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Mutchdan - Joel Ngallemetta | Hersquos, Loves, Mutchdan, Bird, Jokes, Night, Hunting, Always | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
Mutchdan - Joel Ngallemetta PDF Print E-mail

Mutchdan is from Kugu language. This language is from Pormpuraaw. Tuch (snake) River area. On the map you look – its Heresy creek.


We all know the Kookaburra, that’s my story. Well, Kookaburra is a morning bird, he laughs in the morning, make jokes during the day, has a rest in the afternoon, makes jokes again, and my other story, is the Frill Lizard; he’s kind and real cheeky, don’t go near him, he gets angry, chases you around, and my other story is the Jabiru; he hunts and gathers, and fishing too. And my other story is the Owl that hoots in the night, and looks for a date or a honey, thats what he looks for in the night for hunting and gathering. Sometimes people don’t like Kookaburra because he’s a spirit bird.

Mutchdan that’s the same one we are talking about, the Kookaburra. Mutchdan means that the Kookaburra, he follows a person who is nearly going to die. He follows his spirit and tracks him down, who is going to die. And he makes the sound of the Kookaburra, like a machinegun “dddrrrrrr, ddddrrrrr”, the Kookaburra sound. He knows the person that is going to die. He’s a spirit bird himself. He follows the Mutch (back of neck) because sooner of later a person will die. Because he’s a spirit bird, he eats the flesh of the person with the sound he makes. And even the maggots. He is a ghost bird.

I named my dog Mutchdan because, people when they love their dog, they usually name them in their language names of animals. Mutchdan loves his name. He wags his tail when I call him. And he’s a good dog. He just waits in the front for his dinner. He’s not a greedy dog. He sits and waits for his lunch. Once when I was eating, when I’m finished, when I’ve pushed the plate where he is sitting, then he eats with me. Mutchdan. And I love him. I give him a big hug. And he’s a cute little dog. Mutchdan.

The special thing about Kookooburra is that he’s a quiet bird, and handsome, and laughs and make jokes, and he’s a special lovely bird, and cute. I’m not scared of him because he is my story. Sometimes you can see him sitting inside your garden fence and he swoops down and gets his lunch and eats lizards, snakes, and rhino beetles. I saw him during the night, hunting beetles. He’s an early bird. He loves to sing a song, and during the day he loves his day rest. And in the afternoon once again he loves his jokes and laughs again.

Mutchdan happens to everybody. He’s a spirit bird.

Frill Lizard is a young, handsome man, he’s always going hunting and gathering and he shares things. Sometimes he gets angry because all people don’t share things with each other, and that’s why he gets angry. Because he’s a man that always shares his goods with others, and when he doesn’t get his returns, he gets angry, because he’s a good man. And he loves to talk with people and being friendly, and likes jokes and laughs and sharing. But do not go near him.

The Jabiru is an old man, he always goes out hunting and gathering. He always goes hunting during the morning and spends the rest of the day fishing. He hunts along the beach or in the river systems and wetlands. He follows the river system from one corner to the next corner but he’s always careful of crocodiles. He looks around where there is lots of fish. And he’s a good old fella. He likes to share his hunting skills with the rest of the younger people. He is a handsome man as well. When he’s finished hunting he always goes home and shares the meat with the friends, the neighbours, and even the families. He tells about his kills to the children and tells stories about himself when he was young.

The animals were human before in the dreamtime stories.

The Owl, minha muku, was a young handsome man who was a cute little thing and he loves his jokes and hoots in the night, and he loves his hunting during the night. He loves eating bugs, beetles, lizards and snakes and he’s a really great hunter. He loves his jokes and he’s a good song man. He loves his laughing during the night and making jokes with his other friends. His catch of the night he will always share with his neighbours and friends. He is a young and handsome man and he hoots in the night and also looks for a date with young women.

Go to to hear an audiocast of Joel telling this story in Wik Mungkan


Dog Names
Thumu Thuka