The Slain Man Is Believed To
Change Into A Servant And Assistant In The Next Life.
When a chief dies it
becomes an essential duty to provide him with heads, which are deposited
on his grave as sacrifices, and the souls of which serve him in the next
Heads taken for the benefit of kampong people are hung in the house
of the kapala to counteract misfortune and to confer all manner of
benefits. An important point is that the presence of the heads from other
tribes, or rather of the souls residing in them, compels evil antohs to
depart. A kampong thus becomes purified, free from disease. The killing of
a fowl is not sufficient to accomplish this; that of a pig helps a little,
a water-buffalo more, but to kill a man and bring the head makes the
kampong completely clean.
With the Katingans a head hanging in the house is considered a far better
guardian than the wooden figures called kapatongs, which play an important
part in the life of that tribe. Any fear of resentment on the part of the
liao (departed soul) residing in the head is precluded by their belief
that the Katingan antoh gave him the order to watch.
"If no heads are brought in there will be much illness, poor harvest,
little fruit, fish will not come up the river as far as our kampong, and
the dogs will not care to pursue pigs," I was told by a Penihing who had
taken part in a head-hunt and served his sentence in Soerabaia.
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