Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
The Aborigines have an extensive catalog of mythical fauna, chief among them the bunyip. Indigenous to waterholes, billabongs and swamps, the creature has been described as anything from an extinct marsupial to a multi-species hybrid of crocodile, walrus, dog, horse and duck. Brought into fairy-tale legend by Andrew Lang, bunyip mystique has flourished in film, video games and children’s television. A boon to port economy since 1972, the coin-operated Murray Bridge Bunyip rakes in about $20,000 Australian dollars ($14,200 US) annually.
A bane to travelers who prefer forest naps, the Yara-ma-yha-who may dwell among fig trees, but don’t count on them blending in. What these vampiric beings lack in height and teeth, they make up for in leech-like suckers attached to fingers and toes. Did we mention their skin (just this shade of atomic fireball) and habit of human regurgitation? Adding bloodlust to insult, the victim becomes a Yara-ma-yha-who, ensuring the cycle’s continuation. Rip Van Winkle never had it this rough.
Yetis have Tibet, Sasquatches the Pacific Northwest. Meet their Queensland counterpart, the Yowie. The subject of many a Sydney Morning Herald article and a line of chocolates manufactured in their image, Yowie sightings have been reported since 1795, and as recently as 2014 during which time the hominid supposedly engaged in conversation using none other than the English language, though there’s celebrity cryptonaturalist Tim the Yowie Man when linguistic barriers arise.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review Poetry Editor Jon Riccio.