This Opening Was On The Very Summit Of
The Gomanton Rock.
This cave greatly resembled the smaller one I have
already described, except that it was of much grander dimensions.
the first cave, one could hear the roar of an underground torrent, and
the swallows seemed even more numerous. On the rocky walls I noticed
plenty of large spiders and a curious insect, with a long body and
long, thin legs, which ran very fast, and whose bite we were told
was very poisonous.
On the way back, when passing through some very low caves, the Hadji
got some of his men to knock down for me a few of the white nests from
the sides of the cave with long poles, and in another cave they got me
some black nests. The difference between these white and black nests
is this: they are made by two different kinds of swallows. The white
nest is made by a very small bird, but the bird that builds the black
nest is twice the size of the other. The white nest looks something
like pure white gelatine, and is very clean, and has no feathers
in it. The black nest, on the contrary, is plentifully coated with
feathers, and it is, in consequence, not worth nearly as much as the
white nest. The nests are made from the saliva of the birds. Both
are very plain coloured birds; an ordinary swallow is brilliant in
comparison. This is unusual in a country so full of brilliant-plumaged
birds as Borneo is; but, as they spend most of their lives in the
depths of these sombre caves, I suppose it is only natural that their
plumage should be obscure and plain.
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