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Location: marengo, il, United States

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Bunyip

Here is something which originated from Australia. The original tale makes a swell bedtime story for kids, and has been used here to lull my brood to sleep on many a night. The opening line grabs the reader's attention, as a good story must. I consider it to be one of the best.

"Late one night, for no particular reason, something stirred in the mud at the bottom of Berkely's Creek."

I get the shivers reading that every time.

Then at one point, I thought it would be a good idea to try to transpose the story into a song, so I did. The boys acted like they hated the thing.

"Dad! Don't sing that one!"

It went on to became a fair-enough song to me, but I discovered that it took too long to sing, running about six minutes or more. A good song needs to last about half of that to hold my interest. The boys, they like them short as well, or filled with more violence. I may have warped the three of them, singing such nonsense as "The Long Black Veil" or things like "Miller's Cave" to induce sleep (for the uninitiated or unaware, those are two terribly melodramatic country and western tunes, and the former, when it came out, was tagged as the saddest song ever sung, and by the man who sang it. The second one follows close behind).

This present tale involves a mythical Bunyip. A bunyip might be described as a Bigfoot type of creature.

And a one and a two...

The Bunyip

Late, late one night
For reasons unclear
Something stirred in the mud
And a creature did appear.
Now the night birds hid their heads
And the fish swam away in fright
While the thing sat upon the riverbank
Considering its plight

What am I? What am I, it cried.
What am I?
What
Am
I?

A platypus came swimming by
And answered its request.
“Sir, you are a Bunyip.
That would be my educated guess.”
“What do I look like?
Am I handsome? Tell me please.”
But the platypus had disappeared
Beneath the water, and with ease.

Then a wallaby stopped to take a drink
So The Bunyip asked again.
“What do Bunyips look like?
Please tell me, my friend.”
“Horrible” Said the wallaby
As she sipped from the creek.
“They are covered up with feathers
And they have two webbed feet.”

“Do I have handsome feathers?”
Asked the Bunyip hopefully.
“No! They’re horrible feathers!”
It replied grumpily.
“Handsome-looking webbed feet?”
The Bunyip, he implored.
But the wallaby had hopped away
So the question was ignored.

What am I? What am I, it cried.
What am I?
What
Am
I?

So he sighed as he walked away
In search of a body to ask
When an emu in the under bush
suddenly shot past.
“Wait up!” Yelled the Bunyip,
As he ran along its side.
“Tell me what Bunyips look like.”
The Bunyip, it cried.

Now the emu did consider.
“They have fur.” He finally said.
“And tails.” He added simply.
But the Bunyip scratched his head.
“How many tails?” He asked.
“Please tell me, O kind sir.”
“Just one to a Bunyip –
Oh yes, and that horrid fur.”

The emu streaked off once again
Low close next to the ground.
The Bunyip still had questions
But there was no one else around.
So he wandered sadly on his way
Trying to understand
When further down the creek bank
He came upon a single man.

Who was writing in a notebook
With a pen, and didn’t see.
The Bunyip stood by quietly
When the man said suddenly.

“Shh! I’m busy.”

So the Bunyip waited for a time.

Then slowly
And clearly
He spoke to the man.

“Can you please tell me what Bunyips look like?”

The man, he gazed right through him.
“Bunyips do not exist.”
“You sure?” Cried the Bunyip.
Now, this was a frightful twist.
The Bunyip held his head down low.
He sighed a deep, long sigh.
“What a pity.” The Bunyip moaned
As a tear ran from his eye.

He then packed up his Bunyip bag
And began to walk along.
And as the sun began to set
He came to a billabong.
This will do, he thought to self.
No one will see me here.
I can be handsome if I like.
No body will have to care.

So he unpacked his little bag –
A mirror and his comb
Put his billy on to boil
While he sat there all alone.

But late, late, late that night
For reasons that aren’t known
Another thing stirred in the mud
at the bottom of the billabong.
The Bunyip stared in astonishment
As the object climbed in sight.
“What am I,” it asked aloud
And he shouted with delight

“You’re a Bunyip!” “I am?”
“Oh, yes!” he said with glee.
“What do I look like?”
She shyly asked.
“Why, you look
Just
Like
Me!”

And he lent her his mirror to prove it.

59 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

An amusing little tale. What I can't understand is why the kids never wanted to hear the song...

4:01 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

The impatience of youth, Gone.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

I loved it. Who has never asked "What am I?"

The question best answered by someone who questioned until they saw themselves in you.

9:08 PM  
Blogger The Fractal Cat said...

I met a Bunyip whilst in Australia... He tried to sell me some fish.
TFC

6:09 PM  
Blogger Keeefer said...

The Human mind never ceases to amnaze me.....i mean, you set off into the outback on your own....that blazing sun beating down your head. Your water supply quickly diminishes yet you press on to the billabong. Delirious with heat exhaustion, sunstroke and with just yourself for company you still have the imagination to create a Bunyip

10:29 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

My kids, even as babies, would hold their hands over my mouth when I would try to sing to them....

10:27 PM  
Blogger Stranger Ken said...

Bunyips don't exist? We had one living in the cupboard under our stairs for years. It used to terrify the Rotweiler on a daily basis and the coalman eventually refused to call. Dreadful.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Harry, where are you?

8:20 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Chasing bunyips, Ned.

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Blogger Bill said...

We miss ya Harry!

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Yay! Harry, you did it!!!!

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Ned said...

Still wondering and nagging... I hope the Bunyip didn't get him.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous bluebutterfly said...

i've read it and read the comments too but
i'm still at a loss on what relaly is a bunyip...lol!..so much for thinking I'm smart

10:49 PM  
Blogger Keeefer said...

http://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/bunyips/

there you are your bunyip questions answered.

Now Harry come out,. Bunyips aint that scarey

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What do they taste like?

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Hows it going man?

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Harry....come back....Harry...

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