It is a story of struggle and
survival of the Walpajirri bilby tribe in the Aranjirra territory.
The encroachment of humans into
the territory has a devastating effect on the animals there with food and water
shortages giving rise to conflict between the different species.
The characters may remind you of
someone you know.
Watch out for the wily Snake!
In Store Price: $25.00
Online Price: $24.00
921240 15 6
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages:
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: 2006
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
P. Massey, always known as Peter, was born in
, and immigrated to
is 61 years old, married with two children, and has worked in various jobs,
including being a member of the Royal Australian Airforce.
from being a part-time writer, he is currently employed as a part-time teacher
with TAFE, N.S.W., in the aerospace industry.
and the mob
sun was high in the sky over the
. Leafy bushes were scattered in small clumps, offering meagre shade from the
animals of the Aranjira territory, those with fur and feather, were snoozing in
the shade, while lizards took advantage of the heat for mobility. Snakes basked
in the sun and in privacy, best left alone to avoid any neighbourly conflict.
, the big red kangaroo, sat under a
big bush licking his paws to keep cool, occasionally flicking the flies from his
long eyelashes. He was the tallest of the mob. His large tail gave balance in
flight. Sitting back on his tail, he was formidable in battle, as he used his
huge claws to destroy his opponents. As the wisest and most experienced of the
mob the others looked to him for leadership and guidance.
were scars on his snout and torso, reminders of past and unsuccessful challenges
to his leadership. None of the others were willing to take on that
responsibility, at least not yet. The mob was scattered among the brush, making
use of any available shade, and chewing on the sparse growth of grass.
s mate, Ana, lay close by. She
was smaller in stature but strong and reliable. She had a scar down her front
torso, a reminder of a wound inflicted by a rogue male some time before.
the male, had made unsucessful efforts to make Ana his mate. His temper rose and
and he attacked Ana without warning slashing her front with his great paw.
Before he could do further damage,
quickly intervened and Roon was banished from the mob.
and Ana had been mates ever since.
Survival was becoming difficult. Food was getting scarce and the
ever-increasing threat from human expansion was putting the animals at greater
s older offspring, Nak, was getting restless. Why
cant we move to where its nice and cool, like the billabong, instead of
sitting around here getting baked? he thought
Nak was similar in size and power to
He had a white patch on his chest passed on by his mother. She was long gone;
killed by human hunters. Ana and Nak never treated each other as mother and son.
Nak was a growing male and would soon be ready to have a mate. He could
challenge for any female.
He was smart enough but lacked the wisdom that came from experiencing
long-term survival in this harsh territory. He would learn soon enough.
As he watched
, Nak started to move around, shuffling and nibbling at the tufts of dry grass.
A gruff warning came from his father. Sit down, rest and be patient.
We will get to water at the proper time, he snorted.
Reluctantly Nak returned to his shade-bush and lay down with a deep sigh.
It was better to do as you were told than get into a fight with
One day, he thought. Im
the eldest and in line for leadership. But he didnt relish the thought of
a confrontation with
There were others in the mob willing to take up the challenge. Noor,
Roons son, was
s size and fancied his chances to replace
He was large enough but totally lacking in brains. He bullied and intimidated
the others especially the young ones and was not well-liked among the mob. He
wasnt favoured for leadership.
Nak knew he was equal to Noor, or any of the others for that matter, in a
contest for the leadership. That occasion would come sooner than expected.
had been trying time and again to teach Nak patience, and some leadership
skills, but it was a slow process. The young wanted to enjoy themselves rather
A little distance from where he sat a pile of rocks shimmered in the sun.
The glare reflected brightly making it difficult to concentrate on the rocks.
Nak saw one of the rocks move. Nak squinted. It was Zil the lizard. He stood
still, his body blended with the colour of the rock.
Cant see me! Cant see me! he smiled back at Nak who looked
Stupid lizard boasting about his camouflage, Nak muttered. One good
kick with his powerful leg and there would be no more Zil. He closed his eyes
and snoozed. Waiting
Zil, losing his audience, scampered between the rocks to search for food.
Hmph. Stupid, lazy kangaroos, he said. Dont know anything about good
camouflagin lizards like me.
He was a short lizard with a variety of colours and a winning smile. His
tail was the most attractive of all. It was more beautiful than the desert
flowers after the floods. In times of great danger, he occasionly had to
sacrifice it. It didnt take long for a new and more beautiful tail to grow.
There was something good to be said for danger.
Something moved nearby. He could sense the vibrations through his feet.
It was a heavy vibration. Certainly not a grub; not that big. Though it would be
nice to catch a big one. Better get out of here.
He pushed himself through a gap in a rock which served as his home.
Nothing could follow him in, except another lizard, or something smaller like a
The vibrations grew stronger as it whatever it was came nearer.
moving a muscle, or an eye, he kept still as a rock. He kept his mouth shut to
stop his tongue flicking out. It often had a mind of its own. Zils hearing
was not the best. A shuffling noise startled him.
Hist, hist, hist, hist.
It grew closer and closer. He slowly turned his eye back to see a dark
shadow across his doorway.
Hist, hist, hist, hist.
Zil waited and waited, keeping his body still, except his tongue. At last
he could see light coming from his doorway. The shuffling noise faded into the
distance until he could no longer hear it. He relaxed now. He knew who it was.
Nas the snake.
What was he doing out at this time of day? he wondered. He shivered
nervously. Although Nas didnt usually chase lizards like Zil, well you just
couldnt trust him. His tongue flicked out. Stop it, I tell you. You nearly
got me into trouble!
He thought about Nas for a while. He had heard stories about snakes like
Nas, with their long green bodies curling around themselves, admiring their
shapes and colours. Typical. Just typical. They all try to be better looking
than me. Jealous they are.
He popped his head with care through the doorway, looking left and right
up and down
no one to be seen. Zil
scurried out and continued to search for grubs. His tongue flicked out again.