Sacred Texts  Australia  Index  Previous  Next 

The Flying Chip.

One day the brothers were out hunting. The younger brother had climbed a tree, and -was cutting out a white wood grub, when a chip from his axe went whizzing through the air and fell near the elder brother, who was standing at the foot of the tree. When Byama descended the tree, his brother suggested that they should go hunting in different directions for the remainder of the day. Byama agreed to the proposal and went his way. The elder brother was then left alone. He carefully cut a thin piece of wood like the chip, and tied a piece of bark string to one end of it, and, when he swung it through the air, it made the same sound as the flying chip.

He continued his hunting, and, when he returned to the camp at the close of the day, he showed the piece of wood to his brother and said: "The voices of our children dwell in the trees, and, though we cannot see them, they will be with us for ever." The younger brother feared that he had lost his reason, and said to him: "You have travelled far to-day, and the fires of the sun burned brightly; you must be very tired. Sleep, my brother, and when the new day dawns you will feel better, and then we will talk." Seeing he could not convince his younger brother, Byama went into the open and swung the piece of wood, and the low, soft sound that rose and fell was like the voice of the little children.

The two brothers--who were headmen of their tribes--then decided that this piece of wood, which is called the Bullroarer, should be shown to all boys born in the future, in remembrance of the little boys who were killed by the dogs. And even to the present day the Curlews cry mournfully in the woods, and the Mopoke only ventures abroad at night.

Next: Why the Whale Spouts, the Starfish is Ragged, and the Native Bear has Strong Arms