The Koninderie Weedah (The Rainbow Bower Bird)

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Aboriginal Legend  Art is based on, as told by the artist:


There was once a tribe that occupied a beautiful and fertile land with plenty of water, good hunting, and an abundance of reeds, rushes, and long sticks with which to make baskets and spears.  Because of all this, they should have been a happy and contented people.  Sadly, that was not so, because each family had isolated itself from the other families and seldom spoke except to argue and quarrel over the most trivial and unimportant matters.

The spirits were aware of this and hoped that in time the people would realize the foolishness of their ways and begin to behave as other tribes, but this never happened.

Baiame, The Great Spirit, was both disappointed and angry with the ungrateful people because he had provided all that a people should need in order to live a healthy and happy life, so he decided to punish them.

One day when the people were shouting insults at each other Baiame sent a spirit in the form of a Weedah, or a bower bird, to deliver his message.

First, the bird circled the separate camps dotted about the land, calling the people together.  They were so amazed by a bird that spoke their language in such a clear, powerful voice that they obeyed immediately.

When the people were assembled, the bird continued circling them, absorbing the color from the land into its own body until the once lush land was nothing more than dry, sandy desert.

The people stared in disbelief at the bird, which had now become a Koninderie Weedah, or rainbow bower bird.

Oh, what are we to do now,” they wailed “Soon all the animals will leave to find grass and we shall all starve.”

“Not if you behave as one people and work together instead of wasting your time in petty squabbles,” the spirit replied.  He then added, ”You are being punished because you are an ungrateful people who have lost the desire family unity, and that is against all that The Great Spirit has taught your elders.  Until such time as you have regained your love for one another, as he intended, you will be doomed to roam the barren land and travel far in search of meat.”

Then the beautiful creature circled once more, and disappeared.