Wyalkatchem Stories

January 1944
The West Australian Wheat Belt

“TELL US SOMETHING about yerselves, you mangy lot,” says Toad to the POWs who have come to work on the farm, and so we take turns telling our stories, oh, yes, we tell them, and the fire rises into the night sky, too hot for closeness between us.

“I want Antonio to speak first,” says Toad maliciously. He has not spoken at length to Antonio and does not know that the Italian speaks English very well.

“Toad,” I say, shaking my head, disappointed. But Antonio stands and says, “This is my story.” His voice is lower, mellower, the voice of a storyteller, I think. He takes a breath, partly out of showmanship, and begins to speak.

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