Goomblegubbon Beeargah And Ouyan
: Australian Legendary Tales
Goomblegubbon the bustard, his two wives, Beeargah the hawk, and Ouyan
the curlew, with the two children of Beeargah, had their camps right
away in the bush; their only water supply was a small dungle, or gilguy
hole. The wives and children camped in one camp, and Goomblegubbon a
short distance off in another. One day the wives asked their husband to
lend them the dayoorl stone, that they might grind some doonburr to
ke durrie. But he would not lend it to them, though they asked him
several times. They knew he did not want to use it himself, for they
saw his durrie on a piece of bark, between two fires, already cooking.
They determined to be revenged, so said:
"We will make some water bags of the opossum skins; we will fill them
with water, then some day when Goomblegubbon is out hunting we will
empty the dungle of water, take the children, and run away! When he
returns he will find his wives and children gone and the dungle empty;
then he will be sorry that he would not lend us the dayoorl."
The wives soon caught some opossums, killed and skinned them, plucked
all the hair from the skins, saving it to roll into string to make
goomillahs, cleaned the skins of all flesh, sewed them up with the
sinews, leaving only the neck opening. When finished, they blew into
them, filled them with air, tied them up and left them to dry for a few
days. When they were dry and ready to be used, they chose a day when
Goomblegubbon was away, filled the water bags, emptied the dungle, and
started towards the river.
Having travelled for some time, they at length reached the river. They
saw two black fellows on the other side, who, when they saw the runaway
wives and the two children, swam over to them and asked whence they had
come and whither they were going.
"We are running away from our husband Goomblegubbon, who would lend us
no dayoorl to grind our doonburr on, and we ran away lest we and our
children should starve, for we could not live on meat alone. But
whither we are going we know not, except that it must be far away, lest
Goomblegubbon follow and kill us."
The black fellows said they wanted wives, and would each take one, and
both care for the children. The women agreed. The black fellows swam
back across the river, each taking a child first, and then a woman, for
as they came from the back country, where no creeks were, the women
could not swim.
Goomblegubbon came back from hunting, and, seeing no wives, called
aloud for them, but heard no answer. Then he went to their camp, and
found them not. Then turning towards the dungle he saw that it was
empty. Then he saw the tracks of his wives and children going towards
the river. Great was his anger, and vowing he would kill them when he
found them, he picked up his spears and followed their tracks, until he
too reached the river. There on the other side he saw a camp, and in it
he could see strange black fellows, his wives, and his children. He
called aloud for them to cross him over, for he too could not swim. But
the sun went down and still they did not answer. He camped where he was
that night, and in the morning he saw the camp opposite had been
deserted and set fire to; the country all round was burnt so that not
even the tracks of the black fellows and his wives could be found, even
had he been able to cross the river. And never again did he see or hear
of his wives or his children.