Gopiyawuywalaŋawuy Dhäwu

Story of Gopiyawuy

This is an old time story about a man who lived on Howard Island. Howard Island is across the water from Elcho Island.


A long time ago there lived an old man on an island called Howard Island.
His name was Gopiyawuy, and he had many wives. He used to go hunting to catch fish, kangaroos, and other animals that lived in the bush, and also stingray and turtle. His wives would go and gather oysters.

One day he went out hunting for kangaroo. He caught a kangaroo and took it home to his wives and children.
He put the kangaroo down and asked his wives to make a fire and cook it. They cooked the kangaroo and ate it.

One day early in the morning he woke up and asked two of his wives to go and get water from the billabong.
So they went and got their bags made of paperbark, and went on their way to get some water.
They got to the billabong and got some water and then headed back.

When they got closer to the camp, Gopiyawuy got his spear and speared his youngest wife.
The young wife fell down dead on the ground, and the other wife started crying for her youngest sister.
They took her to the camp and at the camp the other wives cried for the young girl, and Gopiyawuy just sat there without saying anything.

Then they made a shelter to put the dead body on and they moved to another camp.
At this other camp, the old man Gopiyawuy waited for all the other relatives of the dead woman to come and get him. Finally they came to get the old man. They painted themselves up with white clay and then they sent one person to tell the old man that they were waiting to see him.

But he didn’t go, instead he sent his son and nephew to go and fight them.
And here are all the relatives spearing them, but their spears missed.
When the fight was over they went back to their camp.
And they lived happily with their families and the old man didn’t fight.

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