Abstract

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.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6527
Print ISSN
0003-5483
Pages
pp. 305-357
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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