Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/56

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33
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

of the tribe to which the woman belonged who had, been killed; these made a large fire, threw her body upon it, and then heaped on more wood, so that she was burnt to ashes; this done, they raked the embers of the fire together, and stuck the stick she used to dig roots with upright at the head. After this ceremony they all left, except my supposed relations, in whose care I was, and one other family, with whom we went into another part of the bush, where we remained for a considerable time without anything particular occurring, subsisting almost entirely upon roots which the women sought daily, whilst the men procured opossums occasionally, which they dragged from the hollow and decayed branches of trees. They sometimes speared kangaroo, which they skin with sharp stones and muscle-shells. That was the first time I tasted the flesh of the boomer, and found it very excellent. Relying upon my friendship, they now furnished me with a spear, and a wooden tomahawk. In a few weeks—but as I have already said, I have now no recollection of time—we left this place, and joined a friendly tribe, about fifty in number, and on the evening of our meeting had a Corrobberree. The next day we all started together to meet another tribe; but on joining, from some cause or other, they quarrelled, commenced fighting, and two boys were killed. I could not then understand what all these quarrels were about, but afterwards understood that they were occasioned by the women having been taken away from one tribe by another; which was of frequent occurrence. At other times they