RIGHT at that moment when Ta river’s water level suddenly receded in Jaiye, the Kojala pond in the outpost community also reduced in volume.
And it saved a fast drowning damsel.
Quite a number of people had gathered around the pond in Koje. But nobody in that outpost community of slaves could dive.
The concerned observers around could only watch the ripples spread out its waves. As the young, drowning beauty struggled to keep her head above water.
Earlier that morning at cockcrow, Iyun had woken up with a strange awareness she couldn’t explain. She couldn’t tell what exactly it was or how the awareness came to her.
The extraordinary puzzle seemed to be a premonition about a bittersweet mystery lurking in tomorrow.
It seemed like sombre fate. Yet it seemed like blissful destiny. Iyun was totally at loss about what exactly it was.
That early morning, young wives and maidens walked in companies down the path to the valley pond, to get clean water for their families.
But Iyun decided to be by herself while she headed to the pond. She pondered on the impenetrable mystery that came to her that early morning.
The young beauty carried an earthen waterpot under her arms. And she wore a skimp sparsely dyed lounging garment.
Her fairest smoothly laid skin gave off a mild, soft glow as the warm morning light touched it with a kiss.
Her body with all its gentle, perfect curves was an exquisite sculpture of the Creator King.
And her silky black hair she wore in clean, long braids.
Iyun was a beautiful daisy in the wild. An adorable lily in the myrrh. Even a matchless beauty no beholder ever cared to note.
Iyun was the glorious beads which only glowed on the right wrist.
When the young beautiful maiden got to Kojala pond, she went around its circumference and stopped at a lonely spot where she wouldn’t be disturbed.
After she’d fetched some water, she set down her waterpot and sat quietly by the bank of the pool.
The young woman stared at the spreading waves where she sat. And she continued to ponder on the mystery which dawned on her early that morning.
Lost in a frustrating thought altogether, the young maiden’s feet were soon swept off by an overpowering surge from the pond.
And before anyone could know it, a beautiful lily had been swallowed by the mouth of death. And she was fast sinking down to her grave.
But then, while the alerted bystanders cried after a drowning daughter of Koje, Death suddenly became powerless.
For the water level of the Kojala pond started to recede, right in the eyes of the observers.
As though it was a dream.
Soon, the observers could step into the shallow pond and rescue a drowning young woman. Soon enough, death lost its desperate grip on the Koje-born.
As though it was a daydream.
The Jaiye city was home to many intersecting brooks and rivers .
And the little source of the many rivers sat hidden in a hilly forest at the East Palace gate.
Jaiye city’s complex of palaces was deliberately built around the water source in order for the spring to be secured against being poisoned by enemies.
To stop the flow of the rivers in Jaiye, all that was needed was merely a stone or boulder.
And so went the adage in the Jaiye kingdom, that a stone is mightier than the waters.
Yet much as there were several rivers and streams in Jaiye city, the outpost community at Koje was a dry mountainside, without any natural spring at all.
The only source of water for the Koje community was an artificial pond dug out for them about a hundred season ago.
The pool was built to contain spring water coming into it from an underground tunnel leading from Jaiye’s water source.
While a big, round tunnel let water into the pool on one side, two smaller channels let out water on the other side…
So the pool retained the freshness of a spring water.
And this artificial body of water in Koje is what the inhabitants had named ‘the Kojala Pond.’
At about the moment when Iyun was rescued in Koje, Shao too was saved from death at the Ta river in Jaiye.
For River Ta’s water level receded at the same time when Kojala also reduced in volume.
And it was the crown prince who saved the day.
Prince Àlà knew all the rivers, hills and mountains of the entire Jaiye kingdom like he knew his name.
He usually toured through Jaiye territories both on schedule as well as out of spontaneity.
Since Àlà had the map of Jaiye stuck to him like the lines of his hand, he could tell where Shao’s wild horse was headed… when it made a turn at the crossroads.
The crown prince knew the horse was going down the long, lonely path leading up to the Ta river.
And he was confident that the royal horses had been trained to respond to changes in water level if it should occur.
There’d been a time when Jaiye experienced repetitive earthquakes.
And both horsemen and scholars had noted via signals made by cargo beasts, that sea levels do change when an earthquake was imminent.
So, Jaiye had deployed that alert signal in response tactics for royal horses in wartime.
The crown prince was certain that the horse would suddenly halt if it sees the river decrease in volume so rapidly.
And so, Àlà turned back his own horse the moment he saw Shao’s head down the path leading up to the river.
The crown prince retreated and charged towards the palace east gate instead.
Àlà rode his hefty steed on a mad, galloping speed; whizzing through lengthy paths and grassy plains… like an unstoppable whirlwind.
He came upon the spring at the East Palace gate in no time and jumped down his giant horse.
The Jaiye crown prince carried a mass of stone; bowed down on one knee over the little spring that went forwards to become some mighty channels…
And he blocked off the water source completely. To save his own servant boy.
But nobody ever knew it saved a heart rose too.
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