The Emporium Gazette
Issue 59 -- February 2004
by Bob Nailor
Once, in a land far away, there was a beautiful, young woman who had a small son. The woman's name was Akira-Ah, the Singer. Her voice was extremely melodic and when she sang, it is said that even the grass would listen.
Akira-Ah climbed daily up the side of Hrusk-La-Mo to bathe in the mountain's cold and icy waters. She would carry Bahra, her son, strapped to her back. When she arrived at the stream's edge, Akira-Ah would nestle Bahra in some high grasses near the water then strip off all her clothes and bathe in the cooling waters.
Listening to the rhythm of the waters as it cascaded and bubbled over and around the rocks, Akira-Ah created a new song that she would sing at the gathering of families. Akira-Ah listened to her song resonate within the chamber walls of the small cascade area, and smiled at the harmony.
Her lilting voice carried into the lush growth of the jungle where a tigress, following the spoor of the beast that had killed her cubs, raised her head to listen. Fascinated by the sound, the tiger momentarily forgot her rage and padded towards the source. Finally the tigress came upon Akira-Ah as she emerged from the water with her long dark hair dripping.
Seeing the tiger, Akira-Ah screamed for help then dashed into the luxuriant overgrowth of the jungle and back to her village. Left behind were her clothes and Bahra, hidden in the tall grasses.
At that moment, Bahra awoke and began crying, startling the tigress. It moved cautiously towards the wailing baby and sniffed guardedly, then licked Bahra.
The small child attempted to suckle the moist tongue and the tigress realized that the baby was hungry. She moved carefully into position and let Bahra nurse on her swollen teats.
For many days the tigress nursed Bahra and Akira-Ah never returned assuming her child had been devoured by the tiger.
Finally, hunters from the village decided that the tiger must be killed to appease the gods and allow proper rites for the soul of poor Bahra.
When the hunters climbed Hrusk-La-Mo to the bathing area that Akira-Ha used, they were surprised to find the tigress still there. She was laying near the tall grasses that Akira-Ha had told them about.
"Such sacrilege," yelled Po-Li-Lo, the Tracker. "The tiger remains at her kill."
The hunters then raised their voice, shot the rifles and caused a commotion that scared the tiger away. They chased it into the jungle.
It was Bar-To-Mun, the Smiling, that noticed the small child as they raced by the tall grasses where the tiger had lain.
"Comrades," he yelled. "The tiger has not eaten Bahra. He is here."
The group gathered about the small boy and stared in wonder. So many days had passed and still the child was healthy and alive. They looked at one another for this could only mean one thing: the tigress had nursed the child in Akira-Ha, the Singer's, absence.
"The tiger is good," whispered Po-Li-Lo, the Tracker.
The others silently nodded agreement.
"We shall make the tiger a goddess," Po-Li-Lo said. "One should take this child to his mother. The rest of us will stalk the tigress."
Bar-To-Mun scooped up Bahra and carried him back to the village and Akira-Ha.
Upon seeing Bahra, Akira-Ha grabbed him, fell to her knees and wept openly while cuddling her son close to her bosom.
"A thousand blessings upon The Father," she cried. "Sacred Mother, blessed thanks for protecting Bahra." Akira-Ha then stood and silently moved, steps that were barely an inch at a time. She walked in a circle while keeping her head bowed. "Many thanks to all gods, both great and small. You have safely returned my son and in honor I will create a new chant for the village to praise you."
Po-Li-Lo, the Tracker, used his skills and followed the tiger's tracks. Soon the hunters were chasing the tiger through the jungle until she, weak from nursing the child and too tired to run, turned and snarled at the hunting party.
Po-Li-Lo raised his blowgun, inserted the dart and directed it toward the tiger. A mighty puff and the miniature arrow flew on its way.
The tigress roared when the dart struck her then quickly succumbed to its drug.
The hunting party quickly removed the dart, tied the tiger up and carried it to their village where the preparations to make the tiger a goddess had started.
Sahamu-Ni, the Seer, raised the tiger's head and ceremoniously slit its throat with the jewel encrusted ritual knife. The tiger's eyes flared open in that moment of pain, her eyes glinting like golden moons on a clear night. The blood flowed into the gut-skein, the Goddess' life to be shared among the tribe; its soul to guard over one.
Bahra grew into a man and became a great hunter, his dark eyes seeing what most men could not. It is said that on the day that Bahra was given his full name, Bahra, the Stalker, his eyes flashed yellow, like twin moons of the Goddess.
Bob Nailor is author of "The Secret Voice," an Amish-Christian story, "Pangaea, Eden Lost," an adventure story, "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold," a Celtic fantasy, and "2012: Timeline Apocalypse," an end-of-time tale. He is also included in several anthologies and collections. Check his website at www.bobnailor.com
No portion of any article or other writing in this electronic publication may be copied, used or otherwise taken by any person or organization for any purpose or reason whatsoever without the express written permission of the Emporium Gazette.Contact Bob Nailor at Lore @ rolian.com
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