Why the Kookaburra Laughs is a Wiradjuri Creation story, from New South Wales, retold with permission, by Pauline McLeod

Since The First Time, you should never laugh at a Kookaburra, as he heralds in the new day, for he wakens the Sky People, who start the sun, every morning.

WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG, there was no sun in the sky as we have today. There were only the stars and moon, that shone on the earth. And the stars were the campfires of all the Sky People.

Everyday, the Sky People gathered the wood they needed, and every night, they began building their campfires. When you look up into the night sky and you see all those little lights, what you are seeing, are the campfires of all the Sky People.

Down on earth, everyone lived in darkness. It was a darkness, they did not like at all. This caused them to pick fights for no reason at all, just to have a fight. For example, the Emu and the Bush Turkey were long time enemies. They fought each other all the time.

The Bush Turkey would go over to the Emu’s nest, find an egg, and throw it up into the air. He’d watch the egg go up into the air and come down in an arc, crashing to pieces on the earth. And the Bush Turkey did this for no reason whatsoever; just to have a fight.

To retaliate, the Emu would grab the Bush Turkey, pick him up by his neck, swing him around, and let him go, sending him flying through the air.

Then, the Bush Turkey would run over to the Emu’s nest and pick up another egg, throw it up into the air, watch it go up, then come down in an arc and crash to pieces on the earth.

One day, the Bush Turkey picked up the Emu’s biggest egg. He threw it up into the air with all his might. This time, instead of circling up into the air and coming back in an arc to smash on the ground, this egg kept on going. It flew higher and higher, up into the air. The egg went so high, that it landed on a pile of wood, the Sky People had gathered. The egg cracked open, on the wood and a little fire started.

To read the rest of this story, click here to buy Gadi Mirrabooka – book of Australian Dreamtime indigenous stories