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The Kanatgurk and the Crow

Five women called the Kanatgurk were once the possessors of fire, but would not share it. One day Waang the crow tasted a cooked yam from their fire and liked it so much he resolved to steal the fire. By a trick he put snakes in some anthills as the women were passing to frighten the women, as they carried their fire sticks along. Some coals fell from the sticks to the ground; and pouncing on one Waang carried it to the top of a tree.

Bunjil then gathered all his people around the tree and they shouted to Waang for fire. Waang became scared and flung fire down to them. Bunjil's young men were angry and threw fire back up at him and since then all crows have been black. They also set fire to Waang's country and the conflagration was so great that Bunjil had difficulty in putting it out. He placed some large rocks at the head of the Yarra to stop the fire spreading there; two of his young men were burnt and are now two rocks at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges.

The Kanatgurk were swept up into the sky, where they are now the Pleiades; still glowing at night as they carry fire at the end of their digging sticks.

Kulin Tribe, Victoria

Story courtesy of Australian Dreaming: 40 000 Years of Aboriginal History (1980) Comp. Jennifer Isaacs, Lansdome Press, Sydney, NSW, pp. 107-108