"No, Byamee, we lent them not." "Go to the camp of the Dummerh, and ask for your dayoorl." The women, with the fear of the fate of the Mahthi did they disobey, went, though well they knew they had not lent the dayoorl.
The women crouched together, but Byamee flashed a fire stick whence came the sound, and as the light flashed on the place he saw no one, but stranger than all, he saw two dayoorls moving along, and yet could see no one moving them, and as the dayoorls moved swiftly away, louder and louder rose the sound of "Oom, oom, oom, oom," until the air seemed full of invisible spirits.
Nahgul is the rejected Gayandil who was found by Byamee too destructive to act as president of the Boorahs. He principally haunts Boorah grounds. He still has a Boorah gubberrah, a sacred stone, inside him, hence his strength. He sets string traps for men, touching which they feel ill, and suddenly drop down never to rise again. The wirreenuns know then that Nahgul is about.
Then he sat down at some little distance and watched them. The ants quickly covered the bodies, cleaned them rapidly of the wet slime, and soon Byamee noticed the muscles of the girls twitching. "Ah," he said, "there is life, they feel the sting of the ants." Almost as he spoke came a sound as of a thunder-clap, but the sound seemed to come from the ears of the girls.
The wirreenuns, they say, swallow their stones to keep them safe. At each Boorah a taboo is taken off food. After a third Boorah a man could eat fish, after a fourth honey, after a fifth what he liked. He was then, too, shown and taught the meanings of the tribal message-sticks, and the big Boorah one of Byamee. As few men now have ever been to five Boorahs, few know anything about these last.
These Minggah and Goomarh spirit trees and stones always make me think, perhaps irrelevantly, of one of the restored sayings of the Lord, which ends 'Raise the stone, and there thou shalt find Me; cleave the wood, and I am there. Blacks were early scientists in some of their ideas, being before Darwin with the evolution theory, only theirs was a kind of evolution aided by Byamee.
If he was early grey, say at thirty, in 1846, that takes his initiation back to 1830, when, as a matter of fact, we have contemporary evidence to the belief in Byamee, who is not of missionary importation, though after 1856 Christian ideas may, through Mr. Ridley's book, have been attached to his name by educated Kamilaroi.
The tribe of a neighbouring creek, when we were first at the station, used to threaten to come and get it, but the men of the local tribe used to muster to protect it from desecration even at the expense of their lives. The Minggah by the garden I have told you of before. Further down the creek are others. At Weetalibah was the tree from which Byamee cut the first Gayandi.
It is told to me, that at some initiatory rites the oldest medicine man, or Wirreenun, present addresses a prayer to Byamee, asking him to give them long life, as they have kept his law. The tribesmen do not profess to pray, or to have prayed, to Byamee on any occasions except at funerals, and at the conclusion of the Boorah.
Then Byamee knew that indeed the Wondah were about, and he too clutched his fire stick and went back into his camp. In the morning it was seen that not only were all the dayoorls gone, but the camp of the Dummerh was empty and they too had gone. When no one would lend the Dummerh dayoorls, they had said, "Then we can grind no doonburr unless the Wondah bring us stones."