The Chief’s Command

Ethiopia OfirAsif12

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

“They are not welcome here,” the Chief decreed.

His eyes regarded the troop that was his to protect. The land was plentiful, but his soul recalled the stories of Times of Famine, when many had been reduced to skin and bone and many more had died. Legend had it that The Others had brought it on, had taken more than was their share, and angered rain from falling, seeds from growing.

He sensed Bannu’s discontent. Chiefs didn’t have to grant permission for anyone’s opinion. Life showed him, however, that good Chiefs balanced silencing with persuading.

“Bannu?” he grunted.

“What if they return with more of their kind?” The youngster’s sparse ruff bristled apprehension.

The Chief nodded. Foresight was rare. The youth had potential. It also made him someone to watch out for.

“If they challenge us,” the Chief bared teeth and growled an answer and a warning. “We fight.”

 

 

For What Pegman saw: Ethiopia

 

10 thoughts on “The Chief’s Command

  1. Interesting how you place words in the mouths of baboons, which could just as easily come from their human neighbors. You strike a chord of environmental crisis, and at the same time remind us of past human suffering (ie famine.). The Others refer to, I assume, in the baboons’ case, humankind, whereas in the Ethiopian people’s case perhaps the Europeans or in general outsiders appropriating scarce resources. Thought-provoking without being preachy.

  2. You’ve brought the photo to life–that certainly seems like what this fellow might be saying.

    I agree with what 4963andypop says…It could easily apply in human terms, but is thought provoking when one imagines the story coming from the baboons.

    Loved the subtleties of relationship and hierarchies–how the chief views the youth as both having potential and as a rival simultaneously.

    • Thank you! I am glad the ambiguity came through … I was hoping it would. And, yes, to the wariness and guarded admiration by the Chief, who may one day all too soon find his position challenged by the same youngster he’d granted importance to himself …

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