“and as she reached for the sky, she….”
“did she fall Gogo?”, interrupted Jabu waiting anxiously to hear what happened next.
“Eish Jabu”, chorused the children as they all sat in a big circle around Gogo.
“Let Gogo tell the story”.
“No Jabu, she flew, she flew as high as the birds and planes, jumping on all the clouds, sliding on the rainbow and skipping on the stars. And so every time she felt sad and alone, she would close her eyes and visit all these special places and she would feel all better. That’s the end of our story for today children, Gogo will tell another tomorrow”.
Gogo was the best at telling stories, she had the gift of making everyone feel special, even the moms and dads would go to Gogo for advice sometimes. Some called her the wise awl, everyone loved Gogo.
“It’s home time bantwana”, said Thandi, as she put the bucket of water on the sandy floor. Thandi was like a walking clock, all the children knew that their parents must be coming back home from work when they saw Thandi.
“Sheshisani, sheshisani”, said Thandi, waving her arm back and forth from the gate.
“Can’t we stay for a little while longer Thandi”, said Xixi. “Just a little while”, she added.
“Please Thandi”, joined the children as they all snuggled around Gogo.
“Hayibo, and who is going to take you home when its all dark and scary “, asked Thandi.
“You will, you always do”, said Gogo, with a big smile on her face trying to convince Thandi.
“Alright, alright, just for a little while, but when Mr sun has almost set, you must all go home, we don’t want to worry your mom’s and dad’s, deal?”, asked Thandi.
“Deal “, Chorused the children.
“I am not afraid of the dark”, said Jabu confidently.”
“That’s good Jabu”, said Thandi.
” In the dark we get to see all the the stars and the beautiful moon lighting the way for us but, remember, there are also many dangers in the dark, lurking around in all the secret corners ready to
catch us!!so never stay out too late”.
“They will never catch me”, said Jabu as he walked around the circle.
” I am as fast as a Cheetah, as strong as a lion and as vigilant as a meerkat, no one or anything would ever catch me”.
“Agh, just sit down Jabu”, said Andile Jabu’s sister, “You are always so over confident”
“I am not”, argued Jabu, “Are too”, added Andile.
“That’s Okay you two”, said Thandi as she joined the circle.
” There is nothing wrong with being confident, in fact, confidence can help us overcome our fears but, being overconfident can sometimes get us into trouble”
“Get us in to trouble”, asked Sipho, the youngest of them all. “How Thandi?”.
“Well, sometimes when we are over confident, we place ourselves in dangerous situations thinking that we have everything under control when we don’t and, sometimes the consequences of our actions can hurt us and those around us.
“Why don’t you tell them the story about the overconfident meerkat”, said Gogo, with a smile on her face leaning towards Thandi trying to convince her.
Thandi hadn’t told stories in a very long time since her daughters accident, so this wasn’t easy for her.
“Oooh please aunt Thandi”, We’ve never had 2 stories in one day”.
“Pretty please”, chorused the rest of the children.
“Alright, alright”, said Thandi, looking at Gogo as if trying to let her know how uncomfortable she was.
This is a story about Nosi, the over confident meerkat.
“In a land far, far away, lived the meer family, there was Papa meer, Mama meer , Grandpa meer, Grandma meer and uncle and aunt meer. They all lived under ground. Mr and Mrs Meer had 80 meer pups to look after. Every day the grown ups would take turns to watch over the the home so that no other animals would come and hurt them, especially Mr and Mrs snake who always had a craving for meerkats. This was a difficult job to do, sometimes one of the meers would stay up all night without any sleep watching over the home.
Nosi, however, thought that this was a job she could do too. She was the 20th meer pup, always curious and over confident.
“This is no job for a meerpup” Papa meer would say. “When your all grown up, you will be able to do it too.”
“but I’m ready papa “, Nosi would argue. “I am always on the lookout, nothing would ever go past me”.
“Soon my little one, very soon” Papa meer would add.
But Nosi would not listen, she thought that grown-up’s where to afraid and boring ,”I will show them “, said Nosi.
The time had come for Papa meer, Grandpa meer and Uncle meer to go hunting, this was something they did every once a year at the valley plains near the big mountain , they had trained for this throughout the entire year making sure their legs and arms where nice and strong for the long journey ahead but, most especially to run away from Mr and Mrs snake, whos’ craving for meerkats was irresistible at this time of the year.
“Could I come with Papa”, asked Nosi, all ready to go backpack and all.
“No my little one, its way too dangerous for a pup like you”, said Papa meer.
“But I am not a pup anymore , I am big and strong, nothing can go past me”, she added.
“I know my dear but, sometimes we have to grow just a little bit more before we can do certain things, maybe this time next year you will be ready”, said Papa meer.
The family waved their good byes and Mama and aunt meer took their positions guarding the home while Grandma meer watched over the pups.
Nosi was very upset , she couldn’t understand why grown-ups were so boring, “I can do this, I will show them”, said Nosi as she made her way out of the home through the other tunnel in Mama and Papa meers room. She ran so fast and hid herself in the bushes to see if anyone had noticed, no one did.
“Gahh”, she thought , “look at them standing there, they didn’t even notice me living , I will show them, I can do this, nothing goes past me”.
Nosi tried to follow her fathers scent, it wasn’ t too strong but, she followed anyway.
Nosi walked proudly , not fearing anything, “I can do this, I will show them”.
“Hmmm, I can smell rain”, said uncle Meer, as he pointed his sharp nose into the air. “You are right”, said Papa Meer, who could smell it too, “Maybe we should head back home and wait till tomorrow “, suggested Grandpa Meer.
They all agreed and soon they where making their way back home .
Nosi heard their foot steps and decided to hide amongst the nearby bushes, “Always on the lookout , rain is coming” ,said Grandpa meer as all three of them rushed back home.
“Rain is coming? , rain? dont be foolish Grandpa meer”, she thought to herself, “and besides, a bit of rain never hurt anyone. I can do this, I will show them”.
Nosi continued on her journey, walking proudly through the bushes, she had long lost fathers scent but she was determined to make it to the valley plains .
Soon Nosi arrived at a very strange place, there where “S” trails all over the ground but, this didn’t worry Nosi at all, she decided to follow the biggest “S” trail of all, “This should take me to the valley”, she thought.
Mr, uncle and grandpa meer finally reached home, “Always on the lookout, rain is coming “, they said.
“Always on the lookout “, the rest of the family joined in chorus.
“We are so glad your home papa”, said Mrs meer.
Papa meer made his way to the corner of the house, he knew Nosi was still upset because of the conversation they had earlier on,and wanted to make it up to her with a small gift he had picked for her on the way back but, when he looked , Nosi wasn’t there!!!.
“Have you seen Nosi dear”, asked Papa meer.
“No, she was just here a few minuets ago”, said Mama Meer.
” She must be hiding somewhere”, said grandma meer, as all the meer family looked around.
“Nosi, Nosi” , they all shouted.
“Where could she have gone”, asked mama meer worryingly.
“Oooh dear, look!”, cried aunt meer, pointing at the tunnel in Mama and Papa meers bedroom, “she must have gone through there”.
Everyone was panicking, “What are we going to do? where has she gone? the rain is coming, how are we going to find her? what are we going to do”, cried Mama meer.
“I will go”, said Papa meer”, with tears in his eyes, “But you cant dear, its too dangerous and….”, said mama meer with her hands on her chest. “I have no choice dear, we must find her, The wild is no place for a meer pup to be left all alone”, said papa meer.
“We will go with you”, said uncle and grandpa meer.
“No please stay, I will go”, said papa meer.
“Ooh please let us come with you, you need all the help”, insisted uncle meer. “Okay but, you stay behind Grandpa Meer, we need to have at least one Pa meer looking after the family”, said Mr meer.
Grandpa meer agreed, and soon Mr and uncle meer where out of the house wooshing and pewing through the bushes looking for little Nosi.
“What’s this”, wondered Nosi, as she picked up a long , slimy plasticky material .
“That would be my coat dear”, said a slippery voice behind Nosi.
It was Mr snake!!, delighted to see Nosi.
” What are you doing here all alone? ” , he asked.
” I am helping my father , uncle and grandpa hunt , well , I was, until they decided to run away from the rain”, said Nosi laughingly .
Mr snake joined in the laugh, ” Silly billy meers, they are always afraid”.
“Well I’m not afraid , nothing goes past me, I can do it , I will show them” Nosi said proudly.
“Good for you dear”, said Mr snake , ” you are big and strong now , not to mention juicy ” , he added .
“juicy ?” asked Nosi.
“Ooh dont mind me my dear, I am so old I sometimes say the wrong thingsssss , what I meant to say is that you are ssssssmart and have come at a good time dear child”.
“Have I now?”, asked Nosi, wondering what he meant by that.
“Yessssssss dear, you see,I can’t see very well and I need some one as ssssssmart as you to help me”,said Mr snake.
“I would be happy to help”, said Nosi, “nothing goes past me, I can do it, I will show you”, she added.
“Follow me”, said Mr snake,as he led her into his cave.
Nosi had never seen a snake before , so she was completely unaware of out what was about to happen.
when they reached inside the cave, Mrs snake couldn’t believe what she saw.
“I see the catch was easy this time, no kicking and screaming?”, she asked, “No my dear, free delivery”, said Mr snake.
“What would you like for me to do for you?”, asked Nosi.
“Well, my dear child, as you can see, I have losssst my teeth, I have been looking for my teeth for many days now and I still can’t find them. Mrs snake has helped me look every were and nothing”, said Mr snake as Mrs snake nodded in support.
“You see, I think I must have swallowed them by mistake, I can feel a sharp pain inside my tummy. Seeing that you are small, maybe you could go in and see if you can get them out?”, suggested Mr snake as he opened his mouth wide.
“That’s easy, I can do it, I will show you, nothing goes past me”, said Nosi as she took her first step into Mr snakes mouth.
Suddenly they heard a big knock at the door,
“Who issss it?”, asked Mrs snake.
“Delivery for Mr snake”, said the voice at the door.
“Delivery for me?”, asked Mr snake, “but its not even my birth day”, he added as he excitingly slithered his way to door.
“I will come too”, said Mrs snake, wanting to see what the delivery was.
When they opened the door, no one was there.
In the meantime, Mr meer dug a hole under ground as fast as he could.
When he reached the inside of the cave, he grabbed Nosi by the hand into the hole.
“Papa, what are you doing here?”, she asked surprisingly.
“No time to chat dear, we must go!”, said Mr meer.
“But , I need to help him find his teeth, he is in a lot of pain and can’t eat with out them, I can do it Papa, I will show you”, Nosi said.
“Help him find his teeth you say?, Nosi, dont you realize that your life is in danger?, that’s no friend at all, that’s a snake and they have a craving for meers like us”!!!, Mr meer said impatiently.
“Hurry “, said uncle meer who was on top of the cave looking out for the snakes, “They are coming back!!!”.
“Quick, we must go now”, said mr Meer as he shoved Nosi under ground.
“Do you ssssmell that dear?”, asked mr snake.
“Yesssss, it smells like more then 1 meerkat”, agreed mrs snake.
They hurriedly slithered down the cave and, look!!!, the meerpup was gone.
“SSSSSSSSS “, said Mr snake angrily.
“We’ve been robbed but, quick, they couldn’t have gone too far.”
Mr meer, uncle and Nosi, ran as fast as they could to make it back home,uncle meer even ran backwards.
“Always on the look out”, he said whilest he ran.
The rain poured , the sandy ground quickly became muddy and mooshy making it difficult for the family to run.
“I’m stuck!!”, said papa meer as he tried to lift his foot out of the mud.
Uncle meer rushed back to help him. He pulled and pulled but Mr meer was just too stuck.
This was the perfect weather for Mr and Mrs snake, they slithered thier way as quick as they could, rushing to the scene.
“Can you sssssmell that dear?”, asked Mr snake.
“3 meerkat’s, juicy, juicy , juicy”, added Mrs snake.
Mr meer kicked and rolled, struggling in the mud but, he was just too stuck.
“Come on Papa”, cried Nosi as she watched her father fight tirelessly to free himself but mr and mrs snake where just too fast for them.
They grabbed mr meer’s leg, he tried to kick them off but they were just too strong.
“Take Nosi uncle”, Mr meer said.
“I wont leave you behind”, said uncle meer as he tried to fight them off. “Please my brother, please listen to me, she is only a pup, save her”, Mr meer insisted ,fighting as hard as he could but Mr snake was just too strong.
“They will eat us all if you stay”, he added.
Uncle meer grabbed Nosi by the hand and ran as fast as he could, not looking back to see what would happen to his brother.
They finally reached , everyone ran to meet them.
Mrs meer took Nosi and embraced her , “Ohh my dear Nosi, we were worried sick, where did you go?”, she asked but, Nosi couldn’t speak, all she could think about was her Papa.
Uncle meer burst into tears and soon, everyone realized that a terrible thing had happened to mr meer.
Sadness filled the house, everyone was heartbroken.
“If only I had listened to Papa when he told me to wait, non of this would have happened”, cried Nosi, “Now I will never see Papa again”.
And just then, Mr meer came limping through the door.
” Help, help me please he cried”, as he painfully made his way in.
Mr meer had been badly hurt, Mr and Mrs snake had torn of his leg but, he manged to escape.
“Did they make it, did uncle and Nosi make it?”, he asked worryingly.
“Yes dear, they have”, said mrs meer who couldn’t belive what she saw.
“Rest now, you need to rest”, she said as she and grandma meer quickly rubbed the medicinal herbs on his leg.
“Will he be okay Mama”, asked Nosi will tears in her eyes.
“We will have to wait and see dear”, said Mrs Meer, with worry and sadness in her voice.
On that day, Nosi vowed to never be ignorant and so over confident of herself, but most importantly to listen to her parents. The end!
“What happened to Mr meer Thandi?, asked Sipho.
“No one knows, many haven’t seen the meer family after what happened to them”, said Thandi.
” So you see, my dear Jabu, being over confident can sometimes get us in to big trouble especially when we think we can do things grown-ups say we shouldn’t , sometimes its best to listen and wait”, said Thandi.
“I will never ever walk alone in the dark again Thandi, I promise”, said Jabu.
“That’s good to hear, now who wants to look for my teeth”, said Gogo.