Min-na-wee (Why the crocodile rolls)


As the last rays of the beautiful red-pink sunset on the small camp and the sweeping coastal plain, all the little girls played, enjoying themselves.

All the young boys were with their fathers, learning the ways of manhood. The mothers were preparing for the evening meal. There was fresh fish cooking on the coals, with freshly-caught mud crabs and mussels.

Everyone in the group was contented, the season had been good for them. Plenty of fresh food. Everyone except little Min-na-wee was happy.

Min-na-wee was different. From a little girl, Min-na-wee liked to cause trouble amongst the other little girls. Min-na-wee’s face was so hard and scaly-looking, it mostly revealed her hatred.

The old people knew of Min-na-wee’s efforts to start trouble, which led to fights. Not only among the little girls, but also their mothers.

The old people warned Min-na-wee’s mother that if she did not stop Min-na-wee making humbug, then something terrible would happen to her.

Years passed and Min-na-wee grew into a young woman, but she still liked to cause trouble. One day all the young women, including Min-na-wee, had to prepare to be selected as brides. Min-na-wee stood in a line with all the other girls. The old people pointed out which men were to marry which women. By the end of the ceremony, Min-na-wee was left standing alone. She had not been chosen to become a wife.

Min-na-wee’s hatred grew stronger and stronger. She caused more and more trouble in the camp. Fights were breaking out every day amongst the tribe. Min-na-wee sat back in her little humpy and watched. She was pleased with herself.

The Elders of the tribe agreed that Min-na-wee must be punished for what she had done.

Min-na-wee had little knowledge of the tribe’s decision. As she approached the women to cause another fight, she was grabbed by the men and rolled around and around in the dirt.

She managed to escape and run in to the edge of the sea where she called on the evil spirits to change her into a vicious animal so she could stage a revenge attack on her tribe. Min-na-wee was changed into a large crocodile and slid into the muddy waters, awaiting her prey.

The tribespeople thought no more of Min-na-wee and carried out their daily events. As they wandered along the banks, hunting for mud crabs, Min-na-wee lay waiting. One of the men who had taken part in Min-na-wee’s punishment jumped into the water. Min-na-wee crept up behind and grabbed him. She told him she would roll him around and around, as he had done to her. Over and over, she continued to roll him in the water, until she was satisfied he was punished enough.

To this day, Min-na-wee’s spirit still remains with the crocodiles and that is why every time that a crocodile catches its prey, it always will roll around and around in the water.