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WILD TRIBES AND THEIR CURIOUS CUSTOMS.
A Remarkable Uncivilized Nation in South America—Description of the Araucanians
-A Curious Method of Shaving-A Hairy Upper Lip Thought to be Highly Improper-Disputes Settled by Pulling Hair-Women who Paint their faces-Savages who Insist on Etiquette-Horses Superbly Decorated-Singular Saddle and Stirrups-Marriage Customs-An Exciting Elopement-A Furious Combat-Expert Horse-back Riders-Using the Lasso-Dangerous Adventure with a Wild Bull—The Animal in the Toils-Disgusting Cannibalism-Preferring Human Flesh to Pork-Old “Turtle Pond”-Savage Atrocity-A Fijian Legend-The Fijian Islander's Canoe-An Ingenious Contrivance-Expert Navigation-Natives of Borneo-Dyak Pirates -Small Men of Great Strength - Extraordinary Physical Endurance-American Indians-A Hotly Contested Ball Game-An Old Arab Hunter-Capturing a Hippopotamus—The Old “River King” in his Glory-A struggle Against Odds-Daring of the Natives.
N the southern part of South America is a territory occupied by
the Araucanian nation. This title was given to them by the Spaniards, just as was the name of Patagonians to their southern
neighbors, and, although it is an incorrect one, it has been accepted for so many years that it cannot be conveniently changed for the more correct designation. The people are rather below the middle height, strong, thick-set, broad-chested, and much inferior in point of form to the North American tribes. The head is narrow, and low in front, broad and high behind, and the back of the head falls in almost a direct line with the nape of the neck, a peculiarity by which an Araucanian may almost invariably be distinguished. The foot is as remarkable as the head. It is very short and broad, and rises straight from the toes to the ankle with scarcely any curve, so as to produce a very high but very clumsy looking instep.
Most of the Araucanian tribes have but little beard, and what they have they eradicate after the usual fashion of savages, plucking out the individual hairs instead of shaving. A traveller who had the opportunity of seeing the operation performed thus describes it: At one house where we stopped I saw an Indian, who at first sight seemed to be a white man, from the fact that his beard was grown as though unshaven for a week. He looked red and blotched, and was continually raising his hand to some part of his face, wearing all the while an expression of patient endurance. A close scrutiny showed that he was engaged in shaving. These Indians pull out or nip off the beard with small steel tweezers. This instrument was originally a clam shell, but, by intercourse with the whites, they have been able to procure a more elegant article. Every dandy carries his tweezers hanging at his neck, and at leisure moments amuses himself by smoothing his face to the taste of his painted mistress. The argumonts they use in defence of their treatment of the beard are precisely those used by shavelings the world over.
They do not content themselves with merely removing the hair from the chin, cheeks, and upper lip, but pull out the eyelashes and eyebrows, substituting instead of the latter a slender curved line of black paint. They say that the presence of the eyelashes hinders them in the pursuit of bee hunting, a sport of which they are very fond, and on which they pride themselves greatly. Some of the younger warriors have allowed a very slight fringe of hair to remain on the upper lip, but the older chiefs think that it is an innovation on the ancient customs, and discountenance it as far as they can. The hair of the head is cut short at the top, but is allowed to grow long at the sides, in order that it may be easily grasped, just as the North American tribes leave one long lock on the crown of the head so as to assist the enemy who slays them in getting off the scalp.
Pulling Hair to Settle Disputes. When two lads quarrel, they settle the dispute with a fight, which is conducted, not by blows of the fist or with a weapon, but by pulling the hair. “Let us puil hair, if you are not afraid,” cries one of the disputants to the other. The challenge is never refused. Off goes the poncho, or upper garment, if they happen, to be wearing it, the lower garment is tucked tightly into the belt, the combatants allow each other to take a fair grasp of the long locks, and the struggle begins. Each tries to twist the head of his opponent so as to bring him to the ground, and when he has once fallen, they loosen their grasp, rub the backs of their heads, take a fresh grasp, and repeat the struggle until one of them yields. The combat over, all animosity vanishes, and they are good friends again.
Like that of the men, the hair of the women is divided into two long tails, one of which hangs over each shoulder. The tails are wound round with spiral strings of blue beads, and their ends are connected by a string of twelve or fourteen brass thimbles, which hang side by side, like a peal of bells. Besides these ornaments, the women wear a sort of cap, made entirely of beads, and falling over the back of the head as far as the shoulders. Its lower edge is decorated with a row of brass thimbles, like that which connects the two queues of the hair. This elaborate head-dress is only worn on great occasions, while ordinarily the queues are wound round the head, the two ends projecting in front like horns, a fillet, usually studded with bea !s, being employed to keep the hair in its place.
Face's Painted Red and Black. Paint is worn by both sexes, but chiefly by the women, and is anything but ornamental. It is invariably of two colors, red and black, which are mixed with grease, so that they can be applied and removed at pleasure. The usual plan is to have a broad red belt from the ear, taking in the checks, eyelids, and nose, the lower edge of the belt being sometimes edged and scalloped with black. The eyelids and lashes are also edged with black, and a thin line of the same hue takes the place of the eyebrows, which are all removed except a very fine row of hairs in the centre. Some of the women further decorate their faces by spots of black paint, and are exceedingly proud of these ornaments.
Death Threatened for Breach of Etiquette. Etiquette is so highly valued among the Araucanians that on one occasion an English gentleman nearly lost his life by neglecting a ceremonial. It seems that every chief, no matter how petty may be his domain, expects that every stranger who passes through his territory shall pay him a tribute. The amount of the tribute is of little consequence, so that something is given as an acknowledgement of rank. Being new to the country, the gentleman in question was passing through the territory of a chief, when he was stopped and asked for tribute, a demand which he refused to pay, on the ground that he was only a traveller and not a trader. Thereupon a young man leaped into a cabin, brought out a trumpet made of horn, and blew a blast upon it The signal was answered in all directions, and from every side there poured in a number of mounted and armed warriors. The traveller was not daunted, in spite of the martial array, cocked his pistols, and awaited the attack, when his guide ran up to him, and begged him to give them something, if it were only a pocket-handkerchief.
The traveller saw at once, from the smallness of the suggested present, that it was a mere question of etiquette, and munificently presented the chief with a jack-knife. Enmity immediately gave way to enthusiastic friendship. The old chief was quite overcome by the splendor of the gift, swore eternal friendship with the traveller, and sent a guard of honor to accompany him for several miles on his way.
Like the American tribes in general, they have become wonderful adepts in the use of the horse, the climate, the natives, and the horse seeming to agree with each other in a way which is really remarkable, considering that the animal is of comparatively late introduction into Araucania. Unlike the Patagonians, they pride themselves on the massive solidity of the accoutrements with which they bedizen their horses; and, although they care little about the individual animals, and are rather hard masters to them, they bedeck the horses in the most lavish manner.
Their saddles are made very much after the fashion employed by the Patagonians, being little more than rude wooden frames. A few skins are laid on the back of the horse, the saddle is placed on them, a saddle cloth of thick leather is thrown over it, and the whole apparatus is complete. The bridle is made, like that of the Patagonians, of twisted hide, or so netimes of a number of strips of horse-skin plaited together, a few threads of silver being mingled with them. The bit is generally the ordinary Spanish bit, with its cruelly powerful arrangement of curb and ring.
The stirrups are generally nothing more than a piece of cane twisted into a triangular form, and hung to the saddle by leathern cords; but the wealthy Araucanians pride themselves in having these articles of solid silver.
Stealing a Bride. Marriage among the Araucanians is an odd mixture of ceremonies. Theoretically, the bridegroom is supposed to steal his wife against her own will and in opposition to the wishes of her parents; practically, he buys her from her parents, who have long looked upon their daughter as a valuable article, to be sold to the first purchaser who will give a sufficient price, Sometimes the match is one of affection, the two young people understanding each other perfectly well. Music is the usual mode by which an Araucanian expresses his feelings, and the usual instrument is the jews-harp. The lover is never seen without his jews-harp hanging from his neck, tied upon a little block of wood to prevent it from being injured, and decorated with strings of many colored beads: Furnished with this indispensable instrument, the lover seats himself at a little distance from the object of his choice, and produces a series of most dolorous sounds, his glances and gestures denoting the individual for whom they are meant.
After a little while, the lover thinks that he had better proceed to the marriage. Should he be a wealthy man he has no trouble in the matter; but if not, he goes among his friends and asks contributions from them. One gives an ox, another a horse, another a pair of silver spurs, and so on. It is a point of honor to make these contributions, and equally so to return them at some time or other, even if the intended bridegroom has to wait until in his turn he can sell his eldest girl. Next, the friends ofthe young man assemble, all mounted on their best horses, and proceed in a body to the house of the girl's father. Five or six of the best speakers dismount and ask permission for the marriage, extolling to the utmost the merits of the bridegroom, and expatiating on the happiness of his daughter on be
AN ARAUCANIAN MARRIAGE. ing married to such a man. The father, treating the matter as gravely as if he had not done the same thing himself, makes a speech in his turn.
All this ceremony is intended to give time to the young man to hunt for his intended bride, and, until he has found her, they will go on with their speeches. As soon as the young man discovers the girl, he seizes her and drags her to the door, while on her part she screams and shrieks for protection. At the sound of her voice all the women turn out, armed with sticks, stones, and any other weapons which come to hand, and rush to