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The Fijians: A Study of the Decay of Custom

1. Ai-Sere-Ni-Wa-Ni-Kuna (Loosening of the strangling cord

1. Ai-Sere-Ni-Wa-Ni-Kuna (Loosening of the strangling cord

This was land given by the family of a dead man to the family of his widow, who strangled herself in honour of her husband's memory. The custom of strangling wives is closely interwoven with the ancient beliefs regarding a future state. As has been explained already, the widow who did not court the strangling cord was assumed to have been unfaithful to her dead husband, and by following him along the path of the Shades she saved his memory as well as her own from dishonour, and her services thus deserved a recompense at the hands of his kinsmen.

Land given in this form of transfer could never be redeemed. page 375But it must be remembered that the transferees belonged to a tribe very closely connected by the ties of marriage and vasu with the donors, and that land was therefore virtually a transfer within the limits of the tribe.