Chapter 29: In which Agatha is attacked by a bunyip:
Agatha stared at the water flowing along and gave a deep sigh.
“What is it?” Malcolm asked. “Are you thinking of our parents?”
“Always,” she answered as she studied her grimy fingernails. “But it’s not that. I don’t want to seem shallow, but I’m tired of being filthy. I’m tired of eating snails and undercooked fish. Most of all, I want to wash my hair.”
“Again?” Malcolm said. “We are not stopping at an inn.”
“No, that would be foolish,”Agatha agreed. “Would you be willing to give me an hour to wash at the river?” she asked. “I promise I’ll be quick.”
“You go ahead,” Malcolm said. “Take Carl with you. I’ll make a fire and catch some fish. I promise to cook them well.”
With a much-improved mood, Agatha hurried off to the riverbank with Carl.
Agatha was standing up to her knees in water, rinsing her hair, when she heard a noise that sounded like the barking of an owl mixed with the shriek of a woman. Then something huge and dark lunged out of the water and grabbed her leg in its teeth.
Carl went flapping and squawking for Malcolm.
“Help!” he called. “It’s got Agatha! Hurry!”
–from Tangled in Magic, Chapter 29
The bunyip is a creature from Australian Aboriginal legends. Its name means “devil” or “spirit.” According to legend, the bunyip is a water monster that lives in rivers, swamps or billabongs. The early Aboriginal drawings depict the bunyip as a beast with a horsetail, tusks and flippers.
Said to be nocturnal, the bunyip comes out of the water to snatch and eat all kinds of animals, including women and children.
The bellowing cry attributed to the bunyip might also be the call of another animal, a koala or a barking owl. Is the bunyip real or imaginary? You decide.
Read more of Agatha’s adventures as she and Malcolm plot to retake their ancestral estate, Hawk Hill, from the evil warlock, Santer.
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