Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/152

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

142 Myths of Origin and

performed. This complex ceremony is called thvah, and is prolonged over six days, but there is no need to mention more than one part here. On the night before the bones are placed in the mausoleum, sa7idong, which is to serve as their final resting-place, a litany is chanted by a priest. The theme is a description of the journey of the ghost, guided by the priest, to the land of the dead. It has been thought by many that these descriptive chants are the purely fictitious products of imagination, but information is given by Kruijt which puts quite a different complexion on the matter. Herr F. E. Braches of Banjermassin has discovered that the Olo Ngadjoe came from Mambaroeh, a district between the upper Kahajan and the Melawi, so that they must have descended the Kahajan on their way to their present home in the south. It is probable that formerly, just after the migration, they actually took the dead back to the land of their fathers. When the memory of the land of origin became fainter, and the return became more difficult, the journey was done in pantomime and the ghost- guide simply named the places which the body would have passed. For example, a place mentioned in the chant as made wholly of gold is a spot actually situated between two bends of the river, called sating inalenak bulan, " the sating- flower glistening like gold." Further up the river is a spot described in the chant as darns hidan busong hitan, " the sand is of gold and the , banks of precious stones": this is the place where gold was formerly washed ; and so on. Further, the boats used in the last part of the journey are much smaller than those used farther down. They are called in the song banania rohong, and Kruijt tells us that " this word rohoug is identical with rauug, the ordinary word for coffin. The coffin is thus a canoe." -"^ The case of Olo Ngadjoe probably shows that the use of the canoe-coffin at one time was not ceremonial, but that it actually was used for the purpose of transportation.

-'^Kruijt, Atiii/n'sfHe, p. 344 el set/.