Monday, 18 October 2010


I have been working with Aboriginal myths in Ingle Farm primary school in Adelaide. Together with the children we have been illustrating a selection of Aboriginal stories. I have been retelling the stories with acompanyment on the guitaralele and then everyone draws scenes from the stories. The aim is to take parts from all the pictures and work them into several murals around the school based on each story. This first story is rewritten by me with my illustrations.

I hope you enjoy it!


(Based on an Aboriginal myth)

The moon was a jolly round fellow with a spotty face and a big grin called Bahloo. He was a big show-off and loved shining down every night to ogle at the girls as they danced round the fire. Although he was not really allowed he would often come down to earth and try to chase the ladies but he was so bright and impossible to miss and his body was so round and his legs so small and spindly that the young healthy women had no problems running away from him and would even tease him and laugh as he fell over and huffed and puffed trying to catch them. This turned him from being a playful clown into a cunning lech. He decided that since none of the girls seemed to want to come and keep him company on his nightly rounds across the great sky he would have to catch one and take her back by force if he had to.

One night he crept through a forest in a valley so no-one would see his light and he heard two girls voices in the trees nearby. He walked closer and said in his most friendly and gentle voice:

“Good evening ladies, I hope you are enjoying this lovely evening! Oh what a beauuuutiful night, don’t you think?”

Now the girls immediately recognised him but they were surprised by his sudden appearance and even more surprised by his exquisitely polite manners so although they were a little anxious they replied to his questions and started chatting with him. They were sitting on their canoes by the river and were ready at any moment to push off and escape into the deep water if he tried anything and both the girls were actually very curious to speak to the moon himself. He had seen so many wonderful things they could only dream of! True, he did have a lot of very unattractive scars on his face and he was very funny to look at but everything around looked so beautiful in his light and these two girls prided themselves on being much more daring than any of the others.

Well of course, before too long Bahloo made a clumsy attempt to snatch one of the girls while pretending to read her palm and the two quickly pushed their canoes out into the water and prepared to go home but the moon felt particularly lonely that night and falling to the ground by the shore he started crying and begged the girls to come back:

“Oh, why doesn’t anyone understand how much I would love to have just one little wife to keep me company as I go around the skies every night lighting up the world for all the people below to enjoy! I get little thanks and I know I should not have tried to catch you but I have suffered so much from the other girls teasing me I thought it was the only way! Sob… sob… I promise I won’t touch you again if you just come back to chat with me! Please… sob… PLEEEASE!”

Something in his pathetic voice touched the girls tender hearts and also for want of anything else exciting to do that evening they decided to go back and give him one more chance but before they returned they agreed that they would teach him a good strong lesson if he broke his promise.

He was very grateful that they came back to chat to him and they talked deep into the night. He told them all about the beautiful planets and stars, how the earth looked from his silver throne and the fantastic lights of dawns and sunsets. He did not know it but often for an unattractive but humorous and charming guy like himself women would just need a lot of time. They wait until you have exhausted yourself emotionally after days and days of polite flattery, love poems, presents and respectful admiration and at that very moment when you have given up ALL hope and decide you have been offering your heart to them only to be carelessly scratched and gingerly prodded, they suddenly feel an irresistible desire to throw their lot in with you, as if you gain their trust by showing how much you will harm yourself for their sakes. None of them would have admitted it but history shows that there could have been a good chance that one or even both of these adventurous girls would have agreed to shack up with him if he had only had the patience and wisdom to play his cards right and play their game. Anyhow, he was by no means patient enough for that and in fact had far better things to do. So while he was winning their hearts the long winded-way he was still looking for a chance to catch at least one of them by stealth.

“What lovely canoes you have, I would so love to ride in a canoe!”

‘We will give you a ride!’

“My little button, that is so kind of you but I have never learnt how to paddle! One of you will have to row for me!”

The girls were still being careful but it was more out of fear that their combined weight with his substantial waste-line would sink the boat that they decided to just tow him across around the river swimming by the side of the boat while he sat alone inside. So they pushed off and Bahloo chortled and sang for joy as they floated down the river! He really was having the most wonderful fun he could remember in years and years! The water was rushed around him with a beautiful whisper as the trees floated past and far above the stars twinkled. His lovely silver light danced on the river and on the dark long wet hair and lovely shoulders of the two healthy young girls who were towing him. He had never been so close to a woman in his life and it was all too much! He could not contain himself and started to tickle them and stroke their hair. One girl warned him:

“If you touch me again dumpling-head and I will scream and all the hunters in the tribe will come and throw their spears at you before you have time to wink!”

Bahloo laughed and said: ‘He he he, nonsense my little fishy, we are way too far from the camp now, just try and scream!’ and he made a grab to catch her and pull her up to the sky but the girls were too quick. Before he knew it they had upturned the canoe and with a gigantic splash he was in the cold wet river!

Above and Below: Gradual progress on the first Moon mural. Above is Roy the schools volunteer handyman who is a really kind local who comes and chats once in a while.
Below are some of the kids in the younger classes of the school

The girls looked as he struggled under the white surface and slowly the white light became more and more and more dim until all that could be seen was a tiny faint glimmering like a small coin deep down on the riverbed. The girls suddenly realised how dark everything was around them… they were not the only ones. Everywhere birds were squawking and animals were rushing about in a blind frenzy, kangaroos jumping into trees and knocking the koalas out of the branches who then walked into the river in the dark and scared the fish who jumped and tried to swim across the land in their terror! It was utter pandemonium!

After much hunting the girls managed to find the camp where the elders had made a giant fire and were calling to everyone to come together. They were the last in the tribe to return from the pitch black night and everyone listened amazed when they told their story about the moon and how he had broken his promise and then drowned in the river. Some people thought it served Bahloo right for annoying the girls and things would be safer in the future but others wondered who would be brave enough to step out of the fire light after sunset now there was no moon to help them see danger in the dark!

Initial picture for 2nd work on why the moon waxes and wanes with BELOW, Jacks sketch of the worried tribe wondering what has happened to the moon with lots of exciting boobs!

Suddenly a voice spoke from the darkness above their heads. Everyone jumped. The voice said: “Things may be better and they may be worse, but for sure they will never be as they were!”

It was the voice of Wahn, the wise crow who had been burnt black by smoke a long time ago. He had been sitting on a branch close to the camp fire and heard the girls story.

“The moon is not drowned at all!”

The men and women looked into the water and suddenly one called out! “Yes, I see him, he is there, just sitting sadly at the bottom of the river!”

Wahn the crow replied:
”That is not him, that is just his reflection, look up in the sky and you will see him, hiding his face for shame. His pride has been sorely hurt because two girls threw him into the water! He will hide his face for a few days but soon he will forget his shame and become more saucy again and try to catch the girls once more. Once again he will feel shame and start to hide his face and the same cycle will repeat and repeat until the end of time!”

And of course, Wahn was quite right!

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