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19
The stolen child

Tales (Folk lore)

Once long ago when there were some Kūlin camped
near Mansfield. They were of the Devils River,
the Broken river the Goulburn River. Among them
was a little boy – a very nice little boy of whom every
one was fond. He used to go about among the
camps and the people gave him nice little
things to eat such as bits of possum and so on.
There was near there - a very bad old woman
called Thadagŭn [who ha - crossed out] who was hung
all round her head and neck and arms
with snakes, iguanas and lizards. She had
no child and she took this little boy. The
people were very angry and said “give back the
boy – he belongs to us” But she would not and
she took the little boy and hid him in
the hollow of a big rock at the Goulburn River
at the place which is now called the
Cathedral. There was a large place in this
rock and she put the little boy inside
and blocked up the mouth with stones.
Then the people were very angry and Būnjil
collected [the - crossed out] every one from all the country
round. They said how shall he get the boy back?
Būnjil said to the Porcupine “try that tree”.
He said this because the Porcupine has thunder.
Then the Porcupine smashed the tree up with
his thunder into little bits. Būnjil then
said “now go and put some thunder
under the rock where Thadagŭn has
hidden the little boy. The Porcupine
dug a hole under the rock and put some
thunder in it. Then he came out and
the thunder burst the rock into two pieces.
It also smashed Thadagŭn into bits – so
that there was nothing left of her but her
“ghost” and her mūng (magic) which was
very strong before was not much now,
because the thunder had smashed it
up into little bits also. Then Bunjil took
out the little boy from the rock and
gave him back to his friends and said:

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