Kalaki’s Korner: PF snake

Kalaki’s Korner: PF snake

‘How was school today?’ I asked Nawiti.

‘Awful,’ she said, with a little sob. ‘I cried and cried.’

‘Oh dear,’ I said, putting my arm around her. ‘What happened.’

‘It was in the playground during morning break,’ she sniffed, ‘when suddenly one of the boys shouted SNAKE! and then all the boys picked up sticks and stones and beat a little snake to death. It was terrible! Why did they do it Grandpa?’

‘What do you think?’

‘I think they did it because they are nasty little creatures!’

‘What, snakes?’

‘No, the boys! Why are boys such nasty little creatures, Grandpa?’

‘It’s not the boys’ fault,’ I said. ‘It’s because they’re scared of snakes.’

‘But why are they so scared?’

‘It wasn’t always so,’ I admitted. ‘There was a time when we used to live in harmony with the animals of the forest. That’s how it was a hundred years ago in the little village of Zed. Some of the animals from the forest even used to come and live in the village. The wild dogs became tame, and used to help with hunting. Spiders and lizards came to eat the mosquitoes and flies. Everybody lived happily together. Although there was a problem with the rats who would come to steal food.’

‘That was not so good,’ said Nawiti.

‘Not at all,’ I agreed. ‘People wasted too much time chasing rats. Then one day a great python from the forest appeared in the village and said Rats are my favorite food, let me stay in your village and your rat problem will be over.’

‘And were their problems over?’

‘Oh yes. Anytime the python found a rat he just swallowed it whole. So he soon became a popular friend of the people. Everybody call him PF, although nobody was quite sure whether PF meant Popular Friend or Python of the Forest.’

‘So everybody was now happy?’ suggested Nawiti.

‘It was not a happy time,’ I replied sadly. ‘It was the time when people were becoming very unhappy with their chief, a fat and greedy fellow called Nyamasoya. He would take the people’s beer for his own beer parties and take their cows to buy more wives for himself.’

‘So the people became annoyed?’

‘Of course. But the Python from the Forest knew how to take advantage of the situation. While people were sleeping he would go round whispering in people’s ears, saying I am your popular friend PF, I got rid of the rats for you and now I can get rid of Nyamasoya! Vote for me and I shall swallow him whole! Shush! Don’t kubeba! Just vote for me! ’

‘And did they?’ wondered Nawiti.

‘Oh yes. The PF was elected Chief and immediately assumed the grand title of His Excellency the Greatest Python from the Forest and Swallower of the Enemies of the People.’

‘And did he swallow all the enemies of the people?’

‘Oh yes. He completely encircled Nyamasoya, and then slowly swallowed him. He had indigestion for three weeks.’

‘But wasn’t he supposed to put Nyamasoya before a judge?’

‘He had already swallowed all the judges and replaced them with parrots.’

‘Wasn’t that against the law?’Kalaki-Cobra-eating

‘He made the law himself!’

‘How did he do that?’

‘He swallowed all the opposition members of parliament!’

‘Was that allowable under the constitution?’

‘He’d already swallowed the constitution!’

‘Couldn’t he be prosecuted?’

‘He swallowed the prosecutor!’

‘So there wasn’t a prosecutor?’

‘He replaced him with a snake!’

‘Oh dear,’ said Nawiti sadly, ‘He had seemed to be such a well meaning python, but now he was swallowing everybody!’

‘Not everybody,’ I explained. ‘Only those with power. Soon the Python from the Forest had all the power to himself, and nobody could challenge him. All the institutions of the state had been swallowed. The police force was completely swallowed, and replaced by a pack of mindless hyenas.’

‘Did he really have to eat everything?’

‘The appetite for power is a form of gluttony. The more the python eats, the more he wants to eat. Until all its competitors for power have been swallowed.’

‘So what happens then? What other power can it feed upon when the only power remaining is itself?’

‘That is the inevitable and tragic part of the story,’ I replied sadly. ‘There was nothing left for it to attack. The monster now had no choice but to turn upon itself. The internal organs of the python begin to fight each other for power. The little brain, the Dotty, tried to get more power over the mouth in order to get more food for itself.

But greedy mouth, the Kabika, now reached down towards the Great Belly of the Monster, the GBM. The GBM desperately reached up to the heart to seek protection, but found nothing there but a spitting cobra. As the python writhed in the agony of its own self destruction, its swallowed victims escaped from its torn belly. And so, after the agonies of the PF dictatorship, the village of Zed returned to normal.’

‘Ooh,’ said Nawiti, ‘what a relief!’

‘And ever since then,’ I explained, ‘people have always been frightened of snakes, even when they look quite innocent and peaceful. Tell me, as those boys were killing the snake, what were they shouting?’

‘I’m not sure,’ she said. ‘It sounded like they were chanting Piss Off! Piss Off!’

‘No,’ I said. ‘They were chanting PF! PF!’

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