the Milaan story
This story is on tape 2436B where Fred Reece is talking to Janet Mathews. Fred and his mother, a Muruwari woman, were digging for milaan in a swamp near Goodooga. These yams were a favorite food. The relevant entry from the Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay Yuwaalayaay Dictionary is:
milaan (YR, YY, GR) noun,
yam (water ribbons) (Triglochin procera). Grows in billabongs with small tubers forming on the roots; these can be eaten raw or cooked. Has ribbon-like leaves that float on the water’s surface.
Milaan are also mentioned in the Guniibuu story. ‘Milaan’ is one of the few narratives recorded in traditional GY.
The story in English is reproduced below.
Mum took me looking for yams, for milaan.
I sat down in the water,
and I called out to my mother:
"Mum, there's milaan here, come here.
Here, there are milaan here."
My mother was carrying a yamstick, to dig with.
I was sitting in the water.
That water was muddy.
My mother stuck the yamstick into the ground.
But instead she stuck it into my leg.
I jumped out of the water and I was crying.
I can still see the scars.