Two babes in Sherbrooke Forest
One beautiful Spring afternoon, a dear little girl, aged seven years, and her baby brother, aged three, went into Sherbrooke forest, for a picnic. As soon as they were tired of walking, they sat down under a lovely, big, shady gum tree and drank the milk, and ate the lovely home-made biscuits their mother had given them for their little picnic together. They also had a nice, rosy snow apple each, but these were kept, to be eaten on the way back to their home. When they had finished their refreshments, they put their heads down on a mound of grass nearby, and both dozed off to sleep.
Now, what do you think? Why! They both dreamt the very same dream, and this is it —
All of a sudden, in their dream, they saw a Bunyip, oh, so ugly, coming right over to them; they tried to call out and to run, but they could not. Then they saw that the Bunyip’s eyes looked very sad, and very kind; in fact he looked as if on the verge of tears. While they were studying him, they heard, in their dream, the very loveliest, soft music, possible, and looking in the direction from whence it came, they saw beautiful Bush Fairies flying towards them, and some of the Fairy Princes were acrobats, and twisted and turned over in the air, with spangles glittering on them, flashing little lights all over the place.
In the midst of them all came the beautiful Fairy Queen, and she said to the little girl and boy, “Do not be afraid, my little children, for the Bunyip is really not the ugly fellow he looks, but one of my most handsome Princes. He was very naughty indeed one day, and would not try to be good, so I decided to teach him a lesson, and turned him into a Bunyip until he showed himself really and truly repentant for such a display. When I saw him looking so sadly and longingly at you, I knew he was feeling what a dreadful thing it was that he had done, and that, if he could only be like you, lovely and peaceful, he would try, so hard, to deserve it.”
Then the Fairy Queen touched him with her wand, and the loveliest Fairy Prince ever seen was standing in the Bunyip’s place. He bowed to his Queen, and threw kisses to the children. Then off the Fairies and Princes flew and danced, back to Fairyland.
At that moment the children both woke up, with a start, as a beautiful bird started whistling in the gum tree. They rubbed their eyes, and got up to make their way homewards, eating their snow apples on the way. Then they told their mother all about the wonderful afternoon they had spent in Sherbrooke Forest, and they made up their minds to try hard to be good, always, and remain beautiful, for the prettiest or handsomest face soon becomes marred and ugly, when its owner does, wilfully, wrong things.
Now this little story should make us all look into ourselves, and make us try, with God’s help, always to have uplifting thoughts, so that, in all our words and deeds, we will be setting a beautiful example to others.
Eva Oakley, Real Australian Fairy Stories, Melbourne: Austral Printing & Publishing Company, , pp. 13-14
Bunyip = an Australian mythological beast, said to be located in billabongs, creeks, lagoons, swamps, and other waterways
Sherbrooke Forest = a forest located in the Dandenong Ranges (Victoria)
spangle = a small glittering or shiny item, particle, or object; a small thin flat piece of glittering material (often metal or plastic), especially used to sew onto clothing in large numbers for decorative purposes; a sequin; to decorate something with spangles, to bespangle
[Editor: Changed “into Sherbrooke forest” to “into Sherbrooke Forest” (in line with the capitalisation used elsewhere in the story).]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]