Simply summarized, "The Drover's Wife" is the story of a mother's encounter with a snake in a remote part of Australia. The snake incident is the main event of the story.
Here's a brief summary of the events of the plot, all of which revolve around the incident with the snake:
A snake slithers under the isolated house of a mother and her children. Because the house is roughly built, the woman fears that the snake can travel from under the house into the rooms of the house through cracks in the floorboards. If it comes inside, it will bite her young children, which would probably kill them. The woman keeps watch all night for the snake. Near dawn, the snake finally shows itself. The woman and her dog attack the snake, killing it. She tosses its dead body on the fire.
Timeline of Events
Another simple way to outline the events of the story is with a timeline:
- A large snake slithers under the house of a woman and her family.
- The house is built roughly, so a snake under the house could come into the house through cracks in the floorboards.
- The woman is worried the snake will come into the house at night and bite her children.
- The woman stays up all night watching for the snake.
- Finally, near dawn, the dog becomes excited because the snake has finally shown itself inside the house.
- The woman and her dog attack the snake and kill it.
- When the snake is dead, the woman tosses the body of the snake onto the kitchen fire.