VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 5 POSTED ON: 3/8/2010
Now this is where the story really begins That morning, hiding
Once there was a poor widow who had four children, three girls and a boy. The first girl’s name was Lilee-Lilee. The second girl’s name was Filambo. The third one’s name was Filam-Batam and the boy was called Kakarat. Now, there’s something I think you ought to know about these children. The girls were beautiful, as lovely as can be, but they were not very nice, I’m afraid. You see, they were as vain as they were lazy and idle. They spent hours and hours preening themselves, plaiting their hair in fancy styles and worst of all, they were very unkind to Kakarat their brother. Whenever visitors came round they would push him to one side and say to him, ‘Hide your face, you ugly boy.’ Kakarat, on the other hand, was a very sensible boy. He would help with all the chores round the house. He’d polish the windows till they shone. He’d scrub the wooden floor until it was so clean you could eat off it. He’d sweep the yard and help his mum in the garden growing yams and sweet potatoes. In his spare time he’d wander through the woods and make friends with the animals. Every Friday morning, the widow used to go to the village market to sell her fruit and vegetables. With the money she made, she’d buy clothes, food and lovely treats for her children, especially her three girls. Every Friday morning before leaving for the market, the mother would warn her children, saying, ‘Don’t open the door to anyone while I’m away. When I get back you’ll know it’s me because I’ll sing this little song.’ And she’d sing: Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. With that she’d lift her basket to her head and set off for the market. One Friday morning, bright and early, mum got up as usual to prepare her basket for market. Kakarat got up to help her and together they put in yams, sweet potatoes, pineapples, some juicy avocado pears just ready for eating and, just before lifting her basket to her head, she reminded the children as she always did. ‘Don’t open the door to anyone when I’m gone. When I return, you’ll hear my song and only then must you open.’ The song as you know went like this: Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. As soon as she’d finished her song, the widow went off to the market , heavy basket firmly perched on her head. Now this is where the story really begins. That morning, hiding near the house behind a cluster of bushes was a very sinister looking character. He was half human, half monster, with long hairy arms, nails like claws and rolling red eyes. His name was Zokla. Now Zokla had a very bad reputation in the neighbourhood as a child-snatcher. Whenever a child disappeared from one of the villages people would say straight away, ‘Hm… Zokla take him!’ or ‘Zokla take her.’ This Zokla had been listening with great interest to the conversation between the widow and her children. He had memorised every word of the song. He rubbed his hands in glee, waited a long while to make sure mum had really gone, then he crept up to the house. Zokla took a deep breath and in a gravely and really awful voice he sang: Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. The children heard this dreadful singing and had a jolly good laugh. ‘That’s not mum’s voice,’ they laughed. ‘It’s too awful.’ So of course, they didn’t open the door. Zokla thought to himself, ‘I’ve got to do something about this voice of mine.’ So he trotted across to the blacksmith’s forge. A blacksmith, as you know, is someone who works with iron and makes shoes for horses. This blacksmith was busy working away, melting and shaping iron. He had a roaring fire on which sat a pot of boiling, steaming water. ‘Oi, let’s have a cup of hot water,’ shouted Zokla gruffly to the blacksmith. ‘Why you want a cup of hot water?’ the blacksmith asked. ‘Never you mind, just gimme!’ said Zokla rudely. To tell you the truth, the blacksmith was a little afraid of Zokla, so he gave him a cup of hot water without any more argument. Zokla took the cup of hot water, then he fetched some herbs, squashed and crushed them into the hot water till it turned green and slimy. He then drank the hot potion in a few great gulps and pulled a terrible face. It tasted disgusting. But Zokla didn’t really mind for those where no ordinary herbs. They had the power to change the most atrocious voice into something soft and gentle to listen to. Zokla waited for the postion to take effect and then he tested his voice to see whether the herbs had worked. Noisily he began to test his voice: ‘Aah! Err! Ooh! Oweee!’ The last note was perfect. Zokla hurred back to the house and this time with a voice as gentle as a lark’s he sang: Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. The children heard Zokla’s song. ‘Mum’s back,’ the girls said, about to rush to the door, but Kakarat held them back. ‘This isn’t mum. She can’t be back so soon. Don’t open the door.’ But when had the sisters ever taken any notice of Kakarat? They simply pushed him aside and went to open the door. Well, alas, standing at the door was not mum but this half human, half monster with long hairy arms, nails like claws and terrible rolling red eyes. In his hand he held a sack. He grabbed the first girl, Lilee-Lilee. Into the sack she went. He grabbed the second girl, Filambo. ‘Help! Help!’ but she too went in. The third girl, Filam-Batam, put up a struggle, ‘Let-go-of-me-you-horrible…’ but in the sack she went with her sisters. Zokla flung the sack over his shoulders and with the girls wriggling and jiggling inside he disappeared into the woods. Kakarat in the meantime remained hidden and trembling under the sofa. Some time later the widow arrived home. She’d done very well at the market. She’d managed to sell all her fruit and vegetables and had brought back coconut buns and all sorts of goodies, especially for her three girls. She put down her basket and called to the children in their special code. Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. She got no response from the children. She thought perhaps they had dropped off to sleep, so she sang the song again a little louder: Lilee-Lilee come here Filambo come here Filam-Batam come here But Kakarat stay there. Trip, trip, trip, she heard Kakarat’s footsteps coming towards the door. The door opened and very tearful and distress Kakarat stood there. ‘Oh mum, oh mum,’ he cried. ‘While you were gone…’ and he told her the whole story of Zokla the half man, half monster who had taken his sisters away. Naturally the widow was very upset. She hugged Kakarat to comfort him and wept for her daughters. ‘My beautiful girls, my poor, poor girls,’ she cried. Then she hugged Kakarat some more, dried his tears and told him not to worry for there must be a way to get the girls back. Kakarat was so pleased with all this newly found attention from his mum, that he suddenly felt very brave. ‘I’ll go mum,’ he offered. ‘I’ll go and fetch my sisters back.’ ‘Please don’t go, you’re all I’ve got left, Kakarat.’ But Kakarat was determined. ‘Don’t worry, mum, I’ll bring them back, I promise,’ he said. So she packed him some food in a haversack and let him go. Kakarat set off to find his sisters and at every village he’d stop and ask the same question: ‘Have you seen a great big half man, half monster, with long hairy arms, nails like claws and rolling red eyes?’ To his question the villagers would always shake their heads and answer, ‘No, we never see no such creature.’ At last Kakarat felt very hot, tired and hungry. He stopped near a clear stream, cooled his face, hands and feet, had a long drink and ate some of his food. Now well refreshed, he continued on his way but didn’t have much luck tracing Zokla and his sisters. By now it was getting late. A round moon was just beginning to peep out from behind a hill. The sun dipped slowly down into the crimson horizon and a few stars had already come out to play. Kakarat was on the verge of turning back but he tried one last time in this village: ‘Have you seen a great big half man, half monster, with long hairy arms…?’ There was a gasp of horror from a few of the villagers. Even before he had finished describing the creature, someone said, ‘Dat’s Zokla you talking about! Boy, what you want with Zokla?’ Someone else, an elderly woman, took her pipe out of her mouth, spat loudly on the ground and said with some authority, ‘Well if the boy have business wit Zokla, let him go an fine him Zokla. You see dat likkle house on top de hill, wit de smoke comin’ out de roof? Well, dat’s Zokla house, but if I was you, bwoy… I’d run home to me mooma.’ Kakarat thanked the villagers and went up and up the hill and indeed he could see Zokla’s broken down little shack surrounded by thick undergrowth. Kakarat hid behind a large tree and put his thinking cap on. ‘How on earth was he to get his sisters out of Zokla’s clutches?’ You may remember that Kakarat had always been great friends with animals, something for which he was now very grateful, for out of the blue appeared a pair of brightly coloured hummingbirds, humming furiously on their wings. ‘We’ll help you.’ A pair of shimmering snakes just as mysteriously slithered up. ‘We’ll help you.’ Agoutis, manicous, Jacquot parrots, wild dogs, wild cats, animals large and small, all gathered round, all offering to help Kakarat. The rooster of the bright red comb took things in hand. Drawing himself to his full height, he said to the other animals, ‘When I count Wan, Two, Tree, you all shout, you hear?’ He counted to three and, as instructed, the animals howled and hissed, mooed and meowed, they cooed and cackled, they shrieked and they stamped. From his house Zokla heard the terrific, tumultuous, thundering noise and thought a million monsters were out to get him. So he opened his door and ran and ran and ran. The animals followed in hot pursuit. What a noise they made as they chased Zokla down the hill! Kakarat thanked and waved at his animal friends before going into Zokla’s house to rescue his sisters. He found them tied to the legs of a rickety old table. Quickly he untied their wrists and ankles and together they ran and ran and ran, and never stopped until they were safely home again. Well you can imagine the excitement and the scene of joy at their return. There were hugs and kisses all round. Mum was so relieved to see her children again. You’ll be pleased to know that the girls, Lilee-Lilee, Filambo and Filam-Bantam, had learned their lesson. They stopped being so vain and idle and helped around with the chores as they should have done in the first place. They had also come to love and respect their brother Kakarat. But as for Zokla, no one knows what’s become of him. For all we know he may still be running. So if you ever take it into your head to go wandering off by yourself into a nearby wood, let me warn you, you might just come face to face with this half human, half monster, with long hairy arms, nails like claws and rolling red eyes. Watch out, it will most probably be Zokla and I don’t want him to get you. Messiers Crick1!!!
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