It is only eight years since the communal house
obtained. Before some of the houses stand grotesque kapatongs, and the
majority of the population lives in the atmosphere of the long ago. I was
still able to buy ethnological articles and implements which are becoming
increasingly difficult to secure.
On entering a house the salutation is, Akko domo (I (akko) arrive). To
this is answered, Munduk (Sit down). On leaving the visitor says, Akko
buhao (I am going). To which is responded, Come again. On my way to visit
a prominent Katingan I passed beneath a few cocoanut trees growing in
front of the house, as is the custom, while a gentle breeze played with
the stately leaves. "Better get away from there," my native guide suddenly
said; "a cocoanut may fall," and we had scarcely arrived inside the house
before one fell to the ground with a resounding thump half a metre from
where I had been standing. Eighteen years previously a Katingan had been
killed in this way as he descended the ladder. Eleven years later another
was carrying his child on his back when a cocoanut of small size hit and
killed the little one.
The man whose house I visited was rich, according to Dayak standard, not
in money, but in certain wares that to him are of equal or greater value.
Besides thirty gongs, rows of fine old valuable jars stood along the walls
of his room.