Twelve-year-old Manni helped his mother, Mala, as she was stripping bark from a eucalyptus tree, then winding the fibers into strands that she would later weave into flat sheets for Manni and his brother to use as sleeping mats. It was a very hot and humid day in the West African Empire of Yoruba. Manni’s younger brother, Jalani, was playing with some of the other younger children, next to the riverbank. Manni called to Jalani to get away from the riverbank, it was very dangerous. Just last week, one of Jalani and Manni’s friends was attacked and killed by a crocodile. Danger was always lurking somewhere in the bush of Nigeria or as Manni realized, next to the riverbank, waiting its opportunity to create havoc for the villagers.
Manni was quite a seasoned hunter. As he did many mornings, Manni would wake just at dawn and leave before Mala and Jalani awoke. He would go upriver, where the waters were shallow and were a safe place to cross to the other side. In the shallow water, Manni didn’t have to worry about hippos hiding. Hippos were very aggressive and very deadly. He also didn’t have to be concerned about an attack from deadly piranhas. In the shallow water, a school of pirhanas was easy to see, and simply beating on the surface of the water would frighten the school away and since the water was moving, the chances of walking up on wildlife were slim. Once across, Manni would move stealthily up the river a short distance, to a favorite watering hole of the local wildlife. The pool of water was about 100 feet across, and had some very deep holes next to the bank and shear rock sides. There was however, a rather shallow beach-like area where the animals would come to get water. Manni hid himself among some high grass and brush close to the water’s edge. This morning, Manni was in for a special surprise. A small herd of gazelle wandered up to the watering hole. A large male ventured over near where Manni was hiding. He readied his spear and at the right moment, he thrust the sharp point of the spear into the side of the gazelle. The commotion frightened the rest of the herd and they ran. The male tried to run also but didn’t go far. Manni gave chase, caught up with the gazelle, pulled his knife from his side and finished the kill. Manni made his way back to the village with his prize gazelle. This would provide food for the family for several days.
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Genre – Historical fiction
Rating – PG
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