Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/474

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448
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

the Kami with it. This application of red ochre remains for a short time and is then rubbed off; and if the deceased was a woman, her husband is permitted to seek another wife, always supposing that he has a sister, own or tribal, to exchange for her.

If the deceased was a person of influence, food is placed for many days at the grave, and in winter months a fire is lighted so that the ghost may warm himself at it. Should the food at the grave not be touched, it is supposed that the deceased is not hungry.[1]

The corpse, having the big toes tied together and enveloped in a rug or net, is carried to the grave on the heads of three or four men, and there placed on its back for a few minutes. These men kneel near the grave, and some others then place the corpse on their heads. One of the old men, usually the nearest relative, now takes two light rods (Kuya) each about three feet long, and holds one in each hand, standing about three yards from the corpse. Then, beating the rods together, he questions the corpse as to who was the cause of his death, that is, by magic. The men sitting round act as interpreters for the deceased, and, according as opinion prevails, the name of some native of another tribe is given.

When the old man stops beating the rods, the men and women commence to cry, and the body is removed from the heads of the bearers and is lowered into the grave.[2] Conclusions are drawn as to the locality in which the person who has caused the death lives from the direction in which the body falls from the heads of the two men who hold it. The body is laid on a plant called Kuya-marra,[3] and is covered with it. Kuya is the Yaurorka and Yantruwunta word for fish (in Dieri, Paru), and means "new," so that Kuya-marra means new fish.[4] An old man, who is in the relation of Kami to the deceased, steps into the grave and cuts off all the fat adhering to the face, thighs, arms, and stomach, and passes it round to be swallowed by the relations. The order in which they partake of the fat is as

  1. O. Siebert.
  2. S. Gason.
  3. Eremophilia longifolia.
  4. O. Siebert.