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meamei the seven sisters.

From Australian Legendary Tales, by K. Langloh Parker

Start of Story

Wurrunnah had had a long day's hunting, and he came back to the camp tired and hungry. He asked his old mother for durrie, but she said there was none left. Then he asked some of the other blacks to give him some doonburr seeds that he might make durrie for himself, But no one would give him anything. He flew into a rage and he said, "I will go to a far country and live with strangers; my own people would starve me." And while he was yet hot and angry, he went. Gathering up his weapons, he strode forth to find a new people in a new country. After he had gone some distance, he saw, a long way off, an old man chopping out bees' nests. The old man turned his face towards Wurrunnah, and watched him coming, but when Wurrunnah came close to him he saw that the old man had no eyes, though he had seemed to be watching him long before he could have heard him. It frightened Wurrunnah to see a stranger having no eyes, yet turning his face towards him as if seeing him all the time. But he determined not to show his fear, but go straight on towards him, which he did. When he came up to him, the stranger told him that his name was Mooroonumildah, and that his tribe were so-called because they had no eyes, but saw through their noses.



Wurrunnah thought it very strange and still felt rather frightened, though Mooroonumildah seemed hospitable and kind, for, he gave Wurrunnah, whom he said looked hungry, a bark wirree filled with honey, told him where his camp was, and gave him leave to go there and stay with him. Wurrunnah took the honey and turned as if to go to the camp, but when he got out of sight he thought it wiser to turn in another direction. He journeyed on for some time, until he came to a large lagoon, where he decided to camp. He took a long drink of water, and then lay down to sleep. When he woke in the morning, he looked towards the lagoon, but saw only a big plain. He thought he must be dreaming; he rubbed his eyes and looked again. "This is a strange country," he said. "First I meet a man who has no eyes and yet can see. Then at night I see a large lagoon full of water, I wake in the morning and see none. The water was surely there, for I drank some, and yet now there is no water." As he was wondering how the water could have disappeared so quickly, he saw a big storm coming up; he hurried to get into the thick bush for shelter. When he had gone a little way into the bush, he saw a quantity of cut bark lying on the ground.



"Now I am right," he said. "I shall get some poles and with them and this bark make a dardurr in which to shelter myself from the storm I see coming." He quickly cut the poles he wanted, stuck them up as a framework for his dardurr. Then he went to lift up the bark. As he lifted up a sheet of it he saw a strange-looking object of no tribe that he had ever seen before. This strange object cried out: "I am Bulgahnunnoo," in such a terrifying tone that Wurrunnah dropped the bark, picked up his weapons and ran away as hard as he could, quite forgetting the storm. His one idea was to get as far as he could from Bulgahnunnoo. On he ran until he came to a big river, which hemmed him in on three sides. The river was too big to cross, so he had to turn back, yet he did not retrace his steps but turned in another direction. As he turned to leave the river he saw a flock of emus coming to water. The first half of the flock were covered with feathers, but the last half had the form of emus, but no feathers. Wurrunnah decided to spear one for food. For that purpose he climbed up a tree, so that they should not see him; he got his spear ready to kill one of the featherless birds. As they passed by, he picked out the one he meant to have, threw his spear and killed it, then climbed down to go and get it.



As he was running up to the dead emu, he saw that they were not emus at all but black fellows of a strange tribe. They were all standing round their dead friend making savage signs, as to what they would do by way of vengeance. Wurrunnah saw that little would avail him the excuse that he had killed the black fellow in mistake for an emu; his only hope lay in flight. Once more he took to his heels, hardly daring to look round for fear he would see an enemy behind him. On he sped, until at last he reached a camp, which he was almost into before he saw it; he had only been thinking of danger behind him, unheeding what was before him. However, he had nothing to fear in the camp he reached so suddenly, for in it were only seven young girls. They did not look very terrifying, in fact, seemed more startled than he was. They were quite friendly towards him when they found that he was alone and hungry. They gave him food and allowed him to camp there that night. He asked them where the rest of their tribe were, and what their name was. They answered that their name was Meamei, and that their tribe were in a far country. They had only come to this country to see what it was like; they would stay for a while and thence return whence they had come.

       



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