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This work has reached the exceptional level
Beautiful child brings the rains to Kakadu.
Stories of the Dreamtime
Sweet Water Child by Aussie
 Category:  Young Adult Fiction
  Posted: October 27, 2013      Views: 793
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Aussie is a wheel - chair person with a passion for poems and short stories about Australia. She likes to express herself through both mediums. She is an an artist who likes to paint in all mediums. Writing has become an outlet for her as she is ext - more...

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Kakadu: Sacred land belonging to the many aboriginal tribes - Ancient lands found in the Northern Territory of Australia.

High on the iron-stone cliffs of Kakadu - Arnhem land it is called by the tribes. The monsoon rains had failed to ease the drought that gripped the land and its inhabitants. The air was heavy with humidity as the giant mushroom clouds gathered. Lightning danced across the skies and dingos howled to the grey-green clouds, pregnant - and promising the beginning of the wet season.

Crocodiles hid in the mud and lowered their heartbeat to one beat every five minutes - ancient creatures; using their survival skills. Hidden in the mud, an odd eye blinked - they were still alive. Saltwater crocodiles are one of the oldest living creatures on earth.

The spring-fed billabongs were drying up. Wading birds caught the myriads of flies that hovered over the dead and dying fish. Small marsupials gathered together to drink the muddy, vermin - infested waters. The drought was slowly killing the animals. So desperate to drink, they gathered with their enemies. Water more precious than killing each other for food.
Kakadu is a wild place - full of strange and beautiful animals and thousands of brightly coloured birds. The climate is extremely hot until the monsoon rains refresh the sun-baked earth. When the wet season begins the waters race down the ironstone cliffs filling the rivers and quenching the thirst of all living creatures. The sun-baked plains are flooded and fish eggs hidden for months begin to hatch to restock the water courses.
In times of drought, birds are fortunate. They can fly to find water. The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo screeches overhead, joined by the pink and grey Galah and Black Cockatoo - normally heralding the coming rains. Snake and wombat stay underground to shelter from the oppressive heat. The aborigines shelter in their gunyah, homes made of tree branches covered with bark. They cover their bodies with mud to stop the sun burning their skin and the mosquitoes from biting them - some types of these insects carry dengue fever, common in the Northern Territory.

Dania, a beautiful girl-child of the Kakadu tribe lifted the spirits of her people by waiting on the elders. She gave whatever water she could find to the sick and dying people. Some tribal members sucked on the juices of the edible leaves and what was left of the fruits. They prayed to Baiame, Great Spirit, to send the rains to quench the thirst of Mother Earth and its inhabitants.

Dania was dearly loved by all the members of her tribe; selfless and kind to everyone - she was a treasure. Some said she was an old soul - filled with wisdom and love.
Finely boned, with long legs and a smile so wide it lit her lovely face. She brought hope to her people. With ebony curls framing her face -her laughter gathered the children to her. She wore coloured seeds threaded on fine strings of bark from the leopard tree and kangaroo skin to cover her womanhood. She liked to collect colour to decorate her hair, especially blue , orange, and yellow, from the native plants that surrounded her camp.

The camp billabong was rank with debris - fish floated to the surface, scum covered the once beautiful water lilies.

Meribah, evil spirit, fed on the misery of the people. He hated the child that gave so much to her people. His jealousy turned to rage and he thought of a way to destroy the goodness that Dania brought to the tribe.

He planted the thought in her mind. He told her that there was a child caught in the reeds of the billabong. Dania ran towards the dying billabong. Meribah chuckled as he watched Dania's long legs pumping at speed towards the muddy water. She was hoping to be in time to save the child that was drowning.

Meribah ordered the weeds to tangle around Dania's legs and pull her under the muddy water until she drowned.

The reeds were under his control and he watched as she was pulled beneath the muddy waters - never to be seen again. And yet, as her earthly goodness left her, it spread across the face of the water and the dying waters were healed. The inedible fish turned to sweet meat. In time, water birds returned to the billabong.

The tribe mourned her passing and prayed for her spirit to return to Baiame, Great Spirit, maker of all living things.

Suddenly, sheet lightning split the trees, thunder rolled across the skies and Meribah searched for a place he could hide from Baiame.

No one , not even evil spirits can hide from the wrath of the Creator.

Baiame spoke to Meribah as the sheet lightning danced across the red - dust plains.

"You have taken the life of a sweet child and because of your jealousy you will now suffer."

Meribah was sent to live in the clouds and he is the angry spirit of thunder.

Serving a purpose for good - his angry voice from the roiling clouds heralds the rains to come. Baiame had imprisoned Meribah - forever.

And so, Meribah shouted at the clouds to let loose the life-giving rains to quench the earth. The wet season had begun.

Dania's billabong (as it was called) became a healing place - the waters were sweet and blessed with her beautiful spirit - tribes came from far away just to drink the healing waters. Fish were sweet eating and the barramundi, fish, became a favourite of the aboriginal peoples.

Meribah's anger had been turned to good and Dania became known as the "Sweet Water Child".

Book of the Month contest entry


The book continues with Bone Magic. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Australian English and grammar. Photo courtesy of Bing: billabong covered with water lilies. The child brought sweet water to her tribe when she became the spirit of the billabong (water hole) see photo.
Dingo: wild dog.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo: large cockatoo that heralds the approach of rain. Wombat: large marsupial that lives in a burrow. A cranky fellow that provides 'good tucker' for the wild tribes of the north. Tucker: food.
I hope you enjoy this story of the triumph of good over evil.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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