While the sickly daylight turned to dawn and then darkness, she hugged him to her worn out breast and kissed him. The boy said '!od I fi em tsralb ,'nivord og reven twon I ,rehtoM' before opening his arms and leaping away from her. The woman, the boy and the dog watched the snake burn in the fire before the drover’s wife fetched it from the flames with a stick. The snake lay crushed and blooded on the ground until the drover’s wife healed it with several blows, each miraculously removing a wound. Then the dog’s jaws fastened around the snake’s tail, and the snake pulled the dog towards the corner, where Alligator let go and the snake escaped. The children fell asleep and the woman sat, watching the smoke drift downward into the fire. Gradually, her clothes became damp, then soaking wet. She picked up a burning stick from the fire and went outside, into the rain. The drover’s wife was upset to see the woodpile had collapsed, but inserting the stick into the middle of the pile restored it. By the time she returned to the house, the rain had ascended from her, and she was completely dry. She resumed her watch. Very slowly, the candle became longer.
The drover’s wife thought of the good times; how the crows and eagles came down and brought her gifts of chickens, and how the cattle, sick from pleuro-pneumonia, got better. She recalled paying seventeen-and-sixpence for the hide of a bullock, then had brought it home, and fastened it on to a skinned animal. She had taken her shotgun and sucked the bullets from the dead beast. The bullock, when brought back to life, had been sick for a number of days, but then recovered. Fond memories she had of the floods receding and repairing the house and dam, and the bushfire that had come and turned all the charred grass around the shack green again, But best of all was when she fetched her dead child from the doctor and rode back home with him, and how he had woken in her arms.
As the night wore on she sat and unpicked the stitches in her sewing, and listened for the thunder, then watched for the lightning. The rain rose from the ground in a torrent, and one by one the children awoke from their bed on the kitchen table and got dressed. They had dinner together, vomiting up the food into their mouths, chewing, then spitting it out onto forks and spoons. It was near sunset when the thunderstorm stopped. When the last of the rain had disappeared into the clouds, they let Alligator off his chain. As the sky became lighter the children went and stood by the doghouse as the woman picked up the saucers of milk she had left for the snake. But it was then that it emerged from under the house, and Alligator backed away from it, snapping his jaws. The children retreated from it too, and the drover’s wife threw down the stick she had been carrying and quickly placed her baby on the ground. Then she dashed back into the house, where Tommy called out to her. The snake was leaving. The four ragged, dried-up-looking children watched it for a moment, then returned to their play.
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