Aside

Ockok the Owl and Wak the Hawk

Once upon a time, in the dreamtime, there was a little owl. His name was Ockok. There was also a little hawk. His name was Wak. Ockok and Wak were brothers. They both had the same mother but they had different fathers. Since they were young, they had lived in different countries. Ockok lived in a country that did not have much food, so he spent most of his time looking for food.

One day, Wak came to visit his brother and said to him, “Ockok, why don’t you come and live in my country? There’s plenty of food there. In my country, there is enough food for both of us.”

Ockok decided to go with his brother, Wak. They lived together in Wak’s country. Every morning, as the sun was just beginning to shine, Wak would wake up his brother and say, “Come on! Time to get up! Off you go! Go into the bush and look for food! There is plenty of food in the bush around here.”

Ockok went into the bush and looked for food all day. One evening, Ockok brought lots of yams back with him. Ockok said, “Look what I’ve got! I’ve got lots of yams! I found them in the bush. Let’s cook them now and eat them!”

“Oh, no!” said Wak. “We can’t eat those yams. Those yams are sacred to my family.” Wak took the yams from Ockok and threw them away.
“Oh, sorry,” said Ockok. “I didn’t know. Tomorrow I’ll go into the bush and look for fish rather than yams.”

The next day, Ockok went out again to look for food. In the evening, he brought fish back with him. But Wak said, “We can’t eat those fish either! Those fish are sacred to my family too.” Wak took the fish from Ockok and threw them away too.

That night, Ockok went to sleep without eating any dinner. In the middle of the night, while Ockok was sound asleep, Wak got up and gathered all the food that he had thrown away. He ate it all and then went back to sleep.

One day, Ockok found out about this. However, he did not like to argue with Wak, so he said, “It is true that we are brothers, but, from now on, I’m going to live by myself.”

Ockok left his brother and found a new place to live by himself. During the day time, Ockok went into the bush to look for food. He found a lizard. That evening, he cooked the lizard and was just about to eat it when his brother, Wak, arrived. Wak said, “Don’t eat that lizard, Ockok! It’s a sacred lizard. Throw it away!”
“This lizard isn’t sacred, Wak. It’s my food. Go away and leave me alone!” said Ockok.
But Wak did not go away! Instead, he bent down and picked up a handful of sand and threw it into his brother’s eyes. Then Wak grabbed the lizard from Ockok and ran into the bush to eat it.

From that time until now, Ockok, the owl, has not been able to see well. Ockok thinks that night and day are the same. That is the reason that he only goes into the bush to look for food at night. If he looks for food in the day time, Wak, his brother will come and grab all his food. Today, all owls hunt for food at night. In the dreamtime, Wak, the hawk man, tried to trick his brother Ockok, the owl man.

(Adapted by: Mark Bassett from: Aboriginal Myths, by Sreten Bozic)

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