He was known throughout the bulbul kingdom of Khorixas as “The Godfather”. Wise beyond his years, he was the acknowledged guardian of the tribes folklore; he alone had access to the collective wisdom of their collective ancestors. Well, that‘s what he said and although some of his elders felt that a lot of his stories were just that –stories, he was big, strong and ruthless. And so no bulbul in Khorixas ever challenged his claim to the wisdom of the ancients. Besides which, he attracted a lot of young ladies to the group…
Periodically The Godfather called his flock together so that they could enjoy a few of his stories, and although this was seen by some as an exercise in self indulgence and self aggrandizement as The Godfather was usually the hero of his own stories, even if they were supposedly set at some time in the past.
This particular morning, though, was different.
His kingdom, as he liked to think of the 1000 square metres occupied by his flock (because that made him a King!), was in the grip of a severe drought. The heat was intense, day after day, but it had not rained for weeks. Or months even. Most of the bulbuls couldn’t remember when last it had rained. Not surprising, really; most couldn’t remember what happened yesterday. But The Godfather could remember and that, too, set him apart from his fellows. Not much point in claiming possession of all this wisdom if you couldn’t retain the memories.
No rain for months, and all the standing water was long gone. Not a dam, not a puddle remained.
So the lesser bulbuls heeded his call, dropped what they were doing and gathered in orderly fashion to listen to The Godfather.
“There was a time”, he began, without preamble, “when there was water here at Khorixas. Not just a few drops of dew hanging from the branches – I’m talking about enough water to swim in!”
There were gasps of amazement from the listeners. Some gasped at the thought of so much water, some gasped because they had just heard a new word – “swim” and some gasped because the others were gasping and they didn’t want to feel left out. The youngest gasped in dismay because he had thought they were gathering for lunch, not for some far-fetched story about water.
“So much water,” The Godfather went on, “that we shared it with our friends, the weavers.” More gasps.
“Since when are we friends with the weavers?” some thought.
“What’s a weaver?” some thought.
“When’s lunch?” the youngest thought.
“ And now…” a dramatic pause. “The weavers have returned the favour!
“A few minutes ago I met with my counterpart amongst the weavers, and she led me to a source of water!”
What was “a source of water?” The youngest thought. He knew about Tomato Source. Worcester Source. Even Tabasco Source. But “a source of water?” And why would you want to turn water into a source anyway?
“I have been to see this water,” The Godfather said proudly, as if he had discovered the origin of the River Nile. “And it is wondrous to behold!” He paused for effect.
“When’s lunch?” the youngest thought, missing the drama of the pause.
“It doesn’t run along the ground, this water,” The Godfather explained, “or lie still upon the ground in the form of a puddle. No.” Another pause. “There is a little silver tree growing from the ground without any branches or leaves and this tree spits out the water! Clean, cool water!”
The oldest bulbul rolled his eyes. A silver tree without branches that spat water. What bulbulsh*t!
“And I shall take you all to see this magical tree right now!”
“Can’t we go after lunch?” thought the youngest.
And so The Godfather led the group across the desert to the silver tree that spat out water.
“I will perch on this oddly-shaped stem”, he announced, “and you can all check the water yourselves.”
“What’s an oddly?” thought the youngest. “Pear-shaped I understand. Pyramid-shaped I understand. But oddly-shaped?”
The eldest was the first to approach the tree after The Godfather, as was his right. Lo and behold! There was water. Not a lot, to be sure, but a steady drip. Not enough for a bath, but, if you showed some patience, enough to drink.
“You are right, Godfather,” said the eldest, looking up at the leader. “This silver tree spits water! It is a miracle!”
The Godfather smiled. “And just in time for Christmas. I shall call it the Tree the Angels Provided or a TAP for short.”
“I shall spread the word,” the elder said as he sped off from the Silver tree. “We now have our own tap.”
“Great,” said the youngest, finally speaking aloud, “we have a tap. Perhaps we can have lunch now?”