Norman Allan
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Art and Fiction


Chapter Nine

Chris and Zak now traversed the jungle where snakes and crocodiles and leopards and the little people live. On the second evening they heard a soft commotion not far beyond their encampment. Silently they leafed through the trees towards the sound. In a moon filled clearing, a little man was dancing and singing and playing the birimbow.

(The birimbow is a curved stick, about four feet long, strung like a bow with gut. A quarter of the way along its length the string and bow are tied together with a thong. This thong also serves for the attachment of a gourd which acts as a sound box. To play the birimbow a springy stick is bounced against the string. The gourd is held against the body incorporating the chest into the architecture of the sound box: moving the gourd against different parts of tire chest, the timbre can be subtly tempered.)

The pygmy danced and sang and played upon his birimbow in the clearing in the moonlight. Sensing the presence of strangers he stopped. He was about four feet tall and smiling.

"Why are you dancing alone?" Chris mimed.

"I am not alone," the little man answered. "I dance with the moon and the forest." He started playing again, and Chris...

dancing and clapping, accompanied him.

Later they sat together smiling.

"This music that you played," Chris asked, "I wonder where it comes from."

"You you yo yo," said the pygmy.

"I'm travelling now to Roaratuni."

The pygmy grinned widely. "Wajuju mojo tuni." he said and much much more. To Chris it was all obscure, with juju this, and juju that as every other word. Chris was rather baffled.

illustration by JKW

Chapter Ten