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Main > Australian folktales > Fairy tale "Weedah the mocking bird"

Weedah the mocking bird

Weedah was playing a great trick on the black fellows who lived near him. He had built himself a number of grass nyunnoos, more than twenty. He made fires before each, to make it look as if some one lived in the nyunnoos. First he would go into one nyunnoo, or humpy, and cry like a baby, then to another and laugh like a child, then in turn, as he went the round of the humpies he would sing like a maiden, corrobboree like a man, call out in a quavering voice like an old man, and in a shrill voice like an old woman; in fact, imitate any sort of voice he had ever heard, and imitate them so quickly in succession that any one passing would think there was a great crowd of blacks in that camp. His object was to entice as many strange black fellows into his camp as he could, one at a time; then he would kill them and gradually gain the whole country round for his own. His chance was when he managed to get a single black fellow into his camp, which he very often did, then by his cunning he always gained his end and the black fellow's death. This was how he attained that end. A black fellow, probably separated from his fellows in the excitement of the chase, would be returning home alone passing within earshot of Weedah's camp he would hear the various voices and wonder what tribe could be there. Curiosity would induce him to come near. He would probably peer into the camp, and, only seeing Weedah standing alone, would advance towards him. Weedah would be standing at a little distance from a big glowing fire, where he would wait until the strange black fellow came quite close to him. Then he would ask him what he wanted. The stranger would say he had heard many voices and had wondered what tribe it could be, so had come near to find out. Weedah would say, "But only I am here. How could you have heard voices? See; look round; I am alone." Bewildered, the stranger would look round and say in a puzzled tone of voice: "Where are they all gone? As I came I heard babies crying, men calling, and women laughing; many voices I heard but you only I see.

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