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Australian Legendary Tales

By K. Langloh Parker


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This is still one of the best available collections of Australian Aboriginal folklore. It was written for a popular audience, but the stories are retold with integrity, and not filtered, as was the case with similar books from this period. That said, the style of this book reflects Victorian sentimentality and, an occasional tinge of racism that may not sit well with some modern readers.

K. Langloh Parker (the K. stands for 'Katie') [1856-1940] lived in the Australian outback most of her life, close to the Eulayhi people. The texts, with their sentient animals and mythic transformations, have a sonambulistic and chaotic narrative that mark them as authentic dreamtime lore. The mere fact that she cared to write down these stories places her far ahead of her contemporaries, who barely regarded native Australians as human.

This was the first book Parker wrote. She write four books, three of native folklore and one an ethnography of the Eulayhi tribe. This was also one of the first texts added to sacred-texts after it was launched to add coverage of traditional cultures. This was also the first text donated by sacred-texts to Project Gutenberg.

Parker has some odd connections with modern popular culture. She was rescued from drowning by an aborigine at an early age. This incident was portrayed in the film 'Picnic at Hanging Rock', directed by Peter Weir. The song They Call the Wind Mariah was based on a story from this book. (And the pop singer Mariah Cary was reputedly named after this song).--J.B. Hare

Title Page
Dinewan the Emu, and Goomblegubbon the Bustard
The Galah, and Oolah the Lizard
Bahloo the Moon and the Daens
The Origin of the Narran Lake
Gooloo the Magpie, and the Wahroogah
The Weeoonibeens and the Piggiebillah
Bootoolgah the Crane and Goonur the Kangaroo Rat, the Fire Makers
Weedah the Mocking Bird
The Gwineeboos the Redbreasts
Meamei the Seven Sisters
The Cookooburrahs and the Goolahgool
The Mayamah
The Bunbundoolooeys
Oongnairwah and Guinarey
Narahdarn the Bat
Mullyangah the Morning Star
Goomblegubbon, Beeargah, and Ouyan
Mooregoo the Mopoke, and Bahloo the Moon
Ouyan the Curlew
Dinewan the Emu, and Wahn the Crows
Goolahwilleel the Topknot Pigeons
Goonur, the Woman-Doctor
Deereeree the Wagtail, and the Rainbow
Mooregoo the Mopoke, and Mooninguggahgul the Mosquito Bird
Bougoodoogahdah the Rain Bird
The Borah of Byamee
Bunnyyarl the Flies and Wurrunnunnah the Bees
Deegeenboyah the Soldier-bird
Mayrah, the Wind that Blows the Winter Away
Wayarnbeh the Turtle
Wirreenun the Rainmaker