Stock Works 21

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38 DN090/16
Dennis Nona Dhogai Zug #16/35 2005
Linocut handcoloured Image size:
1080 x 2605mm, Paper: 1180mm x 2705mm

This legend originated from Badu Island situated in the Torres Straits. There are two islands off Badu called Zurath Island and Kulbaikulbai Island. On Zurath Island there lived a Dhogai (witch) and on Kulbaikulbai Island there were people living there. Ocassionally Badu Island warriors would row their canoes to Kulbaikulbai to plant their vegetable gardens. One delightful day one of the warriors saw turtle tracks on Zurath and asked the people if they would like to go and gather the eggs. Most of the people refused because of the Dhogai living there. A man called Gabu Kai Kai said he was not scared and rowed his baethae (half of a broken canoe) to Zurath, where the Dhogai was. When he arrived at Zurath he saw an enormous tree with ripe haubau (fruit) and instead of gathering the turtle eggs he decided to gather the fruit. The fruit belonged to the Dhogai who hadwaited weeks for the it to ripen. The Dhogai would wait for the fruit to fall then gather them from the ground. Gabu Kai Kai did not know this and collected some of the fruit in his basket. He then decided to climb the habau tree and pick more fruit. One morning the Dhogai was very hungry and knowing that her habau fruit would be ripe she walked down from her sakai (sleeping cave) to eat some. The Dhogai looked under the tree for the fruit but only saw the footprints left by Gabu Kai Kai in the sand. Gabu Kai Kai heard the Dhogai say, 'Who stole my habau'. He stayed silently in the branches but the Dhogai looked up and saw the thief with a basket full of habaual. Then the Dhogai said to Gabu Kai Ka 'What are you doing with my haubau? To pay me back you have to throw me down one haubau.' The Dhogai took one step and ate the haubau and said, 'I want another one.' So he threw another down to the Dhogai. The Dhogai took two steps and ate the haubau. The Dhogai wanted another and another until he threw the last haubau as far away as he could. While the Dhogai ran after the haubau Gabu Kai Kai quickly jumped down from the tree and sprinted to his baetae and rowed as fast as he could back to Kulbaikulbai Island. The Dhogai swam after him but was too slow and returned back to Zurath Island. Gabu Kai Kai arrived back home and told his people about the Dhogai. So they all decided to make a plan to kill the Dhogai and go to Zurath Island the next day. That afternoon they prepared all their weapons for the next morning. Early in the morning they rowed their canoes furiously. When they arrived they went up to the sakai (big caves) and saw the Dhogai sleeping in one of the caves. One of the warriors threw his wap (harpoon) at the Dhogai and speared her left arm. She jumped up and ran out of the cave. They chased her and she tried to bury herself in the ground but the ground was too hard. She then ran down to the beach where the sand was soft and buried herself. They quickly chased her and cut off her right arm and breasts. Gabu Kai Kai and the warriors rowed back to Kulbaikulbai Island and were overjoyed with their performance. The old people told them to throw the breasts and the arm in the sea, but the young boy said, 'No, we'll tie them on the tree and practice spearing them for the afternoon.' Later that afternoon one of the boys took the breasts out into the sea but left the arm on the tree. That evening the Dhogai came while everybody was asleep, searching for her arms and breasts. As she searched among the trees she chanted over and over again: 'Come to me my arm' and finally she found her arm on the tree. She snatched her arm off the tree and placed it back on her shoulder. The booming noise, as she replaced her arm, made the villagers awaken, but she couldn't find her breasts and swam back home to Zurath Island. The next day an old man asked the young boy if he threw the left arm in the sea. He said 'No, only the breasts.' The old man said, 'That is why there was a big noise last night.' The Dhogai came back to take her arm. Today you can see her breasts which turned into a rock between Zurath and Kulbaikulbai Islands.

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