NATURAL RELIGION AND FOLK-LORE part m
Snakes and serpents of various kinds (more especially the python and the cobra) have a fairly important r61e to play in the mythology of the Negritos. The most important is the python, which the Semang connect with some of their ideas about nature, e.g. with their theory of eclipses (in which they distinguish a python enfolding and seeking to devour the sun and the moon), and Ikub Hweaa (Vaughan-Stevensa a Huyaa), the great world-snake of which the rainbow is believed to be the visible portion.
The origin of the cobraas hood and of the cobraas quarrel with the rhinoceros-bird has already been related in connection with the tiger. The same ideas are held about the souls of snakes as are held about those of tigers.
Birds also occupy a somewhat important position in the religious life of the Semang, as will be seen in the chapter on the soul, though they do not appear to be regularly watched for purposes of augury. They are, however, believed to convey the souls of new - born children, and among the Kelantan Negritos a mother who has hope of offspring is required to eat this soul-bird; and the phrase a she has eaten the bird a has become tantamount to saying a she expects to become a mother.a
The bird which according to some Semang versions conveys menas souls is the small Argus-' pheasant. Besides this, there is the bird which conveys womenas souls, and the bird Me-el, which is the inseparable companion of Simei.The bird which according to some Semang versions conveys mena s souls is the small Argus-' pheasant. Besides this, there is the bird which conveys womena s souls, and the bird Me-el, which is the inseparable companion of Simei.