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The Mighty Kaieteur Shares a Secret (standard:Creative non-fiction, 1273 words)
Author: Terry ShawAdded: Jul 12 2005Views/Reads: 2011/1275Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The author indulges in a reflection of a past civilization who once dwelled on this mountain top, on top of the tallest single-drop waterfalls in the world. A legend steeped in history, seen through current eyes.
 



“The Mighty Kaieteur Shares a Secret” by Terry Shaw 

The falling water of the massive Kaieteur rumbles way down below. I lie
at the top, over eight hundred feet above the thundering flow. 

Not too close to the edge of the falls and not too close to the rushing
middle of the flow, yet close enough to feel the gentle tug of the 
current, I relish the warm golden water rapidly cascading over my body, 
caressingly smooth and soothing. Feeling the sensation of this 
therapeutic fluid, entering every pore was sheer ecstasy. 

A pair of macaws called each other overhead, monkeys jumped from tree to
tree, yards away. The swallows were in their thousands, flying in 
formation way up, not ready to start their descent under the falls.  
They would be descending in another three hours or so in an amazing 
sequential order that is even more spectacular that an air-show of the 
finest pilots and planes - another one of nature's wonders. 

I close my eyes and listen to my thoughts, to the sounds of nature, to
the whispers in the wind. 

Over five hundred years ago, the Patamoona Arawak tribe lived on these
very banks. They existed so peacefully in this paradise - hunting, 
fishing, and planting their little gardens. I can hear their laughter. 
The giggles of the young maidens as they came to the water's edge all 
pretty and vibrant. The children are running around, dogs barking, a 
baby crying, and a mother's soothing words of comfort. I can smell a 
potpourri of flowers in the air. 

What happened here all those hundreds of years ago? What brought about
this total tranquility, this absence of human sounds, and scents? 

Tell me old man Kaie. Whisper in my thoughts as I close my eyes and feel
your presence on this mountaintop. Tell me, what led to your crashing 
down this falls to give your soul to the great one? What led you to 
make that ultimate sacrifice? Tell me. 

You say that the Caribishie came with their warlike cries? Yes, yes... I
can hear them now. In the silence of the night, a child screams in 
fright. I can hear rushing footsteps...shuffles. I smell burning. 
What's happening? 

They are spearing people in their sleep? Burning the benabs? The farms?
The sheep are running away. Why are the women screaming so? Oh... I 
see... how devastating....! 

You were in another village and by the time they brought you here, this
village was burnt to the ground! So what did you do? ... How wise...you 
sought the help of the Great One.  You spent hours completing that 
great task that was yours. You spoke to the Great one and he listened, 
told you what to do, using the voices of the swallows. I understand. I 
see clearly now. 

Over one hundred years of experience you have been passing on to the
young men. Yes, I understand, you were over 100 years old. It was on 
that very evening that you finally gave your last thoughts of wisdom, 
as the campfire flickered and danced on the starless night. I can see 
the camp fire. I hear you speak. 

The young men who brought you up here after the onslaught listened in
bafflement. They lost interest and gave in to exhaustion and sleep, 
dreaming about what will happen when the Carishibie returns to wipe out 
the next village, the whole tribe eventually? 

Their thoughts are frantic, their eyes moving rapidly under their lids,
as they sleep. Their dreams seem frantic. What could they do to prevent 
this? Was the old man right? Would the Great One help them? What 
sacrifice was he talking about?  What about canoes of fruit going over 
the falls? What was he talking about? Only in harvest time do they fill 
canoes of fruit. What was the old man mumbling about the birds? That 
they were whispering the words of the great one? 

The night air is heavy with expectation, would the Caribishie return
tonight? Would they go to the village they had left unguarded to bring 
the old man to the edge of the falls, so that he could talk with the 


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