Long ago there was ‘a rough tough Crocodile Man’ who had one thing nobody else had — Fire and ‘Fire was his alone’. The other animals begged him to share it but Crocodile Man just laughed and scared them away snarling and snapping his jaws, ‘I’m Boss for Fire’.
In a nearby tree lived Bird Woman. She could never get close to fire and had no light or warmth in the dark and ate her food raw. She pleaded with Crocodile Man to share Fire with the other animals and with Man so they could cook their food, but Crocodile Man growled that they must eat their food raw. Bird Woman vowed that if she had Fire she would share it with everyone.
Time passed, but Bird Woman kept watching Crocodile Man until one day Crocodile Man got very sleepy. Bird Woman saw her chance and flew down and snatched up the firesticks and flew high in the air. Bird Woman flew around the country putting fire into the heart of every tree, sharing Fire with everyone. Then she did a little dance and put the firesticks into her tail and became the beautiful Rainbow Bird.
Rainbow Bird is a re-telling of a Dreaming story from the Dalabon people of Central Arnhem Land. Australian-born author, Eric Maddern, learnt this story whilst working in Community Arts in Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.
Adrienne Kennaway is an illustrator noted for creating clear watercolour-and-ink art that reflects her extensive research, her interest in wildlife, and her love of the vast and varied African landscape having grown up in Kenya. In 1987, she won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for ‘Crafty Chameleon’ written by Mwenye Hadithi.