Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/822

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796
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

strangers came to that place and found the bones of the Mura-mura Ngardu-etya. They collected them and placed them in a Bili-milki,[1] and put it up in the branches of a tree, covered with leaves. In time people settled there, but they sickened, and a great number died. In this emergency a Pinnaru sent his wife out to call the people together from all quarters, to hold a great ceremony to put a stop to the mortality.[2] They came from all round, and decorating themselves with emu and Katatara[3] feathers, the ceremonies commenced. The bag containing the bones of the dead Mura-nmra was taken down from the tree, and two of the Pinnarus danced. Then they took the backbone of the dead Mura-mura, and each wound a piece of cord about it. Two other people, a man and his wife, also wound the cord once each round the bone. Then all the people did likewise, in pairs, until the bone was quite hidden from sight.[4] Having thus strengthened the backbone of the Mura-mura, they were now protected from the sickness.

Part III

While Ngardu-etya went to Innamincka in the east, Anti-etya lived at Kadri-pairi. The Nidla and Punta were his food, and there were such numbers of the Kauri[5] there that he could hardly protect himself from them. One day, when a fierce hot wind blew and there was a sand-storm, trees were broken, and twigs were carried by the wind, and one of these struck the Mura-mura on the face. When the storm was over, he looked round to see where the tree was from which it had been carried. He observed it in the far distance, and hastened towards it. After a time he arrived where it stood at Nyulin-yanira.[6] He determined to uproot it; and rubbing it with the sweat of his armpits, lifted it slightly up. Again rubbing the sweat into the butt of the tree, he seized it, and, as if of its own account, it rose out of the ground, roots and all. He freed it from its roots and branches, removed the bark, and carried it on his shoulders to Kadri-pairi, where he pointed the

  1. This is a bag, Bili or Pili; Milki is the "eye." There are "eyes" worked on this kind of bag, which is thereby distinguished from another kind of bag without eyes and of a different kind of texture.
  2. Women are still employed as messengers, especially in the Mindari ceremonies. In cases where it is supposed that some man has been killed "by the bone," a woman is sent to the supposed culprit, and is expected to obtain, by her favours, the knowledge where the bone is hidden, or even to obtain it.
  3. The shell parrakeet.
  4. When this ceremony is held at Innamincka, small staves, thickly wound round with string, are used to represent the backbone of the Mura-mura.
  5. Nidla, Punta, and Kauri are small marsupials. The latter named is at times migratory. I have not been able to identify them. Locally, the white settlers call them "rats."
  6. At Farrar's Creek, about one hundred and fifty miles from Kadri-pairi.