Minjarra was strolling through the bushland; he had no idea where he was going. The sky was blue with a storm cloud here and there. He could smell the wattle already, the floral fragrance wafted into his nostrils. He could hear the rosellas chirping in the eucalyptus trees. He could taste a smoky campfire nearby; he was following the trail of smoke. He could feel the twigs snapping under his feet.
“Hey there! The voice made him jump; he had wandered right into the camp without noticing.
“Who are you?” Minjarra replied.
“Who am I? I am Steve! Who are you?”
“I’m Minjarra, what are you doing?” asked Minjarra.
“I’m trying to cook some chicken.”
“Any luck?” Minjarra asked.
“No.” said Steve.
Suddenly a monitor lizard with yellow stripes on its neck and tail burst out of the bush, grabbed the chicken, and ran off.
Later, they were walking through the bush, and Minjarra pointed out some berries to Steve,
“These are edible, by the way, not poisonous.” Steve tried one,
“Very starchy.” he said, “I hope it doesn’t make me fart.” Minjarra chortled, “Ha!”.
It was getting dark, and they had nowhere to shelter for the night, so they started to look for a place to sleep. They suddenly discovered a cave that was dug into a cliff-face. There was a striped, yellow tail sticking out of a crevice that was covered in moss.
“Hey!” said Steve, as he pulled the lizard out of its hole, “Where did you put that chicken!?”
Minjarra showed Steve how to cook the lizard. First, he made a fire and let it burn down to the embers. Then, he rolled the lizard into the ashes and covered it in embers. He waited for a little, before taking it out, finding it soft, and when he poked it with a stick, the flesh fell right off the bone.
Steve watched as Minjarra pulled the lizard out of the embers, brushing the ashes off. He began to pull chunks off by holding the legs and passed some to Steve.
“This is soft bush tucker, traditionally for old folks, but it tastes rather good.”
They sat together eating the lizard, contentedly, until Minjarra asked Steve if he had ever had bush tucker before.
“Have you ever tasted lizard before?”
“I’ve never really eaten anything like this actually.” said Steve with his mouth full of lizard flesh.
“You don’t really have to chew much, that’s why it’s for the old folks. Usually, we clear out the tall grass by lighting small fires, that way it is easier to find them – lucky we did not need to do that this time, thanks to you yanking it out by its tail.”
Steve sat quietly chewing the tasty meat and watched Minjarra expertly tear away more delicious chunks.
“I guess I should thank you for sharing your bush tucker knowledge with me. I would have been pretty hungry without the chicken.” Steve mentioned.
Minjarra chuckled, “Tastes better than chicken anyway.”
I think it’s about two people with different backgrounds coming together and sharing something.
Recognising each other and correcting the wrongs of the past.
Author: Felix Van Maale