Grandmother Willow threw in another chunk of firewood into the bonfire set on the beach. The embers that rose from the fire seemed to be dancing in front of Kusai’s young eyes which left him gaping into space. The other kids who were gathered around the bonfire were sniggering at him. Grandmother Willow felt around the soft sand of the beach for something hard to throw at Kusai. Then she found her perfect arsenal-a small seashell. She threw it at Kusai’s direction, causing him to snap out of his daze with a startle. All the other kids were rolling on the sand, laughing at his cluelessness.
Old Grandmother Willow hushed the other kids and told them off for laughing at little Kusai, However, even she was smiling to herself at the sight of him. It certainly tickled everyone’s funny bone to watch Kusai gape into space every now and then. He was an adorable little child. All the villagers had a soft spot for Kusai, as he was the youngest child in the village and every parent dotes on him as their own, not to mention he was also the apple of his parent’s eyes.
Kusai smiled bashfully as he turned back to look at Grandmother Willow. She was going to tell them the final story of the night before the village men put out the bonfire. Grandmother Willow told all the little children of the Mazda tribe in Queensland stories every night to instill moral values in them. This was a tradition of many generations as the people of this tribe were not allowed to go to regular schools. They were not accepted there due to their aboriginal way of living. However, the village elders believed that a civilised person is measured with good manners and humbleness, rather than the number of degrees hanging in their living room hall.
Grandmother Willow threw in another chunk of wood before beginning her story. The smoke and embers that arose created a new aura for the whole scenario. All the kids felt as though they were floating in mid-air, waiting to take off to their new destination.Grandmother Willow looked carefully at each and everyone’s face before beginning, and then she begun.
“The story took place in China, in a small village called Nandong. It was the time of the year when cool winds blew through the paddy stalks, moving them from side to side with the rhythm of the wind. Shiyou who was resting on the verandah of his heirloom home smiled to himself. It seemed that Shiyou understood what the winds were saying to him as he spent most of his free time immersing himself in silent conversations with them. Ever since Shiyou was a young boy, he worked in the paddy fileds that surrounded his home. His parents were paddy farmers, and so were his grandparents, hence, this way of life has been passed down for many, many generations.” All the kdis now huddled closer around the fire as Grandmother Willow carried on. It was as though they could also feel the cool breeze in the story.
Grandmother Willow continued, “ As Shiyou never understood his lessons at school, his parents stopped him from going there and taught him how to harvest paddy. His father taught him how to plough the soil and lay out the seeds while his mother taught him to nurture and care for the paddy stalks, also teaching him how to connect with them. With both aspects mastered, Shiyou managed to become a succesful farmer, with his secret of success passed down from his parents. They were doing very well for themselves, sending off hundreds of sacks of paddy rice every week to the market to be sold. Unfortunately, one day, fate told it’s tale when Shiyou’s parents were trampled by a herd of wild buffalos on their way home from the village well.
Only 15 then, Shiyou was an orphan. He had no close relatives, neither did he want any when his parents died. Like adding petrol to a burning flame, after his parents’ unexpected death, people who lent money to his parents started to ask him for the money and bombarded his front door at every chance...