The animal village of Mora had never experienced the curse of darkness before and no animal including Betty, the only white bear with a human posture anticipated such tragedy to happen.
Along with her whistling gift, whose sweet melody delighted other animals, Betty was also known for her unbreakable love for the fedora hat that complemented her cute round face. At that time, wild and domestic animals as well as humans were like water and oil; hence the world was divided into three parts: the wild animal world, the domestic animal world and the human world. Each world has its own leader, elected by those who stayed in it.
The Mora Village which was ruled by Puff, the strongest lion at the time and his wife, Ella, the wisest lioness on the planet; was a wild animal living land known for its ever green fields and regular rainfall. As such, farming was popular activity in Mora; animals farmed together and were rewarded with huge crops at the end of every week by Governor Puff.
In Mora, the animals were a big happy family caring and protecting one another. At the end of every week, Puff would host a feast with all the animals in his palace and celebrate the week’s labor as well make any important announcements. Betty lived alone in a wooden hut that had a kitchen and a bedroom, and was roofed by thatched grass. In the middle of one cold night, she was awoken by a thudding sound in her house. She quickly sat up on the bed with suspicious eyes. It sounded like something heavy had fallen in the kitchen but she was too scared to go and find out.
“Who’s there?” she softly asked while starring the door of her bedroom.
Betty could hear the wind blowing in her house; so she hugged her pillow tightly. The door of her bedroom slowly opened, an invisible human figure came in and the door closed again.
Betty couldn’t see who it was. “Who are you?” she asked again.
A colorful little girl appeared before her and floated on air. Her colorful wings dazzled with bright light that instantly illuminated Betty’s bedroom. She had gold hair that touched her feet, and her round yet polished face seemed appealing and friendly. Little gold stars flew around her while her white flowery dress glossed excessively. Her porcelain skin was too adorable not to admire.
“Hello, Betty. Nice to meet you. I’m the little angel,” she said with a smile.
Betty’s fear melted but she still looked surprised. She thought the girl was a ghost.
“Little angel? Where do you come from?” Betty asked curiously.
“I come from the invisible world. Far away from this land,” answered the little angel.
Betty stepped down from the bed and stood on her feet, a few meters away from the little angel.
“I don’t understand!” she told the angel.
“Your village is about to go into trouble and I’ve come to give you a gift to solve that trouble.”
“What kind of trouble?” Betty was worried.
The angel extended her open right palm and blew her breath on it. Then a white round pillow appeared and rested in the little angel’s tender palm.
Betty’s mind was blown away. “Wow! That’s amazing! Are you a magician?”
The angel explained, “Magicians and angels aren’t the same. This is the magic pillow. Take it and keep it safe. No one must know about it. You should never lie to anyone from now on. Should you break these rules, this pillow won’t be able to save your village from the coming trouble.”
Betty became more confused and anxious. “I’m scared!” she complained.
The angel flew closer to her and smiled once more. “Don’t be scared. I intend to harm no one.”
Betty extended her arms forth and received the pillow. It felt warm, comfy and fairly heavy. As soon as it landed on Betty’s arms, it shimmered in lime. The angel vanished and left Betty admiring the pillow. She then put the pillow inside her blue trunk, locked it inside and hid the trunk under her bed. She couldn’t sleep that night and kept on thinking about what the little angel had said.
She had many questions but few answers. At some point, Betty assumed that she had seen an evil spirit, but somehow her mind convinced her that the angel meant no harm. In the next morning, Betty’s friend Cola, who was also a bear, visited Betty in her hut. She knocked at Betty’s door with a smile; she couldn’t wait to see her best friend. As soon as Betty opened the door, Cola quickly hugged her friend.
“Betty, my dear friend. So good to see you again,” said Cola joyously. Betty couldn’t stop yawning because she hadn’t slept since midnight.
“Good morning Cola. I’m very tired this morning. Do you mind if you come back later?” said Betty hesitantly.
“Why? Are you okay, Betty?” a worried Cola wanted to know.
“Yes, I’m okay. I just need some rest.”
Betty yawned again. Cola became more suspicious. She placed her palm on Betty’s forehead and assumed that she was sick.
“Oh, Betty! You sound ill. I’m not leaving here until I make sure that you’re fine.”
Cola went to the kitchen and warmed some milk for Betty to drink. After she had drank all the milk in the glass, Betty finally slept and began snoring as usual. Cola pulled a blanket and covered Betty as she lied peacefully on her bed.
Before she left, Cola said to a sleeping Betty, “Enjoy your sleep, my friend. Get well soon!”
Two days later, the strangest tragedy unfolded. The sun darkened and there was no sunlight in the entire village. All the animals stayed indoors because they feared the thick darkness outside. Torches and other artificial lamps didn’t work outside. Puff and his wife were terrified as much as the other animals were.
They didn’t have the solution to save their fellow animals from this curse of darkness.
Puff would cry for hours in his palace because he felt that he had failed his animal population. His royal counsel, which was made up of ten different animals including, the giraffe, tortoise, elephant, bird, warthog, ant, crocodile, baboon, Zebra and Kangaroo were clueless and had no answers as to why the animal village had been covered by darkness.
Puff and his counsel quickly gathered in the royal chamber to discuss this mystery of darkness. The royal counsel sat in a semi-circular set-up facing the governor and his wife, who sat on their golden thrones respectively. The royal palace was lit with artificial lamps mounted on the walls.
“What are we going to do to remove this darkness?” asked Tora, the little tortoise.
“We need to find a solution quickly to save the lives of other animals!” said Gob, the giraffe.
The royal counsel looked hopeless and scared.
“This has never happened in this village before. Someone must have done something that triggered this curse!” governor Puff assumed.
“Your highness, do you think we’re cursed?” Cosy, the bird asked with thick eyes of fear.
“Maybe we’re being punished for the mistakes of our dead ancestors,” said Hora, the baboon.
“If we’re really cursed, the only way we can remove the curse is by offering a sacrifice,” Kenny, the kangaroo suggested.
“Like a blood sacrifice?” Ella asked with a doubting voice.
“We have no choice. That’s the only solution,” Wume, the warthog assured.
“But who’s going to be the sacrifice? One of us?” asked Anita, the ant with a softest voice in the village.
The governor answered, “No, Anita. The soldiers will have to hunt for a domestic animal from a village close by which we will use for the sacrifice.”
“But it’s too dark outside. None of the lamps will work outside!” Ella objected.
“They’re soldiers. They will find a way,” Puff concluded and left the meeting.
Betty realized that the little angel was not lying when she said the animal village would soon be in trouble. She finally believed the angel’s words and also the gift of the magic pillow. Despite this, Betty still didn’t know how she had to use the pillow to save the animal village from the curse of darkness. She hadn’t taken out the pillow from the trunk ever since the angel had given it to her.
On the third day of darkness, the governor assigned ten warthogs who were part of the animal army to go and hunt for a domestic animal which they would use for the sacrifice. The chosen army of warthogs would go at midnight. One hour before midnight, the little angel appeared in Betty’s bedroom dressed in a long pink gown that covered her feet as she floated on air. Her long, gold hair and wings shined like the sun and heated Betty’s bedroom.
Betty jumped from her bed and stood beside the bed. She was overwhelmed by the angel’s light and glorious appearance.
“Good evening, angel. Have you come to save the village from the curse of darkness?” asked Betty hopefully.
The angel smiled and flew closer to Betty. “No, Betty. You are the chosen one to save this village from darkness,” she answered with a sweet voice.
“Me? How?” Betty modestly contested.
The angel gently instructed, “Take out the pillow and speak on it what you want to happen, and it shall be so.”
Betty took out the pillow and held it in her palms. The pillow lightened so bright while it rested in her palms.
Betty made her wish, “Let the curse of darkness be removed from Mora and let there be light again.”
Thereafter, Betty’s wish was granted. Darkness diminished and out of nowhere, the sun appeared and it was mid-day.
“Good job, Betty. Take care of that pillow and make sure that no one else knows about it.”
The angel vanished, leaving Betty exceedingly joyous and amazed. Chants and whistles of jubilee emerged throughout the village of Mora. All the animals came out of their houses, hugged and kissed each other and danced happily in unity. The curse of darkness had been removed, thanks to Betty and her magic pillow.
Governor Puff immediately cancelled the arranged assignment for the army to find a sacrifice because there was no need. However, Puff was as curious as other animals of Mora about who had removed the curse of darkness and how they did it. No one knew except Betty and the angel. Betty was excited to be an anonymous hero of her village.
Written by Blessing Mhlanga
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