A Travelers Stories

In This Broad Valley

Africa the enigmatic: The mystery, the horror, the beauty, the romance.

by Raymond Foster

1.    In this Broad Valley
"This story is based on an extraordinary dawn dream I once experienced. I know what it feels like to be killed by a lion!"
2.    A Bellyful of Echoes
People of the Ndau tribe in Mozambique are probably no more superstitious than anyone else, but their superstition about the aardvark or antbear being seen outside of its burrow in the daytime is more potent than most. With most superstitions you can merely keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best, but this one calls for direct and drastic action. It can set off a whole chain of events ending perhaps in disaster. Does that disaster follow from the incident, or from the reaction to it?
3.    The Leopard and the Antelope (PDF 1.5 MB)
When independence came to Makaranga, Alexander Fearn lost his job as warden of Chikita Forest Reserve, and he moved with his family to England. He fixed himself up with a post in the local government department quite easily, but now it was his daughter Valezina's turn to look for a job.
4.    Strong Medicine (PDF 1.5 MB)
There are some subjects too horrendous to talk about. But they are not too horrendous to write, or to read about. The chief character in this story was caught up by events which he could not handle. But for hundreds of people events such as these are commonplace.
5.    The Gold Dambala (PDF 432 KB)
Stories were passed down of the old ones, of palaces and courtyards, and long caravans laden with gold and jewels, ivory, spices and incense. The spirit of wealth and material strength gathered mythical force with solid form, and became projected as a figure of worship—the lord Ngune, the black one, the symbol of Africa itself.
6.    Dust Devil (PDF 1.1 MB)
African wild dogs do not normally attack people. But in the heat of the chase and the confusion of a whirling dust devil, they could always make a mistake ...
7.    The Ones Who Came Beforel (PDF 732 KB)
Most romantic-sounding foreign names turn out to have a disappointingly prosaic meaning. Zimbabwe, for instance, simply means 'stone houses': the whole vast area between the Zambezi and the Limpopo is dotted with the ancient remains of stone buildings and stone enclosures.
8.    Karaks (PDF 560 KB)
Karaks is the lepidopterist's name for butterflies of the genus Charaxes. Most of them are native to Africa. They are remarkable for the speed of their flight, and they spend most of their time in and around the tops of tall trees, making them very difficult to observe. They are very beautiful, like the country which they inhabit.
9.    The Jasmine Tree (PDF 1.5 MB)
In Africa certain trees are revered, not only for their medicinal properties but for their effect upon the human consciousness. They are sometimes called hallucinogenic, but this is not quite accurate, for the images that they convey to the mind are not hallucinations; they may well involve a sense of heightened awareness—of nature, perhaps; of human nature, certainly...This is the story of an unsolved mystery regarding one man and a rare and beautiful tree.
10.    The Flame Lily and the Rose (PDF 4.6 MB)
Rosalia was awakened early in the morning by a loud, raucous cawing near her ear, and opened her eyes to see an enormous raven, its great pickaxe of a beak agape, perched on a rock not three feet from her face. Its glossy black plumage bore a neat white collarmarking giving the bird the appearance of a parson; but Rosalia had the distinct impression that it had been just about to take a most irreligious peck at her eyes. She sat up in alarm, waving her arms, and the great bird flew away, cawing loudly.

Some place names and personal names in these stories have been altered to protect the innocent. The names of characters in authority have been altered to protect the author. They are all, of course, entirely fictitious.—Raymond Foster

Copyright© 2006, Raymond Foster

Copyright© 2007, Undiscovered Worlds Press