2 min

Ghost story from Australia.

A hunter was out for a long walk one day in an area he had never visited before. He was in search of kangaroo meat, but he could not spot a single animal in the area, not even a bird. It was as if all living things had left the place. At last he found a fig tree and plucked a handful of fruits, which he then ate with great satisfaction. After the meal of the sweet figs, he became lethargic and lay down under the shade tree to rest for a while. Just as he dozed off, he was awakened by something grabbing him. When he looked up, he saw a little red old man hanging upside down from a branch in the fig tree. The creature had a giant mouth without teeth and large suction cups on its fingers and toes. It was these who now grabbed hold of the hunter's arms. No matter how hard he struggled, he could not tear himself free, but was quickly lifted up by the red old man into the tree, and there the hunter was eaten.

After his grassy meal, the strange creature climbed down from the fig tree and went to a stream to drink. He filled his giant mouth with big gulps and swallowed. But soon the red old man began to claw and suddenly he threw up the hunter on the ground. The hunter was as whole as when he disappeared into the old man's big gap, but he was far from himself. He was only half as tall as he had been before and his skin had turned completely red. When he looked around, the strange creature was gone and the hunter hurried back to his village to ask the village elder what had happened. "You've been sleeping under a fig tree, haven't you?" asked the village elder. Yes, the hunter admitted. “You have been swallowed by a Yara-Ma-Yha-Who,” said the village elder, “And now you are turning into one yourself. That's how they reproduce. Soon you will lose your nails and teeth and suckers will grow on your fingers and toes. You must leave us or you will destroy the entire village!”

And so the hunter was driven away from his home village, to live the rest of his life as a monster in the wilderness.

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