This first book by K. Langloh Parker is still one of the best available collections of Australian Aboriginal folklore. It was written for a popular audience, but the stories are retold with integrity, and not filtered, as was the case with similar books from this period. That said, the style of this book reflects Victorian sentimentality and, an occasional tinge of racism that may not sit well with some modern readers.

Here children will find here the Jungle Book of Australia, but there is no Mowgli, set apart as a man. For man, bird, and beast are all blended in the Aboriginal psyche. All are of one kindred, all shade into each other; all obey the Bush Law. Unlike any European Märchen, these stories do not have the dramatic turns of Western folk-lore. There are no distinctions of wealth and rank, no Cinderella nor a Puss in Boots. The struggle for food and water is the perpetual theme, and no wonder, for the narrators dwell in a dry and thirsty land. We see cunning in the devices used for hunting, especially for chasing honey bees and the throwing of bommerangs. The Rain-magic, actually practised, is of curious interest. In brief, we have pictures of the hard life of the Aborigines, romances which are truly realistic.

Katie Langloh Parker [1856-1940] lived in the Australian outback most of her life, close to the Eulayhi people. The texts, with their sentient animals and mythic transformations, have a somnambulistic and chaotic narrative that mark them as authentic dreamtime lore. The mere fact that she cared to write down these stories places her far ahead of her contemporaries, who, at the time, barely regarded native Australians as human.

The manners and rites of the natives seemed to be by far the most archaic of all. They did not have Kings and nations; they were wanderers, houseless, but not homeless. The mysteries of the natives, the initiatory rites, a little of the magic, a great deal of the social customs and fragments of the myths had been recorded. But, till Mrs. Langloh Parker compiled this book, we had but few of the stories which Australian natives tell by the camp-fire or in the gum-tree shade.

Parker has some odd connections with modern popular culture. She was rescued from drowning by an aborigine at an early age. This incident was portrayed in the film 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'. The song They Call the Wind Mariah was based on a story from this book and the pop singer Mariah Cary was reputedly named after this song.