Thursday, 28 September 2017

AUSTRALIA: thwarted love

Bill Harney on a love triangle in 1940s Arnhem Land:

I have found that native tradition, with its prohibitions and fixed customs, really eliminates those things we know as sin and morals...

Some people tried to break down this code, but it always brought trouble in its wake. I well remember an aboriginal couple who were married 'Christian way in church'. The woman was not aware that the union was a fixed one - not as in the tribe, where the people can become divorced by mutual consent.

The marriage irked her so much that she decided to break it up and take to herself another man of the tribe. Her method was simple and ingenious.

She became the friend of another native man I knew and, unknown to him, used him as a means of arousing her husband to such a jealous madness that he crept upon the man, who he thought was his wife's lover, and killed him with a spear.

I found it all out too late, and even then I could not stop the self-satisfied smile on the real killer's face, as her husband went to jail whilst she returned to her true lover.

"Life Among The Aborigines" by W. E. Harney, Robert Hale Limited (1957) - pp. 15, 31-32

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