Long long ago there was a family living on an island. The family consisted of the mother, the father, one brother and one sister aged 14 and 9. The children were always left at home with safety rules and tasks to do while the parents went hunting. The children never disobeyed their parents until one day…
Shortly after their parents left for hunting, the children began to gather their cooking materials and ingredients. Gathering things in order was part of the children’s daily chores, as well as getting the pot on the fire just before their parents arrived. They finished cleaning and tidying up the home and lit up the fire. Then, they added a large pot of poisonous cassava juice, a product of cassava processing and flavouring ingredient, which they cannot do without. While the pot was boiling the children went to play.
Suddenly, the children saw two huge tattooed-skin people, brightly smiling at them. They were shaken and afraid since no stranger had ever visited them, and they had never heard their parents talking about neighbours living close by. But in just a minute, the strangers’ charming smiles and words took over the children’s fear. The children were invited to visit the strangers’ home that had bountiful of foods and was said to be nearby. They obediently followed the kind strangers to their home, who insisted that they would bring them back home afterwards. On the way, they told the children to call them Ma and Pa.
Later, the parents of the two children came back only to be confronted with a boiling pot and a saddened home. They called for their children, but there was no sign of neither of them. The poor parents wept and wept every day and night for their only children. They hoped deep down in their grieving hearts to see them back once more. At the same time, on the way with the strangers, the children were longing for their parents too.
It was a long way to Ma and Pa’s home. Their house was built with gigantic plates of rocks. There wasn’t anything that they were accustomed to see at their home. In a corner of the home, chubby lazy babies were asking Pa and Ma for food. “We have to look for food, that’s why we brought you here as babysitters”, said Ma and Pa in a growling sound. Upon hearing the growling, the children realised that the strangers were tigers, and grew really scared of them.
After relaxing, Ma and Pa left the exhausted children with their babies. The children hugged each other very tightly and burst into tears for there wasn’t any bit of food for them and they were missing their dearest parents. An hour passed just by looking at these helpless chubby cubs. Then, they heard the growling noises coming back towards their home. The growling came nearer and nearer and calmed down when reaching their home. Ma and Pa were loaded with bloody, fleshy meat. The hungry cubs woke up and cried for food and the children saw Ma giving them pieces of uncooked meat. The children immediately scorned it. But the rest of it was for them, so the children tried to eat the raw meat and swallowed a bit forcefully to please the tigers.
The dark shadows covered the day. The children asked Ma and Pa how they would sleep. “Just like us!” they growled. So, the unhappy children slept on uneven fragments. And it went on, like this, for many days and nights. And many kinds of fresh meat were eaten every day in the morning, at midday and in the evening.
The children grew frustrated at looking after the cubs and could not stand living with flesh eaters. They noticed that the hunting hours were increasing as the cubs got bigger and bigger, so they planned an escape in the morning hours. One last time, the children ate dinner with the tigers, after having prepared for their morning escape. They all slept until the hungry hunters woke them up to babysit.
The next day, when the tigers left home to hunt, the angry children immediately killed the cubs with no sound and anxiously ran and jumped through the door before it closed forever. This door only opened when the tigers returned home. The house was said to be a haunted one. When things in the house happened it would shut down and things found inside would be eaten.
After the second child jumped out, the haunted house locked down in a loud harsh noise. The two children held each other’s hands and ran for their lives. They ran and ran straight ahead. When the tigers reached home they found that their cubs were dead so they went around roaring, looking for the two children. Soon the tigers sniffed behind the tracks of the children.
About two miles away, the children heard loud angry clashing down noises coming from behind in the distance. The brother hurried his sister by pulling her faster. She started to cry as her brother fought throughout the thick vegetative forest. As the children emerged in a clear spot, the angry tigers were now much nearer. The brother and sister looked back, just to see instant forks of lightning stabbing the earth and tree branches moving continuously. Ahead, they saw a fisherman and they ran towards him. By now, the tigers were very near and even came into view. The fearing and grieving children eventually looked up and saw that Grandfather was coming. Grandfather came down and the two children held on to his wings and in 1… 2… 3… he went off the ground. The growling angry jungle monsters jumped and nearly clawed them down, but Grandfather and the children were now flying 30 metres above the ground.
Grandfather took them home safely through the strong breeze. Confused, the children were warmly welcomed by his wife. Grandpa and Grandma had a tall wooden upstairs house. Inside, their home was similar to the children’s home, the one they had before with their parents. They slept well on warm soft feathers and ate only roasted and smoked fish. Grandpa had the boy fishing along with him until the boy started to enjoyed flying with grandpa’s substitute wings. Grandma had the girl relaxing since she had terrible nightmares. The children were happy, but they were still missing their parents. Grandpa and grandma very much loved them.
One morning, the children were sitting happily at the door. Suddenly, a lovely creature known as large stinging lizard – en wi ra – approached them. This animal told them about their parents’ road and home. The children told the lizard that they didn’t know how to come down from the tall house. So the lizard told them to climb on its back. The children jumped on and the lizard started to sing a song to charm them. The lizard sang yo yo sipori, yo yo sipori, yo yo sipori wi wi up and down while coming down until it met the bottom of the house. As they were near the ground the clever children jumped off his back. The poor lizard wanted them for its meal but the children were smarter than him.
The children ran towards the road indicated by the lizard. Eventually, when they came out of the bush, there it was: their home. At first, they couldn’t believe it, so they approached the house prudently. But as they were coming, the mother saw them. She did not recognize her children because they had grown up so she called her husband for help. The children came nearer, with great bright smiles. Finally, the parents realized who they were and immediately ran towards them with joy, welcoming their back and comforting them. They were given the food that they wanted at home. The children were now living comfortably and happily with their parents.
After a few days the children went back to visit Grandpa and Grandma. When they reached their place the children tried to find the house that they had left. But they only saw a huge tree. They looked up and saw two big Jabirus sitting and looking. The children did not know what had happened to Grandpa and Grandma. They did not know their grandparents were looking at them silently, as birds. So the children returned home with sadness.
Photo: “Jabiru mycteria -Mato Grosso, Brazil -adult on nest-8” by Ana Raquel S. Hernandes – Flickr: Pantanal – Porto Cercado. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jabiru_mycteria_-Mato_Grosso,_Brazil_-adult_on_nest-8.jpg#/media/File:Jabiru_mycteria_-Mato_Grosso,_Brazil_-adult_on_nest-8.jpg