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The Dreaming



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The Helpful Spirits


Kangaroo



Occasionally, when game is scarce, the tribal spirits take a hand to assist. Either in response to a corroboree, or when they feel there is a need; as there was with the Doomali people.

The summer drought had lasted much longer than usual and the game had moved far from their land in order to find fresh graze and water. Therefore, the Doomalis had hunted to the very edge of their land to find whatever was available, but the meager catch was barely enough to feed the people. And although they were tempted to wander onto the other tribe's lands, knowing that to do so without permission was in normal circumstances unthinkable, they knew that it would be futile because their neighbours were also suffering equally.

After a number of weeks, things became so serious that whenever the hunters managed to catch something, or the women were successful in finding a few lily bulbs in the rapidly drying billabong, or some roots, nuts and berries, these were used to feed the young and the aged.

Sadly, there was seldom enough to feed them all, so some of the elderly would wander off to fend for themselves or, in some cases, to go to their Dreaming.

Then early one morning, as people began to stir, a large kangaroo approached the baanya. As one, the hunters grabbed their weapons and gave chase. But this was no ordinary kangaroo. It easily managed to avoid the hunters' spears then leap far ahead of them to stay out of range.

Most of the day the hunters pursued the kangaroo then by late afternoon it disappeared over a rise. When the exhausted hunters crested the rise, there before them was a valley with a large billabong surrounded by lush, green grass, and grazing peacefully were several animals completely unaware of their presence.

The hunters knew then that the kangaroo that had so easily avoided them was a spirit that had taken the form of an animal to guide the tribe to this wonderful place.

There the Doomalis live to this day, never again to suffer the terrible hunger that had tormented them for so long.

  

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