[Singing in Aboriginal dialect]
Goombuckar and Bubbelacom
This is a story from long, long ago. When only animals roamed the earth. It was a time to wander and explore in peace.
In these ancient times there were rules, unwritten codes and forbidden things that were never done. There were consequences for actions and the choices you made. In this time when something went wrong there was no one to blame but yourself.
The rules were known and respected by all the animals and creatures. Small, large, long or thin, all obeyed and respected the unwritten codes.
All creatures lived together in harmony. The mighty red kangaroo bounded through the desert along long forgotten paths to water and green patches of grass.
The humble wombat wandered freely and dug his home from the same earth we call home.
The goannas moved through the trees without a sound, whispering to each other, searching for eggs to eat in the unguarded nests of lazy birds.
The kookaburra flew from across the sea with great wisdom, laughing as they carried their message across the land. “Laughter is good,” said the kookaburra. “It makes us feel free to travel to a place without worries, where there is good and life is fine.”
“Nothing is wrong with that,” said the wise old wallaby. “But be warned, too much will take you away to be lost forever. Too much will spoil you. Too much and you will slip away to become lazy and complacent. The rules, laws and the ways of the bush will slip your mind and steal you away so that you are left with nothing.”
Goombuckar and Bubbelacom were two frog brothers, young, strong and brave.
They lived in a huge billabong, a pond which no other could compare. The water was fed fresh by an underwater spring that came from deep under the ground. Water in the billabong all year round. In the rainy season, the billabong would flow into the great Maroochy River close by.
The Frog Brothers lived with their mum and dad, with their family all around.
“That old wallaby is silly Mum, what would he know, good times won’t leave you with nothing, good times will set you free to be happy and do what you want. I would love that, wouldn’t you Goombuckar?” he explained to his brother.
Goombuckar and Bubbelacom played around the rocks next to the billabong, jumping into the cool water from tall trees on the bank, dodging water lilies, water (inaudible) and fish. The Frog Brothers chased one another, playing their favourite games, leap frog, hide and seek. Some days, they would even talk to their friends for hours on end.
As time went by, Goombuckar and Bubbelacom noticed that things were changing. They realised that they were growing-up. Getting bigger. The rocks seemed smaller and tall trees weren’t scary anymore. They could now hold their breath all the way across the pond and even touch the bottom. All the games they played with their friends became boring. They just played them too many times. Their favourite game hide and seek just didn’t give them the same feeling. Goombuckar, he always hid in the same spot.
Things that were difficult to them now, became, well, easy!
Then the stories about the river came. The pond, it overflowed into the mighty river in the rainy season.
The stories told of the river sounded so great. They told of the fast running water. To float down stream on a log, through the rapids and the bubbles. The rocks were as tall as houses and there was even a swing to fly through the air.
It sounded like a place of wonder, joy, fun and adventure. Wouldn’t you like to go there?
They had the burning urge to go. So Bubbelacom asked his parents if they could go and have a look but Mum and Dad said “No, you must never go over there, it is the home of Jindarnoo.”
“Jindarnoo is the great snake that lives by the river, he is bigger than our house and he is sly and slithers on his belly, waiting for food to come to him,” said Dad.
“He also hunts for food to satisfy his great hunger and he will eat you,” Mum explained.
[Dad] “He has eaten many of our people. All that have travelled to the river land have never come back. The people from that land, the lizards, the birds and the fish, they all live in fear, of fear of him. He is greedy and never satisfied.”
So Goombuckar and Bubbelacom promised they would not go over to the river.
Soon, all their friends were talking about the river and how good it was. They all talked about how exciting it would be and imagined that they were jumping off the trees into the cool fast water.
They laughed at the stories of Jindarnoo and scoffed at how he could never catch them and they were too quick for him.
“He sits on his belly waiting for his food,” one of the youngsters said.
“He’s old and can’t hold his breath the whole way across the pond,” said another.
“It’s the same old stories that are older than our grandparents so he must be gone by now. He must be finished a long time ago. Let’s go!” said Goombuckar.
“What about what our parents said, he will catch us and he will eat us,” said Bubbelacom.
But Goombuckar said “Oh come on, he’s not there and if he was, we’re too quick for that silly old snake. He must be old by now, too old to catch us,” said Bubbelacom.
“Ok, but don’t tell anyone, not even our friends, as Mum and Dad will get angry. They will punish us. We can’t tell anyone,” Goombuckar said in a devious voice.
So the Frog Brothers crossed the pond and walked out over to the river. It was just as the people said. The swing was very long and the water was so fast and white with bubbles that the Brothers soon realised that the river was so much bigger than the pond.
So the Brothers jumped in the water and the bubbles tickled their bellies and made them laugh. A log floated past and Bubbelacom grabbed it and called out to his Brother. “Goombuckar, Goombuckar, Goombuckar, look at me, I’m floating down the river on a log!” he shouted.
Just then they heard a noise in the grass behind the river.
“Psssttt!” It was a sound that chilled their very bones.
They heard it again, “Psssttt!” It was Jindarnoo. Jindarnoo lifted his head and asked “Are you the Frog Brothers from over in the pond?”
“Yes,” the Brothers replied.
[Jindarnoo] “Didn’t your parents tell you not to come to this place?”
[Frog Brothers] “Yes, yes, they said that you would eat us.”
“They are right!” said Jindarnoo.
And without another word Jindarnoo struck out with his fangs and bit Bubbelacom.
Bubbelacom tried to get away but he couldn’t, he was trapped, trapped in the grip of the great snake Jindarnoo.
Jindarnoo's teeth were strong and Bubbelacom screamed out to his Brother. “Goombuckar, run! Run Goombuckar! Run!” cried Bubbelacom.
So Goombuckar ran, he ran and he ran and he didn’t look back, he didn’t look back to see his Brother because he knew, he knew he was gone. The snake had eaten him.
So Goombuckar cried and cried and cried. His heart was broken. His sadness was so deep, so deep inside him he felt empty.
His Mum and Dad returned and found him crying so they asked him “What’s wrong Goombuckar?”
“We went down to the river Mum. We went down and only I came back. Bubbe, Bubbelacom he’s gone, he’s gone forever.”
So we must remember to listen to our parents. There are many snakes by the river of life.