Saturday, 23 May 2015

SKETCHES OF OUR LIFE AT SARAWAK

NEARLY thirty years ago I published a little book of " Letters from Sarawak, addressed to a Child." This book is now out of print, and, on looking it over with a view to republication, I think it will be better to extend the story over the twenty years that Sarawak \vas our home, which will give some idea of the gradual progress of the mission.

This progress was often unavoidably impeded by the struggles of the infant State ; for war drowns the voice of the missionary, and though the Sarawak Government always discouraged the Dyak practice of taking the heads of their enemies, still it could not at once be checked, and every expedition against lawless tribes, however righteous in its object, excited the old superstitions of those wild people. When their warriors returned from an expedition, the women of the tribe met them with dance and song, receiving the heads they brought with ancient ceremonies "fondling the heads," as it was called ; and for months afterwards keeping up, by frequent feasts, in which these heads were the chief attraction, the heathen customs which it was the object of the missionary to discourage.

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