Wayamba the Turtle

Once upon a Dreamtime, Oola the lizard was out getting yams with her three children. All of a sudden Wayamba jumped from behind the mirria bushes and seized Oola and her children and took them back to his camp so that Oola could be his wife. Oola could not defend herself as Wayamba came armed with his spears and boondis [club headed weapon].

Once back at Wayamba's camp, his tribe, once seeing that he had stolen a woman of the Oola tribe for his wife, were angry with Wayamba and told him he must suffer the consequences by himself because they would not help him when Oola's tribe came for their woman. He would have to go out on to the plain and do his own fighting.

Soon after, the Oolas were seen coming across the plain which faced the camp of the Wayambas. They were painted for war and were armed with fighting weapons. Wayamba quickly chose the two biggest shields that he had and covered the front of his body with one and slung the other on his back, seized his weapons and walked out onto the plain to meet his enemies. The Oolas showered Wayamba with their spears and boomerangs. As they came whizzing through the air, Wayamba drew his arms inside the shields and ducked his head down between them and so escaped. The weapons fell harmless to the ground, glancing off his shield. The Oolas then started to close in on Wayamba forcing him to retreat towards the creek. At the last minute Wayamba quickly tore off his front shield, threw down his weapons and plunged into the creek. The Oolas waited, spears poised in hand ready to aim directly his head appeared above water but they waited in vain.

Wayamba, the blackfella, they never saw again! But in the waterhole wherein he had dived they saw a strange creature that bore on its back a fixed plate like a shield, which creature, when they went to try and catch it, drew in its head and limbs. This was the beginning of Wayamba, the turtle in the creeks.

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