A story created at an Australian Children's Book Week storytelling session at
Maroochy Shire Library Service's Maroochydore Library, on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.
One day at Mountain Creek, near Mooloolabah, on the coast in the south east corner of Queensland, Australia - two students, Laura and Patrick, were on their way to school. Mountain Creek once was full of beautiful wallum heath and paperbark swamps but now lots of houses and roads are being built.
They were walking past the swampy area in the low part of the school playground when one of them, Laura, got a bit too close and slipped over in the mud, spllaaatt! and went sliding along into the deepest part of the swamp.
Mud went splashing up her legs. There were bits of grass and slime everywhere. She even saw a leech start to climb onto her hand. She went, "Aaaaaaaahhhhh!"
Her boyfriend Patrick said, "Laura. Are you OK?"
She said, "I think so," but, as she started to stand up in the mud, she slipped over again.
Patrick reached out to grab her but he fell in too. He went, "Eeeeeeeeeeh!" and slid into the middle with Laura.
Every time they tried to stand up they fell over again and got more and more covered in mud and deeper and deeper into the swamp.
As Laura rolled over in the mud to try to stand up again she felt something slimy wrap around her leg. She screamed. "Aaaaaaaahhhhh. Patrick. Something's got my leg! Ooooooohhhhh!"
Patrick reached down into the mud to try and free Laura and he felt something soft that wrapped around his hand and started to pull him in. He cried out, "Help me! Help me! It's got me now!"
Laura reached down and helped Patrick pull and pull until they pulled up a long slimy thing like a giant tongue. It was the same colour of the mud but every now and then there were flashes of bright orange and pink and green as it moved. All of the time it was trying to pull them under.
Patrick said, "Let's pull together. One, two, three pull!" They both pulled together but, no matter how hard they tried, the giant tongue was pulling them further into the mud. Patrick was up to his waist now and he felt sharp teeth grab him around his ankle.
He said, "Ah. No. It's mouth. It's teeth. It's got my foot. Help!"
Just then Laura saw Patrick's Swiss Army pocket knife sticking out of his shirt pocket. She grabbed it, opened out a blade and went slash, hack, stab into the tongue. The tongue let go and slithered back into the mud as its blood came spurting out. Laura said, "Come on. Let's get out of here. They staggered and slid through the mud and out onto the grass."
They ran up to the school. Their teacher saw them coming. She said, "Look at you. You're covered in mud. Didn't I tell you not to play in that mud again."
They said, "Something got us. It wasn't our fault. There's a dinosaur or something in the swamp!"
Their teacher said, "Oh yeah. You tried that trick last week. Now. Go to the sink and wash yourself straight away. Come on. Enough of those stories."
When Patrick and Laura were washing the mud off they whispered to each other, "We'll have to convince her somehow."
Patrick said, "Hey. What about the tooth marks in my ankle?"
So when they got back into the classroom Patrick rolled up his jeans and said, "Look."
Sticking out of his ankle was a tooth. The teacher said, "My goodness. That's big enough to be a tooth of a dinosaur."
She said, "Where did you get that tooth Patrick? Now stop playing tricks."
They told the story again and the teacher decided she'd better have a look, so they went down to the swamp. Their teacher said, "Keep well back there. Just point out where you were."
Laura said, "Over there. Look you can see Patrick's pocket knife on the mud."
The knife was lying on the mud but it was all chewed up with little bits of pink and green slime all over it. It was like something had tried to eat it but spat it back up because it was too hard.
The teacher said, "My goodness. Something has happened."
Patrick said, "Can I go and get my pocket knife Miss?"
She said, "No! Definitely not. Now everyone back to the class room quickly. Come on."
When everyone was sitting in their chairs the teacher went up to the principal's office and after a while the students saw them both come back pointing at the pocket knife and looking at the strange tooth. Well before morning break the groundsman put up a bright orange safety fence 50 metres all around the swamp.
That afternoon a low-loader truck with a big excavator on the back pulled up in the parking lot. The students watched as the excavator crawled over to the swamp and started to dig a deep hole where the thing had been.
They didn't find anything that day or the next even though they dug up the area thoroughly. Finally the foreman signalled to the excavator driver to stop digging. He pulled the bucket up high and started to drive out of the swamp but before he got very far it started to lurch to one side and the mud went Sluuurrrppp! Bloooop, blooop, burrrp!
The excavator slipped down, down into the mud. The driver just managed to scramble out of the cab and up onto the high bucket arm as the mud covered the excavator over. He jumped off the bucket and slipped and slid through the mud and onto the grass. All that was left of the excavator was the arm with the bucket sticking out of the mud.
And, if you go out to the Mountain Creek School up on the Sunshine Coast, you'll probably still see that bright orange claw of the excavator sticking out even now because I don't think they'll ever get it out.
(This story was created as part of a 1997 Children's Book Week session organised by Laney Robinson at Maroochydore Library with year four students from the Mountain Creek State Primary School and pre-schoolers from Eumundi Preschool on Thursday, 21st August, 1997.)
(The drawings above - coloured pencil and felt pen - were contributed by Rachel Jean Anderson - age 9yrs, Nikki Toscan - age 9, Renee Leigh Moore - age 9 Turning 10, Kyle Clark - age 9, Zoe-Lee Taylor - age 9 1/2, Madeline - age 5, April - Age 5, James Mitchell - Age 9, Chris Simmons - Age 9.)
(Other drawings contributed but not published - too many to include all - Katie, Leigh, Shelby, Mellisa, Justim M, Harry, Kate, Jax, Jenny, Hanna,Kalina, Ankmom, Kurt, Rackel, Melanie, Jare, and others whose name I couldn't make out - from Eumundi Preschool; and
- Brook Bowen, Brendan Ramin, Glen Kelly, David O Connor, Teleke, Shree Thompson, Donna Maree Roles, Natalie Celeste Beszant, Cassie Mary Barber, Michael Maguire, Shane Griffiths, Jesse David William Hill, Amy Fulton, Aaron Robins, Chelsey Michele Avenell,Tamara MacAulay, Ben Parker, Leicie Laurens, Alyce Young, Lauren Butterworth, Dillon Sarran-Beveridge, Ali Jane Marshall, Bianca Lee - all from Mountain Creek State Primary School. Thank you very much for your wonderful artwork. I wish I could've scanned them all. )
All contents copyright (C) 1997, Daryll Bellingham. All rights reserved.
In some cases they are entirely my artistic creation, in some cases I have collaborated with others and in other cases adapted a traditional story.
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|Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
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Last update: 26th August, 2003.
URL of this page: www.storytell.com.au/stories/mudmon.html