Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/160

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136 Death and Burial of the Fiote.

On the occasion that I watched these proceedings the elder got up and addressed me, telling me that my cook, who had served me so well and whom I had sent to town when he was sick, etc., etc., had now lost his father; and once more turning to his fetishes, the poor creatures were again made to kiss old mother earth, this time for my benefit.

If a witch has to undergo the bark-test, rum is given to the prince, and he is told that if he hears that the Ndotchi has been killed he is to take no official notice of the fact.

Then the men dance all through the night ; and the next day the body is placed in the coffin and buried. In KaCongo the coffin is much larger than that made in Loango ; and it is placed upon a huge car on four or six solid wheels. This car remains over the grave, ornamented in different ways with stuffed animals, and empty demijohns, animal- boxes, and other earthenware goods, in accordance with the wealth of the deceased. I can remember when slaves and wives were buried together with the prince ; but this custom has now died out in Loango and KaCongo, and we only hear of its taking place far away inland.

The "fetish Chibingo " sometimes will not allow the corpse to close its eyes. This is a sure sign that the deceased is annoyed about something, and does not wish to be buried. In such a case no coffin is made, the body is wrapped in mats and placed in the woods near to an Nlomba tree. Should he be buried in the ordinary way all the family would fall sick and die. Should his Chinyumba (KaCongo Chimhindi, meaning revenant) appear to one of his family, that person would surely die. But others not of the family may see it and not die.

The deceased will often not rest quiet until his Nkulu (soul? spirit?) is placed in the head of one of his relations, so that he can communicate with the family. This is done by the Nganga picking up some of the earth from the grave of the deceased, and, after mixing it with other