Ooyu-bu-lui the Black Snake


Long ago in the Dreamtime, the animals were very much bigger than they are today and the bite of a snake was not poisonous but a bite of a goanna was.   

Mungoon-gali was a large goanna and because of his poisonous bite was quite a terror of the land.  His favourite food was the flesh of blackfellas whom he used to devour in numbers.  He wrought such havoc that all the other tribes held a meeting as they feared that Mungoon-gali would soon exterminate the blackfellas if something were not done to stop him.  Ooyu-bu-lui the black snake spoke up and said that he could but they only laughed. Ooyu-bu-lui told them that by the time Yhi the sun has gone to her rest the next day, he shall have the poison bag of Mungoon-gali and promptly glided away.  

Ooyu-bu-lui knew he could only defeat Mungoon-gali by being cunning as goanna was much bigger and stronger than he and above all, Mungoon-gali had the poison bag which had made him invincible for so long.  Ooyu-bu-lui decided that he would follow Mungoon-gali to his camp and wait for goanna to wake from his sleep. When Mungoon-gali awoke, he saw black snake and quickly made a rush at him.  Ooyu-bu-lui quickly told Mungoon-gali that he was there to warn him of a plot the tribes had planned against him and not to kill him.  Mungoon-gali told black snake that if he told him the plot then he would spare his life and the lives of his tribe forever.  Ooyu-bu-lui did not believe Mungoon-gali but goanna reassured black snake that he would keep his promise and to prove it he would give him anything he pleases.  Ooyu-bu-lui said that he would only feel safe if he had his poison bag to hold while he told of the plot.  Mungoon-gali refused and told Ooyu-bu-lui to choose something else but without goanna’s poison bag, he was not going to tell.  Determined to hear of the plot at all risks, Mungoon-gali reluctantly reached into his mouth and drew out the hidden poison bag and handed it to Ooyu-bu-lui who took the bag and went with it to his old place on the edge of the camp. Ooyu-bu-lui put the poison bag into his own mouth then began to tell Mungoon-gali of the plot.  He told goanna that by the time Yhi had gone to her rest that night, one of the tribes was to get the poison bag from him and so take away his power to harm the Daens in the future.  Before Mungoon-gali had time to realise that he had been tricked, Ooyu-bu-lui was gone.  

Ooyu-bu-lui went back and showed the tribes that he now had the poison bag of Mungoon-gali.  When the tribes asked for the poison bag to destroy it, Ooyu-bu-lui refused to give it to them so the other tribes tried to banish him from their camps.  Ooyu-bu-lui told all the tribes that he would surely kill anyone who tried to stop him.

Since then, snakes have been poisonous and not goannas and they never meet now without fighting.  But the poison bag is powerless to harm the goannas as Mungoon-gali, a great Wirinun, knew of a plant which, if eaten after a snakebite, made the poison powerless to kill or injure.  As soon as a goanna is bitten by a snake, he rushes to this plant and eating it, is saved from any evil consequences of the bite.

This antidote has ever since been the secret of the goanna tribe left in their possession by Mungoon-gali who lost his poison bag by the cunning of Ooyu-bu-lui, the black snake.

Michael J Connolly (Munda-gutta Kulliwari)
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art
www.kullillaart.com.au