SACRIFICE OF WIDOWS
dead body was placed on its own funeral pile which was forthwith
lighted. The assistants then regaled themselves with a feast
while the musicians, without cessation, struck the ear with
a tumultous melody, not unplcasing. . . .
" At the funeral of the King's two sons a short time
before, 42 women of the one, and 34 of the other, were poignarded
and burnt in the manner above described; but on such occasions
the princesses of royal blood themselves leap at once into
the flames . . . because they would look upon themselves
as dishonoured by anyone's laying hands on their persons.
For this purpose a kind of bridge is erected over a burning
pile, which they mount, holding a paper close to their foreheads,
and having their robe tucked under their arm.
soon as they feel the heat, they precipitate themselves
into the burning pile. . . . In case firmness should abandon
them . . . a brother, or another near relative, is at hand
to push them in, and render them, out of affection, that
cruel office. . . .
" When a prince or princess of the royal family dies,
their women or slaves run around the body, uttering cries
. . . and all crazily solicit to die for their master or
mistress. The King, on the following day, designates those
of whom lie makes choice. From that moment to the last of
their lives, they are daily conducted at an early hour,
each in her vehicle, to the sound of musical instruments
. . . to perform their devotions, having their feet wrapped
in white linen, for it is no more permitted them to touch
the bare earth, because they are considered as consecrated.
The young women, little skilled in these religious exercises,
are instructed by the aged women who accompany them. . .
. Those who have devoted themselves, are made to pass the
night in continual dancing and rejoicing. . . . All pains
are taken to give them whatever tends to the gratification
of their senses, and from the quantity of wine which they
take, few objects arc capable of terrifying their imaginations.
. . . No woman or slave, however, is obliged to follow this
barbarous custom. . . ."
remainder of the narrative proceeds like any other of the
great cremations that are held today. Another interesting
account of widow-burning is given us by an eyewitness, the
scholar Friederich, of the cremation of the Dewa Manggis,
Radja of Gianyar, which took place in that town on December
" The corpse was followed by the three wives who became
Belas. A procession went before them, as before the body.
. . . They were seated in the highest storeys of the Bades.
. . . After the body of the prince had arrived at the place
of cremation, the three Belas in their Badcs, each preceded
by the bearer of the offerings destined for her, with armed
men and bands of music, were conducted to the three fires.
. . .
Their Bades were turned around three times and were carried
around the whole place of cremation. The women were then
carried down steps from the Bades and up the steps of the
places erected for their cremation. These consisted of squares
of masonry three feet high filled with combustibles which
had been burning since morning and threw out a glowing lieat;
the persons appointed to watch them fed the fire, and at
the moment when the women leaped down, poured upon it a
quantity of oil and arrak, so that it flared up to a height
of eight feet and must have suffocated the victims at once.
this furnace stood an erection of bamboo in the form of
a bridge, of the same width as the square of masonry, about
forty feet long and from sixteen to eighteen feet high;
steps of bamboo led up to it in the rear. In the centre
there is a small house, affording a last resting-place to
the victim, in which she waits till the ceremonies for her
husband are finished and his body has begun to burn.
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