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The Life Of The Children

       Forty-two days after birth, when the child is blessed by the priest, be is given anklets and bracelets of brass and silver in place of the black strings that he wore tied around his wrists since he was seven days old. His ears are pierced, and a thread is passed through each hole so that three months later he can wear little flower-shaped car-rings of gold. Around his neck is tied a necklace composed of various amulets that will protect him and influence his growth: a silver tube containing a dried piece of the child's own umbilical cord, some coloured glass beads, a piece of black coral (akar bahar) , an ancient coin, and a tiger's tooth or a piece of tiger bone. This is all the child wears until he is about seven years old, but little girls are given a skirt and a sash three or four years before. The repugnance of the Balinese for actions characteristic of animals causes them not to permit children to crawl on all fours, and before the child is three months old he may not even touch the earth and is carried everywhere.

Offerings are made when the child is three months old (nelu bulanin) and again at his first anniversary (otonan) when the child is 2 1 o days old, one Balinese year. Then he is dressed in rich brocades and is 'given gold bracelets, anklets, a necklace set with rubies and sapphires, and agold disk with a, ruby in it, which is pasted on the child's forehead. His hair is then cut (ngutangin bok) , and his head is shaved clean except for a lock or hair on the forehead that is never cut; otherwise he would become ill. On this date the priest blesses the child again, while offerings are made to the family shrine, to the sun, and to the evil spirits.

The well-to-do make a big occasion of the first birthday and give a banquet with theatrical performances, but it is a rule for all to give a shadow-play as a part of the ceremonies. After the first anniversary less attention is paid to birthdays; the third year has a special significance and perhaps the mother will make some offerings in subsequent years, but grown people forget about them and soon lose track of their ages.

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On his first birthday the child receives his magic name from the priest, who writes various propitious names, obtained through a divination, on pieces of palm-leaf which be burns. The name given to the child is that which can be made out most clearly from the charred remains, or the one that takes the longest time to burn. This is a secret name that no one ever hears and soon even the father forgets it. A baby is simply called " the child, of so and-so," but eventually he is given a personal name by his parents. Even this name has an influence over his life and should he become sick often, the name is. to blame and a more appropriate one is chosen by the priest or the witch-doctor.. Boys and girls are called by their names, but it would be poor i manners to do so after the child has grown up. A personal name is private property and it is always patronizing to call a person by his name. High-caste people keep their names secret and go trough life called only by their caste titles.

Most commonly used are the words that refer to tb,.e order of a person 11 s birth: the first child of Sudras is called Wayan; Putu or Gede for high castes; the second child is Made or Nengah; the third is Nyoman; and the fourth is Ketut. The order is repeated for subsequent children. Satrias add the word Nguirah to their other titles to indicate the purity of their descent , (for example, Anak Agung Ngurah Gede). The words for father (bapa) and mother (meme) have a very elastic application; every uncle and aunt is called bapa and meme, and every cousin is a brother or sister, but well-bred young man calls his: father guru (" teacher ") . Elderly people are called grandfather (pekak) or grandmother (dadong) as a sign of respect in the same way that a young man calls his older friends " elder brother " (bli) , while a girl is called " sister " (embok) . After a sudra couple have children their name changes to " Father or Mother of so-and-so." Our servant Dog, the father of little Muluk was called Pan muluk and his wife was known as Men muluk. Gusti.'s wife, a woman of high caste, was called gusti Rake, but after she became the mother of gusti gede she became known as gusti Biang Rake, biang being a polite term for " mother."

From the time the child can walk, lie is left to himself and falls in the care of other children. Small girls know how to take care of babies with the same proficiency as their mothers and it is common to see babies carried on hips of girls only slightly older. The child learns early to be self-sufficient and is free to wander all over the village and to do as he pleases. A child is often called I dewa, " a god "; he is not considered responsible for his actions, because, as they say, " his mind is still undeveloped " and it is the god within him that acts through his body. At home there is no regular discipline and no pampering; the parents do not intimidate their child, but rather wax him into obedience as an equal. And he is never beaten; if a mother loses patience and strikes her child, lie would, in all probability, strike back and she would be mortified and would grieve over her rash impulse. The sensible Balinese saN, that if a child is beaten his tender soul will be seriously damaged.

Frequently the father is inclined to be more demonstrative than the mother, and it is common to see a man with his child in his arms, taking him everywhere and talking to him as if he were a grown-up. It is extremely rare to hear a child cry. Thus the child grows among other children 4s a member of a children's republic, with an independent life of its own. Often groups of children go out on expeditions, remaining away from home all day. When they get hungry they cab buy food from a public stand with the pennies that are given to them every day. Only by the independence and lack of pampering can one explain the well-mannered seriousness and the self-sufficiency of Balinese children. With no special behaviour set for children apart from that of grown-ups, the mentality of a Balinese child develops quickly. Nothing is bidden from him; he listens to all conversations of grown people and observes the acts of animals, so his sexual education begins as soon as he is able to talk. A child in Bali knows facts about which an adolescent in the West is totally ignorant, and we knew children under five who could make erotic jokes. Their sense of responsibility became patent to me when I became the guest of a small boy in whose house I had spent the night. The next morning he took me hr a walk to see his village, showed me the temples, and introduced me to the local prince then we went to the market to see the good-looking girls of the village and he told me the story of the love affairs of each, while he bought fried peanuts, from his favourite vendor to treat me. He even offered me some of his own cigarettes; it is normal for little boys and girls to smoke and they show preference for a cer. tain brand of tobacco perfumed with cinnamon and cloves in little cigarettes wrapped in corn husk that sell six for a penny.

A boy assists his father in the Work at home and in the fields, and cares for the cattle, driving the cows and buffaloes and bathing them at sunset. He learns his father's trade, and by the time he is about eight or ten he has a good knowledge of practical matters. Besides the hybrid education that the Balinese now receive in the Dutch schools, a boy learns to read and write in Balinese characters from his father or his guru"; mythology, ethics, and history he learns from watching plays and puppet shows, where he can pick up literary terms and become a scholar. Little girls learn from their mothers to cook, weave, thresh rice, and make offerings. Although the higher education is rather the attribute of men, women are not barred from acquiring knowledge, and even peasant women show high spirits and a keen mentality.

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