7 May


cavemen photo:  SkotW246-Cavemen-CitizenBismarck.png
Owongo was a prehistoric relative of mine with DNA that has winkled its way down the years until it resides in my own semen and will, inevitably, course on into the future. But he didn’t know that because he didn’t know anything about DNA or semen, just that fun might be had with the grotesque (but lovely) Mirumda during winter nights when it was much too cold to go outside.

But this part of his story has nothing to do with his DNA or its journey down the generations because that might just amount to porn, and he didn’t understand that either. This part of his story concerns a race – a running race rather than the human race.

Every year the people of the valley bottom (even including the painted spearmen from the other side) held a race commemorating a victorious battle that was already in the dim past.

The story was told of how an earlier incarnation of Owongo (the people rather liked using the same name from generation to generation back then, it gave their lives a sort of continuity that use of Tony and Simon and Peter wouldn’t have given them.) had led his people into war. And this Owongo, his name already part of sacred memory, had defeated the Geeks in battle.

The Geeks (of the Nerdish tribe) had ventured once too often into the lands that Owongo’s people considered to be theirs by right. After all, hadn’t they hunted and gathered in it for centuries already, probably since the very first Owongo of them all had climbed out of the trees of the jungle and walked upright like legend said he had? Yes: of their ownership of the land they were convinced.

Anyway, there was war.

Even back in Prehistory, in the oldest stone age of them all, war had been a terrible thing. Blood was shed. Heads were cleaved. Stones were even thrown; lives were actually lost.

And when victory had been assured because all the enemy lay either dead or begging forgiveness for their many transgressions Owongo had set out to take the good news back to the home caves.

It was quite a long run, from the battlefield and its twisted remnants of dead foes to the homestead, and he had run all the way. There had been all sorts of obstacles for him to climb over, somehow contrive to swim across, and jump … back then nobody had even started to think of creating roads. All routes were freshly made, unless they found a rabbit track to follow.

Owongo reached the first real obstacle and paused. It was a vertical cliff, and as he’d already run quite a long way he didn’t feel disposed to climbing it. He was about to do the unthinkable and give up when a voice from above him called down:

“Owongo, my friend, grab this!”

He looked up and a painted spearman was holding a rope, and he let one end down for Owongo to grab.

Now, the painted spearmen lived on the other side of the valley floor and any communication with them was brusque, partly because they had a language problem and partly because they were sworn enemies that only coexisted in peace and harmony with them because peace and harmony was preferable to bloodshed. But the rope looked to be a welcome sight and he gladly took hold of it and was half-pulled, half crawled up the sheer cliff face.

The painted spearman slapped him on the back and, in a halting, rather brutish ((to Owongo’s ears) language, thanked him for defeating the Geeks, whose incursion was to their territory as well, of course. Thus Owongo learned a precious lesson concerning the rewards that might come from friendly cooperation, and continued on his way.

The next obstacle that pulled him up short was a torrent of a river. He surveyed it and shook his head; if he attempted to swim across it he was sure he would be dragged by its fierce currents to certain death. And in those far distant days nobody had thought of inventing even the crudest of boats.

He was standing there, puzzling, when he glanced upstream and noted that giant tree had been uprooted by the storm that had caused the river to swell and that its topmost branches rested on the far bank.

No sooner was the idea formed in his mind than he ran towards it and clambered along its hoary trunk until he was midway across the almost flooding river. He looked down into the depths and shuddered. Had he tried to swim across that torrent he would surely have been battered to death. Although his limbs were aching he completed the river crossing and made a mental note.

Tomorrow he would invent the bridge!

The last obstacle, close to home when he was at his weariest, was a pit in the ground. Unknown to him it was a sink-hole, created when subterranean waters eroded soluble rocks and the surface ground gave way.

He was exhausted, but he managed to leap across the chasm, almost slithering into the depths when he landed on the far side. But he succeeded, and pulling himself as much together as he could he ran the last short distance home.

The village was quiet but the few, mostly the womenfolk, who had not been in the battle gathered round him as he proclaimed the victory of his people over the Geeks.

That had all been a long time ago, of course, but the famous victory was commemorated annually by the running of a race, the same length as the distance the messenger Owongo had run and climbed and jumped.

One day it would be called a little over twenty-six miles.

One day it would be a marathon!!

© Peter Rogerson 07.05.15


3 Responses to “OWONGO’S MARATHON”

  1. georgiakevin May 8, 2015 at 1:16 am #

    I have been missing Owongo stories and was hoping to see that he was doing well, nice to see that he is. Write on my friend write on!

    • Peter Rogerson May 8, 2015 at 6:56 am #

      Owongo is bound to appear from time to time. He is my male hero whilst Janie Cobweb is my female heroine. He’s good but she’s just about totally evil. I wonder if that says anything about me?

      • georgiakevin May 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

        Actually I think that it says a lot about you good friend. By the way watch for a new post by me in the next couple of days. It is time for me to complain about our 5th season as I do every year about now.

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