How Scrub Python got his flat head & the Endeavour River story

This is a story about Mungurru the Amethyst Python, also known as Scrub Python. In Guugu Yimithirr mythology, he's responsible for the creation of Wahalumbaal Birri the Endeavour River, and Dyiirrii, the rock we now call Nobby Point. Here's the story as told and illustrated by my Dad, Tulo, in Milbi, Aboriginal Tales from Queensland's Endeavour River.

There was a blackbird, called Dyirimadhi, who wanted to marry the daughter of old Mungurru, the Scrub Python. But that old Mungurru wouldn't wouldn't give his daughter to Blackbird. He didn't want them to get married. So Blackbird got cross with that old Scrub Python.

One day Scrub Python went out to sun himself. He lay down and stretched himself out in the heat of the day. Soon he fell asleep.

Dyirimadhi, the blackbird, had been out hunting. He was just on his way back to camp when he heard some little birds laughing at something. 'What are these little birds laughing at,' he said. 'Let me just go have a look.' He went over quietly and saw that old Python sunning himself. The little birds were laughing at him, asleep in the sun. 'Ohh,' said Dyirimadhi, 'that's my old father-in-law. That's the fellow who didn't give me his daughter.'

So he went off quietly again, and he looked all around. He looked and he looked and he looked until he found a big, heavy stone. He took that big stone, and he flew way up high into the clouds with it. He flew around and then he looked down to see where that old Mungurru was lying. When he was right above him, he let go of the big stone.

The big stone went down, down, and landed right where old Python's head was. When that big rock landed on his head, that old Mungurru started to thrash about. He rolled this way, then he rolled over that way. He didn't know what to do with all the pain. Then the thought of the sea came into his mind. He headed off to the East, running towards the sea. He went straight down and came upon the sea right at Gun-gaar, where Cooktown is today. He left deep tracks behind him, and that's where the Endeavour River is now. Before that old Scrub Python travelled down to the sea there was no river there.

When he reached the sea, old Mungurru went right out into the deep water. There he stayed for three nights and three days. But the sea was very cold. That old Python began to feel cold right through, so he said to himself, 'I'll go back West again.' He began to swim. He came to the shallow water, and then right up on the shore. Then he coiled himself up in the sand and went to sleep.

Soon the early morning sun came up, and he was still asleep. The sun rose and went higher and higher in the sky. Soon it was straight overhead, and still that old Mungurru slept. The sun became very very hot. It began to turn that Scrub Python hard. Finally the sun just turned him into a rock. 

Old Mungurru is still there, all coiled up, a big rock just beside the sea. The old people call that rock Dyiirii. In English it's called Nobby Point. And whenever you see a Scrub Python nowadays, you can see his flat head from when that big rock hit him.

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Mission Beach Tourism said...

What a fantastic story, Willie. Thank you for sharing it.

Mission Beach Tourism said...

What a fabulous story, Willie. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Ah...I can see python's track to the sea and the big coil he is today. Thank you for that story, Willie.