I have been doing some (not a lot; it’s not a good idea to go hog-wild with these things.) tidying of files. Or, in this case, piles. Not the kind requiring a proctologist. Paper piles. Letters. Old receipts. Rude limericks jotted on envelopes.
All pertinent at the time. But now somewhat superfluous.
Anyway…I came across a letter from an old friend. Written when he was a young friend. (Yes, I do tend to be a bit of a hoarder.)
This friend was, at the time, working with some doctoring chaps in Darkest Africa. He wrote:
… the local tribesmen still build grass huts. They are sufficiently sturdy til the rainy season sets in and even then may last quite well. A bit like those cute olde thatched rooves on English chocolate boxes.*
But, of course, there is always a certain amount of rivalry and some of the headmen go to bloody ridiculous lengths to up the ante.
Last year, one of them figured out how to build a second storey. Well, a shelf, really, but he was cock-a-hoop that he had the grandest hut south of the Nile.
Well, not to be out-done, the #1 wallah from down the river figured a way to go one better. He had a new Council Chair built (they hold regular Council sessions to hear local grievances ) with all manner of carvings and inlays. And, naturally, it had to be blessed by the witch-doctor/priest and the local vicar even read a psalm and everyone got stewed on millet beer.
By the time the news got upriver to Chief Two Storeys there was a fair bit of embroidery attached, if you know what I mean.
The first guy decided he would like to have “that chair.” He would look a proper King on a proper Throne.
So he stole the damn’ thing! How the hell he managed to get it away from the Chief’s hut and down to the river and paddle it home I’m buggered if I know. But he did.
Then, of course, he had to install it. Upstairs.
Dr. Doug had to do some fancy stitching on a gashed leg when one of the blokes fell off some tree branch scaffolding.
So, they get the stolen chair up there and all’s well until it rains. Silly coot would have been better to steal a bloody boat! The extra weight on the top floor and the added weight of the rain hammering down sent the whole thing sliding down into the mud.
Just goes to show...
people who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones!
*I think he probably meant pictures of thatched cottages on chocolate boxes
An aside to my friends in various parts of the Sub-Sahara…artistic licence, OK?