Yilgar and her crony Gimbuck, had come up for a talk one afternoon, and I strongly suspected a cadge, for the camp was in disgrace.
The women the day before had all been sent to collect and drive some sheep across the river and on their way had found a honey tree, that is a big tree in which the wild bees had made a hive. What were sheep in comparison to a find like this? So they were left to their fate while all the women set to work to burn the tree down and smoke the bees out.
Now that takes time, so the sheep wandered off where their own sweet wills dictated while the women and children camped by the honey tree and made fires round it smoking the bees with green bushes, and burning so the tree should fall in the right direction.
Meanwhile at the homestead my husband was getting more impatient and worried at the non arrival of the sheep. At last, after some hours had passed from the time they ought to have appeared, a native on horseback was despatched to see what could be the matter.
He arrived just as the tree was about to fall, of course he had to assist them when it was down, examine it, see the size of the hive and taste the honey. Then bark had to be found and stripped from the trees, bent into shape to put the honey comb on to carry back to the camp. What were sheep compared to such an interesting and unexpected find? And all this sort of thing takes time, besides a native never hurries himself.
Meanwhile the homestead was getting more and more agitated over the non-arrival of the women, sheep and messenger. Something serious must have happened. It was getting near sunset and nothing had turned up, the women had been sent before midday, and the sheep were only three miles away.
At last my brother mounted his horse and rode off. About a mile from the homestead he met some of the wanderers laden with honey in bark baskets. But where were the sheep?
"The sheep? Oh we lose 'em," was the chorus "but look master, what lovely honey. Taste some. It is very good."
Ethel Hassell, My Dusky Friends, C.W. Hassell, Fremantle, 1975, p. 83.