Saturday, July 31, 2010


Wingla Dada
An Aboriginal myth from Australia


Way back in the mists of time, before the world grew old,
Many wondrous stories of Australia's birds were told.
Australia was a land of birds, no animals were there,
And every bird was beautiful and quite beyond compare.
Migration still occurred, my friends, and birds would sally forth,
Returning to their nesting grounds and other places North.
They told the people that they met of the lovely land they'd spied,
That had trees and mountains, hills and vales, and rivers deep and wide.
'Let us journey to this wondrous place!' the people then declared,
But for such a mighty journey they were none of them prepared.
Only one creature had a boat, that creature was the Whale,
And the people asked to borrow it, but they could not prevail.
So a plan was made to steal the boat while the great Whale was distracted
And the wily little Starfish was for this task soon contracted.
The Starfish soon attacked the lice that swarmed on the great Whale's skin,
Picking them off around the tail, the large mouth and each fin.
So, while the Whale was thus relaxed, with the Starfish ministry,
The people stole the boat away, and set off on the sea.
The Whale at last saw through the trick and then became alert.
He whipped and lashed the Starfish and oh how the whipping hurt!
The Whale sped after the people but they traveled at great speed,
Reaching Australia and, for sure, it was wonderful, indeed.
The Brolga, such a regal bird, stamped repeatedly
Upon the boat and soon it sank into the raging Sea.
Ganman-Gang, the island, reveals where the Whale's boat sank,
And for that beautiful island it's the Brolga we must thank.
The Whale, meanwhile, left stranded, has to follow its destiny,
Swimming back and forth along the coast for all eternity,
Searching for its long-lost boat which will never sail again,
And viewing the coast of Australia, and its birds and beasts and men.
And still we see the great whales swim, returning every year,
And still we gather on the coast to watch when they appear.
And still the Starfish bears its scars, we see them to this day,
Reminding us that traitors always have a price to pay.


Buttercups and Daisies.
Could a phrase be more English?
Or is it just my old Englishness making it feel that way?
I am transported to a wonderland
In which a mother
Can hold a buttercup under one's chin
And say 'Yes! You like butter!'
How magic was that!
My mother holds my hand.
Does she say 'It's Fairyland!'
Or does the thought come unbidden into my mind.
I only know that I stand there and believe.
Only Fairyland would have a little railing round it.
Inside the railing is a little park.
It must have been very little
To appear so
To six year old eyes.
Beyond is a wall……
I think.
But 'beyond' is immaterial.
Everything begins and ends in this small
Self-contained world
The yellow-white-white-yellow
Spreads like a tiny forest.
It hides small fairy creatures.
But I can't see them because I've been a 'naughty girl'.
How odd that I should only now
Remember that!
'Why can't I see the Fairies?'
'Because you've been a Naughty Girl'.
I must have continued on my naughty way
Because I never saw Santa Claus either.
And I never saw any other Venerable Mystic Personage, for that matter.
I have grown up
A comprehensive
But when, in this so-different land,
I see paddocks, far away, vaguely resembling
Fields of
Buttercups and Daisies,
'My heart leaps up'.
For a brief moment,
I feel those half-forgotten emotions.
I remember what it feels like to believe.


ChrisJ said...

I have statuette -- can't think of the right word -- that I bought in Yorkshire. It is of a blackbird and daisies and buttercups. I't one of most favorite possessions. I'm sorry they told you you were a naughty girl. They could have given you a better explanation. If only grownups realized how much their 'throw away' phrases hurt children even when they're not intended to. I love butter anyway.

Kerry O'Connor said...

What a beautiful tale you have shared with us. The inclusion of animal tricksters seems to be a common factor of the Oral Tradition of folk lore. I love the image of the sad whale swimming long distances looking for his boat.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Interesting fact about the starfish eating the lice........I love the whale tale. Great closing lines.

Wolfsrosebud said...

love the first tale... you took us there... able to see through your eyes... and learn a little something new

Grace said...

I love the first one..the story of the whales and and searching for the long lost boat...thanks for sharing this.

Teresa said...

These are both wonderful. The first is perfect for the prompt. What a great tale of trickery and adventure and consequences. I truly enjoyed the second one~being reminded of what it's like to believe. Very nice.