Chapter 1: Two American children, Mary and Peter go to visit their uncle, Keith, in Adelaide. On their way they get lost in the Australian outback after a plane crash. They don’t know where to go and how to find food in the desert. At night, strange animals are interested in them but don’t attack them. On the following day, they climb
a mountain and Mary, the elder child, realises they are far away from the sea.
Chapter 2: The next day, as the children are gathering food, they discover that a sixteen-year-old Aboriginal boy is watching them. Mary is afraid of the black boy because of her South Carolina upbringing and because the boy
is naked. However, Peter soon becomes friends with him when he starts sneezing and the bush boy copies the sounds he makes. Talking with their hands, the children ask the boy to take them to a place where there is food and water.
Chapter 3: The bush boy shows them a place where there is water, makes a fire and cooks for them. Peter follows the boy everywhere and Mary starts feeling jealous because she cannot control Peter. The following day Mary finds Peter playing with the bush boy with no clothes on. She orders him to dress but she only gets him to wear his trousers. The bush boy teaches Peter to make a fire, cook and dance around it. The boy can sense that Mary is afraid of him but he thinks it is because she can see his imminent death. He is on his walkabout, the six-month journey into the desert that each boy of his tribe must make alone in order to pass from childhood to manhood. Suddenly, the bush boy misunderstands Peter’s look and thinks he can also see his death. As the boy is about to leave, Peter stops him and the boy decides to stay.
Chapter 4: The bush boy knows that he has to walk into the desert and take the children to a safe place before he leaves them on their own. After a day’s walk, they find a river and decide to stay the night near it. They walk for days across the desert. Peter sneezes all day because...
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