Few words and dramatic pictures are the format for all of the books compiled by Pamela Lofts for this Scholastic series, and these have been many school children’s first introduction to Aboriginal culture in published story form.
The Rainbow Snake or Serpent is a god-like figure which features in many stories. Known to many readers through Dick Roughsey’s picture book produced in 1973, he can help or hinder people and is capable of altering the landscape.
This story is told by teenagers from Lajamanu School and related as happening in the days when Aboriginal people ‘were made to work for white bosses at Lajamanu’. The people are shown crying into the soil of the huge garden they were forced to tend. Then came a big storm, with Warnayarra at its centre. Trees, garden, humpies are all smashed to pieces ‘and iron was flying around’ while the people hid. The snake went west and into Nongra Lake where it is ‘still there, lying under the dry lake-bed – waiting.’
From the book: 'The traditions of song, dance and storytelling continue. Old stories are passed on and new stories evolve, providing an understanding of reality and strengthening and enriching a culture whose wisdom has, for thousands of years, sustained, and continues to sustain, Aboriginal people.'
Series: Aboriginal story