Why The Fire Turned Cold

You follow the main track to the end of the path and turn onto the small trail that takes you through the bush to Lyttleton Street with Fletcher Street on your right.

A familiar voice echoes through the land telling you, “Great choice! The fire teaching is a story about feelings and setting goals.”

You ponder this a moment, the many kinds of feelings we can have: love, happiness, anger, resistance, courage, patience, persistence. Then as if on cue, a soft persistent voice – urgent and lyrical –  rises from the land…

“In the time of creation Bunjil created a mountain. He named that mountain Kooroocheang. 

It was covered with trees, bushes, grasses, and flowers.

On the top of Kooroocheang there was a large tree, taller than all the others.

Near the top of that tree there was a huge nest.

In that nest lived Warpil, the eagle, and Waa, the white crow. They were best mates and they even called each other, “Brother”.

Below the nest, under a piece of bark lived Yarranmullawit, the bat.

Yarranmullawit liked living near Warpil and Waa because they were such good friends.  Yarranmullawit loves everyone getting on together, being kind to each other and playing fun games.

But……one day Warpil starting thinking, “I am the biggest, I can fly the highest and I can see the furthest; so I should be the boss of this mountain!”  Warpil got so greedy he kicked poor Waa out of their nest.

Waa was so scared he flew away.

Yarranmullawit flew up to where Warpil was in the nest and really told him off. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You’ve become greedy and vain. You need to think about what you have done!!!”

Yarranmullawit said these sort of things to Warpil day after day and eventually Warpil said, “I am sorry for what I did. I am lonely and feel like a mean fool!”

Waa had flown to another land.

The animals who lived on Kooroocheang had never seen fire, and while Waa was flying along a bolt of lightning struck a group of trees and they burst into flames.

Fascinated, Waa flew down to look at the beautiful red, orange, and yellow stuff. He flew too close and the heat singed his feathers and they turned black.

After the fire had died down, Waa got an idea. He flew down and picked a piece of hot coal in his claw and started flying back to Kooroocheang.

When Yarranmullawit saw him coming he got really excited and flew out to meet him. “Waa, I’m soooooo glad you’re back. Warpil is really sorry for what he did and wants to be frien………..What’s that you have in your claw?”

“I’m going to pay Warpil back for what he did to me,” squawked Waa.

“No, no don’t!!!” screamed Yarranmullawit, but Waa didn’t listen.  He flew over the nest and dropped the coal into it. The nest burst into flames.

Warpil only just managed to escape.

Then the tree caught on fire, then the bushes and the other trees and the grasses until the whole mountain was on fire!

Kooroocheang was so hot it started to boil inside and then its sides split and the melted rock ran out of the slits across the land.

When the mountain had cooled down, Yarranmullawit called the two birds together. They had a big yarn. Warpil apologised to Waa for kicking him out of the nest and Waa apologised for setting the nest on fire and the rest of the mountain. 

After a long time of talking with Yarranmullawit they came up with a solution.

Warpil now lives on the high peaks and makes his nest at the top of the tree, Waa now lives on the lower land and builds his nest further down in the trees.


“Fire represents anger and greed. Why did the fire turn cold? Fire turned cold to teach us patience and kindness. We can’t always agree, but we can make space within ourselves to accommodate one another’s differences. We can learn to compromise and live together. Setting goals is key to building peace on Earth.”

Oh, that’s Harley’s voice you recognise but you can’t see him. What he says makes sense. You scan the area looking for him and feel the urge to ask more about the stories and the mystery. You get a sense that you’re close to figuring it out. You also feel the more stories you hear, the more whole the land feels, and the more whole you are.

You know that patience is a virtue and hearing this story compels you to place a mark in the land to symbolise what this story means to you. You make a point to set a personal goal to build peace on Earth and to symbolise this in your life so you don’t forget your goal. You draw a circle on the ground. Something tells you not to disturb any rocks as you do this as you know there’s an endangered Pink-tailed Worm-lizard in these parklands that use small rocks as their home. How do you know this, you wonder?

In any case, you know that the circle you’re making is helping to build the land’s sense of memory, as well as your own. The more people who add their mark, the more people there will be to remember the stories and their significance. Most importantly, everyone will have contributed to setting a goal for creating a more peaceful world.

Having drawn your circle, you’re glowing with happiness. You have changed as a being filled with the spirit of the land. You’re also a little bigger than before. You can feel the wind on your skin and in your hair.

Now, your hair is flying in your face but as you go to brush it back something zaps over you. A serpent! Somehow you know about this creature but can’t quite place how you know. You think following it will help you arrive at the answer. Your whole body is being sucked forward with the force of the serpent moving past you.

Something tells you that you need to get to the Burke and Wills statue on Mostyn and Wills Street for the final part of the story. You see the serpent surging through the sky. You pursue it, in awe of its colours as you carefully cross the road at Lyttleton Street and head for the monument, watching the serpent’s tail duck and weave.

Go to Monument.