The Meamei, the Pleiades, were the owners of fire. During cold weather the people came to them and begged for the fire, but they refused to share it with anyone. Among those who were rejected was Wahn the Crow. He discovered that they were fond of eating white ants and spent a great deal of the day looking for them. Wahn caught several poisonous snakes and sealed them in a termite nest. He hurried back to the Meamei and told them he had discovered a huge termite hill. The seven sisters followed him and when they reached the termite hill broke it down with the yam sticks. To their dismay the poisonous snakes glided out and darted at them. The Meamei struck at them with their sticks, till the ends broke off and the fire fell on the ground. Wahn quickly snatched the fire and carried it away.

Fire was now in the possession of Crow, who guarded it as jealously as its previous owners. He told people to come to him with food and he would cook it for him, but always kept the choicest pieces for himself. At last the people complained to Baiame. The Great Spirit was angry when he heard what Wahn was doing and told the people not to be afraid but to take away the fire by force. So they gathered and rushed Wahn's camp. Wahn threw burning logs at the attackers to drive them off, but the people picked them up and carried them away to start their own camp fires. Baiame further cursed the Crow, so that he would be black as the charred wood of his fire. He then pointed at Wahn, whose body began to shrink; his legs became little sticks and his face elongated, terminating in a beak, and feathers sprouted from his arms.



  • Reed, A. W. (1965). Myths and Legends of Australia. Sydney: A. H. and A. W. Reed, pp. 87-89.