At my request the raja, with a few companions, went out in search of some of the shy jungle people called Punans. Seven days afterward he actually returned with twelve men, who were followed by seven more the next day. All the women had been left one day's journey from here. These Punans had been encountered at some distance from kampong Bruen, higher up the river, and, according to reports, made up the entire nomadic population of the lower Kayan River. Most of them were rather tall, well-made men, but, as a result of spending all their lives in the darkness of the jungle, [*] their skin colour, a pale yellowish brown, was strikingly lighter, especially the face, than that of the Kayans.

[Footnote *: In von Luschan's table, Punan 15, Kayan 22.]

They actually seemed to hate the sun, and next day when it broke through the mist for a little while they all sought shelter in the shade of trees. As a result of their avoidance of direct rays from the sun they have a washed-out, almost sickly pale appearance, contrasting strangely with the warm tone of light brown which at times may be observed among the Dayaks. This is probably the reason why they are not very strong, though apparently muscular, and are not able to carry heavy burdens. They began at once to put up a shed similar to those of the Dayaks, but usually their shelters for the night are of the rudest fashion, and as they have only the scantiest of clothing they then cover themselves with mats made from the leaves of the fan-palm.

On the Upper Mahakam I later made acquaintance with some of the Punans who roam the mountainous regions surrounding the headwaters of that river. Those are known under the name Punan Kohi, from a river of that name in the mountains toward Sarawak. The members of the same tribe further east in the mountains of the Bulungan district are called Punan Lun, from the River Lun, to whom the present individuals probably belonged. According to the raja, there are two kinds of Punans here, and his statement seems to be borne out by the variations in their physical appearance.

These nineteen nomads had black hair, straight in some cases, wavy in others. Most of them had a semblance of mustache and some hair on the chin. Their bodies looked perfectly smooth, as they remove what little hair there may be. Some of them had high-arched noses. The thigh was large, but the calf of the leg usually was not well-developed, though a few had very fine ones; and they walked with feet turned outward, as all the Dayaks and Malays I have met invariably do. The only garment worn was a girdle of plaited rattan strings, to which at front and back was attached a piece of fibre cloth. Although dirty in appearance, only one man was afflicted with scaly skin disease. Visits to the hill-tops are avoided by them on account of the cold, which they felt much in our camp. Their dark-brown eyes had a kindly expression; in fact they are harmless and timid-looking beings, though in some parts of Borneo they engage in head-hunting, a practice probably learned from the Dayaks. Those I talked with said the custom was entirely discontinued, although formerly heads of other Punans, Malays, or Dayaks had been taken.

These natives, following no doubt an observance prevalent among the Dayaks, had some of their teeth filed off in the upper jaw, the four incisors, two cuspids, and two bicuspids. Our Kayans from Kaburau had no less than ten teeth filed off, the four incisors and three more on either side. The operation is performed when a boy or girl becomes full-grown. For the boys it is not a painful experience, but the girls have theirs filed much shorter, which causes pain and loss of blood.

The Punans make fire by iron and flint which are carried in a small bamboo box. They are expert regarding the manufacture of the sumpitan (blow-pipe), and are renowned for their skill in using this weapon and can make the poisonous darts as well as the bamboo caskets in which these are carried. Subsisting chiefly upon meat, their favourite food is wild pig.

At the birth of a child all the men leave the premises, including the husband. The dead are buried in the ground a metre deep, head toward the rising sun. The Punans climb trees in the same manner as the Kayans and other Dayaks I have seen, i.e., by tying their feet together and moving up one side of the tree in jumps. The Kayans in climbing do not always tie the feet.

These shy nomads remained in camp two days and allowed themselves to be photographed. One morning seven of them went out to look for game, armed with their long sumpitans and carrying on the right side, attached to the girdle, the bamboo casket that contained the darts. They formed a thrilling sight in the misty morning as in single file they swung with long, elastic steps up the hill. Though the Punans are famous as hunters and trappers, they returned in a few hours without any result. Next morning when I ventured to begin taking their measurements they became uneasy and one after another slipped away, even leaving behind part of their promised rewards, rice and clothing for the women, and taking with them only tobacco and a large tin of salt, which I rather regretted, as they had well earned it all.

We made a trip of a few days' duration to the next elevation, Gunong Rega, in a northerly direction, most of the time following a long, winding ridge on a well-defined Punan trail. The hill-top is nearly 800 metres above sea-level (2,622 feet), by boiling thermometer, and the many tree-ferns and small palm-trees add greatly to its charm and beauty.

Toward the end of February I made my way back to the river. From our last camp, one day's march downward, three of my strongest Kayans had carried 45 kilograms each. My Javanese cook, Wong Su, on arriving in camp, felt ill and I found him lying prostrate. He had not been perspiring on the march down the hills and complained of chilly sensations. He also presented the symptoms of a cold attack of malaria, but it was simply the effects produced by the bites of leeches, to which he was particularly susceptible. He had seven bites on one ankle and two on the other, and the resulting wounds were swollen and suppurating, but by the application of iodine followed by hot compress bandages, he was able to resume his work in three days. Nevertheless, suppuration formed even at a distance from the wounds, and five months later they were not entirely healed. It is bad policy to remove leeches forcibly in spite of the temptation to do so. The application of salt or tobacco juice makes them drop off, and the wounds are less severe, but few persons have the patience to wait after discovering a leech. The animal is not easily killed. The Dayaks always remove it with the sword edge and immediately cut it in two.

On our return to our old lodging-house near Kaburau I spent a week making ethnological collections from the Kayan, who brought me a surprising number, keeping me busy from early until late. Before continuing my journey up the river I decided to go down to Tandjong Selor in order to buy necessary provisions and safely dispose of my collections. The Kayans were glad to provide prahus, the keelless boats which are used by both Dayak and Malay. The prahu, even the largest size, is formed from a dugout, and to the edge on either side are lashed two boards, one above and overlapping the other. This is accomplished by threading rattan through numerous small holes. As these are not completely filled by the rattan, they are plugged with fibre and calked with damar to prevent leakage.

In order to travel more comfortably we lashed a prahu at either side of mine, while many of the natives who took advantage of the occasion to visit the shops in town, tied theirs at the rear of ours. It was a gay flotilla that proceeded down the river, the Dayaks singing most of the time, especially the women who accompanied their husbands, a number of them sitting in my large but crowded prahu. The women never seemed to grow tired of the Mae Lu Long, a jolly song which I had several times heard them singing when returning from the fields in the evening. Its words are of a language called Bungkok. The Kenyahs have the same song, and when I sang it to the Penihings on the Upper Mahakam they also understood it. These Kayans (Segai) are able to sing in the following six dialects or languages: Bungkok, Tekena, Siudalong, Siupanvei, Lepoi, and Lui Lui.

[Musical notation: KAYAN WOMEN'S SONG (On returning from the fields) Lively. Mae lun long son dong min ma - i min kam lam (Repeat)]

At times as they paddled along, the men would sing without words, but more impressively, a song which until recently was used when the Kayan returned to a kampong from a successful head-hunting expedition. Though the Dutch authorities evidently have stamped out headhunting on the Kayan River, and have even destroyed the heads that were hanging in the houses, smashing them throwing them into the river, the Kayan still speaks of the custom in the present tense. Even one or two of my companions were credited with having taken part in such expeditions.

To-day the young men sing the song of the returning head-hunters more for the fun of it, but the enthusiasm of all waxed high when the paddlers took it up. Those who did not paddle would reach out for the large trumpets which, as part of my collections, were lying in my prahu, and blow them with full force as an accompaniment, just as these instruments formerly were used on real occasions. A deep, strong bass sound is produced which resembles the distant whistle of a big ocean steamer. The men at the rear would join in with wild shouts like those made by American cowboys, most of them rising in their prahus to be able to give more impetus to the paddles. The powerful strokes of our enthusiastic crew made my prahu jump with jerky movements, and we progressed rapidly, arriving early in the afternoon at Tandjong Selor. This time I was made comfortable in a government's pasang-grahan that had just been completed, and which was far enough from the main street to avoid disturbing noise.

[Musical notation: KAYAN HEAD-HUNTERS' SONG (On returning from a successful raid) Vae vae-ae vo vae vo ae vo ae-ae-ae-ae vo vae ( Repeat)]

I had found the Kayans very agreeable to deal with, and later had the same experience with many other tribes of Borneo. They ask high prices for their goods, but are not bold in manner. Though I made no special effort to ingratiate myself with them they always crowded round me, and sometimes I was compelled to deny myself to all callers regardless of their wishes. When I was reading or writing it was necessary to tell them to be quiet, also to stop their singing at night when my sleep was too much disturbed, but they were never offended. Presents of fruit, fish, mouse-traps, and other articles which they thought I might like, were constantly offered me. The women, free and easy in their manners, were ladylike to a surprising degree. In spite of having had ten teeth of the upper jaw filed down and the remainder coloured black by the constant chewing of betel, they are literally to the manner born.

The controleur told me that his large district, the northernmost part of Dutch Borneo, called Bulungan, comprised "about 1,100 square miles." He estimated the number of inhabitants to be about 60,000, roughly speaking, 50 to each mile, but the population here as elsewhere follows the rivers. The Dayaks are greatly in majority, the Malays inhabiting the Sultan's kampong and a couple of small settlements in the vicinity. He had travelled a good deal himself and taken census where it was possible. His statistics showed that among the Dayaks the men outnumber the women somewhat, and that children are few. In one small kampong there were no children. The same fact has been noted in other parts of Borneo. The hard labour of the women has been advanced as a reason. Doctor A.W. Nieuwenhuis believes that inborn syphilis is the cause of the infertility of the Bahu on the Upper Mahakam. Whatever the reason, as a matter of fact the Dayak women are not fertile. The chief of the Kayan kampong, Kaburau, at the time of my visit had a fourth wife on probation for two years, having previously dismissed three because they bore him no children.

With the Malays the condition is just the reverse. Their total number in the Bulungan district is perhaps only one-tenth that of Dayaks, but with them women preponderate and there are many children. Such is the case in the rest of Dutch Borneo, and is one reason why the Malays ultimately must dominate.

The Sultan had for weeks been preparing to celebrate the marriage of his younger brother, which event occurred before I left, and the festivities were to continue for ten days. As a feature of the occasion, two young Malay girls presented a dance which they evidently had not practised sufficiently. Among the company was an old Malay who, according to the testimony of all present, was one hundred and thirty years old. He had lived to see seven sultans and was the ancestor of five generations. His movements were somewhat stiff, but otherwise he was a young-looking old man who, still erect, carried a long stick which he put down with some force at each step. I photographed the Sultan, who donned his official European suit, in which he evidently felt exceedingly uncomfortable. The operation finished, he lifted up the skirts of the long black robe as if to cool himself, and walked hurriedly away toward the house.