Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 24, 1913.djvu/66
54 The hidians of the Issa-Japurd District.
staves, sing, dance, and drink to a repletion relieved by vomiting, only to be indulged in again and again.
To appreciate the extent of the revenge accomplished by these anthropophagous practices it must be remembered that the Indian has an invincible hatred of all wild animals, which he looks upon as his enemies. To serve an enemy as a dead beast, — to eat him, — is the most profound insult he can offer. Moreover, the insult is carried out in further details. The teeth, though not bored as animals' would be, are made into a necklace, and they become a personal possession of the slayer. Now death to the Indian is not an end of all things. It is a transition. The dead still exist, for he sees them in his dreams ; but they live in another world where everything, themselves included, is on a reduced scale. In this World of the After Life the soul requires what the body needed on earth. Mutilate the body, divorce it from all its possessions, keep essential portions of it, and a naked soul is cast forth to wander endlessly in the forest, or to go down the holes in the earth that lead to the regions of the damned. In any case the Indian's Paradise is unattainable to his enemies. In con- sequence of this belief in an ultramundane existence, when an Indian dies all personal properties and ornaments are buried with the body, — weapons with a man, pots and domestic articles with a woman. The corpse is wrapped in its hammock, and buried inside the maloka, below where the hammock used to hang, and a fire is kept burning by the relatives over the grave for some days. In the case of a Chief the maloka would be burnt, and the community migrate elsewhere. At the conclusion of the funeral feast everyone bathes ceremonially, for purposes of purification.
The soul of the deceased hovers near for a time, and then wanders off to the happy hunting grounds of the Good Spirit.
There is, in Indian opinion, no such thing as death from natural causes; it must be due to the malignant influence