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The Mayamah

The mother Bunbundoolooey (brown flock 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 the pigeon, put her goolay across her back, and started out hunting.

When mother Bunbundoolooey had gone some distance she came to a clump of bunnia (wattle) trees. At the foot of one of the bunnia trees Bunbundoolooey saw some large euloomarah (large edible tree grubs), which were good to eat.

Bunbundoolooey picked some euloomarah up, and dug with her yam stick round the roots of the tree to get more. Bunbundoolooey went from tree to tree, getting grubs at every one. That Bunbundoolooey might gather them all, she put down her goolay, and hunted further round.


In the excitement of her search, Bunbundoolooey forgot the goolay with her child in it, and wandered away. Bunbundoolooey went further and further from the dunnia clump, never once thinking of her poor birrahlee (baby). Bunbundoolooey went on and on, until at length she reached a far country.

The birrahlee woke up, and crawled out of the goolay. At first little boy Bunbundoolooey only crawled about, but soon he grew stronger, raised himself and stood by a tree.

Day by day little boy Bunbundoolooey grew stronger and walked alone and stronger, until he could run. The little boy Bunbundoolooey grew into a big boy, and then into a man, and he never saw his mother while he was growing from birrahlee to man.

Still in the far country, one day the mother Bunbundoolooey remembered the birrahlee she had left.


"Oh" Bunbundoolooey cried "I forgot my birrahlee. I left my birrahlee where the dunnias grow in a far country. I must go to my birrahlee. My poor birrahlee. I forgot him. I must have been mad when I forgot him. My birrahlee! My birrahlee!"

Bunbundoolooey went as fast as she could travel back to the dunnia clump in the far country. When Bunbundoolooey reached the spot she saw the tracks of her birrahlee, first crawling, then standing, then walking, and then running. Bigger and bigger were the tracks. Bunbundoolooey followed, until she saw that they were the tracks of a man. Bunbundoolooey followed the tracks, until she reached a camp.

No one was in the camp, but a fire was there so Bunbundoolooey waited, and while waiting, she looked round. Bunbundoolooey saw her son had made himself many weapons, and many opossum rugs, which he had painted gaily inside.


At last Bunbundoolooey saw a man coming towards the camp, and she knew that the man was her birrahlee, grown into a man. As he drew near, Bunbundoolooey ran out to meet him, saying, "Bunbundoolooey, I am your mother. The mother who forgot you as a birrahlee, and left you. However, now I have come to find you, my son.

"The journey was long my son, and I was weary, but now that I see my birrahlee once more, who has grown into a man, I am no longer weary, but my heart is glad, and I can sing loudly in my joy. Ah, Bunbundoolooey, my son! Bunbundoolooey, my son!"

Bunbundoolooey ran forward with her arms out, ready to embrace her son.


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

Then Bunbundoolooey strode on to his camp.


Collected in 1897 by Mrs. K. Langloh Parker.