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Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

The Legend of Tiny Tim

Runner Up - 2014 Bronze Spur Written Poetry Award - Camooweal Queensland

This wonderful yarn is a true story told to me by an amazing lady we met on our travels. She runs Willie Station - a sheep farming property and camp retreat - in the Macquarie Marshes in western New South Wales. She battles drought and summer temperatures of up to 54 degrees.

The subject of this story is a very special emu whose acquaintance we made during the winter of 2013 when we stayed with our caravan for a few days at Willie Station Retreat ... http://willieretreatmacquariemarshes.com.au

The Legend of Tiny Tim

Out back of Quambone by Macquarie Marshes, there's a tale
that's grown into a living legend that will never pale.
It tells about a lady known as Myra, and the day
that she was saved from danger in a most amazing way.

The Willie Camp Retreat is Myra's marshland place of rest
where you may bring your caravan, or be a bunkhouse guest.
She built it up with husband Phil, to supplement their sheep.
Now, though she is no longer young, she maintains its upkeep.

She's Wildlife Rescue, Weather Station - outback and remote -
with cockatoos, a kangaroo, a pet pig and a goat.
The peacocks and the pigeons live in perfect harmony
with parrots and echidnas in this strange menagerie.

But Myra has a special pet - his name is Tiny Tim -
the smallest of an emu brood. She fed and hand-raised him.
He liked to greet the visitors ... until there came a day
when Tiny Tim revealed himself in quite another way!

Three blokes came through the gate on one of those dark outback nights.
Their odd behaviour indicated they were "high as kites".
They drove a trayback stocked with guns, with pig dogs caged behind ...
so Myra didn't need to wonder what they had in mind!

"Now stop right there," said Myra, "this is private property.
The wildlife live in peace round here. You can't come in for free
and take pot shots like it is some Big Game Safari Park.
Besides, did you not see the sign ... No Entry After Dark?"

The driver rudely interrupted, "What sign? We can't read!!"
Then, winking at his mates, he said, "It's time we had a feed,
so we'll just have to come on in ... and you can't tell us No!"
"I beg your pardon," Myra said, "I'm telling you to go!"

The adjectives that followed came directly from the drain ...
(though I could quote verbatim, it is best that I refrain).
"And who will make us go?" came from the thinnest of the three.
Though Myra quaked, she stood her ground and bravely said, "You'll see!"

And see they did! For suddenly there came a mighty sound
accompanied by thundering of feet upon the ground,
a wild and eerie chanting rising to a fearsome cry,
a billowing of feathers and a bright and beady eye ...

Then Tiny Tim the emu sallied forth in battle charge -
and Myra would have not believed that he could seem so large!
He puffed up till he stood erect at over six feet high ...
then launched himself like some avenging angel from the sky!

The yobbos fell upon each other, paralysed with fright!
They couldn't tell what monster was upon them in the night.
They howled and yelled and grabbed the doors to leap into the ute
and sped off in a cloud of dust as fast as they could scoot!

But Tim was not quite finished! He pursued them to the gate
which they were forced to stop and open, fearing that a fate
far worse than death awaited them, as Tim resumed attack
until they finally escaped to safety down the track ...

Or so they thought! In fact their woes had only just begun,
for Myra, gathering her wits, had lost no time to run
and phone the Crime Prevention Squad, to see what they would say.
"We'll pick 'em up", the boys said, "for we're not that far away."

Much later they returned and said, "We found them, thanks to you.
The dogs are an illegal breed, the guns unlicensed too.
The engine in the trayback has been stolen, and what's more,
that weed that they were smoking isn't from the corner store!

We're worried for you, Myra. Blokes like that don't mess about.
We cannot understand how you contrived to throw them out!"
But Myra smiled and said, "No need for you to feel alarm."
And then she told how Tiny Tim had rescued her from harm.

So there's an emu hero in the folklore of this land!
What brought him to the rescue we may never understand.
But one thing is for certain - Tiny Tim repaid, real quick,
the kindness Myra showed to him when he was just a chick.

The lesson in this story (and the tale I tell is true) ...
if you make friends with Myra, Tiny Tim's a friend to you.
But if you should harass this gentle Lady of the West -
there's means at her disposal ... and you'll come off second best!

(c) Shelley Hansen 2013

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