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The Magic Pudding

Written and Illustrated by Norman Lindsay (1879 - 1969)

Australian writer

1st SLICE

This is a frontways view of Bunyip Bluegum and his Uncle Wattleberry. At a glance you can see what a fine, round, splendid fellow Bunyip Bluegum is, without me telling you. At a second glance you can see that the Uncle is more square than round, and that his face has whiskers on it.

Looked at sideways you can still see what a splendid fellow Bunyip is, though you can only see one of his Uncle's whiskers.

Observed from behind, however, you completely lose sight of the whiskers, and so fail to realize how immensely important they are. In fact, these very whiskers were the chief cause of Bunyip's leaving home to see the world, for, as he often said to himself —

'Whiskers alone are bad enough
Attached to faces coarse and rough;
But how much greater their offence is
When stuck on Uncles' countenances.'

The plain truth was that Bunyip and his Uncle lived in a small house in a tree, and there was no room for the whiskers. What was worse, the whiskers were red, and they blew about in the wind, and Uncle Wattleberry would insist on bringing them to the dinner table with him, where they got in the soup.

Bunyip Bluegum was a tidy bear, and he objected to whisker soup, so he was forced to eat his meals outside, which was awkward, and besides, lizards came and borrowed his soup.

His Uncle refused to listen to reason on the subject of his whiskers. It was quite useless giving him hints, such as presents of razors, and scissors, and boxes of matches to burn them off. On such occasions he would remark —

'Shaving may add an air that's somewhat brisker,
For dignity, commend me to the whisker.'

Or, when more deeply moved, he would exclaim —

'As noble thoughts the inward being grace,
So noble whiskers dignify the face.'

Prayers and entreaties to remove the whiskers being of no avail, Bunyip decided to leave home without more ado.

The trouble was that he couldn't make up his mind whether to be a Traveller or a Swagman. You can't go about the world being nothing, but if you are a traveller you have to carry a bag, while if you are a swagman you have to carry a swag, and the question is: Which is the heavier?

At length he decided to put the matter before Egbert Rumpus Bumpus, the poet, and ask his advice. He found Egbert busy writing poems on a slate. He was so busy that he only had time to sing out —

'Don't interrupt the poet, friend,
Until his poem's at an end.'

and went on writing harder than ever. He wrote all down one side of the slate and all up the other, and then remarked —

'As there's no time to finish that,
The time has come to have our chat.
Be quick, my friend, your business state,
Before I take another slate.'

1st Slice pages:   one   two   three   four   five
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