A Story from Lockhart River
This traditional story from Lockhart River, on the eastern coast of Cape York, is called The Wallaby and the Dugong, and teaches us how the animals got their distinctive tails. Vincent Temple, the original storyteller, shared the story with children form Lockhart River State School, who were taught illustration and photographic techniques to create the characters and backgrounds. The story has been recorded in both English and Umpila languages.
1: A very long time ago at Mosquito Creek there live a wallaby and a dugong.
2: The wallaby did not like his big flat tail
3: and the dugong did not like his long-pointed tail.
4: Each day they would come to drink at the water hole and share stories about how unhappy they felt about their tails.
5: The wallaby dreamt about hopping fast through the bush and the dugong dreamt about swimming smoothly through the water.
6: So, they decided to swap their tails. They snapped them off and gave them to each other.
7: Then the two animals tested out their new tails.
8: The tails worked so well both the animals agreed to keep them.
9: The dugong swam off smoothly through the water all the way to Murray Island where he found a wife and had a family.
10: After this they all swam back to Mosquito Creek where they lived happily together. And that is the story of how the dugong got his tail!
Author: Written and illustrated by students from Lockhart River State School
Thanks to State Library of Qld.
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