Pickering, W.A. "Among the savages of central Formosa, 1866-1867." The Messenger and Missionary Record of the Presbyterian Church of England n.s. 3 (1878): 15-16, 29-31, 69-71; 29-30.

 

Among the savages of central Formosa, 1866-1867¹

By W.A. Pickering, Esq., Singapore

 

[P. 15] Accompanied by a Chinese clerk and coolies carrying presents, &c., for the different chiefs, I left Taiwanfoo, and the same evening reached Baksa. The E.P. mission had not then extended to that region, but the Pepos received me kindly, and as the Chinese coolies refused to trust their persons any further east, the Baksa people next morning sent some of their young men with me to take their places, and to guide me to La-ku-li (see engraving), the border village before entering savage territory. I need not describe the country between Baksa and La-ku-li, though some of it is very romantic. A hunting-party of the La-ku-li Pepos met us at the top of a high ridge, about three miles from the village; these gave us a hearty welcome and carried our baggage. At La-ku-li itself I was received by an Amoy Chinaman, named Lo-liat, with whom I was to stay. This Lo-liat was a man of a stamp very common on the borders of the savage territory. Reckless, unscrupulous, a confirmed opium-smoker, he made a precarious living by trading with, lending money to, and generally cheating the simple-minded Hoan (aborigines), both civilized and savage. The day after our arrival, an old Ban-tau-lang (a savage tribe on the western slopes of Mount Morrison) woman came to barter some deer-horns, &c., with Lo-liat. A few presents having soon made us great friends, she begged me to go and see her tribe, and promised me a hearty welcome. This woman had been married to a Chinaman, and besides this she had lived some time with the [p. 16] Bangas, who are part of the confederation formed to resist the encroachments of the great eastern tribe, the Sib-bu-kun. This confederation consists of the Bangas, Bi-lang, Pai-chien, Ban-tau-lang, and some other tribes. The Ban-tau-lang, being next to the Sib-bu-kun, have to bear the brunt of the quarrel, and are yearly diminishing in numbers.

I was told by Lo-liat that the only safe way of going to the Banga tribe would be in company with a certain Pe-po-hoan hunter. This man had lost his parents and family in a massacre by the Bangas, and had devoted his life to their revenge. He had proved such a scourge to the tribe that they were glad to make peace with him, and had given him a daughter of their chief to wife. I went to see this man, and found him to be the owner of a large farm and of numerous buffaloes. He was extremely glad to see a European, and, after accepting a little powder, promised me his help with the Bangas. We fixed a day for visiting them, and sent in the Ban-tau-lang woman, whose name was Pu-li-sang, to inform the chief. There were two Chinese in La-ku-li, who having lately crossed from the mainland, had found their way thither, seeking a livelihood; one named Keng-le, a youth of eighteen, hailed from An-khoe (to the north of Amoy), and was of a decidedly enterprising character; the other, named Hoan-ah, was a kind of harmless ne'er-do-weel [sic]. These two asked me to let them join our party, and promised to carry the baggage. Lo-liat also, who during a stay of many years had never ventured to leave La-ku-li, determined to take the opportunity of seeing a savage village. I had got a stock of beads, looking-glasses, flint and steel, red cloth and bangles, for presents, and, the answer returned through Pu-li-sang being favourable, one morning our party started off. It consisted of the hunter and Pu-li-sang as guides, the clerk, Ah-san, and Lo-liat, the two bearers, Keng-le and Hoan-ah, and myself. After crossing the large river (see engraving of La-ku-li [on p. 30]) which flows down from Lau-lung, past La-ku-li, we began immediately to ascend a very steep range of hills covered with dense jungle. We were about three hours in getting to the top of the ridge, the path in many places being almost perpendicular. The immense trees and thick jungle totally excluded the rays of the sun, so that it was not only cool but very cold. Lo-liat, and Ah-san, the clerk, however, when half-way up the ascent, lay down, and we could not get them to move for some time. The hunter and Pu-li-sang came to the rescue with such dreadful tales of unfriendly hunting parties and murders perpetrated on the spot, that in spite of want of opium and courage they were fain to push on with us to the top of the ridge. The two baggage bearers also gave in, but Pu-li-sang, taking the greater part of the load, swung it on to her back, and, fixing it by a strap over the head, stalked away quietly in front. We passed gigantic camphor trees, and much of the indigenous tea-plant on the road, and we also came across a deal of the cassia bark. On arriving at the top of the ridge, Pu-li-sang pointed across a wide valley to the opposite mountains, and said the Banga village was there, but that we must light a fire and fire off a gun to give notice of our approach. After doing this we heard the report of a gun, and a smoke was seen in the direction indicated. Pu-li-sang then told us that we must wait until she had been in to see if we could visit the village, as it would be necessary to know that no unlucky omen had appeared to prevent our reception. At this spot the narrow path was thickly planted with bamboo spikes hardened by fire, which showed that the Bangas were at war with some tribe or other. These spikes, though harmless against boots, were very dangerous to the barefooted natives. While waiting here for the return of Pu-li-sang, the spirits of Ah-san and Lo-liat again drooped, and they regretted having offered to accompany me; they said that Europeans were foolish enough not to care for their lives, and that savages would, perhaps, not hurt them, as they called them relations, but that men (Chinese) should be more prudent, and that if they had conducted themselves as Chinese they would now be safe and comfortable in La-ku-li or Taiwanfoo. At last Pu-li-sang returned, saying that all was favourable; so we resumed our march, and in about two hours reached the Banga village, which is situated on the brow of a steep and rocky hill, and commands a good view all round the country. The houses are built of small slates, laid flat-wise, and lined with large slabs; the doors are about four feet high. The natives were standing outside their houses, but made no great demonstrations, except smiling, and striking their mouths with their hands, which is the signal of surprise. We were marched to the hut of the chief, and here we had to part with all our arms and valuables, our host saying that he was responsible for everything. The time till dusk was spent in being examined and questioned by men, women, and children, and while this was going on we had very little peace. No lamps are used by the savages, but a large fire in the centre of the hut and grass torches sufficed to give a precarious light. About dusk a figure rushed in through the door, crying out, "Puck-a-ring, Ma-I-seng" (Pickering, Dr. Maxwell). This startled me, and I did not feel easier when the person seized hold of me repeating the words. I recognised the savage whom (along with Dr. M.) I had met a year before, when returning from our expedition to the Bi-lang tribe, and who had escaped from the Lau-lung men after receiving a severe wound in the side. This man was a notorious head-taker, and one of the best men amongst the Bangas. After being wounded, he had been carried home with great difficulty by his comrade, who alone escaped scatheless from the Lau-lung attack.² I felt sure I should be regarded as having been implicated in the affair; but, to my surprise and relief, Chan-po was most cordial, and he told me by signs that we were brothers. The night was spent in singing the plaintive songs which are common in the mountains, and the tunes of which are familiar to both Chinaman and Pepo-hoan [sic]. I found that the unmarried men and boys slept in a shed raised from the ground. This building is a kind of temple, in which the heads are hung and feasts are held; the presence of the heads of their enemies being supposed to give courage to the youths. At this visit, the Bangas were not in a very flourishing state as to food, so we had to be content with boiled millet and sweet potatoes, with a little dried venison. The custom is that each entertains his visitor in turn, and I was much pleased with the way in which the people gave what they had. Sometimes their hospitality was rather troublesome, as, for instance, when at one house a honeycomb was produced in which the larvae predominated. As the others seemed to think this rather an advantage, I felt myself compelled to follow their example, and take the comb as it came to my share and munch it down, with a paste made of taro. We spent two days in smoking and talking, while the boys and girls hunted in the woods for cassia bark, which they succeeded in procuring. We had some trouble in distributing our presents so as to please every one; but a very little thing delights a savage, and a little powder or a button often turned a discontented look into a smile. The Chinese got very tired of such barbarous life, and the games of the small children frightened them dreadfully. The first things put into the hands of a boy are a wooden knife and gun, or a bow and arrow. With these toys they play at lying in ambush and taking heads. On the victim falling, the other would rush out of his ambush, and pretend to cut off his head, holding it up with a proud look. The clerk (Ah-san), on seeing this, expressed such horror and fear by his looks, that some of the boys delighted to call him, and then, pointing to his head, made signs of beheading him. This, together with a story he had heard from the Pe-po-hoan hunter, made both Lo-liat and himself anxious to return. The story was that the Bangas were taught how to build their slate houses by a man who was promised good pay in the shape of deer-skins, &c.; but when the work was finished, the savages cleared off the score by taking the poor Chinaman's head. I suspect this was only a tale, but, at any rate, the two Chinese believed it. So, after a stay of three days, we returned to La-ku-li, with some bark and an escort of Bangas.

II. Pe-po-hoan superstitions.

[P. 29] I stayed some days at La-ku-li collecting bark, and had an opportunity of noticing the superstitions of the Pe-pos (civilized aborigines) of this district, which, I believe, are almost identical with those of the savages of the neighbourhood. I was invited to accompany some of the men on a hunting excursion, but when everything was arranged we had still to wait for lucky omens. These omens are the flights and cries of certain birds. We set off on two successive mornings with favourable signs, but after walking some hours over mountains and through river and jungle, birds were seen and heard in such positions that the leader insisted on returning, as he said that we should not only get no sport, but by neglecting the warnings of the tutelary birds we might come to grief by meeting unfriendly savages. However we had one day with nothing to stop us excepting want of sport. All this disgusted me, and I did not go out any more with Pepo hunters.

I saw a kind of religious ceremony performed by the women of La-ku-li, which is dying out among the Pe-pos living near the Chinese. A large reaping tub was brought out, and planks placed on the top to form a stage. On each side were two upright bamboos with a cross rail fastened to both. A wise woman, adorned with beads and dressed in a kind of surplice made of hempen cloth manufactured by the Pe-pos, with bells in the border, danced on the tub, surrounded by a circle of girls and old women, who, with hands joined, went round and round the tub singing a monotonous dirge. The woman on the [p. 31] stage at first danced slowly, but increased her pace, the song meantime getting louder and faster. She at length appeared to get frantic, fell down and lay in a trance; she was carried into a house, and on waking was supposed to shew by her utterances the favourable time to carry on field work during the next season. I believe the young women are at a certain age initiated into the mysteries of this ceremony. Certainly, the females seem to carry on the religious part of a Pe-po's life.&sup4;

A second visit to the Bangas.

The Bau-tau-lang woman, Pu-li-sang, having assured me that her people were very desirous of seeing a white man, and holding out hopes that the best man of the tribe, a brother of her own named Lee-gai, would take me to the top of Mount Morrison, which is used as a common hunting ground by the tribes of the east coast as well as by the Ban-tau-lang, I determined to go. The La-ku-li people tried to dissuade me, but I was anxious to see the redoubtable tribe. To travel as lightly as possible, I took only the two Chinese bearers, Keng-le and Hoan-ah, with me, Pu-li-sang promising to carry the baggage if they failed. Our way lay through the Bangas, and as they, though kind and hospitable, are most importunate beggars for everything, even to the buttons on a person's trousers, I had to distribute the presents, for the better concealment of them among our party. We set out one morning and walked straight into the Banga village without ceremony. The journey (see engraving [p. 30?]) which took us so long to accomplish before, we did this time in four hours. The Bangas received us very well, but we had to guard our presents very carefully from their gaze, and they would give us no encouragement to pass their tribe. They told us that some of the Ban-tau-lang had been killed by the Si-bu-koon (the great tribe on the east side of Mount Morrison, the Ban-tau-lang being on the west side) and that, as a general fast was being held, we should not be received. Pu-li-sang agreed that it would be better to wait till further news came out. We spent our three or four days of waiting time in being feasted at all the houses in turn, wandering about the country, and being entertained every night by a concert which lasted till day-light, when the women and children, escorted by two or three males fully armed, went to the small plats [sic] of ground to plant sweet potatoes. The men, in all the tribes I have seen, never think of doing anything but hunting, fighting, making, and ornamenting their arms. The women carry all the burdens, cook, and weave cloth, the cloth being of fine hemp, amongst which threads of different coloured European cloth are introduced to form very pretty patterns. On all hunting expeditions women accompany the men to carry back the heavy loads of meat, which is generally dried over fires of greenwood at the hunting ground. The dress of the men is a short sleeved jacket and a very short kilt. When fully equipped for a head-hunting expedition or for a drinking party, they look very fine. The jacket often consists of leopard skin, or the variegated native cloth; many bead necklaces are hung on the neck, and the arms and ankles are adorned with bangles, or the arms with large wild-boar tusks, hung with tassels of red cloth or human hair and horse hair dyed red. The arms carried are a long knife, with case for small stabbing knife and tobacco pipe; long matchlock and spear; bow and arrows are used for some kinds of game, but are going out of fashion amongst the savages in all parts of the island. I have seen the Chinese of Long-kiau, in the south of Formosa, carry a bow and quiver of arrows when they go on a journey. I saw a party of savages visiting the Bangas, and their heads were beautified by wreaths of flowers, interspersed with small oranges, which made rather a striking coronet. Some of the Bangas wear a small flag fastened behind the head and shoulders. The lobes of the ears of both men and women, in all the tribes north and south which I have seen, are perforated and extended for some inches, and a round ornamental stud of shell or metal inserted. The food of the savage tribes consists generally of millet, mountain and glutinous rice, sweet potatoes, and taro, with dried venison, wild boar, and bear's flesh. They are good fishermen, and besides using the angle, they poison the water with the root of the lo-tin (a poisonous creeper). The men go out on bear-hunting excursions, and wander for days away from home, taking nothing but a few balls of glutinous rice in their hunting wallets. They drink, besides Chinese spirits, a kind of wine made from millet; the grain is made into a sort of curd, and when required for use is mixed with water. At their meals they drink cold water, and also a little warm water mixed with spirit. Of course they all smoke and chew betel nut; the teeth are blackened with a plant, and the custom exists in some parts of knocking a tooth out when arriving at the age of puberty. The hands of the women are generally tatooed, and some tribes have also peculiar marks on different parts of the body. I found out, on trying to get curiosities from the Bangas, that they, in common with other tribes, have a kind of taboo. For instance, if I wished to get a pretty pipe or bell, the owner would say it is "hiang," meaning that it was tabooed, and could not be parted with. This word proved rather convenient to me when the Bangas got too importunate, especially when they begged the buttons from my very scanty clothing. This answer satisfied them for some time; but, seeing from my face that I was making an excuse, they knew I was only turning the tables on them, and that we had no such custom amongst ourselves.

Great fasts are held after a sickness or when any of the tribe have been killed. Sometimes they will be silent, and for weeks eat only sufficient food to maintain life. They are very much afraid of small-pox, keeping a strict blockade when the disease is known to exist amongst the Pe-po-hoan or Chinese in their neighbourhood. When a savage is attacked by small-pox he rushes into the jungle and either recovers or dies there. The Chinese, who are exceedingly careless about contagion, think this fear a sign of barbarism. While I was with the Bangas they were at war with the Hakkas of a village called Lim-ui-tsing (?) and with the Lau-lung people. My friend Chan-po, who was very kind to me, gave me one night, when I was wet through, a complete suit of Chinese clothes and a turban. When I had put them on, he told me all the articles had belonged to Chinese or Pe-po-hoan whom he had slain. It is very curious when noticing the fondness the savages show for their children, and the happiness that appears to exist between husband and wife and between brother and sister, to think that they all delight in the death of their enemies. Chan-po told me his wife and children received him with the greatest joy and feasting when he had taken the heads of his enemies. After many enquiries I come to the conclusion that the savages are cannibals to the extent that they mix the brains of their enemies with wine and drink the disgusting mixture. The young girls are anxious to marry a great warrior or expert hunter, but I do not think it is necessary for a man to have taken a head before getting a wife. All the young men and boys are anxious to distinguish themselves in this manner, and will practise for hours merely aiming at a leaf placed fourteen or fifteen yards off, supposing it to be an enemy. They never fire at long distances, and very seldom fight fairly, except when surprised by unexpectedly meeting a party belonging to another tribe in the thick jungle. This occurred just before I arrived, between the Ban-tau-lang and the Si-bu-koon, and the former tribe at least lost one or two men. Each tribe is supposed to be under the protection of some animal or reptile. The Ban-tau-lang keep a large snake which they believe brings prosperity to the tribe. All the savages are much hampered by superstitions about good and bad luck; it is unlucky to step on a gun, or to carry a spear a certain way, to meet certain birds, &c. The skulls of enemies are not so carefully kept among the Bangas as among the Pai-chien. They told me that they were deteriorating from too much intercourse with the Chinese. The Hakkas are encroaching on the savages gradually, and they are continually fighting also with both the Pe-po-hoan and Hok-los (the Amoy Chinese). They take women from the savage tribes as wives, and these introduce many luxuries and wants amongst the tribes, which gradually tell on their simple and hardy habits.

III. Visit to the Bantaulang tribe.

[P. 69] The Bangas were not at all favourable to my intended visit to the Bantaulangs, but the way was smoothed by a liberal promise to gifts on my return to La-ku-li, and after a stay of four or five days, we were ready to start. We were delayed another day, however, by the arrival of a party of Tunas, who live half-way between the Bangas and Bantaulangs, and who, of course, had to make the acquaintance of the while man. The Bangas and Tunas had a great carouse which lasted till 10 p.m., after which the latter took their departure, men, women, and children being quite intoxicated, and some scarcely able to stand. One of the women had a baby slung behind her back by a strap over the forehead.

We started at daylight so as to get past their village before they could be expecting us. As the Bangas still disliked our going, we slipped out of their village without anything to eat, Pulisang (the Bantaulang woman) leading the way, and promising she would find a meal somewhere for us. We passed over rocks and hills of bare slate. At one place we had to pull ourselves up the side of a precipice by rattans, and here we found a quantity of blood, which had been caused by one of the drunken Tunas falling down the night before. Soon we came on a riverbed about half a mile broad. Pulisang made us keep silent till we crept past the opening in the rocky banks, where was situated the Tuna village, and after we had reached this point we were obliged to cross and recross the river breast deep. Till about noon, we followed the course of the river, the banks of which, alternating between sandy beach and precipitous rocks, obliged us to cross every ten minutes -- no easy matter, when the stepping-stones are about a foot below the roaring current. As we were walking along we frightened a fishhawk, and he dropped a fine fish, which Pulisang took, saying it would make us a nice meal with some sweet potatoes she had snatched up near the Tuna village.

About two o'clock we came to a place which was said to [p. 71&sup5;] be half way. This was an amphitheatre surrounded by high mountains, where three branches of the river joined and formed a small lake, clear as crystal. Here Pulisang said we were quite safe; so she made a fire and cooked the sweet potatoes, while the two Chinamen and I climbed to the top of a rock which jutted out into the lake. We were surprised to see large fish swimming about at the bottom, which from the extreme clearness of the water, seemed very near. We wished very much to have a try at the fish. Hwan-ah, feeling sure that the water was not very deep, darted his spear amongst them; the fish all escaped scatheless, and to our surprise we saw the spear at the bottom, upright, and held fast by its iron head, but still some distance from the surface. Of course we could not possibly go away without the spear, but the two Chinese dared not go in. Pulisang came up to help us, and was going to dart in, when I, feeling rather ashamed, dashed in off the rock. No sooner had I touched the water than I tried to get out, the icy coldness being so intense that the water actually seemed scalding, and without being able to get the spear I struck out for the shore, chattering as if from an ague. Pulisang then dived in and fetched out the spear, she and I making up for our wetting by laughing at the two Chinamen who could not swim.

We started again, and after crossing mountains and rivers till I felt sure we must soon get to the beach on the east coast, a little before dusk Pulisang pointed out a spot which she said was the village of her tribe. It was situated on a crag above all the surrounding hills. We toiled up the side of a jungle-covered hill, and came to a place where there was a path. It was now quite dusk, and we were about dead with fatigue and hunger and wet clothes. We sat still while Pulisang went to reconnoitre, because, if there were a fast, we could not hope to enter the village. We waited some time, feeling rather disgusted and dejected. When Pulisang returned, she said the tribe was holding a silent fast, and would not speak to any one, so that we should have to stay outside all night.

I determined that this should not happen at any cost, so fixed on a plan to bring things to an issue. Firing off a six-shooter Spencer's rifle and a revolver, I waited to see the result. Very soon we saw some figures moving through the gloom towards us: as they came near I took off my shirt and so looked very white indeed! Two or three men came up, and striking their mouths with their hands, uttered a grunt of surprise. I followed this up by reloading and firing the rifle, which broke the spell; the savages began to jabber away, and took hold of me to examine my skin. Pulisang now said that there was a chance of our being taken in, so I put on my shirt, and calling to the others, pretended to wish to go back. The savages made signs for me to stop, but I told Pulisang I would not stay to be treated so inhospitably. The savages had some conversation and argument, then motioning us to sit down, the party disappeared. After some time, during which I cannot pretend I felt comfortable in either mind or body -- however, we could not run away -- they came back with torches, and conducted us up a rocky path, which led to the entrance of the village, where they put us in a small grass hut, like those used by watchmen in Chinese gardens. I felt that having excited their curiosity they would not lose me willingly, so I had got them in my hands. I protested loudly in Chinese to Pulisang, and said that without food and entertainment I could not think of stopping. The savages again consulted, and went to ask the chief.

At last we were taken into the village, to the house of the old chief, who, like most of the heads of other tribes, was too old and decrepit to do anything but give advice. A large fire was blazing on the floor, which made me feel rather more comfortable, and a woman gave me a few baked potatoes to eat. The people began to come in, and on seeing me showed the same signs of surprise I had noticed before. They begged me to take off my shirt, which I did, and underwent an examination from all. Pulisang told them I could sing, and they asked to hear a specimen of my talents; but I declined on the score of fatigue and hunger, on which they gave me some dried venison, and after a little hesitation allowed me to smoke, but said they were debarred that luxury by the fast. About 10 p.m., when the moon was up, the people would have us outside, where a party of men and women were assembled to hear me sing. The scene was very wild. The dark high mountains and the roar of the waters combined with the strange people I was with, made me feel rather strange; but the thought that I had at last seen the famous Bantaulangs, and the hope of getting to the top of Mount Morrison, compensated me a little. I excused myself at first, and asked them to sing, but they made their fast an excuse for not doing so. I started a Banga tune, in which some of the men joined; the women replied, and so we were friends at once. I gave them as many Scotch and Irish songs as I knew; some chorus sea-songs took their fancy, and they said we white people were really men who did not screech like women, as the Chinese do. Every now and then a new arrival would beg for a sight of my white skin, so that I had to plead "hiang," upon which they let me alone. Pulisang's brother and his two sons were away, but were expected the next day. We dried our clothes by the fire, which occupation took us nearly all night.

The next day Pulisang, Lee-gai's daughter, and another girl took us for a stroll to look for camphor trees. I took my rifle, as the Sibucoons sometimes lie in wait close to the village. The scenery was very grand, water-falls and rocky precipices everywhere, and the ferns and parasites on the trees very beautiful. We seemed close to the summit of Mount Morrison, to which place the girls thought it would be dangerous to go, as the Sibucoons had so lately killed a man. We wandered about till afternoon, learning the names of plants and picking up the Bantaulang dialect. On our return we found Lee-gai, who made me very welcome. He was a plain-looking man, but very strong and active for his age, which seemed about fifty. His two sons, one twenty and the other fifteen, were fine young savages, who had made their nark already, but had not yet taken a head. Lee-gai said that the tribe had determined to break up the fast; that a hunting party would go out in the evening to get meat for us, and that in the morning we should go and meet them, and have a chance to use our guns.

The next morning at daylight we set out with Pulisang accompanied by some men and women. After about three hours' quick walking, over mountains, down very steep precipices, and through the rapid torrents and streams, we came to a rendezvous, where we found Lee-gai and a dozen men. They had killed a bear, and some small deer, and were busy smoking the flesh. When we had rested a little, we walked on for some distance, and heard the barking of dogs and shouts of men. Our guides hurried us on till we came in sight of another party, who had seen a wild pig and were beating for it. Lee-gai's son was the head of this party, and I was stationed at a spot whence I hoped to have a chance of trying my skill. However, at the end of an hour or so, the animal did not appear, and as the savages of this last party had already killed one boar, they all came to the conclusion that sufficient meat had been procured, so they would return. All the savages gathered round me, and we spent some time in trying my rifle and revolver at a mark. They seemed thunderstruck at the great distance the rifle would carry, and at the rapidity of loading and firing. They said that with one white man and such weapons they would soon rout the Sibucoons and make themselves masters of the surrounding country. They asked me to live amongst them, and procure ammunition and arms from what seemed to them the greatest place in the world, Taiwanfoo. They all persisted in trying the gun, so I had hard work to keep my ammunition from being expended. When we reached home, the meat was cooked and distributed in portions amongst the whole population, the dogs receiving their share.

IV Conclusion. Bantaulang hospitality.

[P. 29] I found the hospitality rather oppressive, as directly I had been feasted at one house I was dragged to another. To refuse would have been ungracious; so as my Chinese companions quite appreciated the good cheer, I gave in to circumstances. The Bantau-langs still kept the fast, as far as abstaining from tobacco and spirits; so there was none of the disgusting intoxication that I have often seen amongst other tribes. Their etiquette of hospitality was very curious. I was made to sit down beside the lady or daughter of the house, who with a large wooden spoon fed me with beans, millet, or broth, after just tasting each spoonful herself. With her own finger she picked out for me the choicest morsels of venison, port, bear's fat or sausages. After the meal a long bamboo full of water was handed to me, from which to drink, but being unaccustomed to the vessel, more water ran over me than I drank. These water buckets are about six feet long, and are made of the largest kind of bamboos.

Two or three are slung in a frame and carried on the back by a strap slung over the forehead, so that it can be easily imagined [p.30] it is not a light task for the women to toil up the rugged mountain paths with a load of water. In my illustration of the group of Bantaulangs I have sketched a woman with these buckets.

So far the weather was fine and sharp, and I began to feel the want of a blanket and change of clothing; but the hope of going to Mount Morrison, and of being able to return to La-ku-li in a day or two, enabled me to care less about the discomfort of damp clothes. During the night the weather changed, and as next day was very wet and the wind boisterous, they all agreed that we could not think of going out till the weather cleared up; so I had to content myself with observing the habits of the savages.

The men spent their whole time in eating and sleeping, and the women in cutting wood, cooking, and drawing water. The rain and cold continued, which made me very wretched. The savages warmed themselves by making a large fire on the ground, and lying round it nearly naked. Our beds were arranged like berths in a ship, and I had to huddle up in a few skins.

I felt ill, and with no medicine except Chili pepper and hot water; so that I determined on the seventh day of our stay to go out, and even the pressing invitation to wait till the rains had subsided so that we might go to Mount Morrison, had no effect on me. Keng-lay and I made up our minds to start the next morning, whether Pulisang would conduct us or not. When we announced our intended departure, it was opposed by all, and Pulisang said she dared not go back till the tribe was willing; but Lay and I would not be deterred, and after a great deal of argument we started. Hwan-ah wishing to accompany us, his spear was not to be found; the savages had hidden it. Pulisang promised if we would wait a day or two, she would get the spear and come out with us. I felt too ill to stay, so said that Keng-lay and I would go out first and get to La-ku-li for medicine, and I would make ready a stock of presents for her to take back. This had a good effect, and they agreed we should go. I parted from them in a very cordial manner, receiving several presents of skins, venison and native cloth.

We started, Lay-ah feeling sure that we could find the way back. We arrived at the Tuna village without any mistake, but just as we had got past the opening in the bank where the village is, we heard a shout and saw a man of the Tuna tribe running after us. This made us hurry on, as a detention among the Tunas, especially without presents to give them, would have been inconvenient, if not dangerous, in my state of health. We managed to dodge the man, but in doing so lost our way, and were about an hour regaining our track. We reached the Banga village about four p.m., and found a party of Soa-mohais and La-nis, two tribes lying to the south, opposite Takao. These people were dressed in all the splendour of savage finery, such as beads, shells, red cloth, boar's tusks, brass wire, and oranges. Their language differs much from that of the Bangas, and is more like the Ta-ga-la dialects of the South Cape (of Formosa). My own opinion is that Formosa has been settled from different countries, as the Philippines, Japan and perhaps Mexico. The visitors were very pleased to see me, as they had never before seen a white man, and of course I had to pledge friendship in the usual savage way -- i.e., by putting our arms round each other's necks and drinking at the same time out of one basin. The Soa-mohais and La-nis wished me to go back with them to their village, which I declined for the present. I went to Chan-po, and told him of my state of health, asking him to convey me down the next morning to La-ku-li. This he promised to do, but to our astonishment Pulisang and Hwan appeared just when we had arranged our departure. It seems that Pulisang feared that as we had left the Bantaulangs we might forget the presents, or that the Bangas would monopolise them, so the spear was soon found, and Pulisang and Hwan-ah hastened on to overtake and accompany us to La-ku-li, in order to keep me mindful of my promise.

The next morning Chan-po and others of his tribe accompanied us to La-ku-li, where I satisfied both the Bangas and the Bantaulangs with very inexpensive, but in their eyes valuable curiosities, and useful articles of daily use. I really felt sorry to part with them all, as they had been exceedingly kind to me. About three years later, some gentlemen from Takao visited La-ku-li, and there met a party of Bangas who had come out to barter. Amongst these, was Chan-po, who finding out that the gentlemen were my friends, sent by them a beautiful long knife, with ornamental sheath and tassels of hair, and a pair of deer's horns. These, he said, were to remind me to "tsap-tsap-lai" ("make haste and come"), and that I ought to "kho-lian" ("pity") my poor relations.

Excepting the periodical drinking bouts, I have always found the savages modest and kind. Having visited and held communication with some twenty tribes of aborigines in the mountains between Chang-hwa and the South Cape, I have had every chance to form an opinion, and I believe that had the Dutch held Formosa till the present day the whole island would have been civilized and Christianised. The Chinese, with their inordinate ideas of superiority, treat the Pepos (civilised aborigines) and the Chay-hoan (the savages) as children or wild beasts, so of course they in return are hated. Excepting among the Koa-luts who inhabit the extreme point of the South Cape, the savage tribes seem to be prepossessed in favour of Europeans, and all the Pepos welcome them as friends. Medical missionaries have a promising field in the mountains of Formosa, and I trust an attempt will soon be made from Bak-sa to evangelise some of the tribes. By the last accounts from Formosa the Chinese are bringing the newest forms of rifles and ammunition to bear on the Southern tribes, but I trust they will be subdued by other means, and become at last peaceable inhabitants of their own territory.



¹ Mr. P., then residing in Formosa, was investigating on this journey whether cassia bark existed in the region. His paper records all that is yet known of those unevangelized tribes of Central Formosa, with which it deals -- Ed.

² At the close of 1865, Mr. Pickering and Dr. Maxwell, under the guidance of a Lau-lung Pe-po, had made a pleasant expedition to the Pai-chien and Bi-lang tribes, lying considerably to the north of the Bangas. Returning through the mountains, they met and exchanged courtesies with a party of five Bangas (three men and two women), who, in richer costume than usual, were on their way to complete some marriage agreement with the Bi-langs. It seems that the Lau-lung men owed a grudge to the Bangas, and, after Mr. Pickering and Dr. Maxwell were started on their way back to Taiwan-foo, the Lau-lung guide collected a party, who, a day or two later, waylaid the four returning Bangas, and managed to kill two of them and to wound Chan-po. This was only learned by Mr. Pickering a considerable time afterwards. In the feud which arose from this treacherous act, the Pe-pos of Lau-lung suffered severely. -- [Ed.]

³ Transcriber's note: Page 30 of the original publication is an engraving, "Crossing the mountains, Formosa." It is an exact copy of the engraving "Gorge dans la montagne" [Gorge in mountain], from J. Thomson, "Voyage en Chine. Formose," Notes by A. Talandier, Le Tour du Monde (1875): 229.

&sup4; In 1628 Candidius, a Dutch pastor then resident in Formosa, describes exactly similar customs amongst the aborigines of the sea coast near Taiwanfoo. The religious rites were wholly in the hands of women who went through the song and dance and ecstacy, and foretelling of good or bad weather as spoken of by Mr. Pickering. Their temples were similar to what was found among the Bangas (see January article) namely, a house without visible idols except the skulls and hair of their enemies slain in battle, though Candidius mentions the worship of the deities presiding over the four quarters of the heavens. Close contact with the Chinese has wholly destroyed these customs. They now exist only amongst the savage tribes and amongst their immediate half-civilized Pe-po neighbours. -- Ed.

&sup5; Transcriber's note: Page 70 of the original publication is an engraving, "Mount Morrison, Formosa." It is an exact copy of the engraving "Le mont Morisson" [Mount Morrison], from J. Thomson, "Voyage en Chine. Formose," Notes by A. Talandier, Le Tour du Monde (1875): 221.