Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/64

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41
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

reader is perhaps aware—is the general practice throughout all the world: and I mention the custom merely as one amongst others. They cook their fish by roasting, but they do so somewhat more carefully than their other food; for they put thick layers of green grass on the hot ashes, and lay their fish upon them, covering them with another layer, and then some hot ashes upon the top. In this way they bake as well—but not so cleanly—as in an oven.

Before we left this place, we were unexpectedly intruded upon by a very numerous tribe, about three hundred. Their appearance, coming across the plain, occasioned great alarm, as they were seen to be the Waarengbadawá, with whom my tribe was at enmity. On their approach, our men retreated into the lake, and smeared their bodies all over with clay, preparatory to a fight. The women ran with their children into the bush, and hid themselves, and being a living dead man, as they supposed, I was told to accompany them. On the hostile tribe coming near, I saw they were all men, no women being amongst them. They were smeared all over with red and white clay, and were by far the most hideous looking savages I had seen. In a very short time the fight began, by a shower of spears from the contending parties. One of our men advanced singly, as a sort of champion; he then began to dance and sing, and beat himself about with his war implements; presently they all sat down, and he seated himself also. For a few minutes all was silent; then our champion stood up, and commenced dancing and