- The Rainbow Bower Aussie
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Spirit bird steals the color from the landscape.
Stories of the Dreamtime
: The Rainbow Bower Bird. by Aussie

A series of short stories about the animals and birds that spoke to the tribes way back in the Dreamtime.

Billabong: water hole.
Baiame: Great Spirit - Creator of all living things.

Way back in the Dreamtime, many tribes prospered - living on the lush lands that Baiame, Great Spirit, had created for them. The trees provided wood for making spears for hunting and didgeridoo for music. Rushes growing around the billabongs gave the women reeds to make baskets for carrying food - animals were plentiful, rivers full of fish. Life was good for the tribes except they couldn't get along with one another; continually arguing and eventually fighting with tribes that lived close by.

The tribes were never happy even though they had everything they needed for a good life and they never smiled.

Baiame, the Great Spirit, having provided everything the tribes would ever need was disappointed with their childish ways. Finally, Baiame lost patience and he sent a strange Weedah or Bower Bird to speak to the tribes about the ungrateful attitudes that the tribes displayed towards their neighbors.

The people were frightened by the Weedah, there was something very different about the bird. At once he spoke, his voice sounded like thunder and the people sat down and listened to what he had to say. They were like small children listening to their parents.

" Great Spirit has given you everything you need to have a happy life and yet, you never smile and are always fighting with one another," he inclined his head and the people were amazed at his message. His feathers were dull and uninteresting and yet he was a messenger from the spirit world.

Weedah circled the land and as the people watched, curiosity soon turned to fear. Weedah was absorbing all the colors of the landscape, taking away the lush greens and browns and as he absorbed the colors, the land turned to a barren desert. As he kept circling, he changed into a Kininderie Weedah, a Rainbow Bower bird. His feathers were so beautiful they shone in the sunlight.

The people soon realized that he was no ordinary bird - he had been sent from the spirit world. They shivered with fear and waited until he spoke again.
"Baiame sent me to teach you a lesson. He has been very patient with you but you continue to fight with one another and you are ungrateful for the beautiful animals and lands that He provided for you."

" What shall we do? Now we will starve, the animals will move on to where they can find food," they huddled together waiting for an answer.

"Tribes that lose respect for one another and are ungrateful for all the wonderful gifts Baiame has given you, need to learn a lesson: Kininderie Weedah puffed himself up and showed the rainbow colors of his plumage.

"You must learn to get along with one another instead of fighting. If you work together you need not starve. Baiame taught your elders how to hunt for food and now you must learn a hard lesson. Learn to share your food, be patient and love one another; for now you are called desert nomads.
This is the legend of how the plain Bower Bird became the Rainbow Bowerbird.


Author Notes
Photo: The Bower Bird is a native Australian and comes in many colors. Aboriginal Australians have no written language, therefore the myths and legends are handed down from the ancestors. These stories are from the time when the birds and animals were able to speak to the tribes.


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