At Ball The Coffin Was Found To Be Ready And Was
Taken On Board.
It had been well-made, but the colours were mostly, if not
all, obtained from the trader and came off easily, which was somewhat
It seemed smaller than the original, though the makers
insisted that it was quite similar and challenged me to go and see the one
they had copied, which was in the vicinity, behind the kampong.
Here I saw a new and somewhat striking arrangement for the disposition of
the dead. A small white house contained several coffins guarded by seven
kapatongs of medium size, which stood in a row outside, with the lower
part of their legs and bodies wrapped in mats. The skull of a
water-buffalo and many pigs' jaws hung near by. Two tall memorial staffs,
called pantars, had been erected, but instead of the wooden image of the
great hornbill which usually adorns the top, the Dutch flag presented
itself to view. Appearing beautiful to the Dayaks it had been substituted
for the bird. The all-important second funeral having been celebrated, the
dead occupied their final resting place.
We spent the night at a large kampong where there was a fine,
straightforward kapala who appeared at a disadvantage only when, with
intent to please me, he wore clothes, but from whom I gained valuable
information. He also had a sense of humour, and next day when our coffin
was carried ashore, in order that I might be enlightened in regard to the
significance of its decorations, he laughed heartily and exclaimed in
astonishment at the sight.
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