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The Sinking of Ghaland
by Deandra Tan

  Ghaland was a place where everyone worked together. You could call it a heaven for living people. It was a tropical island filled with magical miracles and unusual fruits that filled you with happiness. If you went there and said "mosquito," the people would look at you, give you a puzzled expression and walk off muttering. You see, there was no such thing as a mosquito in Ghaland. There was no such thing as an insect, either. Instead, there was a mosictru. It was a creature with big round eyes with a round body and a trumpet mouth (the girls have a golden trumpet and the boys have a brass one).

Get yourself comfy and I'll begin the legend...

There once lived a girl named Ann Bronie. She lived in the center of Ghaland next to her neighbor, Mildred. They were best friends. They met two years earlier in the park. Mildred's younger brother had been jumping over rocks when he was unexpectedly carried to the sky. The sight of him in the sky had drawn crowds. There was Mr. Forn, who was watching Henry fly his kite before Henry was carried to the sky. The look of horror on Mr. Forn's face you would never forget. Now there was also Mr. Korah who was wearing ear plugs to block out the noise from the mosictrus. Looking up at the morning sky made Mr. Korah scream. His ear plugs dropped right out and he didn't notice the sound of trumpets in his ear. Mr. Korah's scream attracted a big crowd of horrified people including Mildred and Ann.

Ann was next to Mildred, watching him in the sky. Mildred started crying and Ann started gasping in fear and shock. When they heard each other, they broke into peals of laughter. That's how they met. Their mothers knew each other already, so they were delighted when their daughters begged to have a picnic together. So, after the Raven (a tame hawk) carefully put Henry in it's beak, and 'returned ' Henry to Mr. Forn, a picnic was planned.

The two families met in the park on a cool, sunny afternoon. The parents allowed Mildred and Ann to climb an oak tree. On top of the tree, Ann admired three bright, colored birds and a gray dove. Mildred (who was a bit overweight) just sort of sat facing the clouds, eating a dozen bags of potato chips. And from that point on, the oak tree became their favorite place to hang out.

At Old Golishr`e School for boy's and girl's, they didn't learn to read and write, for writing wasn't known of. Instead, they learned things that will help you in the adult age. Things like boat making, farming and gathering, weaving, and cooking. It didn't matter male or female, so the boys learned cooking and girls learned farming. Every lesson required teamwork. Mildred and Ann were on the same team. They learned how to work together and they learned quickly. The teacher even confessed that they would be a good team when the time was ready to go.

One day, the two friends were walking to the park. They saw an old, bony lady walking down the street dragging a shaggy cart holding a golden statue the shape of a cow, the symbol of a curse. The cow had a gold blanket on it's back which was patterned. Anybody would have wanted to touch the blanket if they didn't know it was cursed. Once every two years a cow statue would come to Ghaland to cause trouble. The cow is a symbol of a curse because it represents the men who long ago killed the king before the men forgot about Ghaland and now think of it as only a dream.

"Don't touch this statue or Ghaland shall be doomed because of you!" she warned the wide eyed friends.

None of the girls moved until Mildred spoke quite rudely "Big deal!" Mildred said, reaching out to touch the well carved statue.

"Don't touch it!" shrieked the lady along with Ann.

But, it was too late -- the statue disappeared. Suddenly, Mildred looked bigger and twice as round. She kept growing like she was a rubber balloon being blown into. Ann looked at Mildred in fear, those blue eyes were damp. "She's going to crush my house!" cried a man. And indeed she was. She was the size of two huts put together -- and a third! Soon, she was bigger than three huts and a cottage put together and she kept on growing. Ann was dragged into a boat by her mother, for Ann didn't want to leave Mildred. Ann even tried to grab the island when the boat started leaving. Poor Mildred looked down guiltily as the island started sinking under her weight and size.

Many people started leaving Ghaland, jumping into boats, as they felt the ground beneath them slowly sink, inch by inch. Soon, everyone was gone including Ann, and as if an invisible hand were lifting her, Mildred felt herself carried gently to the clouds where she could lie peacefully as the island sank.

And as for Ann, somehow she and her family found a land far away, so far, there was ice. Where they landed is now called Greenland. Ann called it green-land because it made Ann quite green to think about Mildred. Now Ann only thought of the land Greenland. She rarely thought or dared to think about what happened to Ghaland.

So, maybe the island is still sinking into another universe. Maybe. We won't know for sure, but we now know the truth about the dreams the first explorers bragged about. You never know what might happen!


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DUCTS summer issue 2001
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