National Geographic : 1924 Jan
ADVENTURES AMONG THE "LOST TRIBES OF ISLAM" PLAYING "HOUSE" IN DARFUR The author describes this photograph as "probably unique, as it shows the only children I ever saw in the Sudan really playing." Their mud houses, of course, follow the customary lines of the tukl (native hut). forcing his mouth to close, while her thumb and forefinger were placed over his eyes, closing them. Her right hand patted his left shoulder, while she shook with convulsive sobs. Any chance that one had of adminis tering a stimulant was therefore de feated, as for at least five minutes before death he was kept in this position, so that he might die in the conventional way. There was a struggle for breath, but the hand never relaxed its hold on the mouth. I turned away in horror and as I passed from the hut aH was over. During the whole of this procedure the man's aged mother kept crying out: "Allah el akbar. El hamd el Allah." (God the greatest. Praise be to God.) He died at o1 a. m. and I was invited to the funeral, which took place at 4 p. m. MUST FACE MECCA IN GRAVEL I rode out to join the funeral proces sion, which set off at a dogtrot, while the wife kept pouring forth a lament in a sad, haunting strain that awakened all one's sympathy. On arrival at the graveside the impor tance of the man's dying on his right side was at once evident. A trench had been dug, three feet wide and two feet deep. Then, in the middle of this, a second long, narrow trench one foot wide and a foot and a half deep was dug, widened at one end for the feet. The Kadi arrived. He repeated "God is the greatest" five times, and then the body was lowered into the deeper trench, resting on its right side, with the face looking toward Mecca. Short pieces of wood that had been cut from the adjoin ing bushes were placed across the narrow trench in the middle of the larger one. Splinters of wood were put in the cracks. Water brought in goatskins was poured on sand by the side of the grave, and this was mixed into mud, which was plastered over the wood. Then all the mourners gathered around and, squatting on their heels, shoveled on sand with their hands. Some bushes were brought, an enclosure of thorns was made around the grave, and then the mourners silently went their several ways.