against the edge of the knife. The ears thus cropped are thrown into a basket slung round the neck. As soon as a large basket has been filled by the reapers, its contents are spread out on mats on a platform before the hut. After an exposure of two or three days, the grain is separated from the ears by stamping upon them with bare feet. The separated grain passes through the meshes of the coarse mat on to a finer mat beneath. The grain is then further dried by exposure to the sun. When the whole crop has been gathered, threshed, and dried in this way, it is transported in the large shoulder baskets amid much rejoicing and merry-making to
the padi barns adjoining the house, and the harvest festival begins.
The elaborate operations on the padi farm that we have described might seem to a materialist to be sufficient to secure a good harvest; but this is not the view taken by the Kayans, or any other of the cultivators of Borneo. In their opinion all these material labours would be of little avail if not supplemented at every stage by the minute observance of a variety of rites. The padi has life or soul, or vitality, and is subject to sickness and to many vaguely conceived influences, both good and bad.
Determination of the Seasons
The determination of the time for sowing the seed is a matter of so great importance that in each