To tell only part of the story

Haida

Quite often, [in Aboriginal Australia,] fragments [of stories] would be told, referring to places or to characters without expanding on the actions or following through the story-line. A child travelling through the country of some close relative (mother, father, grandparent, for instance) might be told the name of special site and of its spirit-presence, or a wife might be given such information on her first visit to her husband’s country. These items could probably be expanded later into more complete accounts. They were a vital part of the overall process of teaching and learning and knowing about myth-stories and their context in any given region.

 

Roland M. Berndt and Catherine Berndt, The Speaking Land: Myth and Story in Aboriginal Australia, Victoria: Penguin Books, 1989 p. 9
Illustration inspired by a design of the Haida people

 

 

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