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The Kurelski Islanders

( Originally Published Late 1800's )

These people have an extraordinary way of punishing adultery. The husband of the adultress challenges the adulterer to single combat. When they meet, they are both stripped quite naked. Then the challenger gives the challenged a club about three feet long, and about as thick as a man's arm. The challenger is then obliged to receive three strokes upon his back with this club; after which, the challenged, returning it, is treated in the same manner. This they perform three times, and the result is generally the death of both the combatants. But it is reckoned as great a dishonour to refuse this combat as it is among us to refuse a duel The injured party sometimes thinks himself not bound to give him that has already debauched his wife an opportunity to kill him ; in that case, the adulterer is obliged to give him whatever he demands in skins, cloaths, provisions, or any other species of property.

The women here do not recover from child-bearing in less than three months, though their neighbours, the Kamtschatkadales, are scarce laid up a day. The midwives give names to the children as soon as they are born, which they always keep ; but if twins happen to be born, they always destroy one.

They do not burn, but bury their dead : those that die during the winter in the snow, and those that die during the summer in the earth.



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