wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)
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It was a sad time for the tribe. Gorgu, the great mother of the tribe, heaved her huge body and sighed into the night.

The old king, her husband, had died and left behind only troubles. He had thirteen sons, and after his death, the boys had squabbled over the right to be king. Gorgu sighed again as she thought of her troublesome sons. All the omens, the bones thrown by the witch-doctors, the position of the moon and stars on the night of the king’s death, the call of the lion and the sounds of the birds - all these signs demanded that Jabula, the youngest son, should be king.

But his brothers, envious of this most beautiful and wise child, refused to believe the signs or listen to the elders. Wicked in their anger, they had kidnapped Jabula and run off with him to the distant hills.

Gorgu sighed again. Her twelve sons refused to return to the kraal, and instead sat in a cave and starved Jabula of food. No man dared to fight them, for they were the tribal princes and very powerful warriors.

As she lay awake with her troubled thoughts, Gorgu heard the sound of soft footsteps in her hut. “Who is it?” she called.

“Hush, great mother, don’t worry. It is only me, Tombi.” Tombi was a tall, beautiful girl who loved Jabula very dearly. “Listen to me, Gorgu,” she said. “I want Jabula to come home. I am tired of the sadness in this tribe. I am tired of the drought. Have you noticed, Gorgu, that since the old king died, the rain has stopped coming? I have heard the birds tell the clouds to stay away until Jabula is king.”

“So, my child, you are tired of all this. So am I. What are you going to do about it?”

“I have a plan, Gorgu. I must keep it secret, but I must have your blessing.”

The old woman smiled at the girl. “You have your secret and my blessing both, child. Now off you go - I need my sleep.” Gorgu did not believe Tombi had a plan, of course. She was only a girl, and could do nothing to help Jabula.

But Tombi was a brave, clever girl, born of a long line of warriors. Among the other girls, she was leader and she had called them to battle. Ever since Jabula had been kidnapped by his brothers, Tombi had been making plans to rescue him. Now, she crept from hut to hut, waking her friends.

Quickly, the girls gathered together behind the cattle pens. Giggling in the moonlight, they began to dress themselves in hideous masks. They painted strange white patterns on their arms and legs. They put on skirts made of stiff, sharp feathers. Then, crouching low, they moved swiftly and silently through the long grass, following Tombi towards the hills.

When they came near the cave where Jabula was being starved to death by his twelve brothers, the girls formed a circle round the entrance. Tombi stood in the middle.

The night was thinning into the grey mist of dawn. Suddenly, a blood-curdling shriek woke the twelve sleeping brothers, and they grabbed their spears.

Then a spine-chilling voice called to them from the mist. “Come on out, you cowards. Twelve men to guard one young boy! Come on out - see if you can fight us.”

“What is this?” shouted the eldest brother. “Who are you?”

Tombi and her girls gave a great war whoop in answer.

Angrily, the eldest brother leapt from the cave. But all he could see in the dawn light were hideous faces and white bones and feathers. Shocked and frightened, he hissed at his brothers to join him. Then, hiding behind each other, the warriors squeezed out of the mouth of the cave.

Tombi and the other girls began to whine and scream in a ghastly way. They shook their feathered skirts and stamped their white painted legs.

The warriors gave a great moan of fear. Who were these weird creatures that taunted them? They did not dare ask again. Throwing down their spears, they rushed past their tormentors and fled into the distant hills. And they were never seen again.

The girls laughed until they were rolling on the ground. Never had they seen such foolish, frightened men.

But Tombi went into the dark, stinking cave and tenderly stroked Jabula’s head. He was weak from hunger, but still alive. Triumphant, the girls gently carried him back to the hut of Gorgu. The birds saw that Jabula had returned to his tribe, and called to the clouds to bring rain.

The drought was broken. Jabula was king and the brave Tombi became his wife.

And Gorgu slept easy every night.


Tessa Paul
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wildforce71: Takeru smiling. Sort of. A bit. (Default)
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