THE ANIMALS OF SIAM. 96
gresses. On arriving, a pavilion in the palace grounds is ready to receive him, a title is given him, and slaves are appointed to care for him. A public festival of a week's continuance is ordained ; priests of the highest grade chant prayers in his presence daily. When sick, he is attended by the wisest of the court physicians ; the priests wait upon him, sprinkle him with consecrated water and pray for his recovery. If he dies, there is universal mourning, and funeral honours are paid to his remains.
One day a strange procession passed down the river in front of our house in Bangkok. There were eight large barges, six of them with curtains of crimson and gold cloth, each manned by about thirty boatmen dressed in red trousers, jackets, and caps. They had a brass band, which made very mournful music, for it was a funeral occasion. The first impression was that some personage eminent for rank was being borne to sepulture ; but no, this procession was simply doing honour to the dead body of a light-coloured elephant.
The third and fourth boats had no gay curtains, but they had the five-storied umbrellas which denote great rank, and between these two boats the corpse was fastened and floated in the water There was a canopy of white cloth over it to protect it from the sun. Phya is a title given to a high order of nobility in Siam, and this distinguished