Thursday, February 23, 2012

Karrugang and the Origin of the Pleiades

This is a Gundungurra story from the Blue Mountains (NSW) about 
the origin of the star cluster Westerners call the Pleiades.

In the Dreaming, a group of sisters were pursued by a magpie named Karrugang, who wanted to make one of the sisters his wife.  One day, while digging for edible roots near a river, one of the sisters slipped into the river and became tangled in the weeds, drowning.  The magpie saved the woman and made her his wife.  The other sisters stayed at the camp with the crow and his wife.  The magpie was lazy and made all the women do the work.  The women frequently tried to escape, but the magpie would find and return them to his camp.  One day during a storm, the wife pulled stringy-bark from a tree to make a shelter whilst her sisters sang a charm song.  As the lazy magpie lay around, the sisters sang making the tree grow taller and taller.  They quickly climbed the bark into the sky where they are seen today as the sisters of the Pleiades.

A Magpie.  From

Mathews, R.H. (2003).  Some mythology and folklore of the Gundungurra tribe.  Den Fenella Press, Wentworth Falls, NSW.

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