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SINCE writing Note 62, p. 91, on the Shade or Shadow of a man, I have found that many of the natives connect the shade with the spirit to a much greater extent than I supposed.
Their theory is not very consistent with itself nor very intelligible, neither is it easy to understand on what kind of observation it is founded. It is something of this kind. They say the shadow—that evidently east by the body—is that which will ultimately become the itongo or spirit when the body dies. In order to ascertain if this was really the meaning, I asked, "Is the shadow which my body casts when I am walking, my spirit?" The reply was, "No; it is not your itongo or spirit,"—(evidently understanding me to mean by "my spirit" an ancestral guardian spirit watching over me, and not my own spirit)—"but it will be the itongo or ancestral spirit for your children when you are dead." It is said that the long shadow shortens as a man approaches his end, and contracts into a very little thing. When they see the shadow of a man thus contracting, they know he will die. The long shadow goes away when a man is dead; and it is that which is meant when it is said, "The shadow has departed." There is, however, a short shadow which remains with the corpse and is buried with it. The long shadow becomes an itongo or ancestral spirit.
In connection with this, the natives have another superstition. If a friend has gone out to battle, and they are anxious about him, they take his sleeping-mat and stand it upright in the sun. If it throws a long shadow, he is still living. If a short one, or none at all, he is dead!