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【异域风情】

澳大利亚的土著人(2)

时间:2016/4/22 13:47:12   来源:   作者:   点击:1249次

Two important aboriginal foods are the fruit of the cycad palm, and a large nutritious yam. The cycads provide an ample and reliable source of food from June until October, while the yam is available for an even longer period. The interesting thing is that both of these fruits are highly poisonous in their normal state, and can only be eaten after cutting them in slices and soaking them in running water for several days. The prepared fruit can also be stored in pits, where it remains edible for a considerable time.
  
For the native people who live on the seacoast or the swamplands, the nesting season, too, is a time of abundance. The outlying islands and the rock headlands are the nesting places of the marine birds, the gulls, fairy penguins and terns, and the swamps are the homes of swans, pelicans, geese, and wild ducks of many kinds. The multitudes of their eggs provide the native people with an abundant supply of easily gathered food. People cook the eggs in the hot sand of the camp-fire, and they prefer them when they are almost ready to hatch, believing, quite correctly, that they are much more satisfying in this state than when they are newly laid. The eggs of the emus are another source of food, two of them, especially if they are near incubation, being sufficient for a meal.
 
In the aboriginal society, the older men possess an innate dignity that is not common in our own culture. And the tribal elders hold the highest social status. It is they alone who know the inner secrets of the tribe, who possess the knowledge of the most lethal chants to punish offenders, and who have the final say in all matters relating to the ceremonial life of the tribe.
  
These Australian aborigines also have their own myths. According to their beliefs, in the beginning the earth was flat and featureless, just like a huge plain extending on all sides to the horizon. (And even today, they think that if they walk too far in any direction they will be in danger of falling into bottomless space.) Then came the "Dream Time," When certain great semi human beings rose out of the featureless plain where they had slumbered for countess ages, and began to wander over the countryside. And when the "Dream Time" mysteriously came to an end, everywhere the mythical heroes had carried out any great task, some natural feature such as a mountain range, a hill, or a river, arose to mark the place. So, this is why every aboriginal claims direct descent from one or another of these mythical beings of the "Dream Time".
 

澳洲土著人有两种重要的食物:一种是铁树目裸子类棕桐树的果子,另一种是又大又有营养的山药。每年的六月到十月,棕桐树的果子为人们提供了丰富而可靠的食物来源,而后者的获得时间甚至更长。有趣的是,这两种东西在未处理时都有剧毒,只有把它们切成块放在流动的水里浸泡上几天之后,才能食用。若把特制过的果子藏在洞里,它们可以放上很长时间都还能吃。

对于住在海边和沼泽地的人来说,有鸟蛋的季节也是一个收获的季节。沿海处的岛屿和布满岩石的海角都是海鸟下蛋的理想地方,在这些海鸟中有海鸥、企鹅和燕鸥等等。相比之下,沼泽地区则是天鹅、塘鹅、野鹅、和各种野鸭的生栖之地。丰富的鸟蛋给土著人提供了大量唾手可得的食物。人们把蛋埋在营火下面的沙子里烘熟了吃。而且,他们尤其喜欢快要孵化的蛋,认为它们比刚下的蛋更加可口。鸸鹋的蛋便是其中的一种,这种蛋快要孵化时两个就足够做一顿饭。

生活在这里的土著老人天生拥有一种我们文化里所不常见到的尊严,他们享有部落中最高的地位,因为这些老人的心里藏着部落的秘密,他们不仅知道如何用最可怕的咒语来惩罚犯了错的人,而且对部落庆典的一切事项都拥有最后的定夺权。

除此以外,澳洲土著人还有着自己的神话。他们认为,在世界之初,地球是扁平的,混沌而无特色,就象是一个巨大的、向四周地平线无限延伸出去的平原(直至今天,他们仍坚信,如果一个人朝着一个方向走得太远,他就有可能会掉进无底的深渊。)。他们神话的第二个时期是"梦幻时代"。在这一时期,某种半人化的巨型生命经过漫长岁月的沉睡之后,出现在那个泥沙无际的平原上,并开始在各地游荡。当"梦幻时代"神秘地结束之后,在每一个神话人物创下宏伟业绩的地方,都留有山脉、丘陵或小河一类的自然景物作为纪念。所以,这就是为什么每个土著人都认为,自己是"梦幻时代"里某个神话人物的后代。

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