Fiction | Short Story

The Man Who Collected Stones (part one)

The story of a man who baffled his community and yet became a hero…

Once upon a time… long ago; so long ago that nobody remembers when it actually happened. It was so long ago that until today people debate whether it ever really happened or whether it was just a tale.

Anyway, long ago there lived a man in a faraway African village. This man -some people called him Johnny Tenda or others referred to him as Johnny MaakDieBoere Kwaad- was considered a smart fellow that acted very dumbly.

Every time someone mentioned his name in the village, it was met with both smiles and scorns. Most times in equal measure.

Some people adored Johnny but others despised him. Again, it was in equal measure. You were likely to find the same number of people who were on either side of love and hate when it came to Johnny.

Now Johnny was smart in the sense that he always knew what to say but he never knew how to act like everyone else in the village. When the people would be busy planting in their fields, Johnny would head into town.

Nobody knew what he went to do there but while everyone was sweating in the hot sun, Johnny’s field would lie idle. This always happened but when it came to harvesting, Johnny would always have the most harvest.

Some people were astounded but others were angry because they felt cheated by this smart fool.

So soon, a few of them decided to follow Johnny into town and leave their fields unattended. They did not bother asking Johnny what his secret was and instead just followed him.

“I’m sure he’ll not tell us,” they reasoned. So they followed him and watched what he did closely. Before the break of dawn, Johnny would be out of the place he stayed in and would be collecting bottles.

These bottles he would then take into a local shop keeper, who in turn would give him something.

His curious observers later learnt that it was money. Johnny repeated that process during the entire planting season.

And by the time, it came to harvesting he would visit the various homesteads offering to trade various items he had bought in the town for some of their harvest. In this way, Johnny would always have the most harvest, his followers told the village elders.   

“Uhh, so there is no magic to this?” the elders asked, both in disbelief and awe.

“Well in that case, we too shall send our boys to do the same,” most people in the village thought.

Well, Johnny realised that the rest of the villagers were on to him and soon he made it to other parts of the country.

CATCH PART TWO (tomorrow)

PS: This is an original Hector H. Mawonga story.