Australian Fairy Tales
Once upon a time in The Great South Land life was good, the harvest was bountiful and all of the sheep walked upright taking the good with the bad without complaint.
When some sheep fell on hard times all of the others gathered around to lend a hand with enormous smiles and no thought of personal reward.
One day the house of Little Goody Tooshooz was hit by an horrendous storm and smashed to kindling.
Nothing was left standing bar the remains of a stout, stone chimney.
As soon as they heard about the plight of Goody her neighbours rallied around with wood, corrugated iron and lino, with furniture, clothes and utensils, with food and hope and laughter and immediately began to rebuild the house.
The trestle tables they set up to celebrate their friendship groaned under the weight of billy cans of tea, massive plates of damper and golden syrup along with gallons of hot, thick kangaroo stew.
Please don't ask me why because I have no idea, but just as the celebrations got underway Little Goody Tooshooz chucked a screamer of a tantrum demanding that her neighbours take all the stuff away and leave her alone.
"Just because I'm a female you all think I'm useless", she screamed venomously at her surprised and retreating neighbours. "Your charity is degrading so just gather up all your stuff and go away".
Little Goody Tooshooz stamped her feet, sighed a big sigh then sat on what was left of her fireplace and sulked.
Unknown to anyone the Big Bad Wolf had been skulking behind some bushes watching the unfolding drama.
When it was over he broke into a sleazy grin so big that his head nearly broke in halves and he rushed off to the Lair rubbing his hands with glee.
"Trust me", he implored his colleagues in the Lair, "and we will own all of The Great South Land. The silly sheep will do anything we tell them to".
All of the other wolves shouted "Bravo !" and "Hail to our great leader", stopping only to enquire as to how much gold each would get.
The very next day the Big Bad Wolf assembled all of the creatures in the Great South Land to announce his bold new plan for their salvation.
"It is immoral that you should have to rely on charity when you fall on hard times, so if you each give me a little bit of your gold, my colleagues and I will ensure that you are fully protected against any future hardship", he proclaimed, "and you will never again have to rely on your neighbours for help".
With that he showered The Great South Land with vast quantities of 'magic bulldust' and took his rightful place as its leader.
Shortly afterwards the country fell on very hard times and the sheep went to the Big Bad Wolf for the promised help.
True to his word the Big Bad Wolf scattered some scraps of food on the forecourt of the Lair and the sheep got down on hands and knees devouring them lustily.
After a few days the Big Bad Wolf gathered all of the creatures together again, sprinkled vast amounts of 'magic bulldust' and declared that, "As the lazy sheep were rorting the system by taking handouts from the Wolves, everyone would need to give a little more gold to pay for it".
It followed, as it rightly should, that this added impost caused more sheep into hardship making the Wolves gather more gold to meet the increasing need.
Finally those sheep still able to pay got really grouchy and decided that they wanted some of the action as well so they joined the other sheep on their hands and knees in order to get their share.
The sheep spent so much time on hands and knees gobbling the handouts that they quite forgot how to stand on their hind legs and as they were constantly looking down to find the best scraps they were unable to see what was going on around them.
You will see sheep in a flock to this day jump up for a quick look around out of idle curiosity but they remain generally disinterested, much to the joy and profit of the wolves.
Little Goody Tooshooz, by the way, got really upset because the scraps were making the sheep fat and the wolves were not giving them proper medical attention.
Robin A Cartledge 2003