Muthali (Duck)


The story of the Muthali is a story that starts in the west where the Warrayngu, Djebubu, Bununggu, Yirritja clan lands are. The place is called Balpanarra, this is where the Muthali came from, out of the Wakulunggul (fog) flying east into the rising sun. Maybe the Muthali was lost in the fog she was flying this way and that looking for a place to land. She stayed there eating freshwater food and resting. Then she flew again through the fog, this way and that. She flew to Garli, this is where Muthali met Guriny (Black Kite). There are stone chairs at that place, Garli, where they sat. When they landed at Garli they were mating, after that there was singing and dancing with other animals. Djirrmanga (Echidna) tried to stop it through birrka’yun (calling out in a formal way). But Djirmanga did it the wrong way which is why his back legs are turned the wrong way.

They heard a big noise coming from Bungurrindji and Doyndji direction. It was the loud voice of the freshwater water called Gularri coming in. She said we have to leave this place before it gets flooded. Then the Muthali told Guriny (Black Kite) that she was pregnant and she wanted to go and find a nest to lay her eggs. Inside her womb the fetus was like an albino. Garli wasn’t the right place for her to lay her eggs.

Everywhere Muthali flew she flew through the Wakulunggul, she was a little bit lost. The only way to fly was to follow the water. She followed the water to Warrawurr and knew the water came out of the ground there so she stopped and looked for a place to make the nest, but the Wakulunggul was still over her and it was to dark. Muthali ate there and saw other animals like the Garakman (frog) and Djalngin (leech). Gularri had moved on creating in another area. She took off again because she didn’t like the way Djalngin was after their blood. They heard water (Manbuynga) from Rrenbitja island. She thought that was fresh water but when she arrived she realised it was saltwater not the Gularri gapu. Muthali had missed the Gularri water track so she flew back looking for it. They heard it at Bandawangamirr (Cotton island). They stopped there as it was a good place for a nest. Muthali layed her eggs there and you can still see them today. As she were travelling the albino eggs became ‘real’, they turned from white to black. Later after the laying of the eggs, the Manda (octopus) came out from the water and claimed the eggs because they were in the sea not the land.

The Waramirri clan sings this story and it tells of the connections between the people and places that the Muthali travelled through. Every place Muthali went to they changed language like Guninggu at Balpanarra, then at Ngangil they spoke another, at Garli, Ritharrngu and at Warrawurr, Gupapuyngu, and at Rrenbitja, Waramirri.

You can still see this stories in painting, dancing and ceremonies today.

30cm | Acrylic on Wood | Cat. no: 20-216