The Dreaming

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The Mysterious Bindar

Aboriginal Man

Even the oldest members of the tribe could remember the mysterious bindar. Indeed, they had attempted to catch it themselves when they were younger men, and to add to the mystery, so had their grandfathers. So it was no surprise to them when the young hunters returned to the baanya (camp) and spoke in awe of it. The boys related how they had trapped it in a cave from which there was no possible escape and yet it managed to evade them, and how they had tracked it for a whole day until its tracks ended by a sheer rock face. This caused their uncles to exchange veiled smiles.

The wirrinun, or wise man, called the young men together and asked what nonsense they were trying to cause by telling such a ridiculous tale. But the young hunters insisted they were telling the truth.

The wirrinun scoffed at them and told them that no animal other than a bird had the ability to surmount a sheer rock face. And further, to admit that the bindar escaped after they had trapped it in a cave was pure stupidity.

But again the young hunters insisted that it was true. The wirrinun's final word was for them to stop inventing foolish excuses to conceal their inability to hunt. This brought a soft chuckle from their uncles. The wirrinun's remark angered the young hunters, but not wishing to show disrespect to the wise man and amused elders, they concealed it and simply walked away.

Each day for the next couple of weeks, the young men never failed to return to the baanya with fresh meat—much more than they had in the past—and each day they silently withstood the friendly banter from their uncles regarding the elusive bindar.

One evening, after returning from another very successful hunt, the wirrinun beckoned to the young hunters and asked them to join him and the elders at their fire. Of course, they expected another round of friendly abuse but, to their surprise, it didn't occur. Instead, they were told to be seated.

'So,' said the wirrinun, "again you failed to kill the elusive bindar." And before they could offer a reply, he held up his hand and added, "and you never will. Nobody will." He turned to the elders. "Were any of you able to catch it?" As one, they shook their heads. "And neither was I," he said.

Then he continued, "You see, koolyangara (children), that bindar is none other than Nurunderi the Spirit Teacher. He always appears to us when we first begin to hunt. It is his way of teaching us how to become better hunters so that our families will never experience the pains of hunger."

He then glaced at the three kangaroos the young men had placed by the fire, then at the elders. "It seems that Nurunderi taught his lesson well."

Burramadagal clan of the Dharrug tribe

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