Eaglehawk and Crow
Legend from Ngiyaampaa people of Australia
long time ago Eaglehawk, it was his turn to go hunting. So Eaglehawk had a
little baby, and he asked Crow, he went over to his neighbor Crow and asked Crow
if he'd look after his baby while he went hunting, because food was getting much
scarcer now and they had to go much further and further away from the camp.
So Eaglehawk, he went to Crow and asked him. Crow didn't want to look after the
baby, he said "No, no I don't want to look after the baby, he's crying too much,
he'll cry all the time and disturb the camp". But Eaglehawk said, "No, he'll be
right, Crow". He said, "You take him away and you sit down there and talk to
him, or sing to him and he'll quieten down". Crow was still reluctant to take
the baby, he said, "No, I don't want to look after the kid".
So anyway, Eaglehawk just handed the baby to Crow and said, "Okay, when we come
back, whatever meat we get we'll bring it back and we'll share it with you".
Crow had to be satisfied with that and Eaglehawk just went off with his young
men and of course they had to go a long, long way from the camp.
But Crow, after he got the baby, he took it into his gunyah, his hut, and he sat
down there with the baby and he was singing to it and talking to it, but the
baby wouldn't stop crying. Just kept on crying and crying and crying.
So Crow was getting really annoyed, no way he could stop the baby. So Crow went
out and he got his boondie-his hitting stick-and banged the little fella with
the hitting stick and killed him. Then he got the baby and he put it up the back
of his camp, right in the back of the gunyah. He put all the leaves around it,
and a bit of bark and a kangaroo skin. He had a kangaroo skin, a cloak, so he
put that over the baby. And anyway, everything was quiet then so Crow went away
from his camp and started doing what he wanted to do then.
So after, when Eaglehawk came back late in the afternoon, Crow ran back into the
camp and he was sitting at the doorway and he was making out he was singing to
the baby. Crow's sitting there and Eaglehawk came up to him and said "I've come
to pick my baby up now Crow. He's very quiet, you must have sung him to sleep.
Crow said, "Yeah, he's right in the back of the gunyah there, he's right in the
back of the camp. He's sound asleep. Don't wake him, leave him there. Eaglehawk
said, "No, I'll take him home now and look after him".
So when Eaglehawk walked into the camp, the gunyah, to get his baby, he noticed
that everything was really still and too still around him. So once Eaglehawk
walked into the back of the camp and picked the baby up, Crow took off and he
ran out and hid in the mallee, the thick scrub.
So Eaglehawk he started yelling, "My baby, Crow killed my baby", so all his
other hunters came up to him with their spears and he said, "Go after him.
Chase him into the thick mallee and get him. We'll kill him". So they ran after
Crow, but he got right into the centre of the mallee and they couldn't find him.
So Eaglehawk said, "We'll set a light to the mallee and we'll burn him out. He's
got to be punished for what he did to my baby."
So they set a light to the mallee, and they went right back, away from the fire
and they're sitting right out there, waiting for all the smoke to go away. And
then they saw this bird flying out of the smoke, at the end of the smoke this
black bird came out. And Eaglehawk said, "That's him. That's Crow. He's been
punished now, his spirit turned into a black bird."
And today, Eaglehawk and Crow still carry on the fight after that. They're birds
today and they still carry on the fight. Crow will still go up to Eaglehawk's
nest and try to pick at his babies, the eyes of his babies. And in the air when
Eaglehawk's circling for food, Crow will go after him again and try to pick at
him. So they still carry on the fight after what happened when they were people
Told by Aunty Beryl Carmichael
Reposted with Permission from Aussiedreamspirit
From the Archives of Blue Panther Keeper of Stories
Eaglehawk (or Wedge-Tailed Eagle) is Australia's largest bird of
prey and is found throughout Australia. It is most common in
woodlands, open grasslands, inland gorges, escarpments and
farmland. Eaglehawks usually
hunt in open areas, though they will hunt in wooded country
where they pursue prey through trees with amazing agility,
forcing their prey into open land. Common food sources include
wallabies, ducks, young kangaroos, cockatoos, crows, rats and
rabbits. The clutching power of the talons and the force with
which the Eaglehawk's feet strike is often enough to kill their
quarry. The Eaglehawk is graceful, powerful, beautiful to behold
whether at rest or in action, and to its victims it's lethal.