Snake Skin earrings Mun-dah (red bellied black)
Snake Skin earrings Mun-dah (red bellied black)
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Snake Skin earrings Mun-dah (red bellied black)

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These earrings are inspired by the gentleness if the red Bellied black snake and her Dreamtime story

Goanna Bah’naga and the red bellied black snake Mun’dah

A long long time ago lived a bad tempered man of the Goanna clan who would strike out whenever someone annoyed or didn’t agree with him, unfortunately because he carried a poison bag his victims would die.

The people became concerned about the amount of their clan they were losing and met to discuss how they could get his poison bag.

A man of the Magpie clan, Diruwan, was the first offer to try to get the poison bag then Burran of the Kangaroo clan after seeing the first two warriors fail and die .

Gugarra, the Kookaburra thought that he could get Bah’naga laughing by telling him funny stories, and whilst the Goanna was off guard, he would be able to steal the poison bag from him. That didn’t work, either, and Gugarra’s body fell beside that of Burran and Diru- wan.

Managa, the Eagle thought that he could pick Bah’naga up and drop him from a great height, but the Goanna man saw Managa’s shadow approaching, and he too, fell dead be- side the others..

The People met again. They were losing too many great warriors

It was the shy Mun’dah who came forward. Hardly anyone knew this woman of the Black Snake totem, and few had ever seen her. “If I can get the poison bag from Bah’naga,” she said, “I will ask for only one thing.”

The People looked at each other as Mun’dah moved silently forward. “I ask that you grant me a home where I can live in peace with my children.”

Now everybody realised how thoughtless they had been. Mun’dah made her home in hol- low logs which were favoured by The People for burning during the great bunyas.

the People doubted that this slender woman would be able to take the poison bag from Bah’naga, great strong warriors had failed. “Anything.” They said quickly. “Where is it you would want to live in peace and safety?” They asked

“Several times I have sheltered in the Ganno’kan, the Bird’s Nest Fern.” She said. “I find it comfortable, and the fern does not mind me being there at all. My children and I can care for the fern, and feed it in return for the shelter it provides us. I ask only that I be al- lowed to live there in peace with my children.”

The People readily agreed, and Mun’dah set off to find Bah’naga.

The Goanna man was sitting by the camp fire when she arrived. she sat quietly down on the opposite side of the fire.

She had brought with her many juicy grubs which she knew was the favourite food of Bah’naga, and began to prepare them. When they were ready, she placed them on a coolamon and laid it in front of Bah’naga. The Goanna man took one, found it was to his liking, and took another and another, until they were all gone.

Bah’naga then for the first time spoke.

“I think I would enjoy having a wife who would gather and prepare my food for me.” He said. “Come closer, I would like to know you better.”

Mun’dah moved around the fire until she was next to Bah’naga. “It is a cold night,” she said, “Perhaps we could keep each other warm.”

Bah’naga smiled. Because of his bad temper he was a very lonely man, and a woman had never before said soft words to him.

As Bah’naga moved closer, the poison bag around his neck, swung in front of her. Swiftly, Mun’dah’s sharp teeth bit at the sinew string, and she swallowed the bag.

Bah’naga sprung up in a rage, but Mun’dah fled, silently and swiftly into the bush.

Although Mun’dah swallowed the poison bag, she never used it, except in defending her- self or her young. Bah’naga, the Goanna is still bad tempered to this day, but his bite is no longer deadly.

But, the poison in the poison bag had robbed Mun’dah of her hearing, no longer would she be able to hear The People approaching her along the pathways where she used to like to sit in the sun. No longer would she be able to hunt using her ears to find the mice and frogs that she loved to eat.

Nor would she be able to hear the approach of her enemies who would harm her children.

Mun’dah told The People of her disability, and because she had no wish to harm them, should they see her sunning herself, or hunting for food, they were to stamp their feet three times on the ground, and she would move away from them. They agreed and Mun’dah silently disappeared into the under- growth.

So The People would remember Mun’dah’s courage, the Spirit Woman gave the black snake a red belly, to distinguish her from other snakes. And whenever Mun’dah, the Red Bellied Black Snake rests in the Bird’s Nest Fern, none may hunt her.