Marlujarrakurlu : The Two Kangaroos single work   prose   dreaming story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1994 1994
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  • 'Translators' note:

    The myth of the two kangaroos is a major men's initiation myth, not only for the Warlpiri people but also for the Arrernte and Pintupi people in the area to the south, mentioned briefly by Jakamarra. This version of the story is one told for an audience of young people including children. Although the basic outline of the events of the myth is present, what is esoteric and secret is not. However, this is more than compensated for in the charm of the delivery for a young audience, in which the power of the kangaroos, creators of water places, is tempered with humour and an affectionate characterization.

    The section of the narrative in which the kangaroo creates another kangaroo, a companion, out of the rat and then teaches it to hop properly, is an innocent and emblematic way of mirroring the much more serious matter of the creation and education of a man in the course of his initiation. Thus, one of the features of Warlpiri traditional narrative becomes clear; as young people growing up are deemed ready to hear more and more powerful versions of central myths, so the narrators of these stories are able to select the material to include for a particular occasion, and also choose and appropriate style. The proliferation of parallel incidents in the myths also makes this possible.'

    (Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, pp. 51, 53)

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Last amended 1 Apr 2010
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