The Dyirbal peoples of North Queensland believe that at one time the spirit of a departed person could return to visit their relatives. Then one returning spirit saw his own rotting head, which his mother had retained when burying his body. This meant that he must now return permanently to the land of spirits and everyone would follow him when their turn came. This was the origin of death as we know it today. Five versions of this legend were recorded, from three narrators; no one version includes every detail. A similar story was told by the neighboring Yidiñ people. The versions are analyzed, compared, and assessed.