the Wuulaa story
There are a number of versions of this story. Arthur Dodd tells the story to Janet Mathews (on tape 3218B) and twice to Corinne Williams (on tapes 3994A and 3997A). There are siginificant differences between these versions. On tape 3216B Jack Sands translates as Janet Mathews tells the story in English. There are more differences in this version. There is a further, longer version in English in Australian Legendary Tales.
This version mainly uses material from the three Arthur Dodd versions, and also translates some of the English the he gives but does not translate. As in many stories some of the grammar of the original is not understood, and some of the interpretation and added Yuwaalaraay is subject to change when the language is better understood.
As in many of the other traditional stories there is word play. The Gilaa’s chest is red guwaymbarra, from the blood, guway. The stories also explain characteristics of the animals - in this story aspects of their appearance. There is also some Ngiyambaa in Arthur Dodd’s stories. It is not clear if this is because at times the different characters spoke different languages or because Arthur Dodd was used to telling the story in both Yuwaalaraay and Ngiyambaa.
The story is reproduced below in English.
Wuulaa, Gilaa - The Frilled Lizard and the Galah
This Wuulaa [Frilled lizard] said to the Gilaa [Galah].
"Hey, mate, mate my boomerang is better;
that's my boomerang there;
my boomerang is better than yours."
But the Gilaa said:
"Stop it, stop it, my boomerang is better.
"Come on, my boomerang is better."
"How about you throw it then, mate, throw it!"
"No, you first, you throw it first."
So that Gilaa threw it then.
Right out, right round it came,
that boomerang came right around,
and then it fell, close to his feet.
And the Gilaa said:
"See, Wuulaa, now it's you turn, throw!"
The Wuulaa said:
"Stand back mate, run mate,
the boomerang is going to hit you!"
No. He didn't stand, he didn't run away.
So the Wuulaa threw his boomerang.
Right out that boomerang went, right out, right round it came, right round.
It was going right around,
"Get up, run away quickly,
From out there back to them, the boomerang came back.
It hit the Gilaa on the head.
That Gilaa was crying there,
really crying loud, the Gilaa,
And then he was covered in blood.
"Gee, that really hit you, making the blood run out."
"Umm, I'm going to run and hide." [thought the Wuulaa]
And so the Wuulaa ran,
and that Wuulaa hid, in the prickles.
He kept hiding there.
But the Gilaa was looking for the Wuulaa, he kept looking for him.
"That Wuulaa is somewhere,
where is that Wuulaa?"
"Hey, I'm going to roll you in the prickles.
I'm going to really keep on rolling you there."
And still the blood kept pouring out, from his head onto his chest.
But the Wuulaa was lying down,
he kept hiding, just kept hiding.
Then the Gilaa saw the Wuulaa.
Then he grabbed him, and rolled him.
The Gilaa rolled the Wuulaa in the burrs,
he rolled him, rolled him, just kept rolling him.
The prickles stuck into him,
into his back, into the back of his neck, and into the front of his neck.
And so he's covered in prickles, that Wuulaa,
because the Gilaa rolled him in the prickles.
And the Gilaa is covered in blood.
His chest is red now.
He's always got a red chest,
And there are no feathers on his head,
the feathers don't grow on the top of his head. [Where the boomerang sliced them off.]