IN BA BU.
Their houses were of the most miserable description, fairly well-roofed but without any furniture or conveniences, with the exception of a narrow platform raised a few feet above the earthen floor for sleeping on. Behind each house I observed a small thatched structure which they called the Matakau, the sacred place of the AlA(c)furu wherein, by burning dammar, he propitiates the Great Spirit Allah Stalla. The Matakau is a small platform erected on a short pole and roofed over with palm-leaf thatch from whose eaves all round hangs down a long fringe of split-up palm leaflets. Inside are preserved a knife, a spear, a Kau turin or thick walking-stick constantly carried by the natives on tlieir a journeys (with these they are ^ adepts at quarter-staff ; I was much amused by seeing two children practising with singular skill their cuts and guards, quite unconscious of being watched), a dish containing siri, betel and chalk, and a piece of scarlet cloth. Before sowing any of their fields, some of the seed is always placed inside the Matakau, dammar is burned, and their ritual performed in order to secure its fructification.
Their most dreaded and respected oath is made, holding the sharp top of a sago palm leaf in the hand, on the sacred knife and spear taken from the Matakau ; for they believe in the power A f these pomali-weapons to harm them at any unguarded moment. Another form of adjuration is in drinking after making their declaration, water in which had been placed salt (that they may melt away), a blade of Kussu-grass (that they ^ay be scarred as by its edges), a lance and a knife (that their bodies be pierced, cut and run through) if they have sworn falsely.
Proceeding on our way, we camped for the night in the forest under a canopy made of the long leaves of the sago-