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Teaching Story on Compassion —  And who is the Creator. 

How the Kangaroo Got Her Pouch


A long time ago in the dreaming, Biami looked down on all of us and shook his head because he saw such greed and selfishness. He was sad. Now Biami is never spiteful or cruel, never, but He can be sad.

‘Look at them’, He thought. ‘I have to go and see just how selfish and greedy they are. So He came down and turned himself into an old blindwombat and sat on the side of the road. Along came a warrigul.

‘Please help me,’ He said to the warrigul. ‘I’m blind and I’m thirsty and I’m hungry, and I need water and food.’

‘Grrggh, out of my way, you stupid old thing!’ said the warrigul. ‘Go on, git!’

Then along came emu and old wombat said,

‘Please, please help me. I’m blind and I’m thirsty and I’m hungry. Please help me.’ Now the emu was in a hurry, you know, a big fast hurry. ‘GO! Go on! Get out of my way!’ said the emu.

One by one the animals came. And one by one they all abused or ignored the wombat. Every one of them was either in a hurry to get to some important place, or had some greed to fulfil, or was just too plain selfish.

Then along came a kangaroo, a mother kangaroo. Kangaroos didn’t have pouches then. They carried their babies — that’s why kangaroos have hands. They are very adept with their hands. So this mother kangaroo was carrying her baby and she looked down on old wombat with compassion.

‘I am carrying my baby,’ she explained. ‘So it’s hard to guide you unless you hang on to my tail. It will be a very bumpy ride but I know a place of green, green pastures and sweet, sweet water where you’ll be safe.’

Biami hung on. I don’t think He quite bargained for what He got — but beggars can’t be choosers when you’re searching, even Biami. So He hung on to her tail and off they went. She bounced Him all over the place. It’s a wonder He didn’t have concussion by the time they got there. Well, He might have, I don’t know, I haven’t met Biami to ask, but I will when I see Him!

The kangaroo took Biami to the green pasture and sweet water. Then, just as she was about to leave, she looked up. Because kangaroos can be very tall, right across the other side of the water, she could see the hunters coming.

‘Get down! Get down!’ she warned the old wombat. ‘The hunters are coming and you’re in danger. Stay low and I will lead them away from you.’

She clutched her baby firmly, got the attention of the hunters and then took off. The hunters, holding their spears, yahooed and ran behind her. They wanted meat! It was a long time later and dark when the kangaroo came back, sobbing and heartbroken. She said to old wombat, ‘I’ve lost my baby. I put her down and now she’s lost in the dark. I think the hunters got her.’ Biami was filled with compassion for the sacrifice this stranger had made for Him.

He said, ‘Lay down now and sleep and in the morning you can look for her.’ So the mother kangaroo lay down and cried herself to sleep.

‘She needs to be rewarded,’ Biami thought. So He went over to a paperbark tree and tore off a big piece of bark. Just as the sun was rising the mother kangaroo awoke to see Biami laying the piece of bark across her stomach, sealing it to her body and placing her baby in her arms. She looked into the Biami’s eyes.

‘Biami?’ she asked.

‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘I am Biami, and I have tested you. I became the blind wombat because I was testing all Creation for greed and selfishness. You were selfless in your sacrifice for a stranger. You and your kind are now rewarded and will, throughout eternity, have this pouch to carry your babies in. From this day on you and your kind will only ever be able to go forward. So all those who need to move forward from pain or suffering, can call on your spirit to take them.’

Now every time you see a female kangaroo with her pouch you’ll be reminded of the story of Biami. But more importantly is this: whatever your beliefs about a Creator or Great Spirit, you’ll just never know where, when or how they will appear. Is it that rat that keeps chewing at the back fence? Or is it that old dog that someone gave you as a puppy that is now chained down the backyard and never given fresh water and daily food or taken for a walk. You never know. It could be that the person sitting right next to you is Biami testing you. When we get up each day it’s important to remember that we don’t know when or why we’ll be tested — or if we’ll pass the test.


A teaching story from Minmia's new book 'Under the Quandong Tree.' To order this book, email