Daniel Donnelly (danield1974) wrote in astronomy101,
Daniel Donnelly

Dreaming Skies

The Koori (Australian Indigenous people) believe that the evening skies are a mirror reflection of the mother earth. When our elders die they ascend into the realm of the Dreamtime, in the spirit of the new year, here is the Story of Marpeanhurruic. You may know her as the star Arcturus ….

Marpeankurruic, a clever woman who lived in the Mallee Forests of Southern Australia many thousands of years ago, was in the bush looking for food. Her people were starving. It had not rained for a long, long time. Rivers and billabongs had disappeared; the bullrushes had shriveled up and died. She lifted up logs but could not find any lizards or snakes. She looked around and saw that there was also no grass seeds or fruit to eat.

After walking for many hours, she saw a wood ants’ nest. She was so desperate that she went to it and opened up the nest with her digging stick. In the nest, she saw thousands of larvae. She put one in her mouth and ate it. The larvae were delicious. She collected all that she could and hurried back to her people.

The larvae of the wood ant had saved her people. It soon became their favorite food. When Marpeankurruic died, she went up into the sky and became a star. Every time the Aboriginal people of the Mallee Country see her, they know that it is time for their favorite food, the larvae of the wood ant.

Source: Science Educators Association ACT (1999) From Ochres to Eel Traps. ACT Indigenous Consultative Body

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