Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/671

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INITIATION CEREMONIES, WESTERN TYPE

The Kadri-pariwilpa-ulu.[1] A Legend of the Yaukorka, Yantruwunta, and Eastern Dieri

Two Mura-mura youths called Kadri-pariwilpa-ulu were out hunting pelicans at Peri-gundi.[2] They crept alongside the creek and threw their boomerangs at one which was swimming about. The right-hand one struck his mark, but the boomerang of the other flew wide, and as they were wading into the water to secure their prey, the boomerang swept past them, almost striking one of them on its return. The young men were determined to catch it on its next swoop, but its strength was such that they feared that no mere arm would be able to stop it. Then they procured a tree-stem, by which to arrest it in its next flight. It cut the tree-stem in two and, losing its power, fell into the water. One of the two young men dived for it, but struck against the boomerang, which was stuck in the bottom, and which had become sharpened and pointed by its flight through the air. Thus it circumcised him, and on rising out of the water he saw to his great joy that he had now become a perfected man. He secretly informed his companion of what had happened to him; and he also, diving for the boomerang, was likewise circumcised. Both boys said to each other, "What has happened to us, for we are now no longer boys, but men?" Being rejoiced at what had befallen them, they thought of their father, who, while they had become men, still remained a mere boy. They determined to make a man of him, and having provided themselves with a Tula,[3] they crept up to him while he slept in his camp, and circumcised him. The great loss of blood weakened him, and as he, notwithstanding the unhealed wound, continued to have access to his wife, Mira[4] came on and he died.

  1. Kadri in Yaurorka, or Kaiari in Dieri, is "river-course," or "creek"; Wilpa is the sky; Uli is the dual form, "both." Kadri-pariwilpa-ulu is also the name of the Milky Way.
  2. Peri-gundi is a crooked, twisted place. Peri is a spot or place; gundi, or more properly Kunti, is "crooked" or "twisted." Lake Buchanan.
  3. Tula is the word for a flint knife used for circumcision, but is used also for any sharp flint used for cutting.
  4. Mira is "inflammation." This shows that while the Dieri attribute most deaths to evil magic, by "some one giving the bone," they also admit other causes. They say that long ago a great sickness came from the north and killed so many that when they woke in the morning one was alive and the other dead.