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The Aeroplane Story

Summary

 
Story by Kutatji, an old man from Kuntjanu, about seeing his first plane. The group of people were seeing an aeroplane for the first time in the Great Victoria Desert. The ngangkari (bush doctors) got rid of it by hurling special bone splinters at it. Kutatji breaks down in hilarity mid-way through the telling of the story. He says, in retrospect, the plane’s occupants were probably patrolling and photographing them. Kutatji was a boy about 12 or 13 when this happened.
 

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Story teller: Kutatji • Recorder: Ushma Scales • Date of recording: 20-5-1983 • Translator: Linda Rive • Illustration: 1955 drawing by Angela / Allan Vial collection.

Kutatji:

Uwa, irupulainangkana. Nganana Kunytjanula nguru ma pakanu. Kunytjanulangurula ma pakanu munula ka Aralanya apu Urtjanynga apu ilaringu. Panya Wali Puraranya ngaranyi, panya palunyala nganymantju ma-kantura pitjangu, munula ka ilaringu ngananya Urtjanynga Puli. Tali panya pulkangka kampa alatji pupanyi. Kala ma ilaringkula, ka wati tjuta winki - wati winki - minyma tjitji winki. Nganana uwankara anangi. Alatja. Alatjikutu Urtjanyku panya. Arala alatjilaku. Munula ma tjarpantjkitja kulinu... “nnttttuurrrrrrrrr” Kulinula uwankarangku, munula kulinu, “Nyangatja kuka nyaalta?”

Ka “Tilila!! Tilila waru!!” Ka irupulainampa panyampa - ngananala kutu ngalya tjukarururingu! Ka “Tjarpa! Tjarpa! Tjarpa! Tjarpa! Ngangkarku! Kulatangka wakala! Kulatangka wakala wati tjutangku!” Munu pakara tjuti-tjutinu watarkaringkula alatji  tjarpa-tjunu watarka pulkala, talingka panya pulkangka ngurangka alatjitu ngaranyi. Panya palulala nganananya tjarpa-tjunu! “Tjarpa! Tjarparaya!” Munu wati tjutangku tjuti-tjutinu, ngalya tarararinyi. Ka iruplainampa panya “rrrrrruuuuuuuu” munu piruku ma pitjaliya ngalya-iyaringkula “rrriiiiiuuuurr” piruku nganana. Ka nganana kuukuukurantangka paluru  minyma tjuta!
  

Ka wati - ka wati ngangkaringku wangkangu - “Wiya! Tarkangka rungkala! Ngangkaringku - ngangkari pulkalu!” Ka minatja mantjinu munu - ka ngalya tararara! “Uuuuuurrrrrr!” Ka piruku ngangkaringku! Ka piruku! Tjilpirpungkula piruku tarka panya mantjinu munu - “KUKA!” Piruku ngalya tararingu, ma pitjala-iyaringkula tjaruringkula piruku nganananya! Tarka wanu anu, ka nyangatja... (breaks down and laughs).
  

Nganananya tjarpara nyinara nyinara nganananya tjarpa-tjunu kala nyinara nyinarampa pakanulta. Ka wati kutjupangku, ngankari tjutangkuya rungkanu “Uwa irupulaina - mamu -paluru pikatjara anu. Mamu paluru pikatjara anu. Mapitjala-iyanti parariku”. Irupulainampa alatjituna wangkanyi. “Ankula ilunyi kuwari. Pikatjarana iyanu”. Ngankari tjutangku alatjitu tjana wangkangu. Munuya tarka panya tjuta mantjira malaringkula tjarpatjura tjarpatjura wanara mantjira. Ka paluru pikatjara, panya nganala, Urtjanyta nguru ma pitjangu, munu ngura Aralalanguru wilurara wanu anu. Irupulaina.

Pala paluru wiluraranguru - kakararanguru pitjangi. Wilurara wataparanu, wiluraranya tjarpa-tjunangi. Wiluraratja winki tjarpa-tjunu. Ngangkari tjutangku rungkara rungkara rungkara tarka tjanamangka. Ka irupulainampa paluru uwankara alatjitu parangarala parangarala mapitjangu. Ka kutjupangku tjutira wakanu wiilangka wakantjakitja. Ka palulanguruya nguwanpa miru ngalya tjilpirpungkula pitjangi, ka wantira ma tjarpangu watarkangka. Nganananya kura palyanu. Irupulainaku ngurpa tjuta. Tjinguru nganananya putukurapamilaningi. Uwa palya alatjituna wangkanyi.

Translation:

Alright, this is the aeroplane story. We had left Kunytjanu. We had left Kunytjanu, and we were getting close to Arala and to Urtjany Rock. You know, near Wali Purara. We had been dancing out there, and we were on our way back to Urtjany Rock. We had reached the side of that big sandhill. We were close to it - men, a whole lot of men, and a whole lot of children and women - and we were coming along, coming towards Arala. We were on the move. Heading for Urtjany. Just as we arrived we heard... “nnttttuurrrrrrrrr” We all heard it, and we all thought, “What unknown thing is doing that?”

Then, “Light a fire! Light a fire!!” But that aeroplane came straight for us! “Head for cover! Head for cover! Head for cover! Head for cover! Ngangkarku [untranslatable men’s word.]! Impale it with spears! Impale it with spears, men!” The men loaded their spears into their spearthrowers and we were hidden in that big thick patch of umbrella bush [Watarka - umbrella bush Acacia ligulata,] you know, in that huge thicket near the sandhill. They hid us in there! The men got under cover too, loading their spears as they ran in. That aeroplane was swooping quickly over us again “rrrrrruuuuuuuu” and again“rrriiiiiuuuurr” and again! We thought a monster had got all of us and all the women!

The man - the bush doctor man shouted - “No! Strike it with a healer’s bone! A bush doctor man’s - a clever bush doctor!” Then he grabbed his minatja [untranslatable object of bush doctor] - just as [the aeroplane] came rushing back! “Uuuuuurrrrrr!” He hurled splinters of that bone again and again until at last - “GOT IT!” Then he ran back under shelter again, after getting rid of [the aeroplane], just as it disappeared below the horizon. It went because of that bone!... (breaks down and laughs).

We remained concealed, waiting and waiting, hidden and waiting until we were able to come out. “Yes, that monstrous [aeroplane] has gone now, wounded. The monster has been disabled and gone. It has probably gone far away”. I am referring to the aeroplane here. “It will go and die now. I sent it off crippled.” That is what every ngangkari said. Because they had all thrown bones into it as well. And so it was wounded by that place near Urtjany, when it went over Arala and back out to the west. An aeroplane.
  
  

It had been flying in from the west via the east. It followed the west and it went back west. The western [ngangkari] had all thrown things at it. All the ngangkari had hurled and struck it with their bones. That aeroplane had flown around and around all over the place before it left. Others had also loaded their spears and had tried to spear it’s wheels. They just about split their spearthrowers doing it, though some had to give up and hide in the umbrella bushes. That was a very bad thing that happened to us. None of us knew what an aeroplane was. Perhaps it was photographing us. Well, that’s it - that’s all I am going to say.