Rat-Hunters of Fiji

In the Friendly Islands (Fiji) a group of Tongans are described as hunting rats for pleasure – a counterpart of the shooting of birds or hunting of foxes practiced by others. Each of two chiefs assembles a party equipped with bows and arrows. The arrows are very long and beautifully made but have only a short range. A path is marked by two attendants who spit out fragments of roasted coconut on each side. Nobody, except the hunting parties, may now use the path. The hunters walk in single file, with members of the rival teams alternating and all imitating rat squeaks. The rats, which seem to be remarkably helpful, then emerge from their burrows. The winning party is the first to shoot ten rats. According to the anthropologist J. G. Wood, birds of any kind are counted as rats.

from: The Story of Rats by S. Anthony Barnett (Allen & Unwin 2001) p.9

Hawaiian Rat-Hunters

...His father handed him the Huhui, an arrow having three or four sharp notches in the point.

Pikoi let the arrow go twisting and whirling around, striking and entangling the whiskers of three rats.

Mainele saw this wonderful shooting, and delivered all the treasures he had wagered. But Pikoi said he had not really won until he had killed fourteen more rats, so he shot again a very long arrow among the thick leaves of the shrubs, and the arrow was full of rats strung on it from end to end hanging on it by forties.

The people stood with open mouths in silent astonishment, and then broke out in wildest enthusiasm.

from: Hawaiian Legends of Old Honolulu by W. D. Westervelt (G.H. Ellis Press 1915)



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