The Dreaming

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The Frog Heralds

When Baiame ceased to live on this earth and went back the way he had come from Bullima, up the roundabout ladder of stone steps, to the summit of Oobi Oobi, the Sacred Mountain, only wirinuns, or clever men, were allowed to address him, and then only through his messenger, Walla-guroon-bu-an.

For Baiame was now fixed to the crystal rock on which he sat in Bullima, as was also Birra-nulu, his wife. The tops of their bodies were as they had been on earth, but the lower parts were merged into the crystal rock.

Walla-guroon-bu-an and Kunnan-beili alone were allowed to approach them and pass on their commands to others.

Birra-nulu, the first wife, was the flood-maker. When the creeks were drying up and the wirinuns wanted a flood to come, these men would climb up to the top of Oobi Oobi and await in one of the stone circles the coming of Walla-guroon-bu-an. Hearing what they wanted, he would go and tell Baiame.

Baiame would tell Birra-nulu, who, if she were willing to give her aid, would send Kunnan-beili to the wirinuns, bidding her say to them, "Hurry to tell the Bun-yun Bun-yun tribe to be ready. The ball of blood will be sent rolling soon."

Hearing this, the wirinuns would go swiftly back down the mountain and across the woggi, or plains, below, until they reached the Bun-yun Bun-yun, or Frogs, a powerful tribe with arms strong for throwing and voices unwearying.

This tribe would station themselves, at the bidding of the wirinuns, along the banks on each side of the dry river, from its source downward for some distance. They made big fires, and put in these huge stones to heat. When these stones were heated the Bun-yun Bun-yun placed some before each man, laying them on bark.

Then they stood expectant, waiting for the blood ball to reach them. As soon as they saw this blood-red ball of fabulous size roll into the entrance to the river, every man stooped, seized a hot stone and, crying aloud, threw it with all his force against the rolling ball. In such numbers and with such force did they throw these stones that they smashed the ball.

Out rushed a stream of blood flowing swiftly down the bed of the river. Louder and louder rose the cries of the Bun-yun Bun-yun, who carried stones with them, following the stream as it rushed past. They ran with leaps and bounds along the banks, throwing in stones and crying aloud without ceasing.

Gradually the stream of blood, purified by the hot stones, changed into flood water, of which the cries of the Bun-yun Bun-yun warned the tribes so that they might move their camps on to the high ground before the water reached them.

While the flood water was running, the Bun-yun Bun-yun never ceased crying aloud. Even to this day, as a flood is coming, are their voices heard, and hearing them the Daens, or blackfellas, say, "The Bun-yun Bun-yun are crying out. Flood water must be coming." Then, "The Bun-yun Bun-yun are crying out. Flood water is here."

And if the flood water comes down red and thick with mud, the Daens say that the Bun-yun Bun-yun or flood-frogs must have let it pass them without purifying it.

A.W. Reed, Aboriginal Fables & Legendary Tales (Aboriginal Library)


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