The Mystical Swagman
177 pages
English

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177 pages
English

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Description

It is the 1860s and colonial Australia is no longer just a dumping ground for the pitiful throw-offs of harsh English justice. This cruel system has sent thousands off to the penal colony for the pettiest of crimes, and few will ever see their homeland again. The colony is rapidly taking on a new identity as a land of vast resources where land and opportunities abound for those who are up to the challenge.

Into this wild land of rare beauty and constant change comes a quiet young orphan boy named Brennan. He knows nothing of his origins and his only family is an old lady who nurtures him into his teenage years. When she can no longer care for him, he packs a modest swag and a little money and heads into the bush. On the track, he meets up with two old swagmen who quickly become his new family. Tramping the bush tracks around the brooding land of a million contrasts, they find many adventures.

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful bush, they experience bushfires, floods, droughts, harsh winters, blistering summers, and the kindness and sometimes cruelty of the inhabitants.

This story provides an insight into early Australian colonial history, the land, and its people, as seen through the eyes of a mystical young swagman.

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Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 29 janvier 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781456623616
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0300€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

The Mystical Swagman
An Australian Fantasy




Gary Blinco

First Edition




Oshawa, Ontario
The Mystical Swagman: An Australian Fantasy
By Gary Blinco

Managing Editor: Kevin Aguanno
Copy Editor: Caroline Sori
Typesetting: Charles Sin
Cover Design: Troy O’Brien
eBook Conversion: Agustina Baid

Published by:
Multi-Media Publications Inc.
Box 58043, Rosslynn RPO, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, L1J 8L6

http://www.mmpubs.com/

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author or publisher, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters herein to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2008 by Multi-Media Publications Inc.
ISBN (Paperback): 1-59146-147-2 / 9781591461470
ISBN (Adobe PDF eBook): 1-59146-175-8 / 9781591461753
ISBN (Mobipocket PRC eBook): 1-59146-176-6 / 9781591461760
ISBN (Microsoft LIT eBook): 1-59146-177-4 / 9781591461777 ISBN (Palm PDB eBook): 1-59146-178-2 / 9781591461784

Published in Canada. Printed simultaneously in U.S.A. and England.

CIP Data available from the publisher.
Editor’s Note
This book has been written by an Australian author in an Australian setting; therefore some of the language, including spelling, will be in Australian English. Likewise, some of the idiom, expressions and terms used will be unfamiliar to American and English readers. To assist with the interpretation of unfamiliar elements, a glossary can be found at the end of the book.
Dedication
To those who know, but in knowing, know there is much that they do not know.
To those who keep the curious innocence of children and look below the surface of life for the real truth.
To those who strive to learn, not just what others have discovered, but also that which is new.
To those who push out the boundaries of their lives in search of a new reality.
To my mother, the earth, which gave me life and my friend, the bush, which gave me reason.
Acknowledgments
Thanks to those earthy swagmen who passed by the old farm during my childhood and created the embryo of an idea that has taken half a century to grow to fruition.
Thanks also to Margot Maurice and Mary Weaver for reviewing the manuscript and telling me when the ideas were not working.
Book One:
Brennan




The Swagman’s Heaven
The white sand road is long and hot,
As it winds across the land;
The swagman moves at a kind of trot,
With his billy in his hand.
And he makes his way in solitude,
With his bluey on his back;
And he faces life with an attitude;
As tough as the outback track.

Off into the heart of this rugged land,
And ever his theme shall be,
‘Oh guide my way with a watchful hand,
Each day and night in this wonderland;
‘Till the good lord calls for me’.

The road lies silver in the midday heat,
With the trees on either side;
And he passes the fields of ripening wheat,
That are waving brown and wide.
He makes his way with an easy gait,
Where the wheat fields rise and fall,
And he’ll often sit in the shade and wait;
While the magpie trills its call.

His heart belongs to the land that’s best,
With her contrasts rare and strange;
The wide parched plains of the outer west;
Or the fern-clad hills on the mountain crest,
Of the Great Dividing Range.

He’ll tramp the road till his time is spent,
And his wandering days are through,
When bush land’s song, and wattle’s scent
Fill his heart as his time falls due.
Now he’s near his end, but without regret,
Though he’s loath to depart this land;
For he’ll miss the dawn when the hills lie wet,
On the blue horizon’s strand.

From coast to coast in his chosen land,
Where a man and his heart are free,
If he cares for the good of his fellow man,
And lives as true as a poor man can;
He has earned his eternity.

For soon he’ll go to the promised land,
When the Lord in his mercy comes,
To lead him off by the callused hand,
To a heaven filled with gums.
And a corner there by a whispering creek;
For a swagman just prepared,
Where a magpie’s note at its rending peak,
With a swagman’s joy is shared.

He will leave his mark in his native land,
Where his spirit will ever be,
On the dusty road and the thin bush track,
And the treeless plain of the great outback;
From the heart to the shining sea.

- Gary Blinco, 2004.
Letter from John Greenway, January 1850
Hello, my boy, this is your guardian, John Greenway, writing to you from the distant past. It is my fervent hope that I am beside you today as you read these words, but I am already an old man and the world is harsh and full of danger, so I may not survive to share this day with you.
You will now be aged in double figures, probably in your early teens. There will be many new things happening in your life, and strange feelings will be flowing through you. I have a great responsibility to you that I accepted from your father, and I will now attempt to fill the yawning gaps in your past. As I begin to write these words, I am sitting in my cabin in a tall ship, watching a dark sea swell against the sides of the vessel as a strong south-bound wind drives us ever closer to our destination in the new world. I have agonised long and hard over how I might compile this journal, for I want it to be an accurate account of the strange and wonderful things I have seen since I met your father just under a year ago.
In the end I have decided to write the journal as a story rather than as a series of entries with dates and times. God knows I have lost track of time anyway, but as I begin to write, it is somewhere in January, in the year 1850. And as well as I can work out, you were born in October last year, but I don’t know the date. Forgive me if I am not the greatest of authors, but I will do my best to relate my narrative as a story, and a true one, though it will seem fantastic to you in the beginning. In writing of your early life in this way, I hope to capture the mystery and the harshness of the desert and the wondrous things I have seen there. I will endeavour to describe every event in detail, both the things I saw and my depth of feeling at the time.
I hope that you may have the impression of being there with us through it all – as indeed you were for most of it. But you were so young that you will retain no memories of it, or at least I doubt that you could. There are many things I do not know of your parents and their people, nor will I ever know them now. I only know what I saw, and what your father told me during our long vigil together, and whatever else I observed of him during our great adventures. Likewise, there is little I know of your mother, only that she was beautiful and kind, and that there was a powerful love between your parents that must now course through your own veins.
So what follows is the story of your beginnings, my boy, and what is not told in these pages will never be known. I hope this account will explain many things to you and fill you with a great love for your parents and a passion to go on and honour your father’s wishes in the new land. Read with pleasure, and then read again with a studious mind, for you have much to do in your life.

John Greenway
Extract from John Greenway’s Journal
I watched the camel caravan emerge from the cold desert night as pale fingers of silvery light fell across the land and rolled the velvety darkness over the western horizon. The caravan left the shifting sands and moved like a giant, weaving snake between two small hills, then down the narrow road and into the sleeping village.
The village stirred slowly into life as the camels walked with their strange, easy rhythm down the single, dusty street. The leather of harness and saddles creaked softly, the metal buckles clinking a monotonous tune that beat in time with the padded camel feet thudding on the hard surface of the road. The scissoring leg motion of the beasts stirred up a fog of dust that rose and glistened in the first sunbeams until it stung the eyes of the riders. The sorcerer looked back with a paternal gaze at the small child nestled in the arms of the fat nursemaid. The boy slept peacefully, completely oblivious to his strange surroundings.
The sorcerer shifted his gaze and met my face as I smiled at him from my seat high on the largest of the camels. Then I glanced away quickly from his piercing emerald eyes, for I was afraid I would drown in the deep pools of those luminous eyes. My own skin had been burned dark brown by the desert sun, but I was still pale compared to the sorcerer and the rest of my companions. Now I saw the sorcerer look past the leading camel and down the hill, beyond the quiet streets, to the harbour that came slowly into view through the gloom. Two tall ships appeared through the darkness, their images growing out of the murky waters like developing photographs.
The sorcerer sighed with relief and again glanced nervously back the way we had come, as if expecting someone to appear over the horizon to thwart our escape, even at this late hour. It was three weeks since we had left the great oasis deep in the desert to begin our dangerous journey to the coast, to meet the tall ships and continue our flight to freedom in the new world. I sat dreamily on the swaying camel and let my mind revisit the events that had led me to this strange position. It seemed years since I had arrived in the desert in search of my own adventures, but, in reality, it was a little less than one year. I had travelled light into the desert. It was unwise to carry too many possessions for one could be robbed, perhaps murdered, for even the smallest treasures.

* * *

The sorcerer too had few possessions when I first had come upon him

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