The story of
Taraba - The Tasmanian Devil


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The Tasmanian Aboriginal Story, Taraba - The Tasmanian Devil, explains why the creature looks and sounds as it does today.

It used be handsome, with large eyes and soft black curls on a swinging tail.

So what happened to cause this to change?

According to the story, the creature sought out baby animals for its prey. It would wait until the coast was clear, and the parents were away. Then it would sneak in and make off with the small babies.

It soon had a reputation for being greedy, lazy and cowardly. It was known as a nasty animal.

There were powerful Spirit helpers who lived in the bush. They helped look after the creatures in the wild. As you can imagine, they were not very happy with the nasty animal.

One day, the nasty animal made a great mistake. While trying to grab some babies, it found it was reaching into the home of the Spirit helpers instead.

It was in hot soup! On discovering what the nasty animal was trying to do, the Spirit helpers began to scold it.

This caused the nasty animal's nose to become a long snout. The large eyes became smaller. It lost its lovely fur. It developed claws on its paws and the curls fell away from its tail. Clematis blossoms fell on to its chest, causing it to become white in colour.

The Spirit helpers said that from then on, it would be named Devil. With the changes in appearance, it would not be so easy for it to hide in the dark any more. Its snarl would warn animals of its approach.

And the Tasmanian Devil has been this way ever since.

Source of information on this page:
Taraba: Tasmanian Aboriginal Stories, Hobart, DECCD, 1997.


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