A few stories have been passed down about the origin of Emu in the Sky, the first of which begins during the Indigenous creation time. In this story, a blind man lived with his wife in the bush. Because he was unable to hunt, he would tell her every day to go out and collect emu eggs. And she did, but her husband was never satisfied, and he would get angry and tell her the eggs she gathered were too small.
While she was out gathering eggs one day, she came across tracks made by a very large emu. Thinking a very large emu might mean very large emu eggs, she followed the tracks to the emu nest. When she arrived, she found the emu and its eggs, and began throwing stones at the bird. Unfortunately for her, this only served to anger the emu, and it ran towards her, killing her.
Back in their camp, the blind man became worried about his wife. Hungry and concerned, he felt around the camp searching for food until he found a bush with some berries on it. When he ate the berries, he was able to see! With his newfound vision, he made spears and a woomera before setting off to find his wife. Eventually, he found her tracks — and the emu tracks — and followed them. When he came across the body of his wife and the large emu nearby, he speared the bird and banished its spirit to the Milky Way — where it remains.
The second story of the emu starts with two brothers who were out hunting. After much tracking, the brothers found the emu they were after, but they were in for quite a shock — the emu was much bigger than they expected. In fact, it was so big that one of the brothers got scared and flew up a tree to hide. The other brother, not afraid, hunted down and speared the emu. He then approached his brother and tried to coax him out of the tree. But he was still scared, and so he refused to come down. Frustrated, his brother cursed him to remain in the tree forever. And if that wasn’t enough, he also turned him into a possum. To this day he remains perched on his branch in the Milky Way, above the emu that scared him so much.