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meamei the seven sisters.
From Australian Legendary Tales, by K. Langloh Parker
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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.
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
"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
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
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.