Mark Twain 1907

The Big, Big Lake
By grandpa Michael

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Once upon a time there was a very Big, Big Lake in Africa, so big and wide that if you stood on one side of the lake you could not see the other side of the lake. You could see only water, water and more water, and the big blue sky above the lake, and the sun shining down on it. Sometimes there were clouds in the sky, and in the late afternoon they rained themselves into the lake, and the lake became bigger and bigger, yet.

You want to know how the Big, Big Lake came about?

Well, it was made by the warm rains that lasted for a month long. The rain water could not run away because an earthquake had made a mountain at the mouth of the river which used to run into the sea before the earthquake.

The lake was so large because it was not very deep, only so deep that a boy and a girl could swim in it without drowning because they could simply stand up in the lake and get air to breathe.

But no child and their mother and father, no aunt and uncle, no grandmother and grandfather, swam in the lake because there were so many crocodiles that lived in and at the Big, Big Lake.

Nobody knew where the crocodiles came from. Nobody knew how the crocodiles knew that there was a Big Lake in Africa where they could swim and live catching fish to eat, and catch the odd animal that came to the lake to drink water because it was thirsty.

You want to know what is an earthquake?

An earthquake is the pushing and crushing of the surface of the Earth on which we stand onto each other, because underneath the surface the Earth is still red hot lava which could not cool and harden in the air like the surface has hardened. So the surface of our Earth kind of swims on the red hot lava and crashes against each other's plates, creating mountains like the Alps in Europe, the Rocky Mountains in North America, the Andes in South America, and the Himalayas in Asia.

So, the hard surface plates on which we stand move against each other, crush and crash forming that can block rivers from flowing into the sea, thereby creating lakes from the rain water, and melting of snow and ice on top of the mountains as it does during the spring and summer when the air and the winds get warm and the snow and ice melt and become water, and the water becomes creeks, and the creeks become rivers, and the rivers flow into the ocean, but some are blocked and become lakes, until the lakes overflow and become rivers again that flow into the oceans.

And how was the Earth created, you may ask?

Well, the Big Earth is a huge ball in the black universe that was created after the dust accumulated following the Big Bang. The Big Bang is what smart people at the university think happened some 13 billion years ago to explain the making of the universe that we can see with our eyes which made the sun, many many stars in the sky and, of course, our own Earth on which we live. Yes, and also the kind moon that we see at night, whose light is so nice, so soft, and so happy, that it does not burn our skin like the sun can burn our skin during the day time.

This is a picture of the Elephant family in our story. From left to right are the elephant children the young elephant girl Jumbalala, the young elephant boy Jumbonini, the Momie Big Jumba and the Daddy Big Jumbo.

So let's go back to the Big, Big Lake in Africa and listen to the story about what happened at the Big, Big Lake that was created by the month-long rains following the earthquake with created a mountain that blocked the river from flowing into the sea so that a big, big lake was formed where the crocodiles went to live eating fishes and the odd animals that came to drink water from the lake because they were thirsty:

Mary and Johnny, would you like to have a drink of water now before your fall asleep until the morning? Yes? Okay, here is a glass of clean fresh water for you, Mary. And here is a glass for you, too, Johnny!

Now, let's continue... if you are still awake... with...

The Happy Night Party at the Big, Big Lake in Africa

Jumbo's job was to drive the bus around the Big, Big Lake and one day he droved around and told all the other animals that there was going to be a Happy Party at night time at the Big, Big Lake.

All of the animals came out from their places where they lived under the trees like the lions, on the trees like the monkeys, in their holes in the earth like the rabbits, and the zebras. and the giraffes, and the gazelles, and the wildebeests, and the wild dogs, and the hyenas, and the jackals, and the leopards, and the cheetahs, and the warthogs, and the vultures, and the ostriches, and the rhinoceroses, and... did we forget any other animals?

Well, oh well, there were many, so many that said they wanted to come to the Night Party at the Big, Big Lake. Only the rabbits told the bus driver, the elephant Jumbo, that they were afraid of the lions, and the jackals, and the hyenas, and the cheetahs that they may eat them. And Jumbo said, just come and sit on the bus under my seat and I will protect you. Then he announced over the load speaker:

"No fighting, no killing, no trouble at the Night Party at the Big, Big Lake tonight! Only happy fun, talking and listening to singing and drumming music! But if you want to fight and kill, then please don't come to the Night Party at the Big, Big Lake tonight! Understood?!! Bring your own food. You can drink from the Big, Big Lake... because the crocodiles promise not to bite you tonight. Okay, crocodiles?"

The crocodiles made very loud roaring and snoring sounds meaning "yeah, yeaah-roof-roof" and splashed with their big tales on the surface of the lake so that everybody could hear it.

And sure enough, when the sun set it became dark and the night came. And Jumbo drove around the Big, Big Lake picking up some of the animals that took a ride on the bus to the place where the Happy Night Party was going on. The rabbits hopped onto the bus and were hiding under the seat of Jumbo where no other animal could attack and eat them. They were so careful because they were afraid, but they came, too, because they liked to be at the Happy Night Party.

After the soft and friendly moon had risen and began to lighten up the night, the monkeys began to sing and nicely scream making their sound of music, while the elephants stomped their heavy feet on the ground to imitated the sound of drums, and the wild dogs raised their heads with open mouths into the air and howled like wolves like a rally call, a hail to hunt or as a territorial expression, meaning "this is our land where we stand."

The lions were surrounded by the hyenas and leopards and cheetahs and listened to their stories of old when there were no people, no farms, and no cars and trucks in Africa, only small Bushmen and their families, and animals who owned the land.

"We want to be back in our good old Africa again," said the lions. "But it does not come because the humans now own the land, and they are so many, so many, and they make farms and fences, and keep watch over it, so that we cannot go and hunt and eat like we used to do.

"The human people have put us into reservations," said the Mama Lion. "If we walk and run out of the reservation they shoot at us with their guns. I am really very scared of the noise that these guns make, and went the bullets hit us we can die from the wounds they make in our legs and body."

"That's right," said Jumba, the Elephant Momie. "The humans like to take our tusks which they call ivy and sell it in China."

"And our horns, too," said one the Rhinoceros Daddies. "But there are also good humans who guard and protect us from the bad humans who want to hunt us down. But I never know who are the good ones, and who are the bad ones, because they look alike."

And this went on all night long until the moon went down and the sun began to rise bringing light and warmth again for the new day. It was time for the animals to go home. The rabbits quickly ran to the bus and took their place under Jumbo's seat who drove them home to their holes in the ground.

And this is the end of the story of the Happy Night Party at the Big, Big Lake in Africa.

Copyright © by Michael Schumann 2022

Updated 2023-06-22