Manji woke her son up with a few kisses.
“Not now, mom”, he squealed.
“If you wake up, we can play your favorite game!”.
Their favorite game was hide and seek. This was in the time of eternal darkness. There was no sun that streamed down upon them. A game of hide and seek in perpetual darkness was bound to be exciting. Manji’s son woke up with a whimper. He did want to play with his mom. This was his most cherished moment before she left to gather food.
“Can you please wait until the crows start cawing?”, he pleaded with his mother.
How could Manji refuse ? She could never say no to those beautiful, brown eyes.
They waited. Manji kept herself busy. She had a small torch made of wood that illuminated the hut. She got to work, cleaning the potatoes. Her son watched her patiently. The potatoes were covered with dirt and and Manji scraped the dirt away with a small stone. She hummed slowly to herself, singing a song her own mother had taught her.
Some time later, the crows started cawing, as they did every time Manji and her son had to wake up. The boy got up, went to his mom and hugged her.
“Let’s go play!”.
Manji smiled and nodded. She put out the torch and they crept out into the overpowering darkness. Before she could get used to the lack of light, her son ran away, shouting - “Find me if you can!”. She followed his voice and ran behind him. There was a big group of bushes in front of a tall coconut tree. Manji knew he would be behind the tree. She walked stealthily and found him. She hugged him from behind and squealed, “Found you!”
“Now, my turn!”
She ran. She ran towards what she thought was a lake. This was the lake she lived by with her mom, before her mom passed away. She could hear the bushes rustling behind her as she ran. She found a mango tree near the lake and climbed it. She sat on a branch, panting silently while her son edged nearer. He reached the tree, spotted her, and shouted - “There you are!”. She jumped down from the branch and hugged him. She could feel the sweat running off his body. “Let us rest for a while. There are some berries in this area that taste good.”, said Manji,
He grabbed his mother’s hand while she scouted for berries. Every time she found some she gave most of them to him, and he promptly popped them into his mouth. After a while, when he got bored of berries, he whined: “Mom, let’s play!” Manji nodded. “Go, hide. I will find you.”
He smiled at her with a wink and scampered away. She waited for a few crows to caw before she ran after him. A banyan orchard came down the path. Surely he must have gone there. She went inside the orchard and lost herself.
“Kanjee. Where are you?”
I must not worry, she told herself. She went round and round in the orchard and saw no sight of him. She decided to leave the orchard and walk back towards the hut.
“Kanjeee! Where are you? We must go back to the hut.”.
There was a slight hint of desperation in her voice. Whenever she walked in a area, the crows there would stop cawing. When she left, they would start cawing again. By now, she was beyond herself. She went back to her hut and lit up her torch. “With light, I will surely find him”, she told herself.
She traced her path with the torch in hand.
“Kanjee! Where are you? I know you are here somewhere.”
She went to the lake. She went to the banyan orchard. There was no sight of him. Without losing hope, she made her way to the Mountain which led to the Sky. From the Sky, she would surely spot him.
Manji made her way up the mountain. She did not know how long she took as there were no crows on the mountain. She ultimately reached the Sky, and with her torch, cast its light down on earth. Without a break she constantly moved across the Sky, trying to find her son. As she moved, her torch dispelled darkness in different parts of the world.
People say she is still looking for her son. People say, she is the sun.
This story is inspired by Gnowee, an Aboriginal Australian Goddess