Stories in Jiwarli 16

Today’s post presents a personal reminiscence story in Jiwarli with English translation, told and explained to me by Jack Butler on 20th May 1985. There is information about Jiwarli spelling here.

Joe Butler and the poison

This story is about an incident which happened to Jack Butler’s younger brother Joe Butler when he was young. Joe was making poison out of the ground up seeds of barambu ‘acacia’ which he planned to put in a small puddle of water to stun birds (this was a traditional method of catching birds for food). In the midst of this activity he was called to eat a meal and he failed to wash the poison off his hands. Joe was very ill as a result and almost died.

Seeds and pods of acacia

Marrgara yinha nganaju. Yinharru banhalu gumbinha guwardidhu. Yinha warlbara warrgamurringu mayangga. Yini ngunhaba walybalawaridhu George Roberds. Gumbaja ngunhi garlibagarnu jumaburradhu wirdamurdudhubarambuwu burrarnu yurlurlarnu walangunyjarriyi wirndubinyararringu. Bayalbarru burrarninyja ngulubayurlurlarnu. Babarru yindilgarringu. Guburnmarru wandharrgarringu dhugudhugu. Ngurndira ngunhaba dhana ngabanhu. Dhanggulurringu ngunha ngurndajarru. Banhalu yananyja babarla barlurarniru dhurubulanguru barlgarralarru. Malhu bunggarninyja. Baba barlurarnilgarringu. Walangu ngunha gumbira ngunhirruba babawu bajarnu. Warrirru walangulu ngunha bajalbuga dhurubula. Gumbaja ngunharru jirriljibarnu walanguwu dhurubula. Ngunhirruba bajalga baba wandharninyjalu barlgarrala. Bayalba nguluba nhanyanyja ngunha biji walangu. Gumbaja ngunhaba marajagarru ngurnuba galamarnu murlimurlirnu marajaga. Yanararringu yindirugundidhu ngunhiba. Ngurrudhu ngunha julyu mirranyjarru. Ayi! Yanamarnigayi nhurra dinarlagayi dhigaru. Warrirru banhalu mararru bundhanyja. Bayalbandhurru ngunha yananyja dinarla dhigaru. Ngurnubadhu ngunha yananyja murlimurlirninyjalu marajaga. Gumbaja birruwurru dhigarnu. Ngunhabadhu birruwadhu ngunha barambudhu marangga ngula banhalura. Dhuranggarrinyja dhigarninyjalu birruwu. Ngunha dhanagarrirru ngurndaja jamidhubirruwa ngunha guburndurarninyjabarndi. Balingurru gumbaja ngunha wardawardarringurru galarru dhindhalwarigundirru. Yanyjadhu ngunha ngurru gumbaja bundharnu babajagarru barnawu bulhuwarnirnu. Bayalbandhurru bagalyarrinyja ngunhaba juma. Ngunha dhanagarrirru ngurndaja birruwadhu. Julyudhu ngunha yananyja jugururru ngurluba. Wanggirarringurru. Warri nhurra yanararri barru nyulirringu wirda nhurra ngurndirangu. Gurlga binyanyjarru ngurrunggu nguluba.


This is my brother, that I am going to tell you about. He is living here in Onslow now. He was working in the south on a station where there was a white man whose name was George Roberts. My brother was living there at Cullabookana Bore as a young boy, crushing up acacia and making powder in order to kill birds. So, he crushed it and made powder. Next he poured water on it. Then he put on a hot cooking stone, and left it to soak. When it was cooked he went to get some water from the cattle trough on the flat ground. He dug a hole and filled it with water. The birds would come and sit there and drink the water. So they wouldn’t drink the water in the trough, he frightened the birds away from it. Then they would drink the water that had been put on the flat. He saw there were a lot of birds. Then he sat there, going like that with his hand, stirring the poisoned water with his hand. He went to pour the water in the hole he had dug, but one of the old men called out: “Hey! You come here first to eat dinner!” My brother didn’t wash his hands but just went to eat the dinner. He went straight away after having stirred that water with his hands. He sat down and ate some meat. The ground acacia husk was still on his hands. He became affected after eating the meat. The ground up husk had been left on his hands after he put hot cooking stone on it. He vomited and shook like that, as if from poison. Another old man bathed his head with water, cooling him down. Then that little brother of mine became better. He left that husk alone. The old man went and threw it away. He said: “Don’t you go again and be a nuisance, boy!” That old man scolded him.

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