Balanda Runu'ŋur

White man on the Island

Stuck on an island, out to sea, a non-Indigenous man spends many months. He is lost. He is alone. When help arrives, his fortunes change, and a ride awaits him.

A long time ago, Grandfather and Grandmother went to an island by canoe.
Those two paddled and paddled for a long time before they reached shore.

They pulled the canoe out of the water where there was shade, and there they sat.
Then Grandfather said to Grandmother, “Let’s go to that point to look for turtle eggs.”
So they went. When they got closer, they saw a hat, some shoes and clothes, and Grandmother said to Grandfather,

“Hey! Whose clothes are these?”
“I don’t know,” said Grandfather.

When they returned, they saw someone. He was standing there beside their canoe. He was thinking, “I wonder whose canoe this is?”
Then those two went and hid. Grandfather said to Grandmother, “Who is that, a white man or a Macassan? He might steal our canoe.”

“Maybe we should walk towards him,” said Grandfather.

Then they went towards him. He turned and saw them.
Then he sat, and when they came close to him, they stared at each other.
He wanted them to take him back to the mainland. Then they gave him water because he was looking worried.
Then they returned by boat, because for three months he was on the island alone.
When they arrived, they got out of the canoe and they all went and sat in Grandfather and Grandmother’s shelter.
They were not there long before another group arrived carrying fish, oysters, yams and wallabies.
Then the white man felt comfortable staying with them, and he lived with Grandfather and Grandmother.