Another Funeral Procession

One night, one of the natives had gone out to his garden and had rashly decided to spend the night there. The next morning his friends found his mutilated body lying there and the brought him home, that is, brought home the remains of his body, which consisted of his shoulders and head.

Our house at that time was situated at the entrance of the village, and every funeral procession passed by our house to go down the road, which, as it left the village, extended along the ridge of a sloping country to the village cemetary. The Church was in the center of the village. The funeral procession started from the church and was headed by a group of acolytes, white-gowned boys singing. Then came a priest who was swinging incense. The priest was followed by an open bier carried on a stretcher. Two men carried the stretcher, one in the front and one in the back. This particular bier was only three feet long and I remember seeing the corpse laid out. The remains of the dead body lay on the bier, covered with a quilt and beneath the head was placed a pillow. The head appeared to be sleeping. The grotesque appearance of a full-grown man with inly his head and shoulders left, was the most awful sight that I have ever seen. It was very disquieting.

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Another funeral procession, even more grotesque than the one above, was the funeral of an old hag who used to live in the village. The boys of the village always thought that she was a witch. She was bent almost double, had a very withered face, features thin and sharp, and had only one tooth in her mouth. She shuffled along the streets when she attempted to walk. She was half demented. Persons thus affected are regarded with considerable respect by the people of this country. They are really afraid of them and the boys always poke fun at them. This old hag was the victim of many hurled epithets as she passed in the streets.

Finally the old hag died. The Church would not recognize her and therefore would not bury her. Her body remained in the house for days and days. The rowdies of the town finally decided to have some fun. They made up a mock funeral procession, got the white clerical gowns, incense pots, got hold of an old bier and placed the body upon it. They sang ribald songs as they walked along. They did not walk very far, however, but began to run along the streets. When I saw them they were running down the street past our house and shouting to every one along the way. One of the men carrying the bier stumbled and fell. Some others ran over and picked up the body and flung it back on the bier. The buried her in a hole in the unconsecrated ground in the corner of the cemetary.

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