The Great Watersnake of Nagamaru
The Nagamaru was a big deep channel running into Cooper's Creek. According to the Wangkumara people, the water here was very deep and had never been known to be dry. For centuries there had been a great camping and corroboree ground close to it.
When life first began, watersnakes just crawled around like goannas and sometimes chose to swim in the water. One of these creatures, when his form became human, emerged as a muda [an exceptionally gifted being] and lived with the Wangkumara for a long time. This man often dived or jumped into the water at Nagamaru and his form changed instantly as he became a giant watersnake. He helped the people in many ways and earned great respect but eventually reached old age.
The muda said farewell to all his people before diving into the river and his life continued in this deep water as the Great Watersnake. Nobody was allowed to swim in this channel unless one of the elders was present. If a stranger went into this stretch of water without being presented to any elder, he or she would just disappear forever.
Being a muda, the Great Watersnake had to be treated with formality and respect or serious punishment would follow.
Michael J Connolly
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