Madagascar / Ponderings

Short Story: “The Helpful Coua”: by Me:)

There once was a bird that would fly really high, it was a special species of Coua that had very large eyes. His eyes were special as they were not one color, but had a look of being indigo from far, and blue from near. His hair was a sky blue that at times camouflaged with the sky. He was a brilliant bird, sharp witty and fancied by the “birds” if I may so say myself.

Jacques was his name, and although the ladies called him Jean Luc (they had watched Star Trek at some point) his mother referred to him as “J”. He had a lot of names and a lot of friends too. For less confusion I shall just refer to him as Jacques. Yet, he was not someone to brag or care to dwell on the good nor bad, he just seemed to exist. His appeal (as the ladies at times said) was that he was content, he was always happy to be doing what he could and rather than stress he would find a way out of his obstacles.

One day Jacques was flying above some baobab trees when he spotted two lemurs that were fighting, the little Coua slowed down and tried to eavesdrop on the two fighting lemurs. It was apparent that the lemurs were both related, and upset about something. The taller of the two lemurs started to accuse the little lemur of stealing his stash of the baobab fruit and selling it to the other lemurs. The little lemur was upset that his brother would accuse of him of something like this when he had been such a kind brother and taken care of him when he had been sick. Soon the little lemur started to cry and the angry bigger brother instead of consoling his little brother, said that he was just crying so that he would feel bad for him and let him get away with treachery. Then the older brother shook his furry white tail (they were Lemur cattas) and pranced off into the forest.

The little lemur sat sobbing by himself, partially upset and partially in pain that his brother would think that he would stab him in the back like that. The coua waited for the coast to be clear and perched himself on a branch of the large baobab tree.
(The animals actually speak in French)
<<Hello little one>> said Jacques soothingly
<<Oh hello!>> The little lemur quickly wiped his tears.
<<Why the sad face and the sad look my little one?>> Inquired the coua, acting as if he had not heard the spiff between the siblings.
The little brother explained all that had happened and pointed out that the baobab fruit had gone missing during the time that he had been out trying to finish his school work as he had become late in his dance lessons due to taking care of his older brother when he was ill.

Jacques listened intently and pondered where the missing fruit could have gone, and who could be to blame for the missing meals of his brother. He told the little lemur, called Cancan to not be upset, and that he would do his best to figure out what might have happened. Then Jacques flew off into the spiny forest, where most of the lemur catta tended to live, so he might be able to talk to some others to figure out what might have happened.

After a few hours of inquiring, swooping down and asking questions to others, Jacques realized what had happened was a mixture of many things. This was not just a case of mistaken identity, but also due to the elevated temperature in the area.

Jacques went over to Mama Ceci (the boys’ mother) and asked if that after the normal dance practice that they had in their family if he could speak with her and the boys. She agreed, and he told her what he had seen earlier and the misunderstanding between the brothers. She said she had wondered what was happening as the boys refused to dance their usual group dances together. Then he told her that he had figured out the problem.

<<I went to the other families and tried to figure out what happened last week when Zuzu(the older brother)’s food went missing. The people told me how it was hot, and that the two of the boys had been busy working hard on their dances and Zuzu had gotten sick and Cancan had been tired as he had had to clean the house more due to the lacking of an extra hand. They said that they recall that the boys had been both tired and that the other lemur family, who they give the core of the fruit, had come by but had not found the boys. As the family had been for ages depended on the lemur catta to eat the exterior of the fruit and throw down the core for them to eat the core, they had been wondering what had happened. Well, the family decided to just go to Zuzu’s stash (as his was the least high and take a few of the fruit and take out the core. As it was a very dry week and the family had needed to head more towards the tropical area of the island, they had thought to just leave the outer scraps for Zuzu where they thought he would find it, next to his normal place to put his stash. Well, when Zuzu got better, he was cranky due to not eating anything for days, and dizzy from the heat as his fur was pretty fluffy. Instead of look behind the full fruits to see that there was a pile of the exterior of the baobab, he was so tired, he just turned to his brother and started to accuse him of stealing from him. Zuzu was so full of rage that his brother might have taken advantage of him during his time of weakness, he had not thought to relax and first search his storage spot to make sure that his portion wasn’t there.>> At this point Jacques stopped his explanation, as the three lemurs peered at him, and quickly moved to where Zuzu’s storage was right behind him.

<<As you can see the exterior of the fruit is all there, they left what was usually eaten by Zuzu, but as his brother, Cancan collected his food for the week, he had put them over fruit as he had been too tired to see the flattened fruit left above the green leaves.>> The three lemurs looked at the baobab fruit that Jacques held in his beak. The older brother looked at him and his brother with eyes of complete shame and embarrassment at his rash accusations.
<< I am utterly sorry and a horrible brother to not only accuse of you something that you didn’t do when you took care of me, but not even thank you for the kindness you showed me when I was ill.>>Said Zuzu to Cancan. Then Zuzu started to tell them about all the times that he had not trusted his brother and doubted his intentions, and accused him of things. He explained that he felt bad, as he had treated his brother wrongly for years, and now he realized it was just due to things that were in his head.

The two lemurs hugged and did a little lemur dance of forgiving each other, and the mother looked at Jacques and bowed with a respect that they usually give to the judges and Gods.

<<You are so kind to come into our house and solve our issues, is there anything that we can do for you?>> asked mother Ceci.

Jacques’ big eyes looked at them and they felt as if they were looking at giant blue crystal balls, and then he said, quietly <<Respect each other, do not make quick judgments, realize that our minds can betray us at times due to craftiness we see around us, and maybe do not lose too much hope in the kindness of those who care for you dearly.>>

The family got quiet and it was a deep moment, and even the lemurs below could feel that something big had happened at that point. Everyone seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and Jacques felt a feeling of warmth in his heart as he saw them all smile.

The years that followed the coua and the lemurs connected, and when there were droughts and there were times of despair instead of becoming stressed, they worked with one another.

The moral of the story is that at times we must slow down and see our mistakes before we blame others for our own internal conflicts..


One thought on “Short Story: “The Helpful Coua”: by Me:)

  1. Great story! I think you should post more stories about your trip to Madagascar. I would love to hear them. I have wanted to see and work in Madagascar for many years now, but have not yet had the chance. I would love to live vicariously through your stories!

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