MATILDA

“G’day, Jacks me name, take the weight off yer feet.  You look like someone who could use cheering up, have a beer.”

“Thanks.”

“What’s up?  You look like you’ve lost a quid and found ten bob.”

“I just had quite a turn mate, want to hear about it?”

“Sure I got nothing to do.”

It’s hot out there mate and Id’ been shifting all day, humpin’ me swag.  Wasn’t much effort – me tucker bags empty as politicians promise.  I could’ve eaten a horse – hooves an’ all by crikey.  Well I comes around a bend in the track and see this sweet little billabong shaded by a Coolabah  (that’s aboriginal for  ‘ a good place to set up a wine pub’)  – looking deep and cool.   You know what a billabong is don’t you mate.  It’s a bit of creek that’s got lost.  They’re names after this bloke I used to know.  He went all around the country collecting these bits of lost creek, got them all together and ended up with Lake Eyre….straight up!  He sure annoyed Burke and Wills.

I decided to make camp, even if I didn’t have any tucker I still had a bit of tea and sugar so I settled down to boil a billy.  I was filling me pipe and waiting for the water to boil when down the billabong comes this jumbuck.

Now ya know what a jumbuck is don’t  you!  Yeah, that’s right, it’s something you grow wool on mate.  Tell you what tho’ I bet you don’t know what they eat do ya?  Most people reckon it’s grass, but I know better!  It’s rabbits – straight up – it has to be – why else would the bloody Poms have bought them here in the first place?

Well I reckoned this rabbitavore was gonna solve me tucker problem.  I decided to swipe it and sell it to the Japanese.  They could shear it, make the wool into hundreds of pair of socks and sell them back to us at a huge profit.

So I crept up to the guzzling sheep and got it in a head-lock..  Then strike me pink it spoke and with a Spanish accent, “Hey Senior, take your hands off me or I will demand satisfaction.” It said.

Look would I lie to you.

Stone the crows, I thought, a  talking sheep!   “Sorry mate!” I said to my woolly interlocutor, “ I didn’t know sheep could talk.”

“Listen senor,” she bleated.  “I am not one of your ordinary sheep, your dumb, stupid  sheep, your dumb, stupid, pommy sheep!  I am from Espania, I am a  Merino.  Now, my patience is exhausted.   Unhand me and explain this attack on my person or my ‘usband Miguel will meet you at dawn.”

“Look senoritta” I said.  Sorry about this, but you are a sheep and I am a swag man, and some times a blokes got to do what a blokes got to do.”  To cut a long struggle short I eventually got the protesting ungulate into me tucker bag and was about to hit the Wallaby when up rides another sheep, wearing a top hat, and riding a good looking nag.

“Now  what’s going on here?” he said.  “So!  We are stuffing sheep into bags are we?  Abusing our elders and betters are we?  Being right baaaaastaaaards  are we?  Here we are, carrying Australia on our backs and in gratitude we are jumped by impecunious, preliterate peasants are we? Matilda is an ARISTOCRAT you ragamuffin Robespiere.”

Well you can imagin’ me surprise – squatters were sheep!   “Excuse me Guvnor, if I may be so bold,  where are you troopers – one, two, three?

He looked down his aristocratric nose in that wool-blind sheepy way and said,  “If you must know I left them at home going over senoria for ticks.”