Dreamtime Stories

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Stories From the Dreamtime

dust echoes wagalek sisters dreamtime storyThe Wagalak Sisters are creation sisters. They carry their power in dilly bags made from woven string. When they walk, they use the contents of their dilly bags to create the landscape. In their hands, the landscape that is created is beautiful and lush. The sisters are the keepers and teachers of the law, but this changes when they are distracted by the voices of nearby men. When the sisters seek out the men, they forget about their dilly bags. While the sisters are distracted, the men raid their dilly bags, stealing their wisdom and power. Sometime later, the elder sister washes herself and her newborn baby in the river. The scent of the mother and baby attracts the dingo, Whatu, which transforms into a rainbow serpent and eats the Wagalaks and their baby.

Where This Story Comes From:
The story of the Wagalak (or Wagilag) Sisters is told across Arnhem Land, in Australia's Northern Territory. The place where the story is said to have taken place remains a sacred site. No-one at all is allowed to go there - not men, women or children, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. Storyteller Vera Cameron lives in the Wugularr Community in the Katherine Region of Australia's Northern Territory. She speaks many languages including English, Kriol and Rittharngu.
(Source: Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation)

dust echoes prankster dreamtime storyOn one level, The Be is the simple story of a prankster whose corroboree (song and dance) helps him become part of a new family. On another level, The Be reminds us that humans and animals are connected and belong to a place. And that songs and dances help build and maintain the necessary relationships between humans, nature and country.

Where This Story Comes From:
Jimmy Wesan received this story from his father. It comes from the riverside country around Bulman, which is situated 200 kilometres north of Wugularr (Beswick) in the Northern Territory of Australia. Because it comes from his country (Dalabon country), Jimmy is responsible for this story in the same way that he is responsible for everything in that country. Jimmy Wesan, the teller of this story, is a senior Jungayi, lawman and elder of the Barunga-Wugularr region and lives in the Wugularr Community in the Northern Territory of Australia. Jimmy is an important person in Wugularr and throughout Arnhem Land because he is a custodian of many stories and ceremonies, and because of his knowledge of people and country in the region.
(Source: Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation)

dust echoes shooting star dreamtime storyNamorrodor is a shooting star. It transforms into a terrifying spirit creature that hunts for babies. It is known to eat their hearts. Two of this story's main messages are that babies should not sleep unprotected in the bush, and that meat should not be cooked on the fire at night. The smell of meat cooking at night attracts Namorrodor, as well as centipedes, scorpions, ants and other biting insects. The story is told to children to encourage them to behave and go to sleep. It is said that the only person who can kill Namorrodor is a medicine man (or witchdoctor) who has as much strength as the spirit creature. This man can only kill Namorrodor at a certain time of the night, and with a spear which has been shaped over a fire while certain words are sung. It is also said that when Namorrodor dies it makes a terrible scream.

Where This Story Comes From: Namorrodor is an ancient story that is told throughout the Arnhem Land region. The Namorrodor story is told by Pamela Weston. Pamela lives in the Wugularr Community in the Katherine Region of Australia's Northern Territory. She was told the story by her step-father. Translator Glynn Wesan, who tells the Namorrodor story in Mialli, is from the Dhuwa moiety and her skin name is Gamanjan. She also lives in the Wugularr Community. Glynn was told this story by her father, her mother and her brother. As a child, she was told the story many times. (Source: Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation)

dust echoes the first death dreamtime storyThis story depicts the first death in the Dreamtime. It is the beginning of Mardiyhin - the life/death cycle - and shows part of a traditional funeral ceremony. The ceremonial information presented includes preparation of the deceased, use of the traditional coffin (the lorrkon), body painting, the corroborees which take place, and various other ceremonial activities. The rising morning star signifies the cycle of life and the connection between people, animals, plants and the Universe.

Where This Story Comes From:
This story is told in Rembarrnga language in parts of Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. The Story of the Morning Star is a very ancient one. The storyteller, Victor Hood, says it comes 'from the dust', which means it comes from the Dreamtime. Victor is a senior custodian and elder of the Barunga-Wugularr region. His father taught him this story and many others. He is a Rembarrnga man and has the responsibility of knowing and passing on many stories and ceremonies handed on to him by other custodians. Victor belongs to the Dhuwa moiety and Gamarrang skin group and lives in the Wugularr Community.
(Source: Djilpin Arts AboriginalCorporation)


dust echoes frog dreamtime storyFrog would rather relax in the waterhole than work. But the hunters are getting fed up with Frog's laziness! Frog Story explains why frogs around waterholes and rocks have flat bellies, but this story also warns about the consequences of failing to perform your duties. As a result of Frog's choice to swim in the water hole, rather than work with the hunters, he is punished by his community. A very different reading of this story suggests that Frog is someone who is not fully suited to life as a human, and is better off in the body of a frog. By the end of the story, Frog has found his most appropriate form - whether he likes it or not. There are many ways of understanding this story. Your personal interpretation may be different again.

Where This Story Comes From:
The Frog story comes from the Texas Downs region of East Kimberley, Western Australia. It was told to the storyteller, Sade Carrington, by her uncle before she was old enough to go to school. Sade comes from the Warmun Community in the Western Australian Kimberley Ranges or Kimberleys. Warmun is also known as Turkey Creek, and is located 3,019 km from Perth and 858 km east of Broome. Warmun is also close to the Purnululu National Park and the famous Bungle Bungle ranges. Sade is a well known artist and has exhibited her paintings.
(Source: Sade Carrington)

© 2005 ABC: These extraordinary and imaginative animated tales are a production of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in association with Deakin University. To find out more about this series, its artists, and producers, check out the Dust Echoes pages on the Australian Broadcasting Company website. Click here.