In this collection of short tales, the author has recorded stories as told to him by his grandmother. The stories demonstrate the power of qualities such as kindness and selflessness. We all have something to learn and take away with us from the reading of these tales. A spirit teacher in the guise of a young man travels amongst people to teach generosity in ‘The Selfish Gifts.’ In ‘The Golden Tree’, a young boy’s selflessness is rewarded by the Golden Tree, which heals his deformed leg. ‘Walkabout’ reminds us of the importance of being in tune with our environment, for it is that which nourishes and feeds us. The Great Spirit is generally there to guide, assist and provide safety for children who wander too far or cross forbidden borders. These stories illuminate to the reader the way in which Elders have traditionally imparted knowledge from one generation to another.
This book is a celebration of the power of story to bridge all generations and cultures. We are shown how stories can echo from one generation to another, and the various ways of storytelling. The tales in this collection were passed down verbally from a grandmother to her grandchildren, to then be shared in the written word, keeping the power of these stories alive.
The use of Indigenous terms in each story highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating Aboriginal language, so that future generations may keep these languages alive.
Use of this book in a classroom setting may provide a platform for discussing ways of telling story, Aboriginal art techniques, preservation of Australian Aboriginal languages, and the use of ‘cautionary tales’ as a method of providing guidance and instructing young people to listen to authority figures.
Each tale is accompanied by a brightly coloured full-page illustration, some showing familiar Australian animals or hunting scenes. The illustration accompanying ‘Walkabout’ shows kangaroos bounding through a moon-splashed landscape. Readers will delight in pausing to carefully examine each illustration, each of which is full of rich detail and colour.
Artist and writer, C. Dan Purches, whose tribal name is Naiura, learned his art through his mother. His maternal grandfather was a member of the Burramadagal clan of the Dharrug tribe. His people frequented the Parramatta River area of NSW.
Series: Tales of My Grandmother's Dreamtime Book no 3