Emu and Turkey
This story concerns the gajalbu Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) and bardurra Turkey (also called ‘wild turkey’ or ‘bustard’, Ardeotis australis) who discuss which of them should fly.
Stories of Emu and Turkey (or Emu and Brolga in eastern Australia) are found across Australia, as reported in Ronald M. Berndt & Catherine H. Berndt (1989) The Speaking land: myth and story in Aboriginal Australia, pp. 400-401. Melbourne: Penguin Books.
Emu (left) and Turkey (right)
Gajalbu bardurra mandhardagayi gumbaja wanggaarni. Wandhagalarra nhurra. Gajalbu wanggaja bardurrala. Wagararrira nhurra jirndingga. Gajalbu wagararrinyja jirndingga. Maranyjirrinyja barlgarrala. Bardurradhu wanggaja nhurra jaligurdi ngarda nhurra wanarra. Ngarda nhurra wagararrinyja jirndingga wanarra. Gajalbu wanggaja. Nhurralbu gaji jirndingga wagararrima jaligurdi. Wagararrinyja jirndingga. Nhurra bagalya. Ngarda nhurra bulhu. Ngadhadhu wanarra. Nhurra gumbama wagararriji wamburrajaga wirlgajaga wagararrirarringu. Ngadha barlgarrala gumbira. Bardurra wanggaja. Gaji nhurra ngarlburrima. Gajalbu ngarlburrinyja. Bardurradhu wanggaja. Nhurraburra gumbama barlgarrala. Gurlbaru nhurrala warndinha ngarradhanyurru. Nhurra yinha wirlga bulhurlalgarru. Ngadha gumbira wagararriji. Gaji nhurra ngarlburrima. Gajalbu wanggaja. Ngarlburrinyja. Warri. Nhurra wagararrima jirndingga. Bagalya. Dhudhunggu nhurranha bajalgangu. Ngadhaburra galardidhu ngarlburrirarringu. Bayalbarru bula wanggaarnirrinyja.
Emu and Turkey were talking. “How will you be?” Emu was talking to Turkey. “Will you fly in the sky?” Emu flew in the sky. He landed on the flat ground. Turkey said: “Friend your legs are long. Your legs were long when you flew in the sky.” Emu said: “Now you try to fly in the sky, friend.” Turkey flew in the sky. Emu said: “You are good. Your legs are short. Mine are long. You be a flier with feathers on your wings to fly. I will live on the flat ground.” Turkey said: “You try to run.” Emu ran. Then Turkey said: “You should live on the flat ground. The dust rises up behind you. I will make these wings of yours short. I will be the flier.” “You try to run”, Emu said. So Turkey ran. “No. You fly in the sky. That’s good. The dogs might bite you. I’ll be the fast runner” said Emu. That’s all they said to one another.