Page:Life in Java Volume 1.djvu/265

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forests, his sharp eyes observing even the gloomy caverns under the sombre branches of gigantic trees. Prompted by curiosity, he stopped to look at one of these caves. The mouth of it was so black that it seemed to be the entrance into a region of impenetrable night. Whilst he stood peering into it, a figure appeared, lighting up the recess like a sudden meteor. As it left the cavern, the figure changed its shape, becoming a terrible-looking witch, with a pigeon in one hand and a skull in the other. She held the former over her head for a few minutes, and then, repeating some words of incantation, opened her bony hand, and the bird flew away, making circles in the air as it mounted, and ever and anon, to the boy's terror, assuming the form of a man, on whose face a look of horror and remorse was imprinted.

"The old hag now placed the skull on an altar, on which incense and other preparations were burning. Flames immediately issued from the eye--