The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon.
which they held in the middle by a bejuco string from a hole made for the purpose.  The note was not unmusical.  Many of the men had their head-baskets on their backs, and one or two of them the palm-leaf rain-coat.  I had never imagined that it was possible for human beings to advance as slowly as did these warriors; in respect of speed, our most dignified funerals would suffer by comparison.  The truth is, they were dancing.  They got up the hill at last, however; laid the pig down in the middle of the vast circle that had instantly formed, and then began the ceremonious head-dance.  Two or three men, after various words had been said, would march around in stately fashion, winding up at the pig, across whose body they would lay their spears.  On this an old man would run out, and remove the spears, when the thing would be repeated.  At last, a tall, handsome young man, splendidly turned out in all his native embellishments, on reaching the pig, allowed his companions to retire while he himself stood, and, facing his party with a smile, said a few words.  Then, without looking at his victim, and without ceasing to speak, he suddenly thrust his spear into the pig’s heart, withdrawing it so quickly that the blade remained unstained with blood; as quick and accurate a thing as ever seen!  Of course, this entire canao was full of meaning to the initiated.  Barton said it was a failure, and he ought to know; but it was very interesting to us.  I was particularly struck by the bearing of these men, their bold, free carriage and fearless expression of countenance.


    Dress of the people.—­Butchery of carabao.—­Prisoner runs
    amok and is killed.

It was now drawing near midday, and as though by common understanding we all separated to get something to eat.  Our head-dancers formed up and resumed their slow march back down the hill; only this time, Cootes and I borrowed instruments and joined the band, partly to see how it felt to walk in so incredibly slow a procession, and partly for me, at least, to try the music.  A little of it went a long way.

The afternoon was, with two exceptions, much like the forenoon.  Tiffin over, Mr. Worcester and Gallman held councils with the head men of the various rancherias present; Pack inspected; and the rest of us moved about, looking on at whatever interested us.

As elsewhere, but few clothes are seen:  the women wear a short striped skirt sarong-wise, but bare the bosom.  However, they are beginning to cover it, just as a few of them had regular umbrellas.  They leave the navel uncovered; to conceal it would be immodest.  The men are naked save the gee-string, unless a leglet of brass wire under the knee be regarded as a garment; the bodies of many of them are tattooed in a leaf-like pattern.  A few men had the native blanket hanging from their shoulders, but leaving

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The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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