No woman must ever touch

No woman must ever touch

The belief are now brought forward, and dressed by their yagoo with string-belts, hair-belts and tassels, with red ochre across their faces. All journey towards the women’s camps, where bark beds have been made ready in a long row. The weerganju sit on the bark beds and are cried over by their female relations. a weerganju over whom the blood has been poured, else she win die, or the young man will die, or the part touched will wither and become useless. Next day the belts of string and hair are placed in charge of father’s sisters or mother’s brothers’ wives. The woordoola is worn until the old men see that it is getting broken, when it is buried by one of the fathers, or by its wearer. When this is done, the balleli puts his belt aside and wears only the forehead band, chignon and the tassel which hangs by a single string.

Balleli lasts a year or so, and the next stage of initiation is jamung-ungur, the blood-drinking. This ceremony is called walla-wallong. When the fathers think it is time for the balleli to become jamung-ungur, a message is sent to camps to collect all those whose presence is desired. When these are assembled, the yagoo calls the boy aside, and tells him “Moogula baaloo!” (Put your string on!) At sundown, the balleli approaches the men’s camp, and someone shouts to him “Wamba Jeeoo!” (Man coming for you, run!) He runs, but must quickly allow himself to be caught or his mother will die. He is then taken to the secret place.

In the evening, the men come and take their places according to tribal precedence. Uncles and brothers seated in the inner circle, and the boy in the centre, lying with his head on his own father’s thighs. Presently the blood-relations, younger fathers and older brothers, come within the circle. Standing over the boy, with one leg on either side of them, they begin a step dance, lifting their feet quickly in time to the joorrga song, sung by the men in the circle. Two men may dance above him at one time, and then others take their places until all the blood-relations have danced above him.

This is the eve of the blood-drinking, and while the men sleep a yagoo keeps night-long vigil with the boy. In the morning, all gather at the secret place. The boy again lies with his head on his father’s thigh. He must make no movement, or he will die. The father blindfolds the boy with his hands, as if he should witness the following proceedings it is believed that his father and mother will both die.

A wooden vessel or a bark vessel is placed near one of the boy’s mother’s brothers, who, having tied his arm tightly, pierces the upper part with a nose-bone and holds the arm over the vessel until a certain amount of blood has been taken. Then the man next to him pierces his arm, and so on, until the vessel is filled. It may hold two quarts or so.

The vessel is brought to where the boy is lying. The father takes his hands from the boy’s eyes, though they remain closed while the rude bark chalice is lifted to his lips. The boy then takes a long draught of the blood. Should his stomach rebel, the father holds his throat to prevent his ejecting it, as if that happened his father, mother, sisters and brothers would all die. The remainder of the blood is thrown over him.