Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/700

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674
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

When the beard of a youth has grown to a sufficient length, he is made Narumbe or Kaingani, a young man. In order that this ceremony may be properly performed, and the youth admitted as an equal with the men of the Narrinyeri, it is necessary that men of several different clans should be present on the occasion. A single clan cannot make its own youths Narumbe, without the assistance of others.

Generally two youths are made Narumbe at the same time, so that they may afterwards, during the time that they are Narumbe, assist each other. They are seized at night, suddenly, by the men, and carried off to a spot some little distance from the Wurley,[1] the women resisting, or pretending to resist, the seizure, by pulling at the captives, and throwing firebrands at their captors. They are soon driven off to their Wurleys, and are compelled to stop there, while the men proceed to strip the two youths. Their matted hair is combed, or rather torn out with the point of a spear, and their moustaches and a great part of their beards are plucked out by the roots. They are then besmeared with oil and red ochre from head to foot. For three days and nights the newly made Kainganis must neither eat nor sleep, a strict watch being kept over them to prevent either. They are allowed to drink water, by sucking it up through a reed. The luxury of a drinking vessel is denied to them for several months after initiation. When, after three days, they are allowed to sleep, they rest their heads on two crossed sticks. For six months they walk about naked, or with merely the slightest covering round their loins. The condition of Narumbe lasts until their beards have been pulled out three times, and each time has grown again to about the length of about two inches. During all that period they are forbidden to eat any food which belongs to women, and the prohibition extends to twenty different kinds of game. If they eat of any of these forbidden things, it is thought that they will grow ugly. Only those animals which are the most difficult to obtain are allowed for their subsistence. Everything which they possess, or obtain, becomes Narumbe, or sacred from the

  1. Wurley is a hut or camp. This word has been carried by settlers all over South Australia.