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from the March 2011 issue


Long, long ago Thangara came
from the East,
dangerous, half horse, half man.
He roamed the land eating men.

Magicians gathered
to find the wisest among them:
they threw
their magic crystals at a tree.
One magician opened the tree,
crawled inside,
and came out again.
Another magician threw his crystal at the tree,
crawled inside,
and came out again.
Six magicians entered the tree—
the wisest magicians.

And they said:
"Go westward,
far away from the monster."
The wisest magicians threw
magic crystals to see Thangara.
He was close.
They threw
their crystals again—
where is he now?
closer still—
he is closer!

Each magician threw
magic crystals at Thangara
as wisely
as he could, but Thangara
devoured men and women.

Now the waters of the northern sea
were beginning to rise, and the magicians threw
a magic crystal,
and then threw another,
the most powerful crystal they had.
The sea rose.

Thangara turned on the magicians.
He drove a wall of fire before him,
a moving wall of fire
to burn the magicians.

But Thangara
was engulfed in flames
and the sea rose
and the magicians drowned him.

This is how Thangara, dangerous,
half horse, half man, died.

Translation of "Thangara." Published 1970 by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. Translation copyright 2011 by Shon Arieh-Lerer. All rights reserved.

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