As I mentioned last week (Ferry trip across Lake Kariba) in the evening the fishing boats began to make an appearance on Lake Kariba, one by one, little by little filling the whole lake with little twinkling lights in the dark, like diamonds on black velvet. The ferry droned on and drowned out the voices of the fishermen and in my private world my mind drifted off into a story time so fictitious, made up of bits and pieces of memories, foreign waters and inspiration. I finally wrote it down at the beginning of the year; so some of you in my writing group have read it before.
‘Go straight home now,’ her father had said as he kissed Kamari goodbye. “Good bye Baba” she smiled back at him. The sky was amber and lilac as Kamari stood watching him and his friends push away from the slipway in the little fishing boat. They were laughing and joking. The waves slapped the side of the boat as it eased its way into deeper waters. Every night the fishermen shone their lights into the water to catch fish. There were many boats out and Kamari thought that the lights shining in the night on the sea looked so pretty, like the stars shining in the sky.
Eventually it was dark and the moon came up; she could no longer see their silhouetted shape and only faintly heard them laughing as they drifted away. She looked across to the lighthouse and followed the path that led to it as she knew her father would moor there to cook the fish for supper. As she ran along she gazed at the moon, singing a song of all the loveliness she saw around her, she decided to scramble down on the dark green rocks. So that is how she slipped on the slimy seaweed and bumped her head.
Soon she was in the water and in her dizzy state she heard the moon calling her. It was big and pretty and Kamari forgot about the lighthouse and swooned at the moon. The seals saw her and laughed at her playfully, not realizing she was in danger. They darted around her in circles.
The dolphins squealed with glee. One shouted, ‘Come jump on my back and swim with me; we’ll take you to over sea but she knew that mama had warned her ‘do not go following the moon out to sea. She is the queen of the night and she lives far away; you can’t go there without Baba.’ Kamari didn’t know what to do as the fog was hiding the lighthouse from her.
She called, ‘Mama, Mama’ but mama was at home putting Mtoto to sleep. Faintly she could hear the laughter of the men on the boat drifting on the breeze. She called ‘Baba, Baba,’ but the breeze blew her words away from them.
Mother Otter heard her calls from inside her warm den and hustled her family out of bed to help Kamari. They swam out to her and Father Otter lay on his back like he would when he cracked muscles on his chest. Mother Otter gently laid Kamari’s head on his chest. And the rest of the otters held her body up and together they swam to the shore. Mother Otter scolded her, ‘you silly girl, you should not be out swimming on your own at night.’ They laid her on the rocks for they could do no more. When she came to her senses, she couldn’t see the moon as a great fog had covered it and the lighthouse. She sat whimpering and thought about her Baba’s words, ‘Go straight back home.’ She felt very sorry for herself as the coldness had crept right into her.
Then she heard the lighthouse foghorn bellow it’s safety warning, ‘Boom, boom…. BaBoo-oom, boom…’ and she managed to get herself back up on the path and slowly made her way to the where her father was. The darkness and thick fog scared her. All she could hear was the little waves washing against the shore driving the pebbles back and forth, singing, ‘ swisssh –swashlap lap lip lap lop, sssshe musssst be lossssstlap lap lip lap lop swisssh –swash will ssshe find her way passst the rocksssslap lap lip lap lop. The sound of the foghorn was getting louder so she knew she was on the right track and eventually she saw the fire burning in the distance.
‘Baba, Baba,’ she cried. And her father came running. He felt both angry for letting her come down to the waters edge and for her not listening to him but he was also worried about her too. ‘What happened to you?’ he asked. She shivered so much that her teeth rattled while she told him the whole story. He wrapped her in his thick jacket and sat her down next to the warm fire. “I am so glad that nothing bad happened to you, but you are not to wander off on dark paths on your own again,” said her father sternly.
My stories are influenced by my travels, places I have visited, people I have known and my love of fables, legends, fairy tales and parables. Take care till next time.