Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 2).djvu/19

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

eagle finally led to the existence of the separate eagle and crow totem kindreds among men, an opinion which will be proved to have an American parallel. As there have always been wars in heaven between Devas and Asuras, gods and Titans, angels and devils, so peace did not rest on the ornithomorphic deities of Australia. After a hostile encounter about wives between Pund-jel and the crane, it chanced that Ballen-Ballen (the jay) waxed wroth, and by his magical powers he caused a mighty storm of wind, which carried "Pund-jel and nearly all his family up into heaven." As a punisher of wicked people, Pund-jel was once moved to drown the world, and this he did by a flood, which he produced (as Dr. John Brown says of another affair) "by a familiar Gulliverian application of hydraulics." Two human beings escaped from the flood by climbing a tree. From them the present race of mortals is descended. On the whole, the Australian views on Pund-jel may be summed up thus: He was the most remarkable and the most magically endowed of a primeval race, which to a certain extent constructed the world. The members of this race are occasionally styled "old ones" or "old spirits," and it is no doubt possible to argue that these "old spirits," still powerful and still existing (many of them in the shape of stars), were once ancestral ghosts.[1] In form Pund-jel

  1. Taplin thinks that Nurrumdere, a South Australian Pund-jel, was a deified black fellow. Thunder is the speech of Nurrumdere; "so in the thunder speaks a human voice." Nurrumdere, like Pund-jel, caused a deluge to punish his wicked wives. It was a strong measure. He was speared by a black. Now he exists in the sky or under the sea, and the dead go to him as to an Australian Yama. All fish spring from a large fish cut up small by Nurrumdere. Compare the Ananzi story from Akwapim (West Africa). Ananzi once found a whip; his children cut it piecemeal, and scattered it through the world. "That is why there are plenty of whips in the world; before there was only one" (Taplin, op. cit., p. 56 ; Cosquin, Contes de Lorraine, i. 58).