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Chapter 8 - THE END

You begin to hear the whistling of sea wind in the bush. The sky is crowded with grey clouds, hanging low, dipping their fluffy toes in the water. The slate-grey sea takes breaths between each attack on the cool white sand on the beach far below you. You're standing in the tugging cool breeze on the top of a tall cliff, looking out to sea. You hug your arms around yourself and look at the ground. You can see your footprints leading towards the bush. There are also paw prints in the sand but there is no sign of Elfa anywhere. You call out for him but there is no reply. You realise that your Magic Pointed Stick is gone too. In the distance you can hear the dull thudding of a forehead against a Blue Gum.

You look along the clifftop and see a sobbing pregnant lady penguin teetering at the edge. You call to her but she falls forward with a chick in her arms, tumbling silently hundreds of feet to be ripped to shreds on the jagged rocks below. The blood, blubber and feathers are slowly washed from the rocks by the huge breaking waves. Soon there is no sign of her.

Soon after, you hear the pathetic scream of a lawyer being involuntarily "leapt" into the biggest briny billabong this side of the Supreme Court. Soon after, all you can see is a floating tort or two and a lot of curious scum floating on the water.

You have returned, dear Reader, to the start of your Adventures. You can return, if you choose: you need only turn back to the first chapter. On the other hand you need only turn another page and you will emerge from the world of Australian myths and legends. If you do, you will notice the noise of the wind and sea fade. You'd better put your shoes back on now. At least your feet don't smell as badly as they did in Chapter 1.

Soon you'll put down this book and return to your own world, wherever that may be. You will find no seal blubber on your bed sheets, as your mother requested. I have repaired your bear-crushed bed too. I'm a tidy author. You will have no Magic Pointed Stick or armour. Maybe you will try to tell people of your knighthood, your sainthood, your comrades during your adventures but they will look at you blankly. They will not understand your penguin roasting songs. Never mind. We understand.

What will happen to your comrades when you close this book? What happens to fictional heroes when you leave them? Legends never die. Elfa will be waiting for you, like the dog on the tuckerbox, with his saddle firmly strapped to his back in case you ever return and need a valiant steed to follow Wodger. He will miss you.

You'd better tighten your girdle now, dear Reader. The end is near. You are expected back in your own world now. We hope to see you again. Maybe we'll see you in Volume 2 of Brand New Australian Myths and Legends. Maybe not. It depends on whether I can disarm and sober up the old woman in Manangatang long enough to get more stories for you. If you come back, Elfa will be there, waiting loyally for the next time you leap into the saddle, give an heroic cry and gallop into immortality on flying Labrador paws.

The noise of the crashing waves is fading.

The familiar sights and sounds begin to crowd in on you.

You hear a distant Labrador bark.


Goodbye, sweet reader.

You look up from the page and you see...

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