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Beaten to Death, and later invited a number of friends to the feast."

Kahuiti smiled gently upon me. Take off his tattooing, make him white,
and clothe him! With his masterful carriage, his soft, cultivated
voice, and his attitude of absolutism, he might have been Leopold,
King of the Belgians, a great ambassador, a man of power in finance.
Nevertheless, I thought of the death by the Stinking Springs. How
could one explain his benign, open-souled deportment and his cheery
laugh, with such damnable appetites and actions? Yet generals send
ten thousand men to certain and agonized death to gain a point
toward a goal; that is the custom of generals, by which they gain
honor among their people.

"Killed by the war-club of Kaheutahi and eaten by his friends,
Beaten to Death was but a ghost, and Kaheutahi took his place and
became father of the children of the house. He said they were his in
fact, but men were ever boastful."

The other old man, who said nothing, but was all attention, lit a
pipe and passed it to Kahuiti, who puffed it a moment and passed it
to Strong in Battle. The tale lapsed for a smoking spell.

"Beaten to Death perished by the club? He was well named," said I.
"His father was a prophet."

Kahuiti began to chant in a weird monotone.

"_Va! Va! A tahi a ta! Va! A tahi va! A ua va! A tou va!_" was his
chant. "Thus said the war-club as it crashed on the skull of Beaten
to Death. That is the speech of the war-club when it strikes. The
bones of Beaten to Death were fishhooks before we knew of his death.
All Taaoa was angry. The family of Beaten to Death demanded vengeance.
The priest went into the High Place, and when he came out he ran all
day up and down the valley, until he fell foaming. War was the cry
of the gods, war against Atuona.

"But there was too much peace between us, too many men with Atuona
women, too many Atuona children adopted by Taaoa women. The peace
was happy, and there was no great warrior to urge."

"You had brave men and strong men then," I said, with a sigh for the
things I had missed by coming late.

"_Tuitui!_ You put weeds in my mouth!" exclaimed Kahuiti. "I cannot
talk with your words. _Ue te etau!_ By the great god of the dead! I
am born before the French beached a canoe in the Marquesas. Our gods
were gods then, but they turned to wood and stone when the tree-guns
of the _Farani_ roared and threw iron balls and fire into our valleys.
The Christian god was greater than our gods, and a bigger killer of

"But Beaten to Death - ?" I urged.

"Beaten to Death was in the stomachs of the men of Atuona, and they
laughed at us. Our High Priest said that the _Euututuki_, the most
private god of the priests, commanded us to avenge the eating of
Beaten to Death. But the season of preserving the _mei_ in pits was
upon us. Also the women of Atuona among us said that there should be
peace, and the women of Taaoa who had taken as their own many
children from Atuona. Therefore we begged the most high gods to
excuse us."

"Women had much power then," I said.

Kahuiti chuckled.

"The French god and the priests of the _Farani_ have taken it from
them," he commented. "I have known the day when women ruled. She had
her husbands, - two, four, five. She commanded. She would send two to
the fishing, one to gathering cocoanuts or wood, one she would keep
to amuse her. They came and went as she said. That was _mea pe_!
Sickening! _Pee!_ There are not enough men to make a woman happy.
Many brave men have died to please their woman, but - " He blew out
his breath in contempt.

Strong in Battle said aside, in French:

"He was never second in the house. Kahauiti despised such men. He
was first always."

"So the slaying of Beaten to Death was unavenged?" I asked.

"_Epo!_ Do not drink the cocoanut till you have descended the tree!
I have said the warriors were withheld by the women, and there was
no great man to lead. Yet the drums beat at night, and the fighting
men came. You know how the drums speak?"

His face clouded, and his eyes flashed against their foil of

"'_Ohe te pepe! Ohe te pepe! Ohe te pepe!_' said the drum called
Peepee. '_Titiutiuti! Titiutiuti!_' said the drum called Umi.
_Aue!_ Then the warriors came! They stood in the High Place at the
head of the valley. Mehitete, the chief, spoke to them. He said that
they should go to Atuona, and bring back bodies for feasting. Many
nights the drums beat, and the chief talked much, but there was no

"The High Priest went to the _Pekia_ again, and when he came away he
ran without stopping for two days and a night, till he fell without
breath, as one dead, and foam was on his mouth. The gods were angry.
Still there was no war.

"Then came Tomefitu from Vait-hua. He was chief of that valley,
having been adopted by a woman of Vait-hua, but his father and his
mother were of Taaoa. He had heard of the slaying of Beaten to Death,
his kinsman, and he was hot in the bowels. _Aue!_ The thunder of the
heavens was as the voice of Tomefitu when angered. The earth groaned
where he walked. He knew the _Farani_ and their tricks. He had guns
from the whalers, and he was afraid of nothing save the Ghost Woman
of the Night. Again the warriors came to the High Place, and now
there were many drums."

Kahuiti sprang to his feet. He struck the corner post of the hut
with his fist. His eyes burned.

"'Kaputuhe! Kaputuhe! Kaputuhe!
Teputuhe! Teputuhe! Teputuhe!
Tuti! Tuti! Tutuituiti!"

"That was what the war drums said. The sound of them rolled from the
Pekia, and every man who could throw a spear or hold a war-club came
to their call."

Kahuiti's soul was rapt in the story. His voice had the deep tone of
the violoncello, powerful, vibrant, and colorful. He had lived in
that strange past, and the things he recalled were precious memories.

The sound of the drums, as he echoed them in the curious tone-words
of Marquesan, thrilled me through. I heard the booming of the
ten-foot war-drums, their profound and far-reaching call like the
roaring of lions in the jungle. I saw the warriors with their spears
of cocoanut-wood and their deadly clubs of ironwood carved and
shining with oil, their baskets of polished stones slung about their
waists, and their slings of fiber, dancing in the sacred grove of
the Pekia, its shadows lighted by the blaze of the flickering
candlenuts and the scented sandalwood.

"'I am The Wind That Lays Low The Mighty Tree. I am The Wave That
Fills The Canoe and Delivers The People To The Sharks!' said Tomefitu.
'The flesh of my kinsman fills the bellies of the men of Atuona, and
the gods say war!

"'There is war!' said Tomefitu. 'We must bring offerings to the gods.
Five men will go with me to Otoputo and bring back the gifts. I will
bring back to you the bodies of six of the Atuona pigs. Prepare!
When we have eaten, the chiefs of Atuona will come to Taaoa, and
then you will fight!

"'Make ready with dancing. Polish spears and gather stones for the
slings. Koe, who is my man, will be obeyed while I am gone. I have
spoken,' said Tomefitu. That night Tomefitu and I, with four others,
went silently to Otoputo, the dividing rock that looks down on the
right into the valley of Taaoa and on the left into Atuona. There we
lay among rocks and bushes and spied upon the feet of the enemy.
That man who separated himself from others and came our way to seek
food, or to visit at the house of a friend, him we secretly fell upon,
and slew.

"Thus we did to the six named by Tomefitu, and as we killed them, we
sent them back by others to the High Place. There the warriors
feasted upon them and gained strength for battle.

"Then, missing so many of their clan, the head men of Atuona came to
Otoputo, and shouted to us to give word of the absent. We shouted
back, saying that those men had been roasted upon the fire and eaten,
and that thus we would do to all men of Atuona. And we laughed at

Kahuiti emitted a hearty guffaw at thought of the trick played upon
those devoured enemies.

"But Tufetu, the grandfather of my friend Mouth of God?" I persisted.

"_Epo!_ There was war. The men of Atuona gathered at Otupoto, and
rushed down upon us. We met them at the Stinking Springs, and there
I killed Tufetu, uncle of Sliced and Distributed and Man Whose
Entrails Were Roasted On A Stick. I pierced him through with my
spear at a cocoanut-tree's length away. I was the best spear-thrower
of Taaoa. We drove the Atuonans through the gorge of the Stinking
Springs and over the divide, and I ate the right arm of Tufetu that
had wielded the war-club. That gives a man the strength of his enemy."

He turned again to plaiting the rope of _faufee_.

"_O ia aneihe_, I have finished," he said. "Will you drink _kava_?"

"No, I will not drink _kava_," I said sternly. "Kahuiti, is it not
good that the eating of men is stopped?"

The majestic chief looked at me, his deep brown eyes looking
child-like in their band of blue ink. For ten seconds he stared at
me fixedly, and then smiled uncertainly, as may have Peter the
fisherman when he was chided for cutting off the ear of one of
Judas' soldiers. He was of the old order, and the new had left him
unchanged. He did not reply to my question, but sipped his bowl of


The crime of Huahine for love of Weaver of Mats; story of Tahia's
white man who was eaten; the disaster that befell Honi, the white
man who used his harpoon against his friends.

During my absence in Taaoa there had been crime and scandal in my
own valley. André Bauda met me on the beach road as I returned and
told me the tale. The giant Tahitian sailor of the schooner _Papeite_,
Huahine, was in the local jail, charged with desertion; a serious
offense, to which his plea was love of a woman, and that woman
Weaver of Mats, who had her four names tattooed on her right arm.

Huahine, seeing her upon the beach, had felt a flame of love that
nerved him to risk hungry shark and battering surf. Carried from her
even in the moment of meeting, he had resisted temptation until the
schooner was sailing outside the Bay of Traitors, running before a
breeze to the port of Tai-o-hae, and then he had flung himself naked
into the sea and taken the straight course back to Atuona, reaching
his sweetheart after a seven-hour's struggle with current and breaker.
Flag, the gendarme, found him in her hut, and brought him to the

The following morning I attended his trial. He came before his judge
elegantly dressed, for, besides a red _pareu_ about his middle, he
wore a pink silk shawl over his shoulders. Both were the gift of
Weaver of Mats, as he had come to her without scrip or scrap. He
needed little clothing, as his skin was very brown and his strong
body magnificent.

He was an acceptable prisoner to Bauda, who had charge of the making
and repair of roads and bridges, so Huahine was quickly sentenced
and put to work with others who were paying their taxes by labor.
Weaver of Mats moved with him to the prison, where they lived
together happily, cooking their food in the garden and sleeping on
mats beneath the palms.

On all the _paepaes_ it was said that Huahine would probably be sent
to Tahiti, as there are strict laws against deserting ships and
against vagabondage in the Marquesas. Meantime the prisoner was happy.
Many a Tahitian and white sailor gazes toward these islands as a
haven from trouble, and in Huahine's exploit I read the story of
many a poor white who in the early days cast away home and friends
and arduous toil to dwell here in a breadfruity harem.

"There is a tale told long ago by a man of Hanamenu to a traveler
named Christian," I said to Haabunai, the carver, while we sat
rolling pandanus cigarettes in the cool of the evening. "It runs thus:

"Some thirty years ago a sailor from a trading schooner that had put
into the bay for sandalwood was badly treated by his skipper, who
refused him shore-leave. So, his bowels hot with anger, this sailor
determined to desert his hard and unthanked toil, wed some island
heiress, and live happy ever after. Therefore one evening he swam
ashore, found a maid to his liking, and was hidden by her until the
ship departed.

"Now Tahia was a good wife, and loved her beautiful white man; all
that a wife could do she did, cooking his food, bathing his feet,
rolling cigarettes for him all day long as he lay upon the mats. But
her father in time became troubled, and there was grumbling among the
people, for the white man would not work.

"He would not climb the palm to bring down the nuts; he lay and
laughed on his _paepae_ in the Meinui, the season of breadfruit,
when all were busy; and when they brought him rusty old muskets to
care for, he turned his back upon them. Sometimes he fished, going
out in a canoe that Tahia paddled, and making her fix the bait on
the hook, but he caught few fish.

"'_Aue te hanahana, aua ho'i te kaikai_,' said his father-in-law. 'He
who will not labor, neither shall he eat.' But the white man laughed
and ate and labored not.

"A season passed and another, and there came a time of little rain.
The bananas were few, and the breadfruit were not plentiful. One
evening, therefore, the old men met in conference, and this was
their decision: 'Rats are becoming a nuisance, and we will abate them.'

"Next morning the father sent Tahia on an errand to another valley.
Then men began to dig a large oven in the earth before Tahia's house,
where the white man lay on the mats at ease. Presently he looked and
wondered and looked again. And at length he rose and came down to
the oven, saying, 'What's up?'

"'Plenty _kaikai_. Big pig come by and by,' they said.

"So he stood waiting while they dug, and no pig came. Then he said,
'Where is the pig?' And at that moment the _u'u_ crashed upon his
skull, so that he fell without life and lay in the oven. Wood was
piled about him, and he was baked, and there was feasting in Hanamenu.

"In the twilight Tahia came over the hills, weary and hungry, and
asked for her white man. 'He has gone to the beach,' they said.

"He will return soon, therefore sit and eat, my daughter," said her
father, and gave her the meat wrapped in leaves. So she ate heartily,
and waited for her husband. And all the feasters laughed at her, so
that little by little she learned the truth. She said nothing, but
went away in the darkness.

"And it is written, Haabunai, that searchers for the _mei_ came upon
her next day in the upper valley, and she was hanging from a tall
palm-tree with a rope of _purau_ about her neck."

"That may be a true story," said Haabunai. "Though it is the custom
here to eat the _eva_ when one is made sick by life. And very few
white men were ever eaten in the islands, because they knew too much
and were claimed by some woman of power." He paused for a moment to
puff his cigarette.

"Now there was a sailor whom my grandfather ate, and he was white.
But there was ample cause for that, for never was a man so provoking.

"He was a harpooner on a whale-ship, a man who made much money, but
he liked rum, and when his ship left he stayed behind. They sent two
boats ashore and searched for him, but my grandfather sent my father
with him into the hills, and after three days the captain thought he
had been drowned, and sailed away without him.

"My grandfather gave him my father's sister to wife, and like that
man of whom you told, he was much loved by her, though he would do
nothing but make _namu enata_ and drink it and dance and sleep.
Grandfather said that he could dance strange dances of the sailor
that made them all laugh until their ribs were sore.

"This man, whose name was Honi - "

"Honi?" said I. "I do not know that word."

"Nor I. It is not Marquesan. It was his name, that he bore on the

"Honi?" I repeated incredulously, and then light broke. "You mean

"It may be. I do not know. Honi was his name, as my grandfather said
it. And this Honi had brought from the whale-ship a gun and a harpoon.
This harpoon had a head of iron and was fixed on a spear, with a
long rope tied to the head, so that when it was thrust into the
whale he was fastened to the boat that pursued him through the water.
There was no weapon like it on the island, and it was much admired.

"Honi fought with us when our tribe, the Papuaei, went to war with
the Tiu of Taaoa. He used his gun, and with it he won many battles,
until he had killed so many of the enemy that they asked for peace.
Honi was praised by our tribe, and a fine house was built for him
near the river, in the place where eels and shrimp were best.

"In this large house he drank more than in the other smaller one. He
used his gun to kill pigs and even birds. My grandfather reproved
him for wasting the powder, when pigs could easily be killed with
spears. But Honi would not listen, and he continued to kill until he
had no more powder. Then he quarreled with my grandfather, and one
day, being drunk, he tried to kill him, and then fled to the
Kau-i-te-oho, the tribe of redheaded people at Hanahupe.

"Learning that Honi was no longer with us, the Tiu tribe of Taaoa
declared war again, and the red-headed tribe had an alliance with
them through their chief's families intermarrying, so that Honi
fought with them. His gun being without powder, he took his harpoon,
and he came with the Tui and the Kau-i-te-oho to the dividing-line
between the valleys where we used to fight.

"Where the precipices reared their middle points between the valleys,
the tribes met and reviled one another.

"'You people with hair like cooked shrimp! Are you ready for the
ovens of our valley?' cried my grandfather's warriors.

"'You little men, who run so fast, we have now your white warrior
with us, and you shall die by the hundreds!' yelled our enemies."

This picture of the scene at the line was characteristic of
Polynesian warfare. It is almost exactly like the meeting of armies
long ago in Palestine and Syria, and before the walls of Troy.
Goliath slanged David grossly, threatening to give his body to the
fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, and David retorted in
kind. So, when Ulysses launched his spear at Soccus, he cried:

"Ah, wretch, no father shall they corpse compose,
Thy dying eye no tender mother close;
But hungry birds shall tear those balls away,
And hungry vultures scream around their prey."

"For a quarter of an hour," said Haabunai, "my grandfather's people
and the warriors of the enemy called thus to each other upon the top
of the cliffs, and then Honi and the brother of my grandfather, head
men of either side, advanced to battle.

"The first time Honi threw his harpoon, he hooked my great-uncle. He
hooked him through the middle, and before he could be saved, a half
dozen of the Tiu men pulled on the rope and dragged him over the line
to be killed and eaten.

"Two more of our tribe Honi snared with this devilish spear, and it
was not so much death as being pulled over to them and roasted that
galled us. All day the battle raged, except when both sides stopped
by agreement to eat _popoi_ and rest, but late in the afternoon a
strange thing happened.

"Honi had thrown his harpoon, and by bad aim it entered a tree. The
end of the line he had about his left arm, and as he tried to pull
out the spear-head from the wood, his legs became entangled in the
rope, and my grandfather, who was very strong, seized the rope near
the tree, dragged the white man over the line, and killed him with a

"The enemy ran away then, and that night our people ate Honi.
Grandfather said his flesh was so tough they had to boil it. There
were no _tipoti_ (Standard-oil cans) in those days, but our people
took banana leaves and formed a big cup that would hold a couple of
quarts of water, and into these they put red-hot stones, and the
water boiled. Grandfather said they cut Honi into small pieces and
boiled him in many of these cups. Still he was tough, but
nevertheless they ate him.

"Honi was tattooed. Not like Marquesans, but like some white sailors,
he had certain marks on him. Grandfather saved these marks, and wore
them as a _tiki_, or amulet, until he died, when he gave it to me. He
had preserved the skin so that it did not spoil."

Haabunai yawned and said his mouth was parched from much talking,
but when a shell of rum was set before him and he had drunk, he
fetched from his house the _tiki_. It was as large as my hand, dark
and withered, but with a magnifying glass I could see a rude cross
and three letters, I H S in blue.

"Grandfather became a Christian and was no longer an _enata Ttaikaia_,
an eater of men, but he kept the _tiki_ always about his neck,
because he thought it gave him strength," said my guest.

I handed him back the gruesome relic, though he began advances to
make it my property. For the full demijohn he would have parted with
the _tiki_ that had been his grandfather's, but I had no fancy for it.
One can buy in Paris purses of human skin for not much more than one
of alligator hide.

"Honi must have been very tough," I said.

"He must have been," Haabunai said regretfully. "Grandfather had his
teeth to the last. He would never eat a child. Like all warriors he
preferred for vengeance's sake the meat of another fighter."

He had not yet sprung the grim jest of almost all cannibalistic
narratives. I did not ask if Honi's wife had eaten of him, as had
Tahia of her white man. It is probable that she did, and that they
deceived her. It was the practical joke of those days.

I had seen Apporo, my landlady, staggering homeward a few days
earlier in a pitiful state of intoxication. Some one had given her a
glass of mixed absinthe, vermuth, and rum, and with confidence in
the giver she had tossed it down. That is the kind of joke that in
other days would have been the deluding of some one into partaking
of the flesh of a lover or friend.

Reasoning from our standpoint, it is easy to assume that cannibalism
is a form of depravity practised by few peoples, but this error is
dispelled by the researches of ethnologists, who inform us that it
was one of the most ancient customs of man and began when he was
close brother to the ape. Livingstone, when he came upon it on the
Dark continent, concluded that the negroes came to that horrible
desire from their liking for the meat of gorillas, which so nearly
approach man in appearance. Herodatus, writing twenty-five hundred
years ago, mentions the Massagetae who boiled the flesh of their
old folks with that of cattle, both killed for the occasion.
Cannibalism marked the life of all peoples in days of savagery.

Plutarch says that Cataline's associates gave proof of their loyalty
to that agitator and to one another by sacrificing and eating a man.
Achilles expressed his wish that he might devour Hector. The Kafirs
ate their own children in the famine of 1857, and the Germans ate
one another when starvation maddened them, long after Maryland and
Massachusetts had become thriving settlements in the New World.
There is a historic instance of a party of American pioneers lost in
the mountains of California in the nineteenth century, who in their
last extremity of hunger ate several of the party.

To devour dead relatives, to kill and eat the elders, to feast upon
slaves and captives, even for mothers to eat their children, were
religious and tribal rites for many tens of thousands of years. We
have records of these customs spread over the widest areas of the

Undoubtedly cannibalism began as a question of food supply. In early
times when man, emerging from the purely animal stage, was without
agricultural skill, and lived in caves or trees, his fellow was his
easiest prey. The great beasts were too fierce and powerful for his
feeble weapons except when luck favored him, and the clan or family,
or even the single brave hunter, sought the man-meat by stealth or
combat, or in tunes of stress ate those nearest and dearest.

Specially among peoples whose principal diet is heavy, starchy food,
such as the breadfruit, the demand for meat is keen. I saw Marquesan
women eating insects, worms, and other repellant bits of flesh out of
sheer instinct and stomachic need. When salt is not to be had, the
desire for meat is most intense. In these valleys the upper tribes,
whose enemies shut them off from the sea with its salt and fish,
were the most persistent cannibals, and the same condition exists in
Africa to-day, where the interior tribes eat any corpse, while none
of the coast tribes are guilty.

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