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

Deegeenboyah the soldier-bird

" So on they went. When they were quite out of sight Deegeenboyah jumped up quickly, took up the emus and made for an opening in the ground at a little distance. This opening was the door of the underground home of the Murgah Muggui spider—the opening was a neat covering, like a sort of trap door. Down though this he went, taking the emus with him, knowing there was another exit at some distance, out of which he could come up quite near his home, for it was the way he often took after hunting.

The Mullyans went home and waited, but no sign of Deegeenboyah. Then back on their tracks they went and called aloud, but got no answer, and saw no sign. At last Mullyangah the chief of the Mullyans, said he would find him. Arming himself with his boondees and spears, he went back to where he had last seen Deegeenboyah sitting. He saw where his tracks turned off and where they disappeared, but could not account for their disappearance, as he did not notice the neat little trap-door of the Murgah Muggui. But he hunted round, determined to scour the bush until he found him. At last he saw a camp. He went up to it and saw only two little girls playing about, whom he knew were the daughters of Deegeenboyah.

"Where is your father?" he asked them.

"Out hunting," they said.

"Which way does he come home?"

"Our father comes home out of this;" and they showed him the spiders' trap-door.

"Where are your mothers?"

"Our mothers are out getting honey and yams." And off ran the little girls to a leaning tree on which they played, running up its bent trunk.

Mullyangah went and stood where the trunk was highest from the ground and said: "Now, little girls, run up to here and jump, and I will catch you. Jump one at a time."

Off jumped one of the girls towards his outstretched arms, which, as she came towards him he dropped, and, stepping aside, let her come with her full force to the ground where she lay dead. Then he called to the horror-stricken child on the tree: "Come, jump. Your sister came too quickly.

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