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Yawkyawks are figures in Aboriginal Australian folklore. They are spirits that reside in freshwater rivers and streams, and they generally resemble women with fish tails. They are associated with fertility, and even just approaching their watering holes can make one pregnant.

Appearance Edit

Yawkyawks appear as young women, but they are depicted with the tails of fish. Their hair looks similar to algae blooms or seaweed.[1][2]

Less common depictions might show yawkyawks with crocodile or snake body parts rather than fish.[1]

Behavior Edit

Yawkyawks are sometimes connected to the rainbow serpent Ngalyod, although the exact nature of the relationship varies. He can act as a father figure, a lover, or even another form of a yawkyawk.[1]

Anthropological information Edit

Yawkyawks are a relatively new way to depict ancestral beings that have long existed in Aboriginal Australian folklore.[2] They are one kind of ancient spirits that created the land, plants, and animals and now live in sacred watering holes.

'Yawkyawk' is a word from the Kunwinjku/Kunwok language meaning 'young woman' or 'young woman spirit being'.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Becoming Mermaids", American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Yawkyawk sculptures", National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 10 December 2017.