A Traditional Story of Mangkapiljinha, Edith Springs

Arabana people talk with awe of two springs near Mt Margaret, one bright green, the other red like blood. The red spring is associated with a deadly curse that belongs to the Fish and Crane history and nothing will grow around it.

Nearby are said to be rocks that look like girls, a locality known as Thita-puntakanha, ‘Bushes Broken’. The crane had become so distracted by his obscenities with his daughters in law that he let go of the bushes with which they were sweeping the water for the two giant Yellow-bellies and the fish escaped. As a result of this a curse is uttered which belongs to the Mangkapilji spring: it makes people swell up and die.

Some say that the curse can be turned back by means of the right incantations, but no Arabana person will go anywhere near the Mangkapilji spring. They say the water is undrinkable in any case.

[From Heritage of the Mound Springs: the Assessment of Aboriginal Cultural Significance. Dr Luise Hercus & Dr Peter Sutton in association with Kinhill Stearns, South Australian Department of Environment & Planning, 1986. See also FOMS Newsletter No. 4 August 2007 for additional information on the Fish and Crane history]