THE NIGHT WITH NIANG THE PRIEST
The sun had sunk in glittering splendour behind the forests, and the evening was beginning to cast its blue shadows over the jungle when we reached the home of an especial saint.
Aris knew the priest Niang from former times. It had already struck me in the morning how my Malay had asked a few Chinamen about our quarters, and giggled on hearing what they said. As I knew every wrinkle of Aris's face I could see something out of the ordinary was coming to pass.
We had again been on the march for weeks, going from one little village to another, from one Siamese hut to the next, roaming about the country like vagabonds.
I was therefore agreeably surprised now to comeA across a substantial plank house of clean and attractive appearance in the middle of an orchard.
Niang, the priest, was a man of the tall stature of the northern Indians, with a round clean-shaven head and a pair of clever eyes that always seemed to sound a note of warning : 44 Look out, we are from another world I "
Under the house a savage black dbg lay on the chain, and two women were weaving a bast mat. " One of them," I thought, 44 is probably Niang's sister, and the other a relative of some kind."
44 Aris, this priest is well off : the women look after him, and he can give himself up entirely to his high profession of doing nothing but think."44 Aris, this priest is well off : the women look after him, and he can give himself up entirely to his high profession of doing nothing but think."