Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/66

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cures. It consists of a piece of crystallized quartz; it is in general carefully preserved in wrappings of skin, and has been known to be treasured with so much anxiety by its owner that it was a work of some considerable time to unravel the network and coverings in which it was preserved. These precious objects were in general valued according to their size, and were supposed by the blacks to possess, among other extraordinary properties, the power of causing the death of any one at whom they were thrown by the "Kradga." No woman was permitted to see them, and they were said by the aborigines to cause the immediate death of any female who broke through the prohibition. The manner of using the "Kradga Kibba" for the cure of a spear wound received in battle is thus described:—The wounded man being removed after nightfall to a distance from the camp, the doctor proceeded to suck the wound, a process by which all dirt and other matter tending to produce inflammation were removed; the stone was then placed in the mouth of the doctor and the spittle being ejected on the ground, was stamped into the soil, with sundry incantations and gestures. The stone was in general made use of at night, at which time it was said to be most efficacious. The doctors always alleged that it was manufactured by themselves, sedulously concealing from their patients the fact that it was a natural production; and, in addition to its healing virtues, it was said to be a sure protection from the mischiefs of the evil spirit.