Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall 

Near Coffee Bay is a prominent rock formation with a big hole in the middle, which has become a symbol for the Xhosa of a great historical tragedy, the "Great Cattle Killing". It is a unique structure with a huge detached cliff that has a giant opening carved through its centre by the waves. The local Xhosa call this place "izi Khaleni", which means "place of thunder". At certain seasons and water conditions (high tide) the waves clap is such a fashion that the concussion can be heard throughout the valley.

A young girl called Nongqawuse had seen a messenger from the realm of the ancestors at a waterhole. She told her uncle Mhlakaza about her vision. As he was an important Xhosa priest, his social rank granted a great impact to the prophecy he derived from his niece's vision. He announced that soldiers who were incarnations of the souls of dead Xhosa warriors, would arrive on the 18th of February over the sea, come onto land through the "Hole in the Wall" and defeat the hated British. But, he continued, the Xhosa had to make a sacrifice to help the warriors by destroying all their cereals and killing all their cattle. After the victory, there would be food in abundance for everybody. The Xhosa followed the instructions in his prophecy and killed their whole stock of cattle. The catastrophe took its course. Thousands of Xhosa starved and the British had an easy time conquering the remaining people.


Monday, 25 March 2013

11 000+ for baby blog!

Yep, I still call it 'baby blog' because it was resurrected from a long hibernation and I didn't expect it to take off the way it did. So proud of 'Bards and Tales' and so very proud of all of you for visiting! 11000+! Thank you!


The three races

The three races

In old times, fable retells the story of the young athletic boy hungry for success, for whom winning was everything and success was measured by such a result.

One day, the boy was preparing himself for a running competition in his small native village, himself and two other young boys to compete. A large crowd had congregated to witness the sporting spectacle and a wise old man, upon hearing of the little boy, had travelled far to bear witness also.

The race commenced, looking like a level heat at the finishing line, but sure enough the boy dug deep and called on his determination, strength and power .. he took the winning line and was first. The crowd was ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however. felt proud and important.

A second race was called, and two new young, fit, challengers came forward, to run with the little boy. The race was started and sure enough the little boy came through and finished first once again. The crowd was ecstatic again and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man remained still and calm, again expressing no sentiment. The little boy, however, felt proud and important.

"Another race, another race!" pleaded the little boy. The wise old man stepped forward and presented the little boy with two new challengers, an elderly frail lady and a blind man. 
"What is this?", quizzed the little boy. "This is no race" he exclaimed. 

"Race!", said the wise man. 

The race was started and the boy was the only finisher, the other two challengers left standing at the starting line. The little boy was ecstatic, he raised his arms in delight. The crowd, however, was silent showing no sentiment toward the little boy.

"What has happened? Why not do the people join in my success?" he asked the wise old man. 

"Race again", replied the wise man, "...this time, finish together, all three of you, finish together" continued the wise man. 

The little boy thought a little, stood in the middle of the blind man and the frail old lady, and then took the two challengers by the hand. The race began and the little boy walked slowly, ever so slowly, to the finishing line and crossed it. The crowd were ecstatic and cheered and waved at the boy. The wise man smiled, gently nodding his head. The little boy felt proud and important.

"Old man, I understand not! Who are the crowd cheering for? Which one of us three?", asked the little boy. 

The wise old man looked into the little boy's eyes, placing his hands on the boy's shoulders, and replied softly, "Little boy, for this race you have won much more than in any race you have ever ran before, and for this race the crowd cheer not for any winner!"

Author: Darren Edwards

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Two roads overcome the hyena

Two roads overcome the hyena (African)

A very hungry hyena went out on the Tanzanian plains to hunt for food. He came to a branch in the bush road where the two paths veered off in different directions. He saw two goats caught in the thickets at the far end of the two different paths. With his mouth watering in anticipation, he decided that his left leg would follow the left path and his right leg the right path. As the two paths continued to veer in different directions he tried to follow them both at once. Finally he split in two. As the well-known African proverb says: Two roads overcame the hyena.

The lion's share

The lion's share (South African)

One day the lion, the wolf and the fox went out hunting together. They caught a wild ass, a gazelle and a hare. The lion spoke to the wolf, "Mr. Wolf, you may divide the venison for us today." The wolf said, "I would have thought it best, sire that you should have the ass and my friend the fox should take the hare; as for me, I shall be content to take only the gazelle." On hearing this, the lion was furious. He raised his mighty paw and struck the wolf on the head. The wolf's skull was cracked, so he died. Whereupon the lion spoke to the fox, "Now you may try and divide our meal better." The fox spoke solemnly, "The ass will be your dinner, Sire, the gazelle will be your Majesty's supper and the hare will be your breakfast for tomorrow morning." Surprised, the lion asked him, "When did you learn so much wisdom?" Said the fox, "When I heard the wolf's skull cracking."

Monday, 18 March 2013

Wee creepy cottage

Peace of mind

Peace of mind

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, '“I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.”'

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!” 

So he came back and told Buddha, '“The water in there is very muddy. I don'’t think it is fit to drink.'”

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, '“See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be ... and the mud settled down on its own – and you got clear water. Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don'’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”'

What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, “It is effortless.” Having 'peace of mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Woop! 10 000+!

Baby blog is growing up! Over 10 000 visits! Thank you sooooo much!


Van Hunks and the Devil

Van Hunks and the Devil

Jan van Hunks, a Dutch pirate in the early 18th century, retired from his eventful life at sea to live on the slopes of Devil's Peak, Table Mountain. To escape from his wife's sharp tongue he often walked up the mountain where he settled down to smoke his pipe. One day a mysterious stranger approached him and asked the retired pirate to borrow some tobacco. After a bit of bragging, a smoking contest ensued, with the winner's prize a ship full of gold. After several days, Van Hunks finally defeated the stranger, who unfortunately turned out to be the devil. Suddenly, thunder rolled, the clouds closed in and Van Hunks disappeared, leaving behind only a scorched patch of ground. Legend has it that the cloud of tobacco smoke they left became the "table-cloth" - the famous white cloud that spills over Table Mountain when the south-easter blows in summer. When that happens, it is said that Van Hunks and the Devil are at it again.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The mouse trap

The mouse trap

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said "Mr.Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said "I am so very sorry, Mr.Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many! people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. 

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person's tapestry.