Native Tribes of South-East Australia/Appendix

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The origin of the Murdus and the Kana—How the Mura-mura Paralina perfected mankind, a Mardala legend—Madra-mankana, a Dieri legend—The wanderings of the Yuri-ulu, a Wonkangaru legend—A circumcision legend of the Eastern Dieri and the Yaurorka—The Pirha and the Wapiya legend of the Wonkamala tribe—The Anti-etya and the Ngardu-etya legends—The Minkani ceremonies—The Darana legend of the Dieri—Kakakudana and the origin of the mound springs, a legend of the Urabunna—Tayi-tampana or Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru, a Yaurorka legend—Ngura-wordu-punnuna, a Dieri legend.

These legends[1] relate more or less to the initiation and other ceremonies of these tribes, at which they are repeated by the old men, and are thus handed down from generation to generation. They form the precedents for the ceremonial proceedings.

Taking Lake Eyre for the central point, the range of these tribes extends northwards to the Wonkamala, and southwards to the Parnkalla, who occupied the country on the west side of Spencer Gulf, as far as Port Lincoln, and inland to the Gawler Ranges. This is about seven hundred miles north and south. To the north-west it extends to where it comes in contact with the southern part of the tribes of which the Arunta is the typical example. To the west its range is not known to me, further than the Kukata, Tangara, and Willara, which are west of the Urabunna and Wirangu tribes which border Lake Eyre on that side.

To the north-east and east it would include the tribes which attend the ceremonies of the Mura-mura Minkani, from a considerable distance within the State of Queensland. On the east the Grey and Barrier Ranges make the boundary of the Lake Eyre tribes.

The Origin of the Murdus[2] and of the Kana

In the Beginning, the earth opened in the midst of Perigundi lake,[3] and there came out, one murdu after the other, Kaualka (crow), Katatara (shell parakeet), Warukati (emu), and so on. Being as yet incompletely formed, and without members and sense organs, they laid themselves down on the sandhills, which then, as now, surrounded the lake. There, lying in the sunshine, they were after a time invigorated and strengthened by it, so that at last they stood up as Kana (human beings) and separated in all directions.

The Dieri point out an island in the middle of Perigundi Lake as the place where the Murdus came out. The legend not only accounts for the totem animals but also for the Kana, that is, the native inhabitants of the Lake Eyre district. It also accounts, by the dispersal of the Murdus, for the fact that the totem names are scattered over the country, but in such manner that some are more prevalent in one part than in another.

How the Mura-mura Paralina[4] perfected Mankind: A Yaurorka Legend

The Mura-mura Paralina was out hunting kangaroos. While following one, he saw four incomplete beings cowering together. Without noticing them further, he followed the kangaroo till he came to where there were two Mura-mura women, who had already killed the kangaroo, and covered it with Paua.[5] When he asked whether they had killed the kangaroo, they denied having done so. Then Paralina thought of a trick. He unwound his belt (body-string) into an immensely long cord, at the end of which he fastened an ant, which at once smelled out the meat, and with its comrades fell upon the dead kangaroo hidden under the Paua. Paralina now followed the cord and discovered the kangaroo, and having cleared the ants from it, he carried it away on his shoulders. Then he went back to the place where he had seen the cowering beings.

Going up to them, he smoothed their bodies, stretched out their limbs, slit up their fingers and toes, formed their mouths, noses, and eyes, stuck ears on them, and blew into their ears in order that they might hear. Lastly, he perforated the body from the mouth downwards, and projected a piece of hard clay (Daka) through it with so much force that it passed through the body, forming the fundament. Having thus produced mankind out of these beings, he went about making men everywhere.

Mandra-mankana, also called Bakuta-terkana-tarana, or Kanta-yulkana: A Dieri Legend[6]

Mandra-mankana once came to the neighbourhood of Pando.[7] Two girls who saw him jeered at him, because his back was just the same as his front. He told their mother, who was his Noa, to send her two daughters to his camp the following night. When she told them of his demand, they ridiculed him, but yet they went there, and lay down one on each side of the sleeping old man, their Ngaperi. Then they heaped up a ridge of sand on either side of him, so that he thought to have his Ngatatnura-ulu there. But these had meanwhile crept away out of the sand and lay down to sleep in the camp of their mother. When the Pinnaru woke in the night he rose upright, and saw that he was quite alone, and that the girls had cheated him. Hence his name of Bakuta-terkana-tarana. He went forth thinking of revenge. Through his songs he caused plants to grow, some with bitter and some with pleasant-tasted fruit. The two girls found these plants, and ate first of the bitter and then of the good fruit. Delighted with the latter, they sprang from one bush to the other. Thus after a time they came to a Tanyu bush laden with its red and yellow fruit, where lurked Mandra-mankana in concealment, to destroy them. As they came near to him, he threw his boomerang at one and broke her ankle, and then rushing up he killed her by a blow on her head. The other sister ran away to save herself, but he followed her, and killed her also. He then cut off the breasts of the dead girls and carried them with him as he went farther. Coming to a camp where some young boys were amusing themselves in a plain by throwing boomerangs, he hid himself behind some bushes, and watched them at their play. Then one of the boys threw his boomerang so far that it fell near the old man. The boy sought for it, and was about to take it up, when the Pinnaru seized him by the hand. He was frightened, but Mandra-mankana calmed him by giving him a lizard. He soon became friendly with the boy, and promised at his request to make a new song, and called to all the people to come and hear it. They assembled, even the sick and the women with child. The boy began to sing, and the Pinnaru came out of the bushes, painted and decked with feathers, and carrying the breasts of the girls hanging on his chest. He danced to the onlookers, in the front ranks of whom two young men, the Noas of the girls, were sitting. These immediately recognised the breasts of their Noas, and when the Pinnaru retired, dancing, they stuck their Kandri[8] in the ground before them. When he again danced near to them, each seized his Kandri, and struck him, so that both his legs were broken. Then they split his head open, and at the same time all the people fell upon him, and even the children struck him. Then they buried him, and laying his bag at the head of the grave, they went elsewhere. One day a crow perched itself on the grave of Mandra-mankana. Three times it knocked with its beak on the wood which was lying on the grave, and cried, "Ka! Ka! Ka!" Then the dead man woke up, and came out of the grave, and looked round, but no one was to be seen. Then he looked for footprints, and found that the people had all gone in the same direction, but by three different ways. While the strong and hale ones had gone, some to the right and some to the left, hunting as they went along, the old and the sick had gone straight on, between the two other tracks. These he followed till he came to the neighbourhood of their new camp, and he concealed himself in the bushes near where they were busy in the creek,[9] driving the fish together to catch them. They had pulled up bushes and grass, and with them were driving the fish before them in heaps. Mandra-mankana kept himself concealed in the water, and opening his mouth he sucked in and swallowed the water, fish, grass, and men. Some few who were at a distance, observing that their comrades, and nearly all those who were fishing, had disappeared, and looking round to see where they had gone to, saw with alarm that the monster in the water had surrounded them with his arms. Only a few of them escaped by jumping over them. The Mura-mura Kanta-yulkana,[10] looking after them, gave to each, as he ran, his Murdu name.

Those who ran to the north were—

Kanangara seed of the Manyura.
Karabana bat.
Maiaru marsupial rat.
Palyara a small marsupial.
Katatara shell parakeet.
Malura cormorant.
Karawora eagle-hawk.
Warukati emu.[11]
Kaualka crow.
Padi a caterpillar.[12]
Karku red ochre.
Woma carpet snake.
Pitcheri Duboisia Hopwoodii.

Those who ran to the south-east were the—

Chukuro kangaroo.
Kintala dingo.
Kani jew lizard.[13]
Kaperi iguana.
Kokula marsupial rat.
Punta a small marsupial.
Karabana a small marsupial.
Puralko the native companion.
Kuraura rain.
Malbaru a crane.
Tundu-bulyeru a water-rat.
Pira-moku native cat.
Kaladiri a frog.
Tidnamara a frog.
Wilyaru curlew.
Watari kangaroo-rat.

Those who ran to the southwards were the—

Makara a fish.
Kirhapara ?
Yikaura native cat.
Ngarumba box-tree.[14]
Kanunga rabbit-bandicoot.[15]

The Mura-mura came out of the water and vomited, so that he threw out all his teeth, which are to be seen at Manatandri. Having done this, he went a little farther and sat down and died.

This place is pointed out by the Dieri on the Cooper north of Pando, and the body of the Mura-mura is to be seen there also, turned into stone, in the form of a rock.

The Wanderings of the Yuri-ulu: A Wonkanguru Legend

After the Yuri-ulu were circumcised at Mararu they went off on their wanderings alone, and came to the Kadla-lumpa[16] Creek, where they refreshed themselves with the water which bubbles out of the earth. They collected emu eggs at that place, and the bird attacked them, but was driven off by their shouting and throwing sand and dust at it. The sand and dust, however, which they had thrown up into the air came upon them as a cloud,—the Nilla-nilla[17]—which raised the sandhill on which they stood high up in the air. But through fear they threw themselves down on the ground, and lay there for some time insensible. When they recovered they found that the Nilla-nilla was gone, and putting the eggs in a bag they went on to Urakuroka,[18] from whence they saw great columns of smoke rising up and spreading out wide and far, from the place of circumcision at Mararu. Wandering further, they came to a place where they found a great number of lizards; and at another they collected stone for knives, which, however, were not good. Then at Kalilte they observed that they were inflamed from the circumcision, but the inflammation left them at Kalpinta and Laratjilkira, and they rejoiced that they were now full men. At Nalpawira they caught a small lizard, the pilta, which lived under the bark of the tree, and they killed it, but then regretting this, they swung it round their heads to bring it to life again. Feeling very cold at Kurampa, they threw glowing coals in the grass, which, taking fire, drove the cold away. From this place they went to Kililti,[19] where small kidney-shaped stones are plentiful,[20] with which they filled their bags. Then, placing themselves a long distance apart, one threw pundra, which the other tried to hit and break with a stick. Having finished this game, they collected the small fragments for tulas and placed them in their bags.

Still travelling on, a great rainbow appeared after a shower. Alarmed at this, they halted, but thought that it was only a gigantic kadi-markara. Then having given names to the rainbow and to its colours, they went on, but with caution, fearing that the portent might again come upon them, and looking back at it till it disappeared. On their way they saw the footprints of the Mura-mura Markanyankula,[21] but as he must have passed the previous day and reached Antiritya, they could not overtake him.

On their further wanderings they collected yaua,[22] at one place; at another they killed a water-hen; and at a third they dug out some kapita, and then found a nest with a young eagle-hawk in it. At length they reached the other side of the ranges, where it became darker and darker, and feeling round with their hands, they found a continuous hard surface. They struck it with their fists, and with their boomerangs and spears, but in vain. Then the elder of the Yuri-ulu pushed the obstruction with his finger and it opened, and they saw a new country covered with trees and bushes. Looking back at what they had passed through, they recognised it as being the edge of the sky, but they did not wander long in this country, for the younger of the two died. The elder still went on, but after a time he also died. Then they both returned to life, and called to their father, with the voice of thunder, that they had died in a strange land, and could not return again. He, hearing their voices, mourned for them.[23]

These two Wonkanguru legends might be well divided into three: first, the preparation for the ceremony; second, the ceremony itself; and third, the wandering of the Yuri-ulu after circumcision.

The mention of the pirha in these ceremonies, and the dances of the two sets of women, the elder and the younger sisters of the Yuri-ulu, connects it with the legend in which the wanderings of the elder and younger girls, with their pirha song, is given.

Antiritcha, which may be identified with a mountain in the M'Donnell Ranges, fixes the limits of the wanderings of the Yuri-ulu as being somewhat beyond the termination of these mountains.

A Circumcision Legend: Eastern Dieri and Yaurorka Tribes

A girl met her brother, and observed on him the effect of circumcision. Hastening to the Pinnaru, her father, she told him what she had seen, and asked him how it had been done. Instead of replying to her question, he became enraged, and scolded her, saying, "Why did you meet your brother, and see his wound?" He sent his wife away, and with his friends dug a long and deep hole. Then he called the people together from all quarters. The old men threw fire into the hole till it was red hot. Then they called all the women and children to the side of the pit. They obeying the call, the Pinnaru ordered them to place themselves in groups round it, and to dance when the song began. This they did, a man dancing with his wife, a Pirrauru with his Pirrauru, three youths together, and so on, till the Pinnaru pushed them, one group after the other, into the pit. Only a few remained alive of all those people, and the Tidnamadukas,[24] who lived in that locality, observed that the Pinnaru and his party intended to throw all of them also into the pit Running together hastily, they threw their boomerangs at the old men and broke their legs, so that they could not escape. Then they threw them into the same pit which they had intended for them.

The intention of this legend appears to be to account for the taboo which exists between the boys after circumcision and the women of the tribe, and especially between them and their sisters, who are forbidden under penalty of death to see them until their wounds are healed.

The two following legends recount the wanderings of two parties of young Mura-mura women, carrying a dance and a song, which is shown in the wanderings of the Yuri-ulu to be connected with the ceremonies of circumcision.

The wanderings commence at some place far to the south-west of Lake Eyre in the country of the Kukata tribe, if not near to the coast. They extend thence to the south-west of Lake Eyre at Coward Springs, and continue round the south of the Lake to the Lower Cooper. Here there are petrifactions which mark the localities mentioned, and which are recognised as Mura-muras turned into stone. These are the girls, who, however, are yet said by the legend to wander further. They are also seen, as petrifactions, where they concealed themselves from their Mura-mura follower, and ridiculed him. Also where they threw the Wona there are stones commemorating them. The traces of this Wona game are pointed out in straight rows of petrifactions, which are held to be Mura or sacred things which no one may injure.

The first legend is composed of two parts, which are conjoined for convenience of narrative. The first part is the Pirha-malkara, or the Bowl-song, which belongs to the Urabunna, the Tirari section of the Dieri, and other neighbouring tribes, and ends at a place called Palaunkina. The second commences at Pundu-worani, and belongs to the Wonkanguru. The third part is from the death of the Mura-mura Madaputa-tupuru, and introduces another travelling group of young women, who also carry a song, that of the Wapiya, or boomerang.

This latter part was obtained from an intelligent old man of the Wonkamala tribe, to which he belonged, and was subsequently confirmed by one of the Wonkanguru, who had lived for a long time among the Wonkamala, and whose wife was of that tribe. The second part of the legend, namely that commencing at Pundu-worani, was obtained from his brother and other Wonkanguru men.

The Wonkamala man came to the Dieri as the head of a party bringing the Molonga dance from the north: and subsequently he went away southwards.[25] Later on he returned northwards, but became ill, and died near Killalpanina. He was considered to be a great medicine-man, and it is said that a party from his tribe is to come down to take his bones back to his own people as powerful magic. After his death some of his party carried the Molonga dance to the south, and the others travelled round the south end of Lake Eyre to the north-west.

This is an instance of the manner in which wanderings still take place among the native tribes of the interior, by men whose mission accredits them to the tribes to which they come.

The Pirha-malkara: A Legend of the Urabunna Tribe

A number of girls, the "Mankara-waka-ya-pirna,"[26] once made a journey, accompanied by their Ngaperi, the Mura-mura Mada-puta-tupuru, who was foolish about women, and closely followed them. They started from Malku-malku, and marched from place to place, singing and dancing. The Pinnaru followed with his many dogs. Then they marched through the Midlaleri country,[27] and at the south end of Lake Eyre they found many Yelka,[28] and called the place Yelka-bakana, where many girls joined them. Then they went southwards round the Lake to the lower reaches of the Cooper, where at Ditjiminka[29] other girls joined them.

Meanwhile the Pinnaru had fallen behind in his watchful pursuit, and saw, when seeking to follow them, that there were the tracks of many strange girls, who had traversed the whole place in search of mice. He followed these from Nidli-barkuna,[30] to Palaun-kina,[31] where he found all the girls hidden from him behind bushes. To mock him each only showed her hair tied to a pointed shape called Wilburu,[32] so that he could not distinguish one girl from the other.

From here they marched to the north-east, where at Pundu-worani[33] they made nose-pegs for themselves of Kuyamara wood.[34] With these the septum of the nose was bored, and the peg left therein, till they arrived at Paia-mokuni,[35] and replaced them with the quills of pelicans. At Dulderana,[36] they observed a wild dog, which they enticed to come to them by calling to it, "Duldera! Duldera! Pa! Pa! Pa!" The dog Duldera came to them, and became their faithful companion.

Because of the great cold at Ngunku-purunani[37] they caused

dense bushes to grow up, behind which they cowered close together. Again marching on, they saw a cormorant's nest, after which they named the place Tantaniwirrinani.[38] Having killed and eaten the cormorant, they again marched on, and came to a place where there was a great abundance of Piltai[39] growing on the sandhills, and they named the place after it, Piltakali. Another place, where they made a hut of the Kulua,[40] they called Kuluantjudu. At a place where, by reason of the great cold, they made a fire to warm themselves, they called it Makatira,[41] because when marching they carried a piece of lighted wood. They came to Kakurawonta,[42] where a hawk flew off its nest when they broke some twigs, and the girls were so startled that they all shrieked out, and each wished to be the first to find the eggs, which they shared between them. This place was named from the Kakura bush, the fruit of which they plucked as they travelled. Their next halt was at Tindi-tindi-kupa-worana,[43] where they tried to catch a Tindi-tindi and its young, but without success, and then went on to Warukati-walpu,[44] where they collected the bones of an emu which a wild dog had killed. From them they prepared some paint with which they painted their faces, breasts, and arms.

By this time the cold season had passed over, and the sun became very hot. It had not rained for a long time, and they suffered very much from the great drought. To save themselves from perishing, they dug holes at Pul-yudu,[45] throwing the earth out backwards, and so travelled underground, in the damp earth. The Pinnaru, who had marched on in advance, wondered that he had not seen any of his daughters following him, and went back to seek them, but without success. At Ningkaka,[46] where he stood on a sandhill looking round about for them, the summit of the hill was flattened and widened by his steps. Still keeping on the watch, he observed that the girls appeared at the surface at Dityina,[47] where they played about actively, and at Wonamidlanina,[48] where they threw the Wona in competition with each other. They then let the wind carry away bunches of the Mindri plant, and running after them caught them again. As the Pinnaru persisted in watching them with longing, they covered themselves for the sake of modesty with Karpana,[49] at a place called Mankara-timpiworana.[50] In the lake at that place they disported themselves in the water, by striking it with the flat of the hand and thus raising themselves up and again sinking down in it. Then the Pinnaru involuntarily said these words[51]:—

"Aftto niipa kairi balanpa pitaira"
My wives they sliding (in) water strike (it).

The girls, hearing this, cried out, "What do you want?" to which he replied, "Nothing, I was only calling my dog Dulderana."

At the next resting-place, at Nipatakana,[52] the older girls told the younger to spread out the skin rugs to dry, so that they should not be spoilt.[53] The Mankara-waka did this, stretching them out with wooden pegs.

After that they remained at Nipatakana for some time, then marching farther to Kalyara-kodiangu,[54] where the Pinnaru brought all the girls before him, and wished to take the youngest for his wife. Here an immense flood overtook them, extinguishing their fires, covering their camp, and driving them on to the sandhills. The Pinnaru endeavoured to stay the flood, but was driven by it to Kaliriwa,[55] where the whole of the flat land was covered by water. He took refuge on a sandhill called Yendada,[56] but the water rose higher and higher until it was covered, and the Pinnaru fell on the ground exhausted, from which the place was named Madaputa-kuda-kun.[57] Hastily rising, he made a mound of earth at Wadlupirpaka;[58] but all in vain, as was also his attempt to stay the waters at Wolka-wolka[59] by driving stakes into the ground, fastening cross-pieces to them, and covering them with grass and bushes. The current broke through and carried it all away.

It was only at Kirha-kudana[60] that the Pinnaru succeeded in stopping the further spread of the flood-waters, by sticking his boomerang in the ground with its back toward the current. Then having brought the waters to a standstill, he converted them with his hand into a wide-spread layer of salt at Mara-karaka.[61]

The next three stations on their march received their names from the dances which the Pinnaru taught the girls, namely Ngapar-alyerki, from the waggling of their breasts in dancing; Wirintyangura,[62] from the great fire round which they danced; and Kinyindi, from the quivering of their thighs in dancing.

The Pinnaru beat time to the dance, and sang to it.[63] From Wirintyangura they went to other places, where they danced; and the girls being fast asleep at one place, were wakened by Madaputa-tupuru making a great noise by striking his Pirha. When the girls started up in alarm, he said, "Madagura yidli-yidli madagura,"[64] and then, "Did I not think that you would keep the Madagura from me, and eat it all up?" The girls could not say anything to this, because they had eaten the Madagura as a dainty morsel, leaving the Pinnaru, who was almost helpless by reason of his increasing weakness, to the sole care of his own daughters. With difficulty they brought their father to Kumarina,[65] where he died, from loss of blood.

The blacks say that the colour of the water of this lake is a proof of the death of the Mura-mura, and that his body is still to be seen there in the form of a great rock, while his spirit is a star, which is identified as Antares.

The Wapiya Legend of the Wonkamala Tribe

When the Mura-mura Madaputa-tupuru died, his daughters mourned for him and buried him. Then leaving the neighbourhood of Lake Kumarina, they travelled farther north, gathering the mulga apples[66] by the way, some of which they roasted, and carried the remainder with them in their bags.

After a long march they reached Ukaralya Creek,[67] on the opposite bank of which they saw the Wapiya girls.[68] They greeted each other across the Creek, and questioned each other about this and that.

"What do you eat?" said the Wapiya girls; to which the others replied, "Turutudu; and what do you eat?"[69] Then they asked about their respective Mura[70] or sacred songs, and the Mankara-waka-ya-pirna said theirs was the Pirha, while the other girls said
that theirs was the Wapiya. Then, being still separated by the creek, they gave a representation of their respective songs, the Mankara-pirna singing their Pirha song, while the other girls beat time with two boomerangs. Then the Wapiya girls asked how they intended to cross the creek, and the others said, "We will dance straight across." This they did, and landed on the opposite bank, where they abandoned their language and took that of the Wapiya girls, their future fellow-travellers, namely the Wonkamala.

Then the whole group of girls, dancing together, wandered farther to the north. Their way led them to Paridikadi,[71] where they were bitten by ants, and then to Lakuramantyi,[72] finally to Wilpukudiangu,[73] where they thought they saw some Duntyi[74] at a distance. Hastening forward to tear it up, they found, on coming nearer, that the supposed bush was a very old, bald-headed man, whose long, straggling beard, blown by the wind, gave him the appearance of a bush of Duntyi. Laughing at his appearance, and at their mistake, they went on, and in the well-wooded Ngamara[75] they found much gum, which they gathered in their Pirhas, and mixing water with it, drank it, enjoying its sweet flavour. Having filled their bags with this gum, they went farther, till they heard a strange noise in the distance. "What is that?" they said to each other; but still going on with caution, they came to Paltjura, a vast sheet of water with high tumbling waves. Their fear was changed into joy, and they hastened forwards and bathed in the waters. Then they followed the shore till they were stopped by a steep hill, which rose up from the water with impassable rocks. Some were for going back, but others were for going on. The former returned homewards, meeting with a youth, whom they circumcised. Then they sent him to a neighbouring camp to fetch some wood for their fire; but when there he wished to have access to the women and girls, though his wound was still unhealed. They, being enraged by his immodest behaviour, killed him. The girls waited for some time; but as he did not return, they believed that he was dead, and went on their journey. After a time, they came to a place where a number of men had assembled for the Wodampa dance.[76] These people, being enraged because these girls had seen what it was not lawful for them to see, strangled them.

Meanwhile the other girls, who had not feared the steep hill, danced to it in a line; and the oldest one of them struck it with her Wona,[77] so that it split, and they all danced through the opening. Having passed through the hill, they came to where the old Ankuritcha was sitting by himself in front of his camp, twisting string. They seated themselves in a circle round the old man, who was astonished, and to whom they gave their pet dog, Dulderana. Then as he sat listening to them, with his ear turned to the sky, Arawotya, who lives there, let down a long hair cord and drew them up to himself, folding up the cord as he did so; the dog Dulderana being first, and the old Pinnaru Ankuritcha being the last. But one of the girls in climbing up the cord cut her hand with her Wona, and let her Pirha fall. She climbed down to get it, but was not able to climb up again, because the cord had been drawn up out of her reach by Arawotya, Therefore she remained below, and met with two young men, who threw their weapons at her. She being covered with shining scales, the weapons glanced off her harmlessly, and returned to them. Finally one of them surrounded himself with tree-stems so that he also was invulnerable. Then, while the girl endeavoured to strike him with her Wona, the other youth sprang towards her, and burst her covering of scales with the stem of a tree, so that she was without covering. Then she gave herself up, and became his wife.

All that I have been able to learn of Arawotya is that he at one time wandered over the earth, making the deep springs which are to be seen in otherwise waterless parts of Western Queensland. After he did this he went up to the sky.

Paltjura is, in the Wonkamala language, "an expanse"; in Dieri, Palara. According to the statements of the native informants, Paltjura is to be understood as being the Gulf of Carpentaria, a distance of over five hundred miles from the Wonkamala country in a straight line. The wanderings recorded in these several legends are mainly in a general north and south direction. Thus, including those of the Yuri-ulu and of the Mankara-waka-ya-pirna, the total range is from the country west of Spencer Gulf in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north.

Anti-etya and Ngardu-etya[78]

Part I

This legend consists of three parts. The first and second belong exclusively to the localities Kadri-pairi and Innamincka,[79] and are in the Yantruwunta language. The third is in Dieri, but is found also in the Yaurorka and Yantruwunta. The songs belonging to this legend are sung at the ceremonies held near Kudna-ngauani, which are referred to later on.

Two Mura-muras lived together at Kadri-pairiwilpa,[80] one being a Nardoo-gatherer, and the other a hunter, and both were in the relation of Tidnara.[81] One day, when they returned to their camp at evening with food, the hunter undertook to grind the Nardoo, while the other prepared the game The latter observed that his Tidnara, while grinding the Nardoo, ate some of it, and upbraided him with doing so. But as he denied having done it, the other thrust his hand down his throat into his stomach and brought up a lump of Nardoo, which he then ate himself. Then he ate the remainder of the Nardoo which his Tidnara had ground, and finally devoured all the game, so that the other Mura-mura had to remain with an empty stomach.

On the following morning he considered how he might manage not to be defrauded by his companion. He went out in company with him, but always lagging behind, until at length he saw him disappear over a distant sandhill. He then hastily turned back, and making an immense number of footprints as of men, women, and children, he went to his camp. There he built up a great number of huts, as if many people had arrived and camped. Then he set to work to grind Paua, which he had gathered on his way back, but when he began to grind it the stone broke, and he sought another; but it also broke. Then he took his shoulder-blade and smoothed it into a Ngurtu;[82] and, cutting off the point of his tongue, he used it as a Marda-kuparu[83] to grind with. He placed the larger stone over a hole in the ground, in which he had placed a Pirha; and, dropping the seed on the stone, he ground it with the other, and let the meal fall into the bowl below.

In the evening, when the other Mura-mura returned, he observed the numerous footprints, and following them saw at his camp a great number of new huts, and was much frightened, thinking that his Tidnara must have been killed. Weary and sad, he lay down and slept, but was awakened by the noise of a great rushing wind. Again he slept, and again he was roused by it, but at length, overcome by weariness, he slept till morning.

The other Mura-mura had ground a mass of Paua, and baked a number of cakes of it. He then threw one cake after the other towards the hut of his Tidnara, so that a complete path was made. At daybreak the latter was wakened by the smell of the newly-baked cakes. He collected them one after the other until he saw where his Tidnara, whom he did not recognise, was sitting on the Ngurtu, which he had placed on the ground. He then walked round the hut till, recognising his Tidnara, he rushed to him and embraced him, shaking him in his joy, till both of them, with the Ngurtu, sank into the ground. Then they came out again, and one said to the other, "Where do you wish that I should go to?" "That way," said the other, pointing in a certain direction. He went that way, and the other sent him still farther, until, when he had gone a long distance, he said to him, "Remain." Then in the same manner the latter sent the former to a distant place.

Part II

Anti-etya lived at Kadri-pairi, but Ngardu-etya remained at Innamincka during the remainder of his life. Long after that time, strangers came to that place and found the bones of the Mura-mura Ngardu-etya. They collected them and placed them in a Bili-milki,[84] and put it up in the branches of a tree, covered with leaves. In time people settled there, but they sickened, and a great number died. In this emergency a Pinnaru sent his wife out to call the people together from all quarters, to hold a great ceremony to put a stop to the mortality.[85] They came from all round, and decorating themselves with emu and Katatara[86] feathers, the ceremonies commenced. The bag containing the bones of the dead Mura-nmra was taken down from the tree, and two of the Pinnarus danced. Then they took the backbone of the dead Mura-mura, and each wound a piece of cord about it. Two other people, a man and his wife, also wound the cord once each round the bone. Then all the people did likewise, in pairs, until the bone was quite hidden from sight.[87] Having thus strengthened the backbone of the Mura-mura, they were now protected from the sickness.

Part III

While Ngardu-etya went to Innamincka in the east, Anti-etya lived at Kadri-pairi. The Nidla and Punta were his food, and there were such numbers of the Kauri[88] there that he could hardly protect himself from them. One day, when a fierce hot wind blew and there was a sand-storm, trees were broken, and twigs were carried by the wind, and one of these struck the Mura-mura on the face. When the storm was over, he looked round to see where the tree was from which it had been carried. He observed it in the far distance, and hastened towards it. After a time he arrived where it stood at Nyulin-yanira.[89] He determined to uproot it; and rubbing it with the sweat of his armpits, lifted it slightly up. Again rubbing the sweat into the butt of the tree, he seized it, and, as if of its own account, it rose out of the ground, roots and all. He freed it from its roots and branches, removed the bark, and carried it on his shoulders to Kadri-pairi, where he pointed the upper end, then bent it somewhat, and made it into a Turu-kuntyi.[90] In the night the rats came in such numbers that they destroyed his camp, and prevented him from even lying down, so that he sat the whole night through holding the Turu-kuntyi before him. The next morning he went hunting Kauri, following their footprints to the hiding-places in which they had concealed themselves at day-break. Thrusting his Turu-kuntyi into a hole, he twisted it about, and thought that he heard a sound of scratching at the other end of the burrow. Then, as the rats came out, he killed them, and collected them in three great heaps. At last a Kapita came out, which he caught by the neck instead of by the tail, and it bit him in the finger. Then he let it go, and he saw it escape into another hole. The blood having stopped, and the pain abated, he returned to the three heaps of rats, but did not roast them, because by doing so he would lose all the fat. He therefore swallowed them raw, one after the other. Then he suddenly became aware that a tail was growing out of him, longer and longer, until the end of it stuck into one of his eyes and blinded him. For three days he remained sightless, until a film came off his eye, and he could see that his whole body was coloured like a rainbow. Then he sought for a shelter to live in, and coming to a suitable sandhill, he said to himself, "Shall I live upon the top of it, where people might be afraid of me, or shall I make a cave in it?" Then he made a cave in the sandhill, and lived therein. Meanwhile a man came there who was a hunter of birds, and Antietya told him to take emu feathers and other things, and carry them to the Mura-mura Andru-tampana,[91]who lived farther to the north. He was to tell him that, after the death of Anti-etya, the Yenku (son's son) of the former should have these things, and should bring down the sacred song of Andru-tampana to be joined with that of the Mura-mura Minkani. Thus it happened that while Anti-etya, as the Mura-mura Minkani, burrowed in his sandhill deeper and deeper, the man carried the presents and the song to the Mura-mura Andru-tampana; and since that time the two songs have been combined.

This legend identifies Anti-etya with the Mura-mura Minkani, whose ceremonies are held periodically by the Dieri, Yaurorka, Yantruwunta, Marula, Yelyuyendi, Karanguru, and Ngameni, at Kudna-ngauana, on the Cooper. All that I have been able to learn so far as to the ceremonies is as follows:—

The Minkani Ceremonies

The object of the meeting of the tribes is to obtain a plentiful crop of Woma and Kapiri by their ceremonies.

The Mura-mura Minkani is, as mentioned in the legend, hidden in his cave, deep in a sandhill. To judge from the description given, his remains seem to be those of one of the fossil animals or reptiles which are found in the deltas of the rivers emptying themselves into Lake Eyre, and which the Dieri call Kadimarkara. When the actual ceremony takes place, the women are left at the camp, and the men proceed alone to the place where the Mura-mura is to be uncovered. They dig down till damp earth is reached, and also what they call the excrement of the Mura-mura. The digging is then very carefully done till, as the Dieri say, the "elbow" of the Mura-mura is uncovered. Then two men stand over him, and the vein of the arm of each being opened, the blood is allowed to fall upon the Mura-mura. The Minkani song is now sung, and the men, in a state of frenzy, strike at each other with weapons, until they reach the camp, distant about a mile. The women, who have come out to meet them, rush forward with loud outcries, and hold shields over their husbands to protect them, and stop the fighting. The Tidnamadukas collect the blood dropping from their wounds, and scatter it, mixed with "excrement" from the Minkani's cave, over the sandhills, so that they may bring forth the young Woma and Kapiri (carpet-snake) lizard hidden in them.[92]

This ceremony is undoubtedly similar to the Intichiuma ceremonies performed by the men of the Kangaroo totem described by Spencer and Gillen,[93] and the intention is the same, namely, to produce a crop of the totem food-animal. In this case the men who assemble for that purpose should be, according to all similar practices, of the totem animal which they intend to produce, and therefore of the Woma and Kapiri Murdus. This, however, I have not been able to ascertain.

The Darana Legend of the Dieri Tribe

This is one of those legends which relate to the production of rain, and the Mura-mura Darana is one of the most highly considered of the rain-making Mura-muras at Pando (Lake Hope).

When no rain had fallen for a long time, and the land was desert and waste, Darana produced rain by singing continually, while looking towards the north.[94] The rain fell and the water rose steadily, till it was up to his knees, then to his hips, and finally to his neck. He waded through the waters to the sources of the river, where he fixed his Kandri in the ground, and the rain ceased. Then vegetation grew luxuriantly, and the Muluru[95] settled them- selves in it in enormous numbers. The Mura-mura drove them together by his songs, dried them, and packed them in bags, and hung these on the trees. Being invited by a friendly Mura-mura to visit him and eat Paua, he went with all his following, among whom were a number of cripples, who travelled along on their knees, elbows, and ankles. Two youths, however, the Dara-ulu, remained behind, and seeing the bundles hanging on trees, threw their boomerangs at them. He who stood on the right hand hit his mark, and the dust from the dried Muluru flew far and wide, and obscured the sun, while the bags shone brightly to a great distance. The Mura-muras seeing this as they travelled, turned back in haste, those with feet running on the surface, while those without travelled underground. Arriving at their home, they strangled the Dara-ulu, who were at once restored to life by the old Mura-mura Darana, to be again strangled by the unanimous decision of the people. Their bodies were then rolled up, and it was decided that the first child born should be the guardian of the Dara.

The Dieri show two heart-shaped stones, which are carefully wrapped up in feathers and fat, as the Dara-ulu, to scratch which would, they say, cause the whole people to suffer perpetual hunger, and never to be satisfied, however much they might eat. If these stones were broken, the sky would redden, the dust which formerly rose up from the dried Muluru would spread itself from the westward, and men, when they saw it cover the whole earth, would die of terror.

The Dara-ulu are believed to be the senders of rain, and in the rain-making ceremonies these stones, which represent them, are smeared with fat, and the Dara song is sung, the commencement of which is as follows:—

Warpi pirna yella-yella
The warpi the great together together (i.e. tightly bound together)
wontu piti tankara yella ngamali baku
the cords ends crossed together with the breasts (the free breasts)
ngamali wiltyi ngama mira-anura-yelli warumbara kuyu mani
with the breasts moving with rapid
tidna wiri-wiri wora kupa Nunga tunka nttnga tunka tapayurn.
The arm (wing) shows itself of the tapayunu.

This song is of great length, and as the version obtained is in the Yaurorka language, Mr. Siebert has not yet been able to make it out completely. The translation of part of the third and fourth lines has not been obtained. Warpi is a kind of covering for the arms. It is ornamented with Tunka, which is a cotton-like substance, and is tied on with a hair cord which is crossed over the arm. By the movement of the arms, which accompany the song, the arm-covering simulates the waving of the wings of the rain-bringing Tapayuru, which is a bat. The whole song will, I hope, be prepared at some future time by my valued correspondent, the Rev. Otto Siebert.

A Legend of the Tirari Horde of the Dieri Tribe

Two young men outraged a young woman, who then gave water to her husband, with a splinter of wood in it, as a sign of what they had done. He poured out the water, with the splinter in it, on the ground, and all the people agreed that the young men should be strangled. This was done, but they revived, and were again strangled, the ground being coloured with the blood which flowed from their noses and mouths. The place where this happened is called Midla-kumari.[96] There were a great number of people there, who by the order of the Mura-mura Palungopina[97] dug an immensely long and deep grave, in which the two young men were laid, and this was where the lake Tauian-ngaritiangu now is. Palungopina then ordered the earth to fall in, and thereby all the people who were there were swallowed up in it. He then ordered them all to rise up in the form of Miri-wiri,[98] which flew up with wings to the sky, and Palungopina followed them. This was at Padiminka.[99]

The Tirari and Dieri believe that they will themselves go up to the sky from a place called Palkatra-karanti.[100]

Kakakudana[101] and the Origin of the Mound Springs: A Legend of the Urabunna Tribe

This legend professes to account for the origin of the fossilised marsupials and other creatures which are found in several places in the Lake Eyre district, and also for that of the mound springs which are so marked a feature of that part of Australia. These fossils are called by the tribes-people Kadimarkara, creatures which in the Mura-mura times descended from the sky-country to the earth, by means of great trees which grew on the eastern shores of Lake Eyre, and supported the sky.

The Dieri and the Tirari both speak of these great trees. One of them stood at the Clayton River, the middle one at the Cooper about twenty-five miles west of Killalpanina, and the third at Salt Creek.

Kadimarkaras are also spoken of as Womas, as in this legend. The Mura-mura Minkani is also said to be a Woma, and in this aspect has a remarkable similarity to the totem ancestors of the Alcheringa time of the Arunta legends.

Kakakudana lived to the west of Lake Eyre. Leaving his wife behind, he went on his wanderings alone. At Pitalina he dug after a Kadimarkara, which he killed underground, and then dragged to Woma-dirkana,[102] where he cooked it in a Dirka,[103] and ate it. The place where he killed the Kadimarkara is marked by springs. He cut off its head, and threw it away, which caused the hill called Woma-kata-yapu[104] to rise up. Having eaten the flesh of the Kadimarkara, he collected the bones for his wife, and took them back to her. While she was busy pounding them in her lap, he went off again in the belief that she would follow him. Looking round when he got to Wilpandrina,[105] he could not see her, and therefore called for her to come, but she did not hear him; and not knowing where he was, she continued to wander looking for him. Sad and wearied by searching for him, she rested at Wolkararana,[106] and then wandered on to Wulyua-purali,[107] where she died.

Kakakudana noticed that his body continued to swell larger and larger. He had all the inhabitants of the surrounding country brought to him, even the weak, the sick, and the women with child. When they were all gathered together at Kuda-ngampana,[108] his enormous body burst and the people ran away affrighted. At this place, as at all other places where Kakakudana or his wife rested, there rose up a spring.

Tayi-tampana[109] or Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru[110]: A Yaurorka Legend

A Mura-mura belonging to Kilyalpa,[111] named Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru, started on his wanderings. He came to Paia-tira,[112] where he saw women beating out Paua and cleaning it. As he came nearer to them, they saw him, and surrounded the stranger. They looked at him inquisitively, and could not help laughing at his crooked legs and arms. Nor could they help being surprised at the light-coloured flies which accompanied him, because those with them were black. Then they began to discuss where he came from, and who he was, for not one of them knew him. But they thought of one old woman who was a little distance away, and called to her, thinking that she might know who he was. Hastening to them, she recognised him as being her Ngatamura, and took him on her lap, and sobbed unceasingly, crying, "Palingi! Palingi!" (my brother's son). When she had wept over him, she sent him to her husband, his Yenku (father's father), who was in the camp with other men eating Paua. Before he reached the camp he could hear the men grinding the seed which the women had collected and cleaned. He thought to himself, "That must be a good stone; I wish I had it." Then he went to his Yenku's camp, and after he had spoken to him, made his own camp close at hand, and lay down as if to sleep. As he lay there, the whole camp collected there and made themselves merry over his crooked legs and arms. He, however, secretly watched where they had put the wonderful Tayi stone, which with so little rubbing had ground so much Paua. When all the people had gone to sleep, Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru rose up, and taking some glowing coals and a piece of fungus,[113] he powdered both and scattered them over the whole camp, to make every one unconscious. To make sure that every one was fast asleep, he shouted "Bai! Bai! Bai!" loudly, after he had spoken his spell, but no one moved. Then he touched each one with a burning coal, to try and wake him, but without effect, and then took the grinding-stone out of the damp earth where it had been hidden, washed the mud off it, and walked away quietly, about midday, with it on his head. When he had gone a long way from the camp, the people woke up, and to their sorrow found that the stranger Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru and their Tayi had both disappeared.

Then they formed a Pinya (blood-revenge party), and having found the track of the thief, they followed him hastily.

At Ngapa-kangu[114] they met with a man whom they killed, thinking him to be Tayi-tampana, and it was- only after he was dead that they found out their mistake. Then they again followed Tayi-tampana's tracks to Malka-malkara,[115] where they overtook him, and came upon him from two directions. When he saw himself suddenly surrounded by a Pinya, he took the Tayi from his head, and using it as a shield, stopped all the boomerangs thrown at him. These he collected, and then attacking the Pinya, he pursued them as far as Pinya-maru,[116] where he killed them, and turned them into stones, which are black because the men of the Pinya were painted of that colour. Going back for the Tayi, which he had left behind, he was attacked by the remainder of the Pinya, whose weapons he stopped with the stone for a shield; and having gathered them up, he followed his enemies, and killed them. So deeply did he strike them into the ground that a deep pit was formed, from which that place has been called Yidni-minka.[117]

Having done this, he went back, and on his way he again slew a number of those sent against him at Madra-yurkuma.[118] Then taking his Tayi under his arm he went to Meriwora. The Pinya had by this time again collected against him. When they began to throw their boomerangs against him, he threw himself on the ground face downwards, and placed the stone in such a manner on his back that no weapon could injure him. But he was buried under the Tayi and was turned into stone.

Ngura-wordu-punnuna[119]: A Dieri Legend

A Mura-mura named Ngura-wordu-punnuna lived at Pando, and caught rats and mice, which were there in great numbers, for his food, and of their skins he made water-bags. One day he saw a Mari[120] in the neighbourhood of his camp; and on the following day he followed its tracks until he found it. Armed with his spear and boomerang, he was preparing to kill it, when the animal spoke to him, saying, "Wherefore dost thou come to as a stranger? Put down thy boomerang and spear." Doing this, he then wrestled with the Mari and strangled him, and then made a large water-bag of his skin. After a while he saw a still larger animal, which only showed itself occasionally. "I must have that one," he thought to himself; and filling all his water-bags, he hung them over his shoulders and carried one in each hand. The great bag which he had made of the Mari's skin he put on his head on a pad he made with his hair, which he also tied over the top. Being thus prepared, he then set out, following the tracks of the great animal farther and farther away from his home, until his water-bags were emptied one after the other. At length he saw a great animal, but it was not the one he was looking for, and he still went on into country altogether unknown to him. Then he saw many great animals, and marched through them, seeking the particular one he had been following. At length he found him, and was about to throw his boomerang at him, and pierce him with his spear. But the animal spoke to him, saying, "If thou comest to me as a friend, lay down thy Kirha and Kalti" (boomerang and spear). Much surprised, he said, "Yidni barkana nganti! Yatani-mara nganai?"[121] He laid down his weapons, and each grappled with the other. The animal tried to seize his throat, but he threw it down and strangled it. Having done this, what was he to do? He could not cook it, because it was Mura to him.[122] He could not carry it home, because he was worn out with his long marching. Then he decided to swallow it whole and raw, and lying down on the ground, opposite to it and face downwards, he began at the head, slowly drawing it into himself. Then he noticed, when he turned himself round, that his body was becoming longer and longer, until at length he had become an animal. When he had swallowed the whole animal, excepting the tail, this suddenly struck him in the eye and blinded him. He was bent double with pain, and did not know how to find his way back, because he could not see. Then he remembered that the wind had been blowing from the north; but, when he drew in a breath and smelled it, it was a strange wind. Then he smelled to the east, but that was also strange to him. After waiting for a time he drew a breath from the west, and recognised it as a wind blowing from his home. He then got up and went up the wind. When it ceased, he rested himself. When it again commenced to blow, he travelled, until after a time he opened his eyes and could see that his body was wonderfully marked.

The way which Ngura-wordu-punnuna went to his home is marked by the course of the Cooper, and its bends and curves were made by the Mura-mura's serpentine movements as he travelled.

Directly the scales had fallen from his eyes, his sight became stronger and clearer, and the markings on his body were brighter and more distinct. Thus it was that at Kalyumaru[123] he became covered with a new skin from head to tail, beautifully marked and shining, and he saw himself as he had never seen himself before. But even now he was dependent upon the wind. When it blew from the west he wandered on, when it blew from some other direction he rested, and at those places Kadimarkara were produced from his excrement.

According to some versions, there were at that time two Kadimarkara living at Yidni-minka, who hid themselves in their burrows out of fear of him. At Ngapa-ngayimala[124] the Mura-mura Ngura-wordu-punnuna found the way blocked by two Kadimarkara, which had laid themselves down with their heads towards him. As they would not let him pass, he threw them aside with the Kunya, with which his head was armed, and passed on. Two great trees, growing there, one on each side of the channel, are the Kadimarkara.[125] He passed between them, and beyond that place came to another Kalyumaru, where there were many Kalyu bushes. Many Mura-muras were assembled there, but he, being now a Kadimarkara, could not remain with them. At Kunyani[126] he saw the great Pirha of the Mura-mura Pampo-ulu, who had filled it with Tuna-worin-yalka,[127] to produce rain by placing it in a water-hole, secured by sticks. Then at Nganti-wokarana he saw the Mura-mura of that name, with his long Tippa,[128] and going farther, he came to Ngura-wordu, which he named after the Kadimarkara which were produced from his excrement. Thence he went to Nari-wolpu,[129] the place where an assemblage of Mura-mura was broken up by reason of the bones of Kuyi-mokuna,[130] and leaving there, he came to Wokadani, where the female Mura-mura Wari-lin-luna[131] came forth out of the earth and gave birth to her many children, the various Murdus, who ran away to different districts and settled themselves there.

At Ngapadia[132] the favourable wind which had led him homewards ceased to blow, and he moved himself round and round, smelling the wind, and stretching out his neck, thus forming a wide shallow depression, and also the creek leading to Kapara-mana.[133] The south wind now blew from his home; and as he went onwards, the movements of his tail formed the curves of the creek, at the same time drawing the flood-waters after him. He passed by Mandikilla-widmani,[134] where the Mura-mura Darana caused the rain by the songs of his friend the Mura-mura Wonna-mara. Finally Ngura-wordu-punnuna came to Yulku-kudana,[135] where he stretched out his neck to look round for his camp at Pando, where he had left his wife, who was also a Kadimarkara. Then hastening to it, he sank deeper and deeper into the ground.

  1. I am indebted to the Rev. O. Siebcrt for these legends.
  2. This word is properly Mada, but as I have written it in former works Murdu. I have retained the same form of orthography. Kana is the term applied to themselves by the Dieri and other tribes.
  3. Perigundi is "a crooked place." Peri is a locality; gundi, more properly kunti, is "crooked" or "twisted." This lake is so named from its irregular shape. It is now known as Lake Buchanan.
  4. From Para, "hair." His girdle was made of human hair. The legend is current in the west and south of Blanch-water, that is, in the country of the Mardala, in which kangaroo are plentiful. The Paralina Creek, which rises on the east side of the Flinders Range, appears to have been called after this Mura-mura.
  5. The seed of any plant which is used for food.
  6. Mandra is "belly" or "body," and Manka is "hind-before." Bakuta-terkana-tarana is "the one who rises upright fruitlessly," from Baku, "fruitlessly," "without avail," also "free" or "unburdened." Terkana is "to stand," and Tarana is "to rise up," "to fly." Frequently, in combination with a verb, it forms our preposition "up," as Terkana taranato, "stand up," Nayina taranato "to look upwards."
  7. Pando is Lake Hope. Sometimes it is called Pando-pirna, Big Lake.
  8. The Kandri is a round boomerang-shaped weapon, with pointed ends, used by the Dieri and other tribes. There is another Kandri, which is a gummy substance obtained from the roots of a plant called Mindri, called also Kandri-moku, or bone-Kandri, which is used for cementing chips of stone to wooden handles.
  9. At the Cooper, north of Lake Hope.
  10. "Grass-swallower," from Kanta, "grass," and Yulkana, "to swallow" or "gobble up."
  11. From Waru, "grey," and Kati, a "covering" or "pelt." Thus a bird with a grey covering.
  12. The witchetty grub of Spencer and Gillen.
  13. Amphibolurus barbatus (Narrative of the Horn Expedition, p. 28).
  14. Eucalyptus microtheca
  15. Paragale lagotis.
  16. Kadla, "rushes," and lumpa, a "spring" or "well."
  17. Mirage.
  18. "To spread itself out."
  19. The names have not been explained.
  20. Called Pundra-pundra, from Pundra, a kidney.
  21. This relates to the wanderings of another Mura-mura.
  22. Yaua is a grass-like plant, with small bulbs—the Cyperus rotundus.
  23. Even now the thunder is said to be the voice of a dead person who announces that he has returned to life.
  24. From Tidna, a foot, and Maduka, a mother, or grandmother, or ancestress. A Tidnamaduka is a man who claims a certain tract of country as his, and whose mother and her brothers claim it for him. Tidnamaduka, or, shortly, Maduka, is the complement of Pintara. Maduka includes everything belonging to the maternal line, as Pintara includes everything belonging to the paternal line. For instance, a father's Mura-mura, together with his "fatherland," is his Pintara, while the mother's brother, speaking of his mother's Mura-mura and his "motherland," calls it his Maduka.
  25. See Roth, op. cit. pp. 120, 125.
  26. Mankara is "girl," Waka is "little," and Pirna is "big." Ya is "and." These girls are by another legend transferred to the sky as stars, the former being the Pleiades, and the latter the stars in the belt of Orion. The Pinnaru Madaputa-tupuru in the first part of this legend is also called Marukadlana, and is the principal star in Scorpio. The name means "thick smoke," in which it is said he sat by his fire.
  27. Midla or is "nose," "point," or "promontory," and Leri is "steep." It refers to the fact that at that place the sand-ridges are very steep. This place is in the country of the Wimberinya, a small horde of the Kukata trilje on the west side of Lake Gairdner.
  28. Yelka is a grass-like plant with small bulbs.
  29. From Ditji, the sun, and Minka, a hole into which he went at night. It is situated about twenty or thirty miles from Killalpanina, near Lake Eyre.
  30. Nidli is "a mouse," and Barkuna is "to dig."
  31. So named from the shameless behaviour of the Pinnaru towards the girls.
  32. This is the word applied to the universal practice of tying up the hair.
  33. Pundu is the name for the nose-peg, and Wora is the plural postfix.
  34. Kuyamara is a bush, the twigs of which are used in the funeral ceremonies of the Dieri. Eremophila longifolia.
  35. Paia is "bird," and Moku is "bone" in the usual sense of the word, but is also used for something hard in contrast with something soft. Thus in the Dieri language Punga-moku means the beams, that is the "bones," of the house, as at Killalpanina, and Pita-moku is "wood-bone" or "tree-trunk." The Paia-moku is Didiscus glaucifolius.
  36. Dulderana is "light coloured" or "white," thus applied to alight-coloured pelt.
  37. This "cowering together in a mob" is from Puruna, to cower, and Ngunku, a mob or number of people.
  38. Tantani is in Wonkanguru a cormorant; Dieri, Malura. Wirnnani in Dieri is to go into something.
  39. Piltai is in Dieri Wirha, the Acacia salicina, the leaves of which are burned by the blacks and the ashes mixed with Pitcheri.
  40. The Kulua is the Needle-bush, Hakea Leucoptera.
  41. Makatira is a fire-stick; in the Dieri, Turumanya, i.e. "make a fire," from Turu, fire.
  42. Kakura is a bush which bears edible fruit.
  43. The Tindi-tindi is probably one of the Fly-catchers, called by the whites "Wagtail." Kupa is "child," and Worana is the plural postfix.
  44. Warukati is "emu," and Walpu is "bone."
  45. Pul-yudu is a burrow made by any animal which throws the earth out behind it, such as the Madura, the kangaroo-rat.
  46. To look out.
  47. To appear shining; in Dieri, Yirdinato.
  48. The Wona is an instrument used by the women in sport and for fighting.
  49. To weave together. Kanta-karpalina is to weave grass for aprons.
  50. Timpiwora is a plant, which has not been identified.
  51. In the Wonkanguru language.
  52. Nipa is "clothing," and takana is "to peg out."
  53. As the Wonkanguru have not any skin rugs, the context suggests that as the Mankara started from the Kukata country, they had obtained skin rugs from the coast tribes.
  54. Kalyara is "quick," Kodiangu is "to flow" or "run like water."
  55. To overflow, to blot out, to cover the ground.
  56. Yendada is "ridicule."
  57. Madaputa is the Wonkanguru word for Pinnaru, and Kuda-kudana is "to fall down."
  58. Wadlu is a sandhill; in Dieri, Dako.
  59. Wolka-wolka is any young animal.
  60. Kirha is "boomerang." If the natives at Killalpanina wish to stop the flood-waters from spreading, they stick a boomerang in the ground, especially that kind that returns when thrown—Kandri or Wanamaru. Thus the Kopperamana and Killalpanina blacks think when the flood-waters do not extend to them that the people at Pando and Perigundi have stopped their flow in this manner.
  61. Mara is "the hand," and Karaka is "to touch."
  62. Wirintya means "fire," and Ngura is "camp."
  63. The time is marked in the singing of this song by striking on the Pirha with the hand, hence the name Pirha-malkara.
  64. Madagura is a small marsupial, and Yidli-yidli is "fat-fat," that is, "very fat."
  65. Kumari is "blood."
  66. The Malka is the Mulga, Acacia aneura.
  67. Ukaralya means "girls"; in the Dieri language, Mankara.
  68. Wapiya is "boomerang."
  69. In Wonkamala this is "Munukudu takatyi ngana tadyiri?" or in the Dieri, "Munukudu ngaiani tayii?" Munukudu is a plant with grass-like foliage and bearing tubers, which are not in clusters, but under each other. The plant grows on the sandhills, under bushes.
  70. Mura is something hallowed or sacred, as for instance a tree under which, according to some legend, a Mura-mura slept.
  71. Ant-path, from Paridan, ant, and Kadi, a way or path.
  72. The actual meaning of this is not known to me; all that can be said is that in some way it is connected with the male member of the dog.
  73. Wilpu-kudiangu is to twist a thread or cord.
  74. Duntyi is a plant which has a silvery appearance—Crotalaria sp.
  75. Ngamara is probably the equivalent of the Dieri word Buka-ngandri, which may be rendered as "bread-mother," in other words, a thick forest.
  76. The Wodampa dance is the most sacred dance that the Wonkamala and the Ngulubulu have. It recounts the origin of mankind.
  77. A Wona is the woman's digging-stick, and is a formidable weapon of defence.
  78. Anti or Nganti is "flesh," and etya is "recurrence" or "persistence." Ngardu, or, as it is usually spelled, Nardoo, is the Marsilia sp., on which the explorers Burke and Wills endeavoured to support themselves at Cooper's Creek. Anti-etya is one who eats much game; he who is often in connection with game; a hunter. Ngardu-etya is one who collects Nardoo and lives mainly upon it.
  79. Innaminka, or properly Yidni-minka, means "You (are a) hole," from Yidni, "you," and Minka, "a hole."
  80. Kadri-pairiwilpa is the Milky Way, the "river-bed of the sky," Kairi being "river."
  81. That both could be Tidnara is to be understood when one considers the peculiar system of relationship of the Dieri. Ego being a Dieri, my mother's mother (Kanini) is equally my elder sister (Kaku), so that her son (my mother's brother) is my Tidnara, for he is my sister's son. In an analogous manner two such men may be both Kaka, that is, mother's brother.
  82. Ngurtu is a large slab of stone on which the Paua or Nardoo is ground.
  83. Marda-kuparu is a smaller and harder stone, with which the seeds or Nardoo are ground upon the Ngurtu. It is named from Marda, "a stone," and Kuparu, "young"; thus the young of the stone, a small stone.
  84. This is a bag, Bili or Pili; Milki is the "eye." There are "eyes" worked on this kind of bag, which is thereby distinguished from another kind of bag without eyes and of a different kind of texture.
  85. Women are still employed as messengers, especially in the Mindari ceremonies. In cases where it is supposed that some man has been killed "by the bone," a woman is sent to the supposed culprit, and is expected to obtain, by her favours, the knowledge where the bone is hidden, or even to obtain it.
  86. The shell parrakeet.
  87. When this ceremony is held at Innamincka, small staves, thickly wound round with string, are used to represent the backbone of the Mura-mura.
  88. Nidla, Punta, and Kauri are small marsupials. The latter named is at times migratory. I have not been able to identify them. Locally, the white settlers call them "rats."
  89. At Farrar's Creek, about one hundred and fifty miles from Kadri-pairi.
  90. This implement is usually made out of the root of the Mulga tree, and is used for digging the Kauri and other small animals out of their burrows.
  91. The meaning of this name has not been ascertained, nor the legend relating to him obtained.
  92. As to Tidnamaduka, see footnote 2, p. 785.
  93. Op. cit. 195.
  94. The great rains come from that quarter.
  95. Muluru is the witchetty grub of Spencer and Gillen.
  96. Midla is "nose," and Kumari is "blood."
  97. The meaning of this name is not known, but Palu means "naked."
  98. Miri-wiri is "maggot."
  99. Padi is the witchetty grub of Spencer and Gillen.
  100. This name means "Climb up in the darkness."
  101. The meaning of Kakakudana is not known.
  102. From the Urabunna word Pitanda, to strike; in the Dieri, Nandrena.
  103. Dirka is a hole in the ground heated by a fire, in which Womas (carpet-snakes) are cooked. Woma-dirkana is the mound spring called Blanch Cup.
  104. From Woma, and Katayapu, a head.
  105. From Wilpandra, to whistle; in Dieri, Wilpina.
  106. From the Urabunna word Wolkaratyinda, meaning "longing"; in the Dieri, Wolkarali. This is the spring called Anna Spring.
  107. Wulyula-puruli is "old woman dead"; in the Dieri, Widlapirna-purani. Purani is "to die."
  108. The stomach. The Urabunna word is derived from Kudna, "excrement," and Ngampa, the stone with which they pound Nardoo. The Dieri call the stomach Kudna-ngandri, the excrement-mother.
  109. Tayi-tampana means a grinding-stone in mud. Tayi is the name for the slab of stone on which the Paua is ground; in Dieri called Ngurtu. Tampa is damp earth or mud; in Dieri, Mitta-pada, Mitta being earth, and Pada, damp or moist.
  110. Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru is "leg-crooked," Ngura being "leg," Tulu-tulu-ru being "crooked," and in Dieri, Pira-pira.
  111. The name of this place is derived from Kilyera, a loose sandy land without vegetation.
  112. Paia is a bird. The word Tira is not explained.
  113. This fungus is called Wona-waru, white mound. It grows near to Eucalyptus trees.
  114. Ngapa-kangu, in Yaurorka and Dieri, is "flax-in-water."
  115. Malka is the Mulga tree; the name means a freshly-shooting Mulga tree.
  116. Maru is " black."
  117. Now shown on the maps as Innamincka. Another version of this legend says that it was Ngura-tulu-tulu-ru who gave it this name, by saying to the men he had killed, "Yidni minka (nganamai)!" that is, "Thou (shalt be) a hole!" The legend which follows this says that it was the Mura-mura Ngura-wordu-punnuna who named this place.
  118. Madra is Yaurorka for a stone; in Dieri, Mada. Yurkuma in Yaurorka and Dieri is "to carry under the arm." The place is so called because the petrifactions referred to appear to the narrators to be carrying bags under their arms after the custom of the Pinya.
  119. Nura is "tail," Wordu is "short," and Punnu is the place where a creek enters a lake, in this sense meaning, "He with the short tail, at the embouchure" into Pando, that is. Lake Hope.
  120. Mari is a wallaby.
  121. "Thou also animal speech gifted art?"
  122. This is certainly a taboo, possibly connected with the totem, but as yet not ascertained.
  123. Kalyumaru is a large sheet of water in Cooper's Creek, near the Queensland boundary, where I established my depôt on my second expedition in 1863. Kalyu is an acacia; Maru is a wide expanse of country.
  124. Ngapa is "water," and Ngayimala is "throat," "swallow." Part of the Cooper, where it is confined between narrow banks, is thus named the Throat of the Water.
  125. From what I remember of this place, these trees are probably Eucalyptus rostrata.
  126. Kunya is in Dieri a longish-pointed bone or piece of wood, such as the point of a spear, which is used in evil magic.
  127. Tuna is "gypsum."
  128. Tippa is a tassel worn by the men, made of the tails of the rabbit-bandicoot.
  129. This name means "Dead bones."
  130. As to Kuyi-mokuna, see "Some Native Legends from Central Australia," Mary E. B. Howitt. Folk-Lore, vol. xiii. p. 403.
  131. This is a version of the first legend of this series, and is an equivalent of that of the Alcheringa ancestors giving birth to spirit children.
  132. At Ngapadia a channel leads off from the main channel to Pando (Lake Hope).
  133. This place is shown on the maps as Kopperamana.
  134. From Mandikilla, in Dieri meaning "waves," and Widmani, "to put into." So called because the Mura-mura is supposed to have stopped the flood by putting the waters into the ground.
  135. Yulku-kudana is letting the throat become lower, or fall down. While Yerkala is in Dieri the neck, yulku is specially the lower part of the throat; the word means also "to swallow."