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Aboriginal art is believed, by some, as depicting a visit by creatures from outer space, who came to Australia to teach the land’s indigenous people secrets from beyond time.

The affinity the Australian aborigines have with all animals and plants  –  as well as people  –  may well have been taught to them by these space travellers from distant planets.


Kurprikki was a lonely emu.

She was bigger than the other birds.   And she couldn’t fly with them to swoop and glide and flutter.   And the other animals didn’t socialise with her because they weren’t birds.

Kurprikki lived in a valley where there weren’t any other emus as they had all, except Kurprikki, died in a bush fire some years ago.   Therefore she didn’t know how to behave as an emu should.

For instance, other birds laid their eggs in beautifully made nests which they were very proud of.   Each type of bird designed their own style of nest to protect their precious eggs and to be happy homes for the new little birds once they broke out of their shells.

Kurprikki watched the mothers fly from their nests to collect food for their young and then return to the open, eager baby beaks.

Kurprikki was sad as she watched the same scene each year.

Then, as spring warmed the air and made the new growth pop from the earth and other living things, she realised that there was nothing to stop her building her own nest.   And she would ask other birds to share the nest.

She set to work and collected twigs and branches and made a marvellous, large nest in the top of a tree.   She then, again, climbed up the trunk of the tree and settled into her comfortable nest.

A flock of cockatoos were amazed to see Kurprikki sitting in her high nest and decided to keep her company.   They also settled their eggs in Kurprikki’s nest.

And, in fact, many cockatoos copy the cuckoos and now leave their eggs in nests that other birds have made.


Everyone knows that spirits live inside trees.

When the leaves rustle, it is the spirits laughing or shouting, sometimes so loud the branches whip and snap back and forth causing the leaves to rattle in agitation.

When a kookaburra pokes its head from a hollow in a big old gum tree, not everyone realises it is a spirit about to fly off to deliver an important message to another spirit.

Also, not everyone knows that spirits often fall in love with each other.   Like the kookaburra and the cockatoo.

The kookaburra was much attracted to the dazzling, sulphur crest which crowned the cockatoo’s pristine white feathered head and to her gleaming coal black eyes   He laughed and laughed when the cockatoo made her sulphur coloured crest spring up from her head or she flew as if she was competing in a gymnastic competition  –  twisting and turning and screeching with joy.

And the cockatoo loved the kookaburra because he was always happy and laughing.

They did not know that they had also been in love before they became spirits.  But because they were from different tribes which lived on opposite banks of the great river, and because their elders didn’t trust each other because of a payback spearing many, many years ago, the young lovers never consummated their love.

He died, drowning in the river while looking for magpie goose eggs, and she died later of a broken heart.

Still the kookaburra and the cockatoo love each other, but will never consummate that love unless the gods decide to smile on them for their fidelity.


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