Ndengei the highest and principal deity worshipped by the Fiji Islanders. Ndengei is to them an impersonation of the abstract idea of eternal existence. He is subject to no emotion or sensation, nor to any appetite except hunger. They believe that this god manifests himself in a variety of forms from age to age, but he is actually worshipped in the form of a huge serpent. According to the Fijians, Ndengei passes a monotonous existence in a gloomy cavern — the hollow of an inland rock near the north-east end of Viti Leon; evincing no interest in any one but his attendant Uto, and giving no signs of life beyond eating, answering his priest, and changing his position from one side to the other. There are points in this description which remind one of the Chronos of Greek mythology. The word Ndengei is supposed by some to be a corruption of the first part of the name Tangasoa, or great Tanga, the chief deity of Polynesia; but whether this idea be well founded or not, great veneration is entertained for Ndengei, as they believe that to this deity the spirit goes immediately after death, either to be purified or to receive sentence. All spirits, however, are not allowed to reach the judgment-seat of Ndengei, for the road is obstructed by an enormous giant wielding a large axe, w ith which he attacks all who pass him, and those who are wounded dare not present themselves to Ndengei, and are'obliged to wanderabout in the mountains. "At Rewa," says captain Wilkes, of the American exploring expedition, "it is believed that the spirits first repair to the residence of Ndelgei, who allots some of them to the devils for food, and sends the rest to Mukalon, a small island off Rewa, where they remain until the appointed day, after which they are all doomed to annihilation. 'The judgments thus attributed to Ndengei seem to be ascribed rather to his caprice than to any desert of the departed soul." See Williams, Fiji and the Fijians, ed. by Rowe (Lond. 1870, 12mo), chapter 7. (J.H.W.)

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