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and the Kookies of the youngest son. The mother of the youngest having died during his infancy, he was neglected by his step-mother, who, while she clothed her own son, allowed him to go naked: and this partial distinction being still observed as he grew up, he went by the name of Luncta, or the naked. Upon the death of their mother a quarrel arose between the brothers, which induced the Luncta to betake himself to the hills, and there pass the remainder of his days. His descendants have continued there ever since, and still go by the name of Lunctas.
"The Kookies are all hunters and warriors, and are divided into a number of distinct tribes, totally independent of each other. The rajahships are hereditary; and the rajahs, by way of distinction, wear a small slip of black cloth round their loins; and, as a farther mark of superior rank, they have their hair brought forward and tied in a bunch, so as to overshade the forehead, while the rest of the Kookies have their's hanging loose over the shoulders.
"The Kookies are armed with bows and arrows, spears, clubs, and dars, an instrument in common use among the natives of this province as a handhatchet, and exactly resembling the knife of the Nyars on the Malabar coast, which is a most destructive weapon in close combat. They also wear round their necks large strings of a particular kind of shell found in their hills: about their loins, and on their thighs, immediately above the knee, they tie large bunches of long goat's hair, of a red colour; and on their arms they have broad rings of ivory, in order to make them appear the more terrific to their enemies.
"The Kookies choose the steepest and most inaccessible hills to build their villages upon, which, from being thus situated, are called parahs, or, in the Kookie language, k'hooah. They construct their houses after the manner of the Choomeeas and Mugs, that is, on platforms or stages of bamboo, raised about six feet from the ground, and enter them by ladders, or more frequently by a single stick, with notches cut in it to receive the foot: underneath the stages they keep their domestic animals.
"They always endeavour to surprise their enemy, in preference to engaging them in open combat, however confident of superiority they may be. With that view, when on any hostile excursion, they never kindle a fire, but carry with them a sufficiency of ready-dressed provisions to serve during the probable term of their absence; they march in the night, proceeding with the greatest expedition, and observing the most profound silence: when day overtakes them they halt, and lie concealed in a kind of hammock, which they fasten among the branches of the loftiest trees, so that they cannot be perceived by any person passing underneath. From this circumstance of ambuscade, the idea has originated of their living in trees instead of houses. When they have in this manner approached their enemy unperceived, they generally make their attack about the dawn, and commence it with a great shout, and striking of their spears against their shields. If they are successful in their onset, they seldom spare either age or sex.
"The heads of the slain they carry in great triumph to their parah, where the warriors are met on their arrival by men, women, and children with much rejoicing; and they have the peculiar privilege of killing any animal in the place they may choose (not excepting the chief s), to be given as a feast in celebration of their victory; but should the party have been unsuccessful, instead of being thus met with every demonstration of joy, and led into the parah amidst the exultations of its friends, it enters in the greatest silence, and as privately as possible; and all the warriors composing it remain in disgrace until such time as they retrieve their characters, either jointly or individually, by some act of valour.
"Next to personal valour, the accomplishment most esteemed in a warrior is superior address in stealing; and if a thief can convey, undiscovered, to his own house, his neighbour's property, it cannot afterwards be claimed: nor, if detected in the act, is he otherwise punished, than by exposure to the ridicule of the parah, and by being obliged to restore what he may have laid hold of.
"The Kookies, like all savage people, are of a most vindictive disposition; blood must always be shed for blood. If a tiger even kills any of them near a parah, the whole tribe is up in arms, and goes in pursuit of the animal; when, if he is killed, the family of the deceased give a feast of his flesh, in revenge of his having killed their relation.
"The Kookies have but one wife: they may, however, keep as many concubines as they please. Adultery may be punished with instant death by either of the injured parties, if the guilty are caught by them in the fact; it may otherwise be compromised by a fine of gyals, as the chief may determine. The frailty of a concubine is always compromised in this way, without disgrace to the parties. Fornication is punished in no other manner than by obliging the parties to marry, unless the man may have used violence, in which case he is punished, generally with death, either by the chief, or by the relations of the injured female. Marriage is never consummated among them before the age of puberty. When a young man has fixed his affections upon a young woman, either of his own or of some neighbouring parah, his father visits her father, and demands her in marriage for his son. Her father on this inquires what are the merits of the young man to entitle him to her favour, and how many he can afford to entertain at the wedding feast; to which the father of the young man replies, that his son is a brave warrior, a good hunter, and an expert thief; for that he can produce so many heads of the enemies he has slain, and of the game he has killed; that in his house are such and such stolen goods, and that he can feast so many (mentioning the number) at his marriage.
"When any person dies in a parah, the corpse is conveyed to the relations of the deceased and deposited under a shed erected for the purpose at some distance from the dwelling-house. While it remains there it is carefully guarded, day and night, from the depredations of dogs and birds by some one of the family; and a regular supply of food and drink is daily brought and laid before it. Should more than one casualty occur in a family, the same ceremony is observed with respect to each corpse; and at whatever time of the year persons may happen to die in the parah, all the bodies must be kept in this manner until the 11th of April, called by the Bengalees Beessoo. On that day all the relations of the deceased assemble and convey their remains from the sheds to different funeral piles prepared for them on a particular spot without the parah, where they are burnt; as are also the several sheds under which the bodies had lain from the period of their decease.
"The Kookies have an idea of a future state, where they are rewarded or punished according to their merits in this world. They conceive that nothing is more pleasing to the deity, or more certainly ensures future happiness, than destroying a number of their enemies. The Supreme Being they conceive to be omnipotent, and the creator of the world and all that it contains. The term in their language for the Supreme Being is Khogein Pootteeang. They also worship an inferior deity, under the name of Sheem Sauk, to whom they address their prayers, as a mediator with the Supreme Being, and as more immediately interested in the concerns of individuals. To the Supreme Being they offer in sacrifice a gyal, as being their most valued animal; while to Sheem Sauk they sacrifice a goat only. In every parah they have a rudely formed figure of wood, of the human shape, representing Sheem Sauk; it is generally placed under a tree, and to it they offer up their prayers before they set out on any excursion or enterprise, as the deity that controls and directs their actions and destiny. Whenever, therefore, they return successful, whether from the chase or the attack of an enemy, they religiously place before Sheem Sauk all the heads of the slain, or of their game killed, as expressive of their devotion, and to record their exploits. Each warrior has his own particular pile of heads, and according to the number it consists of, his character as a hunter and warrior is established in the tribe. These piles are sacred, and no man dares attempt to filch away his neighbour's fame, by stealing from them to add to his own. They likewise worship the moon, as conceiving it to influence their fortunes in some degree. And in every house there is a particular post consecrated to the deity, before which they always place a certain portion of whatever food they are about to eat.
"In the month of January they have a solemn sacrifice and festival in honour of the deity, when the inhabitants of several neighbouring parahs (if on friendly terms) often unite, and kill gyals and all kinds of animals, on which they feast, and dance and drink together for several days. They have no professed ministers of religion, but each adores the deity in such manner as he thinks proper. They have no emblem, as of Sheem Sauk, to represent the Supreme Being." *
These people inhabit the eastern districts of Asam. According to their own traditions "they descended from heaven; but the plain truth seems to be, that about four or five centuries ago they migrated from a mountainous region on the borders of China, gradually advanced to the mountains skirting Asam, and within the last forty years established themselves on the low lands which they at present occupy. They have little system of law or government, except being divided into tribes under different petty chiefs or gaums, equal in rank and authority. Their religion is that of Buddha, but intermixed with a variety of superstitious practices, the relics, probably, of their original creed. They offer a sort of worship to the spirits of those who die in battle, and to the elements and clouds. The Sintiphos confine themselves chiefly to the practice of arms, and leave domestic occupations and the cultivation of the soil to their Asamese slaves, of whom they annually capture great numbers, to the gradual depopulation of the country."!
The Asamese, in like manner, make pretensions to a celestial origin, affirming that two brothers, Khunlong and Khunlai, descended from heaven by an iron ladder, and founded the present race of inhabitants of Asam. This tradition has, no doubt, the same foundation as the foregoing.
The Kiayns of Arracan inhabit the mountains of Youmah, which separate this country from Ava. These people upon the skirts of the mountains are subject to the Burmans; but, in the less accessible districts, have preserved their independence. According to their own traditions, they are the
* Asiatic Researches.
f Calcutta Government Gazette.