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How the water got to the plains
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Activity 4

How the water got to the plains

Culture note

The Dreamtime (or Dreaming) is the time when the world was created.

Museum, UK.

How the Water Got to the Plains
Way, way back in the first time, when everything was new, there was a group of Aboriginal people living on a mountain. It was a lovely place, but everyone was worried. It had not rained for a long, long time and they were very short of water.

They had some wells1 but these, except for one, were empty. When it had rained before, the water had just run down the side of the mountain, into the sea, which was far, far away. Now, on the other side of the mountain, there were just some big, dry plains where nothing grew.

Weeri and Walawidbit were two greedy men. They decided to steal the last of the water for themselves and then run away.

In secret, they made a large water-carrier, which was called an eel-a-mun. When everyone was asleep, they stole the water from the last well and hurried off.

When the people woke up, there was no water for them. This was very bad, because there were little children and babies needing water and also the old people. And also, it was very hot.

The Elders called all the people together and it was then that they saw that two men were missing.

Looking around, they found the tracks of the two men. Quickly, the warriors followed these tracks, which led down the other side of the mountain to the big plains and they could see the men in the distance.

The water-carrier was very heavy and Weeri and Walawidbit were walking slowly. This was because they thought they were safe. However, when they saw the warriors coming they ran, too.

The best spearmen in the group ran to a cliff which jutted out and threw all the spears2 they had. One hit the eel-a-mun and dropped off. However, it did make a hole in the water-carrier. On and on across the plains ran the two men. They did not notice that the water was leaking out until the carrier was almost empty. This was why they had been able to run faster and by this time, the warriors had caught up.

Now, this was way back in the first time, when very strange things happened.

“How the Water Got to the Plains”, Dreamtime,, 2000.

1. A well is a hole in the ground from which water is extracted
2. A spear is a weapon that looks like a javelin / a lance

Language in progress

Prétérit simple

• C’est « le temps du récit ».

• Observez ces formes :“decided” (l. 13) “stole” (l. 17) “the water was leaking out” (l. 39) “They did not notice" (l.39). Que remarquez-vous ?

Prétérit en V-ing

• Observez les trois formes verbales soulignées dans le texte. Déduisez en la formation et la valeur du prétérit en V-ing.

Exercices p. 9 Précis grammatical p. 274 et 275
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Read the Culture Note and the title. What is a “Dreamtime story”? What kind of story do you expect to read?
Workbook p. 41

Sum up this tale in 3 sentences.

Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates.

Compare your summary with your classmates’.
Discuss what you think about this Dreamtime story.

Over to you!

Write your own Dreamtime mini-story

Let’s use what you have learnt in and !

Choose a character from an aboriginal tale you just read and create a mini Dreamtime story. The character you pick will be the main protagonist (80-100 words).

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