Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming) – Nguri Bird

This Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Vaughan Springs Dreaming – an important waterhole near Mount Doreen station) tells of a ‘warnayarra’ (ancestral rainbow serpent) of the Japanangka skin group who lived at Pikilyi. This ‘warnayarra’ had many wives from the Napangardi and Napanangka subsections, a taboo relationship under Warlpiri religious law. The Japanangka was worried that another ‘warnayarra’, who was a young Japangardi, would steal his wives because he was jealous of the old man. The two engaged in a battle that took them all around the area until they finally agreed to settle by returning to Pikilyi, where they would share their Napangardi and Napanangka wives. After the battle, two of the Napanangka wives went to a ‘mulju’ (waterhole) at Marrangu to look for ‘yuparli’ (bush bananas [Leichhardtia australis]). A young Japanangka man was an ancestral ‘nguri’ bird hero (tawny frogmouth [Podargus strigoides] and fell in love with the elder sister. As the two Napanangka women walked he would follow them, taking on the form of the bird. Whenever they stopped to gather ‘yuparli’ he would transform himself into a man. He secretly met with the older sister, giving her the ‘yuparli’ that he collected, which she would then share with her younger sister back at their camp. The younger sister became suspicious, demanding to know who gave the elder sister the ‘yuparli’. The older sister didn’t reply. They continued in this way until they all returned to Pikilyi where the Japanangka man took the two sisters as his wives.