Page:Dawson - Australian aborigines (1900).djvu/116

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
100
AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES.


Stars in tail of Scorpio, 'Kummim bieetch,' 'one sitting on the back of the other's neck ' — masculine.

Pleiades are called 'kuurokeheear,' 'flock of cockatoos,' by the Kuurn kopan noot tribe, and are feminine. The Pirt kopan noot tribe have no general name for the Pleiades; but there is a tradition that the stars in it were a queen called Gneeanggar; and her six attendants; and, that, a long time ago, the star Canopus — 'Waa,' 'crow' — fell in love with the queen, but was so unsuccessful in gaining her affections that he determined to get possession of her by stratagem. Shortly after her refusal to become his wife, he discovered by some means that the queen and her six attendants were going in search of white grubs, of which they were very fond. On hearing of this, 'Waa' at once conceived the idea of transforming himself into a grub; and in this form he bored into the stem of a tree where he was certain to be observed by the queen and her servants. He was not long in his hiding-place before he was discovered by one of them, who thrust into the hole a small wooden hook, which women generally use for extracting grubs. He broke the point of the hook. He did the same with those of the other five attendants. The queen then approached, and introduced a beautiful bone hook into the hole. He knew that this hook was hers; he therefore allowed himself to be drawn out, and immediately assumed the form of a giant, and ran off with her from her attendants. Ever since the loss of the queen there have been only six stars in the Pleiades, representing her six servants.

Some doubt having been expressed by friends to whom the manuscript was shown with regard to the authenticity of this story, which shows a very remarkable coincidence with tales of Grecian mythology, the strictest inquiry has been made through Mr. William Goodall, the superintendent of the Framlingham Aboriginal Station; and the result of this inquiry has been to confirm the story, and to show that it is well known in the Western District, and, with some variation, in South Australia also.

The three stars in the belt of Orion are called 'Kuppiheear' and are the sisters of Sirius, who always follows them.

A yellowish star in the constellation of Orion is called 'Kuupartakil;' and another, of a red colour, is called 'Moroitch,' 'fire' — masculine.

Southern Cross, 'Kunkun Tuuromballank,' 'knot or tie* — masculine.

Centauri, the pointers, 'Tuulirmp,' 'magpie larks' — masculine.

Mars, 'Parrupum' — masculine.

Fomelhaut, 'Buunjill' — masculine.