Six hundred years ago, on the extreme north of the Continent of Bara, there lived a young person called Howard. It was a time of hope in hollowness; fear in fantasies and naivety in the nativity. It was a place of myths and mysteries; fan and fantasies; life and limbo; mirth and mire; puzzles and passions.
The land was famous for cows, for these feverish folks loved rearing cows in plenty. They kept long-horned cows. The horns were as long the Babel tower. These people were also cowards, except for one old man called Kirava Maraga.
They would stay all night long just to watch over their village, fearing some crazy beast or maniac person could attack them. Doors and windows were made of strong timber. They were reinforced with heavy ropes made from elephant grass. This was meant to fend off evil people and beasts of old.
They were brought up to believe that this was their fate. Destiny had them as prey. Life events were predators to them. The crystal ball stolen from Maya wizard was kept by the village soothsayer. The soothsayer had managed to draw a huge following of naysayers.
The people lived at the mercy of some evil forces. They were hunted and haunted day and night. Perpetual fear and cowardice modeled them not into fighting mongrels but flying magpies. Even the cricket of the night could send them into scamper, and they would spend the whole day parroting.
However, Kirava Maraga was a seasoned Krav Marga expert. He had travelled to the big town, 50 miles away, to learn these skills from the Ahura Mazda. He stayed there until he was of middle age, then he returned to the village. He would then stay in the village for many years practicing farming and rearing cows. No one visited his shed or homestead. For they feared he would deal with them ruthlessly. He did not fear dogs like other villagers who were so afraid that they could not domesticate any.
Maraga kept two big dogs. They protected his calves from marauding beasts of the Savannah. On several accounts, they alerted him to an impending danger. Strangers were kept far. The village soothsayer could not sooth the big dogs. This helped him keep a large herd and lived fear-free life.
Kirava Maraga was agile too. His training in Krav Marga left him as hardened as the oak tree of Boni Forest. He could knock down anyone who confronted him. He could wrestle a leopard down despite the fact that he was in his sunset. The sun could not set before he had done an act of bravery.
By the time I am writing this post, the man is now very old. The villagers say that he is in the region of eighty years.
Howard of the Country
Howard was a towering coward. He had lived in this bondage for long and now wanted to break free from it. He always felt demeaned and inhibited. He thus rightly longed to be like Icarus; the village legend who lived thousands of years ago. Legend has that Icarus gathered courage and flew on homemade wings to save the people of the land from the invading armies of Leonidas of Spartika. His father helped him make the wings.
Howard did not want to become a legend for the sake of it. Freedom from inhibitions of life enjoyment was his purpose. His parents were swimming in cows and cowardice. They were rich with hundreds of cows, but they were also cowards. His grandparents were cowards too. They lived plastic lives; always waiting for the day they will melt away. His siblings would not watch over their cows for the fear of foxes in Hinnom Valley.
One summer morning, Howard decided to pay a visit to Maraga. He crossed two great rivers that cut through the village. Ravens could be observed everywhere. They sang in unison, and this troubled Howard a lot. He walked on and finally reached an expansive homestead.
He asked around, “Is this the house of Kirava Maraga the fearless one?” Seven children who were sitting on the fence answered him by nodding. He asked if the old man was available and they answered back by pointing their small fingers towards River Mara. They did not utter a word. This made Howard more nervous.
River Mara was beaming with water, but death lurked beneath it. For the great crocodiles had made a cozy home out of the stagnant waters. The young man followed up Maraga to the River Mara but did not find him. He went ahead to the River of Snakes. It was called the river of snakes because the surrounding area was infested with green mambas. The mambas could be heard hissing in jolliness as they skipped from one tree branch to the next one.
Finally he saw the Fearless One relaxing on a mound while holding a small radio next to his right ear. Howard observed him from far. He was a young person who had made mountains of fears from mounds. And now he was standing before the village earthmover: The Fearles One.
It was now evening and it appears that the old man was listening to sundowner songs. In the next one hour, the Free Radio of Medes will broadcast the news of Darius conquests in the Holy Land. The Fearless One would occasionally sing along and tap his fingers rhythmically. He would also whistle in fondness and nostalgia. He was singing in their vernacular language.
‘Aye Africa Eh eh Africa Oh Li panda
Aye Africa Eh eh Africa Oh Liberté…………’
Howard approached the old man, greeted him in utter respect, and then asked to be taught bravery. The old man looked at him and said, “I will teach you only with one condition: one month you will have to live in the big city and tell every person that you meet on your way that you are a coward. You will have to say it loudly, openly and looking straight into the person’s eyes.”
The young person got very angry and at the same time sad. The task prescribed by the old man was scary and almost unattainable. He returned home and sulked for a couple of days. He contemplated day and night and then concluded that living with cowardice was more unbearable than executing the task given to him by the trainer – the old man.
Howard would lastly head to the big city and start his mission. At first he shivered, lost his voice and could hardly say anything. The urge to complete his trainer’s assignment compelled him to go on. Thus with each passing day he gathered more courage. He started being louder and louder as he told the passersby, “I am a coward!”
It came a moment when he concluded he wasn’t a coward anymore. And after thirty days were over, he came back to the Master of Krav Marga, Kirava Maraga, and told him that he had mastered his fears and mustered courage. While in town he had confessed to the Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Persians, Africans and Jews that he was a coward.
“Thank you Master, I have finished the task. I am not afraid anymore. But how did you know this strange task will work?”
I am imagining Moses as a baby, floating on the waters of River Nile. The River and its environs is ridden with giant Nile crocodiles, hippopotamuses, rhinos and monitor lizards. Moses with his cute self could not know what was lurking around. He was too young to comprehend; too vulnerable to survive; too innocent to escape.
The angels of the Almighty were also prowling around. They were watching over a dream. They were ready to protect a destiny. By protecting a destiny, they were preserving a dynasty.
We are not to fear anything. We are to live in freedom. We are to enjoy life to the fullest.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Fear God only.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.