The Other Side of the Hill – Part 1

12 Mar

I’m not sure how much of this will get to be written. I have a vague outline in my mind and the intention to maybe add a few hundred words every week. And distractions. I have distractions.
primeval forest photo: Forest primeval IMG-20130903-00413_zps76c12c89.jpg  THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL -Part 1

In a prehistoric time when everything was very much newer than it is today, and the sky was bluer, there was a land the inhabitants called Gangl adjacent to another land where a warlike tribe, the Bundl, caused bother and occasional mayhem. Ever it has been in the lives of men, even back then before the first human had stepped tentatively out of continental Africa, that blind selfishness can drive events.

There was a stirring over the hills that bordered Gangl. Wongi could feel it in the air, and he was troubled by it. Somewhere there must be burning, and any burning so close to Gangl threatened hearth and home even if home was only an old dried stream-bed that once had issued from the side of the cliff, and hearth was a smouldering remnant of last night’s fire that he’d lit and the rains had all-but extinguished. But now and for seeming ages the weather had been dust dry and everywhere was parched tinder.

“The Bundl doing burn again,” he muttered to Grizzy, his gorgeous wife in whom shades of angels of an earlier age had returned to glorify the fair sex and provide beauty for the eyes of men to devour. Unlike most of the villagers of Gangl, who were, to a man and woman, bronzed with black, twisted dreadlocks of coarse hair, she was paler, and her hair was of a reddish hue, and fine like carmine gossamer. She was beautiful: everyone said that.

“They threat,” she agreed.

The Bundl was a neighbouring tribe, and it had very different habits to those of Gangl, who were happily free and easy in their approach to a life that nobody could have described as particularly difficult. After all, food was plentiful the weather was balmy just about all the year round and nobody had to toil particularly hard in order to live a contented and comfortable life. The Bundl, however, saw things very differently. Despite the richness of their world, they wanted more.

“They need sorting,” added Grizzy, gazing with contemplative thoughtfulness at her man. “They dangerous,” she continued. “The Bundl spoil things for us!”

Deep in his heart Wongi agreed with her. There had been several incursions into Gangl by the Bundl, and none of them had been anything but threatening. The Bundl were wont to burn and steal and, worst of all, take womenfolk away with them, and that was unforgivable.

And even worse. Their appearance was irrational. To start with, they insisted on dressing themselves in animal skins even when the world was steaming hot and any kind of clothing was clearly not necessary. Wongi went almost naked because the balmy weather dictated it, though they did choose to almost cover their genitals for reasons of prudence more than anything, and during the winter period when there were occasional days when the sun went away he wore a coarsely woven garment made for him by Grizzy. But it was no animal skin. It was created , by Grizzy, from a yarn she teased out of the flax that grew in wonderful profusion along the river bank.

“We need Gangl council,” grumbled Wongi. “Before things get bad,” he added sourly.

A smudge of black smoke drifted over the hill and seemed to smother the sun until the daylight dimmed. In the distance they could hear on the smoke-fragranced breeze the fierce whooping of a battle-chant and they knew their neighbours were preparing for something unpleasant. They had to be. Whenever they prepared for anything it was never actually pleasant.

Wongi wasn’t the Chief, but that didn’t matter. The politics of the Gangl wasn’t hierarchical and if any member felt he had something important to say there was no need to go before a chieftain or an elder in order to get action, but to attend to the matter himself. So with no more ado Wongi called a meeting of all who felt they should contribute – and he was surprised by the immediate turnout. It had been more than he and Grizzy who had perceived danger.

The folk of Gangl were prepared to defend their lives and homes, and the other side of the hill had better watch out … or else!

© Peter Rogerson 12.03.15


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