The Bunyip is a legend first conceived by the Native Australians. It is said to be a huge, black-haired, creature with long, clawed limbs. It lives in any stagnant, inland body of water, where it raises its young on the bodies of its victims. If these baby bunyips somehow come into the possession of humans, their mother will use her magic to flood the village where the child lives. The flood is not avoidable by moving to higher ground, and it will inevitably sweep the baby bunyip away to safety, turning the humans who touch the water into black swans. The bunyip’s other notable power is to charm humans who come too close to it, causing them to stand frozen until it lets them go (Rose 61).
The bunyip may have been created to explain the danger of stagnant water. Stagnant water, such as the billabongs and swamps that the bunyip lives in, is a perfect place for bacteria and parasites to grow or breed. People who drank this water may have become sick or died, and the people may have explained this death as caused by the bunyip.