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Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Bunbundoolooeys

THE mother Bunbundoolooey put her child, a little boy Bunbundoolooey, who could
only just crawl, into her goolay.( Goolay is a sort of small netted hammock, slung
by black women on their backs, in which they carry their babies and goods in
general). Bunbundoolooey, the mother, put her goolay across her back, and started
out hunting.

When she had gone some distance she came to a clump of Dunnia (wattle trees).
At the foot of one of these she saw some large grubs, which were good to eat.
She picked some up, and dug with her yam stick round the roots of the tree to get
more. She went from tree to tree, getting grubs at every one. That she might gather
them all, she put down her goolay, and hunted further round.

Soon in the excitement of her search, she forgot the goolay with the child in it,
and wandered away. Further and further she went from the Dunnia clump, never once
thinking of her poor baby. On and still on she went, until at length she reached
a far country.

The baby woke up, and crawled out of the goolay. First he only crawled about, but
soon he grew stronger, and raised himself, and stood by a tree. Then day by day
he grew stronger and walked alone, and stronger still he grew, and could run. Then
he grew on into a big boy, and then into a man, and his mother he never saw while
he was growing from baby to man.

But in the far country at length one day Bunbundoolooey, the mother, remembered
the baby she had left.

"Oh," she cried, "I forgot my baby. I left my baby where the Dunnias grow in a
far country. I must go to my baby. My poor baby! I forgot it. Mad must I have been
when I forgot him. My baby! My baby!"

And away went the mother as fast as she could travel back to the Dunnia clump
in the far country. When she reached the spot she saw the tracks of her baby,
first crawling, then standing, then walking, and then running. Bigger and bigger
were the tracks she followed, until she saw they were the tracks of a man. She
followed them until she reached a camp. No one was in the camp, but a fire was
there, so she waited, and while waiting looked round. She saw her son had made
himself many weapons, and many opossum rugs, which he had painted daily inside.

Then at last she saw a man coming towards the camp, and she knew he was her baby,
grown into a man. As he drew near she ran out to meet him, saying:

"Bunbundoolooey, I am your mother. The mother who forgot you as a baby, and left
you. But now I have come to find you, my son. Long was the journey, my son, and
your mother was weary, but now that she sees once more her baby, who has grown
into a man, she is no longer weary, but glad is her heart, and loud could she sing
in her joy. Ah, Bunbundoolooey, my son! Bunbundoolooey, my son!"

And she ran forward with her arms out, as if to embrace him.

But stern was the face of Bunbundoolooey, the son, and no answer did he make with
his tongue. But he stooped to the ground and picked therefrom a big stone. This
swiftly he threw at his mother, hitting her with such force that she fell dead
to the earth.

Then on strode Bunbundoolooey to his camp.

(An Australian aborginal story. I have taken some freedom here and there for
more readability. Read more at sacred texts).

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