115 NORTH BORNEO.
One Murut remained after his comrades had left, so I amused myself for some time getting my questions interpreted to him by the local Kadyans.
The Murut burial customs are rather interesting. The corpse is for the first year potted : the dead body is doubled up, the knees to the chin, and placed in a large jar, the jar being carefully broken to admit it, and afterwards tied together with rattans and cemented, the top being secured by a plate also cemented down. As this human jam-pot is kept in the roof of the house until the bones alone remain, it is necessary to drain off the liquid parts ; this is done by inserting a long bamboo pipe through the bottom of the jar into the ground below. After the bones are dry they are placed in a smaller jar and buried. Whether this custom originated from the fear of the desecration of the graves by enemies I am unable to say; but as the Muruts have even journeyed to Labuan and stolen the skulls from the cemetery, it is not improbable that they are afraid of the same thing happening to their dead.
The price of a wife among these Muruts is 20 picul of brass guns (rather expensive), or 4 jars, or two gongs ; and my informant told me that often several men subscribe to buy a wife for one. This tribe call themselves Mongallun Muruts ; their chief is Orang Kaya Dowaha, his wife is named Selouar. At this point Seboya (my informant) got tired of being pumped, so got up and abruptly left. Muruts kept visiting us every day, and I noticed several of them were tattooed on their chests or thighs. Whilst busy drawing a peculiar tattoo, the Murut caught my eye and immediately covered the mark over. The tattoo was a peculiar one, resembling a three-legged dog with a crocodile's head, one leg being turned //^
over the back as if the animal was going to scratch its ear. \ (-----
The reason the Murut gave for not allowing me to sketch \ /
this mark was that his wife was expecting a child, and he /
was afraid of my eye affecting her. I have always found X^J
Borneans most unwilling models, as they believe that when J/
you have sketched them you have power over them however
far you may be distant.
On the 28th, as we found but very few birds to collect about the campong, we carried our baggage up the mountain some little distance, and built a small shelter close to the edge of the virgin forest in an old paddi-clearing ; here we remained until the 1st of April, collecting scarcely anything. This being a Murut country, birds and animals are very scarceathese people killing, either by trapping or shooting, everything they can possibly eat. I believe also my Kadyans are not anxious to go collecting any distance away from the hut, fearing that they might possibly be potted by some wandering Murut.
Seeing that there was but little to be done in this district, we used to make expeditions on the river, collecting a few interesting birds. One day we visited some limestone caves, where the Muruts informed us the Edible Swallow nested. After rowing some distance down stream we struck off into the forest, and after a two hours' scramble reached the top of a hill, wThich was crowned with bare precipitous limestone cliffs. The top was rent in twain right through the centre of the hill, the gap thus formed being about fifty feet broad and sixty or seventy high ; many other rents ran at right angles to the main fissure. At