Family & Baby Storytimes,Reviews of Illustrated Folk and Fairytales and Book Suggestions
"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke
"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin
Monday, October 14, 2013
Gidja the Moon
Gidja the Moon by Percy Trezise & Dick Roughsey, 1984, North American edition 1988.
In this legend, Gidja the Moon brings mortality to the humans of the Dreamtime and becomes a celestial body, along with his wife, the Evening Star and his daughter the Morning Star. The story describes how the (super)human Gidja courts and wins his wife, then has and loses their little daughter Lilga to death. Death has been unknown to the first people, who blame Gidja and violently chase him away when he is trying to bury Lilga's body. They go so far as to try to kill him, but he does not die. When they fling him into the air, he becomes the moon that we know, waxing and waning as the days pass. At this time, he curses the people to be mortal.
In the book's introduction, we are told that the moon symbolized death to Australian Aboriginal people, but also Nature's seasonal rebirth and the afterlife. "They believed that Gidja attends the good gate at the portal of the new horizon, the Aboriginal concept of life after death. No one passes through the good gate without Gidja's approval."
Gidja the Moon includes a map of Australia with a detail of Cape York and a glossary with pronunciation of names.