Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/398

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Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay,

fig. 13A.] It is probable that had not Jack cut her hair, Mary would have put on wilgy, for Magdalene's baby died last week, and a woman with wilgy on is a filthy creature, neither of use nor ornament in a white feller's house.

We are to witness an eclipse of the sun next month. Strange! all the natives know about it; how, we can't imagine. Old Mary, when questioned, said, "Him go out all right." King Ross sent me a kylie by Mary when she went to his camp. Yesterday at six o'clock a.m. he and Pollie came along. He brought me another kylie, two nulla-nullas, and a walkerberrie, for which he wanted sixpence. I gave it him willingly, although it is the first time I have given money. He also had a drink of tea and a piece of bread and jam. Such small attentions please the natives. . . . . .

My old Mary has been very ill. When "sick along a yed," she packed her head into damp sand until I wondered she could breathe, and she got Magdalene to rub her—a sort of massage—to exorcise the debil-debil. The other day I was left all alone. Mary and Magdalene were both away. In the evening I saw something moving in the compound. Mary had returned. I went out to her and wanted to know where she had been all day without telling me. All she answered was, "Woolla, missus, woolla, you go catchem woolla—spose I catchem blood he come inside." I lighted the lamp (a gust of wind had blown it out) and took it out on the verandah. Then I saw her leaning on it, her head and face streaming with blood, which was soaking her singlet back and front. She had tak-en her dress off. I fetched her water; she drank it thirstily. Then I asked, had she been to the fight (there had been a big one in the afternoon). She had been fio-htincf, but not there. She had started out in the morning to call on Ross and Pollie his wife, and was set upon by some gins, who had a grudge against her. She being still weak had not taken her fighting-stick with her,