By: Mary Grant Bruce (1878-1958)
Mary Grant Bruce was an Australian children's writer who spent one year collecting Aboriginal stories in Gippsland - a part of Victoria which it is thought had a dense population of the early Australians. Sadly, now there are no tribal people living, though their descendants are still around. This book contains 13 stories of the Gunaikurnai people, as told by their elders to the author. From the preface:
Year by year the old black tribes are dying out, and many of their legends and beliefs are dying with them. These legends deal with the world as the blacks knew it; with the Bush animals and birds; the powers of storm, flood, fire, thunder, and magic, and the beings who they thought controlled these powers; with the sun, moon and stars; and with the life and death of men and women.
The folktales of a people are the story of its soul, and it would be a pity if the native races of our country were to vanish altogether before we had collected enough of their legends to let their successors know what manner of people lived in Australia for thousands of years before the white man came. (From the Preface by Mary Grant Bruce with a little help from annise)