John Greenleaf Whittier (18071892). The Poetical Works in Four Volumes. 1892.
Narrative and Legendary Poems
The Dead Feast of the Kol-Folk
E. B. Tylor in his Primitive Culture, chapter xii., gives an account of the reverence paid the dead by the Kol tribes of Chota Nagpur, Assam. When a Ho or Munda, he says, has been burned on the funeral pile, collected morsels of his bones are carried in procession with a solemn, ghostly, sliding step, keeping time to the deep-sounding drum, and when the old woman who carries the bones on her bamboo tray lowers it from time to time, then girls who carry pitchers and brass vessels mournfully reverse them to show that they are empty; thus the remains are taken to visit every house in the village, and every dwelling of a friend or relative for miles, and the inmates come out to mourn and praise the goodness of the departed; the bones are carried to all the dead mans favorite haunts, to the fields he cultivated, to the grove he planted, to the threshing-floor where he worked, to the village dance-room where he made merry. At last they are taken to the grave, and buried in an earthen vase upon a store of food, covered with one of those huge stone slabs which European visitors wonder at in the districts of the aborigines of India. In the Journal of the Asiatic Society, Bengal, vol. ix., p. 795, is a Ho dirge.