Monday, February 13, 2006

Ernie's CaveChildren's Story

Copyright David Gloster 2005

“Ah Choo!” Ernie sneezed.
It was a loud sneeze. Loud enough to wake up the rest of the tribe who were sleeping in the cave.
“Ernie, you have caught a cold!” exclaimed Freda, his wife.
“Ernie, we will be too tired to work tomorrow if you do not let us sleep at night,” said Nicholas. Nicholas was another tribesman who lived in the cave.
“And if you keep sneezing at us we will all catch your cold,” added Eugene, Nicholas’s wife.
“That is true,” Ernie said to all the tribespeople. “And as chief tribesman it is my duty to find a solution. Let me think about it tonight and I will tell you my answer tomorrow.”
So everybody went to sleep – except for Ernie. Ernie sat up all night, thinking about the problem and trying hard not to sneeze.
Soon morning came and the bright warm sun shone into the cave. Everyone else woke up.
Listen, “Ernie said. “I know how to solve the problem.”
All the others sat up straight and looked at Ernie.
“During the night a cold draft blows into the cave, “ Ernie continued. “This chills me – and that’s why I have caught a cold.”
All the others nodded. This seemed to make sense.
“The solution is to build a hut with a small opening so that not much wind can get in.”
“But how do we do that?” Freda interrupted.
“Follow me,” replied Ernie. And so they did.
He led them to a forest.
“Pick up as many sticks as you can,” Ernie ordered. “Some large ones and some small ones too.”
When they had all picked up as many as they could. Ernie led them back to a clearing next to the cave.
“What do we do now, Ernie?” Freda asked.
“I will show you,” replied Ernie.
Ernie used the large sticks to start building a frame. “We will rest the smaller sticks on the frame, and then tie them on with reeds,“ he said. He turned towards the others. “Nicholas, Eugene, Freda. Could you please go down to the marsh to get some reeds?” he called out.
“Certainly!” they replied.
Eventually the last sticks were tied onto the frame. The hut was complete.
“At last, I have somewhere warm to sleep,” Ernie said.
They were all feeling tired so they decided to go into the hut for a sleep. But the hut was not warm. “The wind blows straight through the gaps in these sticks,” Freda said to her husband.
“Ah Choo! Ah Choo!” Ernie replied. “Yes you are right. But do not be disheartened, we all learn from our mistakes,” he replied.
Once again Ernie stayed up all night, trying to think of a solution.
Morning came.
“I know the answer!” Ernie exclaimed. “If we build a hut out of mud bricks there will be no gaps!”
Everybody cheered up. They followed Ernie down to the marsh, where they knew there would be lots of mud.
“This is much easier than using sticks to build a frame,” Ernie said. The others
nodded in agreement as they used their hands to mould the mud into bricks.
The bricks quickly dried in the hot sun. By the end of the day they had built a hut near the marsh.
Exhausted after a hard day’s work, they all went inside the hut for a rest.
It started to rain. The soothing pitter-patter sent them all to sleep.
“Ah Choo!” Ernie woke up. It was early morning. He was covered in mud and so was everyone else.
“The rain has turned the bricks back into mud,” Freda said. She shivered as she stood in the damp mess that used to be their hut.
“You are right, Freda, “Ernie replied. “But do not be disheartened, we all learn from our mistakes, “ he added, turning to the others.
He was about to speak again but his wife interrupted him.
“Why don’t you come back to the cave with me? I have something to show you.”
“To the cave?”
“Yes, to the cave, Ernie. And all the others can come too.”
They all followed Freda back to the cave.
Freda quickly entered the cave and came out with a large piece of material. “Do you like it?” she asked Ernie.
“What is it?” Ernie replied.
She wrapped it around Ernie’s shoulders.
“This is nice. It is warm,” Ernie said.
“It is a blanket. I wove it myself out of reeds from the marsh. It will keep you warm during the night.”
Ernie paused for a while. “Why did you not tell me about this marvellous warm blanket before?” he demanded.
“I’m sorry. But I was saving it up for your birthday next week,” Freda explained. “And because you’re the chief I did not want to hurt your feelings, so I decided to obey your commands instead.”
Ernie smiled. “Fellow tribespeople, we have a new tribal leader,” he announced. He placed his special leadership necklace around Freda’s neck.
Everybody applauded. Ernie kissed his wife on the cheek. “You see, I was right. We do learn from our mistakes after all,” he said.