Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/190
the origin of man is crossed by the tradition of a Deluge, or some other great destruction, followed by revival or reconstruction of the species.
In examining savage myths of the origin of man and of the world, we shall begin by considering those current among the most backward peoples, where no hereditary or endowed priesthood has elaborated and improved the popular beliefs. The natives of Australia furnish us with myths of a purely popular type, the property, not of professional priests and poets, but of all the old men, old women, and full-grown warriors of the country. Here, as everywhere else, the student must be on his guard a gainst accepting myths which are disguised forms of missionary teaching. He must also beware of supposing that the Australians believe in a creator in our sense, because the Narrinyeri, for example, say that Nurundere "made everything." Nurundere is but an idealised wizard and hunter, with a rival of his species. (See chapter on "Divine Myths of the Lower Races.")
Turning from the Narrinyeri, we learn that the Boonoorong, an Australian coast tribe, ascribe the creation of things to a being named Bun-jel or Pund-jel. He figures as the chief of an earlier supernatural class of existence, with human relationships; thus he "has a wife, whose face he has never seen," brothers, a son, and so on. Now this name Bun-jel means "eagle-hawk," and the eagle-hawk is a totem among certain stocks. Thus, when we hear that Eagle-hawk is the
- Taplin, The Narrinyeri.