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Myths & Legends

Mayrah the Wind that Blows Winter Away

Mayrah, the Wind that Blows Winter Away

At the beginning of winter, the iguanas hide themselves in their homes in the sand; the black eagle hawks go into their nests; the garbarlee or shingle-backs hide themselves in little logs, just big enough to hold them; the iguanas dig a long way into the sand and cover up the passage behind them, as they go along. They all stay in their winter homes until Mayrah blows the winter away.

Wirreenun the Rainmaker

Wirreenun the Rainmaker

The country was stricken with a drought. The rivers were all dry except the deepest holes in them. The grass was dead, and even the trees were dying. The young men of the Noongahburrah murmured among themselves, at first secretly, at last openly, saying: “Did not our fathers always say that the Wirreenun could make, as we wanted it, the rain to fall? Yet look at our country—the grass blown away, no doonburr seed to grind, the kangaroo are dying, and the emu, the duck, and the swan have flown to far countries.

The Bunyip

The Bunyip

In the years before history-the Alcheringa-before the river Murray was made and only a depression existed, a Bunyip visited the place. He came just at nightfall, and he sat on the bank opposite the camp. He was the color of the gumtree that afforded him shelter and something to lean against.

Maconaura and Anuanaitu

Maconaura and Anuanaïtu

In a time long past, so long past that even the grandmothers of our grandmothers were not yet born, the Caribs of Suriname say, the world was quite other than what it is today: the trees were forever in fruit; the animals lived in perfect harmony, and the little agouti played fearlessly with the beard of the jaguar; the serpents had no venom; the rivers flowed evenly, without drought or flood; and even the waters of cascades glided gently down from the high rocks.

Na-ha, whose spear is like lightning

Na-Ha, Whose Spear is Like Lightning

Long years ago, the people of Chile were sadly at the mercy of the wild folk who lived under the sea. To be sure, there were long periods when they were left in peace to do their fishing, though from their canoes they could look down into the waters and see the under-sea people walking on the sands at the bottom, very shadowy and vague, though, in the greenish light. Still, it was clear enough, for those who watched, to see their hair-covered bodies, their long and serpent-like arms and their noseless faces.

Why Monkey Still has a Tail

Why Monkey Still Has a Tail

Once upon a time the monkey and the rabbit made a contract. The monkey was to kill all the butterflies and the rabbit was to kill all the snakes. One day the rabbit was taking a nap when the monkey passed that way. The monkey thought that he would play a trick on the rabbit, so he pulled the rabbit’s ears, pretending that he thought they were butterflies. The rabbit awoke very angry at the monkey, and he plotted how he might revenge himself on the monkey.

How Night Came

How Night Came

Years and years ago, at the very beginning of time, when the world had just been made, there was no night. It was day all the time. No one had ever heard of sunrise or sunset, starlight or moonbeams. There were no night birds, nor night beasts, nor night flowers. There were no lengthening shadows, nor soft night air, heavy with perfume.

Morning Sunrise

Morning Sunrise

A man in one of the villages had a very beautiful daughter. She was so lovely that people called her “Morning Sunrise.” Every young man who saw her wanted to marry her. Three, in particular, were very anxious to have her for their wife. Her father found it difficult to decide among them. He determined to find out by a trick which of the three was most worthy of her.

The Squirrel and the Spider

The Squirrel and the Spider

A hard-working squirrel had, after much labor, succeeded in cultivating a very fine farm. Being a skilful climber of trees, he had not troubled to make a roadway into his farm. He used to reach it by the trees.