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The Whowie or Whowhie was a giant lizard in Aboriginal Australian folklore.

Description

The Whowie was a gigantic lizardlike monster, about twenty feet long, with six legs. Its eyes were huge and wide and it had the head and wide mouth of a frog. Its dragging tail could create riverbeds as it walked, and the monster is credited with the creation of the River Murray. Despite its large size, the monster was an ambush predator and often preferred to sneak up on its human prey in the dead of night, able to consume or drag away victims without a sound. It is often thought of as an abnormally large and voracious goanna or monitor lizard.

Story

The Whowie was always hungry, and its favorite prey was humans. At night the creature would steal into villages and silently swallow up incredible numbers of victims; thirty to sixty people, if not more, carrying anyone it didn't eat on the spot to its den. It had a special taste for children. When watchmen were placed to guard against the monster, the Whowie at first avoided them and at last, as it got bolder, began to feed on them, too.

One night the creature consumed an entire village, all but one little boy who escaped its attentions and went to warn his relatives, who lived in another town. Fed up with the monster's ravages and led by the water-rat tribe, which had suffered the worst depredations, all of the local people went to the caves where the Whowie hid during the day and drove it out through the use of fire. The blinded and confused creature emerged into the open, where all of the people hacked the beast to death.

The monster sighed as it bled to death, and to this day the moaning winds of the region are still attributed to the angry spirit of the Whowie.

Origin

The Whowie is described as an abnormally large and aggressive lizard, which is remniscent of the Megalania, an extinct species of giant monitor lizard that inhabited Australia, reached up to twenty-three feet in length, and may very well have fed on early humans.

See Also