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Malay Head-Hunters.

To obtain heads, which are drif d and preserved, just as the Indians dry; and preserve scalps, is the height of Dyak ambition. To secure these trophies, there are no dangers which a Dyak will not risk, albeit 'on I ordinary occasions sufficiently cautious of that skin of: his. The tribes are always at feud. with; one another, this mania for " heads " being a continual cause for quarrel. To usq the language of Mr Boyle, speaking of the great tribes of Sambas and Sakkarrang, 'Every year a cloud of murdering pirates issued from these rivers and swept the adjacent coasts. No man was safe by reason of. -his poverty and insignificance, for human heads were the booty sought by these rovers and not wealth alone. Villages were attacked m the dead of night, and every adult borne off; the women and grown. girte were frequently .slaughtered with the men, and children alone were preserved to be the slaves of the conquerors.- Never was warfare so terrible as this. Head-hunting, a 1 fashion of comparatively modern growth,

beoame * mania, which spread like * horrible disease over the whole land. No longer wore the trophies regarded as proofs , or individual valor ; they became the indiscriminate property of the clan, and wove valued for their number alone: Murder Jurked m the jungle and on the river ; and the nged of tho people were no longer safe among their own kindred, at:d corpses were secretly disinterred to ,■ iucrea-c the grisly store. SupcrKtition soon added its ready impulse to the general movement.. The aged warrior. could nnc rest m his grave till his relutions had* taken a head.' in'tus name ; . the maiden disdained * tho weak-hearted suitor whose hand wan not yet stained with some cowardly murder. .Bitterly did the Pahcgrann of KuchfiYg' regret .the folly which had disseminated this frenzy. , They themselves had fostered th,e blood- - thirsty superstition m: 'furtherance of political ends, but it had grown beyond their control, and the country was on* ,iod field of battle.and murder. ''Pretext* . for war were neither sought nor expected ; the possession of a human head, no matter , how. obtained, was • the sole happiness coveted throughoutfthe land.' —From " The Peoples of the )V>wld."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18901106.2.12

Bibliographic details

Malay Head-Hunters., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2563, 6 November 1890

Word Count
367

Malay Head-Hunters. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2563, 6 November 1890

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