FICTION: The Slave Boy Who Brought Home the Moon
This is the story of Shaka, the slave boy who brought home the moon in his quest to become a freeman. I apologize in advance for my excessive use of suspense even though the beauty of life comes from not knowing tomorrow.
SHAKA TRIES HIS LUCK
Long time ago, in a faraway land across the mountains, a certain slave boy named Shaka went up to the emperor during a festival saying,
"O Emperor, may thee reign forever and forever. May thy eyes never know the grave of thy sons. Your servant is but a slave but I am wiser than most free men in this gathering."
Like a tornado, a deafening silence swept through the large crowd, for everyone though Shaka, already well known for his mischiefs, had gone mad.
But the emperor admired the courage of the slave boy. *What is thy name?" The emperor asked.
"I am Shaka, of the house of Hankus."
"Thou shall get the freedom which thou seekest if thou canst execute the task which shall be assign unto thee this day by the wise men who sitteth at my table. But if those faileth at thy task, thy head shall be cut off and fed to the vultures. I have spoken."
Then the emperor signalled the wisest man in the land to assign a task to the slave boy. Not wanting the slave boy to become a freeman, the wisest man in the land spoke thus:
"Thou Shaka art known for thy mischief. Therefore, I pray thee to bring down the moon before the eyes of everyone. Thou hast fourteen days from today. I have spoken.".
The crowd roared in excitement, believing that the end of Shaka had finally come.
Dejected and disappointed, Shaka left the presence of the emperor knowing that he was to either fetch the moon or have to figure out a way to live without his head being on his neck.
THE MYSTERIOUS BLACK RACE
For two days, the slave boy Shaka could not sleep. He knew that it was practically impossible to bring down the moon and present it to the wise men of the land. Nevertheless, he had to figure out a way to fetch the moon or have himself decapitated.
One day, while Shaka was working on his master's plantation, he recalled that he had heard about a black race across the woods that had found a way of devising a stone that glowed in a moonless night.
So, Shaka made up his mind to find the mysterious black race. Once he was able to find the race, he would steal one of their shining stones, return home, and present it as the moon to the wise men of the land.
SHAKA AND THE OLD WIDOW
It was quite tough and tortuous journeying through the thick and unforgiving woods of the land. But Shaka didn't mind. He was as determined and resolute as the breaking of a new day.
On the third day, however, Shaka came out of the woods and found a little city down the deepest valley he had seen all his life.
Without waiting much time, he began to creep towards the tiny city down the wood. He crept on for a longer while before he finally arrived at the mouth of the city.
Once there, he found a little house where an old widow lived. There, he spent the night and had a dinner made from butter and bread. Afterwards, he told the old widow why he had come.
Fortunately, the old widow listened raptly to Shaka's tale and had compassion on him. So, he gave him the only shinning stone you had.
"You'll be a great man, Shaka my son," the old widow said, "Take this shinning stone my son. Tell, the elders that it is the moon."
"But would they believe me?" Shaka asked curiously.
"That is up to you to prove, my child. Do not forget me when greatness finds you. Go in peace"
On the next morning, Shaka left for this own country, hoping that he would be able to convince the wiseman of the village.
SHAKA BRINGS HOME THE MOON
On his return to his home country, Shaka thought about how best to present the shinning stone to the wise men of the land as the moon.
Shaka knew that he had to present the shinning stone before the wise men of the land in the night. And if he must do that convincingly, he had to do it on a moonless night when the legion of stars, together with the moon, had gone on a vacation.
So, Shaka waited patiently for the night when the moon was not up in the sky. Then he walked up to the emperor and told him he had captured the moon. The emperor then summoned the wise men of the land before whom Shaka would present the shinning stone.
"This shinning stone in my hands," Shaka told the wise men, "is the moon. I travelled for several days. I have crossed several oceans and mountains to fetch the moon. Fortunately, I met an old witch who fortified me with magic, and delivered the moon to my hands."
"How can you be sure that we are not being deceived?" One of the wise men interrogated.
"Look up everyone," Shaka pointed to the sky. "You can't find the moon tonight because I have captured it. Until I return this stone with my magical powers, the moon will never shine on you again."
"Please, return the moon!" the wise men cried, "do not destroy us all by bringing the wrath of the gods upon us."
SHAKA IS REWARDED
On hearing the appeal of the wise men, the emperor ordered Shaka to unleash his magical powers and return to moon to the sky lest the gods struck the land with plagues.
Shaka agreed to do as the emperor had commanded. However, he requested that it would only be fair if he also gave the wise men a task to complete.
Without much hesitation, the emperor granted Shaka's request. So, Shaka knelt before the wise men, grabbed a piece of chalk, and drew a hut on the floor. He then asked the wise men to carry the hut home when leaving the emperor's place.
Of course, the wise men were unable to carry out the impossible task Shaka had given to them. But the emperor was really impressed.
"Shaka, my son," the emperor said rising to his feet, *"You have made me proud. You have shown that you are full of wisdom and understanding. Today, I declare you a Freeman and a member of my cabinet."
Shaka was filled with tears of joy. He was now a freeman and a counsellor to the most powerful ruler in the land.
Afterwards, Shaka had several wives who bore him sons and daughters. Years later, Shaka succeeded the emperor and abolished slavery.
To this day, the story of Shaka is still told among the people of Kur who lived across the seven mountains.