Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/375

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339
Western Australia.

Mr. Rowe[1] tells me [that when] two friends marry, two brothers may be, and each says to the other, "Suppose your wife (loobra) has a child and a girl, I make her my wife"—if a daughter be the first issue of the one, the other man takes her for wife, but she only occupies a subordinate position, and has to fetch water, chop wood, and becomes "maid" generally to the first wife. Supposing seven sons come to the second man, and should the eighth be a girl, then she goes to the friend for wife. I have since heard that a man can have several wives here. . . . . .

I have lately become possessed of a fire-stick which made the fire for the Kobba-Kobba at last full moon—I believe a very large one which lasted four days—also a broken kangaroo-stick. The one I have is decorated. I asked Billie how it was done. He said "all same nail." Jack has a piece of pearl-shell. It formed a letter of introduction for a man coming from Beagle Bay, passing through Lagrange Bay. [Plate XV., fig 3.] He had met and known some of Billie's relations there, and the writing is asking Billie to do what he can to help the man here. It was worn round the neck by a string, with the piece of shell placed just over the shoulder. To show he received and acknowledged the same, Billie jerked the string to break it, part of which still remains in the hole. Billie brought me a bit of the red stone with which they make the paint to cover their bodies. Some ant-nests I have seen when driving through the bush have been at least six to eight feet high, irregularly built of red earth, very hard, and supposed or rather known to extend underground some distance. I hear the natives use the hard ant-hill earth for medicine in nearly all complaints, but I have not seen it, and all the gentlemen who know I am seeking for folk-history say I am not likely to see it, being a woman!! women not being accounted much amongst the natives. The native doctor is a real sight. If the natives have a man sick, whom the white doctor does

  1. Ante, p. 336.