Platypus Dreaming: Hades and Persephone

November 16, 2010

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How Platypus Was Born

The Ducks who lived in a secluded river pond seldom left their home for fear of Mulloka, the Water Devil. Among the Ducks was a young female who was contemptuous of the warnings of her elders.

While everyone was busy one morning she floated quietly out into the stream and drifted along until she reached a patch of green grass. She came close to the bank, waddled up the steep slope, and sat down, enjoying her freedom. Unfortunately she had chosen for her resting place the roof of the home of Water Rat.

Hearing noises above his burrow he came out to investigate, and discovered the young Duck. Water Rat was overjoyed, because for a long time he had been lonely in his riverside home. He crept up behind her and whispered, ‘Welcome to my home, my lovely darling. I have waited for you for a long time.’

Duck shrieked, flapped her wings, and struggled towards the river. Water Rat was annoyed. He prodded her with his spear, and dragged her into his burrow. She huddled against the farthest side of the damp, gloomy hole. Her beak opened and shut, but no sound came out.

Water Rat smiled ingratiatingly.

‘You are my prisoner,’ he said, ‘but don’t be afraid. I will be good to you. See how handsome I am! And my heart is even kinder than my face. Live here with me and be my wife.’


Helpless as she was, Duck had no choice but to accept. Her only hope was that she would be able to make her escape when her repulsive husband was asleep, but soon she became aware that there was little chance of returning to her family and friends. Water Rat had made the position very clear.

‘I never sleep during the day,’ he had told her. ‘If you are imagining that you can escape by night, remember Mulloka, the Water Devil! Is it not better to remain with me, my pretty little wife, than to be devoured by Mulloka?’

For several weeks Duck stayed in the burrow, but eventually Water Rat grew careless and allowed her to paddle in the water outside.

One sunny day Duck spent a while feeding on water-weed and insects, and returned to the burrow. As soon as she put her head inside she saw that Water Rat had succumbed to the heat, and was lying curled up and snoring.

She paddled outside and fled up the river. On arrival at her home she was greeted excitedly by her family, and in a few days she had almost forgotten her ordeal.

Presently the time for nest-making and the laying of eggs arrived. The young females hid themselves among the reeds, and before long they floated out, proudly leading the baby ducklings. With them came the young Duck who had been married to Water Rat.

Behind her swam two children … two little Ducks with duck bills and webbed feet, but alas, they had no feathers. Their bodies were covered with the fur of a Water Rat, and they had four webbed feet instead of two. On their hind legs were sharp spikes which looked like the spear of Water Rat.

The poor mother was taunted by her friends, and in shame and despair she left the sheltered billabong and made a new home for her babies far away from her friends. Her children grew up and became the first of the Gay-dari, the tribe of the Platypus.

~ from Aboriginal Myths, Legends & Fables by A.W. Reed

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Platypus as Totemic Ancestor

Platypus comes into our life to teach us ancient lessons that are rooted in our subconscious, and fundamental to our psyche. They tend to be concerned with mysteries that we don’t often think about and may force us through a spiritual murk in order to realise that sometimes we find the greatest wisdoms in the times where we feel like we have the least clarity and need to rely on other senses and talents. We might be preoccupied during this time on death, birth and mortality.

Read more at Wildspeak/Vilturj



One comment

  1. appreciated 😉

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