Merrewoon ... told by Paddy Bedford PDF Print E-mail


Berrawoon, marrarn roord ginimiyinji, ‘Ngaga! Gajigajiban niyilinji-ni.’Miya, gawayin, barrg gerroowi gawayin, berroowoon, thamboorrooganya. Waranyja. Merd ginimiyinji now, miya, biri nginwardji daayoorroong. Lerndilerndijbi benayanyji garloomboom jimbirlam, thood ginimanyji.

Justabout now, latebalan wananawoon. Marrarn now. Marrarna nyawoorn berrayi now, dana Warooban yoorloo dana garlirrang-binya dana. ‘Diyile
bamberroojoongoo thamboorroony! Deg theremge ngagenyji thamboorroony.’Ngalany berrani-noo now. Garij jimberrama, boorab giniward, harrboolirr
ngininiyin now.

Werndij wanema-noo. Wayi! Nyindoorrg giningaboord. Wayini ‘Yangirni werndij ginini?’ ‘Ngayin! Gajigajiban yayi yimberrannha-gili wayini nginbirn-narri-gili. Gerrmabany gajigajibany. Ngarri narroorn-ni-ngarri-gili berdij barrij-gili.’ ‘Yoowoo! Elibalan-gili benoowoo.’
berrani-ni.

Alright wili berraardbende now, wili berraardbende. From elifala, ngoorrangaboordbende. Wayininji ‘Mamberra!’ ‘Mamberra!’ wayininji. Alright. Latebalan benada wanajarr noomboorn-ngoo gendoowagoo. Warooban dana, ngela deyena, ngarne nawane, labij giniward, gendoowa walig giniyi.

‘Yangirni jarroongambiyi, yangirni bilyoog-bilyoog?’ Bilyoog-bilyoog-wanama now. That’un Warooban now Bilyoogbilyoogwanema. ‘Yangirni jarroongambiny-gili, gajigajiban-ngarri yimberranynha-gili, gerrmagerrmangarri narrani-ngerri-gili. Berdij barriyi-gili.’

Diyena now jida nyanini, jida wanemayanyande all around. Wayina now, booyoorroong, nyinanyande. ngenengengga. jida wanamayanyande all around.
Ngenengengga ngenengga-geny, ngoorrooma yoorloo derrkerne berrem. Deyena jida nyanini. Ngoowan. Mamberra-nyaliny, mamberra-nyaliny, warndajgayan, warndajgayan. Yoorloo ngoorrooma, Ngawoongooliwoon, deyena. Deyena dagoorlan ngarag.

Deyena jawarlarlinya, mind’em wanemande jawarlaliny. Alright jilbejiilbe ‘Dana, wiway-wiwayi berne-ni boornoom. Fly you know. Alright ‘Ngiyi!’ ‘Ngiyi, jirrayany.’

One side a mooloonggoom gerrijbe nginingoonjende one side. Berrem-yarri joodoobiny. Dabinyda, gerrijboowa benangoonjende-ni mooloonggoombi now. Mooloonggoombi gerrijboo benangoonjende-ni. Alright wanemayi now. ‘Ngaga! Jirrayany?’ ‘Ngoowan.’ Yoorloo warndaj-jaliny. Merrewoon dagoorlan. Deyena jida wanemanyande mamberra jida wanemanyande. Dama now giniyidja. Gerloowirrgoo woordij giniwardji danyi goorloony dany. Alright.

Nyarndem dana garaj, gum tree you know, nyarndiny. He bin put em la him all round, therlan, therlan, nyawan right through. Dambi mawoondem wayina benamoorlardji you can see’em white one you know. Finish. Waranya. ‘Ngaga! Dererrawoo, dam, that the paperbarkji you know, merndany dany. Nose-be-ni dama, nyoomboorroo. Mernda thadun, thadun now. Merewangarri nginji dany. Finish.

Waranya. Warnajarr wanemawoo, yilangoogoo, jijboorrg, yilagoo. Ngoowan boorab goowardji. Ngoowan. Lift’em up bemberrayangbiyoo now,
ganggagal doo gooragal, therlayirrin, yilag jijberrg berrardbiyoo. Ngoowan. Waberre ngoowan nyirreg berroowardbiyoo dooloog. Jawarlaliny warnajarr nginini yoorloo. Jad ginji right Bayooloona then. Deyena nginji now, werlwenya deyena. That’s the one now, ngoorrangaboordbe-ngarri
goorlangge. Ngarranggarniny, berrema now.

There, at a place called Warooban, they speared the crocodile. The bat threw spears at him. The shortnecked turtle carried his body away from there along the river bed. The short-necked turtle was his grandmother and the long-necked turtle his mother.

There at Warooban the bat speared him. The bat was sulking because he wanted to dance joonba.

‘Me! Me! Take me!’ [said the bat].

‘You have too many sores, your backside is covered in sores, your arse is too skinny— you can’t dance’, [they said].

‘Me! Me! Put me in!’ he said.

He went and sat down. ‘Ah! They say you have sores everywhere.’ Never mind, his mother-in-law’s brother [the crocodile] got painted up. Alright then. He just went back to his camp, made spearheads and joined them on to his spears.

Then, when it was getting late in the afternoon, lots of people gathered together down there at Warooban. ‘Let them shine a light on you, mother-in-law’s brother! Let me look at my mother-in-law’s brother!’ [said the bat]. Then they sang for him [for the crocodile who
was going to dance]. They called out the song and he appeared in the light, arms held out, chest straight.

The bat threw a spear at him. Oh goodness! He speared him right through.

‘Who threw that?’ they said. ‘It was I. You all said I was covered in sores so this is what I do to you all. I am the one with sores everywhere. You all said it, stand up and fight’. ‘Yes! You be here early in the morning’, they told him.

Then they tried to hit him, they tried to hit him. They threw spears at him all day. Then it happened like this. ‘Wait! Wait!’ They spoke like this. ‘It is getting late. You run up there now’. He went up there to the cave there at Warooban, he went in there and latched onto the
cave wall like a bat.

‘Who can spear me? Who can hit me?’ [he called out to them from the cave]. That place at Warooban is called ‘The place where he called out, “Who can catch me?”’ [He said], ‘Who can spear me, the one with all the sores, you all said I had a backside covered in sores. Come here and fight!’

Then the turtle who was carrying the body of the crocodile along the river bed was stabbing the ground to look for water. She came from the north like that. She stabbed the ground here all around. Here there and everywhere, down there in the gorge, she kept stabbing the ground for water. No! She would put him down, then carry him again, put him down and carry him again.

Then down at the place called Ngawoongooliwoon, there, there she made a deep waterhole.

The shaky-paw lizard was travelling with them, looking after him [the crocodile] while she dug for water. ‘Chase the flies away from him!’ [said the turtle]. ‘Alright, yes, OK!’ [said the lizard who pretended to cry].

He [the lizard] was pretending to chase the flies but was really eating the fat from one side of the [crocodile’s] body, here on the right hand side. He kept on eating the fat. He said to the turtle “Well! Is it alright here?’ ‘No!’ [she said]. She carried the body again down to the deep waterhole at Merrewoon. There she stabbed the ground and stabbed the ground again. There she hit the water. The water shot right up into the sky.

Then she got lumps of gum from the Terminalia trees on the bank and stuck it all along his [the crocodile’s] back right up to the tail. He is white underneath from the paint he wore to dance. You can see the white on him. He has a long nose from the tall paperbark hat he wore
when he was dancing.

She was ready.

Well, then he [the crocodile] ran down and jumped into the water. He did not come out. His mother and grandmother, who had carried him, jumped into the water too. They look out from the water. The shaky-paw lizard ran down to the high water mark. He stayed there.
He became a dreaming rock there. That is the story of how they speared the crocodile, poor thing. It is a dreamtime thing.

detail of Merrewoon by Paddy Bedford