Crow Song

Marangane © Jacob Stengle 2021

The ancestral Crow man Marangane features in many Tanganekald songs and stories. He is well-known for being a trickster. He creates many features of the land and teaches important lessons, such as fishing techniques. Milerum recorded this song with Norman Tindale in 1938. Tindale wrote down some of the Tanganekald lyrics with a description in English.
AA 338/11/12 Track 26 Norman Barnett Tindale collection
For permission to use this song, please contact the South Australian Museum Archives.

Song 1

(1) Keinpangalaparau gandalo ai
balokangaranga ngeira
geindinja narand ngana ngana
waiyunda nal tunggaranganar
nyeinggamangal garoitj woitj.
(1) This first part of the song tells of Marangane Crow's journey from Maringutu to Kimulung when he was escaping from his enemies. He climbed up and down the country and the jays gave warning of his progress. The Crow was escaping from Magrath Flat, where he had played a dirty trick on his family. This is the story about a trick that he played on them.
Crow cut through the land from Meningie and got onto the Coorong at Pangkeiyangk. He had his spears with him when he arrived. He noticed that it was splendid place and that he could see in all directions from there. He had two big spears but they were parmuri' 'heavy' so he left them behind. He put one on each hill there, Manaritjerang and Pangkeiyangk. From there, he went along the Coorong towards Magrath Flat where his brothers-in-law lived. They had some fish cooked already, so they fed him fish and greens. He was a Clever man, a man with magic powers. The group of them went to Kurumarangk 'Rabbit Island'. The brothers-in-law did not want Crow to catch fish nor walk in the water on the bay at Taldamataingk (the camp there is called Taldarnatarang). They were worried that his tracks would stay in the water for a long time, as there is no current. Being a stranger, the fish might smell him and say teigaran turmula 'there is a strange smell in the bay' and refuse to come in.
They took Crow instead to Kurumarangk where a running stream would take the odour away. Marangane did as asked and went there with them. When they got to the port, they saw a school of fish. 'You stay here' the brothers-in-law said, 'we'll take nets and you can come in with your nganal afterwards.' Crow entered the water as they said, but the water there was full of sharp pointed stones. He konggomaiyuk 'kicked the water' and hurt his foot on a stone. Crow took it in a good spirits but knew that it had been a trick to injure him. Anyway, he did not fill his kirukuni 'kangaroo skin bag' but instead put the fish in a rakuranyi that they lent him.
They told him to fill the basket up and put it on his head. Keinait morok 'pick up' karakoranyen the 'basket' keinangureirdat 'it will be easier' nguruwur 'to carry' tuwulan turongonal 'put on head'! Crow did just that. The brothers-in-law told their sisters tanitjari, the seagull totem women, to watch Marangane when he came back carrying fish, as he might make trouble. Some children even went to keep an eye on him.
The brothers-in-law scaled and cooked lot of fish for Marangane. They sent word to him to come to a place near their camp. He could not come to the main camp because his karingopali 'mother-in-law' was there.
Traditionally, a karingi 'son-in-law' must not look at his mother-in-law, nor speak with her. As soon as she sees him she would pornang kulgul 'cover her head'. If this happens, the son-in-law had better go put his face on the ground to get some witchetty grubs and mulduki 'pig face' and eat a lot of them, then gurgle them in his mouth and spit them out. Then, he can eat the first lot of fish without harming the fishing ground. Strangers must also do this ritual to avoid harming the fishing ground.
Go right back and get keintuli 'a herb' to eat with your fish they told Crow. He rushed away and brought some back there just as the sun was setting. The fish was cooked. Crow pounded up the keintuli, ready for eating. He ate a good supper of this. He also brought peng-pengani 'a shoulder full' (around 6 dozen) of wapai 'a rabbit-like marsupial' back to the camp. He took most of those to his brothers-in-law. They liked them. They ate them and asked for more. He went out the next day, cooked some out in the scrub, and brought them back all cooked. He gave them a real feast. Yaronggand! 'You had better stay and get us another feast' they said.
There is a long lagoon or swamp out there which forms a point surrounded by water some miles inland from Magrath Flat. By burning scrub, one could drive the animals on to this point at Mareingutu. Crow did just that and got a big lot of wapai. But the brothers-in-law were never satisfied.
'I must have someone to go with me for the last hunting trip before I go away.' He said to them. 'No! It might be bad for the fish if you go out there' they said. So, Crow asked if he could he take his pick of his brother-in-law's two wives for help? Or his children? Both requests were refused. Crow was eventually allowed to take his kareingi 'mother-in-law' to help him hunt. 'Yes. She's strong and can stand the heat' the brothers-in-law said.
Crow made a vow that he would only signal to his kareingi from a long way off, so as to avoid speaking with her. She didn't like it, but she had to go with him because the brothers-in-law insisted.
While out for the hunt, Crow started the fire on one side, and the mother-in-law had to join the fires together. Crow had to sing the wind to make it blow in one direction.
There were times when he had to go near his mother-in-law, like when they were cooking at the ovens. He carried all the game to one place and sat down to cook it. He started to talk to her. She was fine woman who followed the rules, and she did not answer. He got ready to return with the full baskets. He said 'you'd better consort with me before we go.' She refused. 'It's hard enough to talk to you' she said. But Marangane forced her. She was headstrong and said, 'I'll tell someone what you have done.' She left her share of the game and ran away to tell someone about what had happened. However, Crow killed her at Mareingutu. There is now a clear space without mallee there (of around 5 acres) which Crow made after he killed her. Mareingutu is a place where the people of the back country have a corroborree.
The first thing Crow thought of after killing her was to clean the country. He meant to pretend that he had been ambushed by the Wilaruki, that the woman was killed, and he had only just escaped. He put camps up for the supposed enemy people. 'That's when they got around us. The iyiri 'mob' who were on a killing expedition got us here' was what he planned to say, and he put the marks on the ground to prove it. He did not return home until tjintangali guruwi 'the middle of the night'.
He had wounds on him from his encounter with the woman. He told his family that he was scratched where a spear had grazed his shoulder, and that another spear had passed through his leg. Crow said that he had hit the iyiri, but that they had overpowered him. That night he didn't say much but said he would show them the tracks next day. When the brothers-in-law saw the fake tracks of the supposed ambush, they were sure that Crow was the killer. He had done it as revenge because of the stones that he had hurt his feet on at Kurumarangk while fishing with them. They decided to kill him. 
The family buried their mother where she lay. Her pumi 'grave' is still there, right out on the flat with a ridge all around it. The place is now called Punai Pungkungalatar 'grave of the killed one.' They buried her the next day. They covered the grave pit with bark sticks (yacca sticks), with ngamowurunyi, and covered it all with sand.
The second taritjari 'seagull' brother dug the grave down to a depth of 1.5 -2 metres. Marangane was the last to have a turn in the hole, 'I'll finish it off' he said. The taritjari brothers called out to him 'what about the sides? Dig in a little on the side.'
'What's that smell?' sang out Marangane 'it's the smell of children burning panpandi (a tree like a pine, with smelly wood).' The brothers-in-law said noyilamp 'make the hole wider at the hips.' Marangane put his head into the corner to dig. He looked up just in time to see a jagged spear coming down on him. They wakanam 'speared him', one from each side. Crow pushed the spear points aside with his hand. The dust raised by the spear blows concealed him as he got up. Great rocks flew up and hit the brothers-in-law in the face. The larmi 'dust' rose up, and Crow escaped.
They gave chase but he got away. They followed him into a scrub. They ran over the hills and he passed them disguised in a shadow. They were chasing his pangari 'shadow'. Crow went to Woods Well to a place called Wakarak then went inland to Tulangung (Tolmers Well).After drinking at Tulanggung he went straight ahead in the scrub, until he came to Wialapiang. He camped at Puntarannyang and killed a tulatji 'toolache wallaby' (now extinct).
Early in the morning he left again, travelling along the low ground. Crow thought 'I will look from a hill to see how far I've gone.' So, he went to the hill Keimulung. He made a spring right under the hill. Then he went on to Marpuneimund where he sat down for a long time and made boomerangs of blackwood. He straightened them by heating them here.

Song 2

(2) Mardjinyenggul monolan
nurkunyeiri nardjin yenggul
monolan dulan anganan
minyan nangola peirit ai paramangalarnd
palepangalat nanakangal taramala.
The second part of the song tells of Marangane's journey as far as Salt Creek.

Song 3

(3) Tuldangana ngawand witin-witin
Tuldangana ngawand agalayolnii
-karalar lawur moro moratani
-karalar lawur gawa tuldun
Kawuntulun were the Crow's nangari (sister's sons). They called Marangane kawu. They lived at Beachport. The rocks in the water go out nearly a kilometre. During the low tide it is a good place to put out baskets and nets which are quickly filled with crayfish, mullet, snapper and butterfish.