Art. XI.—On the Outlying Islands.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 25th August, 1897.]
Fig. 1. An ancient Yap grave, Ramung Island, North Yap: A fine specimen of its kind. The Island of Yap is full of these quaint relics of the past, most of them of considerable antiquity. This was discerned upon a promontory of the island facing down upon the straits separating Ramung from the sister-island of Map. On this headland is a larger cemetery, the older graves wreathed in a dense tangle of climbing fern. The construction recalls the langi, or burial-places, of the old princes of Tongatabu, the upright tapering slabs of basalt excepted, which seem to suggest a Japanese influence. At a village near Tokio, in Japan, there is a celebrated shrine, where the forty-seven Ronins—certain mighty heroes of old—are buried, where the same weird ornamentation is observed of upright stone slabs tapering to a point. This Yap grave belongs to a famous warrior of olden times. It measures 12 yards square at the lowest tier; height, about 6 ft.
Fig. 2. A less pretentious structure, sketched near the village of Fal, on the other side of the island.
Fig. 3(a). One of the Yap lodges, or club-houses, with wide paved terrace in front, and specimens of fe, or native stone-money, leaning against the lower tier, forming the foundation of the house. It may be observed that the burial-places of Yap, the elaborately-paved roads and causeways which traverse the island, and the long series of embankments, thickly planted with dwarf bamboos which shut in the paths on either side, all very much suggest a Japanese influence. It seems quite reasonable to suppose that Japanese junks, proas from the piratical Sulu Archipelago, and from the coasts of sea-roving Dyaks, as well as southern Chinese trading-
vessels, have visited these seas for centuries past, whether on adventurous or piratical forays, or upon distant trading expeditions in search of the sponges, the turtle-shell, the tre-pang or bêche-de-mer, and the pearl-shell, in which all these islands abound.
Fig. 3(b). An ancient sacred place or fortification upon the Islet of Lele, off the coast of Kusaie, the south-easternmost of the Caroline Group. The king, or tokusa, is standing below. The walls are from 25 ft. to 35 ft. high, and some 12 ft. or 13 ft. thick. This Island of Lele is seamed with the vestiges of old canals and waterways, and traversed in many places by massive lines of wall built upon Cyclopean principles, all in a more or less ruinous condition, probably the remains of an elaborate system of fortification, the work of a vanished people of superior civilisation, upon whose past history the natives can throw but little light. Probably, however, they are the remnants of the work of a band of Japanese, either traders or pirates, carried down into these seas in a typhoon, mingling themselves with the natives, and gaining in time an ascendancy over the folk on the mainland across the bay.
The name of the larger island—Kusaie, known in the neighbouring islands as Koto, Kotiu, and Kiuthiu—recalls strongly the name of Kiu-Siu, the large southerly island of the Japan group.
The name of the smaller island—Lele, upon which these ruins occur, which means “permission”—lends a colour to the theory of its occupation by a body of strangers taking up their abode by convention or agreement, possibly from a wrecked junk or from one of the early Nagasaki trading-vessels, which, according to a Japanese merchant, used in ancient times to make long voyages to the south and east, before the Emperor To-Kogunsama interdicted distant trading expeditions, about the year 1640. The natives themselves attribute the building of the great Cyclopean wall, enclosures, and canals that thickly stud the Island of Lele to a dominant foreign race who arrived in foreign vessels (Uak-palang) from the north-west, and who raised these forts as defences against their neighbours on the mainland, whom they put to tribute, imposing upon them, when visiting Lele as vassals of the Tokusa, the humiliation of doing obeisance by crouching down low, and of never raising their voices above a whisper in addressing him. The stones, massive blocks and shafts of prismatic basalt, were brought, the natives say, from South Harbour on rafts and floats. The ruins on Lele are not so elaborately constructed as those in Metalanim, but they have a rude and massive grandeur of their own. Like the Ponapeans, they used extensively axes and adzes (tola) of excellent workmanship, laboriously ground and polished down
from the great central piece of the Tridacna gigas, or popol-shell. The specimens received from Li-kiak-sa, an aged native teacher of Lele, are excellently white, and smooth as polished marble, with fine cutting edges. In length they measure from 6 in. to 9 in. or 10 in., by 2 in. or 2½ in. in breadth.
They appear to have known the use of iron, at least by tradition, as their word masa is correlative with the Malayan forms mesi, bassi, and besi, and perhaps even with the Hindustani mus or mis. Many of the words in their language resemble Malayo-Polynesian words to the far south-west, and there is also a slight Melanesian admixture. They use long delicate tapering paddles, like the Sonsorol-islanders. They make fairly good sailors, and appear to be of a peaceful, obedient, and easy-going nature. Their chief manufactures are pandanus-leaf hats (suraf), which they plait with as much skill as the Pingelap natives. From the same invaluable fabric they make ornamental baskets of pretty design, and light, delicate sleeping-mats of fine texture. But the most interesting industry of all is their weaving of fine belts and ribbons from the soft and delicate textile—the banana fibre—using a loom or primitive weaving-machine called puas (in Ponapu, katantar; Hindustani, tant) very similar in model to that seen in some of the less advanced villages in the interior of Japan, where the restive demon of machinery has not yet wholly ousted hand-manufacture. The patterns are quaint and graceful, and the grouping of the tints carefully considered and worked out to the avoidance of harsh, crude, conflicting colours. A rich blue tint is obtained from the juice of the trunks of young banana-suckers, the wild turmeric root and that of the Morinda (I.) citrifolia supplies the shades of yellow, black tints are obtained from burnt nuts of the Aleurites, and a bright reddish-brown is prepared from the scraped and pounded bark of the mangrove-roots. Other gradations of hue they get by carefully boiling in small quantities of water pieces of gaudy cotton fabrics, which their innate good taste rejects as an eyesore. No doubt this is due to the old hereditary æsthetic tastes due to the influence of their early Japanese ancestry or admixture of race.
Fig. 4. We see a group of Yap natives, who, together with their near neighbours of Ngoli and the Pelews, represent the primitive Dravidian type of Barata or South India, thinly overlaid by more recent Malayo-Polynesian waves of population breaking into their area, or grazing past them on their great ceaseless surge and flow eastward, and still further eastward, past the north coast of New Guinea, thence spreading themselves out over Pacific lands; the ancestors of the Hawaiian, the Samoan, the Marquesan, and the Maori. Thus, the Malayo-Polynesian infusion being somewhat slight, we
need not greatly wonder at the difference in customs and the darkness of colour, and the appearance of quaint and exotic tree-names unknown to Polynesian ears, and of words of fearful and wonderful harshness of sound, in place of the sweet-vowelled undersong of their more favoured Polynesian brethren. The island is full of different dialects, and the good folk have about twenty different ways of expressing the negative—a great gift for diplomats, who frequently may be supposed to deal with such.
The Yap people have a plentiful stock of folk-lore, and a very elaborate astronomical system. In old days they seem to have been great conquerors and navigators, sending trading and fighting expeditions up to Pulawat or Enderby Island, and as far even as Ruk and the East Mortlocks, in search of the taik, a noted cosmetic in Micronesia, made up of finely-scraped and powdered turmeric root done up in neat little cones. This word is found in Maori takou (red ochre), in the Peruvian takeu (red clay), and in the North Marquesan taiki, and in New Hebrides tei, teik, id. (a red, vermilion, or crimson colour). The Yap people also occasionally visited Ponape, in the extreme east of the group, where several traditions of their visits are retained in local names. Thus, the landing-place at the mouth of the Ronkiti River, on the south-west coast, is called Chakar-en-Yap—i.e., “the strip of beach belonging to Yap”; and a pink-fleshed banana is also called ut-in-Yap, or the Yap banana.
One of the most remarkable Yap traditions deals with a great canoe let down out of the sky by ropes, filled with ladies—fairy folk—who came down to see the dances and feastings of the young people of the island. Some one cut the ropes, and, though most of them climbed up in time, two were left behind—mother and daughter. The disconsolate couple hid for a long while in a dark cavern in the rocks near Tomil Bay; but the daughter was snared by nets at last whilst bathing one day, and the mother, who seems to have been a sort of ogress, came after her daughter, who became the wife of the chief of Tomil. The fairy stepmother, by her insatiable appetite, nearly caused a famine in the land. Twice a day she would devour a monstrous pile of cocoanuts, husks and all. At last the King of Tomil, in despair, cut off the supplies, and bade this wonderful old witch use her magic powers, and forage for herself. Promptly the fairy turned herself into an enormous rat, “much bigger than a cat,” says the narrator, and went upon the hill-terraces and plantations by night, and made a clean sweep of all the sweet-potatoes and yams of the settlement. At last, however, a certain skilled setter of traps placed an elaborately-devised machine in her path, which dropped a huge mass of rock on the intruder, and finished the
witch and her tricks together. Whilst all men wondered at the size of this mighty rat, word was brought that a typhoon was coming out of the north. All was confusion and dismay. The rain poured down in torrents, amidst a strong hurricane; lightning flashed, thunder roared, the earth shook, and little by little the waters of the ocean began to cover the doomed island. The king and his fairy wife slipped away, and climbed up to the table-land overlooking Tomil Bay, taking with them abundance of magic herbs with which to perform the machamach (cf. Japanese maji, magic: Araucanian (S. Chili) machi, magic, sorcery, medicine-man), or incantations, to stay the progress of the coming flood, which reached their feet and there subsided. All the lowlands of Yap were covered, and the folk perished, all save one man, a slave of Unean, and the prudent couple. When the waters went down the Unean slave saw the lowlands of Nimiguil emerging, so he went down to the newly-risen coast-line, inserted a bamboo rod in the reef in token of possession, and went his way. By-and-by the chief and his fairy wife met the slave, and were much surprised, supposing him to have perished with the rest. Said the slave, “I'm nobody's slave now. All these new-risen. flats belong to me. See the pole I have fixed in the reef to show myself the rightful owner.” So they went their way, and let him be. Wherefore the descendants of that man of Unean live in Nimiguil unto this day. “But how did he find a wife if all the others were drowned in the flood?” I asked. “By machamach, course,” replied the old man with some asperity. “Everything was possible to the gods in those times. And there are people in Nimiguil to this day, and Nimiguil belongs to Unean. When Unean man want kaikai he send Nimiguil; Nimiguil man he bring it quick.”
The above is a fair specimen of the average irrational Yap myth, considerably condensed, for the native orator is nothing if not diffuse, and is continually branching off upon irrelevant topics, apart from the main track of the narrative. Like all primitive folk the Yap natives believe in all manner of spirits and unseen agencies potent for harm. The Creator, they say, is Yalafath, a mighty and benevolent deity, who sits in the sky and views placidly the work of his hands and the operations of the multitudes of kan (also called yan), or genii, mostly evil and malevolent, each busy in his own sphere of activity. This yalafath is possibly the Japanese word yarakashi, “to create.” The Yap conception appears at least somewhat Buddhistic in character. Amongst savage races, however, we frequently see the notion of a placid, mighty, and good - natured and indolent Supreme Power, with a host of minor powers busy and energetic working for evil and mischief, unchecked in their lawless labours, and therefore to be conciliated at all
hazards. It may easily be understood that the Yap Pantheon is an extensive one. Fire, earthquake, sea, rain, wind, plague, famine, cultivation, thieving, fishing, feasting, dancing, canoe- and house-building, all have their supernatural dominant power, genius, or patron spirit.
From Yap in the west to Ponape in the east is a far cry, the Caroline chain extending over quite sixteen hundred miles of sea. Numerous little coral islands lie scattered over the intervening space, whose names appear to have been the despair of early navigators. These little spots have evidently received a very large infusion of Polynesian blood, lying as they do right in the track of the early prahus coming out of the Sunda and Gilolo passages, pressing on ever further and further eastward.
The languages of Uleai, Ifalik, Satawal, Uluthi, of Lamo-trek, Pulawat, and the Hall group, as well as the dialects spoken in the great lagoon of Hogoleu and the East and West Mortlocks, are full of interest to the philologist, containing, in addition to numerous intrusive Japanese words, a great number of Polynesian root-words, hacked and chipped, mutilated, abraded, shorn of terminal vowel-sounds, but still unmistakably Polynesian. Furthermore, there is one little island midway between Ruk and the New Guinea coast named Monte Verde, or “Green Mountain,” by early Spanish navigators. The natives call it Nuku-Oro. (There is another Nuku-n-or or Luku-n-or in the S.E. Mortlocks a little further to the north.) The language is a very pure ancient Polynesian one, combining the phonesis of the Maori, the Samoan, the Tahitian, and the Futunan, with a few picturesque irregularities and differentiations of its own in vocabulary. The vocabulary of the Mortlock-islanders has considerable Polynesian affinities, as J. S. Kubary some fifteen years ago pointed out clearly enough in his work for the Godeffroi Brothers firm, of Hamburg.
An interesting fact about the Ruk and Mortlock islanders is that of their distortion of the lower lobe of their ears to an enormous size, reminding one of the practice in ancient Peru, and that current amongst the early image-building inhabitants of Rapa-nui, or Easter Island, whom the people of Rapa-iti, who exterminated them, called the Taringa Roroa, or Great Ears.
So we pass on to the Island of Ponape (Pan-u-Pei, “the land of the holy places”—cf. Mortlocks fanu, land, and Polynesian forms fanua, whenua, enua, fenua), otherwise called Seniavina by Russian navigators, who many years ago did good exploration- and chart-work in these little-known waters. Ponape herself is a fertile little island lying 6 deg. 48 min. north by 158 deg. 14 min. east, some seventy miles in circumference,
surrounded by a dense belt of mangroves for the most part, the exhalations of which, from the month of April onwards up to September on the cessation of the trade wind blowing bright and clear out of the north-east, produce many catarrhal and febrile affections amongst the natives. The population of the island is some five thousand, of which the larger portion reside in the Kiti and Metalanim districts. The language is a northern form of Malayo-Polynesian, with a strong Melanesian and a fairly strong Japanese tinge; it has many affinities to the Tagala, the Bisayan, the Ilocan, and the Formosan. All the old traditions, and, indeed, the architecture and disposition of the ruins themselves, point distinctly to a Malayo-Japanese civilisation overthrown by a great barbarian invasion from the south. The great ruins in the Metalanim district have keenly attracted the attention of the curious. They are built upon a number of small coral islets, intersected by numerous waterways more or less shallow, every year more and more overgrown and choked up with the encroaching mangrove-belt. The largest enclosure is upon the Island of Nantauach. The great outer wall measures about 215 ft. by 185 ft. in area, and about 30 ft. in height at highest point, enclosing an inner wall about 80 ft. by 60 ft., which encloses a great vault or tomb, where excavations yielded rich results in shell ornaments, ancient adzes and war-axes, spear-heads, and countless fragments of broken relics and bones. Of vaults in Nantauach I counted four in all, every one of them yielding a more or less plenteous harvest, of which I shall write later on.
To continue, Ponape is a rich and fertile island, producing abundance of copra, ivory-nut, and ais-nut (cf. Mortlocks aset, id.; Yap adhidh), the last-named a large brownish-red nut with rough outer rind which produces a valuable varnish, hardly known as yet in European markets. The island's resources have hardly been developed at all. A clearing has been made round the little settlement of Santiago, Not district, and Henry Nanapei, Chief of Ronkiti (a district on the south coast), a most progressive and enterprising man, far in advance of his generation in every way, has at great pains planted a great valley with cocoanuts and otherwise improved the land; but these are two solitary exhibitions of energy and industry, and quite out of keeping with the general rule of listlessness, laziness, and laisser faire. Brooks and rivulets of sweet water everywhere abound, and the island scenery presents a rich panorama of forest and waterfalls, a glorious scene of rich, varied, luxuriant tropical vegetation. Birds abound, several species being peculiar to the island, amongst others the paluch (cf. German New Guinea balos, balus, a pigeon), a brown-and-white pigeon, and a reddish-and-brown
parroquet (Eos rubiginosa), called cherret or terrep (cf. Maori torete, a parrakeet). A peculiar black-and-brown lizard (kie) is found, resembling a miniature alligator. Huge eels abound in the swamps, and, strange to say, are greatly dreaded by the natives, probably owing to some lingering notion of Asiatic serpent - worship. The Ponapeans call the eel kamichik (ancient name it). The palm family are represented by several varieties of the ever-present cocoanut-palm, or ni, by two areca-palms, the katai and the kotop, by the param or swamp-palm (the nipa of the Philippines), and last, but not least, by the och, or vegetable - ivory palm, called by the Spanish “Palma de Marfil,” the round hard nuts of which find a ready sale in the European markets.
The island is divided up into three large provinces—Kiti, U, and Metalanim—and into two small ones—Not and Chokach (called erroneously “Jakoits” by American missionaries), each under its own chief or king, and subdivided into numerous small districts, each under its own petty chief or au (cf. Polynesian sau and hau, id.).
Ponape, though she possesses, as far as we know, no mineral wealth, contains rich resources in her forests. Amongst her most remarkable forest-trees are the ichau, the luach (two Calophyllum), the koret, a tall timber tree with red wood valuable for cabinet-making; the tong, a fine reddish-brown wood; the pulok and uaingal, species of giant mangrove; the pona, or rosewood (Thesperia popularia), and the ikoik, a tree with very hard reddish wood with a beautiful grain. The marap (Incarpus edulis) and the chatak, a tall buttressed tree bearing clusters of bright blue oval berries—the food of the fruit-pigeons—also produce a good hard wood valuable for housebuilding and the construction of boats. Other two remarkable trees are the nin (cf. sundry Indonesian dialects where the banyan is called nun) and the aio, or banyan-tree, both belonging to the Ficoid order. The almost untrodden wilderness of the interior grows many other forest-trees and plants, many merely ornamental, some reputed to possess valuable medicinal qualities. Weeds and creeping plants abound everywhere, to the great annoyance and impediment of the booted and clothed foreigner who rashly ventures into the woody labyrinths.
The highest peak in the island is that of Tolocom (2,861 ft.), in Kiti district; Mount Whana, in the same district, and Mount Kupuricha, in U, are nearly as high. Close to the Kiti and Metalanim border is a curious-looking basalt shaft, called by the Natives “Chila-U,” or the “adze-head,” known to Captain “Bully” Hayes, of buccaneering fame, by the equally picturesque title of “the Sentry-box.” It overlooks the pretty and picturesque Island of Motok, whose people
dwell in security; like the good folk of Laish of old, “They dwelt afar off in peace, for no enemy was nigh.” A little way further up, past Nantamarni (the abode of Joe Kehoe, a good old American settler) and Nantiati, the Metalanim coast is indented by two deep harbours—Middle Harbour (Ponatik) and Weather Harbour (at the head of the latter is Chapalap River, where in the late war the Spanish lost heavily in storming a native fort)—formerly frequented by whaling-vessels, but now deserted and abandoned by sailing - masters and whaling captains alike, who were thoroughly disgusted at the double-dealing and incredible avarice of the natives of this part, who with justice may be termed the meanest islanders of the Pacific. Nowadays nearly all ships trading touch at Mutok Harbour, or Ronkiti, where the anchorage is good, and wood and water, provisions and produce, cheaper and easier to be procured. The King of Metalanim and his favourite courtier and factotum, David Lumpoi, are two curious personages. The latter picked up his English and his manners together from a whaling-vessel. Verb. sap. The former is a gloomy, morose old man, who turned religious in his old age in order to dodge the sins and crimes of his youth. He has a great hatred and contempt of the macha potopot, or white faces, which is as cordially reciprocated by all of them who have met him. He draws the princely salary of 20 dollars a month from the Spanish to keep him in good humour; and so the farce goes on. Whether the comedy will or will not result one day in a tragedy remains to be seen
Fig. 5 represents the great entrance to Nantauach, which comes all of a sudden into view as the canoeist shoots round the angle to the right of Uchentau. The terrace here is nearly 7 ft. above the canal, and hereabouts the immense solidity of the masonry once more strikes us. The left side of gateway is about 25 ft. in height, and the right about 30 ft., overshadowed with a gigantic ikoik tree, a species of rosewood with long, scarlet, trumpet-shaped flowers—with a profusion of deep-green leaves which the explorer had not the heart to destroy for its beauty. Formerly hereabouts the walls were much higher, but much of the masonry has fallen into ruin from earthquakes. Passing on through the great gateway we come into a spacious courtyard, with a second enclosure surrounded with a wide terrace, some 4 ft. high, facing us, which stretches away to the right into a sort of wing or supplementary structure with a low wall running completely across the centre dividing the front from the back court.
Fig. 6 gives a view of the second enclosure, which has quite a Japanese appearance, and which has suffered much less from wear-and-tear and accidents than the great outer
wall. Here our labouring party had great trouble in removing a dense forest of hibiscus and a large number of forest saplings, which, crowding around in dense masses, the result of many and many a year's unrestrained growth, completely hid the whole structure from view, as seen in figs. 7 and 8. Immediately within this second enclosure is the great treasure-chamber and vault of King Chau-te-Leur (who answers to old King Cole, the jolly old soul, of ancient British tradition, famous for his love for strong pipes, pots of ale, and his three merry fiddlers); or, rather, one of the Chau-te-Leur dynasty of ancient Ponape, when kings were kings indeed, and the whole island was united under one head. (Chau = Polynesian Sau, Hau, or Au; which last Rarotongan form also appears as the Ponapean Au, a small district chief. Leur perhaps = the Timor Liur, and the Malayan Lior, in the sense of foreign, external. Possibly here a foreign or intrusive Malayan dynasty is indicated.) The last of the dynasty suffered a hapless fate. Under a fierce and terrible warrior named Icho-Kalakal a great fleet of warcanoes came up from the Pali Air, the barren lands of the south, probably from the New Hebrides or New Guinea coast. Swarms of savage invaders poured in upon the peaceful settlers, and almost completely obliterated the ancient civilisation, after a most obstinate resistance, in which many thousands perished, the king himself, like the pious æneas of classic fame, perishing in the waters of the great river close at hand, and being converted into a large blue river-fish, which to this day the people of Metalanim will not eat. The conquerors used their victory with the usual barbarous license. The old men and priests (the holders of the old traditions) were put to death everywhere without mercy, even as Edward of England put to death as many of the Welsh bards as fell into his pitiless hands during his bloody and devastating invasion of the land of the Cymry, for fear that they at some future time might arouse anew the spirit of the conquered folk by reciting the old ballads and tales of heroic days long past. Thus perished the ancient civilisation of the Chau-te-Leur kings, under whose rule the walls of Nan-tauach were built by the two noble architects, Olosipa and Olosopa, the Dioscuri or Great Twin Brethren of ancient Ponape, who arrived many hundred years ago in a great ship from the north-west, landing first in Chokach, and thence coming down to the Metalanim coast, where these two mighty heroes and their following settled down, instructing the people in architecture and the peaceful arts.
Judging from the great number of Japanese words occurring in Caroline Island languages in general, and in the islands of Ponape and Kusaie in particular, it seems highly probable
that the district of Metalanim was the seat of an ancient Japanese civilisation, mingled with that of Malayan settlers, themselves a series of tribes of mixed blood, who, coming wave upon wave, swept the Chokalai, or aboriginal Negritos, further and further up into the valleys, killing the men and taking the women and children for slaves. The nascent civilisation formed by the uniting of these three elements appears to have been finally overcome by a great invasion of barbarians from the south, the holy places being turned for the time into a series of fortifications, the reduction of which must have been effected very slowly, and at a frightful cost of life on both sides.
The principal treasure-chamber, shown in figs. 7 and 8, was carefully excavated by our party. Great numbers of delicate, white, circular, flat shell beads were first unearthed. Next a number of handsome shell axes and adzes, varying from 2 ft. to 8 in. in length, white and polished as fine marble, with keen cutting edges formed by long and laborious rubbing-down from the centre-shaft of the Tridacna gigas, or giant clam; an immense number of rose-coloured shell beads, discs of 1 in. to ¾ in. across, perforated with great exactitude in the very centre; also a quantity of flesh-coloured shell pendants, like carnelian, used in ornamenting the fringes of the belts of elaborately-woven banana fibre, the insignia of great chiefs and the chaumaro, or wise men, of ancient times. Many ancient pearl-shell fishhooks were also found; also one spear-head of a smoke-coloured flake of crystal, which Kubary, an old German resident, declared to be obsidian, the itzli, or volcanic glass, used by the ancient Mexicans for their maccauitl, or tooth-bladed swords. The native in No. 7 was one of our workmen from Ponatik, who joined the exploring party under an idea that much moni uaitata, or good red gold money, was buried here. After grubbing away in the dirt for many days, he finally gave up in disgust at unearthing a huge skull, remarking, “Old stone axe no good; skull belong dead man me no like; hard work, he no good; red money, he very good.”
Fig. 9 represents the irregular wing stretching out to the right of the inner enclosure, also containing a smaller vault, from which we also dug up a few handfuls of beads and shell ornaments. The two figures in the centre are two of our workmen from over the Kiti border, who came fearlessly and cheerfully over amongst their old hereditary foes of Metalanim to help us in the work. In the end our five Kiti workmen did the work of more than a dozen of the sulky and surly subjects of King Paul. So true is the saying, “One volunteer is worth a dozen pressed men.”
Fig. 10 represents a portion of the great inner courtyard
towards the west, thickly strewn with fragments of broken basalt columns, doubtless shaken down from the great walls above by the shock of some earthquake long past. Some of these shafts are of enormous size and weight, many running up to 28 ft. in length by 3 ft. across and 3½ ft. in depth. What engineering methods the builders could possibly have used in putting these enormous masses so carefully and exactly into the position, as seen elsewhere in the other views of the masonry standing as yet intact, must for ever remain a matter of conjecture to us. A possible solution is the theory of the employment of great numbers of men, acting under skilled guidance and strict discipline, parbuckling with thick coils of cinet-ropes and tough hibiscus bark one by one these enormous masses up a sloping platform of felled tree-trunks profusely lubricated with cocoanut-oil so as to substantially reduce the friction.
Any of our audience to-night who has visited China and Japan no doubt is familiar with many Titanic engineering feats, gigantic victories of mind over inanimate matter, there and elsewhere in the marvellous East, the great mother hive of the swarming nations.
Fig. 11 represents the east inner angle of the great outer wall of Nantauach, here 15 ft. thick and 42 ft. in height, the clearing of which occupied our party of seven nearly a whole day, under a terrific tropical downpour of rain. Observe the peculiarly solid disposition of the blocks in straight tiers or lines, alternately lengthwise and crosswise, an excellent combination of elegance and stability out of very rude and rough materials by a folk seemingly unprovided with iron tools and chisels. For these same huge basalt columns were never cut or chiselled out by the hand of man; for it is precisely into these five- and six- and seven-sided prisms that the basalt cools down and solidifies under the operation of titanic or vulcanian laws and issues from the great melting-pots, crucibles, and workshops of nature in the fire kingdoms underground. It may be remarked that the cliffs of Chokach and the U provinces have the same remarkable organ-pipe formation as those fringing the Tasmanian coast. Therefore when we admire these massive structures we should justly wonder at the mechanical and constructive skill of these early peoples in moving and setting into their places the rude and rough material with which the past and present forces of nature have strewn their rocky glens and the desolate mountain-valleys far inland; giant columns—which awaited, as the native traditions say, but the magic bidding of the Master Builders, the Great Twin Brethren—were seen to fly through the air swift as birds on the wing and settle down into their appointed places.
Fig. 12 represents the south-west angle of the outer wall of Nantauach facing towards the great sea-wall of Nan-moluchai, the island of the camp-fire embers, which shuts out the heavy rollers of the open harbour from the Polynesian Venice, embowered in its maze of placid canals, mirroring in their depths the old terraces of black rock with their fringes and streamers of alga and water-weed—each a veritable Lethean wharf — half visible amongst the ever-encroaching mangrove clumps—children of the tropical ooze and slime. A great banyan, or Indian fig-tree, has solidly established itself 30 ft. up, searching out with its long root-sprays, with their clinging tresses of fibre, every crack and cranny in the slowly-yielding masonry, threatening at no distant date to throw the whole gigantic mass out of just balance and poise. The central figures are those of the explorer and of the first and second lieutenants of the Spanish cruiser “Quiros,” which at that time happened to be lying in the great harbour close by, much to the indignation of King Paul, who, in a spirit of dastardly treachery, sent on board a present of poisonous fish, which very nearly ended in the death of one or two of the crew.
It should be here observed that the explorer received very many kindnesses from the captain of the same vessel, Don Miguel Velasco, and the officers. Don Miguel has been recently appointed Governor of the Eastern Carolines, where his frank and straightforward way of dealing with the natives is certain to bear good results, and perhaps in the end disarm the animosity and ill-will of the ever-grumbling and ever-discontented tribesmen of that somewhat crusty native convert, King Paul, of Metalanim.
Fig. 13 represents the same group a little further along the side of the wall looking down on terrace and canal, copiously strewn with boughs and branches, trunks and saplings, hewn away from the immense mass of tropical vegetation which, when we first arrived, hid nearly all the masonry from view. The seated figure is a worthy old American settler, Joe Kehoe, who, with his two stalwart half-caste sons, joined our small party down the coast at Ponatik Harbour before we set out, and who rendered us most invaluable services under very trying and discouraging conditions.
Fig. 14 represents the angle of the outer wall of the same island, facing north-west; height, 28 ft.; thickness of wall, 15 ft. This wall also required laborious clearing, it being necessary to fell three or four large forest-trees which had grown up from the terrace below, greatly to the discomfort of the poor Manilla photographer, who was quite unused to the fatigues of axe-work, and who kept from time to time
nervously glancing behind his back, fearing a rifle-shot from any one of the thickets in the dense jungle stretching round us on every side. King Paul, a few weeks later, they say, whilst viewing the destruction wrought in the jungles around these sacred walls, flew into a violent passion, declaring that the small party of explorers had done more hard work and chopped down more trees in a week than he and his whole tribe could get through in six months. “How is it?” quoth the wrathful monarch, “Is not the white stranger afraid to disturb the rest of the seven great and twelve lesser gods—the Lords of War, of Disease, and Death.” Whilst this most unjust and rascally monarch was meditating mischief, and dreaming of revenge, he was struck down, and many of his people also, with a most violent fever and influenza. Says one rival tribesman of Kiti, a writer of songs, or melakaka, “In the Isle of Tomun, the king's land, was groaning, murmuring, and tribulation. The strong man went not forth to the fishing nor the mighty man to his daily toil; and the sneezing of the sick folk was heard even unto the border of Kiti. And King Paul Ichipau lay sick in the lodge, taken with pains and burnings and shiverings, and his wrath blazed hotly the while against the stranger from over seas who had bearded the ancient spirits in their high places, disturbing them in their long rest and tempting them to break out in anger on the folk within all the Metalanim coasts, and he gave orders to seize the strangers and plunder their goods. But the strangers, being aware of his evil mind, had privily stolen away by night; nor were they found again within the land for many, many days.”
Fig. 15 is the wei, or turtle-stone, of Icho-Kalakal the Terrible, upon which the turtles, or some say the human victims, were slain on great feast-days. In justice to Icho-Kalakal, the leader of the great barbarian invasion from the south—a most cruel and relentless conqueror—the traditions do not all agree on this point, some attributing the practice of cannibalism solely to the Li-ot, or eaters of raw flesh, an early legendary people of the island. Hereabouts in the waterway is a great roundish black rock, rudely carved into the shape of a huge human head. This is called the head of Laponga the wizard, a sort of Ponapean Mopsus, who knew the language of the birds and the utterances of the winds, the trees, and the flowers, about whose miracles and practical jokes and humorous revenges numerous songs are sung around the camp-fires and in the great lodges on days of high festival.
Fig. 16 represents a distant view of the islands of Na-Pali and Na-Kap, lying off the entrance to the great harbour of Metalanim, with a half-submerged pile of enormous stones in
the foreground—portions of the ancient sea-wall of Nan-moluchai, probably thrown down by an earthquake. In rough weather the break of the great rollers against, around, and over this huge barrier is terrifically grand, the whole atmosphere filled with a thick haze of motes and flakes of sea-spray, and great foam-sponges flying thickly through the sounding air. Near this weird spot an eccentric old Frenchman made his abode in a little nook amongst the rocks, where he ended his days in most approved hermit fashion. The landing here, even in the calmest weather, is most dangerous, many lives having been lost. Fishing parties now give the spot a very wide berth, saying that dangerous currents circulate amongst the great stones sunk deep down, and regard the place as a haunted and ill-omened spot.
Fig. 17 represents the eastern angle of the holy island of Pan Katara, a little further down south from Nantauach, with the solitary inhabitant a small white goat belonging to King Paul, which came down to nibble and browse upon the fresh green shoots and leaves of the boughs and branches and creepers, the débris of our clearing, which occupied a whole sultry summer's day. This island in olden times was a solemn council-ground or husting, where the chiefs and elders and heads of the districts and magicians conferred together at regular intervals, and held solemn feasts. This island is also supposed to be haunted, all who rashly violate the sacred precincts being liable to be smitten with leprosy. The Ponapeans call these Lil-charaui. A similar idea also obtains in the cemeteries of Fiji and the maraes (the balai of Java), or holy places, of Tahiti, so heavily lies the awe of the Dead Hand upon the hearts of the South-Sea-islanders, otherwise so lively and gay. This reaches its climax in the gloomy and tremendous imagery of the nature worship and spirit-lore of the islanders of the Marquesas and distant Rapa-nui (Easter Island), the land of stone statues, the work of Hoto-matua and Hina-ahu-one—the last link in the long long chain of evidences which connect the races of the great Continents of Asia and America on the Pacific side, mainly through the long and adventurous voyages of those Phœnicians of central and south-west Pacific, the early Japanese and the Malayans.
Fig. 18. Boy and pig on Nalap Island.
Fig. 19. Nanapei as a youth.
Fig. 20. Nanapei, of Ronkiti, at present age.
Fig. 21. Scenery at mouth of Ronkiti River.
Fig. 22. A witch-doctress, or medicine-woman.
Fig. 23. The sanctuary of the Pako, or shark god, in the Ant atoll, twelve miles south from Ponape; an appanage of the King of Kiti.
Fig. 24. Nan Aua, nephew of the King of Kiti (south coast), admiral of the fishing fleet.
Fig. 25. Padre Augustino, chaplain of the forces in the operations of 1889–91; present head of the Capuchin mission.
Fig. 26. Scenery on the Kiti River, near the Catholic school, bordered by hibiscus trees, gorgeous most of the year with huge yellow blossoms, with velvety black centres.
Fig. 27. Brother of King Paul, of Metalanim, with carved paddle in hand and circlet of white shell on head, a native belt of pink, grey, and white shells threaded upon a framework of banana fibre; dressed in kol, or native kilt, made of the split filaments of the young cocoanut-leaf.
Fig. 28. Obadiah of Aru, with Mortlock school-book in hand—the kapas fel puk eu, which, being interpreted, means “No. 1: good book.” Owing to fondness for money, and a somewhat catholic and indiscriminate taste for strong and fiery liquids, he fell from the ministry, and retired into private life on the Metalanim border.
Fig. 29. View of David Lumpoi's house at Ponatik, on the Metalanim coast, where we stayed a month amongst some very mercenary folk.
Fig. 30. Picture of Luis, a Tahitian settler, in the characteristic pose of the average island trader about ten times a day, surrounded with bunches of native bananas, with the beach and fringing palm groves of Ponatik in the background.
Fig. 31. A Metalanim youth, who spoke a little Spanish, and improved the occasion by suggesting to the Manilla man to rob his employer. A little knowledge seems to have a dangerous effect sometimes upon the native imagination.
Fig. 32. A view of King Paul's great canoe in the boatshed on the Island of Napali, off the mouth of the great harbour. On hearing that his canoe had been photographed King Paul flew into a passion, and sent to ask for extra pay, which was promptly and indignantly refused.
Fig. 33. A native of Ponatik, a noted desperado and marked man, grievously suspected of having hacked to pieces wounded men after the repulse of a Spanish detachment at Ketam. Such men work great harm and cause great disaffection amongst the tribesmen; and it is certain that should Japan ever annex these islands Japanese justice would not suffer these and others like them to live.
Fig. 34 represents the Islet of Uch-en-tau, a perfect type of one of the smaller islets. There, by the grudging assent of King Paul, during our explorations our party camped and kept our tools and provisions, returning every evening, muddy and weary and famished, but laden with curiosities, the results of our excavations in the vaults.
Fig. 35 represents the angle of the great outer wall facing towards the entrance to the bay, known to the American whalers as “Middle Harbour.” The wall is encircled by a spacious terrace raised some 6 ft. above the canal, and occupied thickly by cocoanut-palms and dracænas, the deep-red leaves of which contrast prettily with the sombre hues of the lichen-encrusted masonry and the fresh green of the tender palm-fronds just turning from their early delicate red-brown.