On the sandy banks of the old waterhole known as Turiana, north of Alice Springs, a wizened old man Emu came to the waters edge to drink at the end of a hot Summers day.
Emu had survived many long years and hot suns in the Central Australian bush.
His tail feathers were slightly grey at the edges and his eyes were clever and deep with knowledge.
As the Emu lowered his head, he saw reflected in the water the image of a colorful young Galah, sitting on the bough of a ghost gum tree.
The smaller bird cocked his head curiously to one side and asked: “Eh, Emu, they say you are very wise, so why don’t you fly like other birds?”
Emu, looking up at the cheeky Galah, replied: “I have lived in this country much longer than you. I have learnt that it is not sensible to fly because the men with spears and boomerangs can easily bring us down and eat us. The sky offers the large bird no protection. On the ground, we emus can become invisible in the scrub..”
Galah considered Emu’s words, then inquired: “But if you don’t fly, that means you must always stay on the earth and the hunters can easily catch you. Isn’t that true?”
The wise old bird patiently shook his head.
“No, it is not at all true,” he answered. “Take a look at my big feet and strong legs. I can out-run the fastest hunter. I can run faster than any other animal in the bush, and I can leap over logs, and swim through rivers and hide myself in the tall grasses that spring up after the rains.”
“But,” the Galah responded, “what if you fell over? Can’t the hunters grab you quickly and make you dead?”
“Maybe,” Emu nodded, “but I make sure I don’t fall over.”
“The hunter’s dingoes might grab you in the water while you are swimming and hang on to you until the men arrive with their boomerangs,” the little Galah said. “So what would you do if that happens?”
“I grab the dogs and drown them,” the Emu stated frankly … “Now, I must leave you to learn your own lessons from your own experiences and not try to learn from mine … Goodbye, flying bird, goodbye.”
“Why are you leaving?” the Galah wanted to know. “Are you going off into the wilderness in search of greater wisdom?”
Emu yawned: “No, I am going off into the wilderness to get away from your silly bloody questions.”