Orokaiva Society


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During the first few days of the child’s life its father must avoid the dangers of gardening. If he were to strike at a young sapling with his axe it would be as if he struck at his baby’s neck, with the possible result that "the blood would come up" and the child choke and die. This association of ideas I have met with several times, and Mr. Flint records the same, as if it were a somewhat ghastly obsession. "One man told me he could not fell a tree until his child was two days old. I asked him the reason. He informed me that if he did so it would be the same as cutting his baby’s throat." This couvade-like practice is very general. In rather extreme form it appears in another of Mr. Flint’s instances. His interpreter at Kokoda had washed clothes the day his first child was born, with what proved to be fatal results. On the birth of his second he applied for two days’ leave from the office, lest this child should die too, and needless to say received it from a sympathetic master, though his work consisted merely in interpreting. It is for a somewhat different reason that the father refuses to plant taro too soon after his child is born: here he is considering his garden, for the plant would rot in the ground like the buried placenta.1

1Williams, F.E.n/an/an/an/a, , 95 (Oxford University Press. By permission)


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Chicago: "Orokaiva Society," Orokaiva Society in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2023, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=JXNG4EZVSBGTV8C.

MLA: . "Orokaiva Society." Orokaiva Society, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2023. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=JXNG4EZVSBGTV8C.

Harvard: , 'Orokaiva Society' in Orokaiva Society. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2023, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=JXNG4EZVSBGTV8C.