Piggi-Billa the Echidna


Legend has it that Piggi-Billa was getting old and not able to do much hunting for himself nor did he care for the flesh of emu and kangaroo as he did for the flesh of men. He used to entice young men to his camp by various devices and then kill and eat them. When the Daens [blackfellas] found out what he was doing they were angry and decided to punish Piggi-Billa so that he would forever be powerless against their people.

Soon after, the Daens went and surrounded Piggi-Billa's camp. As Piggi-Billa was lying asleep, face downwards, they raised their spears and with one accord, they threw them at him until his back was was one mass of spears sticking up all over it. The Daens then rushed in and broke his arms and legs crippling him. Piggi-Billa did not make a sound or move so as to make the Daens think that they had killed him. As soon as the Daens had gone, Piggi-Billa crawled away on all fours to the underground home of his friend, Murga Muggai the spider. He went down through the trapdoor and stayed there until his wounds were healed.

Piggi-Billa tried to draw out his spears but was unable to do so; they stayed in his back forever and for ever he went on all fours as his tribe has done ever since. They too, as he did, go quickly underground if in danger from enemies.

Michael J Connolly
Munda-gutta Kulliwari
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art