Mullion the Eagle

Long ago in the Dreamtime, there was a very tall tree that was impossible for the ordinary people to reach the top. The trunk was enormous and several different trees were amalgamated into one as it towered to a great height. The first was a gum, then a box tree, then a coolibah, a belah and lastly a pine tree. At the top an S-shaped limb stretched out and this was where Mullion the eagle and his mate had their nest.

These birds had special powers and dominated the lives of the Muruwari people who lived below them. Whether hunting or fishing, the people were always afraid of Mullion. If one man moved away from the others while chasing a kangaroo, he might never be seen again as the eagle swooped down grasping him with strong talons and taking him back to the nest. Many bare bones were scattered around the base of this tree.

Because everybody had to remain together this made it difficult to hunt. The crowd made too much noise and the result was seldom successful. The people were both hungry and frightened. Neighbouring 'clever men' tried every form of sorcery to remove the eagles or destroy the tree. When they tried to burn or cut into the trunk the wood immediately healed itself. Sorcery was useless.

The people had almost given up hope of removing Mullion when they heard of two very special 'clever men' who lived far to the south and messengers were sent to plead for assistance. Their names were Murriwunda and Koomba and they agreed to visit where they listened to the sad stories of the deaths caused by Mullion.

The two men gave the problem serious thought. They asked the people to try and distract the eagles by moving around the tree so that Mullion and his mate would leave their nest in an attempt to catch them. Meanwhile Murriwunda and Koomba made themselves invisible as they approached the tree and chanted special songs that gave them extra strength to chop a hole in the trunk that had to be done rapidly with their special tomahawks as the tree made every effort to heal itself. When the hole was big enough they filled the cavity with many burning firesticks while their singing became louder and louder. At the chosen moment a great wind began to blow which fanned the flames until a blazing inferno was raging inside the colossal trunk.

At last there was a tremendous roar as the tree crashed to the ground. The nest was hurled into the scrub while the trunk burnt along its full length. Without the tree, the eagles had lost their advantage and special powers. They were never seen again and messengers spread the news to the neighbouring people who joined the Muruwari and a great corroboree was held to celebrate their freedom from Mullion's terror.

Michael J Connolly
Munda-gutta Kulliwari
© Dreamtime Kullilla-Art

Mullion the Eagle