Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Song that the Elder Sang to the Emu Quilt by Jean Davidson

“Garlaya darlu birni, ngayunha gulila”
(You boastful emu, listen to me.)

“Nhurraba ngula barrabagu”
(You won’t ever fly again. You won’t ever fly again.)

“Ngaba nhurrabu dirdu, jinangga barnangga barrabithagu.”
(From now on, you will only walk and run.)

At one time the largest birds flying in the air were the happy Emus. They were pleased with themselves and began to be very boastful. The Emus made sure that all the smaller birds saw their flapping behavior. The small birds began to tire of these bragging big birds and they stopped singing.

The little birds couldn't get help from other birds or animals to stop the Emu's harrasement. In desperation they appealed to the highest ranking elder. He responded by saying, "You boastful Emus, listen to me!" "You won't ever fly again, you won't ever fly again!". "From now on you will only walk and run".

The end result was that there was room for small birds to fly and sing and for humans and Emus to move about in the bush.

(this version of the story was furnished by a quilting friend of Jean's from southwest Australia.)

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