Thuggai the Yellowbelly


Legend has it that long ago in the Dreamtime there were people whose form resembled fish - they looked very different from other people but camped the same way. Their camp was under a shady tree on top of a steep bank with a large deep waterhole below.

One day a heavy thunderstorm came very suddenly and the heavy rains almost put out their campfire. After the rains came a strong piercing wind which made everybody very cold. Thuggai the Yellowbelly told his children to rekindle the fire but they couldn't because the rains had made the wood too wet. Thuggai decided he would ask Guddhu the Codfish as he was a clever-man. Guddhu placed some pieces of bark on the almost extinguished fire and started to blow vigorously until the fire started to revive. Immediately the tribe crowded close to the fire hoping to warm themselves. Guddhu added more fuel to the fire so he could warm all his people. Suddenly, a strong gust of wind fanned the fire that forced everyone to step backwards to escape being burnt. They all fell down the bank and into the river. As the strength of the wind increased the fire swept downwards and joined them in the river and continued to burn under the water.

These people have remained there since that day because the fire made by Guddhu caused the life underwater to be warmer than on land and exposed to the cold air on bleak chilly days.

Michael J Connolly
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art