Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/389

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Western Australia.

polished. The laurie mentioned in a quite early letter (p. 333) is not worn by the natives until after they become men.

You ask do the women with us in any case cultivate the soil? So far as I have been able to find out, No! but they have to make long journeys into the bush to find the sweetpotato and other vegetables and fruits for their lords and masters.

The natives in Central District use the down of eagle-hawk to decorate themselves, sticking it on with human blood. Here eagle-hawks are rare, so the fur of the 'possum is substituted. It is affixed with gum of spinnifex-grass, and tinged with human blood.[1] William when going to a certain Kobba-Kobba is always so decorated, but carefully pulls off all the decoration when appearing before me. The reason, so he says, is because he thinks "missus no like 'em." William has left us lately; he was tired of work and desirous of a loaf round. In his place I have a gin, Mary by name, the woman of Ross the king. The said Mary has been sick, so she says, since she has been with me. It appears whilst in the bush catching firewood she walked over a little boy-baby's grave, and has been "sick along a foot" since. How long it is going to last I don't know. Also she was "sick along a legs," and wore bits of white rag tied tightly round the thick part of the calves of her legs. I made inquiries, and find that natives are always affected in the same way if they do walk over a grave. We were about having a new boy to keep in the house, and giving his name asked Mary if she knew him. Her answer, "belong a my boy," we understood it as her child, but found him of the same tribe as she was. Josepha, (Father Nicholas's mission-girl) who is a half-caste (her mother being a native woman here) calls boys and girls her brothers and sisters, whose parents are neither of them hers. My new boy, a Gordon Bay native, and my little Josepha

  1. See ante p. 327.