xvi MAGIC, SPELLS, AND CHARMS 125
principal hearth beside the heads, usually in a wide-meshed basket. It constitutes the most precious possession of the household, being of even greater value than the heads. No one willingly touches or handles the siap, not even the chief. And when it becomes necessary to touch the bundle, as in transferring it to a new house, some old man is specially told off for the duty ; he who touches it brings upon himself the risk of death, for it is very parit to touch it, i.e. strongly against custom and therefore dangerous.1 Its function seems to be to bring luck or prosperity of all kinds to the house ; without it nothing would prosper, especially in warfare.
Many individuals keep a small private bunch of siap, made up of various small objects, of unusual forms, generally without any human hair (Fig. 81). These are generally obtained through dreams. A man dreams that something of value is to be given him, and then, if on waking his eye falls upon a crystal of quartz, fig. 81. a Kenyah or any other slightly peculiar object, Charm made with
1 \ . ii- i 1 a a crocodile s tooth.
ne takes it and hangs it above his sleeping-place ; when going to bed he addresses it, saying that he wants a dream favourable to any business he may have in hand. If such a dream comes to him, the thing becomes siap ; but if his dreams are inauspicious, the object is rejected. Since no one can come in contact with another man's siap without nsk of injury, the inconvenience occasioned by multiplication of siap bundles puts a limit to their number. Nevertheless a man who possesses private siap will carry it with him attached to the sheath of
1 Although breach of custom and of lali by any individual may bring mis-jortune on the whole household, the offending individual is regarded as specially Aable to wasting sickness with diarrhoea and spitting of blood.1 Although breach of custom and of lali by any individual may bring mis-jortune on the whole household, the offending individual is regarded as specially A able to wasting sickness with diarrhoea and spitting of blood.