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| Category: || Young Adult Fiction |
Posted:|| October 9, 2016 Views: 424|
Chapter 16 of the book Stories of the Dreamtime
Brothers disobey their tribe.
"The Glass House Mountains"
The Glass House Mountains (Timbrogaten) sits on the East coast of Queensland (Australia.) They are said to be haunted. Often climbed by tourists and travellers: many have died climbing them.
The Glass House Mountains stood like stone sentinels above the valley floor; home to every kind of native animal. Lush tree ferns; tall ghost gums rising to touch the clouds.
Before the mists of time, the Girraween tribe made a pact with Maamu, the bad witch that lived inside the mountains. In return for not disclosing her whereabouts to Baiame (Great Spirit) she promised the tribe a life of plenty. They were warned never to go to the Mountains.
The Bell bird called across the valley floor and the Whip bird answered the call. All the animals were fat and happy in their habitat. There were plenty of food for them to eat. In turn, the Girraween tribe hunted and fished the lush land that they could never leave.
After the pact was made with the witch, she made sure that no tribe member could leave Timbrogaten ( Glass House Mountains.) At first, the early tribes rebelled against her decision to keep them captive. As time went by, they forgot about leaving Timbrogaten because their lives were like living in paradise; they grew fat and lazy.
Two brothers, Kurria and Beerwah were bored with camp life. They sat beside the billabong (small lake) that were teeming with all kinds of fish.
Kurria skipped stones across the surface of the billabong, hoping to catch a leaping fish in flight. Beerwah drew circles in the red dirt.
"Let's go to the mountain," Kurria grinned.
"No, we are forbidden to go there because of Maamu (the witch.) She will eat us alive!" Shouted Beerwah the younger brother.
"Our tribe grows fat and lazy, besides, I want to go to other lands. If we can ask the witch, maybe she will let us go free?" Said Kurria.
"I'm too scared to go near Timbrogaten," Beerwah started to cry.
"You are a big baby, why you cry? I am older than you and soon I will be a man-child." Kurria stood tall on one leg and his other leg cradled the calf of his standing leg. A way of standing in the tribes, all hunters do this to show they are men and hunters.
The boys picked up their spears and woomeras (throwing sticks) their boomerangs were left with the lubra's (senior women) who were painting intricate designs for the boys. It is said the dot paintings gave power to the boomerang for a clean kill.
Back at the baanya (camp) the women and girls were laughing as they painted. The Elders told stories of the coming of Maamu (witch) always sad because of the pact made. They too, would have liked to move to other camps to meet and greet other tribes.
Maamu floated over the tribe, watching her children. She was pleased they belonged to her alone. She cackled as she sat in the tall gum tree with her familiar, the black crow.
Every day, the crow circled the camp and reported back to Maamu, telling her of the fat and lazy tribe who did nothing all day.
On arrival back at the camp, Kurria and Beerwah sat in the dust waiting for their grandmother to come and tell them stories. Kurria was impatient, he wanted to make the journey to Timbrogaten. To see the witch and ask for their freedom.
Grandmother waddled across the clearing her broad feet kicking up the red dust. She was an Elder of the Girraween tribe with many stories to tell the children.
Kurria whittled wood in a temper. He just wanted to pack his Kangaroo skin bag with Biltong (dried meat) for the journey to see the witch. Beerwah sat wide-eyed in terror, his thoughts of being eaten by the witch and the tribal ban on visiting the mountains loomed large in his young mind.
"Well, here we are boys, ready for another story?" Said grandma.
Kurria stood up and kicked dirt in his brother's face. Beerwah took off in a big hurry. He was a gentle soul and didn't dare face his big brother.
"Now, what was that all about? Why you boys fighting?"
Kurria pretended to dance like the Brolga Bird for his initiation into manhood.
Having second-sight, Grandma knew what Kurria had planned. She sighed, waiting for Kurria to settle down and lose his temper.
"Why you want to go to that bad place, Timbrogaten? That Maamu she plenty bad witch, told us never go there."
Kurria had cooled his temper and sat beside the old woman. He loved her dearly, knew she wouldn't be around for much longer. Respected her knowledge; and so he sat quietly and listened to her.
"You know Maamu owns our tribe and all the animals. We can never leave this place. My time is almost here, I look forward to my freedom with Baiame (Great Spirit) then I will be truly free!"
Kurria puffed out his skinny, brown chest and gave his beloved grandmother a kiss.
"I am going to ask the witch to free our people," Kurria grinned.
Tears trickled through the dirt-caked face of the old woman.
"I cannot stop you, I can only guide you with my spirit," she said.
As grandmother lay back against the Baanya tree, Kurria packed his small kangaroo skin bag with food. Berries and nuts and Biltong. He bent low to kiss grandmother, to bid her farewell.
As Kurria set off in his native jog, grandmother slept and as she slept, her spirit rose above her body. She was dead to the earth.
She met the Creator (Baiame) and asked his permission to go with Kurria to the mountain. To protect her grandson with her spirit body.
Baiame turned her into Yalunga (the Rainbow serpent.) She slithered with great speed after her grandson.
Kurria jogged through the red dirt, making his way through the thick undergrowth. Suddenly, three animals blocked his way.
A large, white Kangaroo, Yalunga the Rainbow serpent and a tiny bush mouse.
"What do you want?" He scratched his curly, black cap of hair.
The white Kangaroo spoke first; he was of course Great Spirit.
"Kurria, we are here to protect you from the witch. Your grandmother is Yalunga and well...the bush mouse your brother Beerwah, who was too afraid to accompany you to the mountains. Don't be sad, your grandmother passed over to me, asked could she shape-shift and come along to protect you."
"I must be seeing things!" Exclaimed Kurria.
The bush mouse scurried up Kurria's leg and into his tucker-bag.
The white Kangaroo stood tall on his hind legs.
"Believe what you see, Kurria, I am your Creator and loving Father."
Yalunga (grandmother) entwined her serpent coils around the boy's long, brown legs.
Her voice was hissing and he was frightened. He froze as the coils of Yalunga caressed his skin.
"We of the Girraween tribe must work together to defeat Maamu," Yalunga spat. The bush mouse in his tucker bag crawled on to his shoulder and rubbed against his neck.
"Don't be afraid," Beerwah the bush mouse squeaked.
And so, the animals and the boy set off on their journey to Timbrogaten. Kurria had a lump in his throat as he watched Yalunga (grandmother) slither past him. He knew she had been close to death and now, she was protecting him in the form of the Rainbow Serpent.
As they climbed the rugged hills to the base of Timbrogaten, the white Kangaroo vanished. Yalunga slithered past Kurria and found a place to sun her self on a rock ledge.
"Looks like it's just you and me, brother," Kurria's stomach rumbled.
"I'm still here brother," Beerwah the bush mouse squeaked.
"Fat lot of good you are, you're too tiny to help me fight the witch!"
Clouds scudded above Timbrogaten, the blue sky started to darken. Heralding the approach of Maamu.
The witch appeared to Kurria; surprisingly lithe and lovely.
"Well, Kurria my boy. You have come to visit me?" Her voice smooth as silk and reminding the boy of the tinkling stream below his camp.
He was lost for words at her beauty. Mesmerised by her presence. Not afraid of her at all. In fact, he was drawn to her like a moth to the flame.
"Be careful brother, she isn't what she seems," squeaked Beerwah.
A crack of lightening split the rock face open. A walkway appeared to Kurria. He was trembling at the sight.
"Welcome to my home," Maamu soothed his fears.
Kurria felt he was in a dream, his feet hardly touching the ground. He followed her through the split in the rock, hearing the sound of a waterfall, he moved forward. Now, she had him.
The White Kangaroo appeared behind him, grandmother Yalunga followed too.
The witch seemed to be unaware of their presence. She was more interested in the capture of Kurria. A young man to sate her lust.
As they came through the split in the rock and entered her garden, the sky darkened. The White Kangaroo (who was Baiame, Great Spirit and maker of all living things) vanished again.
"So, you have come to ask for the freedom of your tribe?" Maamu questioned the boy. "What will you give me in return?"
"Nothing will I give to you, you have imprisoned my people for centuries. Now, we want our freedom, you don't own us!" Kurria spoke more boldly than he felt.
The sky was now roiling with black clouds and the roar of the wind was deafening. The witch pointed at the rock face, she closed the entrance forever.
Black rain was teeming down on Kurria as he saw the witch turn into a gigantic Witchetty Grub! Fat and juicy, a horrible sight for the young man. Her once beautiful garden had turned to dust.
Yalunga the Rainbow Serpent (grandmother) moved like lightning. She wrapped her thick coils around the writhing grub, squeezing the life from Maamu.
The battle between Yalunga and Maamu continued until both were exhausted.
Baiame appeared in a flash of white light.
"No more will you trap the Girraween tribe, no more will you exist on this earth! Go, crawl away to live in the never-never land of darkness until I am ready to deal with your greed and cruelty."
The darkness lifted from the land, the sun shone brightly above the mountains.
Baiame held grandmother close in her spirit-form. And then they were gone.
Kurria and Beerwah awoke to find themselves back at their camp. The tribe were packing to move on for the first time in centuries. The Girraween tribe were free to walk the land outside of the prison created by Maamu.
"Where are we going?" Beerwah and Kurria asked their Father; in unison.
Father stood tall and proud, elder of the Girraween tribe. He looked at his sons and said "wherever Great Spirit leads us my sons."
|The book continues with Sky Dancer. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
Captain Cook first sighted the mountains whilst surveying the East Coast of Australia. He named the mountains "Glass House" because he was homesick for England and they reminded him of his home with many windows.
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