The Old Gods

My grandfather started this cattle station back in the goldfield days. I was born here and lived my whole life here, excepting the war years when I was in Malaya.

We have the devil’s own time keepin’ white ringers on the station. They start out all right, but none of them lasts a half-year. Most only last a few weeks and one was gone after three days. Rode out one night, not even bothering to pick up his pay. All our ringers are Boons.

Our head ringer, Fairbanks, told me his god puts a curse on the white men to make them leave.

“But I’m a white man, Fairbanks,” I said.  “I like it fine here.”

He gave me his big Abo grin. “That because you grandmother a Boon.”

It’s a ratbag thing to say to a boss,  but I can’t afford to fire him.

Besides, he’s probably right.

 

What Pegman Saw: Northern Territories, Australia

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