A NATURALIST'S WANDERINGS
are bunches of sweet potatoes for the use of the dead mana s Nitu. Two days after the burial, the family, go to bathe and wash their hair; and after two days more they search for ten fishes and one tortoise wherewith to give a feast, which is finished with siri and libations of palm-wine. When the body is quite decomposed, his son, or one of the family, disinters the skull and deposits it on a little platform in his house, in the gable opposite the fire-place, while to ward off evil from himself he carries about with him the atlas and axis bones of its neck in his luvu, or siri-holder. The bodies of those who die in war or by a violent death are buried, and not placed on
CARVED SUSPENSORY CONTRIVANCES.
rocks or on a platform, where only such as die naturally are deposited ; and if his head has been captured a cocoa-nut is placed in the grave to represent the missing member, and to deceive and satisfy his spirit.
I am doubtful if these rites are always faithfully performed, for on walking along the shore I have often seen, where the coffin has fallen to pieces, complete crania on the rocks where the body had been deposited, while occipital and frontal bones, mingling with jaws of pigs, lay quite uncared for on the shore. The dead mana s spirit, they say, goes to Nusa Nitu, or Mara-mattaa a an island near to Ceram,a which the navigator passes fearful and vigilant, believing he hears strange unsiren soun s wafted out to him on the sea, and is thankful when the Home of the Spirits has sunk down in the horizon behind him.