Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/374

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Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay,

neither go near the place of burial nor mention the man's name, and if asked about him would say they had forgotten such a man had existed. On the Monday following the funeral there was another visit to the dead man's grave, and Maggie told me "phinishum," or that was the end; "not go again." Several women, at present attached to a Malay camp in the next compound to ours, wear wilgy, (that is, a mixture of red sand and fat), in their hair; and the widow, whom I passed the other day, had also a shark's tooth dangling in front of her eyes, another sign of mourning. The evening of the death, a Mr. Pilkington was with us, and as the wailing was still going on, our conversation turned on the ceremony. He had travelled for twenty years backwards and forwards on camels, in caravans, on horseback, &c., through certain tracts of Central and South Australia. He gave me a few. bits of information. It appears the natives are very jealous of allowing a white man to attend their ceremonies, especially those of the man-making, and the funeral rites, but he told us that in Central Australia when a man dies a large shallow hole, eight feet by four, is scooped out, and before the body is buried it is taken up and held above the head or as high as possible, and thrown down into the hole three times; then part of the body is uncovered, generally the face, sometimes the chest, and a lump of flesh cut out, which is given to the oldest gin in the camp. He could not discover what eventually became of it. The camp was then moved away from where the man died. It is the same here with regard to camp moving. We asked Billie what became of the wife of the dead man, and in a very off-hand manner he said, "Oh! she soon get other warrior!!" I noticed that all those wearing chastity girdles had something—a handkerchief or a bit of rag—in front of them, and only when moving I noticed the glitter of the shells in the rays of the setting sun as the men walked. . . . . .