The Golden Sunstone
Tavalu and Tuvala
Far, far away, at the ends of the earth, there were once two islands. They lay in the middle of the largest of all oceans. There was no land around them, only water and sky as far as the eye could see. Although the islands were close to each other, they were very different from each other, because one island was quite big and the other one very small.
The big island was called Tavalu. Many people lived there. All day long they were busy with work, walking here and there and trying to be on time. If they had to wait, they quickly became impatient and got in a bad mood. First, they tapped their feet, then they stared into space.Finally, they started to shout at the top of their voices because they had so much to do and their time would be wasted now that they could earn a lot of money in the meantime.
Tavalu was ruled by a King who spent the whole day ruling. Day after day he stood at his desk, taking notes and thinking up new laws. Often, when he felt that he had not done enough, he reigned until well into the night. He had learned this from his father, who had also been a very busy King. "Rain brings blessings and what you can do today, don't put off until tomorrow, my dear Regulus“, he often told his son. King Regulus had remembered this saying exactly and kept to it. After all, he had to think for his subjects and decide who was right in case of disputes. That was hard work. Sometimes, when he happened to have time, he loved to stand on the pinnacle of his palace and watch his subjects busily on their way. If by mistake his eyes fell onto the small island, which was a few miles from Tavalu, he shook his head. "How can one be so lazy!“ he exclaimed.
The small island was called Tuvala.
In the Tavalusian and Tuvalese language this means nothing but towel. That was because Tuvala was really small and narrow. The people were fishermen who went out to sea at night and laid out their nets. In the early morning they came back to the harbour of Tuvala. After getting back home safely, they were tired, of course, because they had been up all night.
They lay down comfortably in their beds and slept until the afternoon. After getting up they had a late breakfast in peace. In general, the people on the small island were content. They did everything calmly. No one could think of any particular hurry. If they had to wait, they made themselves comfortable, put their feet up or took a nap. Because no one wanted to earn much money, the people of Tuvala had time to sing, dance or play together. You could say that people simply had more time to live.
Tuvala was not governed at all. King Regulus had no authority in Tuvalu and there was no King of his own on the small island. Everybody did pretty much what they wanted. Everyone got along fine. After all, nobody had more than the other. No one was jealous of the other. Whenever there was a dispute, everyone tried to find a solution. If that didn't succeed, they went to the ancient Yuin, who was a wise man and therefore always knew what to do. He had lived for ages in a hut near the beach. Even the oldest people on Tavalu could not remember that Yuin had once been a little boy. People said that he was a great sorcerer, but no one knew it for sure. Most of the time Yuin sat peacefully in front of his hut and listened to the wind and waves. In the morning, when all the fishermen came back from their sea journey, he mostly got a big fish for his daily meal, because Yuin could not go out to fish anymore. He was far too old for that. Then he gave the fishermen a friendly nod and thanked them.
In the afternoons the children often came to Yuin's house. They sat around him in a circle. He loved to tell them stories about the wind whispering in the trees and the waves murmuring on the shore. Wind and waves had seen so much already and told this to Yuin. And he told the children. Amali, a little girl, was especially fond of listening to Yuin's stories. Sometimes, when the other children didn't feel like sitting quietly and listening to the stories and preferred to romp and climb, she liked to come to Yuin alone. She sat down next to him and just waited, because he knew hundreds of stories and one of them, he definitely told Amali.
The inhabitants of the two islands did nothing bad or good to each other. They simply did not care about each other and lived peacefully side by side. The people on the big island were happy because everything was well arranged and they always had something to do. They liked having King Regulus ruling them. On the small island people were happy that they could do what they wanted and nobody was telling them what to do.Therefore, the people on Tavalu and Tuvala lived happily for many, many years. I am sure that this would have gone on forever if the big ship had not docked with them. If only the captain had overlooked the two islands and sailed past! But unfortunately, he did not.
A strange visit
One morning Yuin was sitting outside his hut as usual. He watched the sunrise and was happy that it would be a beautiful day. Suddenly he frowned. What was that black spot back there on the horizon?? He tried to look very carefully. He shielded his eyes from the bright sun by holding his hand over his eyebrows.
In fact, the spot quickly grew larger and took shape. It was a large sailing ship which was approaching fast. It stopped in the middle of the bay, right in front of the beach where Yuin's hut was located. A dinghy was lowered into the water and several people got into it, some of whom started to paddle. Soon the boat set course for the beach. Astonished Yuin looked at it all, because no one had ever visited the island of Tuvalu before. He could not imagine what the strangers wanted on here. And he had never seen such a big sailing ship before.
Finally, the dinghy had arrived at the beach. The men jumped out and pushed it onto the sand so that it couldn't sail away. Then they looked around and discovered Yuin, who was still sitting quietly in front of his hut.
They came straight towards him. In front of them went a small, fat man who had squeezed his belly into a tight uniform jacket. His jacket was glowing red and had all kinds of golden tassels on the shoulders, reaching down to the elbows. His trousers were in shiny boots. At his side dangled a dangerous looking sabre. The men who marched behind him also wore uniforms, but they were not red, they were simply dark blue. And they did not have tassels either.
"What a strange company“, Yuin thought. Because he was a polite man, he didn't let on and slowly got up. "Welcome to Tuvala“, he said loud and clear.
The men stopped. Their leader swayed up and down on his knees and inspected Yuin from top to bottom. "Who are you. What are you doing? Are there other people here? Where are they? We are accustomed to being greeted by the inhabitants of the islands that we honour with our visit“, he buzzed.
"I just greeted you“, Yuin explained amusedly. He found the little fat man quite funny. "The others must not have seen you yet. They are all asleep at this time of day."
"Well, well. They are sleeping? Lazy blighters, aren't they? Very well. Where is your King’s palace? I will pay him a visit and inform him that his subjects are inattentive and sleepy. After all, I am General Brigadus, emissary of the emperor of Mesopotunia. His Imperial Highness Raj the Fifth will be furious that I am not accorded respect here. This could have dire consequences."
Yuin shook his head. He was wondering more and more about this person. "There's no King here, let alone a palace. I've never heard of a Raj before. Neither the first nor the fifth. What is this all about? You just come here and make a fuss that’s really strange. The best you can do is to leave right now with your showboat. You have no business here. If you're looking for a King, you must go to our neighbouring island, Tavalu. Regulus rules there. I don't know if it's the first, the second or the fifth. Don't bother me now. Our people have earned their just sleep.” After these words he sat down again in front of his hut and didn't pay attention to the strange group.
General Brigadus went bright red in the face. "What impertinence is this. What do you think you're doing, old man? Talking to me like that! I think it would be best if we didn't stay here any longer. Let's take a closer look at the neighbouring island and its King. He probably rules on that impossible island, too. I'll tell him what's going on. Then you can dress warmly."
"I don't need to dress warmly. It's sunny here all year round“, Yuin grinned after him and decided to take another nap himself.
General Brigadus knows better
While Yuin made himself comfortable and soon fell asleep, General Brigadus let himself be rowed back to his sailing ship. Here he decided to sail to the neighbouring island immediately. There, he wanted to go to the palace of this Regulus and complain to him. A curious King it was, who let his people sleep in broad daylight. And so it happened. No sooner had the sailing ship anchored in the port of Tavalu the general set off.
"Pull on the oars, men“, he urged the soldiers who were rowing the dinghy. "I want to meet the King of this island as soon as possible. It's about time someone showed him how to govern sensibly." He was panting through his nose. "Pah, subjects who sleep instead of working. Where else can you get that?"
Right by the harbour, on a hill, stood the palace of King Regulus. A path led up, which General Brigadus climbed, puffing. When he reached the top, he took out a large checkered handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his brow. Then he knocked violently on the palace door. Nothing moved."This King Regulus also seems to be sleeping. No wonder his subjects are so lazy“, he grumbled and knocked at the door once more.
"At last!" growled the general, as the door opened creaking a little. An old man, wearing a plain uniform, peeped through the gap.
"Yes?“, he asked stretched out.
General Brigadus examined him from top to bottom. "So that's the slovenly King of these sleepy islands“, he thought. But of course, he didn't utter the thought aloud. Instead, he asked, "Are you King Regulus?"
"No“, the man replied.
"No?" Now the general was stunned.
"No!“, the man reiterated.
Who were all these strange people on these islands? General Brigadus shook his head. Wherever he had docked on his voyage, people had treated him with great reverence. The Kings of the different countries had greeted him kindly and respectfully. After all, he was the emissary of the great and powerful Emperor of Mesopotunia! One could not be too careful with great and powerful emperors and their emissaries. But that did not seem to have searched these puny islands. The people here still had a lot to learn! The General sighed. "So, you are not the King of these islands“, he said. "I want to see the King. You will bring him here or take me to him. Who are you, anyway?"
"Oops“, said the man, and it sounded as if he was burping loudly.
Now it became too colourful for the general. "Oops! How dare you! I am General Brigadus. I am the emissary of the mighty emperor of Mesopotunia! Don't burp me, take me to your King immediately. If you value your life“, he roared and drew his sabre. The man took a step back. "Pardon“, he said calmly and fearlessly. "You have misunderstood. My name is Oops. I am the first minister of King Regulus. Now you'd better put your sabre away or you might hurt somebody or cut yourself."
The general was so astounded that his counterpart was not afraid at all that he put the sabre back into the belt without any objection. "What a strange name. All right, I don't want to be like that today. Now take me to your King... Mr. Minister.”
The old man opened the door a little wider. "I can ask if Her Majesty is free to receive you. You must know that King Regulus is always very busy. After all, he must reign“, he explained. At the same time, he meant the General to follow him.
King Regulus sat in his throne room and pondered. He had wrinkled his forehead from all the effort. Although he had enough to do with directing Tavalu, he had been dissatisfied lately. He didn't know exactly what was the reason for that himself. Perhaps he should pass a new law? That would probably keep him busy for a while. But what kind of law would it be? It so happens that Tavalu already had all kinds of laws, so everything was well regulated. A new tax? Yes, that was one option worth thinking about. A knock interrupted the King's deliberations. The first minister put his head through the door to the throne room. "Your Majesty, I hate to disturb you. I know only too well that you are occupied with important matters..."
"Indeed, I am“, the King interrupted him. "But now you've interrupted my thoughts anyway, my dear Oops. Just as I was about to devise a new tax for my subjects. So - what's so urgent?"
"Well“, the minister stepped from one leg to the other.
“’Well’ what? I don't have all day“, King Regulus grumbled and realised again that he was becoming discontented.The door was ripped open and General Brigadus stormed into the throne room. "With respect, before this minister with that funny burp gets to the point, I'd better introduce myself“, he boasted, saluted snappily and clicked his heels together.
"I am General Brigadus. Emissary of the great and powerful Emperor Raj the Fifth of Mesopotunia. I'm on an important mission."
For a moment the King stood there with his mouth open, because an emissary of any Emperor or King had never come to Tavalu. and certainly not on an important mission. He cleared his throat. "My dear General..." He faltered because he didn't understand the name of the emissary. The General seemed to have guessed. "Brigadus, General Brigadus of Mesopotunia“, he said loud and slow. "As sorry as I am, my dear King Regulus, I must immediately make some criticisms at this point. There is something very wrong on these islands."
"Hear, hear“, said Minister Oops in surprise.
"Hear, hear“, echoed the King amazed.
"Yes! not at all“, clarified the general. " Where else are people who sleep in broad daylight when they should be working. The whole island seems to me to be deserted. Only one old man on the beach is awake. But I think he's gone back to sleep after talking to me."
"That's not true at all! My subjects sleep at night and not during the day“, exclaimed King Regulus. To be on the safe side, he quickly ran to the window to make sure that the people outside were really walking back and forth. Relieved, he realized that this was the case. "Look for yourself. People are on the move. You must be mistaken, General!"
Minister Oops nodded. "That's right, only hardworking people live on Tavalu."
General Brigadus stood beside the King at the window. In fact, the people in the harbour seemed to be quite busy, he hadn't paid any attention to that before. Suddenly, something occurred to him. " Yes, it's quite different here than on the other island, too. You should go there and see how things are going, Mr. King."
King Regulus shook his head. "Now I understand. You don't mean Tavalu, but the small island next door. That’s Tuvala. Tavalu and Tuvala have nothing to do with each other, except that they are neighbouring islands. The people of Tuvala are a very peculiar people. Fishermen who go out to sea at night and do nothing else. They sleep when they want. Otherwise, they spend their days dancing and singing. They don't care about money. We here in Tavalu cannot understand this, because we like to work all day and go to bed early in the evening, because we have to get up early in the morning to continue working.”
General Brigadus slapped the King on the back, which made him flinch violently. "That's right. Work is half the battle. So said my father, who had one more star on his uniform than I have." Here Brigadus pointed to his shoulder pads, on which two small golden stars were emblazoned. "But I will soon get the third star when I have completed my important mission“, he added. "Have you ever thought of bringing civilsation to the people on this small island?"
"Huh?“, Minister Oops could be heard.
"What do you mean?" asked King Regulus, stunned.
"Well, it looks as if these Tuvalese are pure savages. They just do whatever they want. That's probably because they don't have a King to tell them what to do. This would be an opportunity for you, Your Majesty, to declare the island your territory. After all, it's right next door. Then you can teach the people there how to make life more beautiful."
King Regulus scratched his head. "It's not a bad idea. Lately I've been thinking back and forth about what to do anyway. I've even been considering introducing a new tax. It just hasn't occurred to me yet what it's for. Of course, it would be a task to bring order to the neighbouring island and make the people happier. But what do I do if the people of Tuvala don't want that? After all, they have been fishermen on their island for ages.
"Pah“, snorted the general. "If they don't want that, you'll just have to convince them of their luck. I would put my sailing ship at your disposal and give you sound advice, my dear King Regulus. Together we should be able to bring these stubborn fishermen to their senses."
"Where would you take them?“, Minister Oops asked in a distraught manner. He had listened with growing concern. What this Brigadus was telling the King seemed to be very dangerous to him. Coldly smiling, the general turned around. "You are still here. Are you not the King's first minister? Then you should have advised King Regulus to add the neighbouring island to his kingdom long ago." Here he turned to the King again. "United Kingdom of Tavalu and Tuvala. That sounds good, Your Majesty, doesn't it?!"
The King nodded enthusiastically. "That sounds very, very good!" He greeted his first minister with a cool look. "You could have come up with this idea earlier. What's the point of having a first minister if a Mesopotamian general has to come and tell me how to expand my kingdom?"
"Uhm, but so far, everything's been fine as it is. Without extensions of any kind, Majesty“, the Minister murmured astonished.
"Was it though?“, General Brigadus intervened. "That shows you have no idea, Minister Oops. Obviously, King Regulus is not pleased. Otherwise, he wouldn't have so much to think about. Especially not over new taxes. Which reminds me: has your island introduced a tax on chocolate?"
"No, indeed there is no such thing“, the King said thoughtfully. "One might consider introducing a tax on chocolate."
"King Regulus, what is there to think about? Take the tax directly, Your Majesty."
Minister Oops shook his head sadly. "Children especially like to taste chocolate. If there is a chocolate tax, chocolate will become more expensive and parents may no longer be able to buy chocolate for their children. That would be mean."
"You again“, General Brigadus ran at him. "If the little brats whine and cry enough, their parents will go on buying chocolate, just to have their peace and quiet. I know that from experience. In Mesopotunia there has long been a chocolate tax and a tax on sweets and a tax on biscuits. But here, I would advise starting with one tax. When people get used to it, you can introduce other taxes on sweets."
"I disagree completely. Chocolate tax, where can you find that...“, the minister exclaimed indignantly.
"Really, Oops. What's the matter with you? The idea is quite excellent. It's better if you go now. I want to speak to the General alone. I don't like it when you interfere." The King pointed strictly to the exit door. Minister Oops had no choice but to leave the throne room. He shook his head again. A chocolate tax and simply add Tuvala Island to the kingdom? What crazy things that strange general told the King! He decided to have a quiet talk with King Regulus in a quiet hour.
King Regulus is taking a decision
"Well, we got rid of him, my dear King Regulus“, said the general, as soon as Minister Oops had closed the door from the outside. "What a stupid first minister you have. He can't think of a single thing. This person is perhaps good as a scribe, perhaps as your secretary, but as a minister he is a failure. What other ministers are there with you? Are they on their toes at least?"
"There are no other ministers. Oops is my first and only one“, the King explained. "So far we have not needed other ministers here at Tavalu."
"Yes, so far. But if you want to rule the United Kingdoms of Tavalu and Tuvalu in the future, you need help, my friend. After all, you must look after the savages on the neighbouring island. I can stay here and help you for now, but at some point, I must leave. After all, I'm on assignment from Emperor Raj the Fifth." The general stretched with dignity, which made his jacket stretch over his huge belly. The linen of his jacket groaned and the buttons threatened to burst off. With glance, King Regulus wondered whether he should take cover. If the buttons came off, they would shoot through the throne room like bullets! Not that he'd be hit in the head by a button. That could cause long-term damage. But before the King could take cover behind his throne, the general had stopped stretching. The linen relaxed a bit and King Regulus took a breath.
"What would you do if you wanted to add Tuvala to my kingdom? As a general, you must have some idea“, he said.
Brigadus nodded. "But of course. I have fought many battles for my emperor."
Regulus flinched. "Oh, no. No battles, please. I don't want that at all."
"Hey, hey, don't be so sensitive, Your Majesty. I was just saying that. We can deal with this little island next door without fighting. What about your fleet? Do you have any ships? Big ships, I mean. If that is not the case, I'm happy to put my magnificent sailing ship at your disposal. We could sail this one over to Tuvalu. People will be impressed when they see this ship. Then we will go ashore and you will declare the island part of your kingdom. Probably the islanders will be happy that they now belong to the United Kingdom of Tavalu and Tuvala and are ruled by such a great King as you are. You will then explain to your new subjects what you expect of them. Done." Here the general ran out of breath. He took a deep breath.
"That’s it?“, asked King Regulus astounded, because he had not imagined the whole thing to be so easy.
"That’s it!“, replied the General.
"But...“, said the King, for he was still worried that the people of Tuvala might not want to be ruled by him. The General once again gave him a strong slap on the shoulder. "No buts, my dear King. If your new subjects are unruly, then we shall see. Then we must make them understand that they must obey. Sending a few soldiers to them can often work wonders."
"Do you really think it's that simple?" the King thought and rubbed his shoulder.
"You can trust me, Sire. Before they have understood what is going on, the people will already be your subjects. They will get used to it very quickly, and what you are used to, you don't want to change anymore.”
Slowly King Regulus sat down on his throne chair. "Then we will sail to Tuvala as quickly as possible.”
"Very well, immediately“, the General explained.
"So be it,” King Regulus replied happily. Arm in arm, they left the throne room.
This is a sample from my book 'Who will save Tricolour Country'
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Angie Pfeiffer.
Published on e-Stories.org on 08/28/2020.