Puslapio vaizdai
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[graphic]

A WIDOW FOLLOWING THE CUSTOM OF WEARING HER HUSBAND'S SKULL

ON HER BACK

my bearers showed the first signs of fear. fight and song of birds being the only They were reluctant to leave the boat, and sounds to break the stillness as we proI did not blame them much, for a more ceeded. There are, however, many inuninviting outlook could hardly be imag- sects, and the bare legs of the bearers ined. We were completely shut in on all were viciously attacked by ticks, and knife sides by the thick undergrowth, and the and pinchers were not always successful in silence was profound. However, with removing them. They were also endansome show of force on my part and prom- gered by the presence of venomous snakes, ises of reward, they finally gathered up though we enjoyed some security through their burdens and we proceeded to march, the presence and knowledge of Kumali. or rather scramble, through the thick We had not gone very far before he deunderbrush.

tected a cobra. We were moving IndianThe spreading branches of the trees file through the tangle as best we could, partly protected us from the scorching sun. Kumali being in the lead. Suddenly he The trees are beautiful and varied; many darted forward to a clump of bushes, of them are valuable. The padouk, re- armed with a forked stick he was carrying, sembling mahogany, is profitably used. I and as he circled about the bushes, I saw secured specimens of many rare woods, his black eyes glisten and almost stand out and, in cutting into the trunk of a tree as he kept them fixed on an object in the called the “iron tree,” found it was well leaves which I could not discern. He named, as it turned the edge of the ax. danced wildly about the bush for a mo

There is no animal life to speak of, the ment, and, with a warning hiss, the occasional grunt of a wild pig and the hooded head of a cobra revealed itself.

concern.

sexes.

Kumali evidently enjoyed the fun, for he Children, as a rule, are buried in shalcontinued to prance about and distract the low graves in the huts, and occasion slight reptile by waving the stick at it. Finally,

Deaths of adults, however, cause with a sinuous, gliding motion, the cobra loud lamentations from all connected with prepared to strike. Watching his oppor- the deceased, and mourning is observed by tunity, Kumali approached, and with a smearing the body with clay and by refraindeft movement of his arm he pinned the ing from dancing. Some of the dead, nosnake to the ground with the forked stick, tably chiefs, are disposed of by placing the at the same time seizing the body behind bodies on platforms erected in the forks of the head. Having discarded the pronged suitable trees. After the corpse has destick, with his other hand he brought out composed, the bones are cleaned and made a small glass bowl covered with India into souvenirs, which are distributed rubber. He held this in front of the among relatives and friends, who prize cobra. The snake made an eager lunge them highly. It was with difficulty that at the bowl, the fangs puncturing the rub- I managed to secure some of these ghastly ber, at the same time ejecting the poison, relics. which was caught in the bowl. After In the middle of the hut was a large the poison is exposed to the air, the water fireplace, and about the sides were smaller is evaporated, and it is used as an antidote, fireplaces, indicating the occupancy of the it being albuminous in character. I am hut by a large group of Jarawas. Comglad to say that I did not have to use it, munal life is the rule. Previous to marbut I kept the antidote with me throughout riage, unchastity is common with both the trip.

Once married, conjugal fidelity After tramping for some hours, though until death is the rule, and bigamy, polygwe had made little progress, we came upon amy,

and divorce are unknown. Husa native hut, apparently deserted. In front band and wife may eat together but widows of it were heaps of refuse, pigs' bones, fire and widowers, bachelors and maidens, may pots, and remnants of a recent feast. The eat only with their own sex. The women habit of throwing all offal about the place show a disposition to herd together, and a where food is cooked obliges a frequent custom of suckling one another's babies change of residence on the part of the na- prevails. tives.

The Andamanese have no words for The hut stood on the top of a little hill ordinary salutations, greetings, or for exwhich had been cleared by the Jarawas pressing thanks; relatives, however, sit in with the axes and other implements stolen one another's laps at meeting, huddled from convicts they had surprised and killed close together, weeping loudly if the sepain the forests. Leading up to the shelter ration has been a long one. from different directions were cleared Numerous superstitions exist, the fear of paths, overhung with wild creepers, and evil spirits of the wood, the sea, and the air along the sides of the clearing were slight prevailing. “Puluga,” who is fundamensentry-posts.

tally to be identified with some definiteThe hut itself was merely eight upright ness with the storm (Wuluga), mixed up posts of ordinary timber, with cross-beams with ancestral chiefs, has so many attricovered over with leaves of palms. The butes of deity that it is reasonable to roof came down low on all sides, there translate the term by God. There is also a were no doors or windows, and the walls host of minor devils, who are self-created. offered poor protection. Inside we found In and about the islands are to be found strung upon the walls pig skulls, a number many kitchen-middens, rising from twelve of honey-pots done up neatly in wicker- to fifteen feet and more in height, which in work, armlets, anklets, girdles, trophies of some cases have fossilized shells at the base, the chase, ornaments, yemngas, and a quan- proving the little black sun-gods to be tity of trepang, which, when dried, re- among the aristocrats of earth and that sembles a petrified banana. Apart from they lived much as they do now when the the other furnishings, there was a collec- shells contained living organisms. tion of human bones and skulls, all highly The only sign of life about the hut was polished and well-cared-for, the jaw-bones a fire burning under a small pot in a corbeing separated from the skulls.

ner. We had not long to wait, however,

LXXXII-112

use

before we learned that our intrusion was there for the weather and voracious inknown. Two black figures appeared, com- sects. When thoroughly dried, she cleans ing up one of the paths. They were Onge it, and, after decorating it with shells and women, and one carried a baby in a sling“ beads, wears it constantly about her neck, made from the bark of trees. The other between the shoulders, even when working woman, by comparison, was overdressed, or engaged in cooking. as her shoulders were strung with beads After a year of mourning in this realisand ornaments, and a fiber apron hung tic manner, the widow begins to look from the girdle of shells at the waist. She about for another partner, making her also wore armlets, leglets, and anklets, and wishes known to her neighbors. The chief her hair was long and matted. The wo- man of the tribe selects a warrior and preman carrying the child was a hideous old sents him to the widow. She usually aphag, fat and shiny;

proves on sight, her body was

and thereupon rescarred all over.

moves to a lonely The natives

spot, takes the dear quartz to tattoo

dead man's skull their figures, which

from her shoulders, leaves little raised

and buries it, covdots over the en

ering it well. She tire body.

then returns to the The pair shyly

camp, where feastapproached, and

ing and dancing Kumali attempted

await her. Later, to reassure them.

retiring from the He was not as suc

scene of the festivicessful in charm

ties she spends a ing them as he

week or more in had been with the

fasting and vigil by cobra, however, for

the lonely grave of despite the tempt

the skull. ing offers of beads

At the end of and bright-colored

that period the cloth, they gave

widow

emerges only a few curious

into festive life glances before their

again, this time fear prevailed and

bringing the skull they bolted, much

with her. This is to our disappointA JARAWA WARRIOR

placed upon a long ment. As the

bamboo pole and younger woman turned to flee, I noticed a borne before her by one of the head-men skull hung between her shoulders. This of the community, who leads a procession proclaimed her a widow in mourning. of women. The natives follow the skullHowever, we got a good picture of the pair. bearer and the widow, singing and danc

The custom of mourning mentioned ing to the music of the yemnga. In the above is generally observed by women space in front of the communal hut the pole after the death of their husbands. His is set up. The men then come forward, and skull - the jaw always separated - is car- the poor old skull looks down on a wild ried about continually. Just why the jaw revel of feasting and dancing. The fesis detached is not clear. It may be that tivities continue until the food is dethey have had quite enough of it during voured and the dancers drop from sheer the lifetime of the deceased, though I no- exhaustion. ticed that the women did most of the As the bride and bridegroom retire from talking.

the scene, pigskins and mats are thrown at Immediately after the death of her hus- them by way of wedding-presents. The band, the head is placed on a crude plat- guests then depart, the men carrying the form in the trees by the widow and left skull, which is again buried and forgotten. In all this weird ceremony there is much their bare legs. They were now almost crude philosophy and some wisdom, as will afraid to stop at any point for fear of anbe admitted. The primitive savage has a other attack. As we saw no more of the sense of justice and right. The Anda- natives for some time, their fears subsided manese even give a very good reason for somewhat, and we continued to pick our their hostility to strangers, namely, that way through the thickets and jungle. they were once friendly, but have been un- Sleeping, eating, and tramping, the bearers mercifully treated in the past by Chinese carrying the outfit, of which the most cumand Malay traders. A semblance of poetry bersome parts were the curios we had colis also to be found in some of their customs lected and the photographer's parapherand ceremonies. Such, for instance, as the nalia, occupied the next few days. naming of girls by what they term “Flower I shall never forget the ever-changing names." The natives of the Andamans beauty of the forests. Here and there seldom use names when directly addressing flourishing creepers festooned the trees, one another, and only the simplest names while rare orchids swung from the limbs suffice to indicate a person not present. of others, and the evergreen trees laden These are very much alike, and no dis- with climbers were cooling to look upon. tinction is made between sexes in common Occasional groves of bamboo and valuable names, which are usually taken from some woods stretched for miles. And I shall physical characteristic. Young girls, how- never forget the beautiful, silent nights. ever, are given additional names, taken The moon was at the full, and as the silfrom the names of trees and plants, which very rays sifted through the branches they are often musical in sound. It is a sad re- brought out weird shadows, which took flection that the better instincts of these strange shapes. people are never to come under the influ- After supper the bearers would smoke, ence of a higher civilization than their chew betel-nut, and tell ghost stories in own, for they are fast dying out. Diseases, their strange tongue, then fall into dreammostly brought to the islands by the pris- less sleep, except one or two, who were on oners, are responsible for this, and soon, guard. The silence of the night in the perhaps, the race will be gone.

[graphic]

Andaman jungle, aside from innumerable We were resting in the shade of the hut insect life, is broken by the screech of the eating our rice and fish when suddenly one owl and the cry of the köi. This latter of the bearers, who was some distance bird has a most humanlike note, not unaway, cried out, “Sahib, baibo, jarawas tir like a boy, lost in the woods, whistling to marto hai,” which was a timely warning to keep up courage.

Its strident notes conthrow myself down; the Jarawas were tinue night and day, and when they are shooting. This was a complete surprise, about at night it is, to say the least, very for, as has been said, we supposed that all distracting. the warriors were at the extreme northern The köi is very cunning, and the tenend of the islands attending the funeral of dency to get something for nothing is so a chief. We were, nevertheless, being at- strongly developed as to have warranted tacked by a party of natives, and were soon its appearance as a trickster in the recent on the defensive. I experienced the un- drama in which birds were used with sympleasant sensation of feeling an arrow whiz bolic significance. One of its little tricks by me and seeing it imbed itself in a tree. is to lay its eggs in the nest of a crow,

The party of Jarawas, mostly old men, which it very much resembles in color and women, and boys, as we discovered later, shape. The fraud is not discovered until had established itself in a cleared place the fledgling has been hatched out by the some distance away. A few shots from the mother crow and is ready to fly, when disrevolver soon had them on the run, how- cord reigns. ever, as they probably mistook our party As our supplies were beginning to run for the posse known to have been sent out low, we attempted to quicken our advance, from Port Blair after them.

Often we The incident served thoroughly to would find what appeared to be a path, frighten my bearers, who up to this time only to have it end in jungle and be had been kept busy cutting out, or trying forced to retrace our steps, which was parto cut out, the pestiferous little ticks from ticularly hard on the bearers, who were anything but strong. Their accustomed came frantic with fear and prostrated himslight diet had undermined their vitality self, begging me not to kill him. until they could go only a short distance There is a superstition among the over rough country without rest. Kumali Hindus that dwarfs have supernatural and Subodha, nevertheless, were always powers. A legend to the effect that alert and lent valuable assistance.

but with disastrous results.

Vishnu, the Hindu god, becoming jealous As we were picking our way through of man, came to earth in the form of a the tangle of underbrush one day in an dwarf, and that henceforth all dwarfs beeffort to reach a comparatively clear space, came possessed of all the power of the I heard a slight noise. As I was some dis- gods, is commonly believed in. As a contance ahead, I turned aside to investigate. sequence of this belief, Hindu women, at I could see what appeared to be a small the sight of Cocos, would immediately animal moving about near the base of a prostrate themselves in prayer, which scrub-palm, and naturally concluded it seemed to please him after he became acwas a wild pig, and cautiously approached, customed to it. as a tree was between me and the object. On the fifth day, the bearers being ex

Finally, the animal, as I supposed, re- hausted, when we came upon a small clearmaining perfectly quiet, I stepped out into ing near nightfall we encamped for the the slight clearing.

night. We had passed a few natives, The pig was a human dwarf, and we mostly old men and women, so guard was interrupted just as he was settling down kept as usual, though it was changed freto a full meal of cocoanuts. I have never quently that all might rest. Supper of tea seen such an expression of mingled sur- and cold rice was eaten in silence, and at prise, fear, and rage in my life as was in dawn we were aroused by the bearer on the face and eyes of that creature as it guard, who had found a trail which led looked up at me. We captured the little down a slope to the coast. Quickly gatherfellow without trouble, and I brought him ing up the outfit, we moved cautiously back to India.

down the trail. It was thorny and rough, Cocos — for that was the name we gave but at last, about 11 A.M., we came in him-was a real dwarf. The natives of sight of the water. The coast was bare the Andamans are not in any sense dwarfs, and desolate, and the loose stones made though undersized. There are probably a walking difficult; but it was a great relief great many dwarfs sitting down to feasts

to see it. of cocoanuts on the islands every day, but We looked eagerly for the launch which they are not a race, or missing links in the was to meet us, but it was nowhere to be human chain. According to the certificate We camped under some bamboos of measurement, Cocos is a cross between near the water, and Kumali and two beara Chittagongese and Burmese, and his ers were sent up and down the beach to height is two feet, nine inches. As he was look for the boat. After five hours of being measured, Cocos was extremely ner- anxious waiting, they returned with the vous, and I repeatedly put my hand to his news that the launch was coming. Needforehead to quiet him. When the calipers less to say, we soon had our stuff aboard were applied to his head, however, he be- and steamed back to Port Blair.

seen.

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