7 SEPTEMBER 1907, Page 16


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR." j SIR,—The custom of placing clay pipes and tobacco on the graves at the old abbey in Ireland for the convenience-of ghosts, to which attention is drawn in your issue of the 24th ult. by Mr. Leo. W. Pratt, is not without its counterpart elsewhere. The Tamil coolies in Ceylon, when there is a death among them, place on all the pathways that lead to the coolie "lines" which the deceased occupied, 'tobacco, betel-leaf, areca-nut, also a firestick and a tin of water. This is to prevent the ghost from wandering back to its old haunts in search of these necessities. I knew a case where a bottle of arrack was hung to a stick stuck on the grave of a coolie whose death was caused by exposure. The man was a hard drinker, and when drunk fell into a ravine. It was a wild night, and when found next morning his case was hopeless. He was honoured—or, rather, his ghost was—in the way common to all coolies, the pathways to the " lines " being safeguarded in the usual way ; but to double-block him, his weakness was catered for, and to ensure him undisturbed rest the bottle of snack was supplied extra.—' am, Sir, &c.,

J. L. D.