13. The Bunbundoolooeys

The mother, Bunbundoolooey the pigeon, put her child, a little boy Bunbundoolooey, who could only just crawl, into her goolay. A goolay is a sort of small netted hammock, slung by women on their backs, in which they carry their babies and goods in general. Bunbundoolooey, put her goolay across her back, and started out hunting.

When she had gone some distance she came to a clump of wattle trees. At the foot of one of these she saw some large grubs, which were good to eat. 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. So that she could gather them all, she put down her goolay, and hunted further around.

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 baby. On and still on she went, until at last she reached a far country.

The baby 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, until he could run. Then he grew into a big boy, and then into a man, and his mother he never saw while he was growing from baby to man.

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

“Oh,” she cried, “I forgot my baby. I left my baby where the Dunnias grow in a far country. I must go to my baby. My poor baby! I forgot it. I must have been mad when I forgot him. My baby! My baby!”

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 baby, 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. She followed them until she reached a camp. No one was in the camp, but a fire was there, so she waited, and while waiting looked round. She saw her son had made himself many weapons, and many opossum rugs, which he had painted.

Then at last she saw a man coming towards the camp, and she knew he was her baby, grown into a man. As he drew near she ran out to meet him, saying, “Bunbundoolooey, I am your mother. The mother who forgot you as a baby, and left you. But now I have come to find you, my son. The journey was long my son, and your mother was weary, but now that she sees once more her baby, who has grown into a man, she is no longer weary, but her heart is glad. Ah, Bunbundoolooey, my son! Bunbundoolooey, my son!”

And she ran forward with her arms out, as if to embrace him.

But the face of Bunbundoolooey was stern and he made no answer. But he stooped to the ground and picked up a big stone. This he threw swiftly at his mother, hitting her with such force that she fell dead to the earth.

Then on strode Bunbundoolooey to his camp.