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MUSIC OF SAVAGE NATIONS.              235
territories adjoin one another, congregate at a particular spot, characterised by an immense mound of earth, covered with ashes (known amongst the white inhabitants as "a black's oven "), and surrounded by plenty of "couraway" or water holes.
To this place, they bring numbers of kangaroos, possums, emus, and wild ducks, and a large quantity of wild honey, together with a grass from the seed of which they make a sort of bread.
" Upon the evening on which the ' corrobboree' is celebrated, a number of old men (one from each tribe) called ' wammaroogo,' signifying medicine­men, or charm-men, repair to the top of the mound, where, after lighting a fire they walk round it, muttering sentences, and throwing into it portions of old charms which they have worn round their necks for the past twelve months."
" This is continued for about half an hour, when they descend, each carrying a fire-stick, which he places at the outskirts of the camp, and which is supposed to prevent evil spirits from approaching. As soon as this is over, during which a most profound silence is observed by all the men of the tribe prepare their toilets for the ' corrobboree,' daubing themselves over with chalk, red ochre, and fat."*
•The effect of this in some Australian dances, is said to be very striking. The favorite device, is to draw the outline of a skeleton, on the front of the body, with white paint. As the dancers twirl round, the pattern is plainly perceptible when their faces are turned toward the spectator, but when their black backs are turned, the whole vanishes, and gives the impression of a number of ghastly skeletons.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III