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Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, [1891], at


The traditions abound with instances of anthropophagism, and in all Polynesia there were no more confirmed cannibals than these islanders. The practice is said to have originated with a band of natives who were defeated in war and besieged in their stronghold until reduced to the borders of starvation. From this time the loathsome custom of devouring prisoners, captured in war, grew in popular favor. Cannibalism may have originated in a spirit of revenge, but it grew beyond those limits, and not only were prisoners of war and enemies slain in battle eaten, but every unfortunate against whom trivial charges were made, met that fate. Instances are related in the legends of children being devoured by their parents, not from any other motive than to satisfy the cravings of their depraved and vitiated appetites. Cannibalism was practiced until a comparatively recent period. Several of the older natives acknowledge that they had frequently eaten human flesh in their youth, and described the process of cooking and preparing "long-pig" for the feast.

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