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Main > Australian folktales > Fairy tale "The Gwineeboos the redbreasts"

The Gwineeboos the redbreasts

When she saw this, old Gwineeboo grew angry in her turn, and hit old Goomai, who returned the blow, and so a fight began, more words than blows, so the noise was great, the women fighting, little Gwineeboo crying, not quite knowing whether he was crying because Goomai had hit him, because his mother was fighting, or because he still wanted kangaroo.

Quarrian said to Gidgereegah. "They have the kangaroo somewhere hidden; let us slip away now in the confusion. We will only hide, then come back in a little while, and surprise them."

They went quietly away, and as soon as the two women noticed they had gone, they ceased fighting, and determined to cook the kangaroo. They watched the two young men out of sight, and waited some time so as to be sure that they were safe. Then down they hurried to get the kangaroo. They dragged it out, and were just making a big fire on which to cook it, when up came Quarrian and Gidgereegah, saying:

"Ah! we thought so. You had our kangaroo all the time; little Gwinceboo was right."

"But we killed it," said the women.

"But we hunted it here," said the men, and so saying caught hold of the kangaroo and dragged it away to some distance, where they made a fire and cooked it. Goomai, Gwineeboo, and her little boy went over to Quarrian and Gidgereegah, and begged for some of the meat, but the young men would give them none, though little Gwineeboo cried piteously for some. But no; they said they would rather throw what they did not want to the hawks than give it to the women or child. At last, seeing that there was no hope of their getting any, the women went away. They built a big dardurr for themselves, shutting themselves and the little boy up in it. Then they began singing a song which was to invoke a storm to destroy their enemies, for so now they considered Quarrian and Gidgereegah. For some time they chanted:

"Moogaray, Moogaray, May, May,

Eehu, Eehu, Doongarah."

First they would begin very slowly and softly, gradually getting quicker and louder, until at length they almost shrieked it out.

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