Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/692

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NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

and devoured all the people, excepting three men and one woman. These were one Budera, one Kura, one Wenung, and a Kura woman. The men fought the bird and killed it; but, after it was dead, only two spears were found in the body, one belonging to the Kura, and one belonging to the Wenung man. Then they went up to the Milky Way; and the name given to two black spots, to which they went, is Nug-jil-bidai-tukaba, or the "far-away men." After the Budera man, who remained behind, had grown old, and had many children and grandchildren, he also went up to the stars; but he is only seen when he walks across the moon, and then he is angry. Budera's children were boys, and they went inland a great distance, and were absent a long time. On their return each boy brought back with him a captured wife. The Budera, before he died, marked them with their class marks.

When the rite of subincision is to be carried out, it causes great excitement in the tribe. It takes place some time after circumcision, and is called Wandai-ngrungur. When a young man has passed through this ceremony, he may claim his promised wife.

In making the subincision, the youth is laid on the ground flat on his back, his wrists and ankles being fastened to the earth by means of kangaroo sinews and pegs. A second or assistant medicine-man sits across his chest, with his face towards his feet, performing two functions at once, namely holding him down, and assisting the principal operator. The instrument used is called Meru, and is a wooden haft with a piece of very sharp flint bound on one end with sinew and mallee-scrub gum.

The wound is treated by bandaging it with a piece of flat smooth wood and the inner bark of an acacia. One of the medicine-men spins a tassel of wombat or opossum fur, which is suspended from the waist of the patient by the operator, so as to hang down and keep the flies and dust from the wound. Until it is healed, the youth has allotted to him three Wiiah, or mothers, to look after him and provide for him, until he is able to do so for himself, and through their lives they look after his welfare.