

This loud-mouthed Bosun-Woman! None of Walter Scott's old women who hobble to wakes could surpass her in ghoulishness. She takes a morbid pleasure in visiting the dangerously ill and is never so happy as when laying out a corpse. Although she is not far past forty she appears to be much older, except for her hair, which is black. It hangs loosely down her back in tangled hanks, damp with fish oil. Her cheeks are withered and flabby, her eyes are like buttons of black jade, and her mouth is large and pale.

Jeffrey is much older. He is tall, bony, and walks with a wriggling motion as though his hips were out of joint. He shaves every Christmas with the Central Village razor. He wears a grass skirt, nothing else, and his legs are as hairy and almost as thin as a spider's. He is the only doctor on Puka-Puka and mixes noxious things like fish intestines, chicken droppings, coconut bark, sea urchins, and the like, for all diseases, external or internal. These he administers in large doses, and if the patient is not cured by the power of suggestion he dies from the effect of the medicine.

Jeffrey has three other methods of treatment. One is massage, which is often helpful. The second is by invocations to the spirits of the dead, who cause the patient's illness by possessing his body. In some cases Jeffrey's invocations cure, for they create a hopeful state of mind in the sick person, who believes that the malignant spirit is being driven out.

The third method of treatment is

disastrous in most cases, particularly in cases of tuberculosis, for it consists in putting the patient on a strict diet of a very coarse kind of taro, land crabs, and coconut crabs. Jeffrey claims that by eating good taro, fish, eggs, fowls, and the like, the effect of his medicine is neutralized. This tabu doubtless comes from ancient times when the witch doctors shrewdly killed off the weaklings in an effort to combat overpopulation. The tabu also saved the fish and taro for the warriors and the witch doctors themselves.

Wail-of-Woe sank fast on his diet of puraka and crabs, as well as from his daily doses of nauseous medicine. Bosun-Woman called at his house every day, where she amused herself by composing the death chant to be wailed over his body. Wail-of-Woe did not in the least resent her visits. On the contrary, he seemed to look forward to them and would make suggestions for improvements in the verses she was composing. And he would discuss with her the arrangements for his burial how many yards of white calico would suffice for the winding sheet, and so forth. He seemed to have no fear whatever of the approaching end.

One evening old Mama came to tell me that Wail-of-Woe was to die that night. Jeffrey had said so.

I went to Wail-of-Woe's house and looked in. He was sitting in Sea Foam's steamer chair, propped up by pillows, while close by squatted a dozen people staring at him. His eyes were hollow and his body frightfully emaciated.

'I am going to die to-night, Ropati,' he muttered hoarsely, and then broke down with a racking fit of coughing. Bosun-Woman was not there; it was not proper for her to appear on the last day until after the first death wail she was at home, wide-awake, waiting.

I returned to the trading station and put a lively record on my phonograph,

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