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Main > Australian folktales > Fairy tale "Deegeenboyah the soldier-bird"

Deegeenboyah the soldier-bird

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The Mullyan thought there was sense in this proposal, so they took a couple of long spears, with a jagged nick at one end, to hold the emu when they speared it; they stuck a few emu feathers on the end of each spear and went off. They soon saw a flock of emu coming past where they were waiting to water. Two of the party armed with the moonoon climbed a tree, broke some boughs and put these thickly beneath them, so as to screen them from the emu. Then as the emu came near to the men they dangled down their spears, letting the emu feathers on the ends wave to and fro. The emu, seeing the feathers, were curious as to how they got there, came over, craning their necks and sniffing right underneath the spears. The black fellows tightly grasped the moonoons and drove them with force into the two emu they had picked One emu dropped dead at once. The other ran with the spear in it for a short distance, but the black fellow was quickly after it, and soon caught and killed it outright. Then carrying the dead birds, back they went to where Deegeenboyah was cooking the other emu. They cooked the two they had brought, and then all started for the camp in great spirits at their successful chase. They began throwing their mooroolahs as they went along, and playing with their bubberahs, or returning boomerangs. Old Deegeenboyah said, "Here, give me the emus to carry, and then you will be free to have a really good game with your mooroolahs and bubberahs, and see who is the best man."

They gave him the emus, and on they went, some throwing mooroolahs, and some showing their skill with bubberahs. Presently Deegeenboyah sat down. They thought he was just resting for a few minutes, so ran on laughing and playing, each good throw eliciting another effort, for none liked owning themselves beaten while they had a mooroolah left. As they got further away they noticed Deegeenboyah was still sitting down, so they called out to him to know what was the matter. "All right," he said, "only having a rest; shall come on in a minute.

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