The Disposal of the Dead.
join the troop and to do this I had to run my best.....At a somewhat clear spot in the
forest a halt was made. I saw here a whole group of coffins, some supported by six, some by four posts, and to my surprise I also saw a house. In answer to my enquiry I was told it was a burning
place where the bones of the dead were cremated.....I found, however, it was no corpse I
had been followiDg but that the people had brought food to a child which had died seven days ago. The food consisted of fowl and rice and the necessary adjuncts. The food was put down amidst loud lamentations, and the women stood in groups taking up the wailing alternatively. They all went back in the same haste with which they came. I wondered on the quiet to myself how it was that they had buried the child there so far from the village when I knew that the cemetery was-almost in the village, a few hundred paces from the house of the suta. But I learnt later that the spot in the forest, to which I had been, was the real rendezvous of all the village dead, but that the dead are not taken there at once. Only children up to at most six or seven years of age are buried there at once. If a child dies a fowl must be sacrificed as is the case at every death. The greater part of the fowl is, of course, eaten by the sorrowing ones, and the dead only gets the bones, but these he takes with
A Cremation on the Kapolas Moeroeng River. Dutch South Central Borneo. (After Schwaner.)
him. A pig is killed the day after the death of the child and that is then sufficient to help its soul to be able to enter purified into the city of the dead. A temporary coffin is not made for a child, as is done with grown-up people, but the child is put at once into its proper coffin, called koni. The prescribed mourning of the parents lasts seven days. While this lasts they must eat no rice, but must eat djeli. The seeds of djeli are small and brown, of unpleasant smell, and are said not to taste at all nice, so that children are not forced to partake of this mourning food. Grown-up brothers and sisters are bound to partake of this food for so long as the body remains in the house. On the seventh day a fowl is again killed and a part of it carried to the child. The parents' time of mourning then ceases. The burial of adults : One Saturday afternoon in September last year a man who was very ill was brought from the rice fields into the village. The people like to do this, so that a man should at least die in his house. In any case, the corpse must be brought to the village to which the deceased belonged. The man who was brought in belonged to our next neighbour's house, barely five paces from the balai, and there I also had the opportunity of seeing everything very exactly.