the author is a teacher of English and literature. He is a renowned writer of interesting short stories. Besides, he is a novelist.
The Foot of Mount Dream
Glen Learns a Lesson
I had never been told such a funny story before. I laughed until tears came out of my eyes. There once lived a man who was old enough to be called a grandfather. His name was Glen. He believed that he could do everything alone without depending on other people. In that connection, he hated communal work. He was a loner. He had no one that he could call brother or sister. To cut the story short, he had neither a family nor relatives. Many stories were told as to why he lived alone in the forest at the foot of Mount Dream. Some people said he was egocentric while others said he lived alone because he was as ugly as a warthog and feared that village folks would laugh at him.
However, whenever he was interrogated by the elders about his peculiar behavior, he would tell them that he was the bravest man in the village. " You coward men! You stay with your wives from dawn to dusk because you are not bold enough to face what lurks in the forest." He would tell them.
It was not long before the drought struck their land. People starved. They had to get by with very little food. In many homes, there was only one meal in a day commonly known as 'Late Lunch Early Supper'. They went through untold suffering.
Early in the morning, men would get up as birds chirped merrily on the treetops oblivious of what man was going through. Men would search in every nook and cranny trying to find something edible to feed their hungry families. They would kill the only available small animals for the drought had not spared animals either. Many of them had died.
Glen was one day seated in the shade under a tree near his hut when he saw a rat enter his ancient kitchen. He was as sure as death that it would eat the remaining portion of 'Ugali' he had left there, so he immediately ran into the kitchen. On reaching, he realized that he was right! The rat had embarked on a serious mission of eating the only food left.
No sooner had it seen him than it hid in one of the ugly huge clay pots. Determined to kill it, he abruptly picked up a long cooking stick that was lying on the earthen floor. Tiptoeing towards the pot to make sure it could not escape, he hit the pot hard. It broke into pieces but the rat ran away unhurt.
Outside, the sun was blazing hot. A whirlwind blew strongly making some papers and rags to dance in the air vigorously. Glen would not let this creature disappear. He went after it panting and sweating profusely. It entered the nearby anthill. This angered him. He was as angry as a wounded buffalo. Using the cooking stick, he penetrated it into one of the holes on the anthill but to his utter surprise, the unexpected happened. Hundreds of creatures were coming out of it at a terrific speed. His mind was in turmoil.
He wanted to run while shouting but he remembered what he had on many occasions told the village folks about his bravery. He had forgotten that he was not in the right attire to deal with that rat for he was in a baggy pair of trousers. Rat's bite was known to be fatal. Nevertheless, he went on with his mission. It was not until evening that he realized that his work would not bear any fruits. As he stood there dazed, some insects found their way onto his body. At first, he thought he was dreaming. It was after some time that he felt something bite him somewhere...
He fell with a thud as if someone had pushed him due to the pain inflicted on him. Now, he had exposed himself to more misery. Several other bigger creatures were crawling up his legs. He was running out of bravery but he could not run for he had been put under siege by an unknown foe. Had you seen him, you wouldn't help to laugh. He was writhing on the ground and groaning in pain." Demons are eating me! Demons are bitting me". He yelled.
People had heard all this noise but had given it a cold shoulder for they knew the man who lived in the forest was bold and strong enough to handle any kind of danger. But the moan of a dying man drew their attention. They had to help.
Hardly had they reached his homestead when they saw an old man lying helplessly on the ground. Upon seeing that, they hurriedly helped him stand. He could not talk.
They were about to take him to a witch doctor for traditional treatment when they saw a cockroach descending his leg. " So this is the demon that has been tormenting him!" An elderly man shouted. "He is indeed brave as he claims," another one added laughing.
On realizing that his torturers were harmless small creatures, he went straight to his hut and shut the door. However, he learned a hard lesson human beings are made to depend on one another. No wonder the adage; United we stand divided we all. Furthermore, unity is strength. The men who had come to his rescue went to their abodes chitchatting and laughing. It is indeed an amusing story.
© 2020 JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA