This is a classic story from 'The Dreamtime' or 'The Dreaming', the mixture of paintings, natural geographical features, the sky, the plants and animals and the oral stories that make up Australian Aboriginal culture.
For the first peoples of Australia, the oral stories that have survived for over 40,000 years give us the oldest collection of human culture we have.
The subjects range from creation myths to the coming of the white man on 'platforms pushed by the clouds' (sailing ships) to stories of the atomic tests of the 1950's, all handed down from father to son and mother to daughter.
This is a classic creation myth - How the sun was made.
For a long time there was no sun, only a moon and stars.
That was before there were men on the earth, and there were only birds and beasts, all of which were many sizes larger than they are now.
One day, Emu and Brolga were on a large plain near the Murrumbidgee (a river in New South Wales). They were quarrelling and fighting. Brolga, in a rage, rushed to Emu’s nest and seized one of the huge eggs from it, which she threw with all her might up into the sky. There it broke and the yellow yolk spilled out and burst into flame, and lit up the world below, much to the astonishment of every creature on it. They had been used to the darkness and were dazzled by such brightness.
A good spirit who lived in the sky saw how bright and beautiful the earth looked when lit up by this blaze. He thought it would be a good thing to make a fire every day. So all of that night, he and his attendant spirits gathered firewood and heaped it up to light the next morning. When the heap was nearly big enough to light, they sent out the morning star to warn those on earth that the fire would soon be lit.
But this warning wasn’t sufficient.
Those who were sleeping couldn’t see the morning star!
Perhaps someone should make a noise at dawn to herald the coming of the sun and to awaken the sleepers. They heard the laughter of the Kookaburra and decided that was the noise they wanted.
They told the Kookaburra that as the morning star faded and day dawned, it was his job every morning to laugh his loudest, so that his laughter could awaken all the sleepers. If he didn’t agree to do this, then they would stop lighting the sun-fire and return the earth to eternal twilight.
The Kookaburra agreed and the next morning, just before dawn, he laughed his loudest to herald the lighting of the sun-fire.
And so it has been ever since: when the sun-fire is first lit in the morning, it doesn’t throw out much heat. But by the middle of the day, when the whole heap of firewood is ablaze, the heart is fierce. After that, it begins to gradually die away, until at sunset, only red embers are left.
Then all night, the spirits collect firewood again to light the next day and Kookaburra’s laughter at dawn awakens the sleeping world.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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