“I have important news to share with you. It’s a matter of life and death!”
noopin’ around, are we?” A heavy hand landed on Tuvia’s shoulder.
“Aahh-mmmmph!” The hand closed around Tuva’s mouth and cut off his scream.
“Sssshhh!” Kotty whirled Tuvia around. “It’s me, dear boy! I was only teasin’ you, is all. Just havin’ a bit of fun, see?”
“O-o-okay… You just surprised me.”
“That was the point.” Kotty chuckled and scratched his long nose. “What are you doing out here anyhow?”
“Hmmm… Well, you’d better not waste too much time exploring, or else you’ll miss the big show. I bet it’s your first time gettin’ to see it.”
“Aha! You’re in for a surprise, m’ boy. Follow me.”
“Every time the island fills up with foreigners, the locals like to show off their fighting skills. Well, there’s also some musical accompaniments, but mostly they stick to head-butting.” Kotty filled in Tuvia with some important information as they made their way deeper into the island.
Tuvia paused to duck underneath a pineapple dangling from a nearby branch while Kotty knocked it off without hesitating and kept going, munching on it happily.
“Violets?” Kotty swallowed a huge chunk of pineapple and glanced at Tuvia with raised eyebrows. “No, I don’t think they’re showcasing their flower selection, ole’ friend. You really are a bit strange, aren’t you?”
“So I’ve been told. So… everyone is gathering to watch this display?”
“Oh, yes. Everyone. Even the captain. C’mon, you’ll see for yourself. Just turn past this tree and — yes, would you just feast your eyes on that!”
Tuvia turned the bend and beheld a small valley. It was filled with hundreds of spectators gathered around about thirty islanders who were doing cartwheels and juggling spears and daggers.
“This really isn’t my taste, Kotty. I’d rather wait somewhere else.”
“Wait for what? Haven’t you heard? The captain announced we can’t set sail for another twenty four hours, at minimum. It’s going to take time to fully restock our supplies and repair the hole in the ship. You want to sit here and twiddle your thumbs?”
“I just have no interest in seeing a fight between two humans.”
“Do they spice their food with cumin? Honestly, of all the questions to ask! I don’t know, but I can ask them later. Right now we have a show to watch! C’mon, you’ll love it!”
Kotty dragged Tuvia into the row of spectators and sat him down next to a familiar face.
“I was looking for you everywhere,” the Captain said in a low voice, his eyes on the show the entire time. “Where did you run off to?”
“Never mind where I was going. I have important news to share with you. It’s a matter of life and death!”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 801)
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