Kathasaritsagara (the Ocean of Story)

by Somadeva | 1924 | 1,023,469 words | ISBN-13: 9789350501351

This is the English translation of the Kathasaritsagara written by Somadeva around 1070. The principle story line revolves around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidhyādharas (‘celestial beings’). The work is one of the adoptations of the now lost Bṛhatkathā, a great Indian epic tale said to have been composed by ...

As we proceed eastwards from the Pelew Islands we are gradually approaching the &at;a-drinking area. It is even more difficult to determine exactly where these two customs meet in Micronesia than it is in Melanesia.

A comparative study of the overlapping of the two cultures, for so we must designate them, as shown in these two great Oceanic groups of islands, presents a most interesting problem, which would repay a much closer study by anthropologists than it has as yet received. As we shall shortly see, Dr Rivers has studied the problem as far as Melanesia is concerned, but Micronesia offers even greater opportunities for research. The whole history of all the Oceanic peoples is involved.

In Micronesia the dividing line between betel-chewing and kava -drinking clearly falls in the Caroline Islands. From the evidence I have studied at the Royal Geographical Society I would put it mid-way between Yap in the west and Ponape in the east. It seems impossible to make any more definite statement than this. I feel sure that a close examination of all the Caroline Islands would reveal in which direction the encroaching custom is betel-chewing or kava -drinking.

The problem, however, is not to be solved as easily as this, for the Carolines afford paradoxical evidence. Thus in Yap the words used for betel show their Polynesian origin, yet kava -drinking here is unknown. In Ponape and Kusaie two varieties of areca-palm (katai and kotop) grow in abundance in the highlands, yet betel-chewing is absent and kava- drinking in vogue.[1]

Footnotes and references:


See F. W. Christian, Caroline Islands, p. 189, and also pp. 263-264 and 334. Frazer gives several references to betel in Yap in his Belief in Immortality, vol. iii, pp. 10, 171.

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