Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/373

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337
Western Australia.

sort, he had a larger sort; and he stooped down and made marks on the kitchen floor to show me. After the dogs had worried it a bit, it was taken to camp and cooked in the ashes. . . . . .

A short account of the funeral ceremonies of the aborigines may interest you. One of them died in the camp near us, March 29th, [1899]. The first intimation I received of it was a great screeching and howling. I went to the verandah to see, and after a short time a long line of black figures appeared, headed by three natives in full war paint, the centre man bearing what appeared a heavy load, as he was supported on either side by a man. I could not think what the long object tied up in sacking could be, until Billie and Maggie came along in a great hurry, Billie to fetch his kylies, spears, &c.; then I heard "black pfeller had died," and they were taking him to bury him in bush. The long thin black line of figures passed by the side of the house, and away into bush, wailing going on all the time. and dying away in the distance. Again it grew nearer and nearer, and the long trail of howling figures appeared once more and made their way to the camp. The wife and children were the last to return, and at some distance from the rest. By this time dusk had set in. The warriors returned as they went, carrying their spears over their shoulders, their kylies and shields in their other hands. The women all brought bundles of wood, and soon the reflection from the camp fires rose above the hill. On the Saturday following the same wailing took place at midday, and the same long lines of black warriors and gins. On questioning Maggie she said they had gone to the grave. I dined that evening with the resident magistrate, and asked him what are the funeral rites? He told me the body was buried in a sitting position; the wife and women connected with the man cut themselves on the head with broken glass and bits of tin to make blood flow, and after the ceremony of the funeral was fully over would