A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands

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It was a frequent practice with . . . the Friendly Islanders to cut off one or two of the bones of their little fingers. This, indeed, was so common, that scarcely an adult could be found who had not in this way mutilated his hands. On one occasion, the daughter of a chief, a fine young woman about eighteen years of age, was standing by my side, and as I saw by the state of the wound that she had recently performed the ceremony, I took her hand, and asked her why she had cut off her finger. Her affecting reply was, that her mother was ill, and that, fearful lest her mother should die, she had done this to induce the gods to save her. "Well," I said, "how did you do it?" "Oh," she replied, "I took a sharp shell, and worked it about until the joint was separated, and then I allowed the blood to stream from it. This was my offering to persuade the gods to restore my mother." When, at a future period, another offering is required, they sever the second joint of the same finger; and when a third or a fourth is demanded, they amputate the same bones of the other little finger: and when they have no more joints which they can conveniently spare, they rub the stumps of their mutilated fingers with rough stones, until the blood again streams from the wound.1

1Williams, J.n/an/an/an/an/a, , 490–491.

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Chicago: "A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands," A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 20, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MVUF2GA3II2IR2X.

MLA: . "A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands." A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 20 Jul. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MVUF2GA3II2IR2X.

Harvard: , 'A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands' in A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 July 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=MVUF2GA3II2IR2X.