A short story for children I helped to transcribe by elder Frances Chapman Crowe.
This is a story about an Aboriginal girl, called Noleen New, and her cousin Burgo Luck. She was a young pretty girl with skinny legs and her cousin, who has beautiful red-hair and cute freckles on his face. They both live on the same property belonging to Noleen’s Daddy. Noleen New and her cousin Burgo Luck thought eating juicy mulberries was delicious, but they couldn’t hide the mulberry juice on their hands. It is only through the help of Noleen’s wise Mummy, who helped them to overcome their shyness, that they learnt an important lesson.
Noleen and Burgo were always laughing and joking and having tons of fun running while they played tigee.
Got you! Your turn!
Noeleen and Burgo, decided to play hide and seek.
You count to ten, open your eyes, and you must find who is hiding.
It was Noeleen’s turn to find Burgo.
Noeleen couldn’t find him anywhere.
Noeleen looked everywhere, down the chook pen, Noeleen looked down the gully and under the house.
Noeleen still couldn’t find Burgo anywhere.
Ofcourse, time is running out.
He was hiding in the mulberry tree. Got you, says Noeleen to Burgo.
It’s your turn to count tomorrow afternoon when we play again.
Neleen looked at the mulberry tree; all the fruit was ripe and tasted delicious and sweet. All ready to pick and eat.
1 mulberry, 2 mulberries, 3 mulberries, 4 mulberries and 5 mulberries.
Noeleen’s tummy felt satisfied.
Burgo’s tummy felt satisfied.
Noeleen picked a couple of mulberries, they were all rich, black juicy berryes.
It was all over Noeleen’s hands, mouth and face.
Burgo’s hands, mouth and face were also covered in mulberry juice.
Burgo and Noeleen had to go home for tea.
Noeleen hid her hands behind her back, Burgo hid his hands behind his back.
Mummy said, why have you got your hands behind your back for?
Noeleen replies, ‘I don’t know mummy’
Oh! No, Mummy said to us both. Please show me your hands.
Noeleen started to cry. I’m sorry mummy! Burgo didn’t cry, but he was upset with his mulberry hands too.
Well, Mummy said to us, you both have been eating mulberries. “it’s not only on your hands, it’s all over your faces.”
Oh! No! we both (did a sigh).
Wise Mummy said, don’t worry, children, she took us back to the mulberry tree.
She pointed out the big, black, juicy mulberries. They are delicious, but she also pointed out white red and green mulberries (Not so nice to eat).
Mummy gave two white, two red, and two green mulberries. She said, rub your hands together with these. Old ways.
We had so much fun doing this. And all the black mulberry juice markings came off our hands.
Burgo and Noeleen were so happy. We washed our faces and our mulberry hands all clean.
Every time, I wash my hands, being a nurse, I always think of home, my cousin, Burgo Luck, the mulberry tree and our black mulberry hands.