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Wawulja wanted no sons

by Clarry Japaljarri+ , Lajamanu, 1984 


translated from Warlpiri with Barbara Gibson Nakamarra (1984, 1995) and edited for the CD-ROM Dream trackers (UNESCO, 2000) by Barbara Glowczewski


Invincible does not know that he has got two sons. Only his wives know. He ordered them to get rid of any boy they could give birth to. The women did not obey and hid two boy-babies in a hole. They went to feed them in turns, under the excuse of having to urinate. The two little ones grew up hidden.


The mothers made them little bark boomerangs as toys. One day the boys were playing to see who could throw his boomerang the furthest away. They threw them so far that they landed in some smoke. Then they called themselves yalpurru.


They approached the smoke and found out that it belonged to a stranger as they saw the smoke of their father's camp rising behind them. They watched and observed the stranger without showing themselves. Around his head he carried a band decorated with feathers and a sharp bone through his nose. That was Munkupalpa... Invincible's sons threw a little boomerang towards him.


'Who threw that?' the man was wondering.


The two boys still dit not show themselves. They were only trying to frighten Munkupalpa as they had a plan. They wanted the stranger to take their revenge on their father. But they did not intend to tell him their story to ask him for his help. They invented something else so that Munkupalpa felt personally concerned. Without being seen, they took some of his weapons... 


Much later when they had grown up they went to see the stranger


'Father!' They said to make him feel at ease. 'You know, long ago, someone frightened you and took all your weapons. We know who the guilty one was an old man who is camping over there...'


That's how, wanting to get rid of their father, who had not wanted them to be born, they made Munkupalpa attack him. They needed to lie as Munkupalpa had no reason to attack Invincible. But Munkupalpa believed the two brothers and decided to take revenge. The poor man did not know who he was going to attack.


2. Munkupalpa's attack


Wawulja wakes up. He had slept in the camp. He spits and then urinates into a hole which he has dug for this purpose. Then he takes off to hunt some game. On the way he eats and hunts once again before returning. Cleaning the intestines of his new catch he notices some urine on the ground.


'Who might be looking for me?' he is wondering.


That urine came from the stranger with the feathers, Munkupalpa, who was hiding. Invincible does not have the time to turn around as the stranger already bursts him into pieces. Like a flash he has hit him with his boomerang and Invincible explodes. The attacker takes off. The blow should have killed him, but Invincible straightens up. All the pieces of his body, scattered by the impact of the boomerang, are putting themselves together again.


The broken bones are joining themselves together to make a new man. Invincible stretches out his arms to check his joints. He is feeling strong again. He gets up, grabs his boomerang and throws it into the stranger's direction. The boomeranghits Munkupalpa so strongly that his back is blown off towards the site of the Goanna Dreaming at Yinapalku. That's why we call the hill over there Puturlu, 'Back'. Munkulpa's testicles fell down elsewhere giving their name, Kulurrpa, to a Wawulja Dreaming place. The same happened to his brain, which became the Nginyinginyi, 'Brain'.  Dreaming site. The boomerang itself flew very far north falling down at Waraka. That is how Invincible knocked down forever the one who did not know that he had attacked a maparnpa man.


3. Wawulja married his daughters


Invincible did not pick up the game he had been cleaning at the time of the attack. He leaves the place with empty hands, moving with a limp. His wives see him coming, walking with his legs spread apart in a strange way.


'What makes you walk like this?'


He is coming closer, his testicles hang down, hindering his walking. His wives cry and hit themselves on their heads to express their grief, they worry so much. Finally he lies down to rest holding his testicles as if he was carrying a baby. Later on the women leave the camp.


'Come with us! We have to go away as the relatives of your attacker might come to take revenge for his death...'


Invincible follows his wives. On their way they dig a hole for their old husband . They cover his body with humid earth to protect him from the heat. Then they return to their old camp to get some water and bring it back running to quench his thirst.


Invincible had a lot of wives. That's how he was living, surrounded by women only as he had ordered them to kill his sons. As for his daughters he kept them as wives for himself!


4. Kurra is very dangerous


Invincible and his wives continued their journey. On the way they made him a boughshelter to give him some shade. Once again they returned to the old camp to get some water, then they kept walking westwards. They climbed the top of a big mountain which is called Kurra, 'Pus', since then. There Invincible's testicles swelled up and burst the pus ran out. All the pus came out there on that mountain. This Wawulja Dreaming place is very dangerous. 

Yapa and Kardiya who are venturing around there take the risk of being covered in purulent wounds.


The women carry the old man to reach their destination. They stop half way, east of Pawala. Once again Invincible is put into a hole of humid earth. Since their departure no real well was seen on their way. Invincible gets out of his hole, takes off his hairstring headband and puts it on the ground before buriying himself again to rest and sleep.



In the morning he is unable to get up. Crawling like a baby he goes to Karntawarranyungu, “ Yellow Ochre ”, a Budgerigar Dreaming place. There he sinks under the ground. Seeing him coming, the green birds are frightened, they leave and disappear. They had come to make a nest, a huge nest, with their feathers, from which comes a waterhole. Invincible drinks and has a rest. Then he gets on his way again, always in company of his wives. Not far away, at Kuyulinpa, he lies down. At that place a tree grew which can still be seen there today.


5. Wawulja disappeared in Tanami


The old man is very tired but he continues his walk, till Janampi (Tanami). Once there he ejaculates on the ground and a hill is made which has been there ever since. Looking at the hill Invincible wants to cut trough it. He is already going up there when his wives get into his way. They want to stop him


'Don't forget that you are dealing with your mothers-in-law!' say the wives whose daughters he also married.

'That doesn't matter... I keep going anyway!' answers Wawulja, not respecting the mother-in-law taboo.


And he passes through them, up to the hill which had emerged from his semen. There at Janampi he rubs his stomach with the sweat of his armpits. Then he enters the hill, sinking deep, very deep into it and disappears. Immediately his wives take their digging sticks and, holding them vertically, hammer on the ground, trying to find the place where Invincible is digging his tunnel. Theyfeel the texture of the ground, exactly like they would do to find goannas' holes. But he is digging towards the top of the hill to finally come out at its very top. Then he grabs the women’s digging sticks and dishesand disappears again, leaving them with nothing.



6. Orion, Mars and the Seven sisters


Before totally sinking in, Invincible sees the ground opening up due to the tunnel he has dug. A Rainbow Snake Warnayarra comes out and eats all the women, dragging them underground. Rainbow Snake explodes in thunder and, from far away, the rain is coming. Snake came out of the ground again very far west, at Jarluwangu on the border of Western Australia, not far from Balgo, where the Budgerigar Dreaming settled down as well.


Invincible's daughters were spat out by the Snake over there and climbed up into the sky to become the Pleiades (Walayakaru) which are often called by their skin name Napaljarri . Invincible, a Jungarrayi, followed them under the ground and into the sky where he became Orion. Ever since then he has been chasing them as a jealous father every night to keep Jarntimarra, their 'potential husband' of Jakamarra skin, from joining them.


As for the two boys, his sons, they went westwards and on their trip they became maparn doctors.












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Archives de chercheurs: Barbara Glowczewski [Collection(s) 28]
Audio of stories and songs, Lajamanu, Central Australia, 1984 [Set(s) 709]
Meta data
Object(s) ID 70076
Permanent URI
Title/DescriptionClary Japaljarri recounts the Two Men/Wawulja Dreaming at Tanami
Author(s)Clary Japaljarri
LocationLajamanu, Tanami Desert, Central Australia
Coordinateslat -35.27 / long 149.08
Copyright Barbara Glowczewski
Rank 2 / 83
Filesize ? Kb
Transcription[ See/hide ]
Quote this document Glowczewski, Barbara 1984 [accessed: 2024/5/20]. "Clary Japaljarri recounts the Two Men/Wawulja Dreaming at Tanami" (Object Id: 70076). In Audio of stories and songs, Lajamanu, Central Australia, 1984 . ODSAS:
Annotation layer(s)speaker: Clary Japaljarri   (laughren: general notes)
Annotation layer(s)Subject: Wawulja Jukurrpa (Dreaming)   (laughren: general notes)
Annotation layer(s)Elisbeth Ross Nungarrayi   (barbara: transcription)