A legend from the Australian Outback.
Deereedee was a beautiful young widow who lived in a remote camp with her four little daughters. There was nobody around them for miles. But Deereedee was not bothered about the lack of company.
All was well until a young man, Bibbee, came there and set up camp not too far away from hers. Deereedee was very disturbed by his presence in the area and would stay awake at night watching his camp. Whenever she heard a sound coming from there she would cry out loud, ‘Deereedee, wyah, wyah... Deereedee wyah, wyah....” Sometimes she would keep crying out this way all night long.
In the morning, Bibbee would come over to her camp and ask her what the matter was and why she was crying, all through the night.
“Oh... I don’t know. I thought I heard someone walk about in the night... it was really scary,” Deereedee would tell him. She couldn’t possibly tell him that it was him that she feared, of course.
“Why should you get frightened? You’re not alone anyway. You have your four little ones living with you,” said Bibbee. But Deereedee did not find any comfort in the words of this stranger. And she continued to cry out loud in the night, “Wyah... wyah... Deereedee... wyah, wyah, Deereedee....”
Bibbee came over to her camp again. “Look, you seem to be really afraid to stay alone with your children. Why don’t you marry me and come live in my camp? I’ll look after you.”
“No, no, no...,” cried Deereedee. “I do not want to marry anyone.” She continued to cry out night after night, “Wyah, wyah, Deereedee… wyah,wyah,Deereedee....”
Bibbee would come to her every time and keep asking her if she wanted to marry him and live in his camp. And every time her answer was a big ‘no’. The more she refused him the more Bibbee began to feel drawn to her and wanted to marry this obstinate young woman. But the girl was difficult to convince and he would have to come up with a really good plan if he wanted to marry her.
So Bibbee thought long and hard and came up with a way to get her to agree. He set to work in earnest and built a mutli-coloured arc that he placed across the sky from one end of the earth to the other. He gave this beautiful arc a name – Euloowirree, a rainbow. When the arc was set upon the sky like that, it shone brilliantly in seven bright colours. Job done, Bibbee returned to his camp and waited to see what Deereedee would do.
The Euloowirree was a pretty sight but poor Deereedee who needed only the slightest provocation to be frightened, thought the coloured arc – something never seen before – was a sign of some impending danger. What was going to come and destroy them all? Would it break up into pieces and fall upon them? She was convinced this was some horrible magic trick.
Gathering her four little girls, she rushed to the neighbouring camp – Bibbee’s. Bibbee welcomed them smiling. “Come, come my dear. Oh, not to worry about that Euloowirree up there in the sky, I put it there. Don’t you like it, my dear? Isn’t it pretty? I made it just for you!’’
Deereedee looked at him fearfully, her eyes as big as saucers. “You... you made it? “
“Yes, I did. You should know by now, how strong and powerful I am. There’s so much I can do. This is why I keep telling you, come live here... marry me. I can protect you and keep you and your little ones safe from any danger.” Bibbee looked at her face. Did she seem convinced? Well, he couldn't leave it to chance, could he?
“Well, it’s your choice at the end of it, dear. I can build a pretty Euloowirree like that, but think of what else I’m capable of.”
He lowered his voice and whispered in her ear so that the little daughters wouldn’t hear. “I could for example, let the earth burst forth from underneath and blow up everything.”
Deereedee looked at him fearfully. Bibbee spoke in a gentler voice now “No, no. I didn’t mean to frighten you. Just saying what I’m capable of in case of an enemy comes to attack us.” He wanted her to be afraid but admire his strength all the same.
“Now, tell me. Will you marry me, dear Deereedee?” he asked in his kindest voice.
Very good at voice modulation he was, this Bibbeee. And Deereedee said yes! Soon the two were married and lived happily together for a long, long time.