The Legend of Weedah Echoes of Deceit

Weedah the Mocking Bird

From Flames to Feathers The Transformation of Weedah the Trickster

A compelling story from Australian Indigenous folklore that captures the cunning and downfall of Weedah, a trickster with a penchant for illusion and betrayal. This tale unfolds in a meticulously crafted faux village, where Weedah uses his voice-mimicking prowess to ensnare and eliminate unsuspecting passersby. His reign of terror is challenged by Mullyan the eagle hawk, culminating in a dramatic confrontation that reshapes their destinies. This story is rich with themes of deception, justice, and transformation, offering a profound reflection on the consequences of malevolence and the power of cunning against evil.

Australian Legendary Tales

Anthology of 31 folklore stories from the Noongahburrah tribe of New South Wales

  • Will educate and fascinate readers across a broad spectrum of ages.
  • Cultural heritage of Indigenous Australians from the late 19th century.

Purchase your eBook copy of Australian Legendary Tales and start exploring these enchanting stories wherever you are. Buy now and begin your journey through Australia’s rich indigenous heritage.

Weedah the Mocking Bird

Weedah, a cunning trickster, was playing an elaborate prank on a tribe living near him. He had built more than twenty grass nyunnoos (humpies) and lit fires before each to create the illusion of a thriving camp. Moving from one nyunnoo to another, Weedah would mimic a baby’s cry, a child’s laughter, a maiden’s song, a man’s corrobboree (dance), an elder’s quavering voice, and an old woman’s shrill tone. His imitations were so swift and convincing that passersby would believe a large tribe inhabited the camp.

Weedah’s sinister motive was to lure lone person into his camp and kill them, gradually claiming the surrounding territory as his own. When a hunter, separated from his companions, heard the chorus of voices, curiosity would draw him to investigate. Peering into the seemingly populated camp, the stranger would see only Weedah and approach him, perplexed.

Weedah would feign ignorance, claiming the wind in the balah trees and the laughter of the gouggourgahgah (kookaburras) were to blame for the mysterious voices. As he spoke, he would edge the stranger closer to a blazing fire. In a swift motion, Weedah would seize the unsuspecting victim and hurl him into the flames. This treachery continued until the local clans began to dwindle.

Mullyan, the eagle hawk, grew suspicious and vowed to unravel the mystery behind the disappearances. When his cousin Beeargah failed to return, Mullyan tracked his path to Weedah’s camp. As he approached, he heard the now-familiar medley of voices. Entering the camp, he confronted Weedah, who denied any knowledge of the missing tribesmen.

Mullyan, sensing deception, cleverly mentioned the tracks leading into the camp but none leaving. As Weedah attempted to lure him towards the fire, Mullyan realized the flames held the key to the mystery. Feigning ignorance, he allowed Weedah to guide him closer. Just as Weedah prepared to strike, Mullyan seized him, declaring,

“As you served Beeargah and my friends, so shall I serve you!” With powerful force, he hurled Weedah into the raging fire.

Mullyan hastened home to share his discovery with the tribes. In the distance, he heard a thunderous clap – not from the sky, but from the bursting of Weedah’s head. From the smoldering remains rose a bird, Weedah the mocking bird, bearing a hollow in the back of its head where the man’s skull had split open.

To this day, Weedah crafts grass playgrounds and darts through them, mimicking every voice he has ever heard, from a wailing child to a laughing woman, a mewing cat to a barking dog. Thus, he earned his name, Weedah, the mocking bird – a reminder of the trickster’s fate and the price of his malevolence.

Adapted from Australian Legendary Tales. Buy the eBook