The Mother River
by Austin Mitchell
Once, hundreds of years
ago, there was a great river. It was called the Mother river. Some said that it
was in the north of the island, others said that it was in the middle of the
island, but others disagreed, saying that it was in the west. Although it was
known as the Mother river, people called it the Magic river, the Golden river
and many other names. One of the main villages the river passed through was
reportedly called Dunklet. The people of
Dunklet worshipped the river. They
depended for their very lives on this river. They bathed, swam and caught
fishes in its waters. They often wondered at the size of the fishes they
caught. They were so big and juicy. They used its waters to irrigate their
fields. From their fields they got the finest crops. Nobody in Dunklet went
hungry as there was always lots of food to go around.
But there was a reason
why the river was also called the magic river. Whenever it rained, and the
river became flooded, a lot of precious metals and stones were washed upon its
banks. These the people used to fashion into all kinds of jewelry to be worn by
both men and women. People wondered where these precious metals came from. Some
of them even tried to find the river head, but got lost and had to turn back.
The first village
chief, realizing how valuable this river was to his people
appointed a man named Tull as the caretaker of the river. Together, he and Tull
fashioned out certain
rules concerning the people and the river.
The people were not
to dump their refuse in the river, they were not to dig in the
river or its banks
looking for precious metals. They were also not the sell the precious
Some of the people were
dissatisfied with the village chief, Abucadizer and Tull’s ruling. At a meeting in the village a week later, a
man called Neddy got up and asked.
“They are people willing
to give us good money for the precious metals. Why stop us from selling it and
A young girl, Yashimaje,
”We need things to fix
up ourselves. We can’t eat the jewelry.”
But Abucadizer told them
that it was the will of the gods that they not sell the jewelry they found in
Several of the villagers
including Neddy and Yashimaje left the meeting disastisfied. Just like how
people wondered when the river came from they were also wondering where it went
when it left the village. They found out that it escaped into some canyons. Some
people believed that after it left the canyons it went underground and into the
The river also had
healing qualities and people came from far and near to bathe in its waters.
Some of the villages including a man called Lud, a woman called Selmaje and
another young girl named Taroona were dissatisfied with what was happening.
They said that all outsiders should pay
to bathe in the river. However Abucadizer disagreed and said that the gods
would be angry with them if they prevented people from bathing in the river.
After people like
Abucadizer and Tul died others took their places. But persons from
far away lands had heard about this river and
the precious stones that were believed
to be in it. They
came in droves. At first they talked to the new chief, Balcome, but
he refused to let
them mine the river. Some of his own people,
including people like
Neddy, Yashimaje and
Taroona tried to persuade him to negotiate with the
newcomers but he
But these men were
determined to claim the precious metals they heard was lying at the bottom of
the Mother river. One night with the aid
of their friends they raided the village killing several villiagers including
Balcome. They stole all the precious metals from the survivors and the dead.
They spent the following
days digging up the river and its banks, gloating over the precious metals they founds. The
surviving villagers soon realized the mistake they had made in helping these
men to kill Balcome and steal their jewelry. When they told them that the gods would
punish them for digging up the river, they laughed and ran them away from them.
A month later when they thought they
had mined all the precious metals, there was to be had, they woke up the next morning
to find the river gone! It was just dry earth they found! When they went to
pack up their bags of precious metals, it was just ordinary stones they found! Suspicions
immediately fell on the villagers but only their friends were there as all the
others had vanished overnight.
They decided to search all
the villages to find the escapees from Dunklet. But to this day they never
found the people from Dunklet and the Mother river never returned. People like
Neddy, Taroona and Yashimaje went to nearby villages seeking shelder but word
has already gone out that had connived with the strangers in what had happened
in Dunklet. They thererefore had go to far away places to seek shelter. The
miners returned home empty handed. Many people believed that those who fled
Dunklet that night might have gone to another part of the island. Legend has it
that they found another magic river down there but this has never been proven.
The End. Austin's blog: stredwick.blogspot.com