H. Ling Roth.aNatives of Sarawak and Brit. 2V. Borneo.
' ' When the roof is completed the ridge is closed by bending over it sheets of bark, which are kept down by long horizontal pegs driven through the bark beneath the ridge. At intervals also logs of wood tied at top are placed astride the ridge to keep the bark in its position."
(From a sketch by F. W. Leggatt.)
" The sadau or loft is used to stow away the baskets and agricultural instruments during the season they are not in use. The paddy is stowed away here in tubs of bark and also the seed for next year's farm. Young women often sleep here and so do the young men and boys who are unprovided with curtains when the mosquitoes and sandflies are troublesome down below. They burn a fragrant bark to keep off the mosquitoes.
" Whenever it is deemed expedient by the Sea Dyaks to shift from one locality to another, or to abandon an old habitation in favour of a new one, a general meeting is convened to consider the proposition and the desirability of the measure is fully discussed. If a move be decided upon a few experienced men are deputed to select a site and to report on its adaptability.4 If there be no reason to be dissatisfied with the choice, others are sent to hear whether the birds they venerate are for it or against it. Three days in succession they visit the spot and if the bird omens be favourable they proceed to work at once, and on the following morning the men turn out in a body with axes and choppers to hew down the jungle which is then left to dry. Another general meeting is thereupon convened to determine the question of the tuan or chieftainship, the measurement of the timbers, and the sequence of the rooms. It is customary to place the richest people in the centre of the village that they may exercise hospitality to all comers, and the boldest at either extremity so that they may defend the approaches if called upon to do so. The next move is to appoint an evening for the people to meet at the site of the new village. The ground is then cleared and measured out and pegs are put in where the posts are to stand. A piece of bamboo is then stuck in the ground, filled with water and the aperture covered with leaves, a spear and a shield are placed beside it, and the whole is surrounded by a rail. The rail is to protect the bamboo from being upset by wild animals and the weapons are to warn strangers not to touch it. If there is much evaporation by the morning the place is are strung^on^a stick with considered hot and unhealthy and is abandoned. Half-rotan, care being taken that a-dozen people or so remain to keep watch and beat they o\erlap their tomtoms all night to frighten away evil spirits.
Their friends return early in the morning and if all is well they set to and dig the holes, commencing with the chief's quarters and working simultaneously to
4 Suitability consists in rising ground, nearness to a good supply of water and of firewood. (Crossland, Miss. Life, 1887, p. 162.)
Diagram to show how the sticks of nipa thatch are tied on to the roof. (Sketch by Mr. Crossland.)
Nipa LeafNipa Leaf