Painting by Wingla Dada
In ancient times, the story goes,
each koala had a tail.
He bounced much like a kangaroo,
shaking the richter scale.
A drought came on the country,
the worst drought you could think.
All the animals were sore distressed
for the lack of water to drink.
Tree Kangaroo told Koala
of a drought when she was small,
how her Mum took her in a pocket
and crossed the mountains tall.
She'd hopped 'til she found a dry creek bed,
dug deep in dry, coarse soil,
until out oozed water, crystal clear,
seeping like precious oil.
'We can do that,' said Koala,
'Let's go and find that creek.
We're big and strong and we can dig
it can't take us more than a week.'
So off they hopped, due eastward,
moving day and night;
until they found that dry creek bed,
Tree Kangaroo knew this was right!
'Now, we've travelled a long distance,
we surely need some sleep.
One should dig while the other rests
as we'll need to dig quite deep.'
'You dig, I'll rest,' said Koala,
'Wake me when it's my turn.'
Tree Kangaroo dug steadily
'til he felt his muscles burn.
When he tried to wake Koala up
that animal would not budge,
despite a lot of shouting,
a slap, a prod, a nudge.
Poor Kangaroo was really parched,
quite desperate for a drink
but knew she would have to quench her thirst
before she could sleep a wink.
She kept on digging powerfully,
a rest would have to wait.
Koala woke, said, 'I'll get us some food,
you just keep on digging, Mate.'
But he didn't go hunting for food at all,
just found a big log and hid,
letting Tree Kangaroo do all the work,
a no-good, rotten kid!
When Tree Kangaroo struck water,
she shouted 'Eureka, Mate!'
Koala rushed to the creek bed
like a charging bull at a gate.
He shoved his loyal friend aside,
crouching down to drink his fill.
Tree Kangaroo was furious,
anger making her feel ill.
Koala's tail was waving,
excitedly over his head,
as he slurped and guzzled greedily,
Tree Kangaroo saw red.
She bent and bit Koala's butt
and that tail was chomped clean through.
That's why koalas have no tail,
let this be a warning to you.
this story is re-told
from the Wakka Wakka Peoples
of South-East Queensland.
The picture by Wingla Dada
actually follows the story line.
© 2010 cherryk
(All rights reserved)