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Main > Australian folktales > Fairy tale "The Bunbundoolooeys"

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 pigeon, put her goolay across her back, and started out hunting.

When she had gone some distance she came to a clump of bunnia or wattle trees. At the foot of one of these she saw some large euloomarah or grubs, which were good to cat. 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 birrahlee, or baby. On and still on she went, until at length she reached a far country.

The birrablee 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 birrahlee to man.

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

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

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 birrablee, 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.

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