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Excerpts from Cotton Tree Tales
 


Freetown Cotton Tree

from 'Cotton Tree Tales: the Beginning'

"Far, far away on the coast of West Africa lies a very small country. Hundreds of years ago, Portuguese explorers heard the mighty thunder of the rainy season storms and thought the noisy roar must be the voices of lions in the mountains.  And so, they called the country Sierra Leone, or ‘Lion Mountain.’

  "If you travel to Sierra Leone today, you will arrive in the capital city of Freetown.  Once there, you will be awestruck by the huge Cotton Tree, which stands on guard in the middle of the city, majestically spreading its leafy, green canopy to protect all those seeking shelter within its huge, wrinkled roots.  Both animals and humans respect the enormous Freetown Cotton Tree, for it has withstood the terrible storms of countless rainy seasons and the furious battles of Sierra Leone’s history..."


Mr. Python

from 'Tale Number 1: Wan Fingah No Di Tek Stone'

             A long time ago, the animals of Sierra Leone could talk.  Every evening they would gather at the base of the giant Cotton Tree, which today stands in the center of Freetown.   They would rest between the Cotton Tree’s huge, wrinkled roots and tell stories.  These are their tales.

              “In!” shouted the Chimpanzee.

              “Out!” shouted the other animals in reply.

               “So, Madam Chimpanzee, it is you, who have a story to tell this night,” spoke the wise old Cotton Tree, inclining his leafy branches to the animals gathered below.

                “Yes, sir,” replied the Chimpanzee.  “And, it is a very important one, too.”  All the animals settled back to listen to the tale.

                 There once was a very large python who lived in a dark cave in the middle of the forest. Everyone knew that the python’s favorite food was bananas.

(At this point in the story, Mr. Python, who was coiled up near Mr. Bushcat and Mrs. Leopard, gave a slight hiss and muttered to the animals nearest him that no self-respecting python would ever eat a banana. Madam Chimpanzee chose to ignore this slight disturbance.)

Whenever his neighbors, the kind and generous chimpanzees, found a large bunch of ripe bananas, they would carry the load back to their home in the forest and invite their neighbor, the greedy python, to share their evening meal.  But the greedy python never returned their kindness.

(More hissing from the direction of Mr. Python.)...

 

©2004 Marilyn S. Lamin, All Rights Reserved.