The story of
Oonah - The Platypus

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The Tasmanian Aboriginal Story, Oonah - The Platypus, tells the story behind this creature's unusual appearance.

Moihernee was the great and powerful spirit who ruled over the whole land. He created the Rageorapper to help him punish any creatures who behaved badly toward others.

Unfortunately the Rageorapper sometimes went too far in its actions. Realising this, Moihernee created Rala the white frog to live on Rageorapper's tongue. Rala's job was to control the Rageorapper and make sure that it did not overstep the mark. And indeed Rageorapper was afraid of Rala!

Woora the duck and his furry friend Lurli lived by a creek where they had plenty of food in the form of frogs. Between them they had worked out a clever method for catching their prey. They were very successful. Very few frogs escaped.

The Rageorapper and Rala came by the creek one day. Realising that his beloved cousins were being eaten by Woora and Lurli, Rala called upon the Rageorapper to stop them.

Rageorapper was so terrified of Rala that he picked up Woora and Lurli and tore them into pieces. Rala scolded the Rageorapper harshly, exclaiming that there was no need to kill the two creatures. He ordered the Rageorapper to put the pieces of the creatures back together again.

The Rageorapper got to work immediately. It clumsily grabbed all the pieces and tried to shove them back together again. It gathered Lurli's furry body, Woora's webbed feet, Woora's now flattened beak and Lurli's front feet and put them all together. Rala found the resulting creature to be strange looking indeed!

But at least the creature was alive. And Rala considered it to be beautiful in its own special way. Rala figured that this new creature might be less greedy. He stroked the new creature and called it Oonah the platypus.

And this is why Oonah (or the platypus) has its unusual but beautiful appearance.

Source of information on this page:
Taraba: Tasmanian Aboriginal Stories, Hobart, DECCD, 1

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