The Penyahbongs until lately were nomadic people, roaming about in the nearby Muller mountains, subsisting on wild sago and the chase and cultivating some tobacco. They lived in bark huts on the ground or in trees. Some eight years previous to my visit they were induced by the government to form kampongs and adopt agricultural pursuits, and while most of them appear to be in the western division, two kampongs were formed east of the mountains, the Sabaoi and the Tamaloe, with less than seventy inhabitants altogether. Tamaloe is the name of an antoh (spirit) who lived here in the distant past.

The kampong consists of four small, poorly built communal houses, and of the Malays who have settled here, in houses of their own making, the most important is Bangsul, who married a daughter of Pisha, the Penyahbong chief. Both before and since their transition to sedentary habits the Penyahbongs have been influenced by the Saputans, their nearest neighbours, four days' journey to the north, on the other side of the water-shed. Their ideas about rice culture and the superstitions and festivals attending it, come from the Saputans, of whom also a few live in Tamaloe. They have only recently learned to swim and many do not yet know how to paddle. It may be of some interest to note the usual occurrence of rain at this kampong as gathered from native observation. April-July there is no rain; August-October, little; November and December have a little more; January much; February and March less.

Every evening as long as we remained here Pisha, the chief, used to sing, reciting mythical events, thereby attracting good antohs (spirits) and keeping the evil ones away, to the end that his people might be in good health and protected against misfortune. His efforts certainly were persevering, and he had a good voice that sounded far into the night, but his songs were of such an extraordinarily melancholy character that it still makes me depressed to remember them. He was an amiable man, whose confidence I gained and who cheerfully gave any information I wanted. Of his five daughters and three sons only the youngest daughter, who was not yet married, was allowed to pronounce Pisha's name, according to custom. Nor was it permissible for his sons-in-law to give me the name, still less for him to do so himself.

After Mr. Demmini's departure all the photographing fell upon me, to which I had no objection, but it was out of the question also to do developing, except of the kodak films, and as the lieutenant, who had done some before, thought he could undertake it, the matter was so arranged. The first attempts, while not wholly successful, were not discouraging, and as time went on the lieutenant turned out satisfactory results. We had a couple of days' visit from the kapala of Sebaoi, a tall and nervous-looking Penyahbong, but friendly, as were the rest of them. I was then engaged in photographing and taking anthropometric measurements of the gently protesting natives, to whose primitive minds these operations appear weirdly mysterious. At first the kapala positively declined to take any part in this work, but finally reached the conclusion that he would be measured, but photographed he could not be, because his wife was pregnant. For that reason he also declined a glass of gin which the lieutenant offered him.

The valiant man who had tried to catch the yellow snake on our river voyage called on me with his wife, who knew how to embroider well, and I bought some shirts embellished with realistic representations of animals, etc. The husband had that unsightly skin disease (tinea imbricata) that made his body appear to be covered with half-loose fish scales. Next day, to my amazement, he had shed the scales. The previous night he had applied a remedy which made it possible to peel the dead skin off, and his face, chest, and stomach were clean, as were also his legs and arms. His back was still faulty because he had not had enough of the remedy, but he was going to tackle the back that evening. The remedy, which had been taught them by the Saputans, consists of two kinds of bark and the large leaves of a jungle plant with red flowers, one of which was growing near my tent.

All the tribes visited by me suffer more or less from various kinds of skin diseases caused by micro-parasitic animals, the Kenyahs and Oma-Sulings in a much less degree. The most repulsive form, just described, does not seem to interfere with general health. Three of my Kayan carriers thus affected were more muscular and stronger than the rest. One of them was the humorous member of the party, always cutting capers and dancing. Women are less affected than men, and I often saw men with the disfiguring scaly disease whose wives were evidently perfectly free from it.

A party of six fine-looking Penyahbongs were here on a rhinoceros hunting expedition. They came from the western division, and as the rhino had been nearly exterminated in the mountain ranges west and northwest of Tamaloe, the hunters were going farther east. Such a party carries no provisions, eating sago and animals that they kill. Their weapons are sumpitans and parangs, and equipment for stamping sago forms part of their outfit. The rhino is approached stealthily and the large spear-point on one end of the sumpitan is thrust into its belly. Thus wounded it is quite possible, in the dense jungle, to keep in touch with it, and, according to trustworthy reports, one man alone is able in this way to kill a rhino. It is hunted for the horn, which Chinamen will buy.

At my request two of the hunters gave war-dances very well, taking turns. Their movements were graceful, and in the moonlight they appeared sinuous as serpents. The same dance obtains in all the tribes visited, and the movement is forward and back, or in a circle. It was performed by one man who in a preliminary way exercised the flexible muscles of the whole body, after which he drew his sword, seized the shield which was lying on the ground and continued his dancing more vigorously, but with equal grace. Pisha, the chief, came to the dance, and the meeting with the new arrivals, though silent and undemonstrative, was decidedly affectionate, especially with one of them who was a near relative. Half embracing each other, they stood thus at least a minute.

The Penyahbongs have rather long legs, take long paces, putting down their heels first. They have great endurance and can walk in one day as far as a Malay can in three. In the mountains the cold weather prevented them from sleeping much. It often happened that they were without food for three days, when they would drink water and smoke tobacco. Trees are climbed in the jumping way described before, and without any mechanical aid. Formerly bathing was not customary. Excrements are left on the ground and not in the water. They don't like the colour red, but prefer black. Fire was made by flint and iron, which they procured from the Saputans.

The hair is not cut nor their teeth. The women wear around the head a ring of cloth inside of which are various odoriferous leaves and flowers of doubtful appreciation by civilised olfactory senses. A strong-smelling piece of skin from the civet cat is often attached to this head ornament, which is also favoured by natives on the Mahakam.

In regard to ear ornamentation the Penyahbongs are at least on a par with the most extreme fashions of the Dayaks. The men make three slits in the ear; in the upper part a wooden disk is enclosed, in the middle the tusk of a large species of cat, and in the lobe, which is stretched very long, hangs a brass coil. The ears of the women have only two incisions, the one in the middle part being adorned with bead strings, while in the lobe up to one hundred tin rings may be seen. They are tatued, and noticeable on the men is a succession of stars across the chest, as if hanging on a thread which is lower in the middle. The stars symbolise the fruits of durian. The colour of the tatuing is obtained from damar.

Formerly they wore scanty garments of fibre, the man wearing only a loin cloth, and in case of cold weather a piece of the same material covered the shoulders and back. The woman had a short skirt folded together at the back, and both sexes used rattan caps. Besides sago their main subsistence was, and still is, all kinds of animals, including carnivorous, monkeys, bears, snakes, etc. The gall and urine bladder were universally thrown away, but at present these organs from bear and large snakes are sold to traders who dispose of them to Chinamen. Formerly these people had no salt.

No cooking utensils were employed. Sago was wrapped in leaves and placed on the fire, and the meat was roasted. There is no cooking separately for men and women, and meals are taken irregularly, but usually twice a day. The crocodile is not eaten, because it would make one mad, nor are domestic dogs or omen birds used for food. Honey is collected by cutting down the tree. Their principal weapon is the sumpitan, which, as usual, with a spear point lashed to one end, also serves as spear and is bought from the Saputans. Parang and shield complete the man's outfit. On the Busang only ten ipoh (upas) trees are known from which poison may be obtained for the blow-pipe darts; to get a new supply a journey of two days down the river is necessary, and six for the return.

Except for a few cases of malaria, among the Penyahbongs there is no disease. In 1911 the cholera epidemic reached them, as well as the Saputans. Of remedies they have none. At the sight of either of the two species of venomous snakes of the king cobra family this native takes to his heels, and if bitten the wound is not treated with ipoh. Until recently they had no blians; there were, at this time, two in Tamaloe, one Saputan and one Malay, and the one in the other kampong learned his art from the Saputans. One man does not kill another, though he may kill a member of the Bukat tribe, neighbouring nomads who live in the northeast of the western division, in the mountains toward Sarawak. Suicide is unknown. It was asserted to me that the Penyahbongs do not steal nor lie, though I found the Saputans untrustworthy in these respects.

There is no marriage ceremony, but the young man must pay the parents of the bride one gong (f. 30), and if the girl is the daughter of a chief her price is six gongs. About half of the men select very youthful wives, from eight years up. There are boys of ten married to girls of a similar age. One boy of fourteen was married to a girl of twenty. Children of the chief being much sought, one of Pisha's daughters, twenty-three years old, had been disposed of when she was at her mother's breast, her future husband being twenty at that time. Upon reaching womanhood she did not like him at first, and for five years declined to share the mat with him. Recently, however, she had begun to associate with him, and they had one child. The children are not beaten, are left to pick up by themselves whatever knowledge is necessary, and when the boy is ten years old he can kill his babi with a sumpitan. The parents of young girls do not allow them to be too intimate with young men.

A pregnant woman must not eat durian which, in falling from the tree, has broken, or stuck in a cleft without reaching the ground, nor any kind of fruit that does not fall straight to earth, nor sago from a palm tree which chanced to become entangled by a branch instead of falling directly to the ground, nor the large hornbill, nor snakes, nor pigs, nor fish that were killed by being struck on the head, or by any other means than with spear or parang, nor land turtle, nor the scaly ant-eater. She must not make a house or take part in making it, and therefore if a pole has to be put in place she must call another woman to do it.

Further, she must not eat an animal which has lost one or both eyes, nor one the foot of which has been crushed, nor an animal of strong odour (like civet cat, skunk, etc., not an offensive smell to these natives); nor are she and her husband permitted to gather rubber, nor may wood be gathered for fire-making which has roads on it made by ants. She must not drink water from a back current, nor water which runs through a fallen tree. A pig may be eaten, but if it has a foetus inside that must be avoided. The husband also observes all these tabus and precautions.

The Penyahbongs rise before dawn. Fire is made, primitive man's greatest comfort, and they seat themselves before it awaiting daylight, the woman brings her child near it, and all smoke strong native tobacco. Without first eating, the man goes out to hunt for animals, usually alone, but if two or three go together they later separate. The hunter leaves his parang at home, taking only the sumpitan. He may not return until the afternoon. Small game he carries home himself, but when a large animal has been killed, as wild pig, deer, bear, large monkey, he will leave it in the utan for his wife to bring home. In case of a rhino being slain he will remove the horn, but the woman will cut up the animal and take it home, unless it is too late, when she postpones the task until the next morning.

The husband is fond of singing, and, accompanying himself by striking the rattan strings attached to the back of a shield, he may occupy himself in this way until the small hours of the morning. Women make mats in the evening, or do work of some kind, and the young people may play and sing for a while, or they may listen to the singing of the lord of the household; but gradually all go to sleep except the wife.

Besides the small knife for splitting rattan, which is the special implement of the Dayak woman, the fair sex of the Penyahbongs has a parang, a spear, an axe, a bone implement used in working rattan mats, and a rattan bag which is carried on the back. The women in several Dayak tribes also possess such feminine accessories. With the Penyahbongs the male chiefly hunts, the female doing all the work. She makes the house, cuts the sago palm, and prepares the sago. When setting forth to bring home the animal killed by her husband she carries her own parang with which to cut it up, placing it inside the rattan bag on her back. With one or two other women she may go out with the dogs to kill wild pigs with a spear. When searching for the many kinds of fruit found in the utan her own axe is carried with which to cut the tree down, for she never climbs to pick the fruit. As for the durian, she waits until it falls ripe to the ground. The woman also brings water and firewood, does all the cooking, and then calls her husband that he may eat. Basketry is not known, but the rattan mat and the mat of palm leaves on which these natives sleep are nicely made by the women, who also manufacture the large mat on which the stamping of sago, by human feet, is performed. In changing abode women carry everything, the men conveying only the sumpitan and the darts, probably also a child that is big enough to walk, but the small child the woman always carries. If the men go to war the women remain behind and defend themselves if attacked.

Although the woman thus bears an absurdly large share of the family burden, nevertheless it cannot be said that her lot is an unhappy one, because she is not the slave of the man, as is the case, for instance, with the Australian savages. From time immemorial their society has known no other conditions, and the married couples are generally happy. Both of them treat their children with affection, and though the husband may become angry, he only uses his tongue, never strikes her, and he has no polygamous inclinations. Divorces, though permissible, do not occur, because there is a natural feeling against illicit relations with the husband or wife of another. Moreover, the rest of the community would resent it. Bangsul, who had been there seven years, had never heard of divorce.

When a man is near death his family and others gather around him to see him die, but without attempt to restore him to health. When dead his eyes are closed, he is washed, and a new chavat of fibre as well as a new shirt of the same material is given him. Tobacco is put in his mouth, four cigarettes on his abdomen, and on his chest and stomach are placed sago and cooked wild pig or some other meat for him to eat. Four bamboos filled with water are set upright near by. His sumpitan with its darts, poison for the darts, the parang, shield, and his musical instruments if he has any - in short, one sample of everything he had is laid down by his side. What little else may be left goes to the widow. When a woman dies she is treated in the same way, but the nose flute is the only instrument that accompanies her.

A tree is cut down and from the log a dugout is made in which the corpse is placed, a board being loosely fastened as a cover. This coffin is placed on a simple platform in the utan. There is no feast attending this rite. I visited the burial-place (taaran) of Tamaloe on the other side of the river about a kilometre away. It was difficult to find, for the small space which is cleared of jungle whenever there is a funeral very soon grows up again. Only two boxes, each containing the corpse of a child, were in good condition, the rest having fallen down and disappeared through the action of rains and wild pigs.

After the husband's death the widow eats only every second day for a month; after that she is free to eat, but for a year she weeps twice a day, morning and evening, - though sometimes she forgets. The father, mother, and sister of the deceased also take part in the one-year period of wailing twice a day. After that period has elapsed the widow may remarry. For the widower there are practically the same regulations, though he does not weep loudly, and after eight months he can look for another wife; but first he must have taken a head.