Edited for the Blog and the Anthology from an Entry for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited by Leila Parina. Leila loves reading, writing, sketching, and dancing. Community volunteering work is something she is happy to do in her free time. She began writing very early at about 9 years old. Her first published work was just out this year. A piece “A paradigm shift” featured in the PNG anthology “My walk to Equality”
The Hunting trip:
Billy had woken up early that morning. It was an exciting day for him. He was admiring a spear which he held in his hand. Just then a voice shouted from the house, “Mum! Where’s my spear?” It was Garo, Billy’s older brother.
Billy looked up at mother as she gave him a look. They were both by the fireplace as she prepared breakfast. Billy grinned sheepishly as he stood up. With spear in hand he quickly left mother just as soon as Garo entered.
“Mum?” asked Garo. Mother laughed then said, “The food is ready now”.
“I’m afraid I don’t have time to eat. I’ll take my food along with me. I’ll get going as soon as I find my spear” he said as he looked in the corners of the house.
“Your spear is with your brother. Now please get him and come have something to eat before you both go”, said Mother.
“WHAT?!” he exclaimed, “Why does he have my spear, and why are we both going? Mother, there is a wallaby that I have been trying to catch for two days now and I am sure I will catch it today. Billy will ruin everything if he comes.”
Mother smiled and passed Garo a platter of fried bananas and kaukaus. Billy walked in with a wide grin on his face. The sight of Billy angered Garo so much he almost dropped the food. This made Billy laugh out loud while Garo scowled. Once seated, Mother offered a prayer of thanks, and then the boys ate. Garo ate half of his food and put half away in a knapsack, while Billy gobbled all on his plate.
After arguing with Mother for almost half an hour Garo knew it was of no use. Billy had to come with him. Disobedience was not an option. “Ok fine,” he sighed, ”Billy can come along”.
Once ready Mother handed Billy a knapsack filled with banana and kaukau. Garo groaned, “we are going hunting, not to a picnic trip.” Billy was hesitant but accepted the food anyway. They both bid mother farewell and left. Father had also told them to be back before sunset.
As the boys walked further into the bushes Garo laid down the ground rules. “Alright! Whatever you do, do not interfere. Just watch what I do. Do not ask silly questions. Do not run around wherever you want to. Do not touch my spear. And if you see anyone, do not talk to them…”
“Geez, am I even allowed to breath?” Billy muttered.
“What, what was that?”
The boys walked on in silence. They had just turned past a huge rain tree when Billy spotted a wallaby, just several metres from where they were walking. He tugged at his brother, “ Garo! Look!” Garo saw the animal but realised that it was too late as Billy had already alerted it with his screams. The wallaby quickly ran off. “Why did you have to scream?” Garo scolded his brother, “don’t you know loud noises scare animals away?! You know nothing about hunting! Urgh! ”
Garo angrily marched off. Billy followed. “I’m sorry big brother”, he pleaded. “It’s alright, just keep quiet next time”. Billy nodded.
They neared a creek and decided to cool off in the waters. They had a great time playing in the water and Garo’s anger quickly subsided. He looked up to the sky and saw that it was already past noon. Billy must be really hungry now, he thought. He left Billy in the water while he waded out to dry off and prepare the food. When he walked toward their bag he saw the wallaby sniffing their bag. Just my luck! He thought. Then he realized that he had left his spear and the bush knife on a rock in the water. He turned to see Billy diving in and rising up from the water.
Billy turned just in time to see his brother looking at the rock in front of him with an odd expression. Garo saw Billy looking at him and started waving frantically. Wow, thought Billy, Garo must be really happy with me. He waved back happily and dived back into the water. When he rose from the water he saw his brother making throwing signs at him. Hmmm, maybe Garo wants me to throw myself more. He dived in once again. When he got out he felt that he had had enough. He picked up the spear and knife from the rock and made his way out of the river.
Garo felt helpless as the wallaby sniffed and nuzzled at the contents in their bag. He looked up and saw Billy coming over with the spear. Finally! But when he turned to see the wallaby it was already scurrying off. Billy saw and he suddenly realized what Garo was trying to tell him this whole time.
Garo sank to the ground like a heap of kaukaus. “Garo, I’m sorry”, said Billy mournfully, “I didn’t even realize”. Garo sniffled, “You’re not ready to hunt yet. Let’s just go home”. He picked up their things and started walking. Billy helped him and followed obediently.
They were near the village when they passed a mango tree. Billy wanted to climb the mango tree but Garo didn’t. He insisted on going home straight away. Garo was holding the bush knife and carrying the bag, so he walked in front while Billy held onto the spear and tagged along. Billy turned to take one last look at the mango tree and saw the WALLABY!
Without thinking he threw the spear and it hit the wallaby. The animal fell. Garo turned and saw what had happened. He was overjoyed. “Little brother”, he exclaimed,” you are a hunter”. Billy smiled and said, “I learnt it all from my big brother”.
The two excited boys picked up their meat and headed home to their very proud parents.
That night they had a lovely dinner of wallaby meat, kaukau, and bananas.