Away out on the Narran
Where the whirlwinds rush and rattle
Through the mulga on the ridges,
And the big mosquitoes sing,
There dwells an opal digger,
Who, if pluck may win the battle,
Will some day be referred to as the Narran Opal King.
The hottest day in summer
Finds him picking, picking, picking,
And shovelling the dirt up,
And his eyes they never tire
Of looking out for colours,
And his tongue is worn with licking
At the different sorts of metal when in search of specks of fire.
One evening very weary
To his lone camp he was going
When he found a lump of something –
Oh! Those ever watchful eyes –
A dark green, cloudy substance,
Not a sign of colour showing,
But the digger said, “I’ll test it, as it may contain a prize.”
So on his find the digger
Then a thorough licking started;
He licked it even cleaner
Than a cat would lick a bone.
He licked, and licked, and licked it
Till it in the centre parted,
When he found, not fiery opal but a little quondong stone.
Then a fit of spitting seized him,
And I guess he really meant it,
When he prayed to all the powers that be
To strike that emu dead.
He threw his well licked find to –
Well a hundred yards he sent it,
And a jackass burst out laughing In the mulga over head.
© Jim Low
Read Jim’s article: Jim Harper from Mulga Land
Listen to the podcast: In Mulga Land with King Tommy and Polly Flood