Love comes within time
Tackling the urbanisation problem is central to a livable city

A brush with death & trickery at the crocodile pool

Moitaka Crocodile FarmJOHN KAUPA KAMASUA

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

KANAGE, originally from Kubalea in East Sepik Province, went to Maprik town to visit family members on his mother’s side.

He had heard stories of how crocodiles would swallow whole chickens and goats, even pigs. Kanage was curious and, after he bribed them with cigarettes and betel nut, he managed to convince his friends to take him to a crocodile farm.

It was a Friday and many people were there to see the crocodiles. There were so many it was difficult to count them. They continuously moved among themselves, some diving under water and emerging in different parts of the big pool.

The sight of so many dangerous reptiles made people scared to even go near the fence. The crocodiles were ready for their midday meal.

After a while, a person in the crowd took from his pocket something that looked like a money bag and showed it to the crowd.

He produced a neatly folded bunch of notes from the bag for all to see, and then pushed the money back into the bag before throwing it into the crocodile pool. He dared anyone in the crowd to go into the crocodile-infested water and claim the large sum of money in the bag.

Everyone looked around for a brave person to put on a show. Those with creative minds came up with all sorts of ideas of how they would get the money. But no one wanted to risk being eaten by the hungry crocodiles.

The crowd got excited, and more people joined to see who was going to be the bravest of daredevils.

Kanage was standing closer to the edge of the pond on raised ground, when someone threw into the crowd something that looked like the skin of a crocodile.

This caused great commotion, with people running in all directions believing it to be a real crocodile.

One frightened onlooker accidentally knocked Kanage into the water and when he surfaced he noticed the money bag was nearby so he grabbed it.

But instead of swimming to safety, he called loudly to the crowd, “Who pushed me? I want to know who pushed me?”

Some people in the crowd thought he was being silly and shouted at him to swim to safety as soon as he could.

Fear gripped him and he swam like a torpedo to the other side of the pool where farm workers pulled him out of the water. He had just missed the giant jaws of the alpha male crocodile which had been swimming towards him.

Engulfed in rage and still clutching the money bag, Kanage ran out into the crowd shouting at the top of his voice: “Who pushed me into the water? I want to know who pushed me. I will kill him!”

None of the people in the crowd was able to identify the culprit.

One of Kanage’s friends reminded him in a whisper that he had just won some big money. But Kanage would have none of it. He ran into the crowd and started looking for the culprit. After some time, failing to identify the culprit, he got tired and decided to rest on a log at the side of the road.

His friends gradually came and sat by his side. They were quiet at first, but soon one of them felt a tickle and started giggling. It was followed by a single burst of laughter, which exploded into in a rapturous chorus, as all his friends joined in.

Kanage was swept up by the contagious laugh. Soon all of them were crawling on the ground clutching their bellies.

When they had recovered from their merriment, Kanage and his friends decided to check the prize. They retreated to a secluded spot and, after debating among themselves about the amount in the bag, began to count it. There was K1, 000 in K100 notes. But it did not take long for them to realise the notes were fake - every one of them!

A look of dismay crossed their faces as they sank to their knees, their heads buried in the ground. One of Kanage’s friends suggested they should belt the daylights out of the person who threw the money bag into the pond.

With their fists clenched, and teeth gnashing, they ran to the main road and towards the crowd shouting, “Where is the man who threw the money bag into the pond?”

But all the people had left except the workers feeding the crocodiles.

Finally, Kanage and his friends settled on watching the crocodiles feed; then slowly they walked home ignoring the stares and questions from passers-by who thought they had really won some big money.


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John Kaupa Kamasua

And thanks Robin for always reading my work and commenting.

John Kaupa Kamasua

I thought so, Iso. Yes it is the place next to Passam, and it should have been an "i" instead of the "e."

I have some good friends who come from there. I think I picked up a strand of this story from one of my Sepik friends. But different versions of it have been doing the rounds in this country: People just love telling stories!

Robin Lillicrapp

Tense and entertaining.

Iso Yawi

A nice piece. Another thing in Maprik town is that, when you are eating a fish in the open area, don't daydream because your fish might stolen by some hungry birds (tarangau).

Another thing the spelling of the place Kubalea. If its the place next to Passam, before Yangoru we spell it as "Kubalia". If it is some other place in East Sepik I might have made a mistake.

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