Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love

The Devoted Friend from Project Gutenberg

One morning the old Water-rat put his head out of his hole. He had bright beady eyes and stiff grey whiskers and his tail was like a long bit of black india-rubber. The little ducks were swimming about in the pond, looking just like a lot of yellow canaries, and their mother, who was pure white with real red legs, was trying to teach them how to stand on their heads in the water.

“You will never be in the best society unless you can stand on your heads,” she kept saying to them; and every now and then she showed them how it was done. But the little ducks paid no attention to her. They were so young that they did not know what an advantage it is to be in society at all.

“What disobedient children!” cried the old Water-rat; “they really deserve to be drowned.”

“Nothing of the kind,” answered the Duck, “every one must make a beginning, and parents cannot be too patient.”

“Ah! I know nothing about the feelings of parents,” said the Water-rat; “I am not a family man. In fact, I have never been married, and I never intend to be. Love is all very well in its way, but friendship is much higher. Indeed, I know of nothing in the world that is either nobler or rarer than a devoted friendship.”

“And what, pray, is your idea of the duties of a devoted friend?” asked a Green Linnet, who was sitting in a willow-tree hard by, and had overheard the conversation.

“Yes, that is just what I want to know,” said the Duck; and she swam away to the end of the pond, and stood upon her head, in order to give her children a good example.

“What a silly question!” cried the Water-rat. “I should expect my devoted friend to be devoted to me, of course.”

“And what would you do in return?” said the little bird, swinging upon a silver spray, and flapping his tiny wings.

“I don’t understand you,” answered the Water-rat.

“Let me tell you a story on the subject,” said the Linnet.

“Is the story about me?” asked the Water-rat. “If so, I will listen to it, for I am extremely fond of fiction.”

“It is applicable to you,” answered the Linnet; and he flew down, and alighting upon the bank, he told the story of The Devoted Friend.

“Once upon a time,” said the Linnet, “there was an honest little fellow named Hans.”

“Was he very distinguished?” asked the Water-rat.

“No,” answered the Linnet, “I don’t think he was distinguished at all, except for his kind heart, and his funny round good-humoured face. He lived in a tiny cottage all by himself, and every day he worked in his garden. In all the country-side there was no garden so lovely as his. Sweet-william grew there, and Gilly-flowers, and Shepherds’-purses, and Fair-maids of France. There were damask Roses, and yellow Roses, lilac Crocuses, and gold, purple Violets and white. Columbine and Ladysmock, Marjoram and Wild Basil, the Cowslip and the Flower-de-luce, the Daffodil and the Clove-Pink bloomed or blossomed in their proper order as the months went by, one flower taking another flower’s place, so that there were always beautiful things to look at, and pleasant odours to smell.

“Little Hans had a great many friends, but the most devoted friend of all was big Hugh the Miller. Indeed, so devoted was the rich Miller to little Hans, that he would never go by his garden without leaning over the wall and plucking a large nosegay, or a handful of sweet herbs, or filling his pockets with plums and cherries if it was the fruit season.

“‘Real friends should have everything in common,’ the Miller used to say, and little Hans nodded and smiled, and felt very proud of having a friend with such noble ideas.

“Sometimes, indeed, the neighbours thought it strange that the rich Miller never gave little Hans anything in return, though he had a hundred sacks of flour stored away in his mill, and six milch cows, and a large flock of woolly sheep; but Hans never troubled his head about these things, and nothing gave him greater pleasure than to listen to all the wonderful things the Miller used to say about the unselfishness of true friendship.

“So little Hans worked away in his garden. During the spring, the summer, and the autumn he was very happy, but when the winter came, and he had no fruit or flowers to bring to the market, he suffered a good deal from cold and hunger, and often had to go to bed without any supper but a few dried pears or some hard nuts. In the winter, also, he was extremely lonely, as the Miller never came to see him then.

“‘There is no good in my going to see little Hans as long as the snow lasts,’ the Miller used to say to his wife, ‘for when people are in trouble they should be left alone, and not be bothered by visitors. That at least is my idea about friendship, and I am sure I am right. So I shall wait till the spring comes, and then I shall pay him a visit, and he will be able to give me a large basket of primroses and that will make him so happy.’

“‘You are certainly very thoughtful about others,’ answered the Wife, as she sat in her comfortable armchair by the big pinewood fire; ‘very thoughtful indeed. It is quite a treat to hear you talk about friendship. I am sure the clergyman himself could not say such beautiful things as you do, though he does live in a three-storied house, and wear a gold ring on his little finger.’

“‘But could we not ask little Hans up here?’ said the Miller’s youngest son. ‘If poor Hans is in trouble I will give him half my porridge, and show him my white rabbits.’

“‘What a silly boy you are!’ cried the Miller; ‘I really don’t know what is the use of sending you to school. You seem not to learn anything. Why, if little Hans came up here, and saw our warm fire, and our good supper, and our great cask of red wine, he might get envious, and envy is a most terrible thing, and would spoil anybody’s nature. I certainly will not allow Hans’ nature to be spoiled. I am his best friend, and I will always watch over him, and see that he is not led into any temptations. Besides, if Hans came here, he might ask me to let him have some flour on credit, and that I could not do. Flour is one thing, and friendship is another, and they should not be confused. Why, the words are spelt differently, and mean quite different things. Everybody can see that.’

“‘How well you talk!’ said the Miller’s Wife, pouring herself out a large glass of warm ale; ‘really I feel quite drowsy. It is just like being in church.’

“‘Lots of people act well,’ answered the Miller; ‘but very few people talk well, which shows that talking is much the more difficult thing of the two, and much the finer thing also’; and he looked sternly across the table at his little son, who felt so ashamed of himself that he hung his head down, and grew quite scarlet, and began to cry into his tea. However, he was so young that you must excuse him.”

“Is that the end of the story?” asked the Water-rat.

“Certainly not,” answered the Linnet, “that is the beginning.”

“Then you are quite behind the age,” said the Water-rat. “Every good story-teller nowadays starts with the end, and then goes on to the beginning, and concludes with the middle. That is the new method. I heard all about it the other day from a critic who was walking round the pond with a young man. He spoke of the matter at great length, and I am sure he must have been right, for he had blue spectacles and a bald head, and whenever the young man made any remark, he always answered ‘Pooh!’ But pray go on with your story. I like the Miller immensely. I have all kinds of beautiful sentiments myself, so there is a great sympathy between us.”

“Well,” said the Linnet, hopping now on one leg and now on the other, “as soon as the winter was over, and the primroses began to open their pale yellow stars, the Miller said to his wife that he would go down and see little Hans.

“‘Why, what a good heart you have!’ cried his Wife; ‘you are always thinking of others. And mind you take the big basket with you for the flowers.’

“So the Miller tied the sails of the windmill together with a strong iron chain, and went down the hill with the basket on his arm.

“‘Good morning, little Hans,’ said the Miller.

“‘Good morning,’ said Hans, leaning on his spade, and smiling from ear to ear.

“‘And how have you been all the winter?’ said the Miller.

“‘Well, really,’ cried Hans, ‘it is very good of you to ask, very good indeed. I am afraid I had rather a hard time of it, but now the spring has come, and I am quite happy, and all my flowers are doing well.’

“‘We often talked of you during the winter, Hans,’ said the Miller, ‘and wondered how you were getting on.’

“‘That was kind of you,’ said Hans; ‘I was half afraid you had forgotten me.’

“‘Hans, I am surprised at you,’ said the Miller; ‘friendship never forgets. That is the wonderful thing about it, but I am afraid you don’t understand the poetry of life. How lovely your primroses are looking, by-the-bye!”

“‘They are certainly very lovely,’ said Hans, ‘and it is a most lucky thing for me that I have so many. I am going to bring them into the market and sell them to the Burgomaster’s daughter, and buy back my wheelbarrow with the money.’

“‘Buy back your wheelbarrow? You don’t mean to say you have sold it? What a very stupid thing to do!’

“‘Well, the fact is,’ said Hans, ‘that I was obliged to. You see the winter was a very bad time for me, and I really had no money at all to buy bread with. So I first sold the silver buttons off my Sunday coat, and then I sold my silver chain, and then I sold my big pipe, and at last I sold my wheelbarrow. But I am going to buy them all back again now.’

“‘Hans,’ said the Miller, ‘I will give you my wheelbarrow. It is not in very good repair; indeed, one side is gone, and there is something wrong with the wheel-spokes; but in spite of that I will give it to you. I know it is very generous of me, and a great many people would think me extremely foolish for parting with it, but I am not like the rest of the world. I think that generosity is the essence of friendship, and, besides, I have got a new wheelbarrow for myself. Yes, you may set your mind at ease, I will give you my wheelbarrow.’

“‘Well, really, that is generous of you,’ said little Hans, and his funny round face glowed all over with pleasure. ‘I can easily put it in repair, as I have a plank of wood in the house.’

“‘A plank of wood!’ said the Miller; ‘why, that is just what I want for the roof of my barn. There is a very large hole in it, and the corn will all get damp if I don’t stop it up. How lucky you mentioned it! It is quite remarkable how one good action always breeds another. I have given you my wheelbarrow, and now you are going to give me your plank. Of course, the wheelbarrow is worth far more than the plank, but true, friendship never notices things like that. Pray get it at once, and I will set to work at my barn this very day.’

“‘Certainly,’ cried little Hans, and he ran into the shed and dragged the plank out.

“‘It is not a very big plank,’ said the Miller, looking at it, ‘and I am afraid that after I have mended my barn-roof there won’t be any left for you to mend the wheelbarrow with; but, of course, that is not my fault. And now, as I have given you my wheelbarrow, I am sure you would like to give me some flowers in return. Here is the basket, and mind you fill it quite full.’

“‘Quite full?’ said little Hans, rather sorrowfully, for it was really a very big basket, and he knew that if he filled it he would have no flowers left for the market and he was very anxious to get his silver buttons back.

“‘Well, really,’ answered the Miller, ‘as I have given you my wheelbarrow, I don’t think that it is much to ask you for a few flowers. I may be wrong, but I should have thought that friendship, true friendship, was quite free from selfishness of any kind.’

“‘My dear friend, my best friend,’ cried little Hans, ‘you are welcome to all the flowers in my garden. I would much sooner have your good opinion than my silver buttons, any day’; and he ran and plucked all his pretty primroses, and filled the Miller’s basket.

“‘Good-bye, little Hans,’ said the Miller, as he went up the hill with the plank on his shoulder, and the big basket in his hand.

“‘Good-bye,’ said little Hans, and he began to dig away quite merrily, he was so pleased about the wheelbarrow.

“The next day he was nailing up some honeysuckle against the porch, when he heard the Miller’s voice calling to him from the road. So he jumped off the ladder, and ran down the garden, and looked over the wall.

“There was the Miller with a large sack of flour on his back.

“‘Dear little Hans,’ said the Miller, ‘would you mind carrying this sack of flour for me to market?’

“‘Oh, I am so sorry,’ said Hans, ‘but I am really very busy to-day. I have got all my creepers to nail up, and all my flowers to water, and all my grass to roll.’

“‘Well, really,’ said the Miller, ‘I think that, considering that I am going to give you my wheelbarrow, it is rather unfriendly of you to refuse.’

“‘Oh, don’t say that,’ cried little Hans, ‘I wouldn’t be unfriendly for the whole world’; and he ran in for his cap, and trudged off with the big sack on his shoulders.

“It was a very hot day, and the road was terribly dusty, and before Hans had reached the sixth milestone he was so tired that he had to sit down and rest. However, he went on bravely, and as last he reached the market. After he had waited there some time, he sold the sack of flour for a very good price, and then he returned home at once, for he was afraid that if he stopped too late he might meet some robbers on the way.

“‘It has certainly been a hard day,’ said little Hans to himself as he was going to bed, ‘but I am glad I did not refuse the Miller, for he is my best friend, and, besides, he is going to give me his wheelbarrow.’

“Early the next morning the Miller came down to get the money for his sack of flour, but little Hans was so tired that he was still in bed.

“‘Upon my word,’ said the Miller, ‘you are very lazy. Really, considering that I am going to give you my wheelbarrow, I think you might work harder. Idleness is a great sin, and I certainly don’t like any of my friends to be idle or sluggish. You must not mind my speaking quite plainly to you. Of course I should not dream of doing so if I were not your friend. But what is the good of friendship if one cannot say exactly what one means? Anybody can say charming things and try to please and to flatter, but a true friend always says unpleasant things, and does not mind giving pain. Indeed, if he is a really true friend he prefers it, for he knows that then he is doing good.’

“‘I am very sorry,’ said little Hans, rubbing his eyes and pulling off his night-cap, ‘but I was so tired that I thought I would lie in bed for a little time, and listen to the birds singing. Do you know that I always work better after hearing the birds sing?’

“‘Well, I am glad of that,’ said the Miller, clapping little Hans on the back, ‘for I want you to come up to the mill as soon as you are dressed, and mend my barn-roof for me.’

“Poor little Hans was very anxious to go and work in his garden, for his flowers had not been watered for two days, but he did not like to refuse the Miller, as he was such a good friend to him.

“‘Do you think it would be unfriendly of me if I said I was busy?’ he inquired in a shy and timid voice.

“‘Well, really,’ answered the Miller, ‘I do not think it is much to ask of you, considering that I am going to give you my wheelbarrow; but of course if you refuse I will go and do it myself.’

“‘Oh! on no account,’ cried little Hans and he jumped out of bed, and dressed himself, and went up to the barn.

“He worked there all day long, till sunset, and at sunset the Miller came to see how he was getting on.

“‘Have you mended the hole in the roof yet, little Hans?’ cried the Miller in a cheery voice.

“‘It is quite mended,’ answered little Hans, coming down the ladder.

“‘Ah!’ said the Miller, ‘there is no work so delightful as the work one does for others.’

“‘It is certainly a great privilege to hear you talk,’ answered little Hans, sitting down, and wiping his forehead, ‘a very great privilege. But I am afraid I shall never have such beautiful ideas as you have.’

“‘Oh! they will come to you,’ said the Miller, ‘but you must take more pains. At present you have only the practice of friendship; some day you will have the theory also.’

“‘Do you really think I shall?’ asked little Hans.

“‘I have no doubt of it,’ answered the Miller, ‘but now that you have mended the roof, you had better go home and rest, for I want you to drive my sheep to the mountain to-morrow.’

“Poor little Hans was afraid to say anything to this, and early the next morning the Miller brought his sheep round to the cottage, and Hans started off with them to the mountain. It took him the whole day to get there and back; and when he returned he was so tired that he went off to sleep in his chair, and did not wake up till it was broad daylight.

“‘What a delightful time I shall have in my garden,’ he said, and he went to work at once.

“But somehow he was never able to look after his flowers at all, for his friend the Miller was always coming round and sending him off on long errands, or getting him to help at the mill. Little Hans was very much distressed at times, as he was afraid his flowers would think he had forgotten them, but he consoled himself by the reflection that the Miller was his best friend. ‘Besides,’ he used to say, ‘he is going to give me his wheelbarrow, and that is an act of pure generosity.’

“So little Hans worked away for the Miller, and the Miller said all kinds of beautiful things about friendship, which Hans took down in a note-book, and used to read over at night, for he was a very good scholar.

“Now it happened that one evening little Hans was sitting by his fireside when a loud rap came at the door. It was a very wild night, and the wind was blowing and roaring round the house so terribly that at first he thought it was merely the storm. But a second rap came, and then a third, louder than any of the others.

“‘It is some poor traveller,’ said little Hans to himself, and he ran to the door.

“There stood the Miller with a lantern in one hand and a big stick in the other.

“‘Dear little Hans,’ cried the Miller, ‘I am in great trouble. My little boy has fallen off a ladder and hurt himself, and I am going for the Doctor. But he lives so far away, and it is such a bad night, that it has just occurred to me that it would be much better if you went instead of me. You know I am going to give you my wheelbarrow, and so, it is only fair that you should do something for me in return.’

“‘Certainly,’ cried little Hans, ‘I take it quite as a compliment your coming to me, and I will start off at once. But you must lend me your lantern, as the night is so dark that I am afraid I might fall into the ditch.’

“‘I am very sorry,’ answered the Miller, ‘but it is my new lantern, and it would be a great loss to me if anything happened to it.’

“‘Well, never mind, I will do without it,’ cried little Hans, and he took down his great fur coat, and his warm scarlet cap, and tied a muffler round his throat, and started off.

“What a dreadful storm it was! The night was so black that little Hans could hardly see, and the wind was so strong that he could scarcely stand. However, he was very courageous, and after he had been walking about three hours, he arrived at the Doctor’s house, and knocked at the door.

“‘Who is there?’ cried the Doctor, putting his head out of his bedroom window.

“‘Little Hans, Doctor.’

“’What do you want, little Hans?’

“‘The Miller’s son has fallen from a ladder, and has hurt himself, and the Miller wants you to come at once.’

“‘All right!’ said the Doctor; and he ordered his horse, and his big boots, and his lantern, and came downstairs, and rode off in the direction of the Miller’s house, little Hans trudging behind him.

“But the storm grew worse and worse, and the rain fell in torrents, and little Hans could not see where he was going, or keep up with the horse. At last he lost his way, and wandered off on the moor, which was a very dangerous place, as it was full of deep holes, and there poor little Hans was drowned. His body was found the next day by some goatherds, floating in a great pool of water, and was brought back by them to the cottage.

“Everybody went to little Hans’ funeral, as he was so popular, and the Miller was the chief mourner.

“‘As I was his best friend,’ said the Miller, ‘it is only fair that I should have the best place’; so he walked at the head of the procession in a long black cloak, and every now and then he wiped his eyes with a big pocket-handkerchief.

“‘Little Hans is certainly a great loss to every one,’ said the Blacksmith, when the funeral was over, and they were all seated comfortably in the inn, drinking spiced wine and eating sweet cakes.

“‘A great loss to me at any rate,’ answered the Miller; ‘why, I had as good as given him my wheelbarrow, and now I really don’t know what to do with it. It is very much in my way at home, and it is in such bad repair that I could not get anything for it if I sold it. I will certainly take care not to give away anything again. One always suffers for being generous.’”

“Well?” said the Water-rat, after a long pause.

“Well, that is the end,” said the Linnet.

“But what became of the Miller?” asked the Water-rat.

“Oh! I really don’t know,” replied the Linnet; “and I am sure that I don’t care.”

“It is quite evident then that you have no sympathy in your nature,” said the Water-rat.

“I am afraid you don’t quite see the moral of the story,” remarked the Linnet.

“The what?” screamed the Water-rat.

“The moral.”

“Do you mean to say that the story has a moral?”

“Certainly,” said the Linnet.

“Well, really,” said the Water-rat, in a very angry manner, “I think you should have told me that before you began. If you had done so, I certainly would not have listened to you; in fact, I should have said ‘Pooh,’ like the critic. However, I can say it now”; so he shouted out “Pooh” at the top of his voice, gave a whisk with his tail, and went back into his hole.

“And how do you like the Water-rat?” asked the Duck, who came paddling up some minutes afterwards. “He has a great many good points, but for my own part I have a mother’s feelings, and I can never look at a confirmed bachelor without the tears coming into my eyes.”

“I am rather afraid that I have annoyed him,” answered the Linnet. “The fact is, that I told him a story with a moral.”

“Ah! that is always a very dangerous thing to do,” said the Duck.

And I entirely agree with her.

Decorative graphic of windmill and overturned barrow

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Nature Pastoral Poetry

Another Tale of the WildWoods

image

There’s a land behind those hills
Hidden in the forest,
One mighty foliage; of brushes & roots
At all times, Cloud is blue
And King of the Forest
Do fall in love with it
When the Cloud blush
It rains softly; mildly
And little creatures
Which live in the land
Look up to the smiling Forest King
‘Oh, see how handsome his face is’
A little dark Cricket say
‘He is really in love with the Cloud
But we don’t understand
Why she always refuses
To love the Forest King back!’
A group of Pigeons answered
‘I tell you that she is possessed
Who should resist the Forest king?’
The Wolf added, as he looked up
‘The Forest King hadn’t said anything yet
All he does is to stare and smile
How savagely awful!’
Some Pine trees whined
‘If for nothing but admiration
Is the reason to love
I choose not to love’
The philosophical Woodpecker concluded.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Quiet Lakeside

Once upon a quiet lakeside,
Where blue clouds stay,
With very thick fog dwell,
And tall Figs hide in them
Like towers,
Over a host of colours,
Painting down the valley
When the sun rays fall
And the forest below
So all may turn to gold.
Clouds are not left behind
They shine in the sun’s glory
Her dew drop upon trees
Away from the waterfalls,
Washing white fine pebbles

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Even as the water rush
And solemn rocks wait
Upon green forests beside it
There’s a rainbow up the sky
With a host of Egrets surfing,
The white mountains stand
Patches of green here and there
As the wind blow sweet breezes
The bears may growl, cats sniff.
But all are beautiful and charming
Around a lonely and quiet lakeside
Where Nature offer a perfect sight

Categories
Uncategorized

The Frogs and the Well

Look at this fable and reflect why we should think twice before acting.

Two frogs lived together in a marsh. But one hot summer the marsh dried up and they left it to look for another place to live in, for frogs like damp places of they can get them. By and by they came to a deep well, and one of them looked down into it and said to the other, “This looks a nice cool place. Let us jump in and settle here.” But the other, who had a wiser head on his shoulders, replied, “Not so fast, my friend. Supposing this well dried up like the marsh, how should we get out again?”

The prudent person looks before leaping.

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Uncategorized

Kindness: The Lion and the Mouse

Here is one of the oldest and best loved stories of kindness paid and repaid. From it we learn that compassion lies within the power of both the mighty and the meek. Kindness is not a feeble virtue.

One day a great lion lay asleep in the sunshine. A little mouse ran across his paw and wakened him. The great lion was just going to eat him up when the little mouse cried, “Oh, please, let me go sir. Some day I may help you.”

The Lion laughed at the thought that the little mouse could be of any use to him. But he was good-natured lion, and he set the mouse free.

Not long after, the lion was caught in a net. He tugged and pulled with all his might, but the ropes were too strong. Then he roared loudly. The little mouse heard him and ran to the spot.

“Be still, dear Lion and I shall set you free. I will gnaw the ropes.”

With his sharp little teeth, the mouse cut the ropes and the Lion came out of the net.

“You laughed at me once,” said the mouse. “You thought I was too little to do you a good turn. But see, you owe your life to a poor little mouse.”

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Uncategorized

Grandmother’s Table

Good evening everyone. This story was adapted from the Brothers Grimm and I’ll like to share it with you.

It may be that the older we get, the more this story will mean to us. But we should learn it while we are young, for the sake of the generation coming before us. We should also teach our younger ones, not just by words but by our actions.

Once there was a feeble old woman whose husband died and left her all alone, so she went to live with her son and his wife and their own little daughter. Every day the old woman’s sight dimmed and her hearing grew worse and sometimes at dinner her hands trembled so badly the peas rolled off her spoon or the soup ran from her cup. The son and his wife could not help but be annoyed at the way she spilled her meal all over the table and one day after she knocked over a glass of milk, they told each other enough was enough.

They set up a small table for her in the corner next to the broom closet and made the old woman eat her meals there. She sat all alone, looking with tear-filled eyes across the room at the others. Sometimes they spoke to her while they ate, but usually it was to scold her for dropping a bowl or a fork.

One evening just before dinner, the little girl was busy playing on the floor with her building blocks and her father asked her she was making. “I’m building a little table for you and mother,” she smiled. “So you can eat by yourselves in the corner someday when I get big.”

Her parents sat staring at her for some time and then suddenly both began to cry. That night they led the old woman back to her place at the big table. From then on she ate with the rest of the family, and her son and his wife never seemed to mind a bit when she spilled something every now and then.

***

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Categories
Nature Pastoral

The Boy Who Cried “Wolf”

This is one of Aesop’s most famous fable. It’s old but not rusty. As you read through note that the fastest way to lose what we call our good character is to lose our honesty.

There was once a shepherd boy who kept his flock at a little distance from the village. Once he thought he would play a trick on the villagers and have some fun at their expense. So he ran toward the village crying out, with all his might:

“Wolf! Wolf! Come and help! The wolves are at my lambs!”

The kind villagers left their work and ran to the field to help him. But when they got there the boy laughed at them for their pains; there was no wolf there.

Still another day the boy tried the same trick, and the villagers came running to help and were laughed at again.

Then one day a wolf did break into the fold and began killing the lambs. In great fright, the boy ran back for help. “Wolf! Wolf!” He screamed. “There is a wolf in the flock! Help!”

The villagers heard him, but they thought it was another mean trick; no one paid the least attention, or went near him. And the shepherd boy lost all his sheep.

That is the kind of thing that happens to people who lie: even when they do tell the truth they will not be believed.

Categories
Poetry

Folktale: The Animal king

Gather now… Come closer
Warm your hands, sit near the fire
It is a cold evening, is it?

I have a folktale for you, 

And I hope it prepares everyone for a fine sleep… 

 

Once upon a time
In a land far away
Across seven rivers
And seven hills
Lived a clan of animals
Then there was no strife
No envy, no rivalry
Between the clan of animals
For then the strife held not
Cause there was no king
No ruler, no master of any sort
But animals who lived freely
Tilled their land as they wished
When they wanted to and so on
Then some stronger animals
Felt they could bully others
So many animals started trespassing
Some took others lands
Some marched on others crops
And some hijacked others wives
So, Anarchy decided to spread
Her blanket of no good
Upon the animal clan
Until the Cricket suggested
That all head homes should meet
To resolve this…

So during the meeting
Everybody sat down quietly
And waited for someone to talk
Mumblings filled the arena
Guilt of crimes wont let anyone speak
The mosquitoes, carefree buzzed aloud
‘Wait!’ the Cricket yelled
‘I greet you all’ he began politely
‘The way to solve this menace
Is to appoint a King who will rule us
Someone who will bring justice
And fairness to both big and small’
‘Nice idea’, his relatives called after him
‘Now I am the brain of the meeting
I should be allowed to nominate
My humble self as the King of the clan!’
‘What? Why?’ an angry Elephant trumpeted
‘You little thing, so minute, so irrelevant!
How dare you even think of that
When someone like me is here?
I should be the King undisputed!’
‘You all must be joking!’ laughed the Giraffe
‘How can you become the King
When you are just round like football
And can’t even move a leg higher?
No no no, it just doesn’t fit you
Well, take a look at me and my length
I interact with the moon
And when angry I ate her half!
I should be the King instead!’
The whole clan went dead with silence
They thought the Elephant would retaliate
So they waited for the worst to happen
But nothing happened…
‘Let me be the King’ the ape called out
‘None of you is so capable of tree climbing
And infact I can swing and dance up the skies
You don’t know this feeling of tree dwelling
The skies are my playground… Can’t you see?’
‘Talking about playground, you are out of it!’
The Eagle whined…
‘I live in mountain peaks
Where none of you can reach
Or dare reach and I am the master
Master of the blue clouds and wind
Make me your king!’
‘Talking about flying you are not alone in it’
A mosquito stood to talk
‘How many of you can sing in a human ear
And make him slap himself madly?’
‘No way, who speaks now?’ the Lion growled
‘The kingship belongs to I and the pride
The pride is strong and courageous
And can defend and take care of the clan
My roars frighten our enemies
My claws are fine killing machines!’
‘No sir, was it not one of your pride members
That slaughtered an innocent sheep the other day?
We can’t let you be our King’
Someone yelled from the crowd
‘So what do we do right now?’
Let us then nominate from those
Who showed interest in the position’
An elderly Parrot suggested
‘Please everyone should point at their candidate’
To the crowds surprise
Everyone pointed to their kith
The Giraffes to the Giraffes
The Apes to their kind
The Pride to the Lions
And so on…

And when no head way was made
Everyone nominated himself for Kingship
Since everyone was to be the King
They all left fighting and arguing
And so is the animal clan
In much confusion till this very day!

Image from Www.123RF.com

Categories
Poetry

Once upon a time… 


Once upon a time you preferred the silence to my love
Then trees leaves fell, they fall quietly and so you went

Once I held your hands in deep love and we walked the paths, 

And you told of our future but now you will not see me anymore

We played together, you were my favorite and I was your cherish

But where are you now, where are we dear? 

Old memories is all that lay on my paper 

Once I knew you, once I loved you and once we had all

But that was once upon a time… 

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The Shepherds Tale

Lonely stars filled the cloudy night

Crickets quizzed behind the rocks

But the lonely Shepherd stayed awake

Watching the glittering from the star light

Listening to the bleating of sheep, his lullabic songs

Sniffing wet and mild airs that came from the lake


He lays on his soft pillow of wool

Wrapping his arms about his slim self

And wandered off in a fine dream

…to a place where the skies are blue,

And the grasses, green, fine and straight

With flowers; red, pink, orange, cream


The morning welcomes a golden sunshine

The Shepherd prays, dines and leaves his tent 

Through the hole in the barn door he tries to see,

Grinning at the sight of the sheep which was awoken

Quickly, he carefully descends into their midst

Waking the weak and nudging them lovingly


‘Wake, wake’ he calls out, the sheep knew his voice

And it came upon them, another day of feast had come

So in delight, the sheep bleat and head toward the forest

He picks one of his lambs,  his favorite choice

Whistles, sighs and talks to the fine little lamb

Now when the day will go the Shepherd retires to rest

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First Words of P’Ville, SummerTown 2

                     images                       Summer had a lake which shone with the sun light

The shivering of the waters were seen even in the nights

By the roadside were carts drove were green and yellow flowers

And at some corners of the streets the crimson Rose stood taller

Than the street fencing which was immaculately painted white

From the vales down the road Summers castles on hills stood in sight

A part of the city harbored caves which the lost made their abode

Summers had villains, criminals who obeyed a Frog in the Woods

Swamps hid the other remnants of villains and burglars

Summers beauty reflected not on her inhabitants but on her clement weather

When it rained, it was more like melted sweet creams

So the city looked up to more creamy rain storm with glee

The Diamond Lake gave the town a feel of sea

And down the Burrows, Agui the cock  lived

…to be continued

 

 

 

Categories
Series

First Words of P’Ville, SummerTown

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When the Winter Witch got tired of the warmth
Which the fine golden sun brought
She decided to leave the sunny, pitiful city
And with her she took all her trinkets and jewellery
Then she would stare across the vast wild Oat fields
And all she saw was melting ice and she always sighed
In the quiet and early morning she was gone like the mist
Taking all her frost with her, everything even the least

Then it was time for the greens to blossom
The butterflies emerged from the silky worms
And the clouds wore a fairer apparition
Which came as a pair of joy and admiration
To all the inhabitants of this city called Summer
The tents are packed for resorts where the land is lower
And where the three rivers happily met
The land became wetter as the sun set

Summer was flowery, full of bees and butterflies
And derived her name from the abundant sun smiles
That roamed and romanced the whole land
But even in the quietness of the city’s idionsyncracies
Thru the pockets of farms and homes and hills and valleys
There exist some bugs and gnats and toads
Those who find it nice to be villains and rogues
But this is Summer, where there is a golden sun
And city of insects, here and there, stay or run…

To be continued…

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Amuse: Poetale of a town boy

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I have become the village belle

Just that in fact, I am not a girl

Nene was so good in eulogizing me

She sang of my praises even when I did nothing

She told the villagers about my escapades in the city

She told them of my big eye glasses and how it fit my face

And how it seem that the glasses wore the face instead

Now she told them the stories I was ashamed to tell

And how I wore long pants with a string they call beletu

Okay, the sweet memories I kept in this hamlet

Seem to outweigh my disapproval of the city life

I forgot that picking other peoples mango fruits

Was a great taboo, if so I am guilty… I just remembered

When the evenings came in the countryside

Nene will be the first to come take me for a walk

She will tell me to hide in the tree silhouettes

And not to let the wild boys of the hamlet see me

Why she said so I can not really tell

Well, I could feel the boys treat me with distaste

The evening was not like the town nights

The hamlets were lighted with the kerosene lamps

And smell of peoples dinner rented the air,

As we passed some of the windows on the huts

Nene will tell me, hold your nose akpiri

And she will laugh out loud in the darkness

I see her white teeth shine but not her

For Nene was chocolate brown and the night will not discover her

The trek to the village square were they sold palm beer and pork,

Where Mallams sold also the tasteful Suya which scatter my head

Was quite interesting… crickets buzzed in the darkness

And bright stars glittered up the dark, cloudy skies

Nene will let me use my little savings to buy those sweet things

And she will yell out big brother each time she wanted to deceive me

But the pain always was to go home when it was time,

When we returned from our evening walks

For warm showers and spicy hot soups

I feel the joys that come with me staying away from the city

Commentary.

Beletu: Belt

Akpiri: long throat

Suya: grilled meat with crushed ground nuts and spices.

Image designed by petro: http://www.designsbypetro.com

Categories
Nature

Darkness falls

Darkness falls…

The cries of night wolves and wild dogs
Rent the airs far away deep in the forest
The wind grew milder, the moon light brighter
And the sweet lullabies ring out from homes
A tradition, one which the little ones adore
The evening simmer into a deep darkness
As the African tales went on, on bedsides

So went the day, in this quiet hamlet

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Lullaby: A tale of the cold night

Once upon a time…
It was a night of bitter cold
And snowy storms gathered,
The weight of snow lay thick
Upon tree leaves and branches
The slopes wore a sore face
For the ice cold winter air
Was so cruel to the night
The little lake was half frozen
And the ducks flew away
To vacations in other lands
The moon was quite bitten too
For she went pale with each burst
Of the ice cold wind
And the animals suffered frostbites

Several snow balls raced down
From the clouds, falling in circles
With the wind blowing them off
Swinging about like the dance of the flame
Upon a straight candle…
The Ice King stood motionless
Admiring the triangular Mountain
Which stood at the edge of the forest
Birds came to lack their songs and voices
For the moisture on their beaks was gone…
Gone with the freezing hands of the Night
The squirrels and hamsters stay huddled
Waiting for the morn, for the sun to rise
But the Night was way too young to go
So in mockery, she teased her inhabitants
The deer, the moose, the doves and the owl
No one was bold enough to walk the night
Even the trees on the forest wished for a citadel
It was severely cold; terribly, ferociously cold!
The wolf pack came bounding in from the hunt
Eyes red like the smoking sulphur, hungry and bent
Under the tree shed, just beneath the tree roots
The rats burrow, seeking the dark earth to warm up
Partially avoiding the new arrivals, the wolf pack
For they were rude and ruthless like the cold night
‘I wonder why the Night is at her worst tonight’
The leader of the wolf pack began with a sniff
‘See! I can’t even feel my fur, it is terribly sinister’
Another wolf called out to the hungry pack
‘Maybe the Night is heartbroken, can’t you see?’
The ferns that grow by the tree roots said
‘Or yet the Night is wooing the heartless Mountain
With her face turned to the east of the forest’
The turtle dove on the tree branch offered
‘I agree totally with you’ a dark Cricket quipped
‘Nonsense! I say she is confused, absolutely confused!
How can she ever love with such coldness?
How can she be heart broken and punish others with her pain?
I say she is a confused person, and so she is!’
The leader of the wolf pack suggested, angrily
‘As for me, it is not adequate enough to conclude why,
But pain and love can also cause persons to grow cold’
The philosophical woodpecker reasoned

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Rainmakers’ tales: 2 tales of Oke- Iroegbu

When I am not making the rain fall
And flood the villagers huts and farms
And to make the river banks overflow
So that the forests pathway is swampy
And the great crocodiles are washed ashore;
Then I will be watching the glittering stars
And talking about the stars, the night and moon
Well, the night is never complete without a tale
For the sleepy little ones,
But this time, no reading from a book
I shall tell you of the Forest and her folks
… Oke- Iroegbu

(a)
Once when the Forests owned all the land
And the Forest King has loved the greens
For it spread, such that the white mountains
Were covered with green grasses and plants
The Wind truly loved the look on the Mountain
For during the Winter, she had grown terribly cold
That she felt absolutely nothing even for the Wind
Then she had no dimples, no smiles, no blushing
Then it was only the Tomato that blushed about
Tanners, farmers, pupeteers called out to her
And all she could was smile and blush deep red
The Ice King wooed the Mountain and usually
Gathered about her face to give her a warm kiss
But this never went down well with the cool Wind
Now that the Ice King has gone with his captains
And Summer has come, the Forests came with their greens
How awlful, the Wind felt all year round
Seemed he was just a big time born loser!
But the true logic being that the Mountain
Was never meant for this young Wind

(b)
Now it was the tradition that the young men
Cut wood in the neighboring green forests
Before they can be allowed to chose a maiden
There was no axes in the town and near hamlets
And men were desperate for things
Even when they are not ready and ripe for it
Mirtle was a young man, despised and frail
Naturally dull, but deep inside he was a man
The youth of the hamlet, saw him as a weakling
And infact unfit for this great competition
So he was abandoned, and the other men
Went deep into the hearts of the green forest
Looking for wood, for there was no axe then
Then came dwarves walking about the hamlet
Without food or warm clothing
And night came upon them daily
And they starve and want warmness
And no one cared or even looked at them
For the villagers loathed the dwarves
But not all of them were villains
The weak Mirtle might be weak physically
But he had compassion and love
And knew what it meant to be cold
Not from the treacherous night weather
But from the hatred that lurks in peoples hearts
Mirtle gave his food and warm cloths
To some of the dying dwarves
Sharing with them till he had none
One night, the Chief Dwarf presented a gift
And lo! An axe, not just ordinary
And so Mirtle had wood and a fair maid
For his kindness to strangers in need

I knew you got the message, I had imagined and made this story to teach about love and kindness. Abraham entertained angels without knowing it.

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Another Tale of a Shepherd

Nothing compares to the sweet sleep
Of all good and hardworking shepherds
He retires with a fine and adorable smile
And to his bed of wool, he lays
Tuning into the local radio station
To listen to some old folk songs
Nodding almost silently to the rhythm
Smiling to the memories of the stressful day
And the little Lavender he found on the way

The night is quiet, warm and cosy
The moon is wearing a cute smiley
But to his lonely blanket he clings
As the duckling will to the Hens wings
And the air about is moist and fresh
This is his own warm and perfect nest
Thanks to the open wooden window
The light in the room is very low
And there is enough breeze to go around
Even the noisy brown crickets are ignored
The screeching of all strange insects-
The nomads of the quiet nights
Rent the air, disturbing companions
But the lonely Shepherd slept on
And soon a beautiful dream
One of fantasy; milk, honey a-swimming
Shall dawn upon his big and weary head
And so, in such times he laughs out aloud!

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The Tale of a Shepherd

When it is time to leave the hamlet
To leave the vales and the thornful paths
To seek fresh and sweet grasses
For the little bleating lamb and sheep
The shepherd wakes from his slumber

The roads are rocky and mountainous
Filled with stubborn stones and quarry
The mistletoe grow on the roadside
But the herd march on, happily to other places
Minding the bushes and hare traps

The morning is mild, the sun not awake yet
The clouds heavy with dew and mists
And when the herd sees the gliitering stream
They rush forward for a splash and cold drink
Gulping and disturbing the little fishes

The shepherd bends to wash his sooty face
A young lamb rushes to him, nudging him lightly
Then he stretches his palm, touching her face
Running his hands up and down her neck
And in that delight, she bleats excitedly

The noon comes with the suns heat
The trees provide shed for the shepherd and his herd
He sits on a rock to watch the amazing sight before him;
Lovely lamb and fine sheep grazing humbly
On a vast green valley, full of life

He looks up to the tree branches
As beautiful plummages sing joyfully
And the humming bees that stay on the tree
Smiles draw across his handsome ruddy face
For this lovely sight he sees each day

Even so, the airs become milder as the sun set
The herd walk up to him as he whistle to them
In a few minutes, he has called all to himself
And towards the hamlet behind the hills, they went
Happy again to splash through the waters of the stream

In the evening when the sun is finally set
The happy shepherd returns home to his fluffy bed
For a quick modest dinner of warm milk and bread
And on his bed he turns and tosses to find some rest
Counting the sheep in his mind, and smiling in his sleep

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A Poets Tale

Have you seen the sun set over the dark clouds
Behind the lonely traveller marching up the hilly mounds?
The evening sets in, covering all the light living on Earth
It was about time for, moon-lit tales and screeching crickets

The wind surge, we are left to feel it
The birds fly away, as the sun set
The clouds are dark, beckoning to a storm
And the people haste about bringing all the drums

The hopes live on, the days gone past,
I sit musing, letting reason come over wit
Like Ali Baba calling out to his forty men
The love I have for you I feel deep within

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You, my Inspiration

I shall look upon Thee
In the face of the rising sun
And on the evenings airy breeze

Your beauty inspires me
I sit staring into the air
I see you walk to me
Entangling me in your embrace
Doing this little laugh
I always grew fond of

My joy knows no limit
The fragrance of your Love
Smears my soft heart
And in the nights I drove
To come see you
And to your smiles anew

Though the day took its toil
On my weary face and body
Your warmth suits me to the soul
I lay wondering how it be, how lucky
The evenings we shall watch the Sun take its fare
And the nights I shall pull your hair

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The Legend of the Cretian Minotaur

The King of Athens killed the son of Minos, King of Crete. In revenge, Minos conquered Athens and forced its King to send him seven youth and seven maidens every year as a tribute. These victims were then sent into a huge maze, or labyrinth on an island where they were devoured by a monster, half bull and half human, known as the Minotaur. A year came, and Theseus, son of the Athenian King bravely offered to form part of the doomed company. When he arrived in Crete, the daughter of Minos fell in love with him and gave him a sword and a piece of thread before he entered the maze. With the sword Theseus killed the Minotaur and with the thread he found his way back. The company was saved and the brave prince set sail to Greece.
Now Theseus had told his father, whose name was Aegeus that if he killed the Minotaur and found his way back he would hoist white sails as he came into port. But Theseus was so eager to arrive home that he forgot to do so. When Aegeus saw the black sails of the returning ships he thought his son was dead. In his grief the old King threw himself into the sea, which has ever since been called the Aegean Sea in memory of him.

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The Old Man and The Bulb

I met an old man
Walking down the lane
Passing thru the barn
With a face, bold and stern
He dropped his stick
And I watched him stoop
His body rattled, weak
And down the steps, I took a hop
“Hello sire, lemme help you”
He looked up, a bright smile
“Oh, goodness, my son, bless you
i had been on the road for miles!”
The evening was cold
A storm was on its way
“Please do come inside
And I shall bake you some cake”
The face brightened the more
And thru the steps I led him
Taking our time as we head to the door
The sun sets, the clouds dim
And then the winds blew
Snow balls fall in drunk circles
And the road was full of white hue
I set the little brown kettle
And soon it was whistling
“Sire, you can stay the night”
I saw the hope in his eyes, dwindling
“Thanks for your hospitality”
He smiled again with some pain
The bulb up the ceiling kept shining
And I see glares of the old man
Take a side look, once and again
After tea and very hot shower
He lay on the bed, with his eyes on the ceiler
I sensed the unease, and made for the bed
“Sire, is anything the matter?”
He grunted and calmly shook his head
“Nah son, but I kept watching
This little light shining up there
I prefer to sleep on something
Afar off this little Sun up there!
I dont know what holds that”
He pointed to the bulb, carefully
Trying to let me see
Why the bed should be moved
Fearing should the hand
Holding the bulb decides to let go
What might become of him

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A Tale of Fantasia

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There’s a land far far away
Somewhere any good traveller can reach
A strong march thru fields of green and yellow wheat
Which on it hides, flesh eating Ostriches
And undisturbed monitors fighting to get a bite of flesh
A sky that changes apparitions when stirred
Across the long deep oceans
With sea monsters, cucumbers huge as a baby whale
And fishes with huge eyes and teeth
Hunting and scaring, even the bravest of men
And thru the vast lonely desert
And dangerous dunes of the East
Lays the gigantic sand scorpions
With poisonous and alluring cactus
Along its way lay tracks of seductive women
Who tie hijabs, like the Arabian ladies
Mocking the travellers with black painted eyes
Luring them into the lairs of great slave owners
All march and seek, Fantasia
As an old drunk sitting on an inn
Sings all day, telling the tales he had seen
Of great deeds of merry men
Who had crossed all odds
To see this enchanted land
To behold the land where ladies dance
Laughing as the men call out their desires
Allowing the rhythm of the song move their hand bracelets
And enjoying the attraction they get from all
This man sang of a very proud cloud
Which is benevolent, and caring
Rains when there is a heartbreak on lovers
Shines brightly when the cold hands of the Wind comes
And allows the green to shed the lands and fields
Fountains of waters lie here and there
The sweet smelling fragrances of Lilies
The crawling Vine showing off her yellow fruits
White cattle with udders heavy with milk
Stray about looking for a handy help
And all across the land stand all kinds of trees
Life given shrubs, well groomed and grown
The bees make honey, and cares not who steals it
The sun is mild, at least till the Windy villain comes
The land is naturally terraced, built with a touch of magic
And beauty that beats human doings by fringes
The black clouds rain strong ale,
And the snow are soft raisins
The streams are flowing wine
Which invites the drunks to sit by and dine
The banks are lined with strange bread cakes

And if a traveller happens to come by
With his company, horses, men; wary and weak
Then all their journey miseries they forget
For a taste of Fantasia, relieves the mind

Oiroegbu Halls

Categories
Nature

A tale of the lakeside 2

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Once upon a quiet lakeside
Where blue skies stay
And very thick fog dwells
With tall Figs hiding in them
Hanging like towers
There’s a riot of colors
Down the valley
When the sun rays fall
On the forest below
All turns to gold
The clouds are not left behind
They shine gloriously
The water drops fall
Slowly from the waterfall
Washing the pebbles
As white waters rush in haste
And the solemn rocks
With green forests all beside it
Keeps watch in mute
There’s a rainbow up the sky
And a host of Egrets surfing the wind
The white mountains stand guard
With patches of green here and there
The winds blow the sweetest breezes
The bears growl all about
So beautiful, so charming
All about a quiet lakeside
And that’s Natures gift

Oiroegbu Halls

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Some Tales of the Wildwoods 2

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There’s a land behind those hills
Covered in the forest
A green foliage; brushes and roots
All the time the Clouds are blue
And the king of the Forest
Do fall in love with it
When the cloud blushes
It rains softly; mildly
And the little creatures
Which live in the land
Look up to the smiling Forest king
‘Oh, see how handsome his face is’
A little dark Cricket said
‘He is really in love with the Cloud
But we don’t understand
Why she always refuses
To love the Forest king back!’
A group of Pigeons answered
‘I tell you that she is possessed
Who should resist the Forest king?’
The Wolf added, as he looked up
‘The Forest king hadn’t said anything yet
All he does is to stare and smile
How awfully awful!’
Some Pine trees whined
‘If for nothing but admiration
Is the reason to love
I choose not to love’
The philosophical Woodpecker concluded.

This is a part of the first poem written earlier on 5th August. Nice reading to you, and I hope you enjoy it.

Oiroegbu Halls

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A Tale of the Lakeside

Once upon a quiet lakeside
Where blue skies stay
And very thick fog dwells
With tall Figs hiding in them
Hanging like towers
There’s a riot of colors
Down the valley
When the sun rays fall
On the forest below
All turns to gold
The clouds are not left behind
They shine gloriously
The water drops fall
Slowly from the waterfall
Washing the pebbles
As white waters rush in haste
And the solemn rocks
With green forests all beside it
Keeps watch in mute
There’s a rainbow up the sky
And a host of Egrets surfing the wind
The white mountains stand guard
With patches of green here and there
The winds blow the sweetest breezes
The bears growl all about
So beautiful, so charming
All about a quiet lakeside
And that’s Natures gift

Oiroegbu Halls

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Poetale

Hello pals,

Top of the day to you, I bring you poetic greetings and hearts. I will like to introduce you to another poetic invention: poetale. You might just wonder what it is, it is a fun way of telling stories in poetic styles and stanzas. Most of my poems come in this form. Poetales might lack the basic poetic characteristics but it is written on Run-on-lines. It might become more fun to read since actually it’s a tale. It is necessary to consider it as a poetic style for some reasons which I will publish later and who knows how popular it will become in few years time. You can check out The Legend of Wawadomea and A Tale of The Wildwoods, all published here. They are good examples of Poetales. So hang on, have fun and let’s explore this together. Please feel free to tell me what you think.

Ladies and gents, I give you my Poetales.

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A Tale of the Lakes: The Duck

Once upon a quiet lake
Beside a green forest
Lived a Duck and her chicks
All day they waddle through the waters
Enjoying the serenity
A day came and the Duck
Brought her chicks all about her
‘Quack quack Daak’ she began
‘You have been friends
With the Turtle
You know the Lake
More than your siblings
Pray, tell me
How many times would
Something happen to you
And you would learn?’
‘Quack quack momma
I would learn only
When it happens all times!’
The first duck answered
Mother Duck nodded
And turned to the next duck
‘Quack quack Duuk
You are not scared of the weeds
You fought off the Eels
But tell me
How many times
Would something happen
And you learn from it?’
‘Quack quack momma
I can only learn
If it happened to me’
Mother Duck nodded
And turned to the last
‘Quack quack Deek
You are scared of all
Ripples and fishes
You have few friends
I wonder, but let me know
How many times
Would you learn from something?’
‘Quack quack momma
I wont learn from any misdids
I shall learn from others mistakes
I shall watch the Eels movements
And all ripples on the lake
That are not made by my kind
And I shall always be careful’