Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/128

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1 1 6 Reviews.

results of investigation by white enquirers of both sexes. But though it is obvious that Mrs. Parker, as a woman, has not recorded everything that a man might have done, it is quite remarkable to what degree she has been entrusted by the native elders with their secrets; and her presentation of the life of the tribe is of the highest interest and value. The observations which follow must be taken, not as criticisms, which I am incompetent to make, so much as queries which a first reading of such a work suggests.

The belief in Byamee (as Mrs. Parker writes the word) seems not to be so closely confined to men as in most of the tribes, though the women call him by a different name. This is one of the matters in which the Euahlayi present an advance on the civilization of most of the Australian race. Byamee is called "Father of All," but it is not made clear in what sense the word Father is used. If the myth mentioned on p. 6 refer to Byamee, as probably it does, he is represented as a Transformer and Culture Hero, of the kind familiar to students of the British Columbian tales. He is said to have two wives, whereof one, Birrahgnooloo, is styled "Mother of All," though again this is not to be taken in a literal sense. The other wife did bear children and perform the ordinary duties of a gin. Her totem (we are not told what it was) passed on to her children. Birrahgnooloo seems to be simply the female counterpart of Byamee. " No one dreams of claiming Byamee as a relation belonging to one clan ; he is one apart and yet the father of all, even as Birrahgnooloo is mother of all and not related to any one clan." Every member of their bodies had a separate totem, which was conferred on one or other of the kindreds of the tribes they visited. It is in this sense, and as Transformers, that they are called Father and Mother of all. Yet it may be doubted whether that is the whole account. The word Father is used not only for Mother's Hus- band, but also for Mother's Sisters' Husbands. It is probably used also in more than one metaphorical sense. Sometimes it may mean Maker or Shaper, sometimes merely Elder. It may have other meanings too. We require to know the full value of the word in order to judge of the sense in which it is applied to Byamee. Nor must we forget to read Mrs. Parker's former