The Passing of the Aborigines, by Daisy Bates


Legend of How the Eagle-hawk Brought the Water to Yuria Gabbi

In Dreamtimes the eagle-hawk, brought water to Yuria Burnda (rock) from the far, far west and put it down at the foot of the rock, and sat down beside it with Weeloo his curlew wife. He looked about and saw plenty meat and vegetable food, and every day he went out hunting for meat while Weeloo gathered roots and fruit and ants and lizards. They were living very happily together until one day, when Walja had gone to Moonaba Water to spear an emu, Koongara, the little hawk, stole up to the hut where Weeloo was sitting preparing the supper and took Weeloo away with him to be his wife. When Walja returned with his food he found his ashes cold, and no Weeloo to be seen anywhere. He looked round his hut, and saw the tracks of Koongara, where he had stolen up behind Weeloo. The tracks went south, and when Walja saw them he said, “I will follow them up and kill Koongara and I will beat Weeloo for letting him take her away.” Then he lighted a little fire on top of the rock and sat down beside it to straighten his spear, and make it strong and hard and sharp. The Kaan’ ga (crows) were uncles to Walja, and they had seen Koongara come and steal Weeloo away, but they did not interfere. They now sat near Walja and mocked him, and sang:

Kaa! Kaa! yamba yuri yarru warranu.
Kaa! Kaa! yamba yuri yarru warranu.

(“Ah! Ah! they have gone to a far-away camp; listen, hear them go along the road.”)

Walja said nothing, only made his spear more sharp, and when it was ready he got up from the rock where he had been sitting, and he left the mark of the fire, the spear and his knees where he had pressed the spear on the rock for the crows to see, and there they remain to this day-the little fire, the spear and Walja’s knees on the hard rock.

Koongara already had a wife, Yanguna, the white cockatoo, but Koongara liked Weeloo better, for Weeloo built her hut in the little hollows of stony places, just as be did, and Yanguna always wanted to have her shelter in leafy places.

Koongara fled with Weeloo to Koorijilla, and he made a deep hollow into which he crept, with Weeloo on top, so that if Walja came while he slept Weeloo would be speared first, and he might have time to get away. Walja was very angry with Weeloo for going away, with Koongara for stealing her, and with Kaan’ga for mocking him, and he made a great, great rain come. He gathered all the big rain-clouds from the west, and they came swift and fast to make the rain for him. Koongara saw them coming and he said, “Oh, there’s gabbi coming to Koo’luna,” but while he spoke they came fast and fast and covered all the sky, and the gabbi fell from them so heavily that Koongara could not find a dry place to sit down at Koorijilla. Then he and Weeloo went on to Wal-dhabbi, but the gabbi followed them there; then they went to Kureeng’gabbi, where Koongara’s hut was, but the gabbi followed them up, making a big creek all the way. Koongara was very tired, for there was no place for him to rest in, and when he came to Kureeng’gabbi burnda he sat down on top of the rock, with Weeloo beside him. Walja was behind the rain-clouds, and when Koongara sat down Walja came up and speared him, and the marks of the blood and the feet of Koongara are on Kureeng’gabbi rock. Walja took Weeloo back to Yuria so that the crows should see her there, and no more have cause to mock him, and he beat Weeloo with his club, beat her so hard, so hard, that she picked up her digging-stick and hit Walja, crying, “Weeloo, weeloo,” all the time, and that is why she has to cry “weeloo” always. Weeloo still lives at Yuria, and in the still nights she sends forth the same cry that she uttered while Walja beat her. Walja also lives at Yuria Gabbi, but he is only a bird now for the dream eagle-hawks have all gone.

That is the legend of Yuria Water.

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:51