Sunday, 15 May 2011
How the Waratah Became Red
Way back in the dreamtime when all the plants and animals, trees and humans were being formed there lived an Aboriginal Tribe in the shadow of a story mountain.
On the side of the mountain there were flowering plants and among them the waratah which shot up above the other plants looking bold and beautiful. Most of the flowers were coloured white. Among them lay a red-bellied black snake called Gurri-Gurri. He found a nice warm spot on the top of the waratahs in the sun.
The women of the tribe came to dig for yams. A young baby girl had seen the snake laying in the sun and crawled towards him. She need not have feared Gurri-Gurri though because he was her totem and her protector. A woman saw Gurri-Gurri just as he lifted his head into the child’s lap and she hurled her digging stick at him.
Quickly Gurri-Gurri wrapped himself around the infant so the sticks wouldn’t hurt her. But the women threw more and more sticks and Gurri-Gurri’s blood began to spill on to the waratahs as he crawled away.
The sun came out and shone down on the waratahs, making them grow tall and strong. Their vivid red colour still marks the connection of plants and animals to mother nature. The red-bellied black snake still lies among the waratahs looking for his sun spot.
Story told by Kevin Smith from the Murramarang Tribe Southeast Coast, NSW, Australia.
This Aboriginal dreamtime story and many others, we relate each week to the children who attend Mt Druitt Learning Ground in Sydney. The stories take my breath away.
"When I dream, I am ageless."
~~ Elizabeth Coatsworth
Above photo taken in Canberra, Australia in October 2010. - Waratah (Telopea, Shady Lady)