Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/96

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73
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

the middle, in order to make them more pliable. Many of the women have rings made out of the bones of birds suspended from the inside of their nostrils, and the men have a small straight bone with a sort of knob at one end. Those who have the most ornaments are considered the most fashionable and attractive.

The baskets I mentioned before are made of rushes and grass, dried and split; and so nicely are they turned out of hand, as to have the appearance of those manufactured in India; but they are much more durable. No person could suppose they were the handywork of an uncivilized people. To return.

We remained at the opposite side of the lake, until the approach of spring. Here they made their food principally of the large ants called the kalkeeth, which are found in hives within hollow trees. In order to ascertain where they are, the trees are struck with the tomahawk, and, at the noise, they show themselves at the holes. An entrance for the hand is then made, and so they are taken out and put into baskets, being, at the proper season, as fat as marrow. These creatures are prepared for eating, by placing them on slips of bark about three feet long and one foot wide, and so, burnt, or roasted. It is only for about one month in each year they can be had, for after that time they are transformed to large flies, and then fly away to die, or again change their shape and nature.

Having finished this ant hunting and eating expedition, we shifted our quarters; but before I go any further I must say something about their tomahawks;