(Image: itnet1, “The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who”)

The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who is a monster in the Dreamtime legends of Australia. It is described as a small, red creature with a large stomach, wide jaws, and sticky tentacles. The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who uses its tentacles to suspend itself in the branches of a tree, waiting for someone to pass underneath. When an unsuspecting child comes by, the Yara-Ma-Ya-Who drops onto them and sucks their blood before eating them whole. The Yara-Ma-Ya-Who releases everything from its stomach when it sleeps, allowing victims who play dead to escape if they trick the creature. If the Yara-Ma-Ya-Who is not tricked, it will eat the escaping child again (Rose 403-404).

Since the Yara-Ma-Ya-Who preys mainly on naughty children rather than adults or good children, it very simply is a bogey meant to keep children from being disobedient. Looking further into its tale, the idea that the monster eats, regurgitates, and may eat its victims again if they are not careful may be a way for the story to give naughty children a chance to repent.


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