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Kondole

by Peter Kohler
There is a charming myth from southern Australia which tells of a blistering hot day at the time of the Ceremonies. The performers realize they have no means of providing light for the evening rituals, so they invite Kondole to join them, hoping that he, the sole owner of fire, will bring it with him. Kondole, however, is a mean and disagreeable fellow; he hides the fire in the bush and arrives without it.

Angered by his selfishness, the performers consider various ways of forcing him to retrieve his fire and share it with them. But Kondole is a big bruiser and nobody is courageous enough to deal with him. Finally though, one of the performers completely freaks out with rage and throws a spear which penetrates Kondole's skull. Instantly all the people of the ceremony are transfigured into creatures: some become kangaroos, some opossums, others smaller critters; a few take wing and rise into the air, while others splash into the sea as various kinds of fish. Kondole, the largest of them all, becomes a whale who, ever since, has spouted water from the spear-wound in his head....


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