A Murung one day brought and exhibited to us that extraordinary animal, the scaly ant-eater (manis), which is provided with a long pipe-like snout, and is devoid of teeth because its only food, the ant, is gathered by means of its long tongue. The big scales that cover the whole body form its sole defence, and when it rolls itself up the dogs can do it no harm. Unable to run, it cannot even walk fast, and the long tail is held straight out without touching the ground. Its appearance directs one's thoughts back to the monsters of prehistoric times, and the fat meat is highly esteemed by the Dayaks. The animal, which is possessed of incredible strength in proportion to its size, was put in a box from which it escaped in the night through the carelessness of Rajimin.

A large live porcupine was also brought for sale by a Dayak woman who had raised it. The creature was confined in a kind of bag, and by means of its strength it managed to escape from between the hands of the owner. Although she and several Dayaks immediately started in pursuit, it succeeded in eluding them. However, the woman believed implicitly that it would return, and a couple of days later it did reappear, passing my tent at dusk. Every evening afterward about eight o'clock it was a regular visitor, taking food out of my hand and then continuing its trip to the kitchen, which was less than a hundred metres farther up the river bank. Finally it became a nuisance, turning over saucepans to look for food and otherwise annoying us, so I bought it for one ringit in order to have it skinned. The difficulty was to catch it, because its quills are long and sharp; but next evening the Murungs brought it to me enmeshed in a strong net, and how to kill it was the next question.

The Dayaks at once proposed to shoot it with the sumpitan - a very good scheme, though I fancied that darkness might interfere. However, in the light of my hurricane lamp one man squatted on the ground and held the animal, placing it in a half upright position before him. The executioner stepped back about six metres, a distance that I thought unnecessary, considering that if the poisoned dart hit the hand of the man it would be a most serious affair. He put the blow-pipe to his mouth and after a few moments the deadly dart entered the porcupine at one side of the neck. The animal, which almost at once began to quiver, was freed from the entangling net, then suddenly started to run round in a small circle, fell on his back, and was dead in less than a minute after being hit.

It was a wonderful exhibition of the efficiency of the sumpitan and of the accuracy of aim of the man who used the long heavy tube. The pipe, two metres long, is held by the native with his hands close to the mouth, quite contrary to the method we should naturally adopt. The man who coolly held the porcupine might not have been killed if wounded, because the quantity of poison used is less in the case of small game than large. The poison is prepared from the sap of the upas tree, antiaris toxicaria, which is heated until it becomes a dark paste. It is a fortunate fact that these extremely efficient weapons, which noiselessly bring down birds and monkeys from great heights, are not widely distributed over the globe. If one is hit by the dart which is used when destined for man or big game, and which has a triangular point, it is said that no remedy will avail.

Rajimin, the taxidermist, had frequent attacks of malaria with high fever, but fortunately he usually recovered rapidly. One day I found him skinning birds with his pulse registering one hundred and twenty-five beats a minute. I engaged a Murung to assist in making my zoological collections, and he learned to skin well and carefully, though slowly. Judging from the number of long-nosed monkeys brought in, they must be numerous here. These animals are at times met in droves of a hundred or more passing from branch to branch through the woods. When old they cannot climb. One morning this Dayak returned with three wah-wahs, and related that after the mother had been shot and had fallen from the tree, the father seized the young one and tried to escape, but they were both killed by the same charge.

On account of adverse weather conditions most of the skins here spoiled, in some degree at least, in spite of all efforts, especially the fleshy noses of the long-nosed monkeys. A special brand of taxidermist's soap from London, which contained several substitutes for arsenic and claimed to be equally efficient, may have been at fault in part, though not entirely, the main cause being the moist heat and the almost entire lack of motility in the air. So little accustomed to wind do the natives here appear to be that a small boy one day jubilantly drew attention to some ripples in the middle of the river caused by an air current.

My Malay cook was taken ill, so I had to do most of the cooking myself, which is not particularly pleasant when one's time is valuable; and when he got well his lack of experience rendered it necessary for me to oversee his culinary operations. One day after returning to my tent from such supervision I had a curious adventure with a snake. It was a warm day about half past one. All was quiet and not a blade stirred. I paused near the tent opening, with my face toward the opposite side of the river, which could be seen through an opening among the trees. Standing motionless on the bank, which from there sloped gradually down toward the river, more than a minute had elapsed when my attention was distracted by a slight noise behind me. Looking to the right and backward my surprise was great to perceive the tail-end of a black snake rapidly proceeding toward the left. Hastily turning my eyes in that direction I beheld the well-shaped, powerful, though somewhat slender, forward part of the serpent, which, holding its head high, almost to the height of my knee, made downward toward the river.

In passing over the open space along the river bank it had found its path obstructed by some boxes, etc., that were in front of the tent opening, and had suddenly changed its route, not noticing me, as I stood there immovable. It thus formed a right angle about me scarcely twenty-five centimetres distant. At first glance its shape suggested the redoubtable king cobra, but two very conspicuous yellow parallel bands running obliquely against each other across the flat, unusually broad head, indicated another species, though probably of the same family.

The formidable head on its narrow neck moved rapidly from side to side; I felt as if surrounded, and although the reptile evidently had no hostile intentions and appeared as much surprised as I was, still, even to a nature lover, our proximity was too close to be entirely agreeable, so I stepped back over the snake. In doing so my foot encountered the kettle that contained my bathing water, and the noise probably alarmed the serpent, which rapidly glided down the little embankment, where it soon reached the grass next to the river and disappeared. It was a magnificent sight to watch the reptile, about two and a half metres in length, jet black and perfectly formed, moving swiftly among the trees. The Malays call this snake, whose venom is deadly, ular hanjalivan, and according to the Murungs a full-grown man dies within half an hour from its bite. This species appears to be fairly numerous here.

At times the natives here showed no disinclination to being photographed, but they wanted wang (money) for posing. Usually I had to pay one florin to each, or fifty cents if the hair was not long. At other times nothing would induce them to submit to the camera. A young woman recently married had a row with her husband one night, and the affair became very boisterous, when suddenly they came to terms. The trouble arose through her desire to earn some pin-money by being photographed in the act of climbing an areca palm, a proceeding which did not meet with his approval.

There were three female blians in the kampong whom I desired to photograph as they performed the dances connected with their office, but the compensation they demanded was so exorbitant (two hundred florins in cash and nine tins of rice) that we did not reach an agreement. Later in the day they reduced their demand to thirty florins for a pig to be used at the dancing, which proposition I also declined, the amount named being at least six times the value of the animal, but I was more fortunate in my dealings with the two male blians of the place, one of them a Dusun, and succeeded in inducing them to dance for me one forenoon.

The two men wore short sarongs around their loins, the women's dress, though somewhat shorter; otherwise they were nude except for bands, to which numerous small metal rattles were attached, running over either shoulder and diagonally across chest and back. After a preliminary trial, during which one of them danced with much elan, he said: "I felt a spirit come down in my body. This will go well." The music was provided by two men who sat upon long drums and beat them with fervour and abandon. The dance was a spirited movement forward and backward with peculiar steps accompanied by the swaying of the body. The evolutions of the two dancers were slightly different.

In October a patrouille of seventeen native soldiers and nine native convicts, under command of a lieutenant, passed through the kampong. In the same month in 1907 a patrouille had been killed here by the Murungs. It must be admitted that the Dayaks had reason to be aggrieved against the lieutenant, who had sent two Malays from Tumbang Topu to bring to him the kapala's attractive wife - an order which was obeyed with a tragic sequence. The following night, which the military contingent passed at the kampong of the outraged kapala, the lieutenant and thirteen soldiers were killed. Of course the Dayaks had to be punished; the government, however, took the provocation into account.

The kapala's wife and a female companion demanded two florins each for telling folklore, whereupon I expressed a wish first to hear what they were able to tell. The companion insisted on the money first, but the kapala's wife, who was a very nice woman, began to sing, her friend frequently joining in the song. This was the initial prayer, without which there could be no story-telling. She was a blian, and her way of relating legends was to delineate stories in song form, she informed me. As there was nobody to interpret I was reluctantly compelled to dispense with her demonstration, although I had found it interesting to watch the strange expression of her eyes as she sang and the trance-like appearance she maintained. Another noticeable fact was the intense attachment of her dogs, which centred their eyes constantly upon her and accompanied her movements with strange guttural sounds.

With the Murungs, six teeth in the upper front jaw and six in the under one are filed off, and there is no pain associated with the operation. The kapala had had his teeth cut three times, first as a boy, then when he had one child, and again when he had four children. The teeth of one of the blians had been filed twice, once when he was a boy and again when he had two children.

If a man has the means he is free to take four wives, who may all be sisters if he so desires. As to the number of wives a man is allowed to acquire, no exception is made in regard to the kapala. A brother is permitted to marry his sister, and my informant said that the children resulting from this union are strong; but, on the other hand, it is forbidden for cousins to marry, and a still worse offence is for a man to marry the mother of his wife or the sister of one's father or mother. If that transgression has been committed the culprit must pay from one to two hundred rupias, or if he cannot pay he must be killed with parang or klevang (long knife). The children of such union are believed to become weak.

When twelve years of age girls are regarded as marriageable, and sexual relations are absolutely free until marriage; in fact, if she chooses to have a young man share her mat it is considered by no means improper. If a girl should be left with child and the father cannot be found she is married to somebody else, though no man is forced to wed her. Marriage relations are very strict and heavy fines are imposed on people at fault, but divorces may be had provided payment is made, and a widow may remarry if she desires to do so.

When a person dies there is much wailing, and if the deceased is a father or mother people of the same house do not sleep for three days. The corpse remains in the house three days, during which time a root called javau is eaten instead of rice, babi and bananas being also permissible. The body is washed and wrapped in white cotton cloth, bought from Malay traders, and placed in a coffin made of iron-wood. As the coffin must not be carried through the door, the house wall is broken open for it to pass on its way to a cemetery in the utan. Sometimes as soon as one year afterward, but usually much later, the coffin is opened, the bones are cleaned with water and soap and placed in a new box of the same material or in a gutshi, an earthen jar bought from the Chinese. The box or jar is then deposited in a subterranean chamber made of iron-wood, called kobur by both Malays and Murungs, where in addition are left the personal effects of the deceased, - clothing, beads, and other ornaments, - and, if a man, also his sumpitan, parang, axe, etc. This disposition of the bones is accompanied by a very elaborate feast, generally called tiwah, to the preparation of which much time is devoted.

According to a conception which is more or less general among the Dayaks, conditions surrounding the final home of the departed soul are on the whole similar to those existing here, but before the tiwah feast has been observed the soul is compelled to roam about in the jungle three or four years, or longer, until that event takes place. This elaborate ceremony is offered by surviving relatives as an equivalent for whatever was left behind by the deceased, whose ghost is regarded with apprehension.

Fortunately the Murungs were then preparing for such an observance at the Bundang kampong higher up the river where I intended to visit. They were making ready to dispose of the remains of no less a personage than the mother of our kapala. A water-buffalo would be killed and the festival would last for a week. In three years there would be another festal occasion of two weeks' duration, at which a water-buffalo would again be sacrificed, and when a second period of three years has elapsed the final celebration of three weeks' duration will be given, with the same sacrificial offering. Thus the occasions are seen to be of increasing magnitude and the expenses in this case to be on a rising scale. It was comparatively a small affair.

About a month later, when I stopped at Buntok, on the Barito, the controleur of the district told me that an unusually great tiwah feast had just been concluded in the neighbourhood. He had spent ten days there, the Dayaks having erected a house for him to stay in. More than two hundred pigs and nineteen water-buffaloes had been killed. Over three hundred bodies, or rather remains of bodies, had previously been exhumed and placed in forty boxes, for the accommodation of which a special house had been constructed. These, with contents, were burned and the remains deposited in ten receptacles made of iron-wood, those belonging to one family being put in the same container.

Some of the Dayaks were much preoccupied with preparations for the Bundang ceremony, which was postponed again and again. They encouraged me to participate in the festivities, representing it as a wonderful affair. I presented them with money to buy a sack of rice for the coming occasion, and some of them went at once to Puruk Tjahu to purchase it. Having overcome the usual difficulties in regard to getting prahus and men, and Mr. Demmini having recovered from a week's illness, I was finally, early in November, able to move on. Several people from our kampong went the same day, and it looked as if the feast were really about to take place.

We proceeded with uneventful rapidity up-stream on a lovely day, warm but not oppressively so, and in the afternoon arrived at Bundang, which is a pleasant little kampong. The Dayaks here have three small houses and the Malays have five still smaller. A big water-buffalo, which had been brought from far away to be sacrificed at the coming ceremonial, was grazing in a small field near by. The surrounding scenery was attractive, having in the background a jungle-clad mountain some distance away, which was called by the same name as the kampong, and which, in the clear air against the blue sky, completed a charming picture. We found a primitive, tiny pasang-grahan, inconveniently small for more than one person, and there was hardly space on which to erect my tent.

There appeared to be more Siangs than Murungs here, the former, who are neighbours and evidently allied to the latter, occupying the inland to the north of the great rivers on which the Murungs are chiefly settled, part of the Barito and the Laong. They were shy, friendly natives, and distinguished by well-grown mustaches, an appendage I also later noted among the Upper Katingans. The people told me that I might photograph the arrangements incident to the feast as much as I desired, and also promised to furnish prahus and men when I wished to leave.

The following day Mr. Demmini seemed worse than before, being unable to sleep and without appetite. The festival was to begin in two days, but much to my regret there seemed nothing else to do but to return to Puruk Tjahu. The Dayaks proposed to take the sick man there if I would remain, but he protested against this, and I decided that we should all leave the following day. In the evening I attended the dancing of the Dayak women around an artificial tree made up of bamboo stalks and branches so as to form a very thick trunk. The dancing at the tiwa feast, or connected with it, is of a different character and meaning from the general performance which is to attract good antohs. This one is meant to give pleasure to the departed soul. The scene was inside one of the houses, and fourteen or fifteen different dances were performed, one of them obscene, but presented and accepted with the same seriousness as the other varieties. Some small girls danced extraordinarily well, and their movements were fairylike in unaffected grace.

Enjoying the very pleasant air after the night's rain, we travelled rapidly down-stream on the swollen river to Tumbang Marowei, where we spent the night. There were twenty men from the kampong eager to accompany me on my further journey, but they were swayed to and fro according to the dictates of the kapala, who was resolutely opposed to letting other kampongs obtain possession of us. He wanted to reserve for himself and the kampong the advantages accruing from our need of prahus and men. To his chagrin, in the morning there arrived a large prahu with four Murungs from Batu Boa, who also wanted a chance at this bonanza, whereupon the kapala began to develop schemes to harass us and to compel me to pay more.

Without any reason whatsoever, he said that only ten of the twenty men I had engaged would be able to go. This did not frighten me much, as the river was swollen and the current strong, so that one man in each of our prahus would be sufficient to allow us to drift down to the nearest Malay kampong, where I had been promised men some time before. At first I was quite concerned about the loading of the prahus, as the natives all exhibited a marked disinclination to work, the kapala, as a matter of fact, having ordered a strike. However, with the ten men allowed I was able by degrees to bring all our goods down to the river bank, whereupon the kapala, seeing that I was not to be intimidated, permitted the rest of the men to proceed.

It was an unpleasant affair, which was aggravated by what followed, and was utterly at variance with my other experiences during two years among the Dayaks. I was greatly surprised to observe that some of the men who had been loitering near our goods on the bank of the river had begun to carry off a number of large empty tins which had been placed there ready for shipment. These are difficult to procure, and being very necessary for conveying rice, salt, and other things, I had declined to give them away. The natives had always been welcome to the small tin cans, also greatly in favour with them. Milk and jam tins are especially in demand, and after they have been thrown away the Dayaks invariably ask if they may have them. As they are very dexterous in wood-work they make nicely carved wooden covers for the tins, in which to keep tobacco or other articles.

Returning from one of many tours I had made back to the house from where our belongings were taken, I caught sight of three Murungs running as fast as they could, each carrying two large tins, the kapala calmly looking on. I told him that unless they were immediately returned I should report the matter to the government. This had the desired effect, and at his order no less than sixteen large tins were promptly produced.

This was surprising, but as a faithful chronicler of things Bornean I feel obliged to tell the incident, the explanation of which to a great extent is the fact that the natives here have been too susceptible to the demoralising Malay influence which has overcome their natural scruples about stealing. It must be admitted that the Dayaks wherever I have been are fond of wang (money), and they are inclined to charge high prices for the articles they are asked to sell. They have, if you like, a childish greed, which, however, is curbed by the influence of their religious belief before it has carried them to the point of stealing. Under continued Malay influence the innate longing for the possession of things very much desired overwhelms them and conquers their scruples.

We afterward discovered that several things were missing, of no great importance except a round black tin case containing thermometers and small instruments, which without doubt had been appropriated by the owner of the house where we had been staying. Two or three weeks previously he had begged me to let him have it, as he liked it much and needed it. I said that was impossible, but evidently he thought otherwise. Perhaps the Murungs are more avaricious than other tribes. I was told in Puruk Tjahu that they were greedy, and it seems also as if their scruples about stealing are less acute than elsewhere in Borneo. The reputation of the Dayaks for honesty is great among all who know them. As far as my knowledge goes the Murungs are mild-mannered and polite, but not particularly intelligent. The higher-class people, however, are intelligent and alert, manifesting firmness and strength of mind.

It was one o'clock before we were able to start, but circumstances favoured us, and after dark we reached the kampong at the mouth of the Laong River, where we made ourselves quite comfortable on the landing float, and I rejoiced at our recent escape from an unpleasant situation. The following day we arrived at Puruk Tjahu. After a few days' stay it was found expedient to return to Bandjermasin before starting on the proposed expedition through Central Borneo. A small steamer belonging to the Royal Packet Boat Company maintains fortnightly connections between the two places, and it takes only a little over two days to go down-stream.