Volume 2 Issue 72| December 19, 2009 |


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The Rainbow and
the Bread Fruit Flower

IN the Dreamtime long ago in Australia, before the Moon was born, there lived three brothers on Peel Island. Their names were Walara, Nabijura and Kurramon. The elder brothers were strong and handsome; Kurramon was weak and plain.

In the passing of the days, a dark shadow fell upon the three young men; for they all fell in love with the selfsame girl, Lamari, and each wanted her for his wife.

Lamari lived alone in her mia-mia, making dillybags for folk to use. Her eyes were dark and shinning and with her long fingers she could plait the strands of string into more dillybags than other maid.

Walara and Nabijura decided to bring her food to win her love. 'Like that she will wee we would make good husbands to provide for her,' they said. 'And we will make her choose between us.'

They agreed that the one she chose would not be envied by the other. First, Walara brought her fish fresh from the sea; but she refused to be his wife. Then Nabijura brought her game out of the bush; but she would not have him either.

It was then that Kurramon, the brother who was weak and plain, resolved to try his luck - even though his brothers sneered and called him names.

'Lamari won't choose you,' they said, and went off laughing.

Kurramon walked alone into the bush and gathered furit to take to fair Lamari. Next he caught some fish and speared a kangaroo. Soon all the food he had gathered was more than that of his brothers.

But before talking his gift to the lovely maid, he decided to visit his mother's grave. It was full fourteen days since she had died. And as he pressed his hands upon the earth, his mother's strength passed into him and he felt big and strong.

Then boldly the youngest brother went with the food he'd gathered and asked Lamari to be his wife. She smiled, rose and took his hands in hers. For she loved him best.

And Lamari and Kurramon became man and wife.

Kurramon was now afraid that should his brothers learn about the pair they would do them harm. So he built a mia-mia in the bush and when he saw his brothers he did not speak of his wife, nor did he take her with him he visited friends. But the brothers soon suspected something was amiss, for Lamari had dissapeared.

One day, therefore, they followed Kurramon as he took food into the bush; they watched from behind a tree while he embraced his wife. What annoyed them most was the way she looked at him: for here eyes told them she loved him truly. Because of this they hated Kurramon and they debated the surest way to kill him.

When the three brothers next went hunting, the first two placed themselves so that Kurramon stood between them and the game they wished to spear. And as they threw their spears it was him they aimed; yet he guessed their plan and swiftly dodged each hateful throw. He keenly watched their every move.

One day Walra and Nibijura invited Kurramon to go fishing with them on the reef. Through he knew they would likely try to drown him, he reluctantly agreed: for food was scarce and three could catch bigger fish than one.

Before he left with his brothers for the reef, he told Lamari of his fears, 'No doubt they will try to kill me and one will take you for his wife. If I die, a little bird will fly here with red drops of blood upon its beak; then you will know that I am dead.'

When she heard these words, all strength drained from Lamari and she could not speak. So Kurramon departed and went with his brothers to the fishing grounds. The two cruel brothers paddled the canoe to where they knew a giant clam lay on the reef; Kurramon knew nothing of it.

When they arrived, his brothers said, ' Dive down below the reef and spear some fish; meanwhile the two of us will hold the canoe against the wind.'

So Kurramon dived into the sea and swam down to the reef where the biggest fish were to found. But as he searched the waters the giant clam suddenly seized both his hands and kept him trapped inside his shell. In several moments the waters of the sea moved into Kurramon's nose and mouth and he died upon the reef. His brothers, looking anxiously into sea, saw the floating body still trapped by the giant clam, and they quickly paddled off in their canoe.

'Now we shall make Lamari choose between us,' said Walara. 'I'll go first since I'm the eldest; if she refuses me then you can court her.'

In the meantime, a little bird had flown to Lamari with red drops of blood upon its beak. And she knew And she knew what had been done.

Taking up her husband's spear she thrust it through her side, so hard it pinned her to the ground. In a moment she was dead.

Thus, when Walara reached Lamari's home, he found her dead.

Afraid and angry, he quickly ran to Nabijura with the news.
'Let us go to the reef again,' he said, 'and fetch our brother up. Perhaps we can bring him back up to life and he can pull the spear out of his wife. That way she will live.'

Quickly Walara and Nabijura dragged their canoe into the sea and paddled fast to the reef where Kurramon had died. They searched the waters until at last they saw his body drifting lightly with the waves; then it was gone.

In the stillness that followed the brothers held their breath, scanning the waters for a sign. Suddenly, a fish from the water flew up in arc into the sky, moving with the speed of a driven spear. It curved back to the sea far away, leaving a trail of colour that men call the Rainbow.

Walare and Nabiura went back sadly to the beach and the Rainbow followed; it spread its arc across the bush and until it reached the mia-mia where Lamari lay. And when it touched her lifeless form, the colours enclosed her so that she became the Bread Fruit Flower that grows beneath the Rainbow.

And now, when the Sun and rain visit the world togeather, the Bread Fruit blooms and the Rainbows stands guard over it.

Thus will it be forever.


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