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 beast or maniac person could strike 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 Yama 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 modelled 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 Rahua Dazma. He stayed there until he was of average age, then he returned to the village. He would then stay in the village for many years practising farming and rearing cows. No one visited his shed or homestead. For they feared he would deal with them ruthlessly. Maraga kept two big dogs. They protected his calves from marauding beasts of the Savannah. On several accounts, they alerted him to impending danger. Strangers were kept far. The village soothsayer could not soothe the big dogs. This helped Maraga to keep a large herd and live a fear-free life.
Karava Maraga was agile too. His training in Krav Marga left him as hardened as the oak tree of Nibo Forest. He could knock down anyone who confronted him. He could wrestle a leopard down even though he was in his sunset.
By the time I am writing this post, the man is now very old. The villagers say that he is in the range of ninety 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 Leonidasasa 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 Rama. They did not utter a word. This made Howard more nervous.
River Rama was beaming with water, but death lurked beneath it. For the great crocodiles had made a cosy home out of the stagnant waters. The young man followed up Maraga to the River Rama but did not find him. He went straight 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 Fearless One.
It was now evening and it appears that the old man was listening to sundowner songs. In the next 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. His mind proscribed what the old man prescribed. The task 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. So 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 assignment will work?”
I am imagining Moses as a baby, floating on the waters of River Nile. The River and its environs are 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 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.” Romans 8:15
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.