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coral, set up near the family dwelling, and surrounded by circles of smaller ones. These stones are annointed with oil and worshiped with prayer and offerings, and are also used for purposes of divining, in which, and in various omens, there is a general belief. In the Marshall group, in place of these stones, certain palm-trees are similarly enclosed. The spirits, also, are believed to inhabit the forms of certain birds or fishes, which are tabu, as food to the family; but they will help to catch these for others. All this closely recalls the Kauwari, or the ancestral images of New Guinea.
FLORA AND FAUNA.
The Mora of the Gilbert and Marshall groups is of the usual oceanic character, with close Indo-Malay affinities. It is much poorer than that of the Carolines, with their Mollucca and Philippine elements, and this again is surpassed by that of the Ladrones. In the Gilberts, the scattered woods of the cocoanut and pandanus have little undergrowth, while the South Marshalls being within the belt of constant precipitation, have a dense growth of low trees and shrubs, with here and there a tropical luxuriance unusual in atolls.
The pandanus grows wild and profusely, and is of exceptional importance, being the chief staple food, so that the cocoanut, which however flourishes chiefly in the Gilberts, is used mainly to produce oil for exportation. The bread-fruit grows chiefly in the South Marshalls. The taro arum cordifolium and others is cultivated laboriously, deep trenches being cut in the solid rock for its cultivation. Various vegetables grow on soil imported for the purpose. Marine plants are rare.
The fauna, like the flora, becomes poorer eastward, birds being more numerous on the high islands .than on the atolls, where the few are chiefly aquatic. On Bonabe, or Ponape, out of twenty-nine species eleven are sea-birds, and of the remaining eighteen, eleven are peculiar to the islands. From the Pelew Islands fifty-six species are recorded (twelve peculiar), and from the neighboring Makenzie group twenty (six peculiar). Yet curiously no species is recorded to those two groups, and peculiar to them. The common fowl is found everywhere, wild or tame, and in some places is kept for its feathers only. The rat and" paunopes are the only indigenous land mammals. The Indian crocodile is found as far west as the Pelews. There are five or six species of lizards, including a gecka and abliphereos. Insects are numerous, but of few kinds. Scorpions and centipedes are common, but are said to be harmless.
The houses of the Gilberts and Marshalls (much less elaborate than those in the Carolines) consist merely of a thatched roof, resting on posts, or blocks of coral, about three feet high, with floors at that level, which are reached from an opening in the center. On these the principal people sleep, also serving as a store-house, inaccessible to rats, which infest all the islands.
(Findlay's N. Pacific; Hale's Eth. and Phi. of Wilke's U. S. Ex. Exped.; Menicke's Die Inseln des Stellen Oceans; Proc. Zool. Soc, 1872, 1877, Ency. Brit., vol. 16.)
The Islands of Micronesia lie along the Equator and a little west of the meridian on which the world's day begins. The Micronesian Christians have finished the Sabbath worship, and fallen asleep under the shelter of their thatched cottages beneath the cocoanut trees, before Christians in America have begun the services of the day.
Micronesia is a subdivision of Polynesia, the generic name for the myriad islands scattered over the broad Pacific Ocean. It is composed of four groups— the Gilbert or Kingsmill Islands, which lie on both sides of the Equator and a little beyond the 180th meridian; the Marshall or Mulgrave Islands, subdivided into the Radac or Ralack Chains; and the Caroline and Ladrone Islands. The three former groups only are missionary ground, as the Ladrone Islands are a Spanish penal colony, and the native race is extinct.
The Islands of Micronesia are in the great coral belt; the Gilbert and Marshall groups being exclusively of coral formation, and lie in the Caroline archipelago, which stretches over the sea a distance of two thousand miles from east to west. Many of the atolls or coral islands enclose lagoons from ten to fifteen miles broad, and from twenty to thirty miles long.
The climate of Micronesia is a never-ending summer, never as hot as the hottest summer days of America, and never cold enough to cause chilliness. The greatest range of the thermometer experienced during a residence of several years on Ponape, one of the Caroline group, was thirteen degrees—from 74 deg. to 87 deg. in the shade. On some of the islands the rainfall is excessive; on others, but moderate.
The Islands of Polynesia are inhabited by two races of people—brown and black. The brown are found on the Sandwich Islands, the Marquesas, the Society and the Samoan groups, the Hervey and New