The Bushman’s Tale.
A night in Africa.
Above – the stars hang bright.
Not far away a lion coughs and grunts.
A fire burns, lighting a ring of faces round about,
Making the velvet darkness darker still.
I was a guest,
My hosts a bushman family.
This desert was their home
And had been for a million years.
I sat among them and I heard this tale –
Once, long ago,
A hunter, drinking at a dawn-bright pool,
Saw the reflection of a great white bird,
But, when he raised his head,
The bird was gone.
He drank again, then rising
Followed to the north,
Leaving behind his home, his family,
The hunting grounds he knew so well –
All that was dear to him.
For years he searched in vain.
Then old and weak,
He reached a cliff impossible to climb
But he was told that, at the top,
Was this bird’s nest.
As he looked up,
A feather, white,
Came floating down
And landed in his hand.
He died there, on that rock,
And here the story ended.
A woman threw a branch upon the fire.
Sparks flying upwards, twisted towards the stars.
I turned, a question on my lips –
“This bird,” I asked. “What was it called?”
The wizened bushman who had told the tale, said,
“In our legends it has many names.
In all my dreams it is Bird of Truth.”
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