/ 236 WANDERINGS AMONG SAVAGES
fast, and whose bite we were told was very poisonous.
On the way back, when passing through some very low caves, the Hadji got some of his men to knock down for me a few of the white nests from the sides of the cave with long poles, and in another cave they got me some black nests. The difference between these white and black nests is this : they are made by two different kinds of swallows. The white nest is made by a very small bird, but the bird that builds the black nest is twice the size of the other. The white nest looks something like pure white gelatine, and is very clean, and has no feathers in it. The black nest, on the contrary,, is plentifully coated with feathers, and it is, in consequence, not worth nearly as much as the white nest. The nests are made from the saliva of the birds. Both are very plain coloured birds ; an ordinary swallow is brilliant in comparison. This is unusual in a country so full of brilliant-plumaged birds as Borneo is ; but, as they spend most of their lives in the depths of these sombre caves, I suppose it is only natural that their plumage should be obscure and plain. These birds'-nest caves are found all over Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, and also in Java and other parts of the Malay archipelago, but these are by far the largest. The revenue from these caves alone brings the Government a very large sum. By far the greatest number of these nests are sent to China,