Howitt and Fison Papers


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Tatati Pūrbŭng - according to Bobby Napier

About 1870 the Tatati sent a Wirigar messenger to the Wotjobalukto call some of them to attend their Pūrbung at Euston.[Bobby's brother's son was taken to be intiated - crossed out] On reaching Euston under the guidance of the Wirigar, the old men decided that the ceremonies should be held next day. Before day break the people were all ready - there werepresent Tatati, Wati Wati, Letchi Letchi - and they waited for the sun to rise. Three boys were to be initiated. Each one sate in his camp together with his mother and father. The old men and the other initiated men were at their talking place. When the sun rose they all ran up to the camp shouting; each boy was seized by his ngierep (wife's brothersister's husband) who dragged him by the arms into the crowd of men. The boy's father remained in the camp. (1.) The boys mother lay in the camp covered over by a rug. The others were collected together in one place.

The ngierap holding the boy by placing his arm under the boy's right arm and his hand over his left shoulder led him about two miles away. The crowd of men surrounded the boys playing all kinds of antics and saying all kinds of funny things to make the boys laugh - which the boys had been instructed by their ngieraps not to do on any account.

Meanwhile some of the men had been busy digging a number of holes in a row, one for each boy. The boy was placed sitting in the hole which came up to his waist. His neirep held him against his breast with a hand over each eye, and his face held upward.

The men were all round dancing. The Medicine Man (Bā-ngal) came running up with a wooden chiselin his hand and a stick about a foot long, [in the other - crossed out], with a knob at one end in the other. He placed the chisel in the boy's tooth and struck it a blow with the stick to loosen it - or sucked it out: my informant could not say which. The boy had to swallow the blood from his gums in order to become strong. If it ran out on the ground he would become weak. This being done the boys were taken to a camp where a bush screen had been made and here the men danced all night and imitated kangaroos, dogs +c to amuse

[written in left side margin](1.) This may perhaps havebeen because he had never been initiated. Such is the case with Biduelli menmentioned at p-

Last edit about 1 month ago by ALourie
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