Adambara and Artapudapuda by Marvyn McKenzie
This digital photograph is my second attempt at trying to portray and tell one of the traditional stories of my Adnyamathanha Yura Wadumathanha (Ancestors) through my digital photography.
The following story for my photograph of Adambara and Artapudapuda is about why today a Yura body remains in the grave to rot and it is only his Wannapi (Spirit) that rises from the grave after death.
The story explains the burial custom of relatives visiting the grave of a deceased love one three days after a burial in order to look for the signs that show that the Wannapi of the deceased has left the body and grave. The usual sign that visiting relatives will look for on the grave is the appearance of a small hole at the head of the grave.
The story explains what happens to a deceased person’s Wannapi after their death.
The story also explains the why now the two types of invertebrates act the way they do today and towards one another.
Adambara is the general name for Spiders.
Artapudapuda is generally considered to be a bright gold coloured creature about four centimetres long and with long feelers and is yet to be scientifically identified. The name Artapudapuda means ‘rotten grass tree’ and this name is in reference to its general appearance where it is said to resemble ‘an orange looking fragment of a dried and fallen grass tree (Arta). It is said that the Artapudapuda attacks spiders.
The picture I have used for the Artapudapuda in my photo may not be an actual photograph of the creature but I believe it may come close to what the creature may look like (well in my own imagination at least) and anyway I needed a picture to represent him for the story and decided that this was the best that I could find and take.
Wadu Wadumathanha Yura Ngankini Nguthuna Muda.
One day Adambara the Spider and Artapudapuda sat down together to have a meeting to decide together the final outcome of what should happen when Adnyamathanha Yura became so sick that they died.
Artapudapuda told Adambara that they should agree that when a Yura died, his body should be placed within a grave dug into the earth and it should remain their forever to rot and decay. After three days only his Wannapi (Spirit) should be permitted to rise up from the grave. The Wannapi should then begin its journey via Vukarnaawi (the water/river/sea of the dead) to Wildu Mantaawi (Wedge-tail Eagle Foot), the Southern Cross, which is the gateway to Wikurutana, our heaven.
Adambara thought about Artapudapuda idea and suggestion for a long period of time and then Adambara turned to Artapudapuda and said this:
‘No Artapudapuda! I do not think this is what should happen. Instead when a Yura dies we should wrap him up in some of my web and place his body in the grave that has a trapdoor at its entrance.
The trapdoor should then be closed and remain closed for three days. While the body of the Yura is in the trapdoor grave a healing process of his body should take place during the three day period.
After the three days have past the Yura should then be able to come back out of the trapdoor grave to live amongst again with his body renewed and refreshed, just as the butterfly comes out of its cocoon.
This is what I want to happen for all Adnyamathanha Yura when they die.’
Artapudapuda and Adambara then began a long argument over their very different ideas and opinions about what should happen to a Yura when he dies and is placed in a grave within the earth.
Eventually Adambara got worn out and sick from the constant long arguments with Artapudapuda and decided to let the idea and opinion of Artapudapuda to become the accepted final outcome of what should happen after to a Yura when he dies and he is placed in the grave.
Artapudapuda was very happy for winning the argument but Adambara was very sad over allowing Artapudapuda to get his way. Both Artapudapuda and Adambara then went their separate ways.
After little while later Artapudapuda began to lose some of his Yura relatives through sickness and death and Artapudapuda began to immediately miss them very much after he and his family buried them in the grave and he and his relatives truly wished that they could see them again.
Artapudapuda eventually started getting very upset over the loss of his relatives and he then began to feel very ashamed in front of his other relatives because they knew that it was he who was the one solely responsible for their relatives not being permitted to return from the grave to their family and people.
Soon Artapudapuda could no longer bear to face his living relatives as more and more of their Yura relatives began to die so he then decided to leave his relatives forever and to live and hide himself under the bark of a Wida (Red River Gum) tree.
During this period of great loss and mourning of the Yura people the relatives of the dead began to praise and boast about Adambara who had tried to do the right thing by all the people. Adambara was not ashamed as Artapudapuda was and so he decided to stay out in the open, in front of his Yura relatives, to remind them forever of what could have been the final outcome of his Yura relatives when they died and were placed into the grave.
From his hiding place Artapudapuda saw how all his relatives were treating Adambara with pride and respect and he became angry and resentful towards Adambara. From that time on he decided to hunt and kill Adambara.
The Moral of the Story
When Adnyamathanha Yura told stories there were always lessons to learn from them.
Behind every story was a teaching of both our laws, customs and traditions, and how we must maintain our relationships with one another, within our family and community.
My own personal interpretation of the moral behind the story of Adambara and Artapudapuda are:
The story warns us not to rush into making decisions, especially if it is a decision that may affect our families and future descendants.
The story teaches us that when making a decision about a problem or issue we need to give it a lot of thought and time before making it.
The story teaches us that while we may think we are making the right decision we may find out later that it was the wrong decision and we may become ashamed and guilty about it.
We may also come to hate ourselves and others who had argued against the decision.