The Crane and the Crow (Australian Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, Australian Folk Tales1062

The crane was a great fisherman. He used to hunt out the fish, with his feet, from underneath the logs in the creek, and so catch numbers.

One day when he had a great many on the bank of the creek, a crow, who was white at that time, came up. He asked the crane to give him some fish.

“Wait a while,” said the crane, “until they are cooked.”

But the crow was hungry and impatient, and would not cease bothering the crane, who kept saying, “Wait. Wait.”

Presently the crane turned his back. The crow sneaked up and was just going to steal a fish. The crane turned round, saw him, seized a fish, and hit the crow right across the eyes with it. The crow felt blinded for a few minutes. He fell on the burnt black grass round the fire, and rolled over and over in his pain. When he got up to go away his eyes were white, and the rest of him black, as crows have been ever since.

The crow was determined to pay out the crane for having given him white eyes and a black skin.

So he watched his chance, and one day when he saw the crane fast asleep, he crept quietly up to him holding a fish-bone. This he stuck right across the root of the crane”s tongue.

Then he went off as quietly as he had come; careful, for once, to make no noise.

The crane woke up at last, and when he opened his mouth to yawn he felt like choking. He tried to get the obstruction out of his throat. In the effort he made a queer scraping noise, which was all he could give utterance to. The bone stuck fast.

And to this day the only noise a crane can make is, “gah-rah-gah, gah-rah-gah!” This noise gives the name by which he is known to the blacks.

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