The Mother River
by Austin Mitchell
Once, hundreds of years ago, there was a great river. It was
called the Mother river. Some said that it was in the north of
the island,others said that it was in the middle of the island,
but others disagreed, saying that it was in the west. Although
it was known as the Mother river, people called it the Magic
river, the Golden river and many other names. One of the main
villages the river passed through was reportedly called
Dunklet. The people of Dunklet worshipped the river. They
depended on it for their very lives. They bathed, swam and
caught fishes in its waters. They often wondered at the size of
the fishes they caught. They were so big and juicy.
They used its waters to irrigate their fields. From their fields
they got the finest crops. Nobody in Dunklet went hungry as
there was always lots of food to go around. But there was a
reason why the river was also called the Magic river.
Whenever it rained, and the river became flooded, a lot of
precious metals and stones were washed upon its banks.
These the people used to fashion into all kinds of jewelry to be
worn by both men and women. People wondered where these
precious metals came from. Some of them even tried to find
the river head, but got lost and had to turn back.
The first village chief, realizing how valuable this river was to
his people appointed a man named Tull as the caretaker of the
river.Together, he and Tull fashioned out certain rules
concerning the people and the river. The people were not to
dump their refuse in the river, they were not to dig in the river
or its banks looking for precious metals. They were also not
to sell the precious metals.Some of the people were
dissatisfied with the village chief, Abucadizer and Tull’s
ruling. At a meeting in the village a week later, a man called
Neddy got up and asked.
“They are people willing to give us good things for the
precious metals. Why stop us from selling it and making a
profit?” a young girl, Yashimaje, remarked. “We need things
to fix up ourselves. We can’t eat the jewelry.”
But Abucadizer told them that it was the will of the gods that
they did not sell the jewelry they found in the river. Several of
the villagers including Neddy and Yashimaje left the meeting
Just like how people wondered where the river came from,
they also wondered where it went when it left the village. They
found out that it escaped into some canyons. Some people
believed that after it left the canyons it went underground and
into the sea.
The river also had healing qualities and people came from far
and near to bathe in its waters. Some of the villagers including
a man Lud, a woman called Selmaje and another young girl
named Taroona were dissatisfied with what was happening.
They said that all outsiders should pay to bathe in the river.
However Abucadizer disagreed and said that the gods would
be angry with them if they prevented people from bathing in
After people like Abucadizer and Tull died others took their
places. But persons from far away lands had heard about this
river and the precious stones that were believed to be in it.
They came in droves. At first they talked to the new chief,
Balcome, but he refused to let them mine the river. Some of
his own people, including Neddy, Yashimaje and Taroona
tried to persuade him to negotiate with the newcomers but he
But these men were determined to claim the precious metals
they heard was lying at the bottom of the Mother river. One
night with the aid of their friends they raided the village
killing several villiagers including Balcome. They stole all the
precious metals from the survivors and the dead.
They spent the following days digging up the river and its banks, gloating over the precious metals they found. The surviving villagers soon realized the mistake they had made in helping these men to kill Balcome and steal their jewelry. When they told them that the gods would punish them for digging up the river, they laughed and ran them away from them.
A month later when they thought they had mined all the
precious metals, there was to be had, they woke up the next
morning to find the river gone! It was just dry earth they
found! When they went to pack up their bags of precious
metals, it was just ordinary stones they found! Suspicions
immediately fell on the villagers but only their friends were
there as all the others had vanished overnight.
They decided to search all the villages to find the escapees from Dunklet. But to this day they never found the people from Dunklet and the Mother river never returned. People like Neddy, Taroona and Yashimaje went to nearby villages seeking shelder but word has already gone out that had connived with the strangers in what had happened in Dunklet. They thererefore had go to far away places to seek shelter. The miners returned home empty handed. Many people believed that those who fled Dunklet that night might have gone to another part of the island. Legend has it that they found another magic river down there but this has never been
proven. The End.
Austin's blog: stredwick.blogspot.com