Ngarigu: Uncle Boobla’s Story
One day three small boorabarls decide to sneak away from the camp and go for a swim in the lake. They had to walk a long way to get there. By the time they got to the lake they were feeling very hungry. Now the boorabarls knew about the bumblers in the lake; bumblers are the shellfish their ngujarn would gather and fetch back to the camp.
But the boorabarls never gathered bumblers before; that was women’s work. Only ngujarns and mullagarng did that. So they sat at the edge of the water and groaned with hunger. Bimm said ‘If we don’t find something soon we will be too weak to walk back to camp and we will get into big trouble for sneaking away.’ Narby, the youngest boorabarl said, ‘Let us try and find some bumblers’. So in the water they went, each of them carrying a stick because they thought they had to dig to find bumblers. They stayed in the shallow water and poked about with their sticks. But while they were doing this, they didn’t see the three sneaky joongars following them around until one wrapped his long arms around Bimm’s legs. Bimm screamed with fright, ‘Something has got me!’ The others ran over to help but found there was more than one joongar there, so they started to splash the water with their sticks to scare the joongars away. But they didn’t know that if you scare a joongar it squirts out black inky stuff so they can escape.
Now all this time, the boories didn’t know that an old warrior of the tribe had followed them and was sitting on the hill watching over them. When the boorabarls saw what was happening they forgot they were hungry and ran out of the water screaming with fright. They ran so fast past the old warrior they didn’t see him. They ran on and on until they disappeared over the hill towards the camp. The old warrior never stopped laughing for a long time to come and so did the whole camp. And from that day on the three boorabarls were known as the disappearing boories, even though they never sneaked away, ever again.
Told by Aunty Rachel Mullett – Monero-Ngarigo Elder
Ngarigu word list
bumblers shell food