Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/455

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VIII
429
BELIEFS AND BURIAL PRACTICES

when all animals were men and women, some died, and the moon used to say, "You up-again," and they came to life again. There was at that time an old man who said, "Let them remain dead." Then none ever came to life again, except the moon, which still continued to do so.[1]

A Kurnai legend about Brewin is as follows. "Long time ago the moon (Narran) was a young man. He went out hunting, and found an emu on the other side of a creek. When he wanted to cross over on a log, Brewin twisted it round so that Narran fell into the water. Each time he tried to walk over, Brewin made him fall in." The emu is what we call the Southern Cross.

The Wiradjuri account is that long ago a piece of kangaroo was given to a boy to eat, and he threw a piece of the bone up to the sky, where it stuck fast. This is the moon, who is now a man who walks round by the south in the daytime.

The stars are many of them named, or perhaps it is that the more prominent ones are. Some are grouped together in the constellations, among which are the sons of Bunjil. These have been already referred to.

The Turrbal believed that a falling star was a Kundri (medicine-man) flying through the air and dropping his fire-stick to kill some one, and was sure if a sick man was in the camp he would die. Mr. Petrie relates that once he was in a camp when a woman was sick and a meteorite was seen. Her friends at once began to mourn and cut themselves for her.

The Wiimbaio thought that the stars were once great men. The planet Mars is Bilyara, the eagle; and another star is Kilpara, the crow.[2]

The Pleiades are, according to the Wotjobaluk, some women named Murkunyan-gurk,[3] and the following account explains to some extent who they are. When they were on the earth, Boamberik[4] was always running after without

  1. M. E. B. Howitt, Legends and Folklore. MS.
  2. J. Bulmer.
  3. Murka, "egg," gurk, the feminine postfix. I do not know, but I suspect that this name may refer to the legend just mentioned, and that the eggs referred to are ants' eggs which they dug up.
  4. The native cat, Dasyurus; boam, "tail," and berik, "stinking."