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This yarn is so old, it's actually a Steele Rudd yarn; and it was retold by Bill Wannan in the early 1950's - so I think it's probably safe to retell it again - seeing as possibly half of the forum members and readers, weren't even born, when it was last retold!




The drovers were camped on the riverbank for the night, and amongst them was young Charlie, a green youngster, on his first big drive.

Gathered around the campfire after dinner, the cattlemen took it in turns to tell tall yarns about amazing things that had happened to them. 

Each of them, of course, strove to impress young Charlie with outlandish stories of happenings, that they swore were true, and had happened to them personally.

The night got longer and darker, and the tales got more frightening and more eerie. Bunyips and Min-Min lights, and other strange happenings, featured large in the old drovers stories.


Then came Charlies turn. "Come on, Charlie, you're a North Queenslander and station-bred!" - you must have some strange experiences to relate?", said one of the old cattlemen, with a wink to the others.

"Gee", said Charlie, "I'm sorry fellas - but I haven't had the experiences that you old blokes have had! I couldn't relate any stories, like you can!"


"Oh, c'mon! You must have had one or two scary experiences?" said the old cattleman, with a sly wink to the other old-timers.

"Well", said Charlie slowly .. "Actually, as a matter of fact, yes, I can relate one thing that happened to me, that was pretty scary.


It all happened when I was just a young whippersnapper. Dad and I were working for Brown on the Woongun Run, up in North Queensland at the time. 

Mum had died some years before, so it was just Dad and I, living and working together. 

We were living by ourselves in an old humpy out back of the station, and it was real bad Myall Black country. 

In fact, the Blacks were just terrible, out there! - dangerous, violent blacks! - stealing cattle, and going on the warpath, spearing people ruthlessly, on a regular basis!


Charlies voice started to crack, and he wiped the back of his hand over his eyes. The old cattlemen listened intently.

"I can just see it all now, clear as yesterday!", he said.

"Early one morning, a big group of these wild Myall Blacks came out of the bush, screaming and yelling, and chucking spears! 
Dad and I only just had time to jump out of bed, and the Blacks were at the door!!"


"They broke the door down, and ran a spear through Dad on the spot!
Then they grabbed me ... " and Charlies voice went a little strange ... as all the old cattlemen leaned forward.


"They dragged me outside ... I dunno how far. When they came to a clearing, they threw me on the ground like a dead kangaroo rat. I was so exhausted from fighting them, I couldn't get up!"

"Then these wild Blacks gathered up a big pile of dead wood - probably about 4 foot high - and they threw me on it, and set fire to the woodpile!!"


"I can see that all that smoke and flames, even now! - rising up around me - and me too weak, to even try and raise myself up!!"

Charlie paused, and stared up at the waning moon. The old cattlemen waited with concern on their faces.


"But ... but", said one of the old-timers eventually. "What happened? Did you get badly burnt in the fire?"

"Nah", said Charlie, with a sly grin. "I wuz too green to burn!"

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