This space story, from the Dreaming, comes from Northwestern New South Wales and is retold with permission, by June E. Barker.
A LONG TIME AGO, in the Dreamtime, there were no stars in the sky. Everyone in the tribe would sit around the fire, all night. The children would look up with wonder, into the dreadful blackness overhead.
Mothers always warned their children, never to run around after darkness fell, because all sorts of cruel and ugly monsters were hiding, behind bushes and stones. They were waiting to grab any little Wharoos, who would wander beyond the light of the campfire. The most feared creature was the little Euree woman, who was lurking about, waiting to coax careless children away.
One little boy, whose name was Dhundi, used to lay awake at night and wonder why the sky was so black. Dhundi thought that the Euree woman only wanted naughty Wharoos, so he was always good.
One day, one of the elders of the tribe sent all the boys into the bush, with orders to stay for two days and one night. They were not to eat or drink anything at all, until they returned to their Goondis.
During the night, when the boys settled down, they snuggled close to each other for warmth and fell asleep. A dreadful storm woke them up. Thunder and lightning flashed all around. The boys were all very frightened.
“It’s Wandah,” they whispered, huddling closer than ever. As the noise became louder and louder, they shivered and clung together. No one dared look up.
But, unlike the others, one boy, Dhundi, wasn’t frightened. He got up. Looking out into the darkness, Dhundi walked into the open space, where all the noise was coming from. He stood calling out, “I am Dhundi. I am not afraid.”
Suddenly, a big round ball of fire came down from the sky. Three times, Dhundi called out, “I am not afraid! I am not afraid! I am not afraid!”
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