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The Story Of The Rainbow Serpent

The Story Of The Rainbow Serpent

The story of the rainbow serpent is a legend from Oceania.

A long time back, only people existed on earth: there were no animals or birds, no hills and meadows. Goorialla, the Great Rainbow Serpent, felt lonely in the wilderness so he set off across Australia in search of his people. All over the land he roamed about, in search of fellow-creatures.

In the southeast it was cold in the winter. Snow fell and melted on Goorialla’s bright scales. It dripped to the ground and became the great

rivers. He travelled northwest where it was hot and dry. There Goorialla shed his skin. It made great cliffs. Then he turned and slithered inland, making waves in the sand. These made the great sandy deserts. Goorialla rested in holes he dug. The rains filled up these holes, meaning that there is always water in the desert even if it lies deep below the ground.

One day at the meeting place of two rivers, Goorialla came upon a tribe singing and dancing. ‘Come and join us!’ they cried. Goorialla very happily showed the people new dances and fine ways to dress.

That night a big storm came, and people ran here and there looking for shelter. Two boys asked to share Goorialla’s shelter. But there was no room for them. So Goorialla opened his mouth and sheltered the boys in his big body.

Then he became worried – what would the tribe say when they found the boys missing? They would be angry. They might even put his life in danger. So Goorialla ran away.

In the morning the tribe found out that the boys were missing. They followed his twisting tracks in the wet ground. Finally, they found Goorialla on a mountain top and cut open his stomach. However, the people were stunned when the boys came out. The boys were no in human form any more. They had turned into rainbow – colored birds, called lorikeets.

Goorialla fled, fearing the retribution of the people. As he fled, he shed his whole skin on the mountain top. Then he dived into the east sea and his body became the great reef. It exists even today.

And after rain you can see his rainbow skin, curving over the mountain. That is why he is called Goorialla the Rainbow Serpent.

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