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Title: Indo-China and Its Primitive People
Author: Baudesson, Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Photo by_]      [_L. de Layougune._

The Tomb of a Radé Chief decorated with Statues of his Faithful Women.]




Translated by E. Appleby Holt.

With 48 Illustrations from photographs.


London: Hutchinson & Co.
Paternoster Row



                                BOOK I

                           _AMONG THE MOÏ_

                              CHAPTER I

                            AMONG THE MOÏ

  General characteristics of the Moï--A legend as to their selection of
  a home--The part played by ocean currents in the distribution of
  races--Had primitive peoples a sense of direction?--Features of daily
  life--The hut--The village--Clothing and ornaments--A primitive method
  of kindling a fire                                              _p._ 3

                              CHAPTER II

                      INDUSTRIES AND OCCUPATIONS

  Agriculture--Industries--Weaving, iron and copper mining--Commerce
  and industrial products--Food supplies--Fishing--How we once
  fished with dynamite--Hunting--Various methods of big-game hunting--My
  first elephant hunt--Some useful hints to big-game
  hunters--Poisons--Arms and weapons of defence--The tiger, a dangerous
  neighbour--A bathing tragedy                                   _p._ 18

                             CHAPTER III

                             FAMILY LIFE

  Diseases and their cure--Betrothal and marriage--Adultery--Divorce--A
  Moï wedding--Birth--Childhood--The game of Pig-Snatcher        _p._ 52

                              CHAPTER IV

                             SOCIAL LIFE

  Property--Slavery--Utilitarian morals--A bashful race--The
  Levirate--Law and custom--An amateur arbitrator--Principles
  and practice of the Ordeal                                     _p._ 75

                              CHAPTER V

                     RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND RITES

  Similarity between the philosophical conceptions of uncivilized
  races--Most of the ritual derived from magic--Dualism--Private
  and public talismans--The Pi--The Legend of the Dog-King--
  Totemism--Sorcery--Rebel Moï                                   _p._ 98

                              CHAPTER VI

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

  Tribal and proprietary signs--Tattooing and mutilation--Principles and
  practice of the taboo--Its survival in modern Europe--The incarnation
  of Spirits in stones, trees and animals--Belief in the magic powers
  of the tiger--Animal poison--Bones as a charm--A protecting
  ear--Ex-votos offered to the Spirit of the tiger--Superstitions about
  monkeys--Hunting rites                                        _p._ 116

                             CHAPTER VII

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

  Agrarian rites--How Me-Sao, King of the Moï, opens the jar--Rites of
  initiation and "coming of age"                                _p._ 137

                             CHAPTER VIII

                          BELIEFS AND RITES

  The origin and observance of funeral rites--The ceremony of the
  Commemoration of the Dead--Burial rites and various methods   _p._ 161

                              CHAPTER IX

                           ART AND CULTURE

  The relation between the evolution of artistic expression and social
  development as illustrated by the Moï and the Laotians--The intimate
  connection between Music, Dance and Stage--A Moï orchestra and war
  dance--Deficiencies in the sense of sound due to lack of artistic
  education--The effect of a gramophone--Predominance of the analytical
  over the synthetic faculty--Exaggerated respect for form--Impression
  produced by the stereoscope--Decorative arts--Sports, fêtes, and
  public amusements--Extensive use of marks for ritual and other
  purposes                                                      _p._ 177

                              CHAPTER X

                          INTELLECTUAL LIFE

  The relations between the development of language and social
  evolution--An enigmatic system of writing--Knotted cords, notches
  in sticks and their accessories--The evolution of literature among
  primitive races--Length of memory among races that have no written
  records--Historical value of legends transmitted by oral
  tradition--Nature of the more usual alterations to be met with
  in documentary folklore--The most general legends, fables and
  proverbs of the Moï                                           _p._ 193

                               BOOK II

                              _THE CHAM_

                              CHAPTER I

                               THE CHAM

  General characteristics of the Cham--A Mohammedan group--Its place
  among ancient civilizations--Social life--Dress and ornaments--The
  calendar--Rites accompanying the construction of a house, a cart, and
  a junk--Agriculture and industry--Medicines--The use of narcotics
  by criminals to stupefy their victims                         _p._ 225

                              CHAPTER II

                        SOCIAL AND FAMILY LIFE

  Traces of the matriarchal system in the conception of the family--The
  "Karoh"--Circumcision--Precautions against seduction--Rites incidental
  to betrothal, marriage, birth and infancy                     _p._ 248

                             CHAPTER III

                       RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS

  The beginnings of Islam in Indo-China--Rites which accompany initiation
  into the priestly caste--The gods of Cham--Temples--Resemblance
  between the architecture of the Cham and that of the Kmer--Phallic
  rites--A visit to a royal sepulchre                           _p._ 266

                              CHAPTER IV

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

  Agrarian rites--Tabooed ricefields--Secret ploughing--Sleeping
  rice--Various uses of eagle-wood--How the Cham procure it--Public
  festivals and holy days                                       _p._ 297

                              CHAPTER V

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

  Burial rites--Philology--Legends and fables                   _p._ 310

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                  _p._ 325


  The Tomb of a Radé Chief                             _Frontispiece_

  A Moï Maiden with enlarged Ears       _Facing page_               16

  A Cham Chief and his Daughter                                     16

  Laotian Barque under full sail                                    17

  A Moï Farmer at work                                              17

  Fishing with Dynamite                                             26

  A Floating Village                                                26

  A Typical Village in Laos                                         27

  Primitive Irrigation in Laos                                      27

  Birth Ceremonies                                                  54

  The Wife of a Moï Chief                                           55

  A Little Moï Family                                               55

  A Sorcerer performing the Marriage Ceremony                       64

  Children scrambling over the Remains of the Marriage Feast        65

  A Little Kha                                                      78

  Our Native Prisoners                                              78

  The Village Musician serenading a Young Couple                    79

  A Hut of Propitiation                                            100

  Tombs fenced with Bamboo and decorated with Elephants' Tusks     100

  Woven Bamboo Baskets used to carry Offerings to the Priests      101

  Memorial Stone erected to a Tiger                                130

  A Hunting Party                                                  131

  An Elephant and his Driver                                       131

  The festival of the Dead: carrying home the Sacrificial
  Buffalo                                                          160

  The Festival of the Dead: Poles erected for the Celebration      161

  Funeral Rites: the Body in a Coffin made from the Hollowed Trunk
  of a Tree                                                        174

  Funeral Rites: the Body by its weight has indicated its wish to
  be buried in this spot                                           175

  A Medical Examination                                            186

  Looking through the Stereoscope                                  186

  Three Boys of our Native Guard                                   187

  A Court of Trial on an Annamese Stage                            204

  A Group of Amateur Actors in Annam                               205

  A Mandarin of Annam                                              205

  Royal Elephants in Cambodia                                      250

  A Buddhist Procession                                            251

  Image of a Departed Saint in a Phallic Temple                    272

  Statues erected to the Dead in Laos                              272

  Shrine of a Laotian Priest                                       273

  The Interior of the Shrine                                       273

  Statue of an Ancient King of Cambodia                            288

  Statue of an Ancient Queen of Cambodia                           288

  An Old Cham Temple in a Cambodian Forest                         288

  The House of a Cham Aristocrat                                   289

  A Cottage Home in Cambodia                                       289

  Cremation in Cambodia: the Head of the Procession                312

  A Catafalque upon which several Bodies are carried away for
  Cremation                                                        312

  The Hearse and Bearers at an Annamese Funeral                    313

  The Altar of his Ancestors, which accompanies the Deceased       313


No nation which desires worthily to fulfil the rôle of Protector to
the barbarous races on whom it proposes to confer the benefits of
civilization can afford to remain ignorant of their ways of life and
thought. The interchange of ideas is as essential to successful
colonization as the exchange of commodities. Unfortunately the path to
knowledge is beset with difficulties. In the first place the savage or
semi-savage is unable to apply the method of synthesis to those of his
institutions which seem founded on custom. He cannot tell us which of
his usages have been borrowed or imposed from outside. Further, as a
rule, it seems impossible to find any medium of communication between
his language and ours, so that any attempt at cross-examination is met
by the sorry pretence that our questions "make his head ache."

During the period covered by the geodetical and topographical surveys
which preceded the construction of the Trans-Indo-Chinese railway, the
members of the mission to which I was attached lived for years among
the natives upon terms of the greatest familiarity. We saw them in
their homes, at their work and recreations, and we can at least claim
that we obtained our knowledge at first hand.

I have not hesitated throughout this book to record the conclusions of
my colleagues and to compare or contrast them with my own for the sake
of the light they may throw upon each other.

I have analysed the rites and superstitions which came to my notice
with a mind unhampered by obsession or prejudice. If I have seemed to
dwell too fondly on analogous ceremonies among other peoples and in
other days it is only because I wish to arrive at the broad principles
which seem to me to underly all these phenomena, principles which are
as immutable as human nature itself.

                                BOOK I

                            AMONG THE MOÏ

                 Indo-China and its Primitive People

                              CHAPTER I

                            AMONG THE MOÏ

     General characteristics of the Moï--A legend as to their
     selection of a home--The part played by ocean currents in the
     distribution of races--Had primitive peoples a sense of
     direction?--Features of daily life--The hut--The
     village--Clothing and ornaments--A primitive method of kindling
     a fire.

The half-civilized races who inhabit the mountains and uplands of
Indo-China are known by different names among their neighbours. The
Birmans call them "Karens," the Laotians, "Kha," the Cambodians,
"Stieng," or "Pnong," the Annamites, "Man," or "Moï." "Moï," which can
be translated by "savage," is perhaps the most convenient label for
the whole complex of these primitive folk.

Their number is not capable of exact computation but probably
approaches 400,000, divided between tribes of different names. They
are to be found scattered between the eleventh and the twentieth
degrees of latitude, from the frontiers of China to the boundaries of
Cambodia and Cochin-China.

From the earliest times they have made their homes in the wooded
uplands at an altitude which secures them from the fear of inundation.
Their love of mountain and forest is a primitive and unchangeable
instinct and all attempts to acclimatize them to the plains have ended
in failure. Further, this instinct is reinforced by their religious
beliefs and their respect for ancestral tradition. According to a
charming legend this domain was the gift of Eve herself.

     "The first human family had offspring so numerous that the land
     of their birth could no longer sustain them. The mother
     resolved that they should scatter to people other portions of
     the earth. Before the separation she called them all together
     for the last time and made a great feast in their honour. All
     did credit to her bounty with the exception of one, who took
     nothing but some red pimento.

     "This self-restraint was not lost on Eve. She recommended those
     of her sons who appreciated good cheer to share the fertile
     plains, and giving a bow and arrows to her sober guest,
     promised him the kingdom of the mountains where the beasts rove
     the forests.

     "He was the father of the Moï. His descendants share his
     frugality, and, like his, their wants are few."

These characteristics distinguish them to-day. Our first discovery on
arrival among them was that the use of money is unknown. They value
an empty bottle more highly than a piastre, and if by chance they
accept some such coin it is only to cut it in pieces for an ornament.
Though their disposition is generally peaceful, some tribes are
extremely jealous of their independence and receive an intruder,
however innocent, with showers of arrows. In this, as in all other
respects, the people reflect the character of their surroundings.

As the national costume consists of the absence of it there is no
obstacle to the observation of their physical forms. The European on
his first arrival in this country will think himself in a museum of
classical statuary! Simplicity, harmony, virility and grace are all
exhibited in perfect combination.

An average figure measures five feet five inches in height. Few of the
natives are more than five feet nine inches, or less than five feet
one inch. The torso is faultless, the line of the loins elegant.
Sometimes the lower limbs are rather frail. The big toe, while
preserving its prehensile faculty (the feature of all races of the far
East), is not detached from the other toes. In this respect the Moï
differ from the Annamites, who have gained the nickname of "Giao-Chi"
(detached toe).

The adipose tissue is so fine that obesity is rare. Generally speaking
the skin is of the colour of earth and varies between reddish brown
and dark yellow. It has a characteristic odour resembling that of a
wild beast in good condition. There is an abundance of coarse black
hair, which is generally rolled up in a knot at the back and fastened
with a comb or band of stuff. In case of illness the patient lets his
hair fall loose to conceal his face. The forehead is low and narrow
and sometimes terminates in a point. The expression of the eyes, which
are frequently oblique, is one of fearless frankness. The thick chin
is the characteristic prognathous feature. The lips are fleshy and
colourless. The prominence of the cheek-bones give the face the
appearance of a pentagon with the chin as its apex. The long and
narrow skull places the type among the dolichocephalic races.[1] These
are the broad characteristics of all branches of the Indonesian race
and are especially to be remarked among the peoples of the Asiatic
archipelago, the Battaks of Sumatra, the Dyaks of Borneo and the Alfurs
of the Celebes, who show the least alteration from the original type.

It is well known that these primitive peoples were aware of the
existence of ocean currents and used them for their own purposes. No
other theory can account for the distribution of the Malayo-Polynesian
races among the swarm of islands, some of them hundreds of leagues
apart. It demonstrates beyond doubt the importance of the influence of
currents on the dispersion of the human race over the surface of the

The existence of a large number of legends common to the two peoples
reinforces the physiological resemblance between the Moï and the
primitive races of the Malay Archipelago. The folklore of all of them
speaks of the existence of human beings reputed to have had a tail
like a monkey's, and, what is even more extraordinary, a razor-edged
membrane on the forearm which was used to cut down branches
obstructing their path.

Curiously enough Borneo possesses a people, the Murut, who habitually
wear the skin of a long-tailed monkey. At a distance this appendage
seems to belong to the wearer rather than to the garment.

In the same way it may be that the custom of carrying a wooden knife,
practised by forest-roving peoples, is responsible for the illusion
which confuses the weapon with the arm which wields it.

The Moï have a wonderful memory for places and a marked sense of
direction. The latter faculty is attributed mainly to a peculiarly
highly-developed sensibility to physical contact. Like all peoples who
spend most of their time in the open air they are constantly noting
the direction of the wind. They know the exact hour at which,
according to the season, the wind will rise or fall. However light, a
breeze will induce a sensation of freshness immediately recorded by
their bodies, especially when moist with exertion. As they walk or run
they note carefully every movement which obstacles oblige them to
make. According to Doctor Ouzilleau, this sixth sense is localized in
the ampullæ of the semicircular canals. A movement of the head causes
the displacement of the endolymph which acts on the auditory nerves.

Further, the Moï possess keen vision and a highly-developed sense of
smell which bring to their notice objects which would remain
unobserved by Europeans. A small drop of blood is on a leaf. It is the
evacuation of a wild boar whose lair is close at hand.

As is well known, instinct prompts almost all the actions of the
semi-savage. Accordingly the psychology of the Moï is not easy to
describe. Is he capable of altruism, pity, or gratitude? With few
exceptions these virtues are almost completely unknown. But he will
learn them, like anyone else, as soon as civilization has given him
more favourable conditions than under his present precarious
existence. To-day he falls an easy victim to injustice, intrigue and
exaction. So if Europeans arrive in force they are treated as an enemy
to be feared and therefore worthy of respect, but a casual foreigner
may easily pay for his rashness with his life.

Like all men of weak character, the Moï is very revengeful and awaits
with patience the day of redress. Months and years may pass without
effacing the least detail of his wrong. I was frequently called upon
to compose their quarrels and it was seldom that the injury was not
one of long standing.

"But why," I asked, "wait so long before taking action?"

"I had other things to do," came the answer.

"What other things, you idler?"

"Oh, invitations to share a flask of spirits of rice or a fat pig."

Nothing, not even the most imperious necessity, can overcome their
inveterate laziness.

I shall never forget the curious impression produced on me by my first
entry into a Moï village. The village in question was Dran on the
Da-Nhim, whose narrow valley marks the outposts of the great Annamite
chain. Five or six straw huts had been erected on stakes some ten feet
above the earth, less to avoid dampness than to secure immunity from
the raids of wild beasts.

Some women were pounding paddy (a preparation of rice) for the evening
meal in mortars of ironwood. The measured beat of a metronome and the
regular thuds of the pestles set the time for the wailing chant with
which the women beguiled their work. On seeing me they looked up
startled. A single piece of flimsy cloth draped from the waist to the
knee revealed the outline of many a full and graceful thigh and
emphasized rather than concealed their sinuous movements. The children
played around or pretended to help in lifting the heavy pestles.

At the top of a pole a rude figure had been carved of the genius of
the village armed with a murderous-looking cross-bow. He was the
tutelary deity of the place.

The supports of the houses are built of ironwood, the other portions
being of plaited bamboo sticks. The roof is open to the sky and
overhangs both the farmyard and the pigsty. We had no difficulty in
conjuring up the discomforts that awaited us should we ever be
compelled to lodge in such a place. The thin wattled walls would not
spare us the least noise nor the slightest odour.

My unwonted appearance still continued to excite demonstrations of
alarm, but it seems my beard was mainly responsible for the
indiscriminate flight which ensued. One old woman only was brave
enough to remain seated in her doorway. I asked her for permission to
inspect her dwelling, accompanying my request with a gift of a large
packet of tobacco. She acceded, not without hesitation and a look of
infinite distrust in her eyes. A rude wooden approach with apologies
for steps led up to the interior. The rooms, one of which is assigned
to each distinct family, were about the size of a horse-box, but a
special apartment was reserved for strangers and solemn occasions such
as a general reunion. The hearth, raised a few inches above the level
of the floor, consisted of a platform on which three fires were
burning and an appetizing and harmonious murmur proceeded from three
pots in which rice, the evening meal, and the food for the pigs were
being prepared. There was no chimney, for the duty of the smoke is to
keep off the mosquitoes, which are such a plague in these regions.
Accordingly every object in the place was covered with a thick layer
of soot, and no window was to be seen.

The inhabitants of this particular village were poor and the huts were
very small, but in some of the more fortunate villages the houses
sometimes attain a length of two hundred yards.

Huge blocks of wood served as beds to a people usually too tired to be
critical. The walls of the partitions were hung with a medley of
gongs, tom-toms, weapons and domestic utensils. The spirit flask,
without which no family celebration is complete, was suspended from a
post adorned with rude carving.

The frightened inhabitants eyed us askance and behaved like whipped
curs. The children squalled and hid under any convenient object, nor
could I gain their confidence by emptying my pockets of all the
tempting trifles I had brought with me for the purpose.

Seen from a distance there was nothing to point to the presence of a
village. It was perched on the side of a ravine with the forest behind
it, and thick brushwood in front protected it from the gaze of the
inquisitive. The only entrance, known to the initiated alone, was that
furnished by two narrow passages. Even when the entrance has been
found, another dark passage has to be traversed which is designed for
easy defence in case of attack. A small number of determined warriors
would be quite sufficient to repel invaders.

The open space in the centre of the village was adorned with two
public buildings, a large hut reserved for the boys who had just
attained the age of puberty and another which contained the last
harvest. The door of this public granary was secured in a manner which
demonstrated to perfection the naïve simplicity of these folk. The
lock consisted of a rattan thread passed through an empty egg-shell.
Of course it was impossible to touch the thread without breaking the
shell, and as all are equally interested in the preservation of the
precious grain supply, each man thus became policeman to his

The Moï is not nomadic by nature, but moves his habitation
periodically as soon as he has exhausted the natural resources of the
soil he occupies. Other causes of this periodical exodus are serious
misfortunes, such as a fire, an epidemic, or unpleasantly frequent
raids by the tiger. Such mishaps are invariably attributed by the Moï
to the evil influence of the genius of the place. To dispute the
possession of the ground with so powerful a divinity would be sheer
madness, and accordingly he yields with grace and betakes himself
elsewhere without regret.

The choice of the next habitation is not a mere matter of chance. The
Geomancer is called in to consult the omens, and no selection is made
until after ripe reflection.

But I am forgetting the mild adventure which was the occasion for
these general observations. After some time I became aware that my
visit could not be prolonged without a breach of etiquette and that I
was trespassing on the time of my hostess. She herself recalled me to
good manners by resuming her multifarious household duties.
Accordingly I bade her farewell and left her surrounded by a crowd of
the feathered tribe who assembled in answer to her guttural cry of
"loc-loc," the usual signal for a generous distribution of maize.

The national costume is marked by an almost evangelical simplicity.
The men may truly be described as clothed in sunbeams, for a flimsy
piece of cloth draping the waist can hardly be dignified with the name
of dress. A knife in a leather or wooden sheath is the only weapon
carried, though another small knife is frequently fastened in the
hair, which is twisted into a knot and secured by a comb. The women
have a clinging skirt, which does full justice to their graceful
figures. The bust is seldom covered at all, but in cold weather a
large piece of cloth is draped round the waist. Both sexes sometimes
wear a rough cloak trimmed at the edge with a variegated fringe, but
in spite of such precautions they are very liable to affections of the

The chief peculiarity, however, which distinguishes them from the
other groups of Indo-China is their inordinate love of personal
decoration. The passion for finery gives rise to the most embittered
rivalry among the women, and takes many curious forms, such as the
artificial elongation of the lobe of the ear, in which various
ornaments are introduced. This painful process begins in infancy, when
the ears are pierced with a sharpened bamboo rod. A wooden ring is
inserted in the hole thus made, and weights hung from it, at first
small, then increasing in size. The lobe, unnaturally distended,
sometimes reaches the shoulder, in which case it is accounted a
feature of the greatest beauty, and a husband with every talent and
virtue is assured to its fortunate possessor. But it is of prime
importance that the ear should remain unbroken. Should the skin give
way, the two hanging pieces will be an eternal reproach. No husband
will want a woman thus degraded, and a hopeless spinsterhood will be
her lot in life.

The men are addicted to the same practice, but with rather more
discretion. They confined themselves to filling the holes in their
ears with our champagne corks, which were quite at a premium on the
market and shared the honours with our boxes of Swedish matches.
Sometimes, too, their taste turned to an ivory serviette ring or even
a simple drawing pencil. Another fashionable masculine ornament is a
brass collar, consisting of a number of spiral rings. We never
satisfied ourselves as to whether this was pure decoration or served
some ulterior purpose, such as protection against affections of the

Copper and brass bangles adorned the wrists and ankles, but he who
wished to touch the supreme height of fashion wrapped his head in one
of the towels with which we rewarded our more industrious coolies.

I brought from Paris a supply of beads, in the hope of finding them
useful as a medium of exchange. To my surprise the natives took no
interest in them at all and they proved almost worthless. The Moï,
like the European, follows the caprice of fashion, and our beads, it
seemed, were too heavy and not gay enough for his taste. Besides, they
were not the mode of the moment.

It was thus sufficiently demonstrated that the wearing of clothes is
not even essential for the display of feminine vanity and coquetry.
Artifice can dispense with clothing, and if the sexes in this strange
land attract each other by means that seem curious and unaccountable
to us, the end in view is always and among all peoples the same, the
continuance of the race.

It must be remembered, too, that the development of a fashion is
similar to the development of a living organism. A certain form of
dress or style of decoration undergoes successive transformations, the
stages being generally exaggeration, diminution and ultimate
disappearance. For illustration we need go no further afield than the
recent vagaries of fashion in Europe which seem to oscillate between
the bell and the asparagus, but perhaps a more striking example is the
long, pointed shoes of the Middle Ages. At first the points were quite
reasonably short. Then little by little each man tried to sort himself
out of the common ruck of his neighbours by having longer points, and
after about a century the fashion culminated in the absurd
extravagance of the shoe with points long enough to be drawn upwards
and fastened to the knee. The mode first saw the light in the middle
of the thirteenth century and disappeared abruptly in 1428. The same
evolution can be traced in the progress of the ruff of the fifteenth
century and the crinoline of the nineteenth.

It is at least open to belief that ethnical transformations are
governed by similar laws. This distension of the lobe must be traced
to the practice of continually adding to the number of ornaments with
which the ear was overloaded.

Every individual tends to overrate the feature which is considered the
characteristic of his race. "Le beau pour le crapaud c'est sa
crapaude," said Voltaire, and the natural instinct of the savage is to
exaggerate what he regards as the most worthy of admiration. This
instinct is indubitably responsible for most of the mutilation
practised by primitive peoples. Thus the negresses of Africa produce
an artificial elongation of the nipple by the sting of a certain
insect, and the platyrrhine Malays make their flat noses even flatter,
while the Persians take the most elaborate pains to induce an extreme
hook on a nose already aquiline. This theory of exaggeration inherent
in our nature can alone explain certain customs which are otherwise

[Illustration: A Moï Maiden with Enlarged Ears.]

[Illustration: A Cham Chief and his Daughter.]

[Illustration: Laotian Barque under Full Sail.]

[Illustration: A Moï Farmer at work.]

I ought perhaps, before leaving the subject, to enumerate three other
methods of decoration practised by the leaders of fashion among the
Moï. The women powder their hair with an odorous substance obtained
from the berries of the vetiver. Both men and women smear their teeth
with a kind of lacquer to protect the enamel from the action of lime,
the principal ingredient of the betel leaf.

Finally the society ladies dye their nails a vivid vermilion with the
sap of the plant "Semrang."

As I said above, our matches soon went to a premium as a medium of
exchange, but the Moï already employed two methods of kindling a fire.
One was by striking a flint against a piece of pyrite of iron, the
other by simply rubbing together two pieces of wood. The process is as
follows. A very dry bamboo is split at one end for about five inches
of its length. The two sections are kept apart by the insertion of a
wooden wedge. In this way a rude ventilating chimney is made under
which the operator piles up some dead leaves, bamboo cuttings and
moss. He now passes a long cane under the apparatus (which he keeps
steady with his foot) and rubs it rapidly backwards and forwards until
a spark appears, which is usually within a minute. The movement
closely resembles that of sawing.

This last method is only practised in the bush, for in the villages
the fires are carefully preserved under the ashes and seldom allowed
to go out. This preservation of fire is a phenomenon which
characterizes all primitive peoples in every clime.

                              CHAPTER II

                      INDUSTRIES AND OCCUPATIONS

     Agriculture--Industries--Weaving, iron and copper
     mining--Commerce and industrial products--Food
     supplies--Fishing--How we once fished with
     dynamite--Hunting--Various methods of big-game hunting--My
     first elephant hunt--Some useful hints to big-game
     hunters--Poisons--Arms and weapons of defence--The tiger, a
     dangerous neighbour--A bathing tragedy.

The principal industry of the Moï is the cultivation of rice. The
method adopted, however, is unlike that of the Annamites of the
plains. Instead of cultivating a rice-field by continuous irrigation
which produces three crops a year, the Moï wait until November, the
end of the rainy season. They then clear a portion of the forest large
enough to raise a crop for the entire population of the village. In
April they set fire to the fallen trunks which the sun has dried. For
several days the whole mountain is illuminated by these immense
braziers and the crackling of the timbers can be heard for miles
around. Finally the ground is covered with a layer of fine ashes,
which are washed into the soil by the first rains. Then begins the

Armed with a pointed stick the women hollow trenches in the soil and
throw in the seed. The rains first and then the soil itself complete
their work. The baskets are soon full and the public granaries stocked
with the precious cereal. Good as a harvest may be, however, it is
seldom that a crop is sufficient to support the population till the
next. More often the supply runs short and the tribe has to subsist
for several weeks on bamboo shoots and forest roots.

Several times during my visit I tried to inculcate in the natives some
elementary notions of thrift and foresight. A "Pholy," or village
chief, once showed me in a word the weak point of my counsels. "If I
were to start putting by a store," he gravely told me, "my elder
brother, the white warrior, would take it from me to feed his escort."

I vigorously denied in the name of my kind any such evil intentions.

"In that case," he continued, "my younger brothers in the
neighbourhood would seize it. So I am prudent and keep no store at

Now what answer could I have returned to that?

However, whether the Moï blames civilization or his very human
neighbours, it is certain that he is happy-go-lucky by nature and
lives from hand to mouth. His ignorance of economy may be ascribed to
two causes, one that he possesses nothing of his own, since all
property is held in common by the tribe, the other that Nature is so
bountiful as to render foresight generally unnecessary.

Quite otherwise is the character of the Annamite, who spares no pains
over the cultivation and improvement of his ricefields. His barn is
never empty. The Emperor of Annam himself sets the example and takes
part each year in sowing the grain which is destined for religious
sacrifices. By a long series of proclamations the Government has
raised the status of the tiller of the soil, for it is generally
accepted that the prosperity of the country depends more on its
agriculture than on the expansion of its commerce. As for the
profession of arms, it has long been regarded as a relic of ancient

Here is an example of one of these proclamations:

     "The tiller of the soil is a man of worth. The police shall
     never molest him. But he who bears arms is a brigand and my
     sbires will treat him as such."

This is no doubt the origin of the popular scorn of the military
profession. A parallel is offered by France in the time of Sully, when
the interests of agriculture were the special concern of the

Throughout the territories occupied by the Moï the cultivation of rice
is carried on alternatively with that of maize. In the fertile soil
this latter grows to an enormous size. On the plateau of Langbian it
is quite usual to find stalks thirteen to seventeen feet high.

Every household grows its own tobacco. Cigarettes are made by rolling
up tobacco in the dried leaves of the banana tree. In shape they
resemble an extended cone of which the small end is put in the mouth.
The pipes are of copper and have a long stem. An inner shell of bamboo
fibres is attached to the bottom of the bowl and the more this is
impregnated with nicotine the more it becomes an object of desire,
especially to the women. Even the babies play their part in this
little comedy, for they compete eagerly for a suck at the stick which
serves their fathers as a pipe-cleaner.

Industry is in its infancy and is confined to the manufacture of
simple objects of daily use, such as stout wicker baskets and glazed
pottery. These vessels are not baked in a furnace but dried in the
sun, and are consequently very brittle. Another staple manufacture is
the three-foot chandelier, surmounted by a torch of resin. The women
weave various coarse cloths of cotton. Their sole implement is a
weaving frame consisting of two pieces of wood between which are
stretched two sets of threads. The shuttle is worked by hand with a
fair degree of skill.

Without professing any great knowledge of the art of dyeing the women
are quite familiar with the properties of certain substances, of which
they take full advantage. Thus indigo furnishes black as well as two
shades of blue, a colour more highly esteemed. Yellow is obtained from
the saffron. Alum and filtered cinders are put to a similar use.

Cotton is bleached by soaking the material in a concoction of
rice-water boiled for several hours.

The needles which we bestowed on the most skilful of the housewives
were accepted and preserved by them as precious objects of art. These
ladies, as guardians of the ancient traditions, remained faithful to
ancestral custom and preferred to use a blunt brass pin, which
dispenses with the necessity for a thimble, the manipulation of which
passes their understanding.

Iron, though found almost everywhere in its natural state, is worked
by only a few tribes which have specialized in the industry. The anvil
consists either of a huge stone or of a block of metal encased in a
wooden armature. The hammer is fairly long and has a bamboo handle.
Bamboo cylinders convey the draught to the furnace. This rudimentary
equipment produces lances and knives of the greatest efficacy.

The extraction of iron is carried on by the Catalan method. The
mineral in its natural state is first mixed with a large quantity of
charcoal and then covered over with clay and collected into a kind of
circular bin made of bricks. The mixture is then stirred vigorously
for twenty-four hours, at the end of which it liquefies and falls into
three layers. The lower part is composed of iron of a very poor
quality, the upper mainly of ashes. The middle layer alone is of the
desired temper and can be prepared for all purposes by a vigorous

All these operations are accompanied by a series of religious
sacrifices, for the genii of the mine must be propitiated, and copious
libations alone can humour their caprice. A special day, the fourth of
the month, is devoted to an annual festival in their honour.

A few groups manufacture gongs of copper, which is found just below
the surface of the soil. It seems to be the practice among these
tribes, as soon as copper-bearing lands have been discovered, to
secure seclusion and freedom from interference by expelling all the
inhabitants of the country around. This is certainly one explanation
of the weird stories which the evicted competitors tell of their
successful rivals. If the vanquished are to be believed, the industry
is carried on by the women, who live alone except for one annual visit
to their husbands. These women are not merely unnatural wives, but
also unnatural mothers, for they slay all their male children, keeping
only the girls. Their other characteristics are hardly less
formidable. They wield the lance with a skill and vigour of which any
man might be envious. They are always accompanied by dogs, and finally
(for a touch of the supernatural is inevitable), the legend runs that
their spinal column terminates in a short tail.

I was extremely curious to make the acquaintance of these Amazons, but
my informant invariably took refuge in silence when I pressed him for
information of their whereabouts.

Whatever may be the value of these stories, it is well known that in
this country, where money is unknown, gongs, pots and jars serve as
the medium of exchange. The measure of value is the antiquity of the
particular object. If it has several centuries behind it, its price
reaches a truly fantastic figure.

Perhaps the Moï recognize that the arts are on the decline and that
modern productions, if more attractive, are far less beautiful than
those of bygone ages. It is very unlikely, for their æsthetic sense is
still in an early stage of development.

The value of a red earthenware jar three feet in height and two
hundred years old is equal to that of thirty buffaloes. Another vessel
known as "The Mother and Child," which is composed of two jars of
different sizes joined after the manner of the Siamese twins, is worth
fifty buffaloes. At the top of the scale stands a vase worth one
hundred buffaloes, partly because it enjoys the reputation of being
unique and partly because it is adorned with the figure of a shapeless
and mysterious human being.

The same curious standards of taste are revealed in the sets of gongs
and tom-toms. These instruments are designed to give three or five
concords, by the blending of which every variant of the Moï scale may
be produced.

There is also a flourishing industry in the cultivation of cinnamon,
both for the home market and for export to China, which is the largest
customer for that product.

The hunters make long journeys for the purpose of exchanging
elephants' tusks and feet and rhinoceros horn. A horn of the latter
animal is ordinarily worth ten buffaloes among the Moï, but one which
is new and flawless has been known to fetch the enormous sum of five
hundred piastres, or fifty pounds in English money. The Annamites are
the most successful hunters and dealers. Every power aiming at
colonial expansion should concentrate its efforts on developing
commercial relations with the natives. Trade is the most potent agent
of conquest and the only one which brings prosperity and security in
its train.

We found fishing with dynamite another means of peaceful penetration
into these regions, though available only in places watered by a
stream or river. We made a point of inviting all the inhabitants of
the villages in the neighbourhood of our camp and it was seldom that
the audience was not large and representative, so great was the
interest roused by this operation. Judging by the horde of women which
issued from every hamlet and the enormous baskets brought by the
children we might have been setting out to clear the river of every
living creature in it. The men, who fish both for food and sport,
showed themselves very willing to indicate the favourite haunts of our

Curiosity was roused to the highest pitch by the preparation of the
charge and the Bickford train was an object of interest almost
approaching reverence. I fired a few inches of this and astonishment
knew no bounds. The younger members of my audience spoke openly of
sorcery, while the elder smiled in a knowing manner but kept at a safe

At length the charge was ready. I fired the end of the train and threw
the infernal machine, weighted with a stone, into the middle of the
water. The stone described a long parabola and fell into the dark
depths carrying the instrument of destruction after it. For some
seconds there was a deathly silence. Then a terrific explosion rent
the air and a column of smoke and steam rose from the surface of the
water to the height of the highest trees. There was a whirr of wings
as the birds scattered from the branches. The Moï gaped at each other
in amazement and prostrated themselves on the ground. Screams of fear
from the children announced their conviction that the genius of the
river, enraged at this intrusion on his dominions, was coming to carry
them off.

[Illustration: Fishing with Dynamite: After the Explosion.]

[Illustration: A Floating Village.]

[Illustration: A Typical Village in Laos.]

[Illustration: Primitive Irrigation in Laos.]

Soon the cloud vanished, transformed into a shower of refreshing rain.
Calm replaced the storm. The startled doves cautiously returned to
their nests. The stream flowed on, unruffled, forgetful. Suddenly a
few white specks appeared on the surface, vanished and reappeared in
ever-increasing numbers until the waters seemed alive. These were the
fish, their air-bladders burst by the force of the explosion and now
floundering helplessly at the mercy of the swift current. The crowning
moment had arrived. With one accord the spectators dived into the
stream to secure their easy prey. The more wary had armed
themselves with a _liane_, to which they fastened their victims by the
gills. The booty was then easily towed between their teeth.

The women and children were in the very forefront of the fray, and
there are few more entertaining spectacles than that of all these
babies racing each other amid screams of delight. In a few moments the
water was cleared of its shouting, struggling invaders, whose bronze
skins glistened beneath a silver film of pearly drops. One by one,
after adjusting their simple garb, they advanced to lay their booty in
a large basket at my feet, then withdrew with a delightful affectation
of indifference as to my intentions. Then began the ceremony of
distribution. The basket raised on a mound of earth became the centre
of a circle. The children advanced in single file, the youngest first.
At the head of the procession was a youngster of less than six years
of age, who had no difficulty in selecting the largest fish, which he
dragged away by the tail stammering with excitement. The mothers
followed, more modest in their desires. In a few moments I was left
alone, a dismal survival of the merry throng.

Fish is the favourite food of the people in these regions and every
river contains an apparently inexhaustible supply of it. The three
current methods of fishing are with line, net, and spear. The nets are
spread across the narrow channel, which is always left in the middle
of the bamboo dams. The bait consists of the stalks of certain weeds
and plants, which are treated to form a soft paste. When a haul has
been particularly successful the fish is smoked and preserved for
several months. For this purpose it is pounded with salt and pimento
and stored in bamboo tubes. In this state it is a favourite condiment.

There is little change of diet, for the food supply is virtually
restricted to the products of fishing and hunting. Domestic animals
are never used for food except upon special occasions such as
religious sacrifices.

Traps are preferred to weapons for keeping down the wild beasts which
swarm in the forests. Both in devising and constructing snares the
natives display a high degree of invention and skill. We found
apparatus of different kinds all over the country, its form being
apparently determined by the seasons of the year and the particular
region. For example, the following method is employed in a
thickly-wooded country where the presence of beasts of prey is only
known by the tracks leading to their watering-places.

The hunters select a young tree, supple but yet sufficiently strong
for their purpose. The top is forced over and secured to the ground by
means of a tough fibre in which a noose is made. The long grass
conceals all these traces of human intervention. Now the monster,
tiger or panther, approaches. It cannot pass the spot without
disturbing the simple mechanism which the least shock would set in
motion. The sapling, suddenly released, flies back, and the
unfortunate captive finds its neck or paw firmly gripped by the noose.
The more it struggles the tighter becomes the knot, and if not
actually strangled, it soon becomes exhausted by its agonized efforts
to escape, and hangs, a miserable object, on this improvised gallows.

Another method is to dig a pit in a track the course of which has been
carefully noted. Animals have fixed habits according to the season of
the year. Shortly before nightfall they emerge from their lairs on an
expedition to secure an evening meal. The pit must be both narrow and
deep, and its dimensions calculated so nicely that the movements of
the prisoner will be hampered in every direction. This object is
further secured by driving stakes into the ground at the bottom so
that the mere act of falling in will inflict the most severe injuries.
The place is then concealed by a layer of branches, a part of the
operation which needs the greatest care if the trap is not to be
detected. A little earth from the excavation lying on the ground at
the side is quite enough to warn some animals of the presence of
danger and the condition of the grass and branches, which quickly
decay, is in itself a suspicious circumstance. The tiger is one of the
most wary and observant of beasts and is seldom captured in this
manner, except when being pursued, when it has not the time to take
its usual precautions. Deer, on the other hand, seem much less
suspicious and frequently fall a victim to this particular wile.

There is another trap which requires equal care in construction, and
closely resembles the eel traps which are common in Europe. It is a
cage, circumscribed by a double row of bamboos as a palisade. The
beast has to penetrate a hedge of bamboos to find the entrance which
leads to an open space where a pig or goat rewards its curiosity. Once
inside, however, its retreat is cut off, for the bamboos spring back
to their natural position, thus closing up the entrance, and the
palisade is quite strong enough to resist attack, however fierce.

It will be recognized that the construction of these snares calls for
a degree of skill and experience to which few Europeans can attain.
Sometimes the pits were so cunningly dug that it was almost impossible
to detect their presence and we were in serious danger of falling in
ourselves. As a rule the natives indicate the proximity of a trap by
some signal such as a broken branch, a spear driven into a tree, or a
stalk twisted in a certain manner; but, of course, the purport of
these signs is known only to the initiated, and at the beginning of
our expedition we had much more to fear from the tiger-traps than from
the chances of an encounter with the beast for which they were

It must not be imagined that the Moï confine themselves to the
destruction of wild beasts only, or merely those which threaten their
safety. Elephants are slaughtered ruthlessly for the sake of their
ivory. The elephants haunt the damp and sandy regions of this country.
During the dry season from November to March herds consisting of
anything from ten to twenty beasts make their way to the forests both
for shelter from the heat and for the pools which have not yet dried
up. It is generally at watering-time that the creature makes itself
heard with loud trumpetings which are audible at an immense distance
and betray its presence to its human enemy. When the elephant is
undisturbed its progress is sedate and leisurely and it stops every
now and then to pluck a branch either for recreation or to serve as a

It is this last habit, well known to the native hunter, which betrays
it and leads to its downfall. The first time I took part in an
elephant-hunt I was amazed to see that the native who was guiding me
kept his eyes fixed upwards all the time. I should have thought it was
obvious that we needed no other guide than the enormous footprints
left by the unwieldy beasts, and told him so. I was not long left in
error. Without relaxing his efforts he soon showed me that these
tracks were very unreliable, that they frequently pointed different
ways, cut across each other, and sometimes, in fact, disappeared
altogether. He told me also that the evacuations of the creature are
liable to be misleading unless quite fresh, still viscous, and
unaffected by insects. A trail in a forest must then be sought not on
the ground but in the branches of the trees. It is by the broken
branches, the appearance of the severed ends, and the consistency of
the gum which escapes, that the experienced hunter can deduce the more
or less recent passage of a herd.

I smile now when I think of the succession of surprises I experienced
on that first hunting adventure and the ignorance I must have
exhibited. We came to some swampy ground where my guide stopped short
before some tracks that seemed to him the most fresh we had yet
encountered. He carefully made some fresh tracks at the side with his
feet and then lay at full length on the ground to compare the two sets
of footprints. After a most minute examination of their respective
appearances he calculated that less than half an hour had elapsed
since the animals had passed by and went on his way without comment.

We had started out at sunrise, which is the orthodox and best time. To
set out earlier is to court failure, for it is impossible to be sure
of the traces in the darkness. At first we had directed ourselves by
the pools, and on reaching a third pond were overjoyed to observe some
traces obviously quite fresh. It is usually hopeless to start on a
trail which is several days old, for a track made only the previous
evening may easily take one much farther than is agreeable. Hunters
who say that they have tracked elephants for weeks show more
perseverance than intelligence. As it was, my companion lost the
trail several times, but never took a short cut in the wild hope of
picking it up farther on. He might as well have started hunting for
shadows. Every time this mishap occurred he retraced his steps to the
point of departure and looked again. He was not to be deflected from
his purpose even by the trumpetings of the elephants themselves,
though these were quite audible at times.

"Ong Bioi (Mr. Elephant) would make a liar of me," he explained in his
picturesque jargon.

He was quite right, for in tracking these monsters the only safe rule
is to follow the trail and leave short cuts severely alone. Besides,
this hunting sense, if I may so call it, is only a practical
application of that sense of direction of which I have spoken before,
and which seems almost to be an instinct with some people. It is
something analogous to the sense of danger which is found in certain
specially constituted individuals who can foretell the presence of a
danger by the twitching of the muscles of the back.

Soon, without any apparent reason, my guide signalled to me to relieve
myself, and as I did not comply at once, he repeated his order with a
gesture that left no doubt as to his wishes. He knew from long
experience of big-game hunting how dangerous a nervous contraction,
such as that of an overcharged bladder, can be at a moment when the
accuracy of a shot may make all the difference between life and

He then took off my colonial helmet, which in all its khaki glory was
a somewhat conspicuous object, and replaced it by his own head-gear, a
muddy-coloured turban, quite unnameable, which certainly harmonized
better with our surroundings. I was dressed in a suit of Chinese
linen, slate grey in colour, which seemed to meet with his approval,
while, for himself, he carried his whole wardrobe, consisting of a
thin woollen cloth, lightly wrapped round his waist.

He then picked up a handful of dust and threw it up in the air to
observe the direction of the wind. This is the most indispensable
precaution, for if the elephant is not blessed with keen sight, its
hearing is extremely acute and can detect an unwonted sound at a great
distance. It must be approached, therefore, against the wind.

During the hottest part of the day the elephant either stands with its
trunk wound round the lower branch of a tree, or else lies down,
sometimes with its legs folded under it and sometimes at full length
on its side, just like a horse. In none of these positions does it
need the assistance of a mound of earth or a tree trunk to rise,
though some travellers would have us believe it. In spite of its
immense bulk it can get up unaided at the first hint of danger. M.
Millet, of the Woods and Forests Department of Indo-China, who was
also a member of our party was a specialist in this form of sport, and
gave me the benefit of his fifteen years' experience.

It must be understood that though the preliminary stalking is usually
done by the natives the honour of executing the sentence of death is
reserved for the European. This would naturally seem the easiest part
of the operations, for it would appear impossible to miss so vast an
object at short range. The uninitiated always fall into the error of
underrating the difficulties involved in killing these creatures, but
the error rarely survives the first experience.

To begin with, the hunter who wishes to kill with the first shot must
have a considerable knowledge of the beast's anatomy. Otherwise he
exposes himself to a furious charge or to the mortification of seeing
his bullet reach a non-vital spot and his prey vanish into the forest
unharmed. A knowledge of the structure of the skull is, in fact,
indispensable, for a miss by a hair's-breadth in that region will
change a wound that might have been mortal into an insignificant
scratch. The natives are notoriously ignorant of such matters, and, in
consequence, usually aim at the shoulder and lose half the animals
they hunt.

The vulnerable spot to which all experienced shots direct their
attention is the temple, or rather a spot about one third of an inch
above the ear-hole. If the hunter can find some eminence which puts
him at the level of this vital place his bullet will pass straight
through the brain and out at the other ear. Death occurs
instantaneously. The creature sinks down, its fore legs bent under
him, its back legs stretched out, while its head and body remain
rigid. The same result is obtained by aiming behind the ear. On the
other hand it is almost useless to fire straight into the advancing
creature or hit it at the base of the trunk, especially with rifles of
small bore.

It was this last shot that I attempted on this first elephant hunt
when I was still in the depths of ignorance. The creature uttered a
roar of agony, raised its trunk in the air and charged straight at me,
covering thirty yards in a flash. I thought myself lost, but when
almost on me it suddenly made a half turn on its haunches with as much
agility as a circus pony and dashed off at a tangent smashing every
obstacle in its path. My tracker had also fired with his Laotian
rifle, and both shots were, in fact, mortal, though quite incapable of
arresting its mad career. Only next day we came upon its carcase,
already in a state of putrefaction and half devoured by white ants.

No less important for big-game hunting of this character is the choice
of a rifle.

Fired by an expert a Winchester bullet not more than seven millimetres
in diameter and fourteen grammes in weight is quite sufficient for all
purposes, but a beginner should never start with anything less than
ten millimetres in diameter and nineteen grammes in weight when
hunting the tiger or any larger animal. Such a ball, projected at an
initial velocity of 650 metres to the second, will stop any animal if
it strikes either the shoulder or the breast. The Moï, of course, are
not armed with our modern rifles. In fact, few of them possess a rifle
at all, but the more fortunate among them buy the rustic Laotian
rifles, a kind of blunderbuss which kicks and not infrequently knocks
them down. The projectile used is not a bullet but a poisoned arrow
made from an extremely hard wood.

Among the Moï the sorcerers alone know the secret processes which are
employed in the manufacture of two extremely powerful cardiac poisons,
antiarin and strophanthin, though these are also in use among the
Dyaks of Borneo. No one else is allowed to be present when their
preparation is taking place, but fortunately one of my compatriots in
the mission, M. Odera, who was in the Woods and Forests Departments
and had thirty elephants killed or captured to his credit, was once
honoured by an invitation to be present at the ceremony.

A moonlight night is chosen. The novice first invokes the genii of the
forest and then cuts a portion of the creeper _strophantus giganteus_,
strips off the bark, grinds it up in a mortar and boils it over a fire
until it attains the consistency of gum. This operation takes place at
a great distance from the village, for the fumes are supposed to be
noxious. To ascertain whether the required strength has been attained
they cut off part of a lizard's tail and put a drop of the concoction
on the severed end. Death ought to be immediate.

The second poison is obtained from the _antiaris toxicaria_ without
any special preparation. An incision is made in the bark of the tree.
In some regions the arrows are poisoned by the simple expedient of
sticking them into the trunk of the poison-bearing tree and leaving
them in this novel pincushion until required.

It is a curious fact that game killed by poisoned arrows is perfectly
wholesome if the wound is carefully washed at once. The young plants
also of the _antiaris toxicaria_ supply an absorbent poison. Their sap
is not as powerful as that of the full-grown trees, but on the other
hand has neither its bitterness nor repulsive smell.

Both the _strophantus giganteus_ and the _antiaris_ are found all over
the Indo-Chinese and Malay peninsulas. The effect of _antiaris_ is the
same whether introduced into the digestive organs or applied to the
cellular tissue, but in the former case the dose must be considerably
stronger to produce the same result. It is pleasant to record that
there is little data on which to base observations on the effect of
the Moï poisons on human beings. Our own experience furnished one or
two illustrations, however. While we were in Nhe-An, a province of
Annam, one of our captains was wounded by two arrows and, though they
were taken out at once, he died twenty-two days later in fearful
agony. Another officer was struck by a poisoned missile and after a
few minutes went mad and committed suicide. The danger of attack by
the rebellious Moï was always present to our minds during the
expedition. Two officers, MM. Canivey and Barbu, were wounded by
several arrows. As there was no post where medical assistance could be
obtained within several days' march and no doctor among us, I
undertook a rational cure. All the symptoms pointed to poison. The
nervous tremours, the alternating phases of excitement and lethargy,
the dilation of the pupil, the feeble voice and the subnormal
temperature left no doubt as to the nature of the malady. For a long
time it seemed that recovery was impossible, for the arrow heads had
not been immediately extracted; but events took a happier turn and in
four weeks they were both well again. I can only conclude that the
poison cannot have been fresh and consequently had lost much of its
strength. The natives treat a patient for poison by first making the
wound bleed, then washing it in water impregnated with sea salt and
calcined alum, and finally inducing a heavy perspiration by making him
drink an infusion of mulberry leaves.

Most of the Moï arm themselves with the cross-bow, which is a deadly
weapon at a range of not more than forty yards. At half that distance
the arrow will easily penetrate through two inches of the hardest
wood. The arrow head is made of iron or wood, around which is wound a
thread impregnated with the poisonous substance. It is fashioned with
a notch at the base to make its extraction from a wound difficult, if
not impossible.

The manipulation of the cross-bow requires no little strength. The
bowman props the cross against his body and holds the bow firm on the
ground with his foot. The strain of fixing the arrow is so great that
it has been known to burst the bladder.

When the Moï goes to war with his neighbours he generally swathes his
body in a multitude of thick wrappings to give him protection against
such weapons as knives and daggers. His shield is of stout cane or
buffalo hide and usually ornamented with the insignia of his tribe.
Finally his panoply is completed by a spear with a handle of mahogany
or sometimes by a two-handed sword. He is also ingenious at
constructing subsidiary defences. On the outbreak of hostilities the
neighbourhood of a village is thickly studded with small bamboo
javelins, which are extremely difficult to distinguish from the grass
and brushwood. Some of our party received grievous wounds from these
concealed weapons.

The forests we encountered during our topographical survey are the
home of a certain kind of buffalo of immense size. This species, which
is very rare and not found elsewhere, is no other than the Aurochs,
which are called "Con-minh" by the Annamites and "Co-bay" by the Moï.
These animals are bay in colour and have a short and scanty coat, with
the longest hairs under the belly and at the throat. They have white
spots on all four feet, and resemble the wild buffalo in not being
dewlapped. They are formidable foes and never wait to be attacked,
but charge with lowered head at a prodigious speed. The tiger seems to
have no terrors for them and many are the stories of their triumphs
over the king of the forest himself.

Now, as a rule, a tiger is not dangerous unless it takes the
initiative itself, which it seldom fails to do in these regions, where
its supremacy has hardly yet been seriously challenged. Hence the
saying which experience has abundantly justified: "In Indo-China the
tiger is the hunter and man the hunted."

Of course, it is very unusual to meet this ferocious creature by
daylight, even in regions where its ravages are the most frequent.
Every traveller will pass by its lair in the bamboo groves, but it is
quite exceptional to see the beast itself, except at nightfall, when
it comes forth to seek its prey. Once a tiger has tasted human flesh
it prefers it to all other food. Accordingly, the natives live in a
state of chronic fear of the man-eater and will willingly abandon
their villages rather than make the least effort to rid themselves of
the pest. As I shall show later, they endow their enemy with human
qualities and frequently refuse to destroy it when at their mercy for
fear of arousing the vengeance of the whole species.

One of our party once witnessed the following scene. A tiger had
fallen into a pit which had been laid for some deer. It had not been
wounded, but the space was so cramped that it was quite unable to
move. The natives were terrified lest it should die, in which case its
spirit would never cease to molest them; so they decided to set it
free. They made a cage without a floor, lowered it into the pit and
then raised it up again by means of ropes passed under the creature.
Perched on the neighbouring trees they pulled away the prison and let
the captive go, offering it their humble apologies for having already
detained it so long! Our representative had been compelled to promise
his acquiescence, and, lest he should repent and show fight, his rifle
was carefully left behind in the village.

I myself saw tigers on several occasions and often under circumstances
when I wished them at the bottom of the deepest pit that human
ingenuity could devise. One such occasion has left so vivid an
impression on my mind by reason of its tragic outcome that I shall
relate it here.

It was during the hot season when Sergeant Valutioni and I were in
charge of a reconnoitring party sent forward to report on a region
which he assured me was infested with tigers. In fact on the day in
question he had gone so far as to bet me that we would meet a
man-eater before nightfall. Now during the whole of my ten months'
residence in Annam I had frequently passed through alleged
tiger-stricken provinces but had never seen a single tiger, though at
every station I was literally shot through and through with stories of
their wholesale depredations. According to my colleagues every step
was accompanied by the probability of immediate destruction. I became
more and more sceptical and finally persuaded myself that the fearsome
tales were spread by the old colonists with a view to discouraging
newcomers. Accordingly I dismissed Valutioni's sinister predictions
with a knowing smile.

Our way led through a magnificent forest. The sun grew hotter with
every step, the ground harder as the carpet of moss and ferns dried up
and withered. The trees became more stunted and their branches, almost
denuded of leaves, took on strange fantastic shapes. Such foliage as
there was seemed burnt up and ready to fall at the first breath of
wind. Now and then a huge ant-heap broke the level sky-line and
blended bewitchingly with the reddening trunks. A deathlike silence
reigned, unchallenged even by a bird, over this realm of ill-omen.

Sao, the nephew of the chief of our escort, was walking a few yards
ahead of me carrying my rifle. He was an intelligent boy about twelve
years of age, with a peculiarly frank and pleasant expression, and I
had had considerable hesitation in bringing him with us on an
expedition which was bound to be long and trying, if not actually
dangerous. His urgent request to join the party, however, overcame my
reluctance, and I was also tempted by the knowledge that the young Moï
is more tough and reliable than his elders.

He busied himself with cutting down the low projecting branches which
impeded my progress and enlivened our march by humming a plaintive
native melody in honour of the great Spirit who keeps watch and ward
over the tigers. About midday we found a thick bamboo grove which
offered welcome shelter against the torrid heat. Sao now took on the
duties of scullion and rendered invaluable aid to my boy in preparing
our bushman's lunch.

Valutioni lost no time in attacking a consommé of parrakeet, while a
salmi of rat met with universal approval, and this sumptuous feast was
crowned with a cup of mocha in St. Galmier water, which accompanies
every expedition, as the forest pools are both few and foul.

Meanwhile our Moï escort were preparing and taking their more frugal
meal. They made a fire and cooked a kind of pancake, of which rice is
the chief constituent. The thick paste swells up rapidly looking like
a piece of bread soaked in water. Sao made a hearty meal, showing a
healthy contempt of European delicacies.

When we resumed our journey the sun was more cruel than ever. Not a
breath of wind stirred the parched air, which almost burnt our
nostrils. The bearers were hindered in their march by a thick carpet
of dried branches and the necessity of stopping at frequent intervals
to remove the thorns from their feet.

These delays were particularly aggravating, as we had resolved to make
our night quarters at Song-Phan, where the river promised us a welcome
bathe and an ideal spot for a camp. Also the horses, tormented by the
flies, became so restive as to be almost unmanageable.

At length the sound of the torrent broke the silence, and presently a
sheet of water gleaming like burnished steel appeared between two
gaunt bluffs. In a few minutes our men had felled two large trunks to
serve as a bridge from one bank to the other, and in a few more the
fires were burning brightly. Valutioni insisted on my taking some
precautions against the attacks of wild beasts and I issued an order
that no one should go to find water without some escort.

One who has never experienced the pangs of a tropical thirst cannot
imagine the delirious delight of a "bushman" when a chance is
presented of a drink of pure water. How much greater is his ecstasy
when the opportunity of a bathe is added! We threw prudence to the
winds and took to the water like ducks in spite of Valutioni's solemn
warning that the hour was late and none other than that selected by
the tiger for its evening work.

Soon night came down, unheralded by twilight, and shrouded the earth
in a thick mantle of darkness. We felt somewhat awed and dressed
ourselves in silence. The way back to the camp took us by a narrow
path cut in an impenetrable bamboo thicket. A party of water-carriers
passed us, Sao bringing up the rear swinging his heavy gourd and
singing the same melancholy chant. He looked so happy that I could
not resist giving him a friendly pat on the cheek as he went by.

I had not advanced five yards when a heart-rending scream made me turn
round sharply just in time to see the boy in the grip of a huge tiger
and still struggling feebly. I snatched my rifle, raised it and took
aim. At what? With one bound the monster had cleared the stream,
bearing its prey in its fearful jaws, and vanished into the jungle.

A hoarse roar of horror and dismay broke the silence. All the Moï of
our escort were screaming frantically as if suddenly stricken with

"The Lord Tiger," they yelled, waving their long bamboo poles in the

My companion and I gazed at each other dumbfounded. What was to be
done? The night was now black, the jungle impenetrable. Pursuit under
such circumstances would be the height of folly. Realizing that we
must wait for daylight and raging at our impotence, we returned to the
camp fires thinking of the ghastly tragedy that was being enacted
behind that barricade of brambles, perhaps only a few yards away.

I called up the unhappy uncle to offer what consolation I could. He
was almost dumb with weeping, but managed to inform me amid his tears
that the same evil fate had befallen both the father and mother of the
poor boy.

"My brother should know," he added gravely, "that the spirits of my
relations who never received burial nor the rites that were their due
have long demanded another companion."

At that time I was profoundly ignorant of beliefs and superstitions
which came to my notice later, and I attributed his words to the
raving of a madman. Valutioni soon enlightened me, however, and showed
me that not only the Moï but most of the Annamites also entertain the
most curious beliefs on this subject.

They believe that the spirit of a tiger's victim is compelled to ride
on the back of his murderer and guide it. Accordingly, when a trap is
being laid the natives are careful to sprinkle a quantity of roasted
maize around the place. When the monster approaches the spirit smells
the grain, is warned of the impending danger, and leaps off in time to
avoid falling with the tiger into the snare.

The story may raise an incredulous smile but is not so fanciful as it
sounds. The attacks of the tiger on the Moï are so frequent, ruthless,
and calculated that a savage naturally ascribes them to the direct
instigation and assistance of some supernatural power. All Europeans
will testify to the ferocious malevolence of the creatures, and many a
traveller has paid for his ignorance or carelessness with his life. It
was probably pure chance that Sao's evil fate did not befall my
companion or myself.

It was evident that while we were enjoying our reckless bathe the
tiger must have been watching us from the thicket, awaiting a
favourable moment to spring. With its usual cunning it selected the
weakest for its prey, and neither rifles nor knives would have barred
its path. The slightest wound from its paw filled with putrefying
matter is calculated to bring tetanus and an agonizing death.

Such was the course of our melancholy reflections when our attention
was aroused to the presence of a new danger by the voices of a number
of coolies who were arguing in undertones. We pretended to be asleep
but listened carefully. They were talking of flight.

Someone was seeming reluctant, suggesting that the country was
strange, the tigers at large. The whites had angered the spirits and
brought all this evil upon them. It would be better to wait till the
morning and steal away at daybreak.

We realized that vigorous measures were called for to avert a crisis.
The nearest station was more than a hundred miles away and the country
was absolutely without resources. If our escort fled we should have to
give up the expedition. Fortunately the chief remained faithful to us.
I ordered him to collect all the identification cards which every
coolie carries with him in accordance with the regulations. Each card
recites the length of the finger-joints of its owner and is stamped
with each of his finger-prints.

Deprived of their cards, our men became as meek as sheep. The prospect
before them was not inviting. They would have to pay the native
equivalent of three piastres and produce satisfactory evidence of
identity in the capital of the province before a duplicate would be
supplied, and happily a coolie with three piastres is a rare

This danger disposed of, we attempted to sleep, but all in vain. The
dog trembled and whined as if scenting evil. The tiger must have been
watching us!

At dawn we beat out the thickets and at length came upon the tiger's
lair where, among a mass of unrecognizable remains, we distinguished
the corpse of the last victim. Not a fragment of flesh was to be seen
on the skull which looked like an ivory ball. The animal's rough
tongue had literally scraped it clean. A few paces away was a path,
access to which was barred by the fallen trunk of an immense banian
struck by lightning. It was plain that persons using this path had
been unable to pass this obstacle and had been compelled to make a
detour through the thicket. Hidden behind its bamboo barrier the tiger
had watched them threading their way, and fallen upon them at the
moment they presented their backs to it. We saw several fragments of
human clothing and many bones to prove, if proof were needed, that we
were on the site of a veritable man-trap.

We proceeded to give the poor boy as decent a burial as time and the
circumstances permitted. His corpse was reverently laid in a shroud of
latania leaves and buried in a grave at the very spot on which he had
met his death. His uncle asked me for a piece of drawing paper, on
which he traced the rude figure of a tiger with a pencil. He then drew
three figures on the tiger's back. He explained to me that as the
boy's parents were both very big, only a small place remained on the
beast's back, quite near the tail.

"That is the reason," he added, "that my brother, the White Mandarin,
has not been devoured. The tiger loves the flesh of a white man far
more than that of my countrymen, and if there had been room he would
doubtless have taken my brother for his victim."

I could say nothing to turn him from this conviction, and indeed I
knew that my imprudence in bathing at so dangerous a time might very
well have proved fatal.

The old man finished his drawing and then solemnly burnt it,
scattering the fine ashes over the tomb to the accompaniment of many
prayers. When the soil had all been returned the grave-diggers strode
several times round the grave crying to the High and Mighty One to
seek no more victims.

The moral effect of this tragedy was so great on the Moï of our escort
that it seemed to me wiser to suspend the expedition with a view to
avenging the boy's death and restoring confidence. Unfortunately the
Moï were even more terrified at this suggestion and spared no efforts
to dissuade me. They feared the vengeance of the tiger, but I was not
to be turned from my purpose.

I took up my station in a tree and secured a fine young roebuck as
bait. For fourteen nights I waited for the tiger to come within range,
but it never came. It ravaged the neighbourhood frequently, startling
the forest with its roars, but we never had a glimpse of it. At the
end of the period the escort became restive and I acceded to the
general desire to strike our camp and retreat before the enemy.

A few months later Lieutenant Gautier, another member of the mission,
was devoured on the same spot.

                             CHAPTER III

                             FAMILY LIFE

     Diseases and their cure--Betrothal and
     marriage--Adultery--Divorce--A Moï
     wedding--Birth--Childhood--The game of Pig-Snatcher.

No one with the least experience of the savage, no matter to what race
he may belong, will deny that the best way to win his friendship is to
cure his ailments.

Speaking for myself I habitually relied on my medical knowledge as a
passport to the approval of the Moï, and I was rarely disappointed,
for invalids of all sorts and conditions came daily to invoke the aid
of my medicine chest. Most of them suffered from ailments caused by
sudden changes of temperature, and their scanty clothing is a prolific
source of bronchial affections. They always came up with their hair in
disorder, hiding their faces as a sign of distress, putting out their
tongues, and striking themselves on the breast to draw my attention to
the seat of all their woe. They could hardly contain their glee when I
painted the affected part with iodine. Their bronzed skins assumed a
violet hue, then turned to browny red, assisted by their vigorous

Some came from immense distances for auscultation, and my patients
included a large number of women, inspired, I think, more by curiosity
than any immediate necessity, for I usually presented a mirror to each
new patient. A few brought me their aged parents, under the impression
that I was quite capable of restoring them to youth. A man with one
arm came to ask for another, a man with one eye seemed astounded when
I repeated my refusal to get him a new one. I remember once a patient
appearing who was shivering with fever. I gave him a few grains of
quinine and a glass of water to wash it down.

"Now whistle, my boy."

He whistled at once under the impression that this musical exercise
was part of the treatment, whereas in truth my only object was to make
sure that the drug had really been swallowed. Its bitterness had no
deterrent effect whatever, for he stretched out his hands,
accompanying the movement with a wink which means in all languages; "I
can do with as much as you like."

In another case a chronic bronchitis demanded treatment by
wet-cupping. A thick plank which happened to be handy took the place
of an operating-table, while an empty Madeira glass had to perform the
functions of the cupping-glasses of which I was destitute.

Lack of cleanliness and ordinary precautions is mainly responsible for
the fatal outcome of so many of the more serious complaints. Even the
most trifling ailments last an abnormal time, but I soon proved that
with reasonable treatment the adult Moï easily shakes off quite
virulent diseases. The race is, in fact, submitted to a process of
strict selection by the mortality among the infants, which is very
high. Only the hardiest specimens survive their childhood and are all
the more fitted to resist the attacks of disease.

Infants are fed in the most ignorant and reckless manner, hence the
prevalence of gastro-enteritis and rickets. On the other hand, the Moï
suffer considerably less from malaria than the Annamites and the
Chinese. Tuberculosis is uncommon and where found carries off its
victims with incredible rapidity.

The use of simples is not unknown and some of the less complicated
ailments have been successfully treated by this method. In general,
however, all diseases are attributed to the displeasure of the
Spirits, a superstition which the Sorcerer habitually turns to his own

At first we had the greatest difficulty in inducing the natives to
submit to vaccination. The story was busily circulated that the mark
left by inoculation was a badge of servitude, and it was some time
before we succeeded in exposing the fallacy.

[Illustration: Birth Ceremonies: Carrying Fuel to a Young Mother.]

[Illustration: The Wife of a Moï Chief.]

[Illustration: A little Moï Family.]

Among certain Moï groups, such as the Sedang, Djarai and Rognao of the
lower lakes, it is usual for the boys to sleep in a special hut after
puberty has been reached. The primary purpose of this custom is to
prevent sexual intercourse before marriage, but it is quite
ineffectual to prevent the girls from meeting their lovers on the sly.
The usual result is that the mother generally kills her firstborn, as
no one comes forward to claim the fatherhood.

It is not too much to say that the Moï seems to attach no importance
to feminine chastity. Marriage is only the consecration of a
cohabitation of long standing, and sometimes there are several
children of the union before either party thinks of putting it on a
legal footing.

As a rule, a man must take his wife from the same group, or, in other
words, endogamy is _de rigueur_. The only connecting links with other
groups are the alliances with female slaves, to which the woman need
not be a consenting party. The consequence is that all the inhabitants
of a region are related. We have often tried to decide the vexed
question as to whether this consanguinity exercises a good or bad
influence on the progress of the race, but it is impossible to say
more than that the evidence is inconclusive.

Some European travellers, who, like myself, have resided among the
Moï, say that marriages are forbidden between first cousins on the
mother's side. They deduce from this fact that the natives consider
the part played by the mother in the transmission of hereditary
qualities more important than that of the father.

This theory, interesting and valuable as it might be if it applied to
a race in a higher stage of development, is probably unsound with
regard to the Moï, the phenomenon on which it is based being probably
merely the effect of coincidence. There has been an increasing
tendency of late years to attribute to half-civilized races scientific
knowledge which we have only recently acquired ourselves, and to
consider certain customs and beliefs primitive merely because they are
ignorant and coarse. Both tendencies are liable to lead to error and
require careful watching. In nine cases out of ten such customs are
not inspired by any exact knowledge of physiological phenomena at all.

Only a few groups permit exogamy, that is marriages with others than
members of the clan, and even where the system persists it does not
seem to be due to any defined totemic rule.

Totemism is a semi-magical, semi-religious system which is based on
the belief in a bond of relationship between a group of human beings
and some species of animal regarded as protector, "totem." It has been
noticed that a characteristic feature of totemism is the prohibition
of marriages between men and women with the same totem and therefore
belonging to the same clan.

The Moï are a strictly monogamous people, for the very natural reason
that the males outnumber the females, and this again for the equally
natural reason that the men are hardier and more able to survive the
manifold mischances of infancy. Another contributory cause to their
moderation in the matter of wives is their financial disability to
keep more than one. But it is not a matter of principle, and a man
would not hesitate to add to his stock if a sudden windfall made it

A woman's commercial value depends on her age and social condition and
varies also in different localities. In most cases she is paid for in
instalments to her parents, for the future husband is too poor to give
the presents which constitute the purchase price, and his only
resource is to sell his labour to pay off the debt. Accordingly there
is a stage more or less prolonged during which the young man combines
wooing and the duties of maid-of-all-work in the home of his beloved.
No arrangement could be happier in this country where labour is
scarce. The real object, however, of this cohabitation on trial is to
make sure that the characters of the two young people will harmonize
and that their affections will survive continuous personal contact.
Here, as elsewhere, there are cynics who say that familiarity breeds

If the engagement is broken off the man must pay an indemnity fixed
beforehand. He pays his pig and takes his leave.

This custom is also in vogue among the Annamites, who call it "The
Son-in-Law in the making." A similar institution is found even to-day
in France, in certain villages of Haute-Savoie. The future son-in-law
comes to reside with his future wife's parents. In popular phraseology
he "makes the goat's marriage." The allusion becomes clear when we
know that in this country it is usual to lead the he-goat to the
she-goat, whereas in the case of other animals, such as bulls and
horses, the female is always taken to the male.

Returning to the question of a woman's commercial value, I made
inquiries in every province we visited, but found it seldom higher
than the equivalent of fifty francs.

The final act that seals the marriage compact is a reciprocal
scratching. While I was still in ignorance of this custom I received a
severe rebuff from a girl to whom I offered some ointment for the
scratches that disfigured her face. She refused it with scorn, for the
nail-marks with which her lover had adorned her cheeks were, in her
eyes, no other than his signature to the marriage-contract.

The rites and customs relative to betrothal and marriage vary greatly
in different parts of the country and among different groups. One
rule, however, is universal, and that is that the first step must be
taken by the man's parents, who approach those of the girl, not
without trepidation at the outset, for nothing is more humiliating
than to be rejected. Accordingly the first interview is popularly
dubbed the "Visit of the little gift of betel to the little garden

If the parents' advances are received with favour a second visit
follows and the presents are more valuable than on the first occasion,
generally including chickens, rice, and still more betel. This last
substance is considered throughout the Far East as the emblem of

The dowry is met with only among the more prosperous groups. Of course
it is the future husband who provides it, a far more reasonable
arrangement than that with which we are familiar in Europe. In this
happy land worldly considerations count for nothing; dressmakers and
fashion-plates are unknown. The most expensive jewellery is of copper,
the finest coiffures are the superb orchids which abound in the
forests. There is no need to save up for the children to come. Books
are unknown. The sons will learn to hunt, their sole education, and
the girls will be taught to spin and weave. Far from being a burden to
her husband a wife is his most valuable assistant, so it is only fair
that the husband should make some compensation to her parents for the
loss he occasions to them.

The Moï, thanks to the kindly influences of the Laotians, have a much
higher idea of the status of womanhood than their neighbours the
Annamites. The husband always takes his wife into his confidence and
consults her in all the crises of life, and the wives reward their
husbands with a very high degree of fidelity. I remember one occasion
when I offered a trifling gift to the wife of one of our coolies. She
refused it point blank with the one word "bao" ("I am married"). She
was not familiar with our gallant European manners, and regarded the
acceptance of a present from a man as the first step towards the
rupture of the marriage tie.

The penalty of adultery is renowned for its severity. There was a
woman in our camp who was feeding her new-born baby. One night I was
roused by a succession of screams, and thinking that a fire must have
broken out, I called my boy and asked him the cause of the
disturbance. He adopted a tone of lofty cynicism and told me that a
husband was thrashing his unfaithful wife. Next day the woman was
unable to go to work and the child was nowhere to be seen. It seems
that her husband had suddenly conceived doubts as to its paternity,
and, suspecting his wife of adultery with an Annamite soldier who was
in our escort, he had turned himself into an instrument of justice,
beaten her without pity and cut the baby's throat. I complained of his
conduct to the Pholy (village chief), but far from taking any
proceedings he delivered himself in these words: "My only regret is
that the betrayed husband did not kill both the adulteress and her
paramour." I learnt thereby that the Moï regard an act which may
enfeeble the race as a crime against the community and punishable with
the utmost severity. The Annamites take a similar view, for their code
provides no punishment for a husband who kills an adulterous wife and
her paramour if caught in the act. The other alternative is to arraign
them before the provincial tribunal, which usually means a sentence
of ninety strokes with the lash. In most cases this severe penalty has
fatal results, but it may always be compounded at the price of one
franc per stroke, the redemption money being paid to the husband as

Divorce is easy and can be demanded at the instance of either party or
by mutual consent. The village elders meet to hear the charges and
complaints and assess the amount of compensation. If the dissolution
of the marital tie is the wish of both, the care of the younger
children is confided to the mother, that of the elder to the father.
Divorces, however, are uncommon. The husband does not want one, for it
will be difficult to replace the partner who represents half his
capital and perhaps all his labour. The wife is equally reluctant
whatever her sorrows may be, for any change may easily be for the
worse. If she marries another she will be little more than his humble
slave. All the heavy farm and household work falls on her shoulders,
including arduous duties which in civilized countries are assigned
exclusively to men. She crushes the rice, shells the corn, attends to
the harvest and assists in clearing the brushwood. Pregnancy makes no
difference to the burden of her daily tasks except for the entirely
inadequate period essential to delivery.

If the husband's means permit she will have no objection to his taking
a companion to himself. On the contrary, the new-comer will be an
addition to the household staff to whom she will assign the largest
burdens. She knows that as first wife her position will never be
seriously challenged, and as undisputed mistress of the household she
will exercise authority over the other "wives." This unwritten law
prevails throughout the Far East. A widow has little difficulty in
remarrying, as the area of choice is extensive, owing to the numerical
superiority of the men.

I was once honoured with an invitation to a Moï wedding. It was in the
village of Lebouy where I resided for some time, and my host was no
other than the chief himself, who couched his request in the following

"My elder brother, the great Giver of Tobacco" (this being the name
under which I was popularly known), "will, I hope, do me the honour of
sharing a buffalo which I propose to offer up at the marriage of my

It would have been ungracious to decline an invitation expressed in
terms of such old-world courtesy. I exhibited my appreciation of the
honour by offering him a large glass of Madeira. He hesitated at
first, then squatted on the ground as a compliment to the excellence
of the liquor, took the glass gingerly in his hand and slowly emptied
it. The slaves who formed his bodyguard watched him with evident

The evening before the wedding the bride-elect went to the banks of
the Da-Nhim, a river which flows at a distance of a few hundred yards
from the village. All her relations formed themselves into an escort,
for it is absolutely imperative that the whole family should be
present at the kind of ritual bathe on which she was bent. The entire
company plunged into the water, and after a few seconds of merry
splashing emerged and dried in the sun.

The opening item of the next day's festivities was the slaughter of
the buffalo which is, so to speak, the foundation of the feast. The
young warriors of the village armed with lances formed a circle round
the victim and hurled their weapons in turn, until at length one
struck a vital part and the beast fell over dead. The carcase was
dragged to the foot of a pole wreathed round with bamboo-shoots, and
the amateur butchers proceeded to cut it up into strips, of which some
were reserved to be smoked at a later stage.

The nuptial ceremony proper then began and was marked by an extreme
simplicity. The Guru, or Sorcerer, placed the couple and their parents
before a row of lofty posts adorned with the horns of recently killed
buffaloes. With great solemnity he then drew his knife, seized a white
cock and cut off its head, throwing the body over his right shoulder.
The headless bird struggled for a moment, flapped its wings in a last
spasm, and finally remained motionless on its breast on the ground.
The Sorcerer spat into a copper vase, not so much to relieve his
feelings as in satisfaction, for the victim's position foretold a
numerous posterity to the young couple. He then took a cotton thread
and bound the right hand of the man to the left hand of the woman.
This act made them man and wife and was of the same force as the
exchange of rings in our own country. A rapid invocation to the
Spirits of the Hearth followed, and then the feast began.

First I was requested to take my place on a rush mat under a huge shed
built for the occasion. A number of women appeared bringing fried
locusts, spices, bitter oranges, spirits of rice and meat, almost raw
and cut into strips. The newly married couple overwhelmed each other
with attentions, filled each other's mouths with rice and accepted in
good part the food which all their friends and relations thought it
necessary to offer them. Perhaps this rite is a symbol of the
principle of mutual help which ought to actuate not merely a family
but also tribes and nations.

Meanwhile a woman was conducting an orchestra of four all but naked
boys who beat a tattoo on huge gongs. Lest this should become
monotonous a musician played a melody in the minor mode and not
without a strange haunting charm. The instrument was a large empty
gourd on which three bamboo tubes were fastened. The range of this
original organ was confined to five notes, but the tones blended
pleasantly and in spite of the dragging time the tune was anything but

[Illustration: A Sorcerer performing the Marriage Ceremony before the
Sacrificial Posts.]

[Illustration: Children scrambling over the Remains of the Wedding

We encouraged this artist with an offer of some cigarettes, and
presently he began to play for a dance, of which the principal
movements seemed to be raising the feet in turn, and striking the
ground with the heels or a stick. These operations became more rapid
and ended with a tremendous contortion of the whole body. It reminded
me forcibly of the well-known "bear dance," and is not peculiar to the
Moï, being also popular in Thibet.

Both the musician and the dancer were rewarded with the most unstinted
applause and invited to take a well-earned rest in view of the orgy
which now followed. On such an occasion the Moï regard sobriety as an
insult to the host, and indeed the charge could not have been levelled
at any of the guests then assembled. The last stage of the proceedings
was the distribution of presents, for interest can always seal the
bonds of friendship. At a given signal the husband flung lemons,
mangoes, areca nuts and other fruits among the crowd, who scrambled
for them without the least regard for order or good manners. For some
moments a free fight seemed imminent, but good humour finally
prevailed and the combatants dispersed chewing the inevitable betel
and bidding each other an inebriated farewell.

Among the Moï, as everywhere else, the birth of a child is an occasion
for rejoicing both to the family and the village. Such is the fear
that malevolent spirits will assail the mother during the critical
period that a special hut is made for her accommodation and all
strangers are forbidden to enter the village itself. This
prohibition, or "taboo," is known as "Dieng" in some regions and as
"Calam" in others. The experienced traveller will never dream of
attempting to evade it and expose himself to a summary vengeance at
the hands of the inhabitants, who are under orders to see it enforced.
Foreigners stand in no privileged position and we ourselves had
frequent occasion to bewail this absurd regulation. Imagine our rage
after a hard day's march under a tropical sun or soaked by torrential
rains when we found ourselves condemned to spend the night perched in
trees for fear of tigers, with the fires of a tabooed village burning
almost under our noses! The punishment of Tantalus was nothing to
this, and little consolation is to be derived from inveighing against
the ignorance which is the offspring of such blind superstition.

The house in which the mother-to-be is lodged is distinguished from
the others by a tuft of pompelmoose and a piece of charcoal suspended
from the roof. About the time when the happy event is to take place
all the inhabitants forgather in a special place to await the good

Even to-day in certain European countries custom forbids the husband
and family to be present during labour.

If the group is not altogether destitute, sacrifices must be offered
to conciliate the Spirits, especially if it seems likely that
complications are threatening. Of course, the villagers offer no more
than they can help. The bidding, so to speak, for divine favour
generally starts with an egg and rises if the complications continue.
The egg will be followed by a chicken, then a goat, then a pig, and
finally an ox in cases of extreme necessity.

Only the woman's nearest relations are allowed to be present at the
accouchement, for which she assumes a sitting position. As soon as
labour begins they rub her stomach from top to bottom with tiger's gut
and make her lean against the knees of a female nurse. This is not a
universal practice, for in the North, among the Tho, for example, the
woman stands supported by two cords passed under her armpits.
Immediately after the birth the child is washed and anointed with
cocoa-nut oil. The navel-string is then cut with a sharpened bamboo
and the severed end tied up with a cotton thread or a blade of long
grass. The placenta is buried either in the house itself or in some
place adjacent.

It is interesting to compare these rites with those which accompany
the same event among certain African races. Among the Bushongo of the
Belgian Congo the woman adopts a sitting position and is supported by
the knees of a midwife. The placenta is likewise buried and also, at a
later stage, the foreskin of the child, if male. In Mandeling (on the
western frontier of Sumatra) the child is first washed and then kept
in confinement in the house, the natives claiming that this procedure
secures the child against evil influences.

After delivery the Moï woman lies on a low bed and a fire is kept
burning at her side day and night, the ashes from which are left
smouldering in earthenware vases to keep the room at an even
temperature. The smoke is supposed to act as an antiseptic. All the
young woman's friends demonstrate their devotion by bringing wood for
the fire, taking care to select the dead branches of certain species
of trees. Drifting logs from a river must on no account be used. They
bring fearful convulsions and certain death to the child.

A potion composed of simples which stimulate the circulation is now
administered to the invalid and the effect is augmented by rubbing her
all over with ginger. Her first meal consists of ginger, eggs and
rice. She is allowed to drink a concoction made from the horns of a
young stag. Strange as it may sound, this beverage is a valuable
tonic, which we ourselves used at times with great effect.

Ten or fifteen days after the birth the woman resumes her usual
arduous occupations. The baby is hung on her back in a little cloth
sack, secured over her shoulders to her girdle. His feet dangle on
each side of her, and in this position he passes the days cradled by
his nurse's movements.

The child is fed at the breast until between two or three years of
age, a custom which is a great strain on the mother. To lessen this
she gives him manioc and rice, taking care to soften them in her own
mouth first. The net result is that the baby's stomach attains an
unnatural size and his digestive organs suffer.

The nursling's first meal is the occasion of a special ceremony. The
mother is not yet ready to feed him herself, so the duty falls on one
of her attendants, who takes her seat on an upturned earthenware jar.
The position of this jar is highly significant in the eyes of the Moï.
A jar so placed can hold no water. Similarly a child's stomach can
hold no food, for it empties itself as fast as it is filled.
Dyspepsia, it would appear, is unknown among this fortunate people!
After this first meal an attendant goes through the pretence of
flattening the child's head against the centre pole of the hut. This
is to ensure that the head may not become pointed later on, a physical
peculiarity which is regarded as a sign of bad character. Another
favourite superstition in these regions is that certain odd numbers
are lucky and certain even numbers unlucky. Every mother hopes to give
birth to a three or a seven. Her fear is that the birth may occur
during the last quarter of the moon. As everyone knows, this belief in
the efficacy of certain numbers is almost universal and dates from
remote times. The Hebrews and Egyptians furnish many examples, and
many more are met with among the peoples of the Far East. Thus the
Brahminic Trinity comprises three persons, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Angkor was built in seven days, as the Bible tells. The stars which
the faithful of Asia worship are seven in number.

The child is not named for the first two years of his life and is
doubtless happy enough to be called "Con-Nie," which to all intents
and purposes corresponds to our term "baby." Both the Moï and the
Annamites regard the naming of a child as a matter of great moment,
for the future depends on a fortunate choice. Nothing can be done
before the Sorcerer has been called in to consult the Spirits. This
official suggests a name, which is usually whispered into his ear by
the mother or the person who presided at the birth. The popular name
for a boy is "Squirrel," for a girl "Mouse." A large bowl filled with
rice is brought in. The Sorcerer empties it, taking out the grains two
at a time. If at the end of this operation only one grain is left at
the bottom the proceedings must be repeated until that ill-omened
result does not recur. It is not surprising, therefore, that
occasionally several days elapse before the ceremony can be continued.
The Sorcerer has an interest in the prolongation of these rites, for
throughout the whole time he is the guest of the family. If the child
dies or is attacked by one of the infantile affections so common in
this treacherous climate the mischance is attributed to the choice of
an unlucky name. The only hope is to change it at once, which involves
a repetition of the ritual rigmarole.

When the child is old enough to bear a light burden he will carry on
his back a basket, or even a younger brother, securely rolled up in a
kind of sack. Nothing could be more amusing than the solemnity with
which the youngster performs his function of dry nurse.

Among certain groups the children's hair is always kept short except
for a long wisp at the crown, which gives them a curiously old look.

Clothing is forgotten, as a rule, till the sixth year is past.
Sometimes a metal disc is hung from a cord round the waist, and a
favourite ornament is an anklet of iron with a small bell attached,
which is made and fitted by the village blacksmith. It is a badge of
servitude, for henceforth the child is devoted to the service of the
Spirits, who, in return, make him an object of their peculiar care.

During their early years the boys are active and intelligent and
readily absorb knowledge of all kinds, but as manhood approaches they
become apathetic, lazy and incapable of sustained effort. I once
undertook the experiment of training a boy to act as my servant. He
was about twelve years old, with a remarkably bright face, and very
quick and graceful in his movements. In a short time he had learnt to
read and count. His eyesight was so good that we always used him when
taking sights for our geodetical instruments. He was never happier
than when I gave him a rifle to carry during our shooting-parties.
After a year, however, his character changed completely. He became
intractable and moody, and fiercely resented any criticism. We were a
long way from his tribe and he could not return home except through a
forest infested with tigers. The prospect of a long and dangerous
journey seemed to have no terrors for him. He begged me to let him go,
and jumped with joy when I gave my permission. In a twinkling he was
out of his European clothes and had donned the old loin-cloth, which
he had preserved with the greatest care as a mark of race. He bowed
three times, took up his basket and disappeared with every expression
of jubilation. His obvious glee was some consolation for the annoyance
his departure caused me, for I had set my heart on softening his
savage nature and winning his affection. It was with real regret that
I confessed myself beaten. On the other side of the account must be
placed the feat of Madame Cunhac, the wife of one of our governors,
who successfully brought up a Moï girl. The child grew to have an
unshaken belief in her mistress and followed her about like a faithful
dog, showing her affection and gratitude on every possible occasion,
nor could she be induced to return to her village by threats or

A child receives nothing that can be dignified with the name of
education. His incessant occupation consists of playing all day with
his little companions. Many of the games played are extremely
interesting and we spent many an hour in the evening watching them.
Perhaps the favourite is a game they call "The Pig-Snatcher," in which
there are three principal _dramatis personæ_, the Snatcher, the
Shopkeeper and the Pig. The greatest competition is for the position
of the two former, so the candidates are subjected to a preliminary
trial. They all take turns at catching a twig on a long pole and
balancing it, and the two most expert are rewarded with the rôles of
Shopkeeper and Snatcher respectively. The next plays the part of the
Pig, which consists of saying nothing, but grunting vigorously at

The unsuccessful candidates join hands and make a ring round the lucky

The Snatcher now approaches with slow steps and interrogates the
Shopkeeper as follows:

"Hello, maternal aunt! Please give me some fire."

"O elderly brother, the fire is under the ashes."

"Well, then, give me a gourd of water."

"The water is at the bottom of the well."

"Then give me a guava."

"The guava is still on the tree."

Feigning dismay at these repeated rebuffs the Snatcher takes a few
steps backwards and suddenly stops, for the Pig, in the person of a
small urchin of barely five years old, gives forth a timid grunt.

"What is the animal I hear in your stable?"

"It is a spotted pig."

"What kind of spots has it?"

"Red on its paws and white on its tail. It has every perfection, and
the less I feed it the fatter it gets."

"Really! Will you take a Mat for it?" (A Mat is a piece of iron which
is used for exchange and worth about a penny.)

"No, it is not for sale."

The dialogue continues, the Snatcher increasing his offer up to a set
of gongs, but the Shopkeeper is not to be tempted. At length the
Snatcher is weary and pretends to leave the shop. The game seems to be
over, but the children enjoy it too much to allow it to be cut short;
so there is a general burst of laughter when the Shopkeeper in her
most wheedling voice recalls the customer before he has proceeded very

"Here, Pig-Snatcher, come in! I have changed my mind and I will sell
it to you for a broken cup."

The Snatcher, delighted at this unexpected turn of events, hastens to
secure his prize, but is prevented from moving out of the circle
formed by the children. He clasps a girl of about twelve who
represents one of the doors of the house and shakes her by the

"What is this door made of?" he asks.

"It is of ironwood," replies the Shopkeeper. Burglary in that quarter
is doomed to failure, he thinks, and finds a younger girl.

"Of what wood is this one?"


"Still too strong. What of this third?"

"It is made of rotten fibres," the Shopkeeper cries.

On that the encircling chain snaps suddenly. The Snatcher, who is no
other than the Tiger in human form, darts at the Pig. Despairing
squeals. A savage roar. The village dogs appear upon the scene, and
amid peals of merry laughter the game comes to an end.

                              CHAPTER IV

                             SOCIAL LIFE

     Property--Slavery--Utilitarian morals--A bashful race--The
     Levirate--Law and custom--An amateur arbitrator--Principles and
     practice of the Ordeal.

The Moï who inhabit the more northerly portion of this country have
largely fallen under the domination of their neighbours the Laotians.
In the south, however, in spite of their proximity to the warlike and
powerful Annamites, the Moï have, to a large degree, resisted
absorption and preserved their independence. Consequently their
immemorial institutions have survived the chances and changes of the
centuries without appreciable modification.

The unit of administration is the village, which forms a kind of
anarchical republic with a nominal chief who is elected. As a general
rule these shadow potentates are chosen either for their physical
prowess or reputed moral superiority. The Chief's powers are not
transferable and lapse on his death.

It sometimes happens that several villages of the same region are
united by community of interests or family alliances. The union is
then cemented by the formation of a league with a view to defence
against common enemies. From such associations for mutual insurance
the tribe takes its origin. In many cases one of the first signs that
this new organization has become a social or political entity is the
appearance of an obligation on its members to intermarry.

It is well known that in the primitive ages of the Aryan races the
tribesmen were not only shepherds rather than warriors but also
essentially nomadic in habit. It was in the character of
owners-in-common that they held the land on which they pastured their
flocks. Later, when they began to settle in defined localities to till
the soil, the ownership of property ceased to be collective. As
population and the area under cultivation increased, private property
appeared at first as the right of the family and finally as the right
of the individual.

Even to-day, however, we see traces of such primitive collectivism in
the "Mir" of Russia, the "Dessa" of Java, and the "Zadruga" of
Bulgaria. The peculiarity of the Moï is that they exhibit the three
forms of ownership, collective, family, and individual, in

Evidence of the communistic basis of their proprietary system is
plentiful and cumulative. The whole group takes part in the
acquisition and development of a tract of land sufficient to satisfy
all their needs. The trophies of war, the spoils of the chase and the
harvests are divided equally among those entitled to them. Inequality
of distribution is almost unknown. The Chief reserves a portion in
addition to his own to offer as a sacrifice to the Spirits or to
dispense in hospitality to strangers.

There is equally strong evidence of the system of family ownership of
property. Every family has its private residence and household
implements. This economic dispensation accounts for differences of
wealth and station among members of the same communal group. For
example a family in which there are many grown-up girls will become
rich on the proceeds of their skill in weaving, pot-making, and other
spheres of activity.

The individual ownership of property seems to be confined to
jewellery, pipes, weapons, and similar objects which any man can make
for himself. Further, any member of the group is entitled to do what
he likes with the portion of food distributed to him. In most cases if
he does not consume it himself he will lend it to some less thrifty
neighbour who finds his store exhausted. If the day for repayment
comes round and the liability is not discharged, the borrower, his
wife and children, become the absolute property of the lender whose
sole obligation is to support them. The debtor thus becomes a slave,
or rather, to speak more accurately, a servant for life. It is not at
all unusual in times of great scarcity for the Moï to sell both
themselves and their families when faced with the prospect of
starvation. These facts are well known to our Government, which is
powerless to prevent such evils so long as the imperfect means of
communication prevent the easy transport of food supplies from a
fertile region to a famine-stricken province.

Trading in slaves is prohibited, but there is no doubt that it goes on
in secret.

In principle the debtor-slave can procure his own redemption by his
own labour. But the value of that labour is calculated by the master
and at so ridiculous a figure that in practice hardly any slave earns
his freedom before his death. The annual value of the labour of a
strong man is reckoned at about five francs more than the cost of his
support. Further, if a slave does not satisfy his master he may be
resold at a price which represents an increase of twenty-five per
cent. on the original debt.

The system may truly be described as in every sense an exploitation of
human misery. At the current rate of calculation it may take several
generations of sufferers to pay off the first debt.

In theory there is another mode of redemption. On his master's death a
slave can recover his liberty by sacrificing a buffalo and placing a
small portion of the flesh in the mouth of the deceased. The mere idea
of a debtor-slave having the means to buy a buffalo is one to provoke
bitter mirth!

[Illustration: A Little Kha (Slave Girl).]

[Illustration: Our Native Prisoners.]

[Illustration: The Village Musician serenading a Young Couple about to
be married.]

Any reform should aim at an equitable calculation of the value of the
services rendered and the rate of interest should be drastically
revised. This rate, which is extremely exorbitant, soon trebles and
even quadruples the amount of the original debt. It is to be noted,
however, that a slave shares in the family life, is consulted in any
crisis that may arise, and, if a woman, may inherit. Cruelty and
ill-usage are rare, and even where they exist there is some safeguard
in the slave's right of appeal to the village Elders.

A female slave is protected against any abuse of authority by her
master. If he violates her she is freed at once by the act.

In Babylon the law was equally favourable to slaves and even went so
far as to permit them to contract independently of their masters under
the ingenious system of _peculium_. It was also quite usual for anyone
to escape from an embarrassing financial position by entering on a
kind of voluntary servitude which could be terminated in time by
payment of a sum for redemption out of the earnings of the service.
Further, it was enacted by Hammurabi's code, two thousand years before
the Christian era, that a creditor, after three years, must set free
the wife or daughter of his debtor if he had accepted them as sureties
for the debt.

The laws of the Hebrews likewise permitted an insolvent debtor to sell
himself and his family into bondage to extinguish a debt. A peculiar
feature in this case was the debtor's right to sell his wife or
daughters and himself retain his liberty.

The laws of the Annamites forbid this same transaction, but there is
no doubt that it frequently takes place. Custom in these matters is
of far more force than the law, and the actual nature of the contract
is concealed under various disguises.

The Chinese code contains a special provision relating to "The letting
on hire of wives or daughters."

Another force working to the same end is the fact that in countries in
which individualistic ownership of land prevails, and where labour is
scarce the owner stops at nothing to increase the number of hands on
his estate. This necessity is the mother of all manner of abuses, to
which the weakest naturally fall victims.

The Sorcerers, for example, impose the most exorbitant fines on those
who have failed to carry out the least detail of the rites. A penalty
thus inflicted constitutes the delinquent to all intents and purposes
a slave of the offended Spirit. He has to place himself at the
disposal of the Sorcerer, the representative of the deity. Another
species of slavery is created by the capture of prisoners of war.
There are no provisions in law or custom for their redemption or
liberation except by way of exchange. Otherwise the servitude is
deemed perpetual.

The independent Moï have recourse to a raid on their neighbours, the
Annamites, when their stock of slaves falls low. The prisoner of war
is considered as belonging to an inferior order of creation with no
status and few rights. A woman may not marry and neither male nor
female may inherit; but the law contemplates the case of a free woman
marrying a male prisoner of war. The father and the male children
become the slaves of the woman. Female children are freed. If the
children are all boys or all girls they are divided and one half
become the slaves of the other.

In short, although less cruel and inhuman than wholesale slaughter,
slavery is one of the most blighting institutions in these barbarous
regions. The Moï prefer the milder to the more drastic treatment, not
from any motives of altruism but solely from considerations of
self-interest. The death of an individual for religious disobedience
or even the commission of a crime profits no one, but material
benefits accrue both to the private citizen and to the state from the
fine imposed or the services exacted as punishment. The most
superficial investigation reveals the essential utilitarianism of the
conception of justice which obtains among the Moï.

No less utilitarian is their conception of morality. They never ask
whether an act is good or bad in itself, for abstract standards of
right and wrong are unknown to them. They merely ask whether the act
is prejudicial to private or public well-being. It follows from this
that crimes against the individual are punished far less severely than
crimes against the state, and further that the most serious offences
are those which touch material prosperity and enjoyment. A theft of
rice from the public granary is punished by enslavement, for rice is
the staple food and an indispensable necessity to the whole group.
The same theft from a private individual is regarded only as a minor
offence punishable summarily by fine. In this case Society does not
suffer, or at least only indirectly and to an imperceptible degree.

In the same way a murderer receives no punishment if his act is one of
vengeance for a similar crime. He is exacting the price of blood, and
the blood-feud is recognized and approved. It is highly meritorious to
kill a foreigner or a public enemy, and the slayer becomes _ipso
facto_ a popular hero.

This conception of morality is the production of tradition and has
been influenced in various ways by the jurisdiction of the Sorcerers
over a number of offences, especially those relating to sex and

It has long been popularly supposed that races in a rudimentary stage
of civilization enjoy absolute immunity from regulation in the matter
of sexual relations. Nothing could be further from the truth, the
evidence all pointing the other way. Indeed, paradoxical as it may
seem, it is none the less true that sexual relations of primitive
peoples are more restricted, more bound round by various
interdictions, than those of peoples which have reached a higher stage
of development. It is plain that we have often confused complete
sexual licence with the exercise of perfectly limited and defined
rights which are only permitted during certain public festivals. It is
only necessary in this connection to remind ourselves of the
Saturnalia in Rome.

The same error appears in the popular attitude towards polyandry,
which is frequently attributed to the moral abandonment of the women.
In reality the system is no less organized and regulated than that of
polygamy. Further, all educated travellers who have lived long enough
among primitive races to attain some degree of intimacy have expressed
surprise at their reticence in speaking of these matters. They display
the most marked repugnance to give any information about their women,
and if pressed to answer questions, take refuge in evasion or refuse
to continue the conversation.

It is only after years spent amongst them, and, after winning their
confidence, mainly by medical services, that a European can penetrate
at all into that region of mystery from which he is jealously

Some of the following observations are the result of personal
investigation. Others are made on the authority of several of my
countrymen with the experience of a long residence in the country
behind them, while others again are founded on information supplied by
the natives which I have myself verified. Some of my remarks apply
only to a tribe or a particular region, but in many cases they hold
good of the whole group, and even of a wider circle, for it must never
be forgotten that resemblances are encountered everywhere between the
customs of these folk and those, not only of other peoples of the Far
East, but also of the semi-savages of Africa and Polynesia.

I have had occasion to speak before of the custom, practised by
several of the Moï tribes, of killing the firstborn if no one comes
forward to claim the paternity. Thanks to this convenient institution,
it is quite usual for a young girl to become a mother solely to prove
her fertility.

We find this same custom among the Bohindu of the Belgian Congo, where
the girls indulge in promiscuous prostitution until conception takes
place. This event guarantees them a husband, for sterility is a ground
for divorce, and the man looks upon fertility as the highest virtue in
a woman. Thus, calculated prostitution, if I may use the phrase, is
not regarded with disfavour by some primitive peoples. Where the
motive is other than the desire for maternity it is regarded merely as
mental aberration or weakness of mind. If a woman gives herself
without love, she is not a criminal but an idiot. The same attitude is
displayed by the Abahua of the Belgian Congo. Each time that we made
the acquaintance of a Moï tribe the Chief was careful to demonstrate
his hospitality by the offer of some female slaves instructed to put
themselves at our disposal. It seems that this act of courtesy is
invariably extended to strangers of their own race, and consequently
their astonishment was all the greater when we declined the honour.

This magnanimous custom is also found among several of the races which
inhabit equatorial Africa, notably the Medgé and the Mangbetù.

Incestuous relationships are by no means uncommon among the Moï. I
once spent several months in the village of Lebouy, where the chief
was the father of his daughter's children. Nor was any exception taken
to his action, which was regarded merely as the exercise of a right
which immemorial precedent had sanctioned.

These incestuous connections are by no means confined to the eastern
archipelago, but are constantly met with in Africa also. I need only
mention the Avura-Gura of the Congo as an example. It is a mere matter
of history that incest was practised and recognized by the royal
family in ancient Egypt. The most usual instance was a union between
sisters and brothers. The object, of course, was to ensure that the
royal blood should be transmitted from generation to generation
without any admixture of alien strains, and thus preserve its identity
with its true and first origin the union of a god and some creature,
such as the hawk or gryphon. The example of the princes soon found
imitators among their subjects, and after being confined to the
nobility and ruling classes, it spread among all orders of society. We
possess an accumulation of proof, which places the matter beyond
doubt, in the documents and inscriptions which archæological research
has brought to light.

By way of contrast, a custom obtains among certain groups in
Indo-China (though almost unknown elsewhere), especially the Man Coc,
and Man Pa Tong, which formally prohibits intercourse between a woman
and her father-in-law or uncles, and likewise between a man and his
mother-in-law, his aunts, or his sisters-in-law. I shall have occasion
further on to investigate this peculiar veto which is enforced by
certain African tribes also.

The Levirate (from "Levir," a brother-in-law, in Sanscrit _dêvar_) is
also found operating as a stringent injunction.

This, as everyone knows, takes its name from that law of Moses which
commanded a brother-in-law to marry his deceased brother's widow (in
cases where there had been no issue) in order to provide an heir to
the family and to perpetuate his name. It was a species of "adoption
beyond the tomb."

In the same way, there are laws among certain of the Moï tribes, such
as the Radé, by which a widow is compelled to remarry with some member
of her husband's family. Various reasons are assigned for this
injunction, but primarily it is dictated by a desire to secure the
inheritance to the family of the deceased.

I was told of several cases of bestiality which seemed to me, even if
proved, to present no features worthy of comment. Sexual perversions
of this character are not confined to any one country nor any one
period, and it is sufficient to remark that nearly every race has
legends of gods changing themselves into animals with the aim of
uniting themselves with mortals. These fables are not mere fictions of
a poet's brain but reminiscences of a distant period when Egyptians
and Greeks worshipped animal-gods whom superstition had endowed with
mortal offspring.

One fact which I was able to prove to my own satisfaction was the
dietary regulations to which pregnant women are subjected. Among the
prohibited foods at that period figures the flesh of all male animals
which have not been castrated. Here, without doubt, is an analogy with
the law of the Man-Coc that no sexual intercourse may take place after
the third month of pregnancy. In particular, the mother-to-be must
abstain from fat and green vegetables. She may undertake no kind of
work, not even the most trivial of household duties.

Like other races with a low degree of civilization, the Moï attribute
to physical excess of all kinds a loss of force which puts an
individual at a disadvantage in his contest with the powers of the
earth or the air. On this belief are based the rules which prescribe
the preparations of one who is about to face some judicial test or
ordeal. He must pass the previous night in a state of complete
abstinence, so that his moral and physical condition shall be perfect
for the trial he is to undergo. The golden rule is summed up in a
motto of the Adio of Central Africa: "No man may face the ordeal if
not pure in body and mind, sinless and unstained." It seems doubtful
whether the origin of this belief is religious or experimental. We
know that it flourished among the Egyptians from an early period.

It is impossible to obtain even the most superficial understanding of
many Moï laws and institutions without investigating the peculiar
conceptions of morality on which they are based.

A Moï woman appears before the Council of the Ancients with a charge
that some man has touched her without her consent. A fine is inflicted
on the accused varying in amount with the importance of the part of
the body which he touched. If there has been complete seduction and
the seducer refuses to marry the complainant the fine is doubled.

Perhaps it is a husband who complains that his wife has committed
adultery on three different occasions with three different men. He
himself will be punished, and the sentence will be accompanied by some
withering reflections on his incompetence and complacence, hardly
flattering to his vanity. I ought to add that this curious judicial
perversion is met with only on the shores of the great lakes, where
morals are less rigid than in other parts of Indo-China.

I was told that among a few groups adultery is not considered criminal
if the woman's accomplice is a relation of her husband. The Batua of
the Congo also seem to regard this as an extenuating circumstance, but
their neighbours, the Medgé and the Mangbetù, take a precisely
opposite view and rigorously forbid brothers to seduce each other's
wives. All the Moï consider it a gross aggravation of the offence if
the seducer takes advantage of the husband's absence in war or the

I have already recorded that I was frequently prevailed on by the Moï
to act as arbitrator in their disputes. I have the gravest misgivings
that my judgments did more credit to my kindly intentions than to my
legal knowledge.

I always made a point of using all my resources to impress the
litigants with a due sense of the importance of the occasion and the
dignity of the tribunal.

A scarlet cloth is thrown over my folding table. Next the huge
blue-cotton umbrella, whose humble function is to protect our
theodolite from the sun's rays, is commandeered to shelter the
miserable packing-case which serves me for my curule chair. I don a
wide-brimmed Boer hat and my revolver-case is reverentially attached
to my belt by my boy, who is crier, clerk, and usher all in one.

To-day the case in the list is:

  "Annamite _v._ Moï."

It would be altogether a miracle if the plaintiff did not herald his
appearance with a present of some kind, in this case chickens, eggs
and bananas. He is convulsed with astonishment when, incorruptible, I
reject his bribes. His ordinary judges, the Mandarins, have other and
better manners. They have not prepared him for such a rebuff.

The Moï, on the other hand, has brought nothing with which to seek my
favour. Perhaps he is too poor or perhaps he has already sufficient
faith in my impartiality.

The case opens with a recital of the facts in issue.

The Annamite tells his story first.

He bows three times, kisses the ground and remains on his knees
throughout the hearing in accordance with the procedure prescribed for
the plaintiff.

     "I am a dealer in pigs," he tells me, "and I was bringing four
     of them to market in the hills.

     "While passing through this Moï village the heat and my
     weariness compelled me to break my journey; so I sought out the
     Pholy with a request for hospitality and the shelter of my pigs
     in his sty. You may imagine my amazement when, on resuming my
     journey, I discovered that my fine animals, all more than two
     years old, were nowhere to be seen and had been replaced by
     four miserable creatures which are hardly six weeks old.

     "I demand therefore that the great soldier Mandarin shall
     restore to me what is my own."

Questioned in turn, the defendant swears by the Spirit of the Hearth
that the plaintiff's story is a mere tissue of lies. His version is
that the Annamite took advantage of the previous night to steal some
of his young pigs which had got loose in the neighbourhood, and that,
failing to procure sufficient food for them, he had attempted to
exchange them legally for animals of greater value.

Under these perplexing circumstances I find Solomon's mantle weighing
heavily upon me.

Suddenly an inspiration comes to me, doubtless a gift from the Spirit
of the Hearth.

If the animals have really been stolen from the village they will
surely be able to return to their homes by themselves. They have
fasted since the morning and it will be strange if their empty
stomachs cannot spur their memories to something more than normal

Accordingly with the becoming solemnity of a just and wise judge, I
order the plaintiff to drive the four animals in dispute before him
through every street in the village. The procession forms up, the
Tribunal, strangely nervous as to the result of its experiment,
bringing up the rear.

The Annamite assumes a swaggering air and brandishes his whip like a
man sure of his facts, but a significant contraction of his eyebrows
gives me the impression that he is not wholeheartedly in agreement
with my plan. Sure enough, before the troupe has progressed more than
a few hundred yards, one of the pigs hesitates, sniffs suspiciously,
and wags its tail, then, uttering a vigorous grunt, dashes into a
stable with a certitude that leaves no doubt of its familiarity.

A few steps farther on a second animal repeats the comedy, with the
same features of hesitation, recognition, and precipitation. The
Annamite thrashes the air with his whip and swears by Buddha that he
is the victim of a pernicious conspiracy. All in vain. Soon all the
pigs have recovered their native haunts and there is nothing left for
him to drive. The Ministry of Justice has an easy task in constructing
a case against him and the impudent rascal is unanimously convicted of
theft, aggravated by abuse of hospitality. He thinks himself lucky to
escape with the loss of one of his gold rings as a fine and
compensation to the Head of the village.

I wonder if I was right?

Happily for my reputation as judge, this _cause célèbre_ was
positively my last appearance in the rôle. A few days afterwards I was
a spectator, by official invitation and on the principle of
reciprocity, at one of the native trials.

No luxurious court-house, no gilt and trappings here! The Pholy,
following the example of St. Louis, administers justice beneath a
sacred fig-tree--the most majestic object conceivable--beneath whose
all-embracing branches a concourse, vaster than any that throngs our
courts at a sensational trial, could find shelter. The chiefs surround
their President and form a truly imposing tribunal. The Sorcerer, too,
is there, and he will play the chief part to-day.

Some cattle have been stolen a week or so ago and every man suspects
his neighbour of the crime. The real malefactor, however, is known
only to the Spirits, and they alone can expose him. As their cares and
interests are too multifarious to permit them to appear in person on
the earth, our Sorcerer declares that they have assigned to him their
powers and functions for the occasion. To-day he will be their
mouthpiece. He takes an egg lightly between his thumb and first
finger, pressing the ends with two other fingers. At his request a
young assistant proclaims in a wailing voice the names of all the
neighbouring lands. He cannot believe, he tells us, that a fellow
countryman should be guilty of so dastardly an outrage. But the
recital is over and the egg has not trembled. There is nothing left
but to call out the name of his own village. Alas! No sooner are the
words uttered than an ominous crack is heard and a sticky yellow fluid
issues from the shell, now broken in two. Recourse must now be had to
the evidence. The circle of inquiry is narrowed and it only remains to
discover the guilty individual.

The first experiment has proved far too successful to be discarded in
favour of any innovation. An egg, balanced in the same way as before,
will be the sole cost of the continued investigation. The same
unsophisticated youth now proceeds to recite the names of all the
inhabitants of the village. In most cases he designates them by their
nicknames. The "Squirrel," the "Pagoda Cock" and the "Marabout" are at
present white as snow. They all appear to heave an immense sigh of
relief as their names are called out without any sign of expostulation
from the egg. It is plain that their belief in the justice of the
Spirits is far from profound. They lose no time in vanishing from the

Suddenly, just as the youthful voice proclaims "The Scorpion," the egg
unmistakably collapses. The malefactor thus indicated is a
broken-down old man, an object more of sympathy than of suspicion. His
rickety frame is supported with considerable difficulty by his legs,
which are swollen to an unnatural degree by gout. But the eye of the
Spirits is piercing, their justice unfailing. No escape for the guilty
is possible. However, as the accused protests his innocence with all
the emphasis at his command, the Pholy condescends to allow him to
prove it by submitting to the ordeal prescribed by the Gods. Two
alternatives are offered to him, the ordeal by water and that by
boiling resin, in which an innocent man may plunge his hand and
withdraw it unharmed.

"The Scorpion" is not slow to choose the former. The divine instrument
of trial is near at hand in the shape of a river which flows within a
short distance of the sacred judgment tree. While the preparations for
the ordeal are going forward, the accused asks for permission to make
a preliminary statement. If he can associate an accomplice with him in
the crime it will doubtless mitigate his punishment. Accordingly he
formally names another villager as his partner in transgression. The
alleged partner's vigorous denials are followed by immediate arrest.
The question now is as to the respective degrees of guilt, a point
which the river will ultimately settle. Two stakes are driven into the
middle of the stream at a point where the depth is about ten feet. The
unfortunate victims are conveyed by canoe to the spot and left
clinging desperately to the stakes while trying to keep their heads
under water as long as possible. The test is quite simple. The one who
loses his breath and comes up to the surface first stands convicted of
being the principal in the theft, while his larger-lunged rival is
cleared of everything save the charge of complicity.

In a few seconds the performance is over, for the unhappy "Scorpion,"
already paralysed by fear of the immersion, cannot hold his breath at
all, and bobs up to the surface immediately, half asphyxiated. The
Sorcerer, delighted at the result of his experiment, expresses his
appreciation in a series of approving gestures.

The principle of the ordeal rests on the belief, prevalent among the
great majority of half-civilized races, that the tutelary deity of any
individual withdraws his protection and assistance if his "ward" has
violated any of the fundamental principles of morality, or neglected
the rites and ceremonies enjoined by his religion.

This notion of loss of protection of a higher power may possibly be
associated with the vague idea of a conscience. It is certainly one of
the most curious conceptions which research into the science of
divination has brought to our notice. The submission of a suspected
criminal to trial by ordeal is an invitation to the Spirits to give a
manifestation of their desires.

There are many forms of this species of divine interrogatory, varying
in number and character in different parts of the world. Fifty
varieties at least are met with in Africa. It is not to be believed,
however, that every ordeal is dangerous or even necessarily harmful.
Many forms are known far less cruel than those which arrest the
imagination of the traveller by virtue of their more inhuman
incidents, such as the ordeal by boiling water, molten lead, or poison
dropped into the eyes.

Thus, among the Moï, a favourite ordeal is to compel the accused to
drink an excessive quantity of water or alcohol resulting in temporary
discomfort without danger or permanent injury.

In Africa cases are known where an ordeal is carried through without
the suspected criminal knowing of it. For example, it has been
considered sufficient to observe the direction in which the smoke of a
chimney is blown, or to set a trap in some place known to be
frequented by rats. The innocence or guilt of the accused will be
determined according to whether a rat is caught or not.

To judge by the enormous quantity of spirits consumed by the Moï I
should have said that this form of ordeal was the most frequent
incident of daily life. My flask of ammonia was in perpetual
requisition after I had, in an evil moment, revealed to them the
peculiar property of ammonia gas, which dissipates the fumes of

Perhaps I am doing my friends an injustice. Perhaps there was a more
edifying explanation of the run on my flask. May it not be that it
furnished a magic potion to some lover of the "bottle" with which to
renew his stock of dreams?

A psychologist friend of mine once said that man cannot do without his

The Moï is no exception. He, too, needs an artificial paradise and
finds it in the bottle. He drinks to see life rosy!

                              CHAPTER V

                     RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND RITES

     Similarity between the philosophical conceptions of uncivilized
     races--Most of the ritual derived from magic--Dualism--Private
     and public talismans--The Pi--The Legend of the
     Dog-King--Totemism--Sorcery--Rebel Moï.

A study of the general history of mankind reveals many striking
resemblances between the crude ideas which pass for philosophical
conceptions among nations in their infancy.

Whether the Moï is considered as an undeveloped or a degenerate being
(and the consideration will be determined by the school of thought to
which the inquirer adheres) it is beyond dispute that he must be
classed among the half-civilized portion of mankind, if only because
his ideas of the supernatural are those which the brain of the savage
has evolved at all times and in all places. Unlike the civilized
races, he has never been able to distinguish the natural from the
supernatural. He still believes that the world is controlled by
invisible forces set in motion by Spirits constituted like himself,
susceptible to emotions and passions like his own, and ready to shape
their actions at the dictates of humour or caprice.

This belief is the foundation of the multifarious rites which
accompany the most trivial daily act of the group which we are now

Since the invisible Beings who thus direct and sway the fortunes of
men are susceptible of love, pity, and even, it seems, of fear, it is
both possible and advisable to appeal to these emotions to secure
their assistance, or, at least, their neutrality.

It will readily be accepted that experience of life does little or
nothing to shake this belief in the perpetual intervention of the
supernatural, for naturally it is seldom that the desired event does
not follow, sooner or later, the particular ceremony in which that
desire finds expression.

For example, a great sacrifice is celebrated to secure a cessation of
drought. Even if there is no rain for several weeks afterwards, it
will still be regarded as an answer to supplication.

The Moï is still in utter ignorance of the connection between cause
and effect, largely because he has only the most elementary notions of
time and space.

It is an almost universal rule that from the earliest times religion
grew out of a belief in magic. Indeed it is worthy of remark at this
point that most of the customs and traditions found among civilized
races are in essence forms of ancient magical rites which have been
adapted to changing conditions.

The most recent investigations by the most eminent ethnologists
confirm the view that a great number of ritualistic ceremonies are
founded on the principles of imitative or sympathetic magic. This fact
must be kept in mind.

Imitative magic is based on a belief which obtains general currency
that the effect resembles the cause which produces it. The rudimentary
intelligence of the savage infers from this that it is possible to
bring about the commission of some act merely by imitating it.

Suppose a Moï desires success in the chase. Before starting on his
expedition he will prick himself with one of his arrows, or else he
will go through a series of contortions resembling the struggles of an
animal caught in his net. He never doubts for a moment that by
imitating his action, his prey will become an easy victim to his

"Sympathetic" magic is based on another equally prevalent belief that
objects which have once been in contact will continue to influence
each other after the contact has ceased and that such continuance of
influence remains unaffected either by time or distance.


  _From "Les Tribes Moï"_]      [_By Henri Maître._

A Hut of Propitiation containing Offerings to the Gods.]


  _From "Les Tribes Moï"_]      [_By Henri Maître._

Tombs fenced with Bamboo and decorated with Elephants' Tusks.]


  _Photo by_]      [_A. Cabaton._

Woven Bamboo Baskets used to carry Offerings to the Priests.]

It follows as a logical conclusion from this belief that all that is
necessary to obtain or maintain influence over any person or object is
to get possession of some part of that person or object. Accordingly
the Sorcerer's first task is to secure some portion of his intended
victim, a few hairs, perhaps, or some blood, or a piece of nail. By
tormenting the image he will inflict the same sufferings on the
original. In the same way a rejected lover will dress a burnt-clay
figure in a fragment of the robe of his mistress and by supplications
addressed to her representative seek to turn her hard heart towards

Thanks to the new light thrown on these fundamental principles by the
untiring efforts of Frazer, van Gennep and other eminent ethnologists,
analysis of the better known beliefs of the Moï has become both
practicable and intelligible. We can at any rate distinguish their
salient characteristics.

As the Spirits are susceptible to human passions their natural
inclination is to be malevolent towards man, for passions excite to
ill-will and ill-doing rather than to benevolence. To counteract this
baneful tendency it is highly desirable to incite the supernatural
powers to turn their anger upon one another, and this is the more easy
of accomplishment because they are numerous, jealous, and have each
their particular domain.

To this origin must we assign the idea of provoking a supernatural
conflict--dualism--which inspires the accomplishment of certain rites.

Further, it is impossible to secure either the assistance or even the
neutrality of the superior powers without a talisman. The Sorcerer
supplies these indispensable instruments, of which he enjoys the
monopoly. Their nature and appearance vary with the object which their
wearer has in view. If a native fears the attack of some particular
animal his talisman will be some part of the object of his fears. The
teeth of wild animals, the claws of tigers, the tongues of serpents,
figure frequently among the talismans of those who fear an encounter
with these formidable enemies. As a rule they are enclosed in a small
wallet and suspended round the neck.

In a sense this is as natural an instinct as that which prompts
savages of all races to make a protective amulet of the object of
their fears, for, by an analogous association of ideas, they have
frequently found the remedy in the apprehended evil itself. Anyone who
has lived in the bush knows that immunity from the ill effects of a
scorpion's bite can be obtained by injecting under the skin a paste
made from the tails of those venomous creatures.

Some of these talismans are valueless to all save their original
owner, and sometimes even to him only so long as he remains attached
to his tribe and village. They are, so to speak, personal and not

On the other hand there are what I may call "collective" talismans
endowed with powers to protect a family, a community, or even a whole
tribe. They are displayed in some prominent position, hung on the
door-post, a sacred tree, the mast of a canoe, or the palisade of a

Others are endowed with medicinal properties and are alleged to cure
fevers and dysentery. Our portable chemist's shop was regarded as a
very sacred grove of the Spirits of Healing. These august deities
consented to appear in the form of a white powder (quinine) or of
fire-water (tincture of iodine) to allay human ills. A bottle of
chlorodyne which I used frequently in the many cases of dysentery and
cholera was elevated to the rank of a deity.

I must confess also that there were many occasions on which I took
advantage of their credulity in these matters. There were times when
my request for food and lodging for our party met with hesitation and
even point-blank refusal. In such circumstances a simple threat to
grind them all to powder produced a prompt compliance with our wishes.

The Moï apply the generic term of "Pi" to all the occult powers whose
intervention in human affairs is a matter of daily terror. The word
"Pi" roughly denotes the idea of supernatural action. It corresponds
to the "Orenda" of the Iroquois and the "Mana" of the savage tribes of

The Spirits who claim sway over the region of the forest-clad
mountains are both numerous and quarrelsome. Those whose intentions
towards men are known to be beneficent are neglected while worship and
sacrifice are concentrated on the propitiation of the malevolent ones.

The "Chicken-Devil" is an object of the greatest terror to women.
Legend relates that once upon a time he was imprisoned within the body
of an ogress by whose murder he was restored to liberty.

The malevolent disposition of this Spirit is displayed by his habit of
poisoning the breath of all the women who cross his path. A woman
thus contaminated poisons every particle of food with which she comes
in contact.

No less dangerous are the Spirits which have been liberated from
bondage by the violent death or suicide of their masters. Woe betide
the traveller who encounters them on his journey. If his escort be not
large and his weapons of the latest pattern he will go to swell the
already lengthy list of victims of the powers of evil.

Farther on lurks a fresh horror.

The road is long, the sun overpowering, the earth a burning carpet.
Suddenly a tree offers welcome rest and shelter to the weary
traveller. He loses no time in seeking its grateful shade and,
selecting a suitable branch for a fly-swish, prepares to cut it with
his knife.

Heaven help him if he carries out his intention. The tree is haunted
by the spirit of a chief slain in war. It will snatch up the
sacrilegious criminal and bear him to the great Beyond.

It is a horrible catastrophe to meet with certain Ghouls, whose method
of progression is a rolling motion like that of a barrel, and who
devour all the refuse of the roads. If a woman is with you their
vengeance will fall upon her. She will become barren and gradually rot

On moonlight nights young warriors often meet with ravishing nymphs
who beckon them to follow into the depths of the forest. The
loveliness and wiles of these mystic temptresses soon overpower the
strongest will and the young men yield to the spell and disappear in
the darkness. Soon the vision vanishes. The victims, terror-stricken,
walk round in fruitless circles until dawn. Their tormentors are
malignant spirits who assume the form of lovely nymphs solely to
gratify their cunning spite by hindering and terrorizing their

Among the numerous uncivilized groups of Indo-China it is curious that
only one offers the peculiar characteristic of possessing a totem. The
"Man" or "Yaos" believe that their first ancestor was a dog.
Accordingly, their veneration for that animal is profound, and it is
strictly forbidden to use its flesh for food.

If we are to believe one legend which at least has the sanction of
general acceptance, about 525 B.C. Pen Hung, who was at that time
ruler of the Chinese province of Su, promised his daughter's hand and
the half of his kingdom to the hero who should rid him of the
conquering marauder Cu-Hung, who was menacing his security. The
invader's reputation for valour had preceded him and was such that no
man dared cross swords with him. When all seemed lost a dog named
Phan-Hu undertook the task of destroying the enemy, and, having
succeeded in slaying Cu-Hung in mortal combat, he returned to claim
from the King the fulfilment of his promise.

The King gave his daughter to the victor, but in order to keep to
himself the more fertile portion of his kingdom, he assigned only the
uncultivated mountain-tops as the dog's share. This unfairness was
resented by the Dog-King, and to remedy it special concessions were
granted to his descendants.

The copy of a charter in which these privileges are set forth is still
preserved among what we may call the archives of the "Man." This
apocryphal document has been translated by Colonel Bonifacy of the
Colonial Infantry, who was the first to call the attention of
Europeans to its existence. On the other hand, if we are to believe
the twelfth-century historian Fan-Chi-Hu, the dog Phan-Hu was no other
than a savage who took that name and did in fact marry a princess as
the prize for a very remarkable triumph in a personal combat.

However that may be, it is incontestable that individuals are found in
every country whose excessive hairiness suggests a striking
resemblance to the dog, especially as regards the face. The Toda of
India and the Birmans have recently furnished several striking
examples of the freak which is popularly known as the "dog-faced man."
But to return to the legend, we may at least conclude that the
marriage took place at a much earlier period than that suggested.

The "Man," the issue of this union, have shown a marked tendency to
expand. From the mountain-tops which formed their original kingdom
they have penetrated into Tonkin, Annam and the region of the lakes.
They seem to have made ample use of a provision in their ancient
Charter which entitled them to set fire to any forest which impeded
their progress. They claim that this authority is still valid and
subsisting, and we had the greatest difficulty in enforcing obedience
to our forest regulations. The most interesting feature of this
ethnical group is that it shows undoubted traces of the existence of
an alliance formed in immemorial times with some species of animal.
Now the underlying idea of totemism is that of a compact between an
aggregation (family, or group) of human beings and some animal species
from which has sprung a relationship at once physical and social.

The recent controversy over the definition of totemism seems to make
it both redundant and impertinent for me to enlarge on a subject which
is still fresh in the memory of all. Nor is the matter of great
moment, for I am convinced that, with few exceptions, if the peoples
whom I am studying have any connection with these quite special
phenomena, that connection is too remote to be regarded as a basis for
any satisfactory deductions.

Besides, it is well known that competent observers have frequently
confused totemic practices with certain customs whose origin is rather
to be looked for in zoolatry or theriolatry (_thēr_, a wild beast).

Theriolatry embraces such curiosities as tiger and crocodile-worship,
while zoolatry signifies the worship of the domestic animals. It must
be admitted that when the totem of a group is a wild beast the
totemism is probably theriolatric, but it is impossible to dispute van
Gennep's statement that all theriolatry is not necessarily totemic.

Organization in groups or totemic clans is only found among races that
are just emerging from barbarism, and proof is not lacking that
several peoples in classical antiquity had passed through that stage
of progress before the period of recorded history begins.

Sorcerers, among the Moï, fall into two categories, those who are
gifted with the faculty of divination whereby the guilty can be
detected, and those whose exorcisms are confined and directed to the
healing of disease.

As a rule the Spirit himself selects the individual whom he proposes
to endow with these divine functions.

The first intimation to the happy mortal on whom the choice of Heaven
has thus fallen is a feeling of violent colic or sickness of a
peculiar kind which leaves no doubt as to its message or mission. The
sufferer suffers gladly.

It is by no means the rule that initiation is followed by an immediate
assumption of the divine functions. In most cases a prolonged interval
elapses, for a candidate who feels unequal to the rôle thus suddenly
thrust upon him will prefer exile rather than a return to the ranks of
common mortals, a set-back which would make him a public

Among the Djarai, one of the most important of the Indo-Chinese
groups, there are two sorcerers of the greatest renown, known as the
"King of Fire" and the "King of Water."

It is probable that these mythological names originally personified
the incarnation of Agni, God of Fire, and Varouna, God of Water, and
are themselves traces of Brahminism which at one time exercised
immense influence over the southern Indo-Chinese peoples and which
cannot be said to be entirely defunct to-day.

The Hindu god Agni is always represented as armed with a lance. The
"King of Fire" carries, not a lance, but a sword, to which an
extraordinary magical power is attributed. If its guardian were to
draw it merely an inch or two from its scabbard the sun would cease to
illumine the earth. If he drew it out altogether a paralysing lethargy
would settle upon his subjects.

Hardly less astonishing are the powers ascribed to the two fetishes
which are in the official keeping of the "King of Water." One is the
fruit of a creeper which shows not the slightest trace of decay though
it was plucked at the time of the Deluge. The other is a sacred rattan
which, though of immemorial antiquity, looks as fresh as on its first
day of existence. The owner of these talismans has only to utter a
word and the universe will disappear beneath the celestial cataracts.

The Cambodians and the Cham assert that these talismans formerly
belonged to their kings and were stolen from them by treachery. More
than once they have organized expeditions to recover their treasure,
but the Spirits have willed otherwise, and the Djarai have never had
any difficulty in repelling the invaders.

The predecessors of Norodom, as long as they held sway and directed
the destinies of Cambodia, brought presents each year to their
cousins, the Kings of the Savage Lands. These gifts took the form of
an elephant gorgeously caparisoned, a quantity of brass and some
superb pieces of silk destined for the sheath of the sacred sword. As
a fitting reply to this act of homage, the King of Fire condescended
to leave the imprint of his august finger on a cake of wax, which was
then sent to Pnom-Penh, and on two gourds filled with rice.

India, as well as Cambodia, is familiar with the custom of preserving
the print of the foot or hand of anyone who has become an object of
veneration. Oil of sesame figures frequently in ritual sacrifices,
especially when offered by those guilty of intemperance. It is said to
purify the worshipper and be grateful to the outraged Spirit.

Wax and corn are alleged to have a remarkably soothing effect on
Spirits with a tendency to active malevolence.

But to return to the two Potentates, it must be admitted that they
have no effective political authority, though their influence in the
sphere of religion is unchallenged.

Their residences lie at a distance of several miles from each other on
opposite sides of the watershed between the rivers of Annam and the

Their offices are hereditary and, if we are to believe the current
legend, the family are always present at the death of a pontiff to
assist his passage to the next world. This is not from any urgent
desire to succeed him but to accomplish a traditional rite. The next
step in the proceedings is remarkable. The individual on whom the
mantle of the deceased has fallen by hereditary right takes refuge in
flight. He is pursued and caught, and in spite of his repeated
refusals is compelled to continue the dynasty.

This solemn mockery, parading as a custom, is by no means confined to
the group of which I am speaking. In all lands and all periods men are
to be found who meet their appointment to places of high honour with
sincere or insincere refusals. For one case of genuine apprehension of
unfitness there are ten of mock-modesty.

In many cases, it must be admitted, the office of Chief is both
onerous and precarious. Sometimes the Chief is only the titular head
of the tribe, bound hand and foot by custom and tradition and held
responsible for all the misfortunes that overtake his country during
his reign. In these circumstances it is hardly to be wondered at that
there is some misgiving among those elected to the burdensome office.
The Princes of Loango, the Sheik of Gardaia, and the King of the Hobbé
in Central Nigeria all take to ignominious flight when their turn
comes to assume the reins of government.

In most cases, however, the refusal has become a tradition, whether
spontaneous in its origin or not. The Moslem is doing no more than to
imitate Mahomet's modest denials when the angel Gabriel came to
announce his selection as the prophet of Allah. Even in our days, how
many times have we not seen the good citizen professing his
unworthiness of a proffered honour and accepting under the pretence of
compulsion that on which his heart has long been set!

We have an interesting account of a visit to the "King of Fire" from
the lips of Commandant Cupet of the Pavie mission. The Potentate put
every conceivable obstacle in the way of the expedition and spared no
pains to make their residence in the country as uncomfortable as
possible. Having surmounted these obstacles, however, the explorers
were faced with a flat refusal to allow them to depart. The situation
was becoming extremely strained when a happy accident relieved it. The
Pontiff chanced to see a compass, and was so impressed by the
movements of the magnetic needle, which he attributed to some magic
power, that he withdrew his opposition and allowed the expedition to
proceed unmolested.

Tragically otherwise was the experience of my friend Prosper Odend'
Hal, Director of the Indo-Chinese Civil Service, during the
archæological and ethnographical mission of 1904.

Some days before the departure of his expedition under the auspices of
the French School in the Far East, he came to ask me if I would lend
him my Moï vocabularies, which he wished to complete during the
journey. In the course of our conversation he told me of his
intention to dispense with an escort other than an interpreter and a
few boys, with a view to facilitating movement and saving time. I had
already had sufficient experience of the insecurity of the regions he
proposed to explore to know the danger of such a course, and I
exhausted every argument to turn him from his purpose. The country was
far from pacified and the guerilla warfare which detached bodies of
the Moï carried on against us seemed likely at any moment to break out
in open conflict. Nothing appeared to me more foolhardy than to go
among them defenceless at a time when force was the only argument they
could appreciate. Unhappily Odend' Hal remained firm in his conviction
that a mark of confidence would fire their imaginations and touch
their hearts. He professed a high regard for these unregenerate
savages and endowed them, quite gratuitously, with all manner of

This blind confidence was the cause of his undoing. He started from
Phan-Rang at the end of March, crossed the Annamite range, the
mountains of Langbian and the plateau of the Darlac, then penetrated
into the interior of Phuyen (Annam), the land of the "King of Fire."

It seems that from the first he had made up his mind to see the
renowned sacred sword. After much negotiation, its royal owner had
intimated his pleasure to gratify the desire and invited the explorer
to a great banquet to be given in his house.

On the seventh of April Odend' Hal attended, accompanied only by his
interpreter and unarmed, to demonstrate his confidence in the loyalty
of his host. Some hours later his servants were aroused by a report of
fire. In an isolated hut, already wrapped in flames, they found the
bodies of the two victims pierced through and through with spears.

Odend' Hal was a senior officer of the same standing as myself. He had
taken part in our earliest expeditions at the time of the conquest,
and lived more than twenty years in the country, where his kindness
and outstanding ability had won universal respect.

More than one punitive expedition had to be sent out after this
outrage, and some of them met with open and unremitting hostility from
detached bodies of the Moï. I have mentioned before that even during
the mission on which I was engaged MM. Canivey and Barbu, who were in
command of the Militia, had to organize a flying column to operate to
the north of Langbian, where we were then engaged on a topographical
survey. These two officers themselves commanded the force, which was
composed of fifty militiamen and the same number of coolies.

They left Dalat, where we had made our headquarters, and marched in
the direction of the Darlac. Within a few days they were in touch with
the rebels, who pursued the policy of retiring before their advance,
abandoning their villages and attempting to draw the column into the
forest-clad mountains, where numerous defiles offered special
advantages for guerilla warfare. Captain Canivey was not to be
deceived by such tactics, and advisedly gave the order for retreat,
leaving the subjugation of the rebels to a later occasion.

When the first stage of the return journey was almost completed the
advance-guard reported towards evening that their progress was impeded
by small bamboo stakes fixed into the ground. Rifle in hand Canivey at
once went forward, suspecting an ambush. Behind the palisade of thorny
bamboo he thought he detected several dark dots moving hither and
thither. Suddenly two arrows, then a third, struck him, and a fourth
followed. Captain Barbu, who rushed to the rescue, was received by a
shower of missiles.

The Linhs, or native soldiers, threw themselves flat on the ground and
fired volley after volley in the direction of the attack. The Moï
replied with an avalanche of arrows and javelins, but the rapidity of
our fire soon proved too much for them and, after their ranks had been
seriously depleted, they gave way and fled, leaving all but a few of
their wounded. We made prisoners of all the rebels thus left to their
fate and buried the corpses in an effective, if summary, manner.

It was long before MM. Canivey and Barbu recovered from their wounds,
but after many anxious moments their natural vitality triumphed, and
within a short time a new expedition was organized which proved a
complete success.

                              CHAPTER VI

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

     Tribal and proprietary signs--Tattooing and
     mutilation--Principles and practice of the taboo--Its survival
     in modern Europe--The incarnation of Spirits in stones, trees
     and animals--Belief in the magic powers of the tiger--Animal
     poison--Bones as a charm--A protecting ear--Ex-votos offered to
     the Spirit of the tiger--Superstitions about monkeys--Hunting

Most of the barbarous races of all countries seek to preserve their
identity and distinguish themselves from their neighbours by some
marked peculiarity either of dress, jewels and ornaments, or even by
some particular mutilation of the body.

Africa shows a wonderful variety of tribal symbols. Among the most
general of these are the elliptical or concentric marks of a red-hot
iron on the face and breast which are considered such an embellishment
by the Bangendi of the Belgian Congo. Another common form is the
artificial elongation of the breasts caused by cords or the weight of
heavy ropes of pearls. This fashion is in vogue mainly among the
Isambo of the same region. Then again it is quite usual for certain
classes to dye their hair red, shave off their eyebrows and tear out
their eye-lashes and moustaches. The most widely practised form of
mutilation, however, is that of the jaw. The Bushongo, also of the
Belgian Congo, extract the two incisors of the upper jaw, and some of
the women have the lower incisors cut in such a way as to form a
hollow in the centre.

Some of these practices are found among the Moï and more particularly
the elongation of the ears and breasts and the extraction or pointing
of the teeth. This last mutilation takes place at the age of puberty,
a fact which suggests that it forms part of the complex of rites which
mark the passing of the young from one state to another, or which
celebrate their initiation into the full status of membership of the
group. If so, it merely follows a custom which is encountered in all

Among the Moï the operation of filing lasts from ten to fifteen days.
The instrument employed is a hard stone, which is found in the bed of
certain rivers, notably the river of Phanrang. It is the subject of a
flourishing export trade to the tribes of the interior. The incisors
of the lower jaw are filed to resemble a triangle, or perhaps the
teeth of a cat, those of the upper jaw are cut in the form of a
semicircle or filed down to the level of the gums. Although this
mutilation is extremely painful, so great is the influence of
tradition that no man would dream of dispensing with it. For as the
piercing of the lobe of the ear devotes a woman to perpetual
spinsterhood, so the neglect to be filed deprives a man of the right
to found a family.

In Australia the young men submit to the extraction of several of
their teeth at the moment of initiation. Sometimes the teeth thus
removed are hidden under the bark of a tree unknown to their late
owner. If he dies the tree is dried by fire and becomes a monument to
perpetuate the memory of the deceased. This is a striking example of
sympathetic magic, of which I have spoken before.

In Africa the village blacksmith is the appointed minister to perform
the rite of dressing the teeth. He places a small iron ring against
the tooth and strikes it with a light hammer. It would be natural to
suppose that this process would be even more painful than the filing.
What matter! In the eyes of the savage the suffering involved is the
most meritorious part of the operation. Our coolies could hardly
contain their indignation at the suggestion that an anæsthetic should
first be administered. Painless filing would be a stigma to man, an
outrage to Heaven!

In Africa the practice is extended to women as well as men in several
groups, though only after marriage, but in Indo-China I never met any
women who had undergone the treatment.

It is well known that mutilations of this kind are not the only badge
of race which distinguishes one group from another, for it seems plain
that tattooing also originated in a desire to serve the same purpose.

The islanders of Timor employ hereditary marks tattooed on the cheeks,
the chin, or the breasts of the women, to distinguish the different
families. The same custom is followed in New Guinea. Most of these
symbols are compounded of an ideograph and a letter of the alphabet.
Their use is extended to distinguish owners of such things as shields
and weapons. Here they form a kind of trade-mark of which the owner
alone knows the meaning, and which all others are prohibited from
infringing. (If I had known of this peculiarity during my travels
among the Moï, I should have been more careful in noting the tattoo
marks which are to be met with among the dwellers by the lakes and
also the signs which are engraved on various objects. As it was I
merely observed the blue markings which adorned the legs of the men
and the curious red hieroglyphics inscribed in rectangles on their
arms and backs. It is very likely that these were also the symbols of
relationship or ownership.)

It is well to remind ourselves that the custom exists even in Europe
to-day. Some of the Catholic women of Bosnia still practise the
tattooing of the forearm or chest with the form of a Latin cross. The
practice seems to date from the twelfth century and to be inspired by
a desire for a visible sign of their religious isolation, for they
live among a Mohammedan population which has never been distinguished
for its tolerance.

In whatever manner the custom came into being there is little variety
in the substance used in the process. The skin is firmly stretched and
the figure lightly sketched upon it. Then a number of punctures very
close together are made with a needle dipped in the staining matter
and wrapped in cotton almost up to the point. The part is then
bandaged until the lapse of a fixed period, after which all covering
is taken off and the indelible traces, changed in colour to a Prussian
blue, remain on the skin.

Of course the operation is attended with all manner of prayers and
ceremonial. It may not take place on certain days which are regarded
as unfavourable, and never without the approval and assistance of the
Sorcerer. This again recalls the custom of the Catholics of Bosnia,
who invariably select Sunday or some other holy day for the ceremony
of engraving the sacred sign.

Like the Moï, the youths of the lower Congo reside in a specially
reserved dwelling when the time has come for them to undergo the rites
associated with initiation into full citizenship. In Africa, however,
this residence is always outside the village and the profane are
prohibited from entering under pain of death. Further, its principal
function is to accommodate those who intend to enter the sect of the
"Nkimba" (meaning "initiation"), members of which take the name of
"Nkissi" ("enchanted"). Sometimes this voluntary retirement lasts as
long as a year.

A widespread, but unfounded, belief prevails that races in a
rudimentary state of civilization enjoy greater licence than those
which have advanced further along the path of progress. On the
contrary, the savage is subject to all manner of restrictions which
make freedom of will almost a mockery. Not alone his acts but even his
feelings and desires are hedged about with repressive regulations. The
simple explanation is that he sees the supernatural in a very
different light from us and brings it into the smallest action of his
daily life. Once granted that he is not a free agent, and that unseen
powers have to be consulted at every end and turn, it follows
logically that a number of prohibitions arise which it is convenient
to refer to in this book as "Taboos," a generic term which has been
used by the Polynesians and now adopted almost universally by

Taboos are of every conceivable kind, royal, sacerdotal, sexual,
proprietary, and they all spring from the fundamental notion that it
is necessary to regulate every action in accordance with the
probability of arousing or conciliating divine displeasure. Some of
them follow as a corollary to the belief in the effect of magic by
imitation or contact.

Thus, since in time of drought rain can be caused by spilling water on
the ground, it is taboo to perform that operation at a period when a
cessation from rain is required.

Other taboos are prophylactic. Thus certain persons, contact with whom
is considered to be prejudicial to morals, are isolated to preserve
the virtue of the others.

I have already recounted the prohibitions of every kind which regulate
the behaviour of a woman during pregnancy. Here again the motive is
the same. The rules as to isolation and the restriction of diet have
no other object than to preserve her from dangers which are ever
hovering around.

Other taboos are directed towards the preservation of health and
physical strength, and apply largely to kings, chiefs and officials.
Thus in Japan princes were never permitted to put their feet on the
ground. The Mikado was compelled to spend several hours motionless on
the throne. He violated the injunction if he even turned his head. The
sun must never shine on his face, and on no account must he cut his
nails, hair, or beard. Even to-day the King of Cambodia is not allowed
to be in a house of more than one story lest some human being should
pass over his head. Accordingly the ceilings of his palace are made of
glass so that no one shall commit such an act of treason unobserved.

These curious regulations become more intelligible when we remember
that the chief of a savage tribe is regarded as the depository of the
health and strength of the whole group, which is thus directly
interested in the preservation of its ruler from every form of malady
and mischance. It is possible that this very ancient idea is the
origin of many of the rules of etiquette which are so punctiliously
observed by the Courts of certain States.

An explanation of many of these taboos may also be sought in an
examination of the religious systems on which they are based. For
example, in totemic groups unions between persons who have entered
into a compact with the same totem are invariably prohibited.
Accordingly we should expect to find, and do in fact find, that
exogamy is the rule among members of the same clan.

The most superficial observation of the religious systems of all
nations reveals the existence of taboos in some form or another. They
appear in Christianity as in Buddhism, Brahminism, and others which
dispute among themselves the title of the true faith.

Even outside the sphere of religious observance we know that certain
acts, insignificant in themselves, are habitually avoided. This can
only be attributed to a traditional prohibition dating from ancient
times. I myself know many devout Christians who would gaze at me in
astonishment if I told them that many of their most cherished beliefs
can trace their descent from the precepts of pagans. But I spare them
any such inward perplexity and merely smile to myself when I see them
hasten to put out one of three lights burning in a room, or
ostentatiously separate two forks which some clumsy servant has put
crosswise on the table.

But besides all these taboos which apply without distinction to all
the members of a group, there are others which concern one or other of
the sexes, such as the regulation which appoints certain occupations
and pursuits as proper for women only, and vice versâ.

Thus, among the Moï the women do all the work about the farms and in
the fields, though this would seem to be the natural province of the
men. It is easy to suggest laziness as the reason for this reversal of
the natural order, but probably the origin is to be sought in some
ancestral tradition long since forgotten. More noble occupations, such
as war and the chase, are reserved to the men, and their wives, proud
of their husbands' glorious duties, are quite content to play the part
of beast of burden. The difference is illustrated in many humble
actions. A woman must carry a burden on her head or her back. A man
submits to no such indignity. He divides the load into two parts,
hangs one on each end of a bamboo pole and balances them across his
shoulder. It is again necessary to recall that Europe shows traces of
this conception which have hitherto remained unexplained. Why is it
natural for a woman in Austria to act as a mason's labourer, while in
France it would be deemed an outrage to impose such laborious duties?
Why is the office of lemonade-seller confined to men in France, while
in Austria that rôle is invariably played by women? The list of these
anomalies is lengthy and would furnish evidence for a plausible
argument that the feminist movement is no more than the belated
revenge of a sex whose activities have been too long checked by the
arbitrary prohibitions of man.

We have now seen that certain persons, natural and supernatural,
certain objects, and even actions, are deemed harmful and to be
avoided at all costs. It is therefore not altogether surprising that
the truly righteous avoid even referring to those persons, objects,
or actions.

The Moï, for example, will never utter the word "Tiger," an animal he
regards with a kind of holy awe, and which has been raised to the rank
of a deity. If he must refer to the creature he calls it "The Master"
or "The Lofty One," or else uses some obvious paraphrase the sense of
which escapes no one.

Hunting one day in the forest, I happened to meet a little girl who
was gathering bamboo shoots for the family meal. I chanced to ask her
whether peacocks and heath-cocks were to be found in those regions.

"Oh, yes," she replied, "there were several here just now, but they
have gone.... There is no peace among us," and a few moments after,
"We fear."

I had little difficulty in guessing the object of her terror though
she dared not put it into words, but to convince myself, and partly, I
fear, from an unmannerly enjoyment of her confusion, I feigned
ignorance and asked again:

"But what do you fear?"

She hesitated a moment, half paralysed with fear at the thought of
uttering the dread name, then recovered her composure and with sly
malice replied:

"We fear Heaven."

Heaven, that was the Tiger without doubt! The following week I learnt
with tragic force how natural were her fears, for she fell a victim,
by no means the first, to the terrible enemy.

The incident remains engraved on my memory both for the melancholy
interest attaching to it, and also because it was the first time I had
come into actual contact with the taboo which forbids certain names to
be uttered or requires the employment of a special language when
prohibited subjects are to be referred to.

Explanations have often been attempted of the belief commonly held by
savages in the incarnation of Spirits in forms other than that of a
human being. The most natural theory is probably the most obvious.
Since the world began all peoples have noticed that man is one of the
most perishable of the objects about them. Is it likely, they ask,
that the Spirits would choose so destructible a home for their earthly
habitation? Surely they would select a place with greater chances of
permanence, a stone, for example, or a tree? Hence the worship of
these objects, not for any intrinsic value, but because they are
housing Spirits.

Among the Bahnar, a Moï group, certain flints of immense age are
objects of the greatest veneration. Frequently one of these stones is
raised on high on a pedestal of bamboos and the more curious they are
in appearance, the more reverence is bestowed upon them. The
conception of the incarnation of a deity in an animal must be traced
back to the same idea. Primitive man naturally attributed to animals,
which sometimes preyed upon him, powers superior to his own. He was
far from thinking himself the lord of creation and ascribed that
superiority to the presence of a Spirit incarnated in the animal and
directing its actions. The Egyptians worshipped the crocodile under
various names, such as "Lord of the Waters," and "The Devourer." If
such a belief prevailed among an advanced people such as these, it is
hardly surprising that the barbarous races of Indo-China should fall
into the same error.

We find, in fact, among these races clear traces of litholatry (from
the Greek _lithos_, a stone), dendrolatry (_dendron_, a tree), and
theriolatry (_thēr_, a wild beast).

It is quite usual to find some hoary guardian, such as a fig-tree or
ebony tree, stationed at the entrance of a village. It shelters with
its spreading foliage a minute house raised on piles and dedicated to
the Genius of the Soil or the Master of the Earth. Within this pagoda
is a brazier from which the fumes of incense are always rising. The
offerings which are brought will call down the blessing of Heaven on
the harvest, and in particular will inspire the Genius to wreak
vengeance on thieves who attempt to rob the public granary. A few
canes hung on the walls of this little building serve to put a holy
fear in the less imaginative visitors. They are the symbol of the
punishment which will be meted out to robbers.

Unfortunately, the harvest has to encounter not merely the
depredations of the evilly-disposed, but also the attacks of animal
enemies such as the boar and the deer. To ward off this class of
mischance a stretched bow is hung on the roof, threatening with its
arrow any animal bold enough to approach, I may add that the farmers
frequently use this hut as a lair from which to shoot the marauders.
By thus doing the work of the Genius they augment his reputation and
benefit themselves, a very satisfactory arrangement.

Similar rites are to be found in every part of the world from the
earliest times. In ancient Egypt the festival of Sokari (the
hawk-headed Osiris) at Memphis always concluded with the erection of a
pillar called "Tat" or "Ded" in the form of a tree without foliage.
The same custom obtains among the Siamese, the Cambodians, and the
Laotians, where the "Tat" is often to be seen. Its origin is plainly
ritual. In the region of the lakes the "Tats" are to be found placed
so close together as to look like a nursery garden. As a rule these
monuments are made of simple hewn masonry and vary greatly in size.
The same variety is to be observed in their form and design, which
seems to be determined by the individual caprice of the architect
rather than by any conformity to established custom. They generally
resemble a pyramid in shape, the base being either circular or square,
the apex assuming the form sometimes of a Byzantine roof or that of a
spire. Their erection is usually the fulfilment of a vow or the
commemoration of some fortunate occurrence in the family. Among the
Laotians the number of "Tats" which a man raises is considered the
measure of his piety.

In Europe the same conception appears in the familiar festivities of
the maypole.

It sometimes happened in the course of our geodetical survey that we
were compelled to cut down a tree which interrupted the field of view
of our instruments. A most interesting scene preceded the act of
destruction. The "foreman" of our Moï coolies approached the condemned
tree and addressed it much as follows:

"Spirit who hast made thy home in this tree, we worship thee and are
come to claim thy mercy. The white mandarin, our relentless master,
whose commands we cannot but obey, has bidden us to cut down thy
habitation, a task which fills us with sadness and which we only carry
out with regret. I adjure thee to depart at once from the place and
seek a new dwelling-place elsewhere, and I pray thee to forget the
wrong we do thee, for we are not our own masters."

This harangue, accompanied by spitting and an immense obeisance, being
concluded, the foreman addressed another in very similar terms to the
Lord Tiger, which in its character of undisputed King of the Forest
has jurisdiction over every tree within it.

The tiger, indeed, thanks to its fearful ravages in this land of hilly
jungle, is easily first among the animals which popular superstition
has endowed with supernatural powers. Nor is this to be wondered at,
for Europeans who live in the country are frequently obliged to
confess themselves thwarted and even driven away by the depredations
of this ferocious beast. I have already mentioned an occasion on
which, after fourteen nights of inactivity, I was compelled to
withdraw and abandon the place to a tiger which had carried off one of
my natives before my very eyes. It was during this same fruitless
attempt to get rid of the pest that I learnt from my escort the
popular superstitions concerning the powers of this formidable foe.

In the first place their beliefs are determined by terror. Everything
concerning the creature is fantastic, mysterious, marvellous.

[Illustration: Memorial Stone erected to a Tiger.]

[Illustration: A Hunting Party.]

[Illustration: An Elephant and his Driver.]

A fearsome natural power resides in its whiskers, which produce the
awful thing known as animal-poison. The right and ability to invoke
this phenomenon pertain to the Sorcerer who proceeds in this wise. As
soon as a tiger has been killed or captured he pulls out its whiskers
and encloses them with the utmost care in a hollow bamboo stick. A
hundred watches later a snake emerges from this prison and takes
refuge in the garden. The Sorcerer seeks out the place where it lies
hidden and once a year on the fifteenth day of the seventh moon he
takes it a few grains of maize, which constitute its sole nourishment.
The creature rises from its hole, rears itself aloft, swallows the
gift, and if it finds it to its taste leaves a few drops of poison on
the ground as a sign of gratitude. The Sorcerer collects these
carefully in a saucer. According to the rites he must use this poison
before the year is over under penalty of himself becoming impotent.
His duty is to mingle it with the food of certain persons whom the
Spirits will designate.

After a short time disturbing symptoms make their appearance. The
patient is seized with a trembling fit which agitates his whole frame.
Convulsions follow, or else he loses his sight, or hearing, or sense
of smell, while his stomach swells in a manner alarming to behold. The
disease soon defies all treatment and the wretched victim expires
amidst the most atrocious sufferings.

It is easy to scoff, but every traveller in these regions has known
cases of sudden attacks of a particularly virulent form of fever which
manifests itself in most alarming forms, such as suicidal mania,
epilepsy, pronounced deafness, or swelling of the abdomen.

I myself had an unpleasant practical illustration of the unshakable
belief in animal-poisons and their baneful effect. There was a native
member of the mission who believed himself bewitched in this manner.
Although he was in a high fever, he stolidly refused all medical
assistance and immediately coughed up the mixture which I attempted to
force down his throat. Within four days he was dead, a victim to his
own superstitious ignorance. The most unfortunate effect of the
tragedy, however, was that it only served to confirm his companions in
their belief.

It must not be believed that everything pertaining to the tiger is
necessarily harmful. On the contrary certain parts of its body are
credited with some remarkably beneficial properties. Thus some small
bones of the shoulder are frequently carried about as a charm against
the attacks of the animal itself, and also to give their owner
physical superiority over his foes and preserve him against an
unfavourable result of the ordeal, should he be called on to face that
trial. It is therefore little surprising that competition for this
talisman is often bitter and bloody and that its market value
sometimes exceeds that of a buffalo.

Another widespread superstition is that a tiger which, in springing
upon its prey, is clumsy enough to damage the ear, will abandon its
victim immediately and never return to devour it. Curiously enough we
received from the mouths of two members of the mission, M. Millet and
Sergeant Valutioni, proof that this belief is not altogether devoid of
foundation. The former once spent four days watching over the corpse
of a buffalo with a torn ear which had been killed by a tiger. The
animal never returned to carry away its prey. Now we know that the
habit of this carnivorous beast is to return nightly to devour its
victims when their weight is too great to permit of their being
carried off immediately to its lair. So was it simple caprice which
prompted this strange behaviour or had the tiger perhaps been wounded
in the encounter? It is impossible to bring the question out of the
realm of surmise.

The Sergeant's experience was somewhat similar. He was riding at
nightfall when his horse suddenly swerved and nearly threw him out of
the saddle. Picking himself up, he saw a huge tiger leap upon his
horse, only to abandon it immediately and disappear into the jungle.
He examined his mount for injuries and discovered that the only damage
was that a piece of its ear had been torn off. The natives who had
witnessed the attack manifested no sign of astonishment and recounted
the numerous occasions on which they had observed a similar

Whatever the truth may be, it is in virtue of incidents such as these
that the Moï attribute to the tiger the faculty of reasoning out all
its acts. It is considered the most vindictive of creatures, and
rather than expose themselves to its vengeance they will let all its
misdeeds go unpunished, contenting themselves with a philosophical
resignation to fate. Sometimes the inroads of tigers cause the
abandonment of an entire village, the natives preferring exile to
gradual decimation. Sometimes, however, they resort to charms to ward
off the dread plague. For instance, they will place a box, on one side
of which the figure of a tiger is rudely carved, in front of the
principal house. This is a favourite device of the Annamites, among
whom these ex-votos distinguish a region infested by the pest. Every
time a stranger passes the spot it is his duty to leave a stone or a
twig in honour of "Duc-Thay" the Noble Master, the Spirit which has
jurisdiction over the tigers, perhaps the tiger itself.

A supernatural character is also attributed to the monkey, largely on
account of its agility, its imitative ability, and its cunning in
escaping from its pursuers. The creature is held in high esteem by
many peoples, and it will be remembered that the Hindoos regard it as
an incarnation of Vishnu. The white gibbon with black whiskers is
regarded with great veneration. One of my colleagues once tamed one of
this species and taught it to perform various domestic duties. The
creature made his bed, washed up and waited at table. But it was
extremely jealous and went into transports of anger if any stranger
seemed to monopolize its master. Of course, the natives attributed
these accomplishments to the presence of a Spirit, so my colleague was
baulked of the credit due to his patience. Among the Phuyen, an
orang-outang of about human proportions enjoyed a most unenviable
reputation. It was supposed to snatch the unwary traveller in its
huge, hairy arms and shake the breath out of him while uttering
screams of fiendish glee. To escape such an embarrassing encounter the
natives who inhabit the forests in which the creature lives always
carry an armful of long bamboo shoots. If they are attacked the shoots
prevent the orang-outang from getting a proper grip of its victim, who
thus escapes without difficulty.

A widely prevalent superstition in Langbian is that certain monkeys of
the species known as _semnopithecus_ never put foot to ground. They
are supposed to progress by hanging on to each other and thus forming
a living chain, one end of which is attached to a tree overhanging a
stream. I can myself bear witness to having frequently seen them
bridge the space between two trees in this manner and accomplishing
the most astonishing acrobatic feats on a trapeze consisting of their

Hunting rites are numerous and for the most part rest on the same
conception which we have noticed before in relation to other rites,
namely the belief in the power of imitative or sympathetic magic.

Thus a hunter never eats the flesh of the hare or deer for fear of
becoming as timorous as these creatures. This species of food is only
permitted to old men, women and children. If a wild-boar hunt is in
prospect the hunters taking part must abstain from fat and oil.
Without this precaution the animal would undoubtedly slip through the
meshes of their nets and escape its pursuers. When the Laotians
slaughter elephants for the sake of their ivory the women are
absolutely forbidden to cut their hair or nails, otherwise the
monsters would infallibly break the stakes of the palisade in which
they are entrapped. So long as an elephant-hunt lasts the hunters may
only communicate in a special language which has conventional terms
for objects of common use. (We shall see later that a special language
is also employed by the Cham on their annual expeditions in search of

Another regulation concerns the chief of the hunting-party, who may
not set foot to ground. If the necessity arises that he must leave
his elephant a carpet of leaves is spread beneath his feet.

Whenever we killed an elephant the natives flung themselves upon the
victim. The first-comer drank its blood with relish and the others had
to rest content with the great drops which reached the ground. The
next step was to cut off the little triangle in which the trunk
terminates. This object is a much prized amulet. Next the genital
organs are severed for the evening meal, and finally, as something is
due to us for presenting such booty, they offer us hairs from the
animal's tail for toothpicks. To be offered these hairs is the
equivalent of being presented with the brush in Europe.

Another widespread superstition among the Moï is that the urine of
savage dogs is able to blind the prey that they pursue. M. Millet
tells us that in the province of Tay-Nhinh he saw wild dogs tear out
the eyes of a boar, pin it against a tree and rip it in pieces. One of
them seemed to be told off to distract the victim during these
operations, the distraction consisting of biting the creature's head
to prevent it from turning round and goring its foes with its tusks.
The combination of ferocity and system displayed by these wild dogs
has always greatly impressed the Moï, who believe that it is quite
impossible to kill or capture them. We must admit that, though during
our operations we killed almost every kind of wild animal, we never
did anything to shake that belief. A wild dog was never in the day's

                             CHAPTER VII

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

     Agrarian rites--How Me-Sao, King of the Moï, opens the
     jar--Rites of initiation and "coming of age."

The Moï being essentially an agricultural people it is not difficult
to believe that a large number of agrarian rites enliven the monotony
of their daily life. We must also remind ourselves that these rites
are generally based on a belief in imitative or sympathetic magic.
They are seldom propitiatory in character.

Thus before each harvest the Mnong plant bulbous or fibrous-rooted
plants in the corners of their rice or maize fields and water them
with spirits. At sowing time they cast some of the leaves of these
plants among the seed in the hope of thus attracting the Spirit of the
grain. The ceremony is completed by sacrificing a pig or chicken, and
the proceedings terminate with a great feast. This method of
celebrating sowing-time with a feast was famous in antiquity. The
sower assumes that by filling his own body with food he can stimulate
the fertility of the grain. The place and time selected is the
largest plantation the sower can find and the season of the new moon,
as if to invite the harvest to coincide with the last quarter. If the
sower is a woman she will let her hair hang loose, in order that the
stalk of the cereal may, by imitation, be as long as possible. At
harvest time she will clothe herself very lightly, and the ball of
rice, in imitation of her slender form, will be small, and accordingly
of better quality.

Reasoning along these lines the savage often believes that the sexual
act during seed-time will have a great influence on the harvest to
come. Sometimes this influence is considered beneficent, and
accordingly the work of sowing is accompanied by the most licentious
orgies. Sometimes, on the contrary, this influence is regarded as
baneful, and chastity is recommended, or even ordered. The famous
ethnologist Frazer considers that to this order of ideas must be
traced the rigid abstinence observed by Catholics during Lent.

Even to-day the Karens believe that illicit love affairs bring a bad
harvest to the guilty parties.

In this connection it is only necessary to observe that ancient
history has much to tell us of lascivious festivals in which the laws
of morality and decency were relaxed almost to the point of extinction
during the sowing-time. The Saturnalia of ancient Rome, taking their
name from Saturn, the god of agriculture, are an example which occurs
readily to the mind, and modern equivalents are to be found in certain
half-pagan, half-religious ceremonies of eastern Europe.

It is also not without a certain significance that all these agrarian
rites, no matter the group which practise them, are celebrated in the
open air and not in a temple, and that their observance is not the
function of a professional priestly class, but the duty of all, from
the highest magnate to the humblest slave.

The Moï preface every religious ceremony with the opening of a jar of
spirits of rice. To omit this prelude would be to invite disaster. In
the dead of night the discordant voice of the tom-tom suddenly breaks
upon the stillness, and, as often as not, its message is one of
invitation to the opening of a jar. We obeyed the summons at first
mainly out of curiosity, but finding the proceedings monotonously
similar, we soon came to take no further interest. One of the
best-known chiefs, Me-Sao, who enjoyed the title of "King of the Moï,"
had a grandiloquent manner on these occasions which is worthy of

His house, or rather conglomeration of huts, was certainly not less
than a hundred yards in length. The stage was thus fully worthy of the
scene to be presented. As the guests arrive, the host invites them to
be seated on a row of stools, very large but so low as to give the
impression of sitting on the ground. A number of attendants
immediately take off the visitors' shoes, anoint their feet with
various oils, after which the guests rest their legs on a low, iron
railing fixed in the ground and worked into a rude pattern. In front
of the audience is a post to which is fixed an enormous jar containing
perhaps twenty-five to thirty litres of spirits of rice. A Moï seated
before the post recites our praises in a drawling voice. Our skill in
the hunting-field, our physical strength, the efficacy of our
medicines form a theme on which the bard lets his fancy play freely.
When he has recounted our individual virtues, another warrior
imprisons our right wrists in a thick copper bracelet, an act
which signifies the conclusion of a compact and an oath of
blood-brotherhood. The great jar is then solemnly decanted after an
invocation to the spirits. The King of the Moï introduces a long
hollow straw into the liquid, draws up a mouthful, and graciously
offers the other end to those whom he deigns to honour with his
friendship. It would be the height of ill-breeding to decline this
mark of friendship, and there is no alternative but submission. One by
one we take a sip from the stalk, which is kept filled from a small
drinking-horn with a hole in the middle to regulate the flow of the
liquid. Those who drink first are the most to be pitied, for the jar
is corked with a mixture of glazed earth and bran, and in spite of the
cup-bearer's skill some of the solid matter always gets into the tube.
By a happy convention there is nothing to prevent the guest from
spitting out his dose, in fact the action is regarded as a high
compliment to the character of the vintage. This ceremony frequently
lasts all night to the accompaniment of selections by the band of
native musicians on enormous gongs. When the distinguished strangers
have been thus honoured the tribesmen, in order of rank, take the tube
in turn, and after them the women also, by which time the liquid has
become perfectly innocuous, thanks to its successive dilutions.

The offer of a jar to a guest of rank is a mark of respect and
allegiance in all these parts. Wherever we went we were always
received by the chiefs with a preliminary greeting of this kind.

Spirits of rice consist of a mixture of paddy and water which is
allowed to ferment for not less than ten days and not more than three
moons. Another favourite offering was that of a white cock flanked by
an odd number of eggs and served on a kind of cane tray, of which the
bottom was sprinkled with a layer of snow-white rice. In exchange for
these courtesies we returned presents of brass needles, and, if our
reception had been particularly cordial, mirrors, which the women
almost tore from our hands. This exchange of presents was the sign of
an alliance and was seldom followed by any act of treachery. We soon
came to realize that we had little to fear from groups who gave and
received these hostages.

Superficial observers often attribute to superstitions certain modern
customs of which the origin is to be sought in moral or legal decrees.
Many of these customs which seem without significance become quite
intelligible when viewed in the light of recent research into the
institutions and ways of life of societies which have long since
disappeared. In the same way our opinion will be sensibly modified by
a close examination of the customs of primitive peoples whose rites
and ceremonies we are apt to attribute too readily to abstract

For example, research into the origin of the practice of circumcision
has brought some authorities to the view that this custom has at some
time been substituted for that of human sacrifice when the victor
offered the body of the vanquished as a gift to the gods. When David
came to Saul to demand the hand of his daughter, the King replied that
the only dowry he required was a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.
In other words, Saul's conditions were the sacrifice of a hundred
of his enemies, and do not seem to be unreasonable under the
circumstances. Again the Dyaks of Borneo are not allowed to take a
wife until they have at least one scalp of their foes to their credit.
Later, by a prolonged process of substitution, circumcision of the
boys and excision of the girls have taken their place as rites which
mark the admission of the young people into the full privileges and
fellowship of the community and signify the passing of childhood.

Most of the groups which practise these rites set apart a special hut
for the accommodation of the boys and girls during the celebration. No
one is allowed to enter, and the novices are subject to a multitude of
disciplinary regulations which are designed to promote physical
courage and endurance, obedience to superiors, and respect for
established tradition. Certain kinds of food are rigorously prohibited
during this period of seclusion, which lasts until the wounds made by
the operation are healed, an event celebrated with great pomp.

These ceremonies are only consistent with the theory that among
certain races circumcision is not a piece of pure symbolism but an act
of physical and social initiation. The candidate for admission to the
full rights of citizenship must be instructed in the duties and
responsibilities of his new status. He must be initiated into the
traditions of his clan. In nearly every case some distinctive feature
of dress or hair, or some tribal mark, such as tattooing, deformation,
or mutilation indicates the critical period. In Rome the young man put
on the toga to indicate his assumption of the rights of manhood.

It must not be imagined that the attainment of puberty in a
physiological sense coincides with admission into full membership of
the tribe. It is possible for these events to be separated by a long
period, though many observers have fallen into error in ignorance of
the fact.

The Catholics regard the first communion as the point at which the
innocence of childhood passes, and manhood, with its burden of
temptation, begins. Accordingly the communicant-to-be is prepared for
this ceremony by a period of initiation, during which he makes a
reverent study of the traditions of his faith and the articles of his

The Moï, too, celebrate the attainment of puberty by a series of rites
and festivals. The period of seclusion in a special house which no one
may enter points clearly to a belief in the necessity of a period of
initiation, during which the candidate prepares himself for the new

The Moï also exhibit traces of usages regulating the sexual relation
which are of very ancient origin. We have already noticed the
innumerable prohibitions obligatory during pregnancy. The rites to be
observed during the menstrual period, and particularly at the time of
the first menstruation, are no less rigorous and complicated. A woman
must not touch meat at that period, and must be particularly careful
to avoid contact with either of her parents. The girls of the Lolo, a
people on the Chinese frontier, as soon as they have reached a
marriageable age, are subjected to a vegetarian diet and have their
food, from which every particle of meat and fat is carefully excluded,
cooked in special pots.

On the other hand the Moï seem to have no special rites to mark the

Similar customs are to be found among most of the races in the Far
East. The Blimyar, a Dravidian people from southern Mirzapore, reserve
a certain part of their houses, under the outer verandah, for the
women during the menstrual period. The Parsees forbid their women to
look on flame. Europe itself is familiar with regulations of the same
type. In the country districts of France the peasants think that the
presence of a woman in the condition in question is enough to turn the
beer, convert the wine into vinegar or even ruin a whipped cream or
mayonnaise! The belief seems to spring, like so many others, from the
long accepted convention that contact with blood is a cause of

Another very curious rite is that which ethnologists have agreed to
call "avoidance," which means the prohibition imposed on both parties
to a marriage to touch, in the case of the husband, his mother-in-law,
and, in the case of the wife, her father-in-law. Colonel Diguet of the
Colonial Infantry deposes that this taboo is found also among the
Man-Coc and the Man-Pa-Teng, tribes of mountaineers near Tonkin, whose
customs bear strong resemblances to those of the Moï. Speaking for
myself, I can advance the case no further, for to all my questions on
the subject the natives answered with that obvious reticence which is
the sign of their dislike to be catechized on sexual matters.

Africa and Australia furnish many examples of "avoidance." The
Bovandik of South Australia even have a special language for
conversation between a husband and his wife's mother, or a wife and
her husband's father. In Uganda a son-in-law may not look at his
mother-in-law and not even speak to her except through a partition or
carefully closed door. Madagascar provides examples of the separation
of the sexes. The Mahafaly and the Sakalava build their houses with
two doors, one facing north for the husband and another facing west
for the wife. The woman may eat hot foods but the man may not. On the
other hand, the wife may not sit on the same mat with her husband
during his meals. This practice of eating apart is common throughout
the East. The Moï are no exception, and even carry it to the length of
taking their meals in groups, each group consisting of members of the
same clan or village. We had the most bitter experience of this custom
and its resulting inconvenience during the expedition. It was our
practice as a rule to have the midday meal in the open at any place
where we happened to be at the moment, and the time was naturally
short. But however short the interval, the coolies never failed to
waste the larger part of it in sorting themselves out into clans.

Primitive peoples regard the fertility of their women as a national
asset, and all kinds of rites are celebrated to avert the crowning
disaster of sterility, which is neither more nor less than a public
calamity. The Laotians, who cannot truly be described as primitive,
make family pilgrimages to a temple in which there is a famous statue,
probably of the goddess Kâli. The figure is of a woman of a black race
standing with a linga in her hand. Each day she receives a large
number of visitors, who show their devotion by sprinkling her lips
with cocoa-nut oil in the hope of gaining her favour, and thereby
assuring to themselves a numerous posterity. The walls of the temple
are hung with votive offerings, the nature of which leaves no doubt
as to the character of the requests made to the divinity. In this
connection it may be mentioned that a similar practice obtains in
certain villages of the Italian Tyrol, Bavaria, and Rhenish Prussia,
where the traveller will find the votive offerings, consisting of a
spiked ball, a symbol of the matrix, directed to the same end.

In lands less enlightened, where sculpture is but in its infancy, this
act of devotion is replaced by a ceremony enacted by the Sorcerer. The
Tho, for example, make a small model bridge of bamboo and place it
near the house of the childless family. The bridge is a standing
invitation to the Spirit of Fertility to enter the house and accept
the hospitality of the inmates, rewarding them by granting their

Among other tribes the Sorcerer makes a small figure of the barren
woman and adjures it to submit to the yoke of maternity. It will be
remembered that the rite of _envoûtement_ (casting a spell on a person
by transfixing an image of him) is based on sympathetic magic, so that
it is essential that the operator should possess some portion of the
person on whose behalf the ceremony is performed. A piece of hair,
some nail-parings, or, best of all, some of the menstrual blood, are
most commonly used on these occasions. This rite is practised by
almost all savage tribes, but generally with a view to accomplishing
the destruction of the original of the model rather than obtaining
favours for him.

Among the Moï certain plants which they call "Begand" are endowed with
magical properties, malevolent or otherwise. All these roots belong to
the family of the _Zingiberacae_. Sometimes all that is required of
the sick man is to rub himself with the herb. The spirit which has
caused his illness will then acknowledge the efficacy of the treatment
and withdraw. Sometimes, on the contrary, a single leaf mixed with
food is quite sufficient to cause a mortal disease. When mixed with
tobacco the "Begand" acts either as a love philter or as a means of
procuring an abortion. Among other tribes the species is known as
"Magan," and the Sorcerer alone is allowed to cultivate it, since it
forms one of the principal ingredients in the small figures of friends
or enemies which play so large a part in magical ceremonies. This
rhizome is also reputed to have a powerful effect upon animals, and a
few leaves are invariably placed in traps and nets to ensure a
successful catch.

The missionary Father Durand, who laboured for years among the Moï,
says that the Magan is worshipped as if it were a god, and confirms
the view that it possesses valuable therapeutic properties.

While on this subject it is interesting to recall that all the
research of modern travellers has so far failed to discover the plant
which furnished "Soma" to the Vedic tribes and "Hom" to the Iranians.
If this discovery is ever made it will set at rest any doubts which
may exist as to the original seat of the most ancient religion of the
Indo-Iranian race. The only Soma of which we know anything is that of
the Brahmins, and this, indeed, differs in vital respects from the
sacred beverage celebrated in the Hymns, for, instead of producing
inebriation, it seems to have acted as an emetic. The "Hom" of the
Kirman Parsees, or rather the "Nireng," which is a mixture of "Hom"
and cows' urine, likewise possesses the properties of an emetic. This
is perhaps merely a coincidence of the kind which is frequently
observed among different groups among whom religion is little more
than sorcery.

It has always been my regret that I never had an opportunity of
witnessing the ceremony of _envoûtement_. M. Millet, however, of the
Woods and Forests Department of Indo-China, saw it more than once and
gave me the following graphic account.

A Moï who has some cause of complaint against one of his fellow
tribesmen observes his tracks and follows him until he reaches the
spot where his enemy has relieved himself. He marks the place with a
short bamboo inserted in the ground. A short time after, perhaps, his
enemy falls ill, and then he visits the place at frequent intervals
and either thrusts the bamboo deeper into the ground or else draws it
out, according to his desire to aggravate or diminish the malady.

It may be, of course, a pure coincidence that the illness follows the
ceremony I have related, but it is at least open to conjecture that
the victim hears of what has been done and fear of coming vengeance
unnerves him and produces the evil physical effects he expects.
Everyone knows how human beings, especially highly strung and nervous
human beings, can make themselves ill by anticipating an evil which
they dread.

M. Millet was also responsible for the following account of an
hallucination of which he was the victim, and as he is a gentleman of
unimpeachable veracity, and neither weak nor superstitious, I see no
reason to hesitate in accepting his statements.

     "I was stationed at Djiring in Annam and the night in question
     was dark and rainy. I was sleeping in a hut of straw which, by
     exception in these tiger-stricken regions, was not raised on
     piles. About midnight I was awakened by the sound of a prowling
     tiger, a sound which left no doubt of its origin. It is quite
     impossible to mistake the short 'cop-cop,' the tiger's hunting
     signal, as recognizable as that of a motor-horn. I got up,
     seized my rifle and prepared for the intruder. The walls of the
     hut were made of a network of palm leaves and so flimsy that
     the beast could have burst through at a bound. I waited in
     silence and in a few seconds heard a noise as of a heavy body
     falling, followed by the piercing cry of the victim, a young
     fawn, I surmised. The tiger growled and then gave vent to its
     feelings of satisfaction in a series of curious mewings. I went
     out, and though it was too dark to see more than a yard ahead
     of me I made for the spot from which the sound proceeded and
     fired point blank. There was an unmistakable sound of a huge
     creature springing up and bounding away, then silence.

     "At daybreak I searched the neighbourhood for footprints and
     traces of the struggle. The ground was of clay and had been
     soaked by the rain. It was bound to reveal marks of the
     presence of any animal, however light. To my amazement the only
     footprints visible were those I had made myself! I repeat that
     I could not possibly have mistaken the sounds I had heard, for
     I had distinguished even the noise made by a large animal
     passing through the bushes.

     "The explanation of my Moï attendants to whom I related this
     adventure was very simple and plausible. The Spirits were
     responsible for the trick played on me!"

Colonel Diguet relates a case of indirect _envoûtement_ which he
observed among the Man.

If a native has a serious complaint against another he commits the
cause of action to paper, or rather the native equivalent of paper,
along with the name of the accused and his village. He then rolls this
up into a ball and thrusts it down the mouth of a goat, which he
afterwards suspends by bands from the branches of a tree. He then
beats the unfortunate creature with a cane, not without many apologies
for the evil treatment which circumstances compel him to mete out. One
by one he recites to the animal the matters of which he complains and
begs it to plead his cause with the Spirits. To ensure a proper zeal
on the part of the advocate he enumerates a series of torments which
await it in the next world should it fail in its mission. He then
departs in the sure and certain hope that his prayers, and especially
his threats, will have the desired effect. The unhappy goat is then
left to die of starvation.

It will be remembered that from the most ancient times the ceremony
which has for its object the expulsion of a disease from an
individual, or the transference of that disease from his body to that
of another, is effected by means of an intermediary, generally a goat,
which has come to be known as the "scapegoat" by reason of the part it
plays on these occasions. He who performs the ceremony is supposed to
have lodged in the body of the animal the evil thing which he wishes
to expel or transfer. The comparison of this practice which, as I have
said, dates from a remote antiquity, with the curious proceedings
among the Man of which Colonel Diguet speaks is thus very striking.

The practice of direct _envoûtement_ is also met with among the Man.
It takes the form of making an image in rice-paper of your enemy and
piercing it with arrows or spears.

Something very similar was practised in the Middle Ages, for there is
hardly a museum of archæology or ethnography which has no show-case of
small figures transfixed with nails, especially in the region of the

The museum of Tervueren in Belgium is peculiarly rich in specimens of
this kind, most of which were collected by the ethnographical
expedition sent out from England to the Congo in 1907, under the
direction of Mr. E. Torday, of the Anthropological Institute of Great
Britain and Ireland. The method of investigation followed by the
explorers is worthy of note, for the leader, thanks to his unrivalled
knowledge of the dialects, was enabled to dispense with the services
of an interpreter. The information which the natives willingly
supplied as to their rites and superstitions has thus come to us
unadulterated by translation, since it was immediately transmitted to
Mr. T. A. Joyce, the Honorary Secretary of the Institute in England,
who forwarded a series of supplementary questions to Mr. Torday when a
point seemed to require further elucidation. Mr. M. W. Hilton Simpson,
and the artist, Norman H. Hardy, were also members of this mission, of
which the results were such as to deserve special mention.

The expulsion or transference of evil spirits is not always effected
by indirect means such as that of the scapegoat. In the majority of
cases the method followed is the direct one of exorcism. The rites of
exorcism vary greatly according to the beliefs and traditions of the
different tribes. It is generally accompanied by flagellation, which
has for its object to purify the voluntary victim from the stain of
sin. The Spirit which torments him, finding that the repeated blows
make his habitation untenantable, resolves to evacuate the place. It
is plain that this is the true and original purpose of this
chastisement and that the idea of purification by pain only crept in

Like all peoples in an early stage of civilization the Moï attribute
disease and even death not to any natural cause but to the presence of
malevolent spirits, the "Pi." All efforts must then be concentrated on
persuading the harmful intruder to depart, if not by bribes then by
threats. If the illness seems likely to terminate fatally, the
Sorceress is called on to expel the evil spirit by incantations and
sacrifices. This ceremony has many features of note, and I witnessed
it on several occasions in spite of the inveterate reluctance of the
Moï to allow us to take any part in their public life.

The Sorceress is a priestess who enters the house of the dying person
clad only in a full, white loin-cloth. A rough plank serves for an
altar and on it she places a bowl of rice and six small candles, which
she lights. Then to the accompaniment of a series of peculiar writhing
movements she chants a litany, which gets quicker and quicker as the
candles get smaller. Her contortions also become more rapid and
violent and in the end she is seized with a fit of hysterics, which
signifies the frantic struggles of the "Pi" before they yield to the
power of the incantation. All at once her movements cease and she
commences to indicate the hour in which the cure will take place. This
is done after consultation with the Spirits, during which she takes
the rice out of the bowl at the rate of three grains at a time. Then
she takes a mouthful of water, which she returns over the patient's
body in driblets while she presses his stomach as if she were
attempting to squeeze the life out of something. Just as the last of
the candles is on the point of going out she utters a cry of triumph
and holds up a stone of about the size of a nut before the eyes of her
astonished and admiring audience.

The cause of the malady has gone! The "Pi" have departed, leaving this
trophy of victory to the conqueror who seems so exhausted by her
efforts that several gourds of spirits of rice are necessary to
restore her strength.

It sometimes happens that the patient takes a good turn after this
ceremony, either as a reward for faith or else by pure coincidence.
But if the reverse occurs and the patient dies shortly after the
exorcism, the unfortunate result is attributed solely to the parsimony
and ingratitude of the deceased, whose offerings were not deemed
sufficient by the Spirits.

As I have said, the method of exorcism varies with different groups.
For instance, it takes the following form among the Tho of Tonkin. The
priest addresses himself to the Chicken Devil who is in possession of
the patient, first inviting him to take the food which has been
prepared for him and extending the invitation to all the Chicken
Devils of the five cardinal points. (Throughout the Far East the
centre of the earth is regarded as a fifth cardinal point.) He then
throws two coins into a cup of rice and calls on the Male Element and
the Female Element to make the first come up heads and the second
tails. Whether the operation succeeds or not the Sorcerer then lights
several sticks of eagle-wood, pours some spirits of rice into a cup,
and addresses all the Chicken Devils in the following words:

     "I beg to inform you that the patient I am about to cure has
     been brought to his present condition by the malevolent
     intervention of one of your number. I adjure you to command
     your brother to leave the place and torment my patient no
     longer. Let each of you return to the cardinal point from which
     he came; otherwise you shall not partake of the feast which we
     have spread for you...."

The Chicken Demons, however, are slow to take the hint, for the
patient's condition shows no sign of improvement. The spokesman
betrays no sign of annoyance at this obstinacy, but his tone changes
from one of studious moderation and politeness to one of command.

He continues:

     "I am an intimate friend of the Emperor of Jade and on the best
     of terms with Lao-Quan. It is they who speak by my mouth, and
     at your peril you refuse to obey the behests of these holy and
     powerful persons."

His speech now becomes more rapid and his gestures more agitated.

     "I hear the approach of the four sacred animals, the Dragon,
     the Unicorn, the Phoenix, and the Tortoise.... I hear the
     voices of the fearful Spirits they are bringing to fight you, I
     see the armed warriors that escort them.... Fly!... Fly
     quickly, lest they slay you for your obstinacy!..."

By this time the speech-maker is quite out of breath and can do no
more than ring his bells, while his companions rouse the whole
neighbourhood with their gongs and tom-toms. This ear-shattering
symphony is intended to imitate the titanic contest which now takes
place between the Chicken Devils and the sacred animals, who finally
rout their enemies and drive them away in confusion.

In Babylon also, exorcism was practised in cases of illness, which was
invariably attributed to the flight of the soul and the possession of
the body by a demon. The first step was to interrogate the patient so
that the priest should know for what reason his soul had abandoned
him. The patient related all his acts and the priest enumerated all
the sins he might have committed. The list of sins is interesting to
anyone familiar with ancient civilizations.

There were the usual transgressions against oneself and one's
neighbour, adultery, murder, theft, injustice, but there were also
sins against the code of commercial morality. To judge by the number
of these last, offences against good faith such as the use of
fraudulent balances and false money were extremely common.

Analogous lists of forbidden sins have been found in some of the
Egyptian tombs.

It is to be noticed that the divinities of primitive groups are
thought to punish only those crimes which touch their own dignity and
worship. They take no account of offences which cause no loss to
themselves. When the group advances along the path of progress we find
that their gods are supposed to be angry at any act which may be
prejudicial to the interests of the whole community. We also find that
their vengeance consists of withdrawing their magic protection from
the delinquent. It seems plain, therefore, that in the earlier period
religion is considered as a thing apart from morals, while in the
later the two conceptions blend and intermingle. This would certainly
support the theory that law has grown up from ancient prohibitions
which in origin were no more than ritual.

The apparatus of the Moï sorcerers and sorceresses is simple and
scanty. No special clothing is worn, consisting as it does of bands of
coarse cloth, perhaps two inches wide, which they strap over their
shoulders and about their loins much like rustic braces. The
mountaineers of Tonkin, whose rites are more complicated, have more
elaborate ceremonies.

Among the Man-Tien, for example, the sorcerer-priests wear a most
remarkable costume when they perform their sacerdotal functions. It
consists of an apron of unbleached cloth, a kind of embroidered
bandolier, and a head-dress resembling the helmet of a French
cuirassier and made of a framework of bamboo covered with a piece of
cloth dyed indigo blue.

The accessories to ritual ceremonies are generally the following:

A short cane of wood with a veneer of red lacquer and prismatic in

A sword made of coins threaded together in such a way as to cause a
jangle whenever it is moved.

Some seals to resemble those which are found on the books of magic to
demonstrate their authenticity in the next world.

A number of images on cloth or paper with which the Sorcerer adorns
the house of the person who has invited his assistance.

In every place and among all tribes no ceremony takes place without
the harsh discord of incidental music made by gongs, tom-toms and

It would not be fair to leave this topic without paying my tribute to
the extreme fervour and conviction which are displayed by all who take
part in these ceremonies. On the various occasions on which I was a
witness I was always impressed with the fact that a belief based on
faith only is entitled to respect, and I hesitate to regard as mere
superstition anything which seems incomprehensible to me. Even in
Brittany there are many sanctuaries where rites are practised which
have in view the expulsion of evil, and Doctor Hébert has made a
detailed report of an occurrence, one of thousands, which took place
at the celebrated sanctuary of Saint Goulien at the Point du Raz. Here
believers resort in immense numbers in the belief that they can obtain
a cure for neuralgia by having the little bell (which was used by the
saint to summon the catechumens) placed on their heads by the
sacristan, who then rings it furiously. The sound of this bell is
supposed to drive away the malady and restore the patient to health.
If the desired effect is not produced, the failure is attributed to
the pilgrim's want of faith or else to the sins which still hamper his
soul. He must therefore purify himself and entrust his recovery to one
of the innumerable saints whose sanctuaries are scattered throughout
this region. At the worst he has had a pleasant tour in one of the
most curious and interesting parts of France, an event which contains
in itself some elements of a cure.

[Illustration: The Festival of the Dead: Carrying Home the Sacrificial

[Illustration: The Festival of the Dead: Poles erected for the

                            CHAPTER VIII

                   BELIEFS AND RITES (_continued_)

     The origin and observance of funeral rites--The ceremony of the
     Commemoration of the Dead--Burial rites and various methods.

All students of primitive man have observed that egoism is one of his
most prominent characteristics. Hence it is not difficult to believe
that the extravagant attention he pays to the dead is due not so much
to any sentiment of reverence as to the necessity of looking after his
own interests.

Among primitive races the general idea is that after death man has
exactly the same feelings and necessities as during life. Accordingly,
his spirit will have to seek food for itself if the living fail to
provide it, and this will always be the case where the deceased has
been buried without the proper funeral rites. The dead man must then
take by force what has been denied him. In this way many common thefts
are accounted for. The loss to the owner is a vivid reminder that he
has been neglecting his duties and a warning that further disaster
will overtake him unless he mends his ways for the future. The fact is
that the spirit has not yet been received into the society of the
dead because the deceased has not yet been officially buried, and, on
the other hand, he has ceased to belong to the company of the living.
In this painful and anomalous position he conceives a great hatred of
those who are responsible for it and wages war on them.

The folklore of all countries shows traces of this belief. In every
country the most fearsome ghosts are the spirits of those who have
died a violent death, for example by fire or drowning.

At a later stage, fear of the vengeance of the dead is a less powerful
motive to the living than the hope of obtaining favours from those who
regard their late companions with a feeling of gratitude, a feeling
which the departed spirit manifests by granting his protection to the
living and interceding for them with the gods.

In Egypt the development of this last idea coincides with the
inception of the practice of building the immense tombs in which we
find innumerable inscriptions detailing the end in view.

     "He who guards and cherishes my double shall find favour in the
     sight of the Great God, and shall become a liegeman. He shall
     not die save in the plenitude of years." (Dehasheh, Fifth

From that time forward the living believed that material prosperity on
earth was a reward for their devotion to the departed, and they spared
no pains to make them as comfortable as possible in the life beyond.
We have abundant proof of this in the objects found in the tombs.
Nothing that could conduce to the well-being of the deceased has been
omitted. He was supplied not only with all the luxuries to which he
was accustomed in life, but also with companions of both sexes,
attendants, slaves, and even women of the harem. As these persons were
unable to enter the abode of the Spirits, they were ruthlessly
sacrificed in order that their double might rejoin their master and be
at his service in the new existence. This idea of the necessity of a
change of state before entering the spirit world was so fundamental
that even the domestic utensils destined to the service of the
deceased were broken to signify a symbolic death.

In Egypt also, as in many other countries at a similar stage of
development, we find the practice of offering up sacrifices of animals
and fruits which were intended as nourishment for the dead. By degrees
the sacrifice is replaced by a symbol, and finally gives way to the
mere recital of a set formula, which is considered to have as much
validity as the original ceremony. This seems obvious from the fact
that at this later period a word or a look was reputed to have special
magic powers. Thus eyes are painted on the sides of the coffins to
ward off malevolent spirits, and even to-day no Chinese junk that
sails the seas is without an enormous eye painted on each side of the
prow to protect it from the attack of the Dragon.

There are some names which no man may utter, such is the magical
power attributed to them. In Egypt, for example, even the gods
themselves refrained from pronouncing the dread words "Ra" or

Our knowledge of ancestor-worship in Egypt is singularly full, thanks
to a century of archæological research, and we should be fortunate if
even half the efforts had been expended on investigating the same
phenomenon in the Far East. In the circumstances it is impossible to
advance any conclusions as final, though it is certain that
ancestor-worship throughout the Far East plays a part, the importance
of which it is difficult to overestimate. Indeed, it is not too much
to say that in all probability it has been the basis of most of the
religions to be met with in this region. At the moment ethnologists
are in doubt as to the exact nature and extent of the native belief in
the physical needs of the dead. They have not even settled on the
precise location of the spirit world, nor on the amount of influence
exercised by the dead over the acts of the living. It has been
established beyond dispute, however, that certain funeral rites in the
Far East are based upon the same conceptions as those we have seen
obtaining in the West.

Thus, for example, we find food and domestic utensils left in the
tombs for the use of the deceased, and the same fear of being deprived
of proper burial. What further proof could be required that man is
regarded as possessing a double personality and that the soul is not
deprived of physical needs by its separation from the body?

Even in the details of the burial ceremonies in Indo-China we find
striking resemblances to those with which we are familiar in
civilizations now vanished. The sacrifice made in honour of the
deceased, and obviously with the end of furnishing him with the means
of existence in his new life, is still observed by the Moï in a manner
almost identical with that which prevailed in the land of the

The Egyptian sacrifice was attended by the following circumstances.

The animal was first caught with the lasso, a method which does not
imply that it was wild, for at that period the herds were allowed to
roam at large, and even domestic animals had to be taken in this
fashion. The victim was secured by an approved method and its carotid
artery severed, invariably in the same manner and with the same
instrument. The blood which flowed from the wound was carefully
collected in a jar which an assistant then handed to the "Sounou"
(doctor) with these words:

"Taste this blood."

The Sounou wetted his lips with it and answered:

"It is pure."

This tasting of the blood was necessary to demonstrate that the beast
had been well chosen. Finally the animal was cut in pieces, beginning
at the thigh, which was considered the choicest part, and to crown
the occasion its lungs and intestines were removed.

I myself can bear witness, after seeing many similar ceremonies
observed by the Moï during their festival of the Commemoration of the
Dead, that the proceedings show no substantial variation from those I
have just recounted. The fifty centuries which have intervened might
as well be fifty days, so perfect is the resemblance.

All religions afford many illustrations of the ability of certain
rites to defy the hand of time. Among the ethnographical collections
in the British Museum are a large number of instruments of stone used
for the purpose of sacrifice by peoples who had long since abandoned
stone as a material for all other weapons.

The great festival of the Commemoration of the Dead is celebrated by
the Moï in June of every year, in a manner which varies little in the
different tribes. I was always invited on these occasions and never
failed to attend, for the occasion is one of the highest interest.

The previous eight days are spent by the women and children in
collecting bamboos on which to hang garlands of leaves and flowers. At
intervals tall poles are erected from which various trophies are
suspended, and the whole village exchanges its usual dirt and squalor
for an appearance of irresponsible gaiety. The thatched roofs of the
huts are the only sombre note in the variegated colour-scheme. The
small canals which intersect the plain seem to be engaged in a
perpetual chase and in the distance the lofty Annamite chain rears its
proud head as if to shut off this smiling land from the rest of the

As soon as the day breaks every family rises and proceeds in Indian
file along the high banks guarding the ricefields to the family tomb,
where the loved dead are resting. The sepulchre is a small building
not unlike a hut from a distance, but distinguished from it by the
line of the roof, which is curved instead of straight, a peculiarity
which produces the form of a pagoda. The relatives renew the thatch of
the tomb where necessary, sweep the floor with the most elaborate care
and replenish the store of victuals with fresh supplies. A few prayers
are uttered and then they continue in silence to the place of
sacrifice. This is a vast clearing on which several lofty poles have
been erected. Securely tied to the foot of each pole is a young
buffalo, selected by the warriors from the tribal herd. The number of
victims to be sacrificed is determined by the number of males who have
died in the previous year, the loss of females being reckoned, with
true oriental gallantry, as a matter of no moment.

The moment the sun appears from behind the curtain of mountains four
assistants drag one of the clumsy beasts to the ground in such a way
as to expose its throat to the priestly executioner, a man of great
size, who promptly thrusts in a long, shining blade. The blood spurts
into a wide-necked copper jar, produced for the occasion. The sword
flashes once more and a groan escapes from the victim in its death
agony. The great body oscillates and falls to the ground with a thud.
The ceremony is consummated. One of the assistants now dips a small
broom in the jar and takes up some of the blood, and the members of
the family gather round the carcase. The women crouch on the ground
with their hands before their faces and utter hollow groans. The dead
beast is now covered with the clothing of the deceased, consisting of
the cloak, the skirt, a pipe, or some other object he has cherished in
life. The Sorcerer in the role of High Priest advances and commences
to recite the virtues of the dead hero in a hollow voice.

"He was strong."

"Strong," repeat the company in chorus.

"His arrow was both swift and sure."

"Swift and sure," comes the echo.

Each time the Sorcerer's words are repeated a terrific bang on a gong
makes the distant mountains ring. The litany proceeds until the
catalogue of the great departed's deeds is complete.

This ceremony recurs without variation until all the victims have

The first time I witnessed such a scene no less than nine animals were
sacrificed, though the village boasted of only twenty-five families.

When the last rite has been accomplished the assistants drag away the
carcases and proceed to the distribution of the haunches and
intestines, after which the remains are hoisted to poles adorned with
garlands. The horns are severed from the base of the skull and
suspended from the sacrificial post until the same ceremony in the
next year.

The only variation I have ever been able to discover on these
occasions is the following. Among certain groups the buffalo is
stricken down by the warriors who stand round it in a ring and hurl
their javelins in turn. Once down, however, the death-blow is
administered exactly as I have described above, and the blood allowed
to flow to the last drop. This last incident is of the utmost
importance in all ritual sacrifices, for all primitive races agree in
regarding blood as the most acceptable offering to the gods.

Ceremonies of a ritualistic character also take place when a death
occurs. The corpse is immediately propped up against one wall of the
hut, a little rice is thrust into its mouth, and each member of the
family bawls into its ears in turn. One of the women goes out to the
nearest stream with a jar and brings back some holy water. The body is
then laid out in a somewhat summary manner and sewn up in a sack of
coarse cloth which serves for shroud, after which a few branches are
strewn over it. The children begin a melancholy chant accompanying
themselves on gongs and wailing women take up the refrain. The house
is lit day and night by torches which emit a strong resinous odour.
If the dead man is a person of importance the inhabitants of the
neighbouring villages are invited and the funeral ceremonies may last
several days. A huge metal pot is then placed under the open piles on
which the hut stands. Its purpose is to catch the liquids which may
exude from the putrefying corpse, for the belief is general that
malevolent Spirits are particularly fond of this form of nourishment.

When all the mourners are assembled the interment proper begins. With
the first signs of day the bearers take up the body, convey it rapidly
through every room of the house, and after wrapping it in large palm
leaves secure it to a stout bamboo pole. The next matter is to get it
out of the house in such a way that it will never know the point of
exit. Otherwise the Spirit will surely find its way back and continue
to haunt the living. Accordingly, an opening is very carefully made in
the thatched walls or roof, so that the breach will close of itself
when the corpse has passed through. The next stage is the procession
to the burial ground. The mourners and relatives form up in Indian
file and the whole party proceeds in a direct line westwards. After
marching a few miles the bearers stop short in the depths of the
forest. They proclaim that the corpse has suddenly become heavier by
way of asserting its predilection for that particular spot. In truth
and fact this piece of pantomime is merely set form, for in nearly
every case the presence of several newly-made graves indicates that
the family burial-place has been reached. The bearers now choose a
tree, which they proceed to cut down, hollow out, and transform into a
rude coffin. At the same time others of the party dig the grave
itself, which is only deep and wide enough to accommodate the bier.
The body is always placed in such a way that the head points

The women gather round the corpse, crouching on the ground, wailing
and tearing their hair. The men stand about, affecting an air of utter
indifference. The deceased is now placed in one half of the hollowed
trunk, into which the relatives throw amulets, domestic utensils
(carefully broken first), rice, maize and various kinds of fruit.
Sometimes a hollow cane is passed through the lid of the coffin and
the earth above, ending in a small funnel through which liquids can be

As soon as the earth has been returned the bearers stamp it down with
their feet and cover the spot with brambles to keep off marauding
beasts. A kind of roof of palm leaves is erected over the tomb and on
this are placed the broken pieces of the deceased's cooking-pot and
cup and a further supply of provisions which are renewed at each new
moon during the first year but less frequently afterwards. The
mourners now leave and strive to forget their grief in a feast which
varies in magnificence with the influence and social position of the
departed brother.

Apart from the renewal of the provisions and the annual commemorative
festival, I noticed no other particular mortuary observances among the
Moï. The individual gravestone which is met with everywhere in China
and Annam seems to be unknown among the uncivilized groups of

The chief sign of mourning is to keep the hair cropped quite close for
a period varying from one to five years. The return to ordinary life
is marked by a ceremony, in the course of which some animal is
sacrificed. The liberated mourner boils its head and carries it to lay
on the tomb of the deceased, after which all are at liberty to make
short work of the rest of the animal.

It is hardly surprising that mourning is not expressed by any change
of dress, for the scanty supply of flimsy wrappings does not permit of
much variation.

This is perhaps a convenient moment to mention certain burial rites,
which seem peculiar to the savage tribes of Tong-King, where the
influence of Chinese customs and manners is easily traceable.

When a Tho dies the family strew the floor of the house with a vast
number of minute pieces of gold and silver paper. These baubles
attract the Spirits, which can then be easily captured. A cloth mask
is placed over the dead man's face and goose feathers are fastened
into his clothing to enable him to soar over the rivers which might
otherwise impede his progress in the world beyond. A complete set of
writing materials is put in the coffin so that he may have no
difficulty in communicating his ideas and experiences to the living.
The Sorcerer furnishes the deceased with a passport and complete
directions as to his behaviour in the new existence. The grave is not
dug until the Geomancer has determined the exact spot by means of two
sticks and a piece of cord. An immense catafalque painted in five
colours is raised over the corpse, and under this imposing arch the
dead man's sons pass in procession, leaning on their "Weeping Sticks"
and preceded by an attendant who throws handfuls of maize into the air
to distract the attention of evil Spirits.

When the interment is over the Sorcerer proceeds to burn the
catafalque, which, being no more than a slender framework of bamboo
covered with sheets of paper or flimsy material, offers no resistance.

A few days after this ceremony those of the dead man's sons who have
founded a household of their own raise a small hut near their own
establishment to accommodate the personal belongings of the deceased.

Lest the soul should grow weary in its new abode pipes of opium are
constantly prepared for it and placed in this hut. Further, occasional
diversion is provided by organizing a ritual dance, in which many
persons take part. To complete the entertainment of the Spirit, the
dancers wear quite special costume, consisting of a mask representing
the marabout stork. From this mask falls a long veil which completely
conceals the dancer's body and produces a resemblance lively enough to
give to this ceremony the name of "The Dance of the Marabouts."

The burning of the catafalque by the Tho calls to mind a curious
burial rite observed in some places in France. When a Savoyard dies
his relations put on gloves, fasten an armlet on their sleeves, and
themselves carry the coffin to the cemetery. Before the earth is
returned to the grave they throw these gloves and armlets into the
bier and take back the pall to the curé, who burns it. If this custom
is originally due to the fear of contagion from anything which has
come into contact with the coffin it can hardly be disputed that we
are face to face with a true prophylactic rite.

Among the Meo, when a man dies the relatives tie a lacquer dog to the
end of a string, which is put in his hand. The reason for this is the
belief that the animal will lead its master through the tangled
by-paths of his new domain. The corpse is taken to the tomb seated in
a chair. A plank is laid at the bottom of the grave and the body
lowered on to it.

A similar custom is found among the Indians of British Columbia, who
believe that the dead warrior must never be put in his coffin in the
house, lest the relatives should lose their souls which would be
attracted by the bier and try to get into it. They also follow the
practice I have described above of taking the corpse out through the
roof or a hole made in the walls.

[Illustration: Funeral Rites: The Body in a Coffin made from the
Hollowed Trunk of a Tree.]

[Illustration: Funeral Rites: the Body by its weight has indicated its
wish to be buried in this Spot.]

Another custom popular in Tong-King is for the mourners, as soon as
the funeral rites are accomplished, to walk through a narrow passage
made between trees or bushes set very close together. By rubbing
themselves against these obstacles they shake off any Spirit which
might have attached itself to them during the interment.

The direction in which the corpse faces is everywhere considered a
matter of the utmost importance. Certain races of the Congo, for
example the Bongo, have one rule for the men and another for the
women, the former facing north, the latter south.

The Moï cemeteries vary greatly in different regions. Some tribes
favour a kind of family burial hut, on the floor of which the coffins
are laid in rows. The interstices of the coffin are then carefully
filled up with cement made of clay and pulped leaves. This mausoleum
is always in the middle of a rice or maize field at a convenient
distance from the village. As a rule the edifice has no distinct
decorative features, but is usually surrounded by a wooden palisade
carved with rough figures. A circular ditch, a yard wide and two yards
deep, is dug round the cemetery. The earth thus removed is accumulated
on one spot and gradually forms a conical mound. I have occasionally
seen such a mound surrounded by a palisade of which each post had
received individual artistic treatment.

A common feature of all cemeteries is a wooden shanty looking like a
European pigeon-house, in which are stored the bones of the victims
offered up in sacrifice for the dead. These charnel houses are often
painted with the blood of slaughtered animals.

A funeral pyre is reserved only for the Kings of Fire and Water.
Burial in the earth is the rule among all branches of this group.
Among a few tribes the coffins are hoisted to the branches of trees
and secured with rattan threads. Pieces of coarse cloth wrapped round
the corpse are considered sufficient to protect it from the weather.
These aerial cemeteries are also found in Borneo.

In all parts of the country the natives displayed the greatest anxiety
that we should not disturb their tombs. We paid due regard to their
susceptibilities, carrying our respect for their customs even to the
length of abandoning a valley which seemed an ideal site for the track
of the Trans-Indo-Chinese railway, but which was honeycombed with

                              CHAPTER IX

                           ART AND CULTURE

     The relation between the evolution of artistic expression and
     social development as illustrated by the Moï and the
     Laotians--The intimate connection between Music, Dance and
     Stage--A Moï orchestra and war dance--Deficiencies in the sense
     of sound due to lack of artistic education--The effect of a
     gramophone--Predominance of the analytical over the synthetic
     faculty--Exaggerated respect for form--Impression produced by
     the stereoscope--Decorative arts--Sports, fêtes, and public
     amusements--Extensive use of marks for ritual and other

It has often been said that the craving for æsthetic expression,
inherent in human nature, lies dormant until men have taken their
first steps in the path of civilization, but that after that stage has
been passed its own growth is commensurate with the advance that is

Whatever may be the truth of this, it is undoubtedly illustrated by a
comparison between the artistic intelligence of the uncivilized Moï of
Annam and that of his immediate neighbour, the Laotian.

The former, living among a society which exhibits few traces of
organization or corporate existence, seems totally innocent of any
desire to exploit his æsthetic emotions for the benefit of others. If
he sings, it is for the good of his own soul, not for the
entertainment of his neighbours. His song consists of a rhythmic
cadence produced either by a series of inarticulate sounds or by a
meaningless repetition of an interjection, a syllable, or a word. He
is not sociable, much less altruistic. Why, then, should he give
himself the trouble of manœuvring his feet or acting a scene for
the sole benefit of the spectators? Accordingly these two artistic
manifestations, dancing and music, are almost unknown among the Moï.

The Laotian, on the other hand, is a gregarious animal and likes
nothing better than to express his sociable instincts in public
rejoicings of all kinds. He is not satisfied with song by itself but
accompanies his outbursts with pantomime of various kinds, and also
dances which are intended to recall the past or provoke desire. The
favourite scenes which are represented are an elephant hunt or a
combat, if the feelings to be relieved are particularly warlike. If,
however, the singer-dancer-actor is in peaceful mood the scenes
enacted will be those of ploughing, sowing and harvest. These mock
plays vary greatly with the degree of civilization to which each group
has arrived.

It has been said that music usually excites the listener to movement
or action. This is probably because, originally, music was always
associated with miming and dance, and the effect is still felt after
the cause has disappeared. However that may be, music has always
inspired to high deeds, whether by acting as an intellectual
stimulant to the listener whose brain dwarfs his muscles, or as a
physical stimulant to the listener in whom matter dominates mind.
Music inspired Dante to some of his greatest poems and John Stuart
Mill to some of his profoundest and most original philosophical

One explanation of the fact that song is the first artistic
manifestation of primitive man is the probability that his first
articulate utterances were either cries or actually sung. Even to-day
a child which is completely isolated from birth will be able to sing
but will never learn to talk. All mothers know that a child's first
cries are attempts to sing. Only after the lapse of a year does it
accustom itself to employ the speaking voice. It does not seem
altogether presumptuous, therefore, to believe that in the infancy of
man Music was the æsthetic imitation of his first vocal utterances.

Later, man realized that it was possible to add volume and variation
by accompanying the sounds with rhythmical beats produced by some
object within reach. Of such objects are the familiar stick, with
which the aborigines of Australia mark time, and the heel of the Moï
dancer which sets the measure for a warlike march with its regular
taps on the ground.

Soon other embellishments follow. The gourd finds itself the rustic
tom-tom, a popular instrument among the Moï as among the native races
of Africa. The hollow bamboo stalk appears in all the glory of a
flute. Finally, the orchestra makes its bow with the invention of
stringed instruments and gradually supersedes the human voice, which
it was originally only designed to accompany.

The evolution I have outlined was brilliantly illustrated in Greece,
where we can easily follow the successive stages by which Music
liberated itself from the trammels of Dance and Pantomime and emerged
as a self-contained art of its own.

There is little to be said about the Moï dancing, which shows lack of
imagination and invention. The funeral and war-dances are
characterized by conventional steps with few features of distinction,
a fact which corroborates the view expressed above that artistic
development follows in the path of civilization.

The orchestra comprises various instruments which can be used both for
purposes of solo and accompaniment. The lower parts are entrusted to a
wooden box measuring a yard across, with a series of holes over which
a buffalo skin is tightly stretched. The volume of sound is augmented
by metal buttons secured to nails distributed over the surface of the
instrument, as also by bells of different sizes. This discordant and
formidable sound-box is vigorously thumped with a mallet and
accompanied by brass or copper gongs, which are frequently hung from
the roof and played like bells. The "Radé" and "Djarai" groups also
use wooden or metal discs joined in pairs, which are clashed together
after the manner of cymbals.

The instruments to accompany the voice are various species of fifes
and flutes, of which the most popular consists of five or six bamboo
tubes of different lengths soldered with clay to a large gourd.

Each district has its favourite tunes which gradually become
recognizable to the European ear and, though at first they seem devoid
of all musical qualities, it is surprising how soon a particular
rhythm or melody fixes itself on the mind and tickles the fancy.

Singing seems to be a form of diversion confined to the women. On the
other hand, a woman in an orchestra is an exceptional phenomenon, and
it is only on rare occasions that she is allowed to take part even in
a dance. The song seems to be nothing more than an emission of sounds
having no musical relation to each other whatever. It is a monotonous
recitative, broken only by more or less passionate interjectional
explosions. The series of notes is dependent solely on the singer's
sweet will. She seems to have no idea of what she is singing, for
frequently when a particular phrase caught our fancy and we asked for
it again she confessed her utter inability to repeat it. The sounds
are harsh and piercing, and usually recall the cries of wild beasts.

Strange though it may sound, it is nevertheless true that the hearing
of the Moï is extremely quick and well trained. He can recognize the
ticking of a watch ten yards away and the sound of a rifle at a
distance of four miles. Of course there is all the difference between
having quick hearing and a good ear for music. The latter quality
depends, not on the physical construction of the organ, but on
artistic education, in which the Moï have always remained lacking.

It is an old saying that the savage always prefers something which
appeals to him by its violence. The more harsh and strident are the
sounds the more they will appeal to his musical taste. To put this
theory to the proof we frequently tested the native preferences with
our gramophone.

No one could imagine the curiosity aroused in the village the first
time we gave a concert on this instrument. Our geodetical operations
were in full swing and, apart from the interest created by these, we
had gathered huge audiences of women and children by filling up the
intervals of our work with impromptu performances for their benefit.
Our main "turns," which never varied, but of which they never seemed
to grow weary, were as follows. We used to light a cigarette from a
distance by means of a magnifying glass, or show them a compass of
which the needle seemed to move exactly where and when we pleased.
Other objects of immense popular interest were our watches with their
mysterious ticking, the cork-screw of a wonderful eight-bladed knife,
and, marvel of marvels, the astronomical telescope which made it
possible to recognize a friend at a distance of more than three
hundred yards and which compelled him to walk on his head!

In view of these wonders our fame spread abroad, and when our concert
was announced each man told his neighbour that a trick yet more
marvellous than any yet seen was about to be performed by the bearded
strangers with pockets bulging with tobacco!

In a very short time the huts were empty though the heat was
appalling. Even the village sluggards left their perpetual siesta, and
in many cases women and children brought their menfolk by main force.
No one was allowed to remain behind on so important an occasion. Soon
the audience was gathered round us, the children in front, the mothers
squatting in groups, the warriors standing about with an affected air
of lofty indifference. A lively dispute as to the choice of records
roused public interest to fever heat, and as no two of us thought
alike, each holding out for his favourite piece, we settled the vexed
question by drawing lots. The choice fell on the "Spring Song," which,
however, met with little favour. The audience evidently had no opinion
of Mendelssohn. The small children made for their mother's arms in
terror and were only consoled with difficulty. The general feeling was
one of astonishment passing to displeasure. We hastily took off that
record and replaced it by a hunting-chorus well sprinkled with the
blare of horns. This met with a most enthusiastic reception.

The standard and canons of musical taste among the Moï were thus
brutally revealed to us. We took the hint at once. The beautiful
collections of chamber-music which had so often charmed our ill-temper
with its memories of far-away France were hastily dismissed to the
bottom of the box. We put on all the loudest band records we had and
then raided our stock for selections on all the noisiest instruments.
The neighbouring forest was soon echoing the strident notes of
xylophone, banjo, ocarina and trombone. We went to the music-halls and
called on the singers and whistlers, and when the interval was
announced after "Fou Rire," the entire audience went off almost
convulsed with attempts to imitate it.

Quite recently we prevailed on the Chief of a neighbouring tribe to
allow us to make a record of his speeches at a wedding-feast to which
we had been invited. Without giving any warning we then turned on the
disc. The audience pricked up its ears and seemed intensely interested
to hear the well-known voice under such novel circumstances. Suddenly,
before the record was half-way through, a slave seized hold of a jar
of spirits and tried to empty its contents down the trumpet of the
instrument. It took all my strength and eloquence to dissuade him from
this fell purpose. The audience, however, seemed to take his
intervention as a matter of course. The explanation of this unforeseen
attack was simple. The gramophone, faithfully recording the utterances
of the chief, had demanded, on its own behalf, something to drink!

After this, of course, we had to go through our repertoire, at the end
of which an escort appeared to take the marvellous apparatus home. The
grateful audience surpassed by smothering it with wrappings of all
kinds. They would rather have died than allow such angelic voices to
run the risk of catching cold.

Another explanation of their tastes in music is the love of
exaggeration in any and every form which seems to sway the savage. The
sound that pleases him must be explosive. A colour must be brilliant,
an outline striking or grotesque. The more we examined examples of
their decorative art, a branch of activity for which the Moï display
real aptitude, the more we realized their over-emphasis of the
dominant lines. Another characteristic, common among all races with a
low standard of culture, is their repugnance to leave bare places in a
scheme of decoration. There are no such things as contrast, foil, or
background. Each part of the design has as much importance as any
other. If they decorate a room, for example, they do not leave the
smallest space without treatment of some kind. It follows from this
that the Moï, as critic, is concerned solely with details and has no
thought of the inward meaning or larger significance of a composition.

I frequently demonstrated the truth of this observation by the
following experiment. When I visited a new group I used to make a bid
for popular favour by a generous distribution of tobacco to the few
children who overcame their alarm at my beard and strange costume.
Thus encouraged, they soon flocked round when I drew out my pocket
stereoscope and a box of slides consisting of photographs of children
of the neighbouring tribes, taken at a moment when these restless
rascals were still. The astonished exclamations of my juvenile
audience soon brought their mothers, grandfathers, and even some of
the less shy sisters on the scene. The men, of course, were either out
hunting or busy with a siesta which must on no account be interrupted.
A circle was formed round me and every one had a look in turn.

"What a big nose!" said number one. "There's the red mark of betel on
his mouth," he continued. "Look at the lovely white ring in his ear!
Why, it's a whole head! I believe it's 'Little Buffalo' who came here
with his father for the last harvest!"

He was right. It was indeed "Little Buffalo," whose resemblance was
thus not established before our savage had examined every detail of
his face.

Shouts of laughter greeted the discovery and it was plain that they
all really thought "Little Buffalo" was there in the flesh. They all
put out their hands to feel him, and great was the amazement when they
only touched the back of the card. My box of slides soon acquired a
baneful reputation as the abode of Spirits.

[Illustration: A Medical Examination.]

[Illustration: Looking through the Stereoscope.]

[Illustration: Three Boys of our Native Guard.]

One day a woman came to see me to announce that her baby had died a
few days after I had taken its photograph. I was hardly surprised,
for the child was very ill at the time.

"Great Master," she said, "my baby is in your box. Please give me
another at once, but this time it must be one already brought up."

She was astounded when, to grant her request, I sent her off to her

Doctor O. Munsterberg, in an interesting study, has advanced the view
that in its origin art is nothing but realism. It is undoubtedly true
that the savage mind seems entirely preoccupied with the concrete, and
entirely incapable of comprehending abstract ideas. It is equally true
that we have changed our methods of teaching the natives in the light
of this discovery and that the results obtained illustrate the
inevitable failure of our old system. No one doubts that a child
learns to reproduce a drawing of some familiar object far more easily
than a symbol, such as a letter of the alphabet, which is not
identified with anything having a concrete existence.

The art of the Moï is nothing if not realistic. It is also solely and
totally utilitarian, since it is confined to industrial use. The
figures employed for ornamentation are invariably taken from the
animal or vegetable world with which they are familiar. For instance,
popular subjects for reproduction (not without remarkable
transformations) are the tracks of a hen in the dust, the marks on the
skin left by the bristles of a boar, the teeth of a saw, the scales of
a turtle, or the crested ridge of a fish's back. It will be recalled
in this connection that many of these signs are adopted as tribal or
proprietary symbols.

The favourite objects for decoration are pipes, quivers and drinking
horns. When the artist has finished his design he smears blood over
the subject, both to throw up the outlines of the figure and also to
add a touch of violent colour.

Sculpture is still in its infancy. In many of the cemeteries the
traveller will find figures of seated women, their hair lank and
dirty, supporting their elbows on their knees and covering their faces
with their hands. These are the widows, who, in a truly life-like
attitude of desolation, weep for the departed. The impression of
reality is heightened by covering their heads with human hair and
their bodies with ragged clothing.

There is a close kinship between the art of the Moï and that of the
uncivilized peoples of the Malay Peninsula, another proof that all
these races are branches of the same stock. Their art exhibits the
same sense of proportion, the same boldness of design, the same horror
of empty spaces which is revealed by the overloading of ornament and
exaggeration of form.

The Moï by nature is easy-going and idle and displays such energy as
he has in devising fresh amusements. The prime distraction for him,
however, remains the opening of a jar of spirits of rice.

Certain games of skill are in vogue, of which the most interesting is
a form of fencing in which skill seems to blend with a good deal of
flourish. The two combatants are armed with wooden sabres, smeared on
the sharper edge with buffalo's blood so as to leave a mark wherever
it touches. The point is blunted and cannot be used by the laws of the
game. Unlike the European rules, it is not prohibited to strike the
lower half of the adversary's body. Accordingly, the fencers do not
maintain any fixed stance, but revolve about a central point and use
their legs to ward off hostile passes. It is quite usual to see all
four limbs requisitioned in an emergency. A high standard of acrobatic
agility and sureness of eye and hand is attained.

A few of the Moï who have lived among the Laotians have brought back
to their countrymen various borrowed amusements and, among them,
primitive stage-plays. Of the plots of these, which are destitute of
imagination or construction, the following is typical.

A few girls walk about under the watchful eyes of their parents. A
stranger appears and tries to carry off an unsuspecting damsel. A free
fight ensues, in the course of which the ravisher is vanquished and
pretends to fly, but as soon as the pursuit slackens he returns, waits
for a favourable moment, and catches his prey round the waist.

Shrieks for help! The lady faints!

The evil deed seems about to be crowned with success when a Spirit
appears, strikes the bold wrongdoer to the ground, and leaves him
lifeless at his intended victim's feet.

The women's parts are taken by boys in accordance with the unwavering
rule throughout the Far East that females may not appear in any
dramatic representation.

The Moï celebrate New Year's Day with a festival that lasts at least
seven days. During this period etiquette requires that seven
buffaloes, seven pigs, seven goats and seven white cocks should be
consumed and this formidable fare is washed down, in accordance with
the rites, with the contents of seven jars.

All the neighbours of the Laotians follow that race in the details of
their observance of these ceremonies, which are called by their
Laotian name of "the Festival of the Dead Year." The participants are
formed up in a long procession. The girls sprinkle perfumed water on
the boys they like and throw mud at those they dislike. Both the
favoured and the despised recipients of these attentions take them
with good humour as being part of the day's work. Actors then appear
dressed to represent our First Parents. According to legend these two
worthies, in the beginning of the world, were covered with thick hair
like the beasts. Accordingly, the performers wear a covering made of
innumerable strips of bamboo.

The actors who play Adam, Eve, and the Dragon, cover their heads with
black wooden masks representing grinning devils with horrible fangs,
enormous ears and a tangled mane reaching the ground. So far from
exciting fear or even curiosity, however, these blood-curdling
apparitions are greeted with a universal shout of merriment. A curious
pantomime follows. The three performers fall on their knees, raise
their right arms, and manipulate the movable lower jaw of their masks
while delivering in concert a wonderful harangue, in the course of
which they extol the virtues and voice the most intimate desires of
each member of the audience. The last words are a wish for a Happy New
Year to the village and every living creature within it.

Amid the riotous plaudits of the crowd the actors then retire with a
profusion of bows and capers.

All savage races are familiar with the use of horrifying masks to
heighten the effects of religious rites. The fetish worshippers of
Africa regard them as an indispensable accessory to the due
performance of the ceremonies, and every traveller has seen the
performers in ritual dances adorned with their grotesque headgear.

Sometimes the masks have special characteristics to connote the racial
peculiarities of those who wear them. The Moï masks, for example, are
remarkable for their long flowing hair and it may well be because this
people believe that their ancestors were a hairy race.

It is quite usual for the masks to commemorate some ethnical
peculiarity which distinguishes the group.

In Egypt the King usually adorned himself with a mask of the
animal-god from whom he claimed descent.

The visitor to the Trocadero in Paris will see statues of the Kings of
Dahomey represented as sharks, their bodies covered with scales. The
British Museum contains a number of bronze reliefs whereon the King of
Benin appears as half shark and half man.

In short, in countries savage or civilized, masked dances are nothing
but crude attempts to dramatize popular myths, and accordingly the
actors play the rôles either of animals or the legendary heroes with
whom they battled.

                              CHAPTER X

                          INTELLECTUAL LIFE

     The relations between the development of language and social
     evolution--An enigmatic system of writing--Knotted cords,
     knotches in sticks, and their accessories--The evolution of
     literature among primitive races--Length of memory among races
     that have no written records--Historical value of legends
     transmitted by oral tradition--Nature of the more usual
     alterations to be met with in documentary folklore--The most
     general legends, fables and proverbs of the Moï.

The main fact which differentiates primitive groups among themselves
is diversity of language. To this rule the Moï present no exception,
for they offer the choice of a considerable number of dialects. There
are very nearly as many dialects as tribes, and, what at first seems
even more extraordinary, the dialect of one village is usually
unintelligible to the inhabitants of any other. But this singularity
vanishes when we investigate more closely, and for these reasons.

The development of a language is intimately connected with the
simultaneous intellectual and social evolution of the race which
employs it. Now the civilization of the Moï has been stationary, if
not actually retrogressive, for a prolonged period, and accordingly
it is to be expected that their language, far from consolidating
itself, should be subject to all the influences which flow from
contact with neighbouring populations.

The learned philologist Cabaton has classified the Moï dialects into
three broad divisions, according to the degree in which they have been
modified by the tongues spoken by neighbouring peoples who have
advanced to a higher stage of civilization. These three divisions

(_a_) Dialects of Malayo-Polynesian origin.

(_b_) Dialects of Kmer origin.

(_c_) Dialects of Thibeto-Birman, Taî or Chinese origin.

This diversity of dialects is responsible for the fact that the word
"Moï" has no ethnical sense at all and that it is a mere generic term
which, as I have explained before, can conveniently be used to
describe the whole complex of barbarous groups which dwell in the
mountain uplands of Indo-China. The word does not signify an
autonomous entity with clearly defined characteristics, but merely a
medley of various elements, of which many have lost all trace of
common origin.

It is even more difficult to catalogue the different races which go to
make up the inhabitants of Indo-China than to catalogue the dialects.
At first sight some of them seem to be pure, but closer inquiry soon
dispels the illusion. There are many reasons to account for this,
among which may be cited the prevalence of polygamy and the perpetual
inter-tribal conflicts in the course of which the vanquished, after a
short period, are absorbed by the victors, to the evident advantage of
the latter.

If the dialects are innumerable, there is virtually only one method,
employed by all the groups, of communicating ideas or transmitting
thought. It consists of the use of certain conventional signs. The
more common of these are triangular or hexagonal figures of bamboo or
rattan, measuring one foot eight inches in their greater dimension and
hung in some conspicuous place. These geometrical forms warn the
traveller of impending danger or notify a prohibition to cross the
boundary of a "taboo" village.

Another method of communication is by means of a string with a series
of knots. This practice recalls the _quipos_ which were in use among
the Peruvians and Mexicans to record important events and as a medium
for the transmission of thought.

Suppose two friends want to arrange an appointment to meet in several
days' time. They present each other with threads which have the same
number of knots and as many knots as there are days to elapse before
the meeting. Every day at sunrise each of them unties one of the
knots. When at length there are no knots left they know that the
appointed day has arrived.

It is very curious that the Moï, whose recollection of facts is almost
infallible, are unable to recall either figures or dates without the
assistance of mechanical aids to memory.

Doctor Noël Bernard, of the Colonial Forces, tells a very interesting
story in his exhaustive monograph on the Kha.

     "In a village situated in the plateau of Boloven I found the
     inhabitants stricken with terror. They informed me that a
     malevolent Genius had been enraged with them for more than a
     year and was decimating the population. To remedy their
     ill-fortune they rebuilt the village in a new place, and the
     death-rate decreased. I happened to ask them the number of the
     victims in that fatal year. They could not tell me. I renewed
     the question and the village chief gave me the figures in a
     highly novel manner. As he called out each victim by name he
     laid a small stick down at his feet. When the counting was
     completed the old man summed up as follows: 'Two died during
     seed time, three during harvest, four at the beginning of the
     rains,' and so on, concluding with a tragic, 'What a number!'
     But not a single native present could calculate that number,
     though there were only thirteen sticks at the feet of the
     incompetent arithmeticians!"

M. A. Gaultier de Claubry, when he was Director of Public Instruction
in Indo-China, had opportunities of making observations which throw
light on the incident just related. He used to teach French to
twenty-two natives between the ages of twelve and twenty and wished to
follow the ordinary rational method of explaining the meaning of a
lesson first and asking his pupils to learn it by heart only after
that meaning had become clear in their minds.

After a period devoted to repeated attempts along these lines he had
to confess himself beaten and that the method was impracticable so far
as these particular scholars were concerned, for the more clearly they
grasped the meaning of the words the greater was their difficulty in
committing them to memory.

Contrary to all the recognized precepts of sound teaching, the
Professor resolved to reverse the process, make his pupils first learn
the lesson by heart and only proceed to its translation and
explanation when they could recite the words without a slip. The
results were even more unexpected, for the more quick and certain
their memories became the greater was their difficulty in
understanding the meaning of the words.

The Professor repeated this experiment from time to time and the same
phenomena always recurred.

It seems, therefore, clearly arguable that in certain individual cases
connection between the thinking and memorizing faculties is either
missing or only imperfectly established. They seem unable to perform
their functions simultaneously. The memory cannot work properly unless
all other mental processes are suspended.

But to return to arithmetic, the custom of employing pieces of wood to
assist calculation is to be found everywhere in the savage world. Our
coolies were collected from many different quarters, but they all
carried a bamboo in which each evening they cut a notch to reckon up
the number of days of service. On pay days they lined up solemnly side
by side and each produced his stick from his loin-cloth and presented
it for inspection. It was very rarely that our accountants found any
error in the number of the notches.

As will have been gathered from the answers of the Moï chief to Doctor
Bernard, the estimation of time by years of twelve months is unknown
in these regions. Savages date all the events of their lives by their
relation to the occurrences which affect them most, that is to say,
the variations of the monsoon and the forward or backward condition of
the crops.

No one knows his age, for no practical benefit accrues from the
attainment of that piece of knowledge.

The use of sticks is not limited to the purpose I have mentioned but
extends to the transmission of orders or information. In the last case
notches are cut on both sides of the stick and of various forms and
depths. Also they will be separated by spaces of varying lengths. Each
of these details has thus a special significance.

This is the method employed by one village to convey a declaration of
war to another. Its general terms will be much as follows:

     "Twelve days hence we shall seize any man who crosses our
     boundary. We will not release him except or ransom, four
     strong oxen which have already worked in the ricefields, or,
     failing them, two sets of gongs at least ten years in the
     making. Our tribe counts more than thirty young warriors
     trained to the bow, and a great number of old men, women and

Before being entrusted to the messenger charged with delivering it to
the foe this ultimatum-stick is decorated, according to immemorial
usage, with some egret's feathers, a burnt bamboo, and red pimento.

The symbolical significance of these accessories is as follows:

     "Messenger! Thou must be as swift as the bird whose feather you
     bear. Thou shalt not stop by day or night, and this bamboo will
     point thy pathway in the hours of darkness. Thou shalt not fear
     if thou neglectest not to eat some pimento such as this."

I have often met women or old men with these notched laths hung round
their necks. On inquiry they informed me that each notch represented a
goat or chicken promised to the Pi of the forest in return for
protection from the Tiger. As their slender means did not unable them
to make a sacrifice in advance they were postponing the redemption of
the promise until the next harvest.

I was indiscreet enough to inquire what would become of them if by any
chance the vow was never fulfilled, but they looked at me in blank
astonishment and indignantly denied that there could be any compromise
with conscience. One of them, however, took me into his confidence.
"I was unable to fulfil a certain vow during the last harvest, which
was a particularly bad one, so instead of the five chickens which I
first promised the Pi I now owe them one goat. If the next harvest is
not better than the last, the goat will have to be replaced by a pig."

It sometimes happened that when we had broken up our encampment and
were advancing to a new site some particularly well-inclined Chief
dispatched a warrior-herald before us to announce our arrival by means
of a notched stick. The contents of the message were such that before
we had appeared the rice necessary for our escort and the paddy for
our horses had all been prepared.

I must add that I speak of exceptional occurrences. The rule was that
no herald preceded us, or if he did his message was of very different
tenor. In such cases, the great majority, we could do nothing but
seize by force of arms what ought to have been conceded with good

The Moï regarded our written characters as a species of magical
invention. Accordingly the powers thus attributed to the letters
themselves were speedily extended to the paper on which they were
written. They began to furnish themselves with a "Sra," or sheet of
paper, whenever they set out on a journey, in the belief that it would
guarantee them against delay or mishap _en route_. A courier would
always carry an envelope, generally empty and unaddressed. Armed with
this talisman he was secured against the attacks of tigers and evil
spirits and freed from all anxiety as regards what La Fontaine has
described as "bon souper, bon gîte, et ... le reste."

This use of notches as written symbols is also found among certain
peoples of southern China. Father Crabouillet tells us something of
this in his writings. In the course of his missionary work he
discovered that the natives are able to represent by these means not
only concrete objects but also abstract ideas. They were familiar with
the ideographic characters of the Chinese, yet they preferred to use
their own enigmatic system for the transaction of business.

We can only conclude that their object is to keep their affairs
private from their neighbours the Celestials, whom they have
particular reason to distrust.

The literary evolution of primitive peoples follows soon after their
musical evolution, to which I have already referred. In the first
stages, poetry, song and dance are inextricably associated. The spoken
word plays a quite subordinate part in this æsthetic trinity. It
serves to explain the meaning of the rhythmical movements but cannot
be dissociated from them. The form of this rudimentary poetry is
frequently a simple exclamation, a cry or imitative call. The
interjectional refrains which we find to-day among savage tribes are
only the relics of those wordless romances which preceded spoken verse
in the first stage.

Metre is none other than the outcome of man's natural leaning to
measured sounds. The verse of primitive folk is accordingly
distinguished by the shortness of its lines. There is no rhyme except
that which results from the combination of assonances. The length of a
line may be used as a test of the standard of civilization to which a
people has attained, for it only reaches appreciable dimensions when
rules of metre and prosody have been formulated and enforced.

In China there is a mass of documentary evidence which throws light on
this process of evolution. The line in that country was originally of
four feet only, and did not attain to seven feet for a very
considerable period. In India the Sanscrit line is very short in the
Rig-Veda and gradually lengthens in the Epics, concluding with the
dimensions of fifteen syllables divided by a hemistich, the relic of
an earlier period in which the line was very short.

At the peril of seeming paradoxical I have lingered over the sense of
rhythm among primitive peoples because so many travellers have
expressed surprise at the immense impression which can be produced on
a savage by uttering a poetic phrase or merely inserting a line of
verse in ordinary conversation.

One of our party, a poet in his own way, frequently took advantage of
the impression thus produced. He always addressed our coolies in
verse, and though his knowledge of the language was only elementary,
he was better understood and more speedily obeyed than others of us
who spoke the dialects fluently. He united with this gift of rhyme a
facility of metaphor which was remarkable. His conversation was sown
thick with images, many of them quite ridiculous, but yet not so
absurd as to prevent even our appreciation of them.

I have already remarked that in the infancy of society æsthetic
manifestations were confined to choral dances representing simple
subjects of an impersonal character, and no more than the reflection
of the current life and thought of the group. But in course of time
that way of life and thought became profoundly modified by new
influences and movements, resulting from conflicts between rich and
poor, master and slave. A new literature arose which expressed other
feelings and aspirations, a literature which found voice in the
popular artists who invented a new profession in all countries. The
rhapsodists of Greece, the scalds of Scandinavia, and the Celtic
bards, furnish familiar examples.

Everywhere these wandering minstrels presented the vague popular
traditions in set forms. Their works reflect quite faithfully the
movements and aspirations of their own day, and being transmitted by
oral tradition, they form to-day a body of material which is virtually
our only source of information as to the folklore of primitive races.

Accordingly, no study of a group can be complete which takes no
account of its legends, myths and fables; if a group has no written
records they form our only historical evidence. It has often been
remarked that the non-existence of such records has served the purpose
of improving the memories of those who have only oral tradition to
rely on.

Recent research among primitive peoples in this very subject has
demonstrated that the average duration of the recollection of an event
is six generations, or about one hundred and fifty years. During that
period, if the event is one of importance but yet in the natural order
of things such as an earthquake or a flood, or even a political
occurrence, such as a change of dynasty or a revolution, its memories
will remain practically unmodified. Of course this applies only to
groups among which the use of writing is unknown. Otherwise, the
absence of any necessity for oral tradition greatly diminishes the
length of its life. During our expedition we had many occasions to
observe the ease with which the Moï Chiefs recollected events long
since past and generally forgotten. Father Durand made the same
discovery during his long residence in Annam. He told me of historical
events in the eighteenth century of which the Moï had spoken to him
with the most circumstantial detail. For example, they remembered the
revolt of Thang Khoi in 1834 as if it had been an occurrence of only
yesterday, and recounted an exploit, long since forgotten, of two
Cochin-Chinese adventurers.

[Illustration: A Court of Trial on an Annamese Stage.]


  _By the courtesy of_]       [_Mme Vassalle._

A Group of Amateur Actors in Annam.]

[Illustration: A Mandarin of Annam.]

These pirates, some years before the capture of Saigon, managed to
force the barrier and enter the Imperial palace under fire from the
guns of the citadel of Hué, while the Emperor Tu Duc fled in terror.

The Annamites have a great regard for this retentiveness of memory and
their consistent hostility towards all their neighbours robs that
regard of all taint of partiality. However, once the fact is
established, it follows that many legends founded on actual
occurrences but transmitted orally from generation to generation in
default of any written record may have as much authority for
ethnography as if their authenticity had been established by
documentary proof. But it cannot be denied that the imagination of the
Moï has equally played a part in the composition of some of the
current stories which were originally true statements of fact. Like
all other peoples they have been subject to those influences which
silently introduce elements of the apocryphal into the well of truth.
Their folklore exhibits the same phenomena which can be studied at all
times in similar groups. For example they transform the hero of some
particular locality into a hero of the whole group, or, in other
words, make a national property of what is strictly a local
possession. To the same end they substitute the name of their country
for the name of the place where great events have taken place. In
these ways all get credit for what only the few deserve, and in the
end they have a fine collection of heroes and adventures filched from
every source. But in spite of these alterations, the motive of which
seems to be the ambition to have more great men and stirring deeds
than their neighbours, it is patent that these legends faithfully
reflect the principal conceptions of these primitive folk.

As the prevalent superstitions vary in different localities it would
be absurd to suppose that all the legends, myths and fables which I am
about to speak of enjoy universal currency. On the contrary, some
circulate in one part of the country, others elsewhere. But I have
attempted in making a selection to confine myself to those which are
most widely known. Some of them originated among the Laotians or
Annamites. Very few are of native origin, for the imagination of this
group has always been undeveloped.

The biblical account of the early history of the world has been
curiously adapted and transformed. The great deluge, for example,
appears under the following guise.

In the beginning a Genius incarnated in a kite disputed with one of
his colleagues incarnated in a crab, and a lively quarrel ensued, in
the course of which the latter had his shell broken by the beak of the
bird, an insult of which he bears the mark to-day. Casting about for
some means of revenge, the Crab-Genius conceived the idea of raising
the waters of the sea until they covered the high mountain on which
the Kite-Genius was perched. Every human being perished with the
exception of a young couple, brother and sister, who saved their lives
by taking refuge in a huge pumpkin. This original boat deposited them
safe and sound on the top of the highest mountain. The rescued couple
at once sought far and wide for any other survivors of the human race,
but all in vain. Their fellow beings had all perished. A tortoise
which they met with advised them to marry to ensure the continuance of
the race. The young man, horrified at the suggestion, cut the creature
in pieces as a punishment, but the pieces quickly reunited, a marvel
of which the tortoise has ever since borne the traces. The couple then
renewed their wanderings and soon met a bamboo which offered the same
advice, and was treated in the same way. Again the pieces reunited,
and from that day to this the bamboo has always had knots. Finally, a
Spirit descended to earth to terminate so embarrassing a situation. He
offered the girl eight beans, promising her that if she ate one each
year she would conceive on each occasion. In delight at the gift and
the prospective fulfilment of all her hopes, she hastened to put the
beans in her mouth, and, forgetting her instructions, swallowed them
all at once! What the Spirit foretold then came to pass. She produced
eight children at a birth and these founded the principal human

The tradition of the dispersion of the human race is also perpetuated.
The Djarai Moï, for example, give the following description of the

     "Our own land was the centre of the earth where the peoples of
     mankind, having outgrown their resources, built the Tower of
     Separation before scattering over the surface of the globe. The
     tower was so lofty that the topmost story could only be secured
     by bands of strong fibre which the workmen fastened by clinging
     to them with all their weight. Perched on the very top was one
     who thus surveyed the whole expanse of earth spread out before
     him. His duty was to indicate to those below the paths which
     led to the most fertile portions. After a short survey he
     called out to the workmen who were holding the ropes: 'To the
     Eastward I see a wondrous plain washed by the ocean, to the
     Westward a rich valley watered by a great river.' Before he
     could continue, however, an ominous rumbling was heard, the
     tower trembled for the space of a moment, and then fell to the
     earth with a crash, burying him under its ruins. The Annamites
     and Laotians were the unkind workmen who had all let go in
     their frantic haste to find the prosperous regions so
     eloquently described! As for the Moï, they were far too lazy to
     enter into an exhausting competition, so they remained on the
     forest-clad mountains which no one envied them."

The story of Joshua stopping the sun is replaced by that of a Spirit
exhibiting the same powers.

     "In the beginning there dwelt in the land of the Moï-Bahnar a
     valiant chieftain named Diong, whom the gods themselves were
     unable to subdue. So great was the fame of his exploits that
     women frequently deserted their husbands in order to follow
     him. One of these offenders was the wife of the chief of the
     Moï-Djarai, who resolved to punish the author of his wrong, and
     declared war on him. The two tribes composed of equal numbers
     of skilled warriors fought with the utmost desperation, but
     fortune finally favoured Diong, who ended the day by slaying
     the injured husband with his own hand. Firmly convinced that
     his triumph was only due to celestial intervention, the victor
     begged the Spirits to put back the course of the sun in order
     to allow him time to annihilate his foes. His prayer was
     answered, for the gods drew back the sun and started it again
     at midday."

Most of these legends have been collected by the Catholic
missionaries, whose work among the people of Bahnar has met with a
large measure of success. It is possible that the higher standard of
education to which the people of this region have attained has made
possible the investigation of these biblical stories. Other groups,
when questioned on the subject, can give no account of their legends
whatever. I ought to say, however, that the story of the pumpkin
saving the human race at the time of the deluge is well known among
all the semi-savage peoples of Indo-China.

Sometimes the individual characteristics of a group are illuminated by
a legend or fable which explains their origin. For example, the origin
of the Moï practice of filing the teeth may be sought in a Cambodian

When Buddha dwelt among men he was fed by each of his faithful
disciples in turn. He visited the Moï and after them the Cambodians
and asserted that the meats offered him by the former were much
inferior to those of the latter. The reason for the difference was
then made clear to him. The Moï were too lazy to pound the rice and
contented themselves with grinding it in their teeth. The Master was
greatly incensed at this lack of respect towards himself and condemned
them to file their teeth in such a way that a repetition of the
offence would be impossible. Further they were compelled to wear in
their hair the small sticks which served for cooking utensils and, to
add to their shame, he pierced their ears and forbade them to wear
anything but the plainest clothing. The Moï found these restrictions
more than they could bear and they fled to the mountains, leaving the
plains to the Cambodians who dwell there to this day.

The extraordinary configuration of the regions inhabited by the Moï
was bound to give birth to many legends which would furnish them with
some satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon. The chief
characteristics of these stories will be illustrated by the following
examples, which I have selected at random.

The highest point of the great Annamite chain is a lofty mountain with
a curious needle-shaped peak. The summit is inaccessible, and our
surveyors had to be content with establishing their geodetical
station at its foot. The peak is a well-known landmark and, according
to the Moï, none other than the wife of a Spirit, who turned her into
stone. In the beginning of creation a company of demigods dwelt on
this spot. One day the husband went to get food, leaving his wife at
home. She took advantage of his absence to deceive him, and in the
fulness of time became pregnant. On his return the Spirit learned of
the injury he had suffered and turned on the accomplice who took to
flight. The husband gave chase, came up with his rival as he was on
the point of casting himself into a river, seized him, cut off his
head and turned his corpse into a stone.

Unsatisfied with this act of vengeance the murderer retraced his steps
and likewise turned into stone everyone who had assisted the flight of
his rival. On entering his palace he observed a crowd gathering round
his wife who, in the throes of childbirth, had summoned a midwife and
all her friends. The sight maddened him, and with a wave of his hand
he transformed every living creature within reach into a mountain.
Even the elephants, which in this country serve as transport animals,
did not escape his vengeance. That is why this massive group of peaks
is known as "The Mother and Child," a name preserved even by our

Even more general than legends are ballads, fables and popular songs.
Some of the chants which approximate to liturgical psalms are only
known to a few select spirits who sing them together on special

Henri Maître, the commissioner, has translated one of these rhapsodies
which he discovered in the course of his ethnographical researches. A
few extracts will illustrate the halting simplicity which
characterizes these compositions.

     "The Gods created the Earth and the trees. That is why men know
     how to make gongs and tom-toms with which they accompany their
     sacrifices to the Spirits....

     "Men create jars for spirits and the hollow bamboo tubes
     through which they suck up the liquid....

     "Parents bring children into the world and feed them until they
     are able to look after themselves....

     "Thanks to the protecting care of the Spirits, the children
     grow up hardy and splendid like a tall tree or a great

     "Later, they too will marry."...

By the side of such outpourings with their sprinkling of archaic words
and their more or less religious flavour there are also numbers of
jovial popular songs which the young men hum at work or sing to the
girls who catch their fancy. If the lady deigns to reply these songs
develop into a kind of choral repartee. This practice is confined to
the Laotians and their immediate neighbours.

The Laotians also still preserve the Court of Love, which has many
features in common with the celebrated European institution of the
Middle Ages.

At the period of the year when the rice harvest has been gathered in
and work in the fields is temporarily suspended the chief occupation
of the young men is to court the girls. Stages are erected on which
the Laotian ladies in search of a husband assemble. At their feet burn
lamps, by the light of which every detail of form or costume is
discreetly brought to the notice of the swains. A plate of betel and a
bamboo spittoon pass from hand to hand. Squatting in a row before
their lady-loves the young men compose verses in their honour, and the
ladies reply according to the burden of their hearts. Each couple
keeps up the interchange of vocal repartee before a public only too
ready to record its approval when one party or the other scores a
point. The couples are not allowed to touch each other. If the burden
of a song requires the performance of this act the singer symbolically
touches himself. Both the singing and acting are accompanied by
measured music, which adds to their charm.

The Malays also frequently improvise rhapsodical poems called
"Pantouns," in which two persons converse together. The Malayan
literary tournaments have acquired a widespread reputation.

The following is an excellent example of a love-poem sung by a Moï man
and girl:

     "Hallo, pretty girl. You smell sweeter than an orchid!...

     "Your legs and bosom are like ivory!

     "Your body is so white that it might have been shaved!...

     "Your figure is as sinuous as that of a serpent!...

     "If you walked in the forest to gather moss and batatas, I
     should wish to meet you alone to offer you some betel! (That
     being the emblem of accepted love.)

     "If you will marry me I can give you a large rice-bowl, a warm
     coverlet for the cold nights, and an ox from my stables!...

     "At night we will lie on the same mat as close together as the
     legs of a shackled elephant!"...

The girl's answer is cruel:

     "If you could give me ten silver necklaces and five ropes of
     white pearls I would have none of you or your offerings, but
     tell your brother, the swift hunter, that he can have me for a
     green banana!"...

I have already dwelt on some of the superstitions which have gathered
round certain animals, and it only remains to say that there is hardly
a creature which is not the subject of a legend, a fable, or, at
least, a popular saying. From a comparison of the relative importance
of these legends or fables, it is plain that the Moï believe in a
regular hierarchy in which each species has its place. This belief is
shared by the Annamites, and its existence was clearly demonstrated by
the following tragic incident.

One morning one of our engineers, a man named Petaud, was found
crushed to death by elephants while engaged in tachymetrical
operations. He was quite unrecognizable and it was plain that one of
the infuriated monsters had flung him to the ground and the whole herd
had then stamped his body into dust. We were quite unable to assign a
cause for this terrible catastrophe. The only plausible explanation
was that the unfortunate victim had been so preoccupied with his
observations that he had stumbled into the midst of a sleeping herd
and had taken them for rocks. The part of the forest in which he was
found was, in fact, studded with huge granite boulders, many of which
resembled elephants in colour and form. Without loss of time we set to
work to clear the neighbourhood of the dangerous foe. Many of the
monsters fell beneath our bullets and it occurred to us to send the
feet to one of our countrymen on the coast, with a request to send
them by an Annamite junk to Saigon. We knew of a naturalist in that
town who makes elephants' feet into stands for flower-pots. Our
discomfiture was complete when we were informed that no one would
undertake the carriage of the booty to the coast at any figure we
named. The following reason was advanced for this refusal.

     "The elephant is the highest of the animals which reign on
     earth, but his powers can only be exercised on land. At sea the
     whale is mistress and she is very jealous of any encroachment
     on her prerogative. Accordingly, if we took any part of an
     elephant into her domain she would manifest her displeasure by
     capsizing our vessel."

Our prospective flower-pot stands had to wait for the arrival of a
European ship!

Wild beasts and, in fact, all animals which may be harmful to man are
given high-sounding titles by the Moï in the hope of tickling their
vanity and thus earning their gratitude. On the other hand, harmless
creatures, especially those which cannot be used for food and are
therefore useless to mankind, are given names of derision or contempt.
Further, certain species whose wiles defy all attempts at capture are
considered as being emanations of the spirits themselves. Suppose a
rat has the impertinence not merely to avoid all the traps, but also
to defy the Chief of the tribe and watch from a beam while a jar is
being opened. Its ordinary name is immediately transformed.
Henceforth, everyone refers to it as "the gentleman with magic
powers." The same title is extended to the termite ants who succeed in
making a home in cooking utensils in spite of all efforts to keep them

Other insects, such as the spider, are considered by their presence to
incite married persons to infidelity. Accordingly a wife never goes to
bed without making a thorough search for the malignant creature. If a
spider fell from the ceiling between husband and wife the lady would
know for a certainty that her spouse had torn up the marriage

Popular fancy has also fastened on certain products of the vegetable
kingdom. When the millet or rice is in flower no one is allowed to
pass by who carries a truss of hay, for these plants are very
sensitive and would invariably follow the example of the hay, which
bears no grain.

If a pregnant woman were stupid enough to eat a double banana she
would infallibly give birth to twins whose fingers would be knotted

There are numbers of nursery tales for children, many of which bear
strong traces of Hindu influence. The following are good specimens:

                  *       *       *       *       *


One day the Rabbit met the Elephant, who looked very distressed. The
small quadruped asked the big one the cause of his trouble.

The Elephant, grateful for the sympathetic inquiry, made reply:

"I have wagered my life with the Tiger and lost the wager. To-morrow I
must put myself at his disposal and he will eat me, but he has given
me one day in which to bid farewell to my children."

The Rabbit thought a moment and then told his friend to take heart for
he had frequently found a way out of much more formidable
complications. The Elephant believed in the assurances of his friend,
and they separated after fixing a rendezvous for the next day.

The monster turned up punctually to the moment and found the Rabbit
already waiting for him. The Rabbit told him to lie at full length on
the ground. When the Tiger was heard bounding through the forest the
Rabbit jumped on the Elephant's back and began to cry out at the top
of his voice:

"I have just had an elephant for my dinner but I really don't feel
equal to a tiger for dessert."

Terrified at such a miracle the King of the Jungle covered eight yards
at a bound and vanished in a twinkling into the depths of the forest.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      THE TIGER AND THE TORTOISE

One evening when the Tortoise was slowly walking up a mountain path
she was brusquely ordered out of the way by a Tiger who wished to
drink at the river.

"Out of my way, Tortoise! You are only hindering me and you know I can
run faster than you!"

"Run faster than I!" exclaimed the Tortoise indignantly; "it's a lie!"

"Will you bet on it?" queried the Tiger.

"Certainly. You see these twelve hills. I bet you I will climb them
all before you."


As it was then getting late they agreed to postpone the trial of speed
to the next day. The Tortoise, however, was not idle during the night,
but called together twelve of her sisters, to whom she gave
instructions to take up their stations on the top of each of the
twelve hills and to pretend to the Tiger that it was his rival whom he
found waiting for him.

Her instructions were carried out to the letter and daybreak found
each of the tortoises at her post.

The race began at once. The Tiger started off, covering yards at each
bound. When he reached the top of the first hill he looked back in
contempt for the Tortoise.

"Where are you, Tortoise?"

"Here I am," replied the first Tortoise. "Don't waste time chattering
but get on your way."

Astounded that his competitor had displayed such a fine turn of speed
the Tiger resumed the race without a moment's delay. In a few bounds
he had reached the next hill, only to find (as he thought) the
Tortoise waiting for him with a few mocking words for his

The Tiger lost heart and leapt forward in desperation, but the effort
was too much for him. He was soon out of breath and collapsed in a
heap long before his goal was in sight.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The fable of the Tiger and the Toad is very similar to the foregoing.

One day the Toad said to the Tiger:

"Will you run a race with me?"

"Don't be a fool," replied the Tiger.

"Come on all the same. I feel myself possessed by an invisible force
and I am sure I can beat you."

"Very well then, but what's to be the stake?"

They agreed that the winner should eat the loser. A tortoise who
chanced to pass by was selected as judge and performed the office of
starter. The Tiger, with his customary astuteness, claimed that he
need only touch the starting-post with the end of his tail. The Toad
was up to this and promptly caught hold of his rival's tail and
refused to be shaken off during the race. When within a few paces of
the goal the Tiger suddenly stopped short and the Toad shot over his
head. He was greatly chagrined to see the Toad thus arrive before him
and complained bitterly to a monkey who had witnessed the contest.

"I saw it all," the monkey said. "The Toad owes his success to a
trick. He caught hold of your tail and it was your sudden stop that
precipitated him in front of you. Try to get him to run another race
with you, and this time be careful to tie a stone to your tail to
prevent a repetition of his underhand behaviour."

The Tiger was delighted with this advice and invited the Toad to a
second trial of speed, offering his wife as an additional prize.

The monkey induced the Toad to agree and both watched the Tiger start
off. He had not gone far, however, before he plunged into a stream
which crossed the course. The weight of the stone dragged him down,
and in spite of his struggles he perished miserably.

The monkey, tortoise and Toad were highly delighted.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    THE TOAD AND THE KING OF WATER

In the beginning of things a drought of several months completely
dried up a marsh in which a Toad dwelt. By reason of this catastrophe
the Toad could not bring up his young, so he decided to make a
complaint in person to the King of Water.

To give greater weight to his plea he begged the Fox, the Bear and the
Tiger to go with him.

The journey was long and wearisome, but at length the four animals,
marching in single file, left behind them the narrow path which leads
to heaven, and reached the gate.

A tom-tom was hung there, and the Toad banged it vigorously to
announce his presence, while his companions discreetly drew aside.

Hearing the noise, the King of Water sent a genius to find out who the
new-comer was.

"It is only a miserable toad," the messenger reported. "What must I do
with him?"

The King ordered the cocks to put the intruders to flight, but the Fox
flew at them and made a mouthful of them.

The King ordered the dogs to seize and punish the Fox, but then it was
the Bear's turn to give them his deadly embrace. The King became more
and more angry and ordered his archers to shoot the Bear with poisoned

With one bound the Tiger laid low the warriors before they could even
stretch their bows, and torn by his fangs and claws they soon took to
their heels.

The King, seeing himself thus at the end of his resources and tired of
war, had the Toad brought into his presence, and inquired the object
of his visit.

"I salute thee humbly, Sire," said the Toad, "and would make an urgent
supplication before thee. The great heat hath turned the ground to
stone, since thou hast forgotten to send rain for many weary months. I
can no longer feed my children who are on the point of death through
thy neglect."

Touched at the story, the King acknowledged his remissness and at his
command a refreshing shower immediately fell upon the earth, which
soon revived.

Since that fortunate interview, whenever there is a drought men hear
the toad croaking his petition and rain falls without further delay.

                  *       *       *       *       *

It will be noticed in these fables how careful the Moï is to give the
Tiger, his dreaded foe, the rôle of the vanquished. They also show
signs of education in the habits of the animal world. It is just
because the croaking of the toad coincides with a change in the
atmosphere that the Moï attributes to that plaintive sound the power
to bring down rain.

Is it not equally true that the illustrious chanticleer had only to
utter his morning call to cause the sun to rise?

                               BOOK II

                              THE CHAM

                              CHAPTER I

                               THE CHAM

     General characteristics of the Cham--A Mohammedan group--Its
     place among ancient civilizations--Social life--Dress and
     ornaments--The calendar--Rites accompanying the construction of
     a house, a cart, and a junk--Agriculture and
     industry--Medicines--The use of narcotics by criminals to
     stupefy their victims.

I have now concluded my investigation of the complex of barbarous
peoples who, in spite of the proximity of civilized races, have
preserved almost intact the rudimentary instincts and ferocious
customs of primitive man. No account of these regions, however, would
be complete which omitted all references to the Cham,[2] a curious
Mohammedan people, formerly very powerful, whose conversion to that
faith took place during the zenith of their power and prosperity. The
traces of this one-time pre-eminence and the Cham themselves are fast

The group belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian race, of which the parent
stock seems to have inhabited the region of Annam. The Cham were
formerly the rulers of the powerful Empire of Champa, which occupied,
as far as we can judge from the somewhat conflicting and
unsatisfactory evidence, the eastern coast-line of Indo-China proper.
Marco Polo tells us of the fertility of this region in the thirteenth
century. It may even be that this country is the self-same Zabai of
which Ptolemy speaks.

Nominally Islam is the official religion of this people who seem to
have passed through previous stages of Animism and Brahminism. The
ancient faiths were too well established to be uprooted by the Moslem
conquerors and the outcome is a strange conglomeration in which the
ancestral superstitions frequently profit at the expense of the
precepts of the Koran.

The last survivors of this once flourishing empire (in all perhaps
130,000 souls), are now confined to the province of Binh-Thuan in
Annam. At the time of its downfall before the rising power of the
Annamites many of the conquered preferred exile in Cambodia and Siam
rather than humiliation and servitude in the land of their birth.

The opportunity of observing and noting the customs, beliefs, and
institutions of the Cham was furnished by the preliminary survey which
preceded the construction of the railway from Phantiet to Phanrang.
During the whole of this time our party was quartered among this
interesting people and had many opportunities of developing friendly,
and even intimate, relations.

We cannot pretend to have been the first to do so, for previous to our
arrival two eminent philologists, MM. Aymonier and Cabaton, had made a
searching examination of the manuscripts in the possession of the
priests and published two singularly exhaustive studies on the

The Cham have preserved almost unmodified their physical and moral
characteristics, largely by means of their law which prohibits
intermarriage with any other people. For this reason they exhibit a
marked contrast to the Annamites.

The average height of a man is about five feet six inches, that of a
woman five feet. The skin is somewhat coarse and varies between a dark
brown and a shade of reddish brown such as a European acquires after
long exposure in a tropical climate. The auburn or black hair is fine
and brittle, while the growth of beard and moustache is more generous
than among the Annamites. Partial, or even total, albinism is not

The lips and facial outline offer resemblances to those of the
European. This is not remarkable, for of all Asiatics the Cham and the
Malays exhibit the nearest approach to the Western type.

In spite of a certain tendency to be hollow-backed the women are of
fine presence, elegant, and graceful in their movements. Their
carriage in walking is particularly remarkable and can be compared
with that of the Egyptians. The women of both these races habitually
carry heavy objects either on their shoulders or heads and can only
maintain them in equilibrium thanks to the most perfect ease in their

If the vigour of this race has not deteriorated during the last
centuries it is certain that their fertility has diminished. For some
time the birthrate has remained stationary. Retrogression is exhibited
in other ways also, for although their ancient civilization must have
been highly advanced, little trace of it remains in their present low
level of intellect. All ambition to renew the glories of the past has
long since evaporated. The ruins of many monuments tell of the ancient
splendours, but the living representatives are quite content to
recount the triumphs without any desire to emulate them. Is it
incapacity or merely universal apathy? The indolence of the Cham is
notorious. Even the building of their houses they leave to their
neighbours the Annamites.

The first time I entered a Cham village I was amazed at the absence of
all vegetation. Shade is one of the prime necessities of life in this
country, where the fierce rays of the sun pour down pitilessly all day
and make it painful, and even dangerous, for a man to be exposed to
them without cover. My colleagues, who had been established in the
place for some time, soon explained that as long as we remained among
the Cham we might as well relinquish vain hopes of finding a house
which would not be exposed to the sun.

This inconvenient defect is the outcome of a popular superstition that
the shade of a tree exerts a baneful influence over the house beneath
it. A somewhat similar belief prevails in Cambodia, where, however,
the minister of evil is alleged to be not the shade but the roots of
trees which penetrate below a house.

However, the lack of shade was by no means the greatest discomfort we
were called on to face. There were many others.

A native habitation comprises as many miniature houses as there are
households (and almost even members) in the family. Every girl of
marriageable age has a special room. The married members have another,
while a third is reserved for the boys who have attained puberty.
Naturally, the larger the family the smaller are the separate rooms,
and so the apartment assigned to us was usually little more than a box
with space for only a small folding-bed, the solitary piece of
furniture. These low, thatched huts were scattered about a kind of
compound bounded on each side by a flimsy palisade of bamboos secured
together by thongs of cane.

The costume of the men consists of a skirt and a very long robe. The
women wear a large piece of cloth wrapped round to form a rude skirt.
Gay colours are somewhat restricted, white and white striped with red
and green being the most popular. For bodice they have a clinging
dark-green tunic open at the throat.

Their taste in jewellery is remarkably restrained. The rich wear
silver or gold buttons in their ears. Of the poorer classes some
confine their personal embellishment to copper nails and others wear a
plait made of coloured threads which falls over their shoulders. We
sometimes noticed bracelets on the wrists of some of the girls. This
ornament serves to remind its wearer of the temporary vow of chastity
which she has taken to guard her against some danger or cure an

Others again wear a necklace of large amber beads from which hangs the
Tamrak, a kind of amulet which wards off the powers of evil. This
indispensable talisman consists of a small cylinder of lead on which a
priest has traced mystic characters with a sharp-pointed instrument.

Both sexes keep their hair long and, like the Annamites, twist it into
a knot at the back. The men wear as head-dress either a large turban
or sometimes merely a kerchief. Pockets are unknown, but two purses
hung from a long girdle provide an excellent substitute.

In early times the Cham princes set up their royal residence and the
seat of government in Phanrang. In the seventeenth century their
office was still hereditary, but the Court of Hué reserved the right
of investiture. In the nineteenth century successive invasions
undermined the authority of those potentates and all appointments to
administrative offices were made by the Annamite conquerors, who made
their selection among the local aristocracy.

The Cham of Cambodia are all Mohammedans, but of those of Annam about
two-thirds have remained Brahmins. Their countrymen of the later faith
call them "Kaphirs" (infidels), and reserve to themselves the title of
"Bani" (sons of the faith). Nevertheless, there is perfect toleration
between the followers of the two religions. The priests honour with
their presence the ritual ceremonies of the group whose beliefs they
do not share and neither party attempts to make converts of the
adherents of the other.

The calendar of the Cham is partly lunar and partly solar. The
beginning and end of each month coincides with a new moon. As in the
Hindu calendar, this lunar month has a light half which culminates in
the full moon and a dark half which is terminated by the new moon. The
duodenary cycle is employed for the purpose of measuring time. This
system was invented by the Turks, but the Chinese have been mainly
instrumental in securing its adoption throughout the Far East. Each of
the twelve years of which it is composed is called by the name of some
animal--Rat, Buffalo, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey,
Cock, Dog, Boar.

The year begins in April-May and comprises twelve lunar months of
thirty and twenty-nine days alternatively. They are numbered from one
up to ten, but the eleventh and twelfth have special names. Every
three years a month is added, and it may well be imagined to what
difficulties and disputes this proceeding gives rise in the absence of
agreement between the villages.

There are seven days in the week. Their names are borrowed from the
Sanscrit and, like ours, represent a planet. Each day has twelve
hours, twice the length of ours, of which the first begins at
cockcrow. The night consists of five watches.

These are the component parts of the system in which it is quite
simple to calculate any date. For example, a document may be dated
thus: "Signed, Monday the fourth day of the light half of the fifth
month of the year of the Dragon."

It is probable that in early times the Cham computed time by a system
similar to that of the ancient Javanese, a people with whom they
maintained close political and commercial relations, as witness
several alliances between members of the two reigning houses. The
Javanese calendar comprised a week of five days, a month of six weeks,
a year of ten months, each with its special tutelary deity.

Life among the Cham is greatly complicated by rules of etiquette, of
which the most stringent regulate the relations between those of
different age and rank. Age is regarded with special reverence and an
old man, whatever his social condition, is always addressed as Uncle
or Grandfather by his juniors in years. An inferior addresses his
superior as Elder Brother.

As in Cambodia methods of greeting are various. If a man meets a
friend of superior station a due and proper sign of deference is to
adjust his girdle or cross the cloth which fulfils the functions of
trousers. If he is carrying an umbrella he will hold it forward
towards the person he thus wishes to honour. Then a conversation will
take place. During the whole time he will take the greatest care to
avoid swinging his arms, the most flagrant act of disrespect. To guard
against even an unwitting breach of this regulation a well-bred Cham
will clasp his hands together, a precaution which prevents any
movement of the arms. If a woman desires to address a request to a
Mandarin or a European, her preliminary salutation is a complicated
manœuvre which recalls the Andjali of the Hindus and cannot be
executed without preparation. She takes off the turban which keeps her
hair in position, wraps it round her like a shawl, drops on her knees
and finally prostrates herself three times in succession at full
length on the ground. In the interval between each prostration she
rubs her face with her hands.

In India, where etiquette takes a different form, no one should appear
in public without an ornament of some kind in the hair; if the head is
completely unadorned it signifies either mourning or absolute
retirement from the world. This rule seems to be of very ancient
origin and to have been kept alive largely by sculpture. It is
remarkable that all the statues of divinities in the temples have an
ornament of some kind in the hair.

It is not merely the number and variety of the rules of etiquette
which distinguish the Cham from other groups of similar culture. They
are equally remarkable for the multiplicity of the rites which
accompany each act, however insignificant, of their daily life. I can
only recount here some of the more important ones which present
features of their own.

An accidental fire destroyed the native house which a village chief
had placed at our disposal, during the survey in that neighbourhood.
We offered to rebuild it on our own lines, with the latest
improvements. Far from expressing any gratification at the suggestion
he showed the greatest surprise and displeasure and was more than
contented with the very modest sum we gave him with which to do the
work himself. Little did we imagine the trials in store for us. We
were provided with temporary accommodation in a barn, without shade of
any sort. The ill-fitting planks let in as much sun as rain and wind,
and we were all impatience to see the completion of our future
dwelling. Time, however, counts for next to nothing in the Far East,
and for nothing at all among the Cham. Within a few days it was patent
that a long delay was inevitable and we were soon resigned to the
prospect of waiting indefinitely while the rebuilding, impeded by
innumerable daily ceremonies, proceeded from stage to stage.

First of all, a place which is to be hallowed by the performance of so
many rites must be enclosed within a light palisade as holy ground.
For this purpose dead wood is chosen, for it must never be forgotten
that the shade cast by foliage forbodes evil. In this enclosing wall
an opening is made to give passage to the divinities of the five
cardinal points. Without their help it would be vain for man to enter
upon so grave an undertaking.

The area having thus been marked out, the next step is to determine
its centre. For this purpose a cord is requisitioned. The spot thus
fixed serves as a point by which to find the positions for the columns
which are to support the building. A hole is dug to furnish a
foundation for the north-east column. Into this the owner throws a
magic amulet with the most elaborate precaution. The talisman consists
of a sheet of lead on which certain mystic characters are engraved.
Only after this solemn consecration is the column fixed in position.
The day's work is then concluded. Next day a similar performance
accompanies the establishment of a second column. One day one column
is more than we can stand, and after every form of persuasion and
argument the easy-going architect consents to consecrate the remaining
columns on the same day.

Alas! When the framework of the roof is complete religious observance
requires that an amulet shall be inserted at every point of contact
with the beams of the walls! Then again there is a prolonged and
bitter controversy over the choice of thatch. Our Annamite coolies
have been foolish enough to collect a supply of bulrushes which are
considered to exert a malignant influence! The offending material is
immediately burnt and a new delay begins. At length the work is
completed and the house stands ready for immediate occupation. Nothing
seems to prevent our entry into possession and at daybreak we move
across with our baggage and establish ourselves each in his diminutive
cabin. Hardly has the unpacking begun than the owner rushes in with
hands upraised in horror. In our haste we have unwittingly committed
almost every conceivable act of sacrilege!

A cat should have been the first to enter the new abode, and after it
the Master, and he alone may declare the building open. There is no
help for it. We hastily put back our belongings and tumble the boxes
out into the yard. We remain as unwilling spectators of a ceremony
which we are assured is positively the last. Our host prostrates
himself on the ground at the exact spot which he selects for his own
bed. He then rises and intones a chant proper to the occasion, which
consists of the recital of all the places to be avoided when selecting
a site for a new dwelling.

"I will flee far," says the Holy Canticle, "from the haunts of the
White Ant. I will turn aside from the dwelling-places of demons and
evil spirits. Sloping places I will shun. I will sound clayey soil.
In short I will never be found where evil is to be apprehended."

And the pious architect concludes the last of the rites and leaves us
to the place.

Irritated though we were by the interminable proceedings which had
postponed our occupation of the promised land, it is only fair to say
that at all times we displayed the greatest interest in other ritual
ceremonies which involved no personal disadvantages to ourselves. Each
day provided us with new matter for investigation and speculation.

Undoubtedly one of the most curious proceedings is the consecration of
a cart before its entry into active service. The manufacture of these
vehicles is, perhaps, the most flourishing industry of the Cham. Their
reputation is almost world-wide and thoroughly deserved. The industry
dates from a very early period and was brought into prominence during
the fourteenth century by the demand of the Hindu princes for
beautiful cars for wedding gifts to their brides. The dedication takes
place with the greatest pomp and is not complete without a sacrifice.
First the wheelwright sprinkles his new material with holy water, then
takes it to the river bank. There he subjects it to a severe scouring,
after which it is considered as purified. Next coloured tapers are
fixed on the uprights and finally he draws his knife and cuts out the

"Cart," he cries, "woe betide you if ever the fancy take you not to
roll your best."

The Cham prefer the banks of a river or the shores of a lake as a site
for their settlements. They frequently build whole villages on huge
floating rafts, but the staple industry of these lake-dwelling groups
is the building of light boats and racing skiffs. These are made from
trees and, as long narrow trunks are indispensable, the favourite
medium is the dipterocarpus, which is plentiful in these regions. The
tree is felled and then hollowed to its full length, the ends being
shaped to a tapering point. To obtain the necessary elasticity the
parts are exposed to a wood fire before the moulding process is
commenced. Every stage of the proceedings is accompanied by prayers
and sacrifices such as we have seen marking the dedication of the

It is general knowledge that in Cambodia and the region of Laos canoe
races figure in all public festivals of importance. These regattas
attract a large number of spectators of all nations and the Cham
naturally take a conspicuous part.

The boats display quite a high standard of artistic skill. On the
inside they are decorated with red lacquer. On the outside they are
black and gold. Some idea of the size appears in the fact that they
are sometimes built to accommodate fifty paddlers.

Every king, prince, bonze and noble has, or should have, his private
boat and liveried crew, for the races proper are preceded by an
aquatic procession, when each boat passes before the dais on which is
seated the President of the Festivities. Nothing could be more
elating than the sight of the beautiful rhythmical movements of the
paddlers swinging forward with mechanical precision until their
foreheads almost touch their knees. These voluntary sailors furnish an
example of discipline which might well be followed in high places.

Agriculture among the Cham is limited to the cultivation of a few
ricefields and the growth of tobacco, cotton and pea-nuts.
Cattle-raising does not include that of cows and pigs, the flesh of
which is forbidden by religion. Other industries are bee-keeping, the
export of the wax for religious purposes, and the manufacture of
torches of resin which find a ready market among the Annamites. I have
already mentioned other specialities.

Agriculture, commerce and industry show not the least sign of
expansion. The Cham is not ambitious, much less inventive and exhibits
no trace of envy of his progressive Annamite conquerors, whose
industrious activity is a vivid contrast to the proverbial lethargy of
Orientals. Unhappily the indifference of the Cham to material
prosperity is a recent development. In the great days of Empire they
must have been a very active and intelligent race and even to-day we
find relics of their inventive skill among their Medicine Men.

These specialists jealously guard the secret, which has been handed
down by tradition, of certain medicines to which Europeans have had
recourse on occasion. More than once during our expedition we were
glad to invite the good offices of the native herbalists when,
prostrated by dysentery, shivering with fever or weakened by anæmia,
we had exhausted the resources of our own pharmaceutical arsenal. The
native doctors are as skilful as the Chinese in utilizing various
simples and are quite familiar with the medicinal properties of
certain animal products.

We have known cases in which an unnameable brew, of which the
principal constituents were the shells of beetles, the scales of
snakes, and the parings of stags' antlers and bullocks' hooves,
effected a quicker cure than all our European drugs, for all their
scientific names. The pharmacopœia of the Cham is certainly an
offshoot of that of the Chinese. It comprises a list of all manner of
remedies for moral as well as physical disorders.

Camphor, a substance universally appreciated, appears also among the
medicines of the Cham. They use a certain oil which, when impregnated
with camphor, acts as an anæsthetic by evaporating and producing a
freezing sensation. It forms a kind of liniment and is kept in a
small, brightly coloured glass flask, which is stoppered with a cork
of wax to prevent evaporation.

Wax is also used to make capsules, about the size of a pigeon's egg,
to hold drugs and other medicinal substances which must be kept from
contact with the air.

Cholera, which is endemic throughout this region, is treated by taking
pills made up of a mixture of sandalwood, the bark of the mangostan,
and eagle-wood. Eagle-wood, of which I shall have much to say later
on, is well known as an excellent tonic. Popular superstition endows
it with powers so remarkable that a single piece could effect an
immediate cure.

Most of the brews or broths are prepared by decoction rather than by
infusion and the operation should take place over a slow fire, which
makes them more potent. Their effect is extremely violent, and in
Europe we should unhesitatingly classify them with the group of
remedies popularly known as "horse pills."

Among the most potent I might mention the gall of animals which is
often used to produce the effect of an emetic.

At one time the Cham sorcerers used human bile as well as that of
animals. This human bile was useless unless taken from a living
subject, and consequently murders without number were committed for
the purpose of obtaining it. Its reputation as a talisman was
universal. It was said that any man who rubbed himself with it became
invulnerable. Of course it was inevitable that a warrior should become
invincible when he was certain that his victory, thanks to his
supernatural protection, was a foregone conclusion. The King himself
had no doubts as to the efficacy of this talisman and before going
into battle ordered his elephants to be sprayed with it. His special
emissaries, who enjoyed the name of _Jalavoi_ ("Stealers of human
bile"), drew their host of victims from every quarter, and even to-day
the memories of their horrid activities evoke a shudder.

Happily those evil days have departed. Human bile is no longer used
either for protective or medicinal purposes. It remains only as the
subject of legend.

Besides this special and curious emetic the Cham produce the same
effect by certain mechanical processes the originality of which merits
detailed description.

When a sick man's stomach seems overladen with bile and the medicine
man wishes to empty it completely, he stuffs a rag soaked in urine and
other evil-smelling substances into the patient's mouth. He rams it
down as far as it will go and then quickly withdraws it. Physical
aversion and the irritation of the glottis produced by a foreign body
immediately provoke a spasm of sickness. No doubt some milder emetic
would have been equally successful.

I frequently doctored the Cham and I can bear witness that they make
the best of patients. They took ipecacuanha, castor-oil, or sulphate
of soda, as if they enjoyed them. When they came again they often
brought me a present of a little candle in a curious candlestick made
from the banana-plant. I learnt later that it was the custom to bring
an offering of some kind in lieu of fee to the native doctors.

Suicide is very uncommon in these regions, where the means of life
are within the reach of all, passions easily mastered, and an
easy-going philosophy is practised from the cradle. The few who find
life not worth living leave it with the help of opium which they mix
with vinegar.

At present the native authorities throughout Indo-China have taken no
steps to regulate the manufacture and sale of poisons. It is quite
usual for the most virulent of these to be sold publicly in the open
market, and it must be admitted that any regulations would probably be
ineffective to stop the trade. Nature in Asia has always been lavish
with toxic substances. Even if the sale of these were prohibited,
anyone could find as many as he wished in the nearest forest. This
abundance is undoubtedly responsible for the large and increasing
number of murders by poison which distinguish the regions inhabited by
the Cham. We ourselves, isolated in the bush, had to take the most
elaborate precautions to prevent fatalities of this kind.

On our arrival in the country we were forewarned of the danger by the
French resident magistrate of the province. He laid special stress on
the risks run by young bachelors who attempted any intimacies with the
native girls. The seducer, it appears, is marked out for destruction,
even if he has only yielded to the blandishments of the woman.
Further, many of the Cham poisons only work slowly and the mischief
they cause in the system is frequently taken for disorders which
follow anæmia and other illnesses, to which foreigners in this
climate are peculiarly liable. One of my colleagues died from an
attack of what we believed to be malaria. We all feel now that if an
autopsy had been made we should probably have discovered that what we
thought was cachexia was the effect of poison.

Besides being familiar with the nature and use of poisons the Cham are
also expert in concocting stupefying drugs and narcotics of all kinds.
They often poison the air of a room in which a patient is lying by
blowing stupefying vapours through hollow canes inserted in the
wattled walls. The effect of these fumes is to make the victim sleep
more heavily and the criminals take advantage of this circumstance to
rob him at their leisure.

I had a vivid personal experience of this diabolical procedure. One
evening I arrived with my escort at a house which our coolies had
built specially for us and where we were to stay several weeks. The
furniture consisted of nothing more than a bamboo bedstead supporting
a mattress of cotton wadding. My room was very narrow and the seven
cases which contained my instruments and cooking utensils were all the
furniture I needed in addition. I told my boy to push two of these
cases under the bed in order to save space. We had been marching all
day under a tropical sun and I flung myself on the mattress and fell
asleep at once. I awoke, according to habit, at about four in the
morning and was surprised to feel myself so cramped that I could
hardly move. To add to my astonishment I could not find my matches
which I always kept within reach. The case which I had placed to serve
as a bedside table had likewise disappeared.

With great effort I rose from bed and stumbling at each step managed
to get out of the house. My sole garment was my pyjamas, for my
clothes had followed the matches. It was still dark and I soon
collided with an obstacle which proved on investigation to be one of
the cases. I was somewhat alarmed and called for my servants. No one
answered. A feeling of overpowering drowsiness overcame me and I had
just time to get back to my bed before I fell asleep again. When
morning came my orderly came in to announce that six out of the seven
boxes were scattered about the outskirts of our camp. Locks had been
forced and all my papers, instruments, photographic plates and prints,
and wallets ruthlessly thrown out after obvious examination. It was
plain that the burglars had been hunting for bank-notes. Fortunately I
had no money in the cash-box. I had left the few thousand piastres
which constituted our reserve with a colleague, so the total haul did
not amount to more than two silver bangles and a few gewgaws, which
together were not worth more than ten piastres.

As for the seventh case, it contained the whole of our supplies, and
its disappearance left us with nothing but the impressions of our
journey to breakfast on.

That evening, while clearing the thickets quite six kilometres from
our camp, our coolies came upon the missing case. It was almost
intact. Only one box had been opened and it bore upon its label a
sketch of the sucking-pig it contained. As swine's flesh is abhorred
by the Cham I can only conclude that we owed the recovery of our
portable larder to that happy chance.

Two years later a second attempt of the same kind and not less
audacious was perpetrated upon me. I was at Hanoi, residing in a house
situated in a narrow avenue and next to the barracks. It was at the
beginning of the rainy season and a violent storm was raging. I was
sleeping on the first floor, and one of my Tonkinese orderlies, a
hardy young bachelor, stationed himself at the bottom of the stairs to
guard me. I had allowed another to bring his family into the house and
the family, including its real members, friends and acquaintances,
turned out to comprise eleven persons. In return for this concession
they arranged to mount guard in turn. It will be acknowledged that I
was thus not alone in the desert!

It must have been about midnight and I was dozing lightly (being
prevented from sleeping by feverishness), when I suddenly noticed that
my reading-lamp outside the mosquito-net was lit. It occurred to me
that I could not have been so foolish as to leave it lit and I
distinctly remembered putting out the light when I got into bed. I sat
up to rouse my senses and heard a slight noise in the next room. I
was out of bed in a moment just in time to catch a parcel of clothing
which was evidently thrown at me to trip me up. By the light from the
reading-lamp I distinctly saw a man perfectly naked, his body shining
as if he had just had a bath in oil. I remembered in a flash that the
Annamite robber always take this precaution to make capture more
difficult. Before I could snatch my revolver the burglar had displayed
his ape-like agility by leaping through the window and vanishing in
the darkness.

I called up my men, but they only told me they had heard nothing. I
confess with shame I lost my temper. Suspecting those whom I had so
imprudently harboured of complicity in the plot I hunted from the
house all except my usual staff. I enjoyed such consolation as was
afforded by the sight of the silhouettes of the defaulting watchmen
cowering in the pelting rain. Any remorse I experienced quickly
vanished when I made inquiries later!

                              CHAPTER II

                        SOCIAL AND FAMILY LIFE

     Traces of the matriarchal system in the conception of the
     family--The "Karoh"--Circumcision--Precautions against
     seduction--Rites incidental to betrothal, marriage, birth and

It is well known that the ancient matriarchal system of government and
ownership still flourishes among certain peoples who inhabit the
peninsula of the Ganges and some groups of Malayo-Polynesian origin.
In this system man belongs to an inferior order of creation. All
political and social authority is exercised by woman and she alone can
possess and inherit. This veritable triumph of feminism might have
been expected to produce results far more disastrous than has been the
case. Proof that life under such circumstances can be both possible
and tolerable is furnished by the history of the Malays of the Negri
Sambilan (British Malaysia), which is little more than a monotonous
record of good fortune and prosperity.

The system is frequently accompanied by the institution of polyandry
in which the husbands cohabit in turn with the common wife who has
herself selected them.

Now the institutions of both the Cham and the Cambodians show traces
of descent from an earlier organization of which the matriarchal
system was the distinguishing feature. On no other hypothesis can we
account for some striking facts. Family is traced through the mother.
The children take her name, adopt her religion if they are the issue
of a mixed marriage, and remain her property in case of divorce.
Inheritance descends in the female line alone. A woman is the
principal figure in many of the domestic ceremonies and she retains at
all times the right to select her husband.

The time at which girls pass from infancy to puberty (when they are at
once considered of marriageable age) is celebrated by a curious
ceremony called the "Karoh," which is doubtless derived from that
precept of the Koran which prohibits a repudiated or divorced woman
from entering upon a new union until after a retirement extending over
three menstrual periods. The festival lasts two days and the
proceedings are under the personal supervision of the Ong Gru (High
Priest) himself, who is assisted by a number of acolytes.

Two huts of boughs and leaves are constructed specially for the
occasion. One is destined to serve as dormitory to the girls of the
village whose puberty is to be officially recognized. The other is to
accommodate the numerous audience which always gathers to witness the
accomplishment of the rite.

At the first sign of daybreak the young neophytes advance in a group
towards the High Priest. Each wears her gayest robes and her most
precious jewels. Her hair falling freely on her shoulders is crowned
with a mitre. One by one they bow reverentially before the officiating
minister who places on their lips a grain of salt, offers a cup of
pure water, and then cuts a piece of hair from their foreheads. This
last action signifies that the girls' reputation is unsullied. If the
contrary is demonstrated by ocular proof the piece of hair will be
taken not from the forehead but from the back of the neck. This
constitutes, both among the Cham and the Cambodians, a mark of infamy.

A one-year-old baby, carried in the arms of an old man, is the object
of the same rites.

The girls thus initiated now retire to the place assigned to them,
obviously to carry out the semblance of withdrawal from the world.
During their absence the priests take a hearty meal, the remains of
which are distributed to the faithful. About midday the girls return,
this time with their hair twisted into a knot on their necks, a patent
indication that the age of marriage has been reached. Relations and
friends join in offering them gifts to celebrate the happy event. A
generous feast follows to which are invited all who have taken any
part in the proceedings, and shortly after the girls enter into their
new sphere.


  _Photo by_]      [_A. Cabaton._

Royal Elephants in Cambodia.]


  _Photo by_]      [_Henri Maître._

A Buddhist Procession carrying Offerings to a Distant Pagoda.]

The High Priests say that the "Karoh" is in essence a symbol. The
moon, a feminine divinity, attains her full perfection only at the
fifteenth day. In the same way the "Karoh" must be celebrated as
nearly as possible in a girl's fifteenth year when her development is

Up to the time of her consecration in this manner a girl is "taboo,"
and all sexual relations with her are strictly prohibited.

The Cambodians have very similar rites and regulations. Before
attaining the age of marriage a girl is regarded as one of the spouses
of Indra, the King of the Gods, and in virtue of this exalted station
no man dare cultivate any intimate relations with her. Immediately on
the occurrence of her first menstruation she "enters into the shade,"
that is, takes refuge under her mosquito-net and withdraws from the
world altogether for a period which varies between five and a hundred
days. As long as the sun shines the recluse may not even leave her
couch, but occasionally an eclipse procures her a temporary release
from her gaol. No man may approach her, for she must not be exposed to
the temptation of looking at a male. Her diet is strictly prescribed,
fish and meat being prohibited, and in any case she is restricted to
one meal a day, taken between sunrise and midday, after the manner of
the bonzes.

This compulsory seclusion is a terrible hardship, for an open-air life
is almost a necessity in these tropical climates where the heat is
overpowering. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the
termination of the imprisonment is an occasion for great rejoicing.
"Leaving the shade," as this fête is called, is frequently marked by
the lacquering of the girl's teeth, an operation which is accompanied
with all manner of rites and is preceded by a special dedicatory

Regulations which seem to aim at secluding girls at the time they
attain puberty are not peculiar to Indo-China. Thus the Vaï of Liberia
cloister their girls at the age of ten in a place called "Sandy,"
which is hidden away in the depths of a great forest. The recluses are
considered dead to their family who are not allowed to see them. Their
only visitors are a few old women, their only occupations minor
domestic duties and initiation into the mysteries of marriage. If a
betrothal is arranged during this period the girl is liberated on the
appearance of the first signs of puberty.

If we are to believe legend (and legend is often worthy of belief),
both in Denmark and Siberia the same period in a girl's life is
preceded by a similar retirement. Frazer cites several instances which
dispel all doubt on the subject.

The rite of circumcision, or rather, the rite of simulated
circumcision, among the Cham Bani only takes place when the boys are
in their fifteenth year. This ceremony is, in fact, purely symbolical.

Armed with a wooden knife the officiating priest makes a pretence of
performing the act after which he gives the novice his ceremonial
name, which is always taken from the Arabic calendar and is sure to be
either Ali, Ibrahim, or Mahomet. The acquisition of this religious
surname does not prevent a boy from using his unredeemed name in
ordinary life.

The ceremony known as the "Entry into Religion" should take place at
about the age of five, but in practice it is always reserved until the
age of puberty though never delayed until after marriage. It will be
remembered that the custom of postponing circumcision characterized
the Persians also.

The Cham have a saying that you might as well leave an elephant among
the sugar canes as leave a man alone with a girl. The proposition may
be sweeping but receives enough illustration to make it plausible.

However that may be, it must be remembered that no sexual
relationships are prohibited except those which do not sooner or later
contemplate marriage. If a girl is seduced and the consequences of her
action begin to make themselves evident she is at once put under
arrest. Her ankles are secured by thongs of buffalo hide; with these
marks of ignominy she appears before the Council of Notables. There
she is adjured to reveal the author of her undoing. If she gives the
name of the seducer he is compelled to marry her and pay a fine by way
of compensation to her parents. This fine is the "Price of Shame" and
invariably substantial. If, however, the girl refuses to divulge the
name of her seducer a sentence of fifty strokes with a cane is passed,
an extremely heavy penalty. Before the punishment is actually
inflicted a hole is dug in the ground and the sufferer made to lie at
full length with her stomach in it. This is a precaution to prevent an

As soon as a girl has found the man of her choice her parents pay an
official visit to those of her fortunate husband-designate. They take
with them two cakes and some betel. If the young man tastes this it is
a sign that he accepts betrothal and an engagement follows.

A curious custom in this country is that the consummation of the
marriage does not coincide with its celebration. To do so would be to
court the malevolence of the powers of evil! Cohabitation is the first
step in the proceedings. In this way the new household saves all
wedding expenses and it is by no means infrequent that the children
are old enough to take part in the festivities by the day fixed for
the official celebration of the nuptials.

The marriage takes place in the evening in a hut specially built for
the occasion. Hand in hand the happy pair walk on mats from their own
dwelling to the place appointed for the fête. Indeed it is a most
important part of the rites that their feet shall not come into
contact with the bare ground. Their garments are of white cotton and
unhemmed, resembling in this respect the mourning clothes worn by the
Annamites. The girl enters the house, leaving her partner on the
threshold where stands the priest who is to bless their union.

A dialogue ensues between the minister and the man.

"Prince Ali," asks the former, "what are your gifts to the Princess
Fatima, your future spouse?"

"O Lord Mahomet, I bring her a silver ring, two talismans for her
neck, a necklace of amber, a fertile rice-field, and two bullocks
trained to the plough."

With these words the husband gives the ring to the priest who blesses
it and hands it to his two acolytes, who bear it away to place on the
finger of the bride.

She, invisible behind the door of the house, receives the two
messengers who question her on her desires. If she gives her consent
to the marriage she is immediately led to her husband who escorts her
in solemn procession to their new home. Before entering, however, the
man throws three betel leaves on the ground and crushes them one after
another with his foot.

A white cloth is thrown over the nuptial couch and the married pair
take their places side by side upon it. The deacons join their hands
and sprinkle holy water over them. Next several candles are lit, the
pair receive official benediction, and at length find themselves

The rites, however, are not yet concluded, for the woman gravely rolls
up a quid of betel which she puts into the mouth of her husband. In
return he takes off part of his clothing to make a covering for her.
They then leave the house and fall at the feet of the priests and
their parents. Their friends seize an early opportunity of proclaiming
in a loud voice the gifts they offer, while a secretary draws up the
list to prevent misunderstanding.

The proceedings terminate with a monster banquet. The man's family
provide the meat and drinks while the woman's are responsible for the
rice and cakes.

In Cambodia the Cham allow a disappointed suitor to prevail over the
opposition of his loved one's family by executing the following mock

He waits until nightfall and seizing the moment when the girl's door
is open to make his entry into the house, clasps her in his arms and
throws about them both a shawl brought for the purpose.

After this elaborate pretence of rape the family have no choice but to
withdraw their opposition and allow the match to proceed. They never
fail, however, to exact vengeance from the mock ravisher in the shape
of fearful abuse and a more or less substantial fine.

The women make very faithful wives, so much so that cases of adultery
are rare. Normally this crime is punishable with death, but in
practice the sentence is always commuted to a fine, sometimes
accompanied by whipping.

Besides, every facility is afforded for the dissolution of the union
on the ground of incompatibility of temperament. Divorce is easy. The
woman's right to select her husband is paired with the right to get
rid of him at will or change him for another. In this case she herself
keeps the family dwelling and the lion's share of the property.

Although the religion of Mahomet permits the possession of four wives,
in practice the Cham have insufficient means to provide for more than
one. Accordingly, polygamy is exceptional, the expense being

Certain prohibitions are too remarkable to be passed over in silence.

Both the Brahminist and the Mussulman Cham abstain from sexual
relations on Mondays, as being the day of the week on which Allah was

During pregnancy the women take the greatest care to avoid a certain
kind of Javanese banana for fear of giving birth to a monster which
will one day turn and torment them.

The rites accompanying birth are materially the same as those of the
Moï. There is the same "Accouchement at the Fire," to use the
expression in vogue in the country. It means that a fire is kindled by
the woman's couch from the beginning of the accouchement to the time
she is allowed to leave her bed, seven days after the birth. This fire
is kept carefully guarded by the matrons with a "ring" of cotton
thread. They also leave a huge lighted candle at the side to ward off
evil spirits.

When the mother is about again the midwife puts out the fire and
plants an iron stake in the middle of the ashes. These she collects
with the greatest care and bears them off with religious fervour to
deposit at a fork of the nearest road in the vicinity. They form a
little heap on the top of which she places a stone. Then she lays a
quid of betel on this improvised altar.

I was extremely curious for a long time as to the meaning of these
pious erections which I saw at every cross-road, but no one dared nor
cared to give me any information. Those whom I interrogated took
refuge in evasion and turned the conversation. I might have remained
for ever in ignorance had not the Annamites proved more communicative
some time later. I then learned that in popular superstition
cross-roads are the favourite haunts of spirits, souls in torment,
ghosts, and other beings whose influence is baneful.

The Cham are extremely fond of their children and spare no pains to
keep them amused. Indeed, their affection goes the length of leaving
them in complete ignorance of soap and water, an omission for which
the babies are duly grateful. It is especially gratifying to the
benevolent spirits if the mother smears her child's face with a
mixture of flour and saffron, a substance the yellow colour of which
meets with the particular approval of the deities whose own visages
are of that colour if we are to credit tradition. On the other hand,
the mother who has been visited by a bad dream covers her baby with
soot to hide it from evil spirits.

The natural consequence of these precautions is that the young Cham,
like the young Moï, grow up in a condition of filth which is
aggravated by the onslaught of mosquitoes and the appearance of
innumerable sores. Further they are extremely liable to
gastro-enteritis due to their parents' reprehensible practice of
stuffing them with rice until their small stomachs are stretched taut
like a drum.

Throughout the Far East the kiss is replaced by a kind of snort
applied to the back of the neck just behind the ear. The children are
particularly fond of this type of demonstration for they burst into
shouts of laughter whenever their mothers relieve their maternal
feelings in this manner. If the child grows up in spite of his
parents' apprehensions, at about the age of six months he receives a
name which is considered to sum up his prospects in life. Thus a fine
chubby boy will be called Peace, Amber or Gold. A small, weakly girl
will receive the name of Discord, Pillage or Bat. But suppose this
last child survives the early years and her infantile disorders, at
about the age of twelve her name of reproach is exchanged for one of
more happy meaning for she has passed the age at which the spirits are
allowed to exercise a baneful influence. In spite of this mode of
rehabilitation, however, the parents usually forget to change the name
and her old soubriquet clings to her through life. This at all events
is some explanation for the curious fact that in searching the
historical records of the Cham we are always coming across kings
rejoicing in the unfortunate titles of "Typhus the Third," and
"Cholera the Fourth."

It will be remembered that the Aryans considered the name as forming
part of a man's nature. The Hindus, too, believe that it exercises a
profound influence over the destinies of its bearer. For example, the
Laws of Manu enjoin that a man shall not marry a woman who bears the
name of a serpent, a barbarous race, a slave, or any ugly object.

Among the Cham of Cambodia every child undergoes the operation known
as "Molot," the "Hair-cutting," a rite which has much in common with
the "Tonsuring" of the Brahminist Hindus and the non-Mussulman natives
of Cambodia. It even bears some resemblance to the ceremony of
Christian baptism as it was observed in the days of the early Church
under the name given to it by the Early Fathers of "Regeneration of
the Soul." Both centre round the rite of purification with holy water
and both show the neophyte in that same robe of spotless white which
is the symbol of the pure life on which he enters.

A Hindu legend relates that Siva himself instituted this ceremony when
he baptized his grandson, the child of Genesa. It took place on the
holy mountain of Keylasa in the centre of a marvellous island
inhabited by spirits, and secured from the intrusion of mortals by a
great lake filled with a liquid on which nothing could float.

An odd day and year is chosen for the celebration of the rite. If the
novice is of illustrious parentage a wooden erection is put up and
painted to resemble the legendary Mount Keylasa. Two paths are made
leading to the top and bordered with shrubs. The one faces to the East
and is used by the minor officials, the other facing the West is
destined for the presiding priest only.

Some of the deacons now play on archaic instruments such as castanets
of bronze, and a novel feature of the orchestra is a kettle-drum with
an ingenious contrivance by which each side is struck alternately with
a stone ball.

The child, dressed in a long white robe studded with small pieces of
metal, advances towards the priest who shaves the crown of his head
and lays the hair removed on a snow-white linen cloth. Then priest and
neophyte ascend the path to the top of the imitation Keylasa where a
large circular basin awaits them. The youth, with a cotton crown on
his head, is at once sprinkled with holy water and baptized while some
children carefully wipe his feet and march round him holding torches.
This circumambulation is repeated nineteen times in honour of the
novice's nineteen souls. Throughout the East many souls are accredited
to every human being. Of these one alone is deemed immortal. The
vital soul resides in the navel, the supreme soul in the bosom.

The young Cham only receives the minimum of education. The priests
teach the boys the first principles of reading and writing. In the
first lessons the pupils learn by heart the letters of the alphabet,
each letter representing, according to Hindu belief, one of the
divinities which make their dwelling-place in the human body. After
the alphabet come the names of the animals which symbolize the years
of the duodenary cycle. The remuneration of the teachers consists of a
present of eggs and a bottle of spirits and is due at the beginning of
the first lesson. The Cham, however, are not apt pupils, being
incorrigibly lazy and it is quite a triumph if a woman knows the
elements of housekeeping. When we tried to make laundresses of some of
the women in our escort we discovered the depths of their ignorance
and stupidity. The articles we sent to be washed came back as dirty as
when they went, for the sole idea of washing was to beat the object a
certain number of times against a stone. The number of times was a
fixed quantity beyond which the laundress refused to go, even if the
dirt remained unshaken!

But if the domestic education of the women is neglected what shall be
said of their moral education which is practically non-existent? Here,
as elsewhere in the Far East, a woman is regarded as requiring nothing
more than a knowledge of etiquette and her instruction is complete
when she can recite by heart all the rules which govern social
intercourse and constitute good manners. Some of these rules seem
nothing less than comic to the European.

For example, to laugh in public as a sign of pleasure is strictly
forbidden, but it is the height of good form to yawn when bored. When
the flax is being gathered in it is proper to pretend to be drunk, for
the plant is thereby encouraged to preserve its inebriating qualities.

When a domestic utensil, such as a cooking-pot, becomes broken with
use the good housewife will do nothing so ill-advised as to throw it
away. Good breeding as well as respect, which is due to inanimate
objects just as much as to living persons, exact that the faithful
servant shall be hung on the piles on which the house stands and in
due time be graciously abandoned to a sudden flood. Hence the enormous
number of utensils of all descriptions which are to be seen in the
rivers of Cambodia and other countries inhabited by the Cham.

Lessons in etiquette, which are obligatory on both boys and girls, are
varied most pleasantly with games of all kinds. Of these perhaps the
most popular are the foot races which are organized for children of
all ages. The competitors are handicapped according to their years and
intense is the excitement when the signal is given to start. The
prizes awarded to the winners are generally bananas or mangoes,
whichever is in season. When the sugar cane is ripe the children are
very fond of a game which is played in this wise.

A stick of sugar cane is put on the ground. The player takes a knife
and his task is to cut the stalk into five pieces in three strokes. If
he is a skilled performer he makes the second cut in such a way that
two of the pieces lie close enough together to be slashed through with
the final stroke. The rules forbid the player to use his hands to
arrange the pieces so that the second stroke requires no little skill.

If the canes cannot be obtained from the paternal field recourse must
be had to the shops, and then a contest ensues in which each child
tries to avoid being left to pay the bill. To settle this thorny point
lots are drawn, for the first comers have a great advantage. The
fortunate player on whom the lot falls has the right of selecting the
largest stalk from the dealer's stock, taking care that the bottom
section is of normal form. He now balances the cane before him, and
with one slash of his knife cuts it in two before it has had time to
fall. He is entitled to keep the part he has cut off and if he is
skilful it will be a large one. The second player now takes the rest
of the stick and performs the same operation. The others follow in
turn, the various sections are compared and the owner of the shortest
piece has the honour of paying for all after which they devour the
booty with the solemnity of a public ceremony.

The children pick up a smattering of musical knowledge and never lose
an opportunity of performing on their fathers' gongs. Sometimes they
play together and occasionally attain the height of a recognizable
melody when the instruments are of much the same pitch and the touch
of the artist is light. Children of a more serious disposition are
initiated into the mysteries of chess, a game which is played all the
world over. The Cham chessman is very similar to ours and the board
has also sixty-four squares. The castle, however, is replaced by a
general, the bishops by canoes, and the pawns by fishes. The object of
each player is to put the opposing king in check and the means adopted
are virtually the same as in our game.

                             CHAPTER III

                       RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS

     The beginnings of Islam in Indo-China--Rites which accompany
     initiation into the priestly caste--The gods of
     Cham--Temples--Resemblance between the architecture of the Cham
     and that of the Kmer--Phallic rites--A visit to a royal

The date of the introduction of Islam into Indo-China has never been
more than approximately fixed. The better opinion is that it made its
way into the country in the twelfth century through the medium of
Persian or Arab traders. However that may be, the new faith maintained
itself more or less in its primitive purity among the Cham, thanks
largely to the zeal of the Malays who had proved ready converts and
migrated into Indo-China, and more especially Cambodia, in large
numbers from the fourteenth century onwards. In Annam, on the other
hand, Islam was speedily blended with Hinduism to form a compound in
which the original ingredients almost defied recognition.

Among the Mohammedan Cham, known as the Cham Bani, the head of the
priestly caste is called "Pô Gru" or "Ong Gru," titles the sense of
which may be rendered by "Leader of the Faithful." He is selected
from the Imôns, the priesthood who are assisted in the discharge of
their ceremonial duties by various religious officials of lower rank.

The rank of a priest is indicated by the length of the scarlet and
gold tassels on his turban. Otherwise there is no distinction in the
costume which consists of a white sarong, a white shirt fastened with
yellow glass buttons and a white girdle also ornamented with tassels.
The crook is a long rattan stalk carried in the hand. The High
Priest's crook is distinguished by having its roots plaited together
to form a kind of basket.

Few of the priests read Arabic and that with difficulty, while the
surahs they recite by heart bear only a distant resemblance to the
Koran. The very word "Koran" is unfamiliar. It is usually referred to
as "The Book of Islam," or "The Book of Praise," or the "Treatise of
the Faith."

In Annam the Ramadan lasts only three days, though the priests observe
the fast for the full prescribed month.

On the evening before the fast begins each priest makes his way to the
mosque and takes up his station in the building with his impedimenta.
He is careful not to forget his minimum of necessaries. His first act
is to spread out with meticulous care the mat which is to serve him
for a bed. At one end of this he places a cube of lacquered wood, his
pillow. Next he solemnly unrolls the palm leaves on which the sacred
lines have been engraved with some sharp instrument. Then he hangs his
string of amber beads on the wall. As earthly indulgences are not
entirely forbidden to him, he takes good care to bring his cigarettes
and the apparatus for preparing betel and tea.

As long as the fast lasts he is prohibited from leaving the building,
so the two vessels containing water for the nine liturgical ablutions
are set up under the porch just within reach. These ablutions are a
very serious part of the business, for it is absolutely essential that
no part of the ceremony should be omitted, even in forgetfulness.

First he washes his hands, spraying the water up to his elbows, then
his mouth, nostrils, forehead, and finally his feet as far as the
ankles. Woe to him if he forgets to recite his five daily prayers or
his nightly salaam, religious exercises which he usually consigns to
oblivion at other times! The meticulous observance of the rites during
these four weeks is a guarantee of sanctity and the redemption of
sins, past, present and prospective.

Of these sins the commonest are breaches of the multifarious
regulations, affecting both the Kaphir and Bani priests, prohibiting
the consumption of certain specified foods. That sins of this
character should be distressingly frequent is hardly surprising when
we remember that each month, and even each day of the month, has its
particular prohibition. Thus stews, hashes, hare and poultry are
strictly forbidden on Mondays in the second month. All foods
containing oil and dark-coloured meat may not be touched on Thursdays
in the fifth month. Prohibitions so strict and comprehensive show the
road to certain transgression in a country where in the nature of
things there can be little variety of diet.

Historians have noted in all peoples, whatever the degree of
civilization that has been attained, the prevalence of the idea that
some intermediary is necessary to establish communication between man
and his God. Thus, in Egypt of the Pharaohs, the King was considered
the son of God, and as such the proper medium through which his
subjects should address their deity. This sacred office of the King
was recognized by the deity himself. On certain appointed days the
statue of the god made some conventional sign to indicate his approval
and assent. We have the evidence of bas-reliefs in the temples to show
that this fiction was still maintained in the days of the Roman
Empire. At a subsequent period the sacred function was delegated to a
special priestly caste; under the later Empire we find the High
Priests of Amon at Thebes usurping the royal authority in its

Professor Foucart, in his "History of Religions,"[4] shows that the
origin of the sacerdotal caste is to be sought in remote antiquity.
Man has always experienced the need of a privileged class, set apart
for the purpose of ensuring the observance of certain religious rites
and securing their transmission from generation to generation in their
primitive purity. These rites, which are usually simple in character
and in essentials common to all religions, are generally accompanied
by mystic phrases, the sum of which constitutes Ritual. As the phrases
are often high-sounding and impressive, historians have been tempted
to attribute to them a meaning which is not warranted in fact. In most
cases the words used do nothing more than define the character of the
ceremonial act which they accompany. But as the essence of Magic is
the endowment of a simple phrase or object with an ulterior mystical
significance it is not surprising that the ritual-makers should spare
no pains to produce an illusion in the minds of the worshippers. Their
obvious motive is to exploit, in the interest of their own class, a
science which results in material advantages.

The education of the priests is not confined to the study of the
secret language but extends to a knowledge of the special objects used
in religious ceremonies. Consequently a period of initiation, a
phenomenon noticed in all ages and among all races, is regarded as
essential for aspirants to the priestly ranks. The rites which mark
this period of initiation are substantially similar among all races.
They are directed in the main towards the purification of the neophyte
from the sins inherent to the secular state and to set the stamp of
legality on his adoption of the religious life. In general, they
consist of a rite of separation to mark the abandonment of old ties,
a rite of purification proper, and rites of adoption into the new
association. From this it is easy to see why ceremonies of this kind
always enshrine the metaphor of a death to the old life and a re-birth
in the new one. Whether we turn to the Shamans of Siberia, the Lamas
of Thibet, the Brahmins of India, the Bonzes of Cambodia, the Padjaos
of the Cham, we find the essence of the ceremony identical, however
diversified the details may be.

All those familiar with the practice of the Roman Catholic Church know
that among certain of the Orders the ceremony of entry or taking the
veil includes the Burial Service followed by a hymn of triumph to hail
the resurrection of the new spirit reclaimed from the world. In other
religions the procedure is a heavy sleep from which the novice awakes
to find himself consecrated by Heaven.

The rudiments of this idea are found in the rites which mark the
ordination of a Padjao among the Kaphir Cham. A Padjao is not so much
a priestess as a prophetess in whom resides the power of foretelling
the future and also of protecting from all evil when the Spirit--or
rather the "Transport," to adopt the professional phrase used by her
class--takes her.

Properly speaking the Padjao does not "take vows," but rather devotes
herself to strict celibacy. If she is married when the heavenly call
comes to her her husband must leave her at once. The observance of
continence, apparent if not actual, is obligatory, and any breach of
this rule would be visited by the Spirits with the most condign
punishment affecting both the transgressor and her accomplice.

[Illustration: Image of a Departed Saint in a Phallic Temple.]

[Illustration: Statues erected to the Dead in Laos.]

[Illustration: Shrine of a Laotian Priest.]

[Illustration: The Interior of the Shrine.]

According to a certain priest of Phanrang, "Padjao" means "Princess,"
and the modern priestesses perform the functions which formerly
devolved on the ladies of royal blood who filled religious offices in
ancient Champa. On the other hand, "Padjand" in old Javanese, means
"Moonlight," and in this connection it is significant that the Cham
identify with the moon one of their most highly venerated divinities,
the "Celestial Padjao." However this may be, the ordination of these
women in Annam is marked by some very curious ceremonies. The novice
is selected by the Priestess herself when, feeling herself advancing
in years, the choice of a successor becomes an urgent matter. The
fortunate object of her selection receives the name of "Happiness of
the Human Race." She falls on her knees before her spiritual mother
and offers her two eggs, a cup of spirits and some betel, a sign of
her dutiful submission. The recipient of these gifts now takes off her
girdle and passes it round the head of her newly appointed assistant
who is bound henceforth to appear in this form of turban at every
public ceremony. Then they both swallow three grains of rice and salt,
symbols of plenty. The novice next falls into a sleep or trance,
during which her soul departs to the moon to be consecrated by the
great "Celestial Padjao," who will reveal to her all the mysteries of
life and the secrets of mortals. This trance is, of course, the
counterpart of the symbolic death and resurrection which we have seen
to be characteristic of the change from the earthly to the heavenly

During this ceremony, which is called the "Deification of the Padjao,"
the Faithful sacrifice a black kid and burn eagle-wood, the odour of
which is supposed to be particularly agreeable to the dwellers in the

Priestess and novice next indulge in a religious dance known as the
"Tania." In their left hands they wave a scarlet scarf while holding a
fan in their right. Then taking a betel leaf the priestess passes it
through the flame of a candle and offers it to her who is
thenceforward to share her office. It must not be imagined, however,
that the novice secures her entry into the priestly caste by this
ceremony. Her admission is temporary and is only confirmed when, after
a novitiate of a year, the Gods indicate their consent to delegate
their powers to her. A second ordination is thus necessary which must
be attended by all those who were present at the first. If, however,
some of the original spectators have died in the meantime the rites
are satisfied if they are represented by members of their families of
the same sex.

On the evening before this second ceremony all those who are to take
part in it must take the bath of purification.

As the approval of the Celestial Padjao is by no means a foregone
conclusion her answer is awaited by the priestess with some
trepidation. With a view to securing her favourable regard the latter
brings an offering in a basket on which she sets up two lighted
candles. These candles are the medium through which the divine will is
to be revealed. If they go out or burn with a smoky flame this is a
clear indication to the novice to abandon her hopes and return to her
old life. In that case a successor to her will be found in due time.
But if the candles burn up brightly the year's apprenticeship has been
judged sufficient to qualify her for divine approval.

A person whose assistance is indispensable to the Padjao is the
"Meûdoun," an individual who does not belong to the priestly caste but
who is in constant touch with the deities by virtue of his office. The
period of initiation is short and is occupied by learning to perform
on the drum and reciting liturgical phrases. The "Meûdoun" is
appointed by his predecessor and enters upon his duties immediately.
His services are requisitioned when exorcisms, incantations or
divinations are on foot.

Among the Cham of Cambodia another variety of ceremonies marks the
ordination of their Prophetess. In the first place, the social status
enjoyed by that official is not as high as in Annam. She seems to
inspire a kind of awe rather than any sentiment of veneration. Here
the rites of initiation savour of Demonology.

The requirements of time and place are satisfied by a clear moonlight
night and a deserted ant-heap in the depths of the forest. The
prospective Prophetess appears and with one sweep with a sword severs
a cock in twain from its head to its tail. Then, totally naked, she
executes a frenzied dance, accompanied by weird incantations before
her victim until the mystic moment when, thanks to the powers of magic
and the veil of night, the severed halves join together and the
resurrected fowl utters a pæan of victory!

Priestesses of all these regions have this in common, that they dress
either in white or in black and red. The flesh of swine and lizards is
absolutely forbidden, no mean hardship in a portion of the globe where
the lizard is regarded as a great delicacy.

It is to be observed that, contrary to the practice prevailing among
most semi-barbarous peoples, the Cham allow young and middle-aged
women to perform religious functions. The age of twenty is, in fact,
the normal time for entering the sacerdotal caste. This is all the
more remarkable because it has frequently been demonstrated that among
primitive races women are not admitted to the privileges of men until
after the menopause.

The Pantheon of the Cham Bani consists of the "Heroes of Civilization"
to whom they ascribe the foundation and development of their three
ancient capitals. Thus Pô Oulah, or Allah the Mighty, made his
residence during the eleventh century in the town of Bal Sri Banôy. It
is more than likely that this potentate was the actual conqueror who
first brought Islam into Indo-China.

Pô Klong Garai is said to have founded the second capital, Bal-Hangov,
the "City of Pine Trees," the reputed traces of which have been
discovered near Hué. Finally Pô Binôsuor shed the lustre of his name
on Bal Angouai, the ruins of which are still visible at Cha Bàn in the
province of Binh Dinh. Some philologists associate this city with the
ancient town of Balonga mentioned by Ptolemy. For this last ruler,
however, whose great achievement was the repulse of the Annamite
invasion, the Cham have substituted the name of Pô Ramé, a prince of
no great fame, who seems to have been a kind of adventurer who sprang
into importance by marrying a princess of royal blood.

It need hardly be said that these great heroes are credited with all
manner of marvellous exploits. The supernatural even enters into their
birth, for they are supposed to have been born of virgin mothers, a
detail which enhances their resemblance to the Brahminic divinities.
In this connection it may be observed that the members of the Hindu
Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, with their "Saktis," or wives, Umâ,
Lasmî and Kali, are universally confused with the native deities of
the Cham either under their own or substituted names. For example, Pô
Inö Nögar, the Black Lady, the Queen of Women, is none other than
ancient Bhagavati, the sakti of Siva.

The Pantheon of the Kaphir Cham is no less nondescript. At its head
stand out three masculine divinities. The first is Pô Amö, Lord of
Creation, who bears a close resemblance to Brahma. The second, Pô
Yâta, is only an emanation of Pô Amö and reigns over the Vault of
Heaven. The third is Pô Allah, an incorporeal deity whose sanctuary is
at Mecca and who has been borrowed from the pantheon of the Cham Bani.

Then follows a certain number of female divinities, among whom Pô Inö
Nögar of the Cham Bani appears as Pô Yang Inö Nögar Taha, the Great
Mother-Goddess of the Kingdom who is endowed with authority over the
others. This venerable matron, born, it is said, from a wave of the
sea, married no less than ninety-seven husbands. Her offspring,
however, amounted to no more than thirty-eight daughters, a poor
compliment to the prolific powers of her spouses.

These girls remained virgins all their lives and showed the effects of
their enforced celibacy in their sour tempers. This unpleasant
characteristic, however, has made them objects of peculiar veneration
to the natives whose utilitarian morals teach them to neglect the
deities reputed to be amiable and concentrate all their fervour on
those considered evilly disposed towards man.

In addition to housing these disagreeable virgins, the Heavens are
also the abode of a young queen who can grant or withhold all human
joys. Her name is Padjao Yang and she personifies the Moon, the
faithful minister of Pô Adityak, the Sun. When the Sun passes before
Padjao Yang she shows her good breeding and training by bowing to the
ground before her Master, a mark of respect which produces the
phenomenon of eclipse. One characteristic which this immortal person
shares with her mortal sisters is worthy of remark. She is never more
than thirty years old! This figure has been selected probably because
thirty is the average number of days in a lunar month. It need hardly
be said that she never complains of this burden of youth. Some of the
more gallant Cham go further, and seeing her sometimes arrayed in a
diaphanous halo, swear that her age never exceeds that of her robe!
How many of those same mortal sisters would like to say the same!

The temples in which the ritualistic ceremonies of the Cham take place
differ according to the observances of the various sects. Thus the
mosques of the Cham Bani are narrow huts which could hardly
accommodate a single family. It is doubtful whether more than a dozen
are to be found in the whole of Annam. They invariably face west, the
direction of Mecca, and for furniture and accessories contain a few
mats for the use of the worshippers, a drum to call them to prayer and
a pulpit which never seems to be occupied. On the very holiest of
holy days strips of white cloth are hung over this pulpit and spread
over the floor. On Fridays is held the general service of prayer,
which, however, is usually but sparsely attended. The Koran requires a
quorum of forty, but in practice that figure is seldom reached. At the
conclusion of this ceremony wine and spirits are freely circulated
among the worshippers though these liquids are taboo to the true

The hut-temples of the Siva-worshippers among the Kaphir Cham are not
more elaborate. The chief object to be seen in one of these is the
"Mukha-Linga," a piece of stone cut to resemble the male organ of
generation but adorned with the face of the god Siva, which is made
more life-like by a dressing of coloured plaster. On special occasions
this curious object is dressed up in a scarlet mantle. A stone
receptacle for holy water and a few other utensils complete the
necessary accessories.

These temples, however, are not the only outward and visible signs of
religious life among the Cham. A certain number of ancient monuments,
which both Annamites and Europeans erroneously call towers, but which
are in fact exclusively devoted to religious uses, are carefully
preserved. These constructions are always to be found on hills or at
other conspicuous points dominating the surrounding country. The
choice of the site is not without significance. It is a matter of
universal knowledge that most races attach a sacred character to
heights. For example, Mount Sinai and Mount Tabor are mentioned as
holy mountains in the Bible. The temple of Delphi stood on a hill. The
Acropolis looks over Athens, and the Celts always selected some
prominent spot as the scene of their sacrifices.

The best preserved of the temples which date from the days when the
kingdom of the Champa stood at its apogee is only a few miles distant
from Phanrang. It was built early in the fourteenth century and was
consecrated to Pô Klong Garai. I had plenty of opportunity to examine
the ruins carefully, for with the sacrilegious indifference of
Europeans we had erected on them the lofty mast which was essential to
our geodetical operations.

They consisted of a principal building with three annexes. All four
faced east and were made of brick. As we made our way into the
sanctuary for the first time, through the opening which served for
sole entrance and exit, we were greeted by a nauseating smell and the
clapping of innumerable wings. The place was literally infested with
bats, and, in addition, was pitch dark, so that a torch was a prime

The interior was not what might have been expected from inspection of
the exterior. As access to light and air was only provided by the one
narrow doorway, it is not difficult to imagine how the sanctuary had
become the favourite resort of all the bats in the district.

A stone altar stood against the back wall. The upper surface was
slightly concave to enable liquids to run off. On one of its sides was
a "Mukha-Linga" with black beard and whiskers, which contrasted
strangely with the pallor of the face. In the vestibule, with a
necklace round its throat was a "Nandi," the White Bull of Siva, which
the Cham call "Kapila." He it is who bears away the dead on his back
to Keylasa, of which he is the guardian. According to the Hindus the
"Nandi" is also Siva's favourite mount and frequently their identities
blend in the figure of a Hermit with the body of a man and the head of
a bull.

The Samaritans also favoured animal-headed deities. It will be
remembered that Thartac had a donkey's head and Anubis that of a dog.
Other analogies between various early religious systems readily
suggest themselves.

Thus the Babylonian Ishtar stood for the principle of fecundity and
must be compared with the goddess Kali, the sakti of Siva, who is also
known as "Yomi," the "Fertile Womb."

The Assyrians worshipped another Ishtar, a highly formidable goddess,
who always appears in her statues armed with some murderous weapon.
This characteristic of cruelty is equally prominent in Kali, the
goddess of Blood, Lust and Death, whose statues always represent her
grimacing and repulsive with a necklace and bracelets of human skulls
and bones.

The doorway of the temple is formed of three granite monoliths of
which the two uprights are covered with inscriptions. Above is a
bas-relief on a kind of sculptured lintel, representing Siva dancing.
It is remarkably well-preserved. The god has six arms. The lowest pair
grasp a trident, as is usual in statues of Siva, and a lotus-bloom,
which is more generally associated with Vishnu. The middle pair
brandish a scimitar and a dagger. The other pair are clasped behind
the god's head.

Four small stone elephants complete the accessories of the sanctuary.
They represent the wild elephants which, so legend says, entered the
temple while it was being built.

There is a broad general resemblance between the temples of the Cham
and those of the Kmer who also professed the Brahminic religion. The
Kmer also selected rising ground with a wide sweep of view as the site
for their sacred edifices. Great care was taken that the main façade
should face towards the east. The interior consisted of a single hall
with an entrance sometimes so low that it was necessary to stoop to
get in. The walls were innocent of all decoration and became damp and
clammy in the darkness. The outside walls and especially the doorway,
however, were the objects of considerable artistic effort. The doorway
in particular was usually surmounted by a lintel with figures of the
gods and their distinctive symbols. Thus Vishnu is represented astride
of Garuda, the parrot-headed god, Brahma rides on geese and Indra a
three-headed elephant. The dancing Siva, with a multitude of arms
disposed halo-wise around his head, is one of the commonest figures. I
remember seeing one on the façade of the Temple of Pô Klong Garai.

The architecture of the Javanese also furnishes some equally
remarkable resemblances.

I have already remarked that the Siva-worshipping Cham, like their
Hindu co-religionists, have adopted the symbol of a linga to represent
that deity. It is worthy of note in this connection that the Egyptians
represented their god Osiris in the form of a phallus, the equivalent
of a linga. This phallus-worship made its way into Greece, and
especially Babylon where the earliest inscriptions are found engraved
on large clay phalli.

Phallus-worship, transformed into linga-worship, was introduced into
the Far East by the Hindus. Traces of it have been found in Java. In
spite of the distance, Japan also welcomed it along with many other
foreign cults but to-day it only remains a tradition in that country,
though there are some Japanese villages where huge phalli, made of
bamboo covered with canvas, figure in the local processions. At the
top of these weird structures is a small opening from which urchins
make a pretence of haranguing the crowd.

Barth considers the origin of linga-worship to be wrapped in
obscurity. We know that phallic rites were part of the religions of
the Veda but that there was no actual phallus-worship.

Some say it came from the west, probably Greece, but it is at least as
likely that the Hindus evolved this particular symbolism themselves.
However that may be, it is certain that the cult made its appearance
simultaneously with Siva-worship.

The linga is often represented in conjunction with the yoni, the
female organ and the symbol of Devi, wife of Siva.

It should be said at once that these objects are treated symbolically,
not realistically. The linga is a simple cone, the yoni a triangular
prism. This abstract treatment is said by some to be the outcome of a
protest against idolatry, in proof of which they point to the fact
that Vishnu and Lasmî his wife are represented respectively by a
fossil-shell, the Calagrama, and a plant of the sweet-basil species,
the Tulosi. It should be added that Hindu art is remarkable for its
freedom from suggestiveness and that, in whatever guise the mystery of
life is symbolized, the form selected is one which never provokes
indecent ideas.

The Kaphir Cham of Phantiet and Phanry have another cult of the same
kind, the worship of the yoni in another form. This rite is the
introduction into some cavity, the hollow of a tree perhaps, or the
fissure of a rock or the burrow of an animal, of a large rudely carved
wooden cylinder. The worshipper recites the wish on the fulfilment of
which his hopes are set while pouring spirits on the cylinder. He
makes his prayer to Pô Yang Dari, the Shameless Goddess who can cure
children of all diseases.

The primitive conception which underlies all this symbolism must, of
course, be traced to the belief in imitative magic, which endows the
performance of a ritualistic act with the power of inducing other
beings or objects to imitate that act. It is thus quite natural that
the idea of fecundity, the word being taken in its widest sense,
should be closely associated with every phase and form of

It is a thousand pities that from the beginning of the nineteenth
century the spread of pharisaical prudery has prevented even those
best qualified by long residence among uncivilized races from probing
into questions concerning sex and publishing the results of their
researches. The explorers of the eighteenth century were not so
hampered, and their observations, from which the veil of priggish
reticence is withdrawn, furnish us with much valuable information on a
department of human activity which is of surpassing interest and
importance to the ethnographer.

The Kmer took their architecture from the Hindus. There is an obvious
resemblance between the religious edifices of the two peoples and in
addition both built their temples in naturally secluded places, a
preference which is amply explained by the nature of a religion which
endows its deities with so formidable a character that only priests
may approach them. The rank and file of worshippers have to be content
with following the sacrifices with their thoughts. They congregate in
the outer paved courts of the temples and make themselves shelters of
bamboos and leaves. In some places asylums for ailing pilgrims are
built in the immediate neighbourhood of the temples. These hospices
are under the charge of monks who care for the stricken wayfarers.

Of the slight differences which distinguish the buildings of the two
peoples the most noticeable is the treatment of the roof. The Kmer
roof is a kind of ogival dome recalling the edifices of the Arabs,
while the Hindus crown their quadrangular pyramids with a four-sided

The artistic skill of the Kmer has mainly been lavished on pyramids,
sacred pools and rock-surfaces, many of which are entirely covered
with figures of gods. There are also many towers which serve as
shrines for images of the deities. It will be remembered that the
stupas of the Hindus are devoted to a similar use.

The temples face east, an arrangement which is explained by the fact
that the services usually take place early in the morning on that side
of the building which receives a maximum of sun. On the other hand
certain temples devoted to the worship of the Gods of the Lower
Regions face to the west, for the reason that the rites are always
celebrated at sunset.

The statuary of the Cham seems to owe much both to the Kmer and the
Hindus. One fact, indeed, is incontestable, that the human type
represented is clearly the Aryan, whereas the Cham artists spent all
their lives among men of a totally different type. It is plain that
they did not take their own people for their models. The explanation
can only be that the Cham imported their art of sculpture just as they
imported their religion. Another remarkable fact is that in their
statues of gods and prophets the figures are almost destitute of
clothing, while their kings and heroes are always represented in
gorgeous apparel. In this connection it may be remembered that the
prophets of one of the two principal sects of the Jainists call
themselves the "Digambara," which means "They who are clothed in

The usual type of head-dress is conical or cylindrical in shape. The
lobes of the ears are elongated and pierced with holes from which
earrings are hung. The feet are always bare. The figures of women show
them as of the same type as the men, and their hair is dressed in
similar fashion. The upper half of the body is uncovered, exposing
their breasts which are full and perfect in shape. The lower half is
concealed by a kind of skirt secured at the waist by a girdle with
fringes which sweep to their feet. Their ears, neck, legs and arms are
adorned with jewels.

These main features are found reproduced in the few antique statues
still to be found among the Cham.

I have a lively recollection of one occasion on which, so I was told,
I was the first European to enter a certain temple. No experience in
my varied life has left a more indelible impression on my memory. The
Mission was engaged in scientific operations between Phantiet and
Phanry, the ancient home of the Cham, and our headquarters consisted
of a number of rude huts in the very heart of the forest.

One day I received a visit from the headman of a neighbouring village,
a diminutive individual with a face the colour of a dead leaf. I had
previously rendered him some service by treating him for severe
ophthalmia and he now proposed to show his gratitude by revealing to
me the whereabouts of a ruined temple which was so concealed in the
forest as hitherto to defy discovery by Europeans. He told me I should
find two statues, in excellent preservation, of kings who had been
raised to the rank of deities by their subjects. Also I was to have
every opportunity of sketching and taking photographs.

The temple was not more than thirty miles distant, so my expedition
was duly announced as a mere excursion for pleasure. We set out,
accompanied by two young natives, my usual companions in my private
wanderings, who had charge of the photographic and other apparatus as
well as our arms and provisions. Our journey was without incident, for
my kind guide gave me the fullest instructions as to the route to the
Temple of Song Sui.

[Illustration: Statue of an Ancient King of Cambodia.]

[Illustration: Statue of an Ancient Queen of Cambodia.]

[Illustration: An Old Cham Temple in a Cambodian Forest.]

[Illustration: The House of a Cham Aristocrat.]

[Illustration: A Cottage Home in Cambodia.]

This remarkable sanctuary is the tomb of an ancient king of the Cham
and the object of a very popular pilgrimage at certain seasons of the
year. It consists of three separate pavilions in a large enclosure
which is divided into two halves, one higher than the other. The lower
half is used by the general public while the upper is reserved for the
family of any worshipper who desires to make a sacrificial offering.

The statue of the King is in the central building. It is cut from a
single block of granite and coloured to show a robe of red and gold.
On the King's head is a fez to which a golden helmet is added on
special occasions. The neck and the ears are pierced with holes from
which necklaces and earrings are suspended. The eyebrows meet above
the nose, the moustaches are twisted upwards and the eyes are

The door of the central pavilion is of beaten iron, hand-forged. Of
the two other pavilions one alone remains, a picturesque ruin. The
other has completely disappeared in the undergrowth, a few stones
remaining to mark the site. In the survivor there is a statue of one
of the King's two wives standing between two elaborate steles. The
Queen's hair is arranged in the shape of a cone, a fashion which is
typical of the statues of the Kmer. The nails are stained red, and all
the fingers (except the middle one), and also the thumb, are covered
with rings.

A balustrade, very similar to those which decorate European tombs,
runs round behind this pavilion. In this enclosure an unhappy black
goat is chained up, destined to decapitation at the precise moment
when the sacrifice is consummated. The floor is made of stone with a
narrow trench through which the blood is drained off.

Having exhibited the resemblances between this temple and those of the
Kmer I propose to suggest other resemblances, not less striking,
between it and some of the ancient Egyptian tombs.

The royal steles of the Egyptians are of a fairly regular outline,
gently rounded at the top and usually semicircular. As is well known,
their purpose was to hand down to posterity the identity and genealogy
of a particular Pharaoh. The monarch's statue, on the other hand, was
the actual living image of the departed, for it was universally
believed that the dead man's double returned to make its abode in his
form. It is even possible that the first idea of statuary had its
origin in this conception of a magical reanimation.

The deceased was always represented in his robes of state (however
scanty) and seated on the throne. Food was set on a small table within
his reach. The figure was dressed, covered with jewels and smothered
in perfumes. The nails were coloured with henna and the eyes
blackened. Every step in the proceedings was accompanied by formal

In the case of royal statues these ceremonies were observed up to the
twelfth dynasty. They then fell into desuetude and it became
customary merely to paint up the statue with clothes, jewels and other
accoutrements in as realistic a manner as possible. In the British
Museum there are three large wooden statues, taken from royal tombs of
the thirteenth century, which are remarkable illustrations of this
process of evolution in statuary.

It is to this process of evolution, due to a change of ideas, that we
must ascribe the gradual disappearance of the belief that the soul of
the deceased returned to dwell in his statue, and also of the equally
primitive belief that the purpose and meaning of offering a sacrifice
was to furnish the deceased with food in his new existence.

I was extremely interested in my visit with its valuable discoveries,
and it may readily be imagined that I was in great haste to return to
camp and develop my plates. My guide announced that he knew a route
which would save us many miles. The morning passed uneventfully
enough. On many occasions we crossed the tracks of elephants, but I
was not to be moved from my purpose. Hunting was out of fashion that
day. We were too bent on getting home.

To be ready for any emergency I gave one of my rifles to the Cham
chief who was a good shot. Some alligators were sunning themselves on
the sandy banks of a stream. We broke in upon their siesta without
hesitation and without apology.

My companion informed me that we should pass through a certain
village and that, at the rate at which we were then marching, we
should reach it before nightfall. However, our two boys, less
accustomed to forced marching than their elders, began to show signs
of distress. I could see them shifting from one shoulder to the other
the bamboo-pole from which our impedimenta was slung and they soon
began to complain of the thorns in the path which lacerated their
feet. The two boys were quite young, the elder being perhaps sixteen.
They had been attached to the Mission for more than six months, a long
period for natives, who dislike regular occupation and are ever in
search of change. I had a peculiar affection for these two. They were
indefatigable servants and remarkably docile and even-tempered.

Their complaints seemed reasonable enough and to relieve them the
chief and I shouldered the bamboo-pole. We set off again but soon put
a large and growing distance between ourselves and the younger
generation lagging behind. Meanwhile the sun was hastening towards his
western bed. At one time the loiterers seemed to have put on a spurt,
but the effort exhausted itself and they fell behind once more. At a
bend of the path we decided to wait until the boys came up. We kept
ourselves carefully out of sight lest the vision of our halt should
inspire them to a similar indulgence.

Some minutes passed, but no one appeared. Had the rascals given up the
attempt to follow us or had they lost their way? I ran back to the
bend in the path. The route by which we had come stretched away in a
straight line for miles, but no human being was in sight.

Our coolies had fled!

The mask-like countenance of my companion betrayed neither surprise
nor any other emotion. The truants were not of his faith nor did they
hail from his village. They were but vulgar Annamites, at best a race
of sneaking hucksterers. His sympathies were evidently confined to the
faithful of his own parish.

I confess I was irritated by his obvious indifference. To my knowledge
the forest through which we had passed was infested with tigers and
the stunted leafless trees were the most illusory refuge from the
brutes. I had an uncomfortable premonition that our pleasure-party, so
happily begun, was entering the realms of tragedy.

In the course of our three years' residence in southern Annam no less
than twelve natives had been devoured by tigers. Several of the
victims were attached to the Mission, and on more than one occasion I
had been the hapless witness of their horrible sufferings.

On one occasion a coolie suddenly vanished through the wicker-work
floor of our hut, which was built on piles quite nine feet high. The
tiger, however, had climbed on to a baulk of timber which was lying on
the ground below and using this as a platform had succeeded in
catching hold of one end of his victim's waist-cord which happened to
be hanging through the interstices of the floor. The beast gave a
violent tug and dragged the hapless coolie through the floor. The man,
taken by surprise, was helpless and fell, an unresisting prey, into
the tiger's jaws.

I feel considerable diffidence in telling a story which I myself
should not have believed had the tragedy not occurred before my very

On another occasion one of my colleagues and myself were taking our
evening meal, waited on by a Cham boy about twelve years old. It was
shortly after seven, I think, and the rain was falling in torrents.
All at once we heard a shriek proceeding from the direction of the
kitchen and in a moment the boy entered, white with terror.

"The Tiger," he could hardly get the words out, "seized hold of my
coat." He showed us a huge rent in the flimsy material which covered
his trembling body. Outside it was pitch dark. We had no lamps and it
seemed highly risky to venture forth with so undesirable a neighbour
watching us. We quickly set about protecting ourselves by barricading
the entrance to the room with a palisade of wattles. The real mystery
was how the beast had made its way into the enclosure, guarded as it
was by a solid fence made of baulks of timber and forming a veritable
blockhouse. An hour later we heard the stamping of hoofs, violent
kicks and terror-stricken neighing. Then silence. About midnight our
light went out. It would have been madness to go to the kitchen to
fetch another, so we found ourselves condemned to wait in the
darkness, listening for every sound and our nerves on edge. Needless
to say, sleep was impossible. At dawn we ventured out. Everything was
in confusion. Our horses had broken loose and stampeded over the
fence. One of them lay disembowelled before us and half its
hindquarters had disappeared. On the face of the embankment on which
our house was elevated, immediately before the door of the room where
we had been sitting, were the traces of a tiger's paws clearly visible
in the clay.

The boy had not been mistaken. He had indeed been seized by the beast
and owed his safety to his worn and tattered clothing. The marks of
teeth and claws on some of the baulks of the palisade showed us that
the visitor had climbed over. We learnt one lesson from this
experience. Our camp, with its solid rampart ten feet high, was only
an illusory protection against a really determined man-eater!

All these horrible recollections--and many others which can find no
place here, this not being a story of adventure--flashed through my
mind in the space of a few seconds.

Meanwhile time was flying and night came down on us unheralded by
twilight as in Europe. Our search was all in vain and no answer came
to our repeated shouts. The coolies had gone.

It was not until late at night and after much struggling that we
reached the village. In spite of the friendly light thrown by a torch
I remained all night a prey to the most vivid hallucinations. Time
after time I watched a huge tiger spring out of the darkness with the
corpse of one of the missing boys in his jaws.

Two days later the elder of the two came into the village. He was
shivering with fever and dared not present himself before me, so I
went to see him. Ghastly was the story he had to unfold. Just before
the bend in the path which I have mentioned the two boys had been
unable to go further and had sat down. When we were out of sight they
had attempted to continue their journey, but before they had advanced
a few yards a huge tiger had sprung upon the younger, while the elder
had remained dumb with astonishment and terror. Helpless with fear and
weariness the survivor had wandered in the forest and at last, in
sheer desperation, had climbed into a tree expecting at every moment
to share the fate of his luckless companion.

The Cham chief, who listened to this harrowing story with an air of
indifference and barely concealed scorn, at length delivered himself
of an aphorism:

"Fear claims far more victims than courage."

                              CHAPTER IV

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

     Agrarian rites--Tabooed ricefields--Secret ploughing--Sleeping
     rice--Various uses of eagle-wood--How the Cham procure
     it--Public festivals and holy days.

Of all the races which inhabit Indo-China the Cham come easily first
for the variety and individuality of their agrarian rites. There is
practically no difference between the Bani and Kaphir in this respect.
Both peoples recognize three kinds of sacred ricefields in which no
manner of work may be carried on without the accompaniment of a
special ritual. If, in the course of ploughing a rice-field, excessive
fatigue has been occasioned to either man or beast, sufficient to
cause illness, the field becomes taboo, "Hamu Tabung." The evil eye
has been cast upon it, and no remedy exists but to sell the
contaminated place at no matter what sacrifice. It need hardly be said
that the only possible purchasers are the few Annamite Christians who
are scattered throughout these regions. The Buddhist Annamites shun
such a spot as if it were plague-stricken. The cause of the mischance
is supposed to be the presence of some ancient burial-ground, the
existence of which was not suspected.

Every village has its two or three sacred ricefields the "Hamu
Canrauv," which are invariably the first to be ploughed. As a rule
they are the property of the local aristocracy. The owner with his
wife, who plays the principal part in the ceremony, goes to the field
in question, either in the evening or at dawn. They lay down a mat at
one corner and on it place two eggs, a cup of spirits and three betel
leaves, which the wife offers as a sacrifice to Pô Olwah Tak Alâ, the
great Lord of the Underworld, begging him to accept them. To set a
good example, husband and wife share the good things between them
while making three furrows round the field. After this ceremony
ploughing and sowing may proceed in the ordinary manner.

There are also fields where cultivation is forbidden, the "Hamû Klaik
Lavâ." To speak more accurately the interdict only extends to open
cultivation and the tabooed area is ploughed and worked in secret.
These operations are accomplished in the following manner. With the
first signs of day the husband and wife go to the field and after
making three furrows in silence return home. When morning comes they
walk to the place and profess the greatest astonishment that the work
of ploughing has already begun. "Who is the kindly Spirit," they
exclaim, "who has worked for us while we slept?" Without loss of time
they run back to their house to fetch suitable offerings. So great a
marvel as a field which cultivates itself is worthy to be consecrated
with a sacrifice. Accordingly they first bury five pieces of betel in
the ground and throw a handful of rice into the three magic furrows,
after which plough and bullocks are sprinkled with holy water and the
remaining operations may be carried out without further concealment.

A sacrifice is offered as soon as the stalks have emerged from the
ground and are tall enough "to hide the doves." Another marks the
moment of flowering, and a third, the most important, celebrates the
time of harvest. On this last occasion the owner cuts off the heads of
three of the stalks and wraps them up in a cloth. The next step is to
pass them through the smoke of a fire in which several pieces of
eagle-wood are burning. These ears are the first-fruits offered to the
goddess Pô Nögar, and they are afterwards hung in the owner's house
until the next sowing time comes round. The same field will then be
sown from the rice thus gathered.

For "unconsecrated" ricefields the ritual is less complicated. When
the harvesting is due the oldest woman of the group is selected to cut
three tufts, which she sets with much pomp against the bank which
borders the field and harangues the grain as yet ungathered in the
following terms:

"Follow the example you see here before you and you will be worthy of
a place in my barns." After this address harvesting proceeds without

When the grain is safely gathered in, the Cham believe that it sleeps
all day and only awakes at night. It would be the height of
desecration and imprudence to disturb its slumbers, and consequently
we soon learnt the futility of asking our hosts for paddy in the
daytime. We were invariably informed that we must wait until night. It
was only at a late hour that the owner would consent to open the door
of his barn and give us what we wanted.

There was a very curious rite, fallen into desuetude since our
occupation in 1888, which accompanied the gathering of the precious
essence known as eagle-wood or aloe-wood. This substance is mentioned
in the Bible, the Egyptian papyri, and by many Greek, Hindu and Arab
writers. It seems to have been used extensively for embalming the
dead, as also for combining with camphor to make a kind of incense
burnt in the temples. It appears under different names, "ahalot" in
Hebrew, "aghäluhy" in Arabic, "ἀγάλλοχον" in Greek, "agaru" in
Sanscrit. The Cham call it "galao." Portuguese explorers, who seem to
have been the first to discover its commercial value, used the Arabic
name and translated it "pao de Aguila." In Latin this becomes "lignum
aquilae," and so, in modern tongues, "eagle-wood," or "agal-wood,"
"adlerholz," and "bois d'aigle."

This essence has attracted the attention of travellers of all nations
owing to its various properties, and was formerly a commercial product
of great importance among the Cham. It is found all over this region,
which seems to have been the land of its origin, for it is never met
with further north than the thirteenth or fourteenth degree of

Botanists are not yet agreed as to the class of trees from which it is
produced. The most up-to-date investigators assert that it is produced
by diseases due to malnutrition in certain trees such as the
_aquilaria secundaria_, _aloexylum agallochum_, and _aquilaria
agallocha_, all of the family of the _aquilarinæa_. It is an aromatic
substance with a slightly resinous odour and bitter to the taste.

The natives distinguish three varieties, according to their commercial
value. The first quality, which is almost impossible to find to-day,
commanded a price of no less than fifty-four pounds a kilogramme. The
medium quality was worth sixteen pounds for the same quantity, and the
cheapest quality was worth rather more than one pound a kilogramme.

The variety of uses to which this accommodating substance can be put
is astonishing, though it is not suitable for cabinet-making.

It is largely used for incense. When thrown into a fire it melts like
wax and gives off an odour which is supposed to be particularly
pleasing to the Gods. Certain other of its properties are no less
useful to man, who values more material favours. Thus, for example, it
has very great value as a safeguard against dysentery, which is
prevalent throughout Indo-China. No Mandarin in all this region
ventures forth on a journey without having a supply of this
indispensable medicine with him.

Of course, the oriental imagination is not content to confine the
virtues of this substance to those which have been demonstrated by
actual experience. The supernatural is bound to appear somewhere, and
accordingly all kinds of magical powers are also attributed to it.
Thus every person who bears this talisman will never succumb, however
long he may be deprived of food. On the contrary, his body will no
longer be subjected to earthly necessities but will enter on a state
of divinity which requires no sustenance. The Mandarins have every
reason to appreciate this arrangement, especially at the time of their
presentation at the Imperial Court at Hué. Etiquette exacts that until
the Sovereign actually enters the throne-room they must remain quite
motionless, and they sometimes find themselves compelled to stand for
hours without stirring!

With properties so invaluable as this, it is hardly to be wondered at
that eagle-wood figured largely in the gifts presented by the
sovereign of Annam to the Emperor of China by way of tribute every
three years. To ensure a sufficient supply, all trade in this
substance, whether for home or export, was strictly prohibited, but
the prohibition was removed after our occupation, when the obligation
of tribute was suspended and finally annulled.

According to Masoudi, the celebrated Arab writer, eagle-wood has a
celestial origin.

     "After the Fall, when Adam had been driven from Heaven by the
     angel, he fled to Mount Rahoun in the island of Ceylon. Before
     leaving Paradise, however, he contrived to snatch some leaves
     from the trees and sewed them together to make a garment. To
     his astonishment they shrivelled up immediately and the winds
     scattered them to every corner of India. It is said, but of the
     truth God alone can judge, that these remnants of our first
     father's vestment gave birth to all the perfumes of Asia, and,
     among them, to eagle-wood."

Other legends of Hindu origin say that the aloes tree grew in an
earthly paradise and that fragments of it were swept over the face of
the globe by a series of floods.

It is also said that the tree originally grew only on the tops of
inaccessible mountains where fearful monsters or wild beasts guarded
it from the greedy hands of man.

However that may be, it is certain that at the present time the public
is not interested in the origin of this substance so much as its
exploitation for commercial purposes. An industry formerly so
flourishing should be systematically revived, if only for its
prospective financial importance.

Balap, where the members of our mission remained for some time, is
celebrated as the residence of Pô Galao, the "Lord of the Eagle-wood,"
on whom devolved in former times the duty of supervising the gathering
of the precious substance. His associates were sixteen men of the same
village and a certain number of the "Raglaï" Moï, a group living in
the neighbourhood whose keen sense of smell is vital to success. A
good nose is of far greater importance than good sight, for eagle-wood
exhales a characteristic odour which has to be detected from among the
various smells of the virgin forest. Indeed the task of finding the
tree is beset with difficulties. The undergrowth is so thick, the
vegetation so hardy and rampant, that progress can only be made by
clearing a path with knife and hatchet. The decaying vegetation is a
prolific source of fevers. It is easily understood that with so many
perils ahead the expedition never sets out without a preliminary
sacrifice to the deities who can assure or withhold success. Of these
deities the most important to appease are the four tutelary divinities
of the valley of Phanrang. To earn their goodwill it is necessary to
build a special barn for the sacrifice and make offerings of a goat,
cooked rice, eggs and spirits.

As soon as the expedition starts the searchers are bound by a
religious law of silence. Should any member of the party speak it
would be almost certain that the wood would lose its perfume, and
therefore all its value.

Of course, an occasional direction to the "Raglaï" Moï is unavoidable,
and for this purpose the Cham make use of certain brief vivid
expressions. For example, if they wish to indicate an axe they say
"the wood-pecker." When they want to speak of fire they say "the red."

For a long time it was believed that this conventional language was a
form of religious speech, somewhat similar to the "Bhasa Hantu," or
language of the Spirit, employed by the Malays. Further research,
however, has proved that these expressions are confined to a few
detached words borrowed from the Raglaï dialect and used by the Cham
to communicate with them alone.

The women who remain behind in the villages are strictly forbidden to
quarrel amongst themselves while their husbands are away looking for
eagle-wood. A breach of this regulation would mean that the men would
run grave risk of being attacked by tigers or bitten by serpents. The
cynical, however, assert that even this evil possibility is
insufficient to preserve harmony in the village!

While I was at Malam near Phantiet I was present at the annual
festival of the Cham Bani of that village. The ceremony is known as
"Raja," a name which is also applied to the priestess who officiates.

On reaching the courtyard of the compound to which I was invited I
observed a large hut and several sheds ornamented with branches of
trees on which sheets of coarse cotton were spread. The sheds served
to accommodate the many guests who, like myself, had accepted the
invitation to be present at the festival. The hut was devoted to the
ceremonies of ancestor-worship, which were that day celebrated.

This building faced the east. On entering I immediately noticed at the
back of the room a kind of trough serving as an altar. From the
ceiling hung paper figures of boats, carts, animals and various
domestic objects. In the middle of the room, suspended from the two
principal beams, was a swing with its seat covered with
brightly-coloured materials, which took on a strangely gay and
barbaric aspect under the lights of many little candles.

The native orchestra comprised a flute, a stringed instrument with
some resemblance to a guitar, gongs and tambourines. The conductor,
who seemed to be the principal performer, also improvised on a flat
drum, timing his melodious drone to fill the intervals when the
priestess was resting.

The latter, clothed in a long white robe and with a wreath of flowers
in her hair, joined with an assistant priest in the steps of a
saraband. Together they gave vent to their feelings in dancing,
singing, prayers, imprecations, tears, grinding of teeth and hypnotic
ecstasies, all with the object of appeasing the shades of the
ancestors. Suddenly the priestess seated herself on the swing in the
narrow passage left between the candles. She swung herself slowly to
and fro, running her hands up and down the supporting ropes and
droning through endless prayers. When she had finished the priest
followed her example and went through the same rigmarole. So curious
was the scene that I could not resist the malevolent idea of taking a
photograph and without reflection I fired a piece of magnesium ribbon.

Woe to me for my impatience! In the confusion which followed the flash
both I and my camera were almost upset. I had purposely given the
company no notice of my intention in order to avoid the "posing" which
self-conscious sitters cannot avoid. The Faithful, in their amazement,
had taken the sudden apparition as an emanation of the Gods
themselves. Something more than explanations was necessary to allay
the general alarm, and it was only after a generous distribution of
tobacco that I was able to restore some measure of harmony.

The religious celebrations lasted three days, interspersed with feasts
and other diversions, notably an acrobatic display by a performer who
roused his audience to a frenzy of enthusiasm. At the beginning of
each feast a priest called all the deities by name and executed the
movements of a dance in their honour. These evolutions are an
invitation to the divinities to take their place in the celebrations.

At dawn on the second day the priestess filled with cakes and fruit a
toy boat hollowed out of the trunk of a banana-tree by some ingenious
artisan. In this frail canoe a rag monkey was placed, squatting on its
haunches in a very grotesque position. The boat was meant to
commemorate the vessel which in former days came from China every
three years to fetch the tribute exacted from a vassal state.

After this the roysterers fell upon the improvised temple and hacked
it to pieces amongst general rejoicings.

The next day, by way of applying the closure to the festivities, the
whole crowd, headed by the priest and priestess, marched to a
neighbouring canal, taking the symbolical boat with them. While the
orchestra poured forth an unmelodious symphony the lilliputian vessel
was entrusted to the waters, in which it speedily filled and

There are strong resemblances between this Cham ceremony and the
celebrations in India which mark the changes of the monsoon. In this
latter country travellers find the same gaily bedecked sheds, the same
rude figures cut out of paper, and the same swing scene. The Hindus
regard the backward and forward movement of the swing as a symbol of
the movements of the seasons.

Most of the rites which obtain among the Cham, in fact, recall the
ritual observances of the Vedic and Brahminic religions, of which the
following are among the most characteristic features.

The place selected for the crowning act of sacrifice, "Devayajana," is
always an open space, whether at a cross-roads or in an enclosure. The
improvised temple is made of branches or clods of earth and is
invariably destroyed by the worshippers after the solemn ceremony is

Each sacrifice is regarded as the conclusion of a treaty between the
gods and mortals. The value of the offering is in proportion to the
extent of the favours desired. Most sacrifices are for heat or rain,
two necessaries of life without which neither health nor prosperity is

The officiating priest and his bodyguard of acolytes are housed and
fed at the expense of the "Yajamana," the individual for whose
ultimate benefit the benevolence of the gods is solicited. I ought to
add that the previous life and blamelessness of this person have
nothing to do with the efficacy of the sacrifice. On the contrary, the
only thing that matters is the exact, punctilious observance of the
rite itself.

It is plain that intellect plays little part in these religious
ceremonies. Throughout, each act is designed to fire the imagination
and arouse the emotions, rather than carry conviction.

It is equally certain that rites of undoubted Dravidian origin are to
be observed among the Cham. The common denominator of all the
religions of India is the worship of divinities personifying the earth
or the elements, generally in the shape of a woman, and almost always
considered malevolent.

Horrible sacrifices are offered to appease them, and the religious
ceremonies usually terminate in the most abandoned orgies. The
presiding priest, or "Devil Dancer," after a series of frantic
contortions, falls to the ground in a hypnotic trance, during which
the incoherent expressions that fall from his lips are greedily noted
and repeated by the Faithful, who regard them as the words of Divinity

For a last example there are certain fêtes, such as the "Durgapuja" in
Bengal, marked by buffoonery and pantomime, in which the worshippers
conclude the ceremonies by carrying a statue of the goddess in
procession to the river banks, and casting it into the waters to the
strains of an ear-shattering orchestra.

                              CHAPTER V

                RITES AND SUPERSTITIONS (_continued_)

     Burial rites--Philology--Legends and fables.

The exorcisms of the "Padjao" directed towards expelling disease from
the bodies of the Cham are too similar to those of the Moï sorceress
to merit description, which would be little more than repetition.

On the other hand, the burial rites of the Kaphir Cham are highly

Children who die before the age of puberty, and therefore not
initiated into the full rights and mysteries of manhood, are buried in
the earth, while adults of both sexes are cremated. The reason for
this distinction is not far to seek. The adults are regarded as a
class set apart with its own complex of funeral rites and observances.
Further, those who die while still of tender years die in innocence
and need no such purification from their sins as is implied in the
practice of submitting the bodies of their elders to the scourge of

After death the spirits of the little ones are supposed to dwell in
the bodies of rats, and their memory is perpetuated from time to time
by ceremonies in which the head of the family, clad in a new robe for
the occasions, makes offerings, waves his hands in the air to imitate
the movements of a bird, performs certain mystical passes, and puts a
red flower in a bronze vase.

The burial rites which are still practised by the Kaphir Cham of
Phanrang and Phanry serve as excellent comments on the duties of the
priest in case of the death of any inhabitant of a village.

The fundamental notion on which all the observances are based is that
the soul of the deceased must have a new body in which it may take
refuge after the loss of its earthly dwelling-place. All the
ceremonies are designed to create this new body. It is universally
agreed that rice alone can operate the necessary transformation, and
as the rice must be of the finest quality procurable, each family
preserves the best stalks from the harvest and lays them up in
anticipation of a death.

When the dread moment arrives the selected grains are mixed in a bowl
into which a gold ring, symbol of immortality, has been dropped. The
priest now glues a few grains together with melted wax to form a soft
round ball, which is introduced under the dead man's tongue. A few
mystical passes, and the soul leaves its old shell for the new
ætherial body thus called into existence. The next and last step is to
give the soul its necessary directions. These depend upon the manner
of life of the deceased. Virtuous men are sent to the sun, women
against whom there is no reproach to the moon. If the credit and
debit items of a man's moral account balance out he is dispatched to
the planets. The wicked are dispersed among the clouds, as are also
the poor and lowly, an inequitable disposition worthy of a theocracy!

The actual ceremony of cremation follows after a period which is
determined by the state of the corpse and the financial position of
the deceased's family. From the moment of death to the cremation
custom exacts that all visitors to the family should be housed and fed
at the expense of the relations. These visitors come to keep the
deceased company and pretend to entertain him by their wit and
conversation. They also cheer up the relations and do their best to
keep sorrow at a convenient distance.

The family build a special shed under which the corpse is laid, after
having been dressed in eight robes, one over the other. Thus swathed
in white linen the body looks exactly like a package with the head,
covered with a thin veil, emerging from one end. It is strictly
forbidden to offer any nourishment to the deceased before he leaves
his own house. The bed on which the corpse is laid is turned towards
the south and surmounted by a kind of canopy from which hang birds cut
out of paper. It seems that the function of this winged escort is to
conduct the soul to its future home. Clumps of hemp and various foods
are strewn around the bier and the walls of the shed are hung with
martial trophies.


  _Photo by_]       [_A. Cabaton._

Cremation in Cambodia: The Head of the Procession.]


  _Photo by_]     [_A. Cabaton._

A Catafalque upon which several Bodies are being carried away for


  _Photo by_]      [_A. Cabaton._

The Hearse and Bearers at an Annamese Funeral.]


  _Photo. by_]      [_A. Cabaton._

The Altar of his Ancestors which accompanies the Deceased.]

Three times a day the priestess prepares a meal for the deceased.
An orchestra plays from morning to night almost without intermission.
It is soon plain that this lying-in-state, so far from being a rite of
mourning, is more like a festival. The guests consume enormous
quantities of food and drink, and only the unfortunate relations are
under ban to refrain from meat until after the cremation.

When at length the great day arrives the priests construct a
catafalque adorned with paper figures, the mourners line up in
procession behind, and all proceed to the appointed place. Every
villager dons his white scarf--white being the colour of
mourning--brandishes a spear, sword, or flag, and joins in the
cortège. The bearers perform the most remarkable evolutions with the
body, carrying it now feet first, now head first, or turning it round
and round in order to confuse the spirit and prevent it from finding
its way back. This essential object is also secured by a priest, known
on these occasions as "Pô Damoeun," "Lord of Sorrow," who remains in
the house of the deceased, shuts himself in, and calls on every
object, animate and inanimate, to prevent the soul from entering and
molesting the living.

When the funeral procession is within a hundred yards from the exit
from the village a priest takes a spade and marks out the spot
destined for the funeral pyre. Wood is brought and piled up and the
corpse is stripped of its wrappings and offered its last meal. As soon
as the flames break out the clothes of the deceased are thrown into
them. Now comes the moment, marked by the passage of the soul to the
life beyond, when the living send gifts to their dead relations. Each
man writes his list of presents on a slip of paper and then burns it.
The list is exhaustive, including such homely and necessary articles
as a pipe, spittoon and the inevitable receptacle for betel and lime.
Even underclothing and small change are not forgotten. During the
progress of the conflagration the spectators joke and chatter
together, leaving the serious business of desolation to the hired
mourners, who weep aloud and tear their hair. At the conclusion of the
ceremony the frontal bone of the deceased is carefully broken in nine
pieces, which are collected in a metal box, the "klong," a special
kind of urn. Every man provides himself with one of these receptacles
in anticipation of his own death, but the usual practice is to conceal
it in some place known only to his family, as it is not altogether
pleasant to be perpetually reminded of the terror to come.

The fragments of bone are now subjected to a long and tedious process
of purification, after which they are buried at the foot of a tree,
which is carefully noted, as being only a temporary depository. For
the next seven years on each anniversary the family dig up the box,
carry it back to their house, and offer sacrifices in its honour.
After the seventh year the interment is permanent. A spot is chosen
near to the best of the family ricefields, trees are planted round it,
and a tombstone is erected.

Sometimes the rites require that for the first interment the "klong"
of a man and a woman must be used together. It follows that in small
families where many years may elapse between the deaths of its members
the first "klong" runs a great risk of exceeding its seven compulsory
years of waiting before reaching its final resting-place.

The direction in which the urn is placed varies with the sex of the
deceased. The "klong" of a woman points to the west, that of a man to
the east.

I have described these rites at some length on account of their
intrinsic interest, but it would be illuminating to compare them with
similar ceremonies obtaining among other groups.

The Man Quan Trang, or "white-breeched" Man of Tonkin, bury the hair
and portions of the nails and bones in a different place from that of
the corpse itself. The reason for this is that these fragments are
considered the abode of the Material Soul and the Vital Spirits.

The Bouriates of Siberia bury some of the bones of their priests at
the foot of a tree.

The Egyptians made a set speech to their dead, in which they gave
directions for the guidance of the soul to the distant regions, and
enumerated a list of necessary articles to accompany it. The
recitation of these articles dispensed with the necessity of
furnishing them. The will was thus considered as good as the deed.

Lastly the funeral rites I have described find analogies among the
Laotians and the peoples of Cambodia. Here also a death is celebrated
as a happy event, as being merely a step to a new existence far more
blessed than the life on earth. The face of the corpse is covered with
a mask in gold leaf which is moulded to the features, and the process
of decomposition is retarded by the introduction of mercury. The
catafalque is large or small according to the social position of the
deceased. A king, for example, has a regular monument known as the
"Mén." A Minister of State or a High Priest is honoured with a rather
smaller edifice, while those of humble estate have to be content with
a simple pyramid. A large white cloth is hung over the catafalque, of
which the opening is guarded by a small figure in the mask of a
monkey. This is "Yéac," a subject of Couvera, the God of Riches, whose
statue adorns every place where a mystical transformation is to be
accomplished. The quaint figure holds in its hand a reel of white
cotton, of which one end is secured to the coffin and which will guide
the soul after it has left the body. The torch which fires the funeral
pyre is lit at a brasier which contains the sacred embers which must
never be extinguished. When cremation is complete the bones are
collected into a box made of precious metal, which is buried under a
tower, the height of which varies with the wealth of the deceased.

All these rites, however much they vary among themselves in detail,
seem to be based on the same popular ideas of the significance of

                  *       *       *       *       *

Like ourselves, the Cham write from left to right. Their alphabet
varies in different regions. In Cambodia it comprises four vowels, two
diphthongs, and twenty-nine consonants. In Annam there are five short
vowels, five long vowels, and four diphthongs. Both of these alphabets
have two special signs which correspond to the "Anusvara" and
"Visarga" of Sanscrit. There are also certain signs usually employed
in conjunction with the vowels which influence their pronunciation.
With the exception of the figures 4 and 0 the numerals are only a
modified form of the letters.

The popular pen is a short bamboo cut to a point and manipulated like
a paint-brush. The European pen is, however, coming into fashion with
the progress of Western ideas.

In Cambodia manuscripts are written in a beautiful free hand on paper
of Western form and manufacture. On the other hand, the Cham of Annam
use sheets of rice-paper of tremendous size imported from China.
Occasionally the traveller meets with inscriptions made with a needle
on palm-leaves.

The priests of Annam employ a hieratic writing, which they call "Akhar
Rik," especially for such purposes as engraving magical inscriptions
on amulets. A secret system and an abbreviated system are also used
when occasion requires.

A curious feature of their books is that the authors display a
tendency to coin new words from Sanscrit or Arabic roots even when the
idea expressed in those roots has only the remotest similarity to the
meaning they wish the word to convey.

The Cham Bani of Phanrang are the proud possessors of the manuscript
of a Bible, the text of which has been modified in many places by
Mohammedan influence. The truth of this will be demonstrated from the
examples translated by Father Durand.

     "This Book tells the story of the beginnings of Earth and
     Heaven.... The creation of the Sun God and the Moon Goddess.
     The Lord Uwlwah--Allah--then created the Pô Adam and the woman
     Hawā, whom he took from the man's side.... Their children
     numbered nine and ninety, an equal(!) number of boys and girls.
     They died in the Kingdom of Judah."

Then follow the story of the flood, the lives of Abraham and David,
without conspicuous discrepancies.

     "The son of Nabi Dalawat--Daoud, David--(the Cham have no final
     d) was called the Nabi Suleiman--Solomon. Allah commanded him
     to build the Caabah--temple--and gave him a mountain of gold
     and silver. Suleiman covered the walls of his Caabah with these
     precious metals and it became wondrously beautiful. He was
     appointed Chief of the Priests therein.... Then Nabi
     Esā--Issa, Jesus--was born in the country of Baitelem and
     him Allah took to himself.... Then Mohammat--Mahomet--for forty
     years decreed all the Doctrine in the Kingdom of
     Makah--Mecca--and died in the Kingdom of Madjanah--Medina....
     Then Adam and Hawā produced the seven Royalties. The sum of
     these seven epochs gives the total of 7306 years to the cyclic
     year of the Tiger....

     "That is all...."

The Cham, like the Kmer, have taken little trouble over the
composition of their legends and fables.

Apart from certain legends which by internal evidence and local
flavour can only be regarded as having originated among the Cham, all
the others are more or less successful adaptations of Hindu tales. In
almost all countries, and conspicuously in the Far East, popular fancy
fastens and feeds on the fabulous, or, at least, incredibly romantic,
adventures of the ancient Kings. It is at least true to say that these
adventures furnish a canvas on which imagination has worked wondrous

The origin of the special tight-fitting costume worn by the Cham women
is explained on this wise.

In the darkness of the Past a Cham Prince named Hon Hoî declared war
on a Laotian Princess, whose ricefields he coveted. In accordance with
the customs of the women of her race, the Princess, Diep Lieu, was
arrayed in nothing more than a scanty covering of bamboo fibres. The
barbarity and ignorance of her subjects was incredible. All buying
and selling went on by night, and in the darkness it was impossible to
determine the quality of the wares displayed except by their fine
smell. The Prince had no difficulty in overwhelming her forces and
making her his prisoner. But she found favour in his sight, and within
a short time she exchanged captivity for freedom and honour as his
wife. The Prince, however, was shocked at the summary attire of his
betrothed and for the wedding-day he gave her a costume of his own
making. This was a kind of sack, at the top of which was a narrow hole
for the head to come through. The Cham also honour the thesis that
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the women adopted this
new mode with avidity, and it has survived all the attacks of time and
feminine caprice.

                  *       *       *       *       *

A legend has gathered round each of the kings who has been raised to
the ranks of divinity by the Cham. Pô Klong Garai was born of a Virgin
Mother, Pô Sah Ineu, who rose alive from the waves. Though hardly yet
a woman she conceived her son while sipping water from a stream which
flowed through a rock. The child was smitten with the horror of
leprosy from birth. While he rested near a rock, a dragon emerged from
a cavern, licked the sores caused by the fell disease, and the child
was immediately cured. From that day he felt himself endowed with
matchless celestial powers. On one occasion, when about to make a
distant journey, and at a loss for a receptacle in which to carry
water he saw a pumpkin.

At the first touch of his hand the fruit broke its stalk and offered
its services as a gourd. When this magician became King he built
several dams in the valley of Phanrang and turned an arid desert into
a fertile plain. So great were his services to his people that finally
the gods rewarded him by calling him to be one of themselves.

Hardly less humble in origin than this prince was Pô Romé. He also was
born of a Virgin Mother, whom the family drove from their doors in
horror at the alleged crime. Nature, too, was not more kindly to the
tiny bastard, who had neither arms nor legs and rolled over the ground
like a cocoa-nut (a peculiarity from which he soon took that name). In
spite of his deformity, however, the reigning sovereign praised him to
his mother and appointed him to guard the cattle. Destiny was watching
over him and a Dragon soon appeared to tell him of all the glories the
future had in store. Warned of the approaching miracle by the court
astrologers, the King set himself to win the regard of one who might
one day prove a formidable rival to himself. He finally decided to
abdicate in the young man's favour and added to his benefits by giving
him the hand of his daughter in marriage and two other wives of the
second and third degree. But Cocoa-nut was not happy even with his
three wives. Hardly had he ascended the throne than he lost his crown
through the artifices of his second wife. This lady was the daughter
of the King of Annam who coveted his neighbour's lands and was not
above treachery to secure them. At this time the tutelary deity of the
Cham was shut up in the trunk of a tree, known as the "Kraik," and so
long as this tree was alive no misfortune could befall the race
beneath its ægis. The second wife, adopting the counsel of her evil
father, pretended to be smitten with a grave malady. She refused all
cures and asserted that her only hope was the destruction of the
Kraik. Cocoa-nut, who had a strong affection for this wife, had her
carefully examined by the four most eminent medicine-men of his
kingdom. All four agreed that the illness was a sham, and all four
paid for their truthfulness with their heads. Meanwhile the lady's
condition seemed to go from bad to worse, and the King decided to fell
with his own hand the tree on which hung the destinies of his people.
Streams of blood flowed from the smitten trunk and soaked the ground
around. The King had not long to wait for retribution. Betrayed by his
treacherous spouse, his kingdom was wrested from him and he was hacked
in pieces by his triumphant foe. His incisors alone were restored to
his first wife that she might pay the honour due to his remains. The
ex-Cocoa-nut, become Pô Romé, now dwells among the Gods, but even
there, it seems, his domestic tribulations have pursued him, and he is
often glad, when distracted by the factious quarrels of his
womenfolk, to get away from his palace and leave it to them.

The Cham have a certain partiality for songs and lyrical poems not
destitute of taste and feeling have acquired popularity among them. A
romance which the girls of Phanrang sing on their fishing expeditions
is as follows:

     "Do you go forth to set sail, my Lord, that you look at the
     leaves for the direction of the wind? Ibrahim, my soul of gold
     ... hard would it be if you left me....

     "Pity your little sister fair as gold itself! Do not leave her,
     like an orphan, to wander in the forests where fear and danger

     "You will stay! Oh joy! Life will be naught but play and
     laughter and walks together, hand in hand!"

Finally, there is the skeleton, not much more, of a literature. Here
are some extracts from a bedside book which all girls are supposed to
study before making their own homes.

     "Liver and Bile of thy mother, approach, my child, and learn
     what a woman should know.

     "When thou speakest with thy husband, let thy tone above all be

     "Strive not to appear superior or even as his equal, for the
     man it is who should lead the woman.

     "My child, the boat will not leave its moorings if the stake is
     solid and secure! In a family the husband is the keystone of
     the structure!

     "The honour he gains goes to the credit of his wife.

     "My daughter, ever remember that the happiness of a household
     lies in the hands of the wife. She must not waste the goods he
     entrusts to her.

     "Waste not then the least trifle. See that every door has
     always its bolt.... Follow these precepts and wert thou as
     hideous as an ape thou shalt keep the love of thy husband, for
     thy presence shall be more profitable to him than a bar of
     gold, were it the height of a cocoa-nut tree...."

Of such homely advice consists the very ancient manuscript which Moura
translated and which escaped the wreck in which all the others were

I expect modern young ladies will find these mother's words somewhat
out of date. But what European husband would not occasionally envy the
Cham so perfect a partner?

                               THE END


I have kept the scientific side of my researches in the background in
this book, but the curious may consult the following works with

AYMONIER, E., "Les Tjames et leurs Religions." Paris, Leroux, 1891;
"Légendes historiques des Chams," in _Excursions et Reconnaissances_,
No. 32, 1890.

BARTH, "Les Religions de l'Inde." Paris, Fichbacher, 1879.

BARTHÉLÉMY, DE, "Au pays Moï." Paris, Plon Nourrit, 1903.

BERNARD, DR. NOËL, "Les Khas, peuple inculte du Laos," in _Bulletin de
géographie historique et descriptive_, 1904.

BERGAIGNE, A., "L'Ancien Royaume du Champa dans l'Indochine," in
_Journal Asiatique_. Paris, 1886.

CABATON, ANTOINE, "Nouvelles recherches sur les Chams." Paris, Leroux,
1901; "Notes sur les sources européennes de l'histoire de
l'Indochine," in _Bulletin de la Commission Archéologique de
l'Indochine_, 1911; "Les Malais et l'avenir de leur langue," in _Revue
du Monde Musulman_. Paris, 1908; "Les Chams musulmans de l'Indochine,"
in _Revue du Monde Musulman_. Paris, 1907.

CADIÈRE, LE PÈRE, "Croyances et dictons populaires de la vallée du
Nguon Son," in _Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême Orient_.
Hanoi, Schneider, 1902.

CRAWLEY, E., "The Mystic Rose." London, Macmillan, 1902.

CREMAZY, "Le droit coutumier de l'Extrême Orient à travers les ages."
Conférence faite à l'École Coloniale en 1909.

CUMONT, FRANZ, "Les Religions Orientales dans le paganisme romain."
Paris, Leroux, 1907.


DIGUET, LE COLONEL E., "Les montagnards du Tonkin." Paris, Challamel,


DOURISBOURE, LE PÈRE, "Les sauvages Bahnars." Paris, Téqui, 1904.

DULAURE, J. A., "Les divinités génératrices, ou du culte du Phallus
chez les Anciens et les Modernes." Paris, 1805. A new edition by the
Société du Mercure de France. Paris, 1905.

DURAND, LE PÈRE, "Les Moï du Song Phang," in _B. G. D. H._ Paris,
1900; "Les Chams Banis," in _B. E. F. E. O._ Hanoi, 1903; "Notes sur
les Chams," in _B. E. F. E. O._ Hanoi, 1905; "Les Archives des
derniers Rois Chams," in _B. E. F. E. O._ Hanoi, 1907.

FILLASTRE, LE PÈRE ADRIEN, "Bois d'aigle et bois d'aloès," in _Revue
Indochinoise_. Hanoi, 1905.

FINOT, LOUIS, "La Religion des Chams d'après les monuments," in _B. E.
F. E. O._ Hanoi, 1901. Cours d'Histoire et de Philologie Indochinoises
professé au Collège de France, 1908.

FOUCART, GEORGE, "Histoire des Religions et Méthode Comparative."
Paris, Picard, 1912.

FRAZER, "The Golden Bough." London, Macmillan, 1900.

GARNIER, F., "Voyage d'exploration en l'Indochine." Paris, Hachette,

GENNEP, ARNOLD VAN, "Religions, Mœurs et Légendes." Paris, Mercure
de France, 4 vols. 1908 à 1911; "Mythes et Légendes d'Australie."
Paris, Guilmoto, 1908; "Les Rites de Passage." Paris, E. Nourry,

HAVELOCK, ELLIS, "Studies in Sexual Psychology."

HOLBÉ, T. V., "Les poisons Moï et recherches sur le Cai voi-voi."
Montpellier, Serre et Roumegous, 1905.

HUTEREAU, A., "Notes sur la vie familiale et juridique de quelques
populations du Congo Beige," in _Annales du Musée du Congo Belge_.
Brussels, 1909.

JOYCE, T. A., "Notes ethnographiques sur les peuples communément
appelés Bakuba, ainsi que sur les peuplades apparentées Les Busongo,"
in _Annales du Musée du Congo Belge_. Brussels, 1911.

KEANE, A. H., "On the Relations of the Indo-Chinese and Inter-Oceanic
races and languages," in the _Journal of the Anthropological Institute
of Great Britain and Ireland_. London, 1880.

KEMLIN, LE P., "Les rites agraires des Reungao," in _B. E. F. E. O._
Hanoi, 1910; "Au pays Jaraï," in _Missions Catholiques_. Paris, 1909.

LANDES, A., "Légende djarai sur l'origine du sabre sacré par le Roi du
Feu," in _Revue Indochinoise_. Hanoi, 1904.

LEFÈVRE, PONTALIS, "Notes sur l'écriture des Khas," in
_L'Anthropologie_. Paris, 1892; "Notes sur quelques populations du
Nord de l'Indochine," in _Journal Asiatique_. Paris, 1892.

LEMIRE, CH., "Les anciens monuments des Kiams en Annam et au Tonkin,"
in _L'Anthropologie_. Paris.

LETOURNEAU, CH., "La littérature synthétique des premiers âges," in
_Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie_. Paris, 1894.

MAÎTRE, H., "Les régions Moï du Sud Indochinois." Paris, Plon, 1909;
"Les jungles Moï." Paris, E. Larose, 1912.


MASPERO, "Le Royaume de Champa," in Toung-Pao. 1910 à 1912.

MOURA, J., "Le Royaume du Cambodge." Paris, Leroux, 1883.

NEÏS, DR. P., "Explorations chez les Sauvages de l'Indochine," in
_Bulletin de la Société de Géographie_. Paris, 1883.

PAVIE, AUGUSTE, "Mission Pa vie en l'Indochine, 1879-1895." Paris, E.
Leroux, 1901 à 1911; 6 vols. (See Cupet and Malglaive, in

REINACH, SALOMON. "Cultes, Mythes et Religions." Paris. E. Leroux.

RIEDEL, J. G. F., "Prohibitieve Teekens en Tatuage--vormen op het
ecland." Batavia, 1907.

SAINTYVES, P., "Les Vierges Mères et les naissances miraculeuses."
Paris, E. Nourry, 1908.

SÉBILLOT, P., "Le Folklore de France." Paris, Guilmoto, 1905.

SKEAT, W. W., "Some records of Malay magic." Singapore, 1898.

TORDAY, E. See Joyce, in collaboration.

TOURNIER, COLONEL, "Notice sur le Laos Français." Hanoi, 1900.

ZABOROSKI, "Les Tsiams. Origine et caractère," in _Revue
Scientifique_. Paris, série IV.; "De la circoncision des garçons et de
l'excision des filles comme pratiques d'initiation," in _Bulletin de
la Société d'Anthropologie_. Paris. 1894.

X., "Notes analytiques sur les collections ethnographiques du Musée du
Congo, publiées sous la direction du Musée. Tome I., fascicule II. La
Religion." Bruxelles, 1906.

        _Printed at The Chapel River Press, Kingston, Surrey._


[1] According to the measurements of Dr. Noël Bernard the cephalic
index of the living male is 76. The transverse nasal index varies
between 84 and 95.

[2] Pronounced Tiam, Tiampa. Ch = tia.

[3] _Les Tjames et leurs religions_, by Aymonier. _Nouvelles
Recherches sur les Cham_, by A. Cabaton.

[4] See Bibliography at end.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Diacritical markings have been made consistent. Otherwise the text,
including hyphenated variants, has been transcribed as printed.

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