Warnayarra kurlu15 November 2010
The Giant Water Snake
A long time ago the people had been without meat for a long time. One man went with his son a long way off, looking for meat. Later they went west. They had never been to that country before. People used to stay away from that country because a giant water snake used to live there. They walked a long way through Spinifex country and along beside some hills. They went into the hills to look for euros. In the evening they came to some big hills. They climbed up the rocks. A big wind sprung up. Then suddenly the giant water snake came out after them. The huge water snake rose up very high, knocking over trees and rocks.
“Wake up! Look at that monster, that huge giant water snake coming out of the ground!”
“Oh help! Let’s run away from that thing!”
The two frightened men fled further west. They climbed down to the bottom of the hills. After running they were tired. They sat down.
“Let’s get fire-wood, it’s too cold”
They built themselves a wind break because of the cold wind and lit a fire, that same night. They fell asleep by the fire in the shelter of the wind break.
They had only been asleep for a little while when they heard a voice like the wind. They saw the monster water snake. It had found them sleeping. The father woke up and pointed at the giant water snake.
“Make a big fire!”
The giant snake rose up higher than ever.
The father shouted to the son, “Let’s get out of here fast! That monster will get us”.
“Yes let’s go back east this time, through that gap in the hills.”
So off they ran, father and son. They had gone a long way when the father grew tired.
"Let’s lie down here for a bit. I’m too tired! Let’s make a wind break. It’s too cold. Let’s light a fire."
After that they went to sleep. They were still sound asleep when the big wind started howling. The son woke up. He saw the giant water snake coming out of the ground very close to them. He picked up a fire stick. He tried to wake up his father but he was too frightened to move. The water snake was rising up high in the sky. They started lighting fires all around.
The father shouted, “Make a bigger fire!”
The giant water snake became even bigger.
Then they said to each other, “Let’s get out of here while we’re still alive. It will kill us!”
Then the water snake sank down slowly and went into its hole again.
The two frightened men went back east over the hills that same night to get away from the giant water snake. They kept running over the hills and across the spinifex all night, right up till morning. The son was the first to reach the camp, still shaking with fear, he brought the news to the other people.
The people saw him coming and as he arrived they asked him, “Why are you running? What are you frightened of? What did you see?”
Then after they had arrived, they told the story to their family.
"We saw a huge giant water snake. It came out after us.”
The two men’s wives were waiting in their camp unaware of what had happened. From their humpy they saw the two men run in and tell the other people about the giant water snake.
“Hey! What’s going on? What has happened that makes you run back so frightened with no meat?”
“There’s a huge giant water snake living in that country, it tried to kill us.”
After hearing the story, the two women said to the other people, “Let’s go away from this place because of this thing. Let’s go east, away from the giant water snake.”
So the people got ready to leave. In the evening when it became cool, they set off. When it was dark, across the hills they saw that giant water snake burning like fire.
The people said, “Oh! Look over there, the giant water snake is coming out. So it is true what you two told us. If we had stayed there the giant water snake would have got us all! That country belongs to the water snake.”
So the people went to another place in the east. They stayed camping in the east for ever. They went hunting for meat where there was no giant water snake.
An audio book produced from a Warlpiri reader developed by the Yuendumu Bilingual Resources Development Unit. ■■■
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