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a command from the head-man, other natives emerged from the shelter; a few loungers standing by began to shake off their lethargy and arouse the sleepers basking in the sun. One of the party had a long clay pipe in his mouth, and another a cigar I had given him; two women, half hidden by bushes, were coaxed out (the women are all very timid), and joined the line that was forming, the clay pipes still in their mouths; while up from the jungle came several others, men and women, with their bodies decorated with clay until they had all the appearance of being clad in fancy tights, looking highly theatrical in their fantastic and grotesque array.
At a signal from the leader, a droning sound, which surged into a throbbing twang, came from the yemnga as several players began tapping it. This primitive musical instrument consists of a shieldshaped piece of wood, the point sticking in the ground. The players, skilfully thrumming on it with their feet, produce weird cadences that vibrate in monotones.
Two lines had been formed; the leader advanced and retreated, the others following. As they moved, they bent their bodies gracefully and in time, at first slowly,
clapping their hands above their heads in unison. As the throbbing tones of the yemnga grew louder, heads, hands, and feet began to gyrate and whirl. Faster and faster they went round and round; then came wild leaps into the air, with arms and legs swinging wildly. Louder and louder rose the intoxicating twang and throbs of the music, and the faces of the blacks became wilder than before, and they began to shout and utter unearthly cries, which echoed through the jungle. Intense excitement took possession of them, and all control was lost. They would leap and fall and rise and sway and whirl until nothing was clear but a vision of black bodies and arms and legs and feet in a cloud of dust.
One by one the frenzied dancers collapsed and fell to the ground, the throbbing sound of the music died away, and the dance was over.
When the exhausted dancers had recovered sufficiently, they gave an exhibition of their skill with bow and arrow. A section of a log about five feet, six inches high, placed two hundred yards away, was used as a target. Their aim was true, and the weapons deadly. They took
the greatest delight in hitting the log and felling it. They use three kinds of arrows, one for shooting fish and turtle, another for hunting wild pigs and iguana for food, which are plentiful, and another for warfare. This latter is composed of a shaft and arrow-head connected by a fiber taken from a creeper found in the jungle. As the point imbeds itself in the body, the shaft falls away of its own weight, and if the victim is running, which is most likely, the shaft, being still connected to the imbedded arrow-head by the fiber, soon brings the unfortunate to the ground. I secured several good pictures of this group of Andamanese, who were singularly natural and unaffected in having their photographs taken.
At dawn the next morning we put our outfit aboard the boat, secured a tow to the lighter which was conveying prisoners to the other side of the island, where they were engaged in felling padouks, and asked the officer in charge of the tug to be on the lookout for us upon his return, as the convicts are taken back every night. We coasted for thirty miles, and through the Middle Straits, dividing the South from the Middle Andamans. As the sun came
up, it cast gorgeous tints of rose and gold over the quiet Andamanese Sea, the waters of which were so clear that fish could be plainly seen sporting in the depths, and a fresh breeze from the northeast filled the air with the fragrance of the forests, and brought new life after the excessively hot days and nights that had preceded.
It was now time to let go the tow-line, so heading for the mouth of a creek, we proceeded as far as Dumla Churog, a desolate spot in the jungle.
The trip up the creek was strenuous, for the heat was now intense (135° Fahrenheit in the sun). Each man worked silently, while backs ached, arms grew tired, perspiration ran down their brown bodies, and by the time we made the landing it was easy to see that the men were losing courage. They were just beginning to realize what they were "up against." Dense underbrush came down to the sluggish waters of the creek on each side, and save for the gentle swish of the paddles and the occasional rustling of the leaves and the flap of wings in the jungle, there was no sound.
Finally we reached the clearing and waded to the muddy bank. It was here
my bearers showed the first signs of fear. They were reluctant to leave the boat, and I did not blame them much, for a more uninviting outlook could hardly be imagined. We were completely shut in on all sides by the thick undergrowth, and the silence was profound. However, with some show of force on my part and promises of reward, they finally gathered up their burdens and we proceeded to march, or rather scramble, through the thick underbrush.
The spreading branches of the trees partly protected us from the scorching sun. The trees are beautiful and varied; many of them are valuable. The padouk, resembling mahogany, is profitably used. I secured specimens of many rare woods, and, in cutting into the trunk of a tree called the "iron tree," found it was well named, as it turned the edge of the ax.
There is no animal life to speak of, the occasional grunt of a wild pig and the
flight and song of birds being the only sounds to break the stillness as we proceeded. There are, however, many insects, and the bare legs of the bearers were viciously attacked by ticks, and knife and pinchers were not always successful in removing them. They were also endangered by the presence of venomous snakes, though we enjoyed some security through the presence and knowledge of Kumali.
We had not gone very far before he detected a cobra. We were moving Indianfile through the tangle as best we could, Kumali being in the lead. Suddenly he darted forward to a clump of bushes, armed with a forked stick he was carrying, and as he circled about the bushes, I saw his black eyes glisten and almost stand out as he kept them fixed on an object in the leaves which I could not discern. He danced wildly about the bush for a moment, and, with a warning hiss, the hooded head of a cobra revealed itself.
Kumali evidently enjoyed the fun, for he continued to prance about and distract the reptile by waving the stick at it. Finally, with a sinuous, gliding motion, the cobra prepared to strike. Watching his opportunity, Kumali approached, and with a deft movement of his arm he pinned the snake to the ground with the forked stick, at the same time seizing the body behind the head. Having discarded the pronged stick, with his other hand he brought out a small glass bowl covered with India rubber. He held this in front of the cobra. The snake made an eager lunge at the bowl, the fangs puncturing the rubber, at the same time ejecting the poison, which was caught in the bowl. After the poison is exposed to the air, the water is evaporated, and it is used as an antidote, it being albuminous in character. I am glad to say that I did not have to use it, but I kept the antidote with me throughout the trip.
After tramping for some hours, though we had made little progress, we came upon a native hut, apparently deserted. In front of it were heaps of refuse, pigs' bones, fire pots, and remnants of a recent feast. The habit of throwing all offal about the place where food is cooked obliges a frequent change of residence on the part of the natives.
The hut stood on the top of a little hill which had been cleared by the Jarawas with the axes and other implements stolen from convicts they had surprised and killed in the forests. Leading up to the shelter from different directions were cleared paths, overhung with wild creepers, and along the sides of the clearing were slight sentry-posts.
The hut itself was merely eight upright. posts of ordinary timber, with cross-beams covered over with leaves of palms. The roof came down low on all sides, there were no doors or windows, and the walls offered poor protection. Inside we found strung upon the walls pig skulls, a number of honey-pots done up neatly in wickerwork, armlets, anklets, girdles, trophies of the chase, ornaments, yemngas, and a quantity of trepang, which, when dried, resembles a petrified banana. Apart from the other furnishings, there was a collection of human bones and skulls, all highly polished and well-cared-for, the jaw-bones being separated from the skulls.
Children, as a rule, are buried in shallow graves in the huts, and occasion slight concern. Deaths of adults, however, cause loud lamentations from all connected with the deceased, and mourning is observed by smearing the body with clay and by refraining from dancing. Some of the dead, notably chiefs, are disposed of by placing the bodies on platforms erected in the forks of suitable trees. After the corpse has decomposed, the bones are cleaned and made into souvenirs, which are distributed among relatives and friends, who prize them highly. It was with difficulty that I managed to secure some of these ghastly relics.
In the middle of the hut was a large fireplace, and about the sides were smaller fireplaces, indicating the occupancy of the hut by a large group of Jarawas. Communal life is the rule. Previous to marriage, unchastity is common with both sexes. Once married, conjugal fidelity until death is the rule, and bigamy, polygamy, and divorce are unknown. Husband and wife may eat together but widows and widowers, bachelors and maidens, may eat only with their own sex. The women show a disposition to herd together, and a custom of suckling one another's babies prevails.
The Andamanese have no words for ordinary salutations, greetings, or for expressing thanks; relatives, however, sit in one another's laps at meeting, huddled close together, weeping loudly if the separation has been a long one.
Numerous superstitions exist, the fear of evil spirits of the wood, the sea, and the air prevailing. "Puluga," who is fundamentally to be identified with some definiteness with the storm (Wuluga), mixed up with ancestral chiefs, has so many attributes of deity that it is reasonable to translate the term by God. There is also a host of minor devils, who are self-created.
In and about the islands are to be found many kitchen-middens, rising from twelve to fifteen feet and more in height, which in some cases have fossilized shells at the base, proving the little black sun-gods to be among the aristocrats of earth and that they lived much as they do now when the shells contained living organisms.
The only sign of life about the hut was a fire burning under a small pot in a corWe had not long to wait, however,
before we learned that our intrusion was known. Two black figures appeared, coming up one of the paths. They were Onge women, and one carried a baby in a sling made from the bark of trees. The other woman, by comparison, was overdressed, as her shoulders were strung with beads and ornaments, and a fiber apron hung from the girdle of shells at the waist. She also wore armlets, leglets, and anklets, and her hair was long and matted. The woman carrying the child was a hideous old hag, fat and shiny; her body was scarred all over.
there for the weather and voracious insects. When thoroughly dried, she cleans it, and, after decorating it with shells and beads, wears it constantly about her neck, between the shoulders, even when working or engaged in cooking.
After a year of mourning in this realistic manner, the widow begins to look about for another partner, making her wishes known to her neighbors. The chief man of the tribe selects a warrior and presents him to the widow. She usually ap
A JARAWA WARRIOR
younger woman turned to flee, I noticed a skull hung between her shoulders. This proclaimed her a widow in mourning. However, we got a good picture of the pair. The custom of mourning mentioned above is generally observed by women after the death of their husbands. skull-the jaw always separated-is carried about continually. Just why the jaw is detached is not clear. It may be that they have had quite enough of it during the lifetime of the deceased, though I noticed that the women did most of the talking.
Immediately after the death of her husband, the head is placed on a crude platform in the trees by the widow and left
proves on sight, and thereupon removes to a lonely spot, takes the dear dead man's skull from her shoulders, and buries it, covering it well. She then returns to the camp, where feasting and dancing await her. Later, retiring from the scene of the festivities she spends a week or more in fasting and vigil by the lonely grave of the skull.
At the end of that period the widow emerges into festive life again, this time bringing the skull with her. This is placed upon a long bamboo pole and
borne before her by one of the head-men of the community, who leads a procession of women. The natives follow the skullbearer and the widow, singing and dancing to the music of the yemnga. In the space in front of the communal hut the pole is set up. The men then come forward, and the poor old skull looks down on a wild revel of feasting and dancing. The festivities continue until the food is devoured and the dancers drop from sheer exhaustion.
As the bride and bridegroom retire from the scene, pigskins and mats are thrown at them by way of wedding-presents. The guests then depart, the men carrying the skull, which is again buried and forgotten.