Koobor the Koala - The Drought Maker
Long ago in the Dreamtime lived an orphaned Koala-boy called Koobor who was constantly ill-treated and neglected by his relatives. Consequently he had learnt to live on the leaves of the gum tree but was never given sufficient water to quench his thirst.
One morning when his relatives set out to gather food, they had forgotten to hide their water buckets so for once in his life, Koobor had enough water to drink. Koobor realised that he must store some water for himself so he collected all the water buckets and hung them on a low branch. He then climbed into the branches and chanted a special song that caused the tree to grow quickly to be the tallest tree in the forest.
That evening when Koobor's people returned from their hunt, they were tired and thirsty and soon became very angry when they saw their water buckets hanging from the highest tree next to Koobor. They demanded that Koobor return the stolen water but he refused. This angered Koobor's people no end. Two clever medicine men climbed the tree and harshly beat Koobor and threw him to the ground shattering his little body.
As the people watched, they witnessed the shattered body of Koobor change into a Koala and climb into a nearby tree and sit in the top branches, where today he does not need water to keep him alive. Koobor then made a law that, although the aborigines may kill him for food, his skin may not be removed or his bones broken until after he is cooked. Should anyone disobey, the spirit of the dead Koala will cause such a severe drought that everyone except the Koalas will die of thirst.
Michael J Connolly