Stories – wild and scary, funny and astonishing, sad and tearful – abound in the rural villages of my country. They are calculated to scare, to warn, to teach, and to entertain, and even to mock those who fall from grace.
In these villages where are no libraries, no cinemas, no screens, the people find escape in coming together at weddings, religious festivities, funerals and the rum shops where they share stories.
Some of these stories may be considered allegories, metaphors for living. Many are true.
This is the first of a few I will relate. Each story will be published in a different blog.
Bear with the few instances of Creolese as I consider it the best medium for the telling.
CAMOUDIE COMES A-COURTING: An allegory
Camoudie aka Python
Long time ago, in one of the far flung villages where life proceeded in mindless days of toil and sweat, there lived a family of husband, wife and children. Travel outside of the village, and strangers to the village were rare occurrences. The villages were self contained units. People existed on what they grew, bartered or managed to sell. Marriages were often arranged mainly with people from neighboring villages. Young girls just out of puberty, did not question their parents’ choice of a husband.
In this family, it was the same. However, there was a wild seed in the home. One of the daughters in the home was never pleased with any of the men chosen by her father. Each prospective bridegroom was turned down. This hopeful was too short, that one too illiterate, ugly, poor, not enough well dressed or employed. The father never gave up hope though.
However, one day there appeared in the village a young man – handsome, well dressed, soft spoken.
He was dressed in a suit and tie. He wore leather shoes, a hat, dark glasses. He swaggered.
He caught the eye of the picky-choosy young woman. Oh! she was enchanted. Her eyes and thoughts followed him. She decided that here was the ONE she was waiting for to be her husband for life.
He also looked on her with much favor. So they decided that since her father would never agree to this match with a stranger, they would elope (the villagers referred to it as “ get away”).
They got away and set up house together. They were mostly happy. He set himself out to please her in every way. She smiled and fawned on him and soon forgot her family.
Soon, she began to see strange changes in her husband. His eyes were always red and he changed his shape often – he had fangs and a long tail. His skin grew scales. She asked him about it and he was sorely angry.
To her amazement, and right before her eyes, this love of her life began changing his human shape into that of a camoudie snake. He pounced on her.and wrapped himself around her as is usual with his kind. She then realized that he was going to kill her and swallow her.
Oh! How she screamed and begged. As she was being slowly swallowed, she saw a man she knew from her childhood. She begged him to tell her father that her husband was not human, but a snake and that she was going to die.
As she was being swallowed, she sang this song…
Gentle, gentle gentleman,
when you go home gentleman
Tell my daddy, gentleman
That the man I married
is a camma-camoudie,
And then she was no more.