Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/111

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LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

ears being pressed close to the earth. By this plan of operations, they are enabled to tell with great precision the spot where they are. A perpendicular hole is then made, so as to strike the extremity of the burrow: and having done this, they dig away with sharp sticks, lifting the mould out in baskets. The poor things are easily killed, for they offer no resistance to these intrusions on their haunts. There is, however, a good deal of difficulty in making these holes, and in getting down so deep to them—so that it is a sort of hunting for food, of which the natives are not very fond. Except when the wombat has young, it is seldom that more than one is found in a hole. The animal is generally roasted whole, after having had the entrails taken out, which is all the preparation—the fire doing all the rest. And whilst alluding to this method of cookery, I may as well state, that in summer fire is very easily obtained by rubbing together two sticks of the wood they call Dealwark. They sometimes carry these unlighted fire-sticks about with them, wrapped up in a sort of covering made of opossum hair. In the winter months they are often very much distressed for fire, and suffer greatly from hunger and cold; their only covering being skin rugs, sown together with sinews—using as needles fine bones of the kangaroo. These rugs serve them also to lay upon. Considering how they are exposed to the weather, it is wonderful how little they suffer from idleness; for, excepting a sort of erysipelas, or scurvy, with which they are sometimes afflicted, they are in general very healthy. I never observed any