Year in Sahara

Letters from Niger by Tommi and Kaisu-Leena

Tommi 15.10.2003

Story about lizards

Once upon a time there lived a white man, who had come from somewhere far north, no-one knows where. Anyway, from so far away that the man had not seen many lizards in his life. So when once, in his many trips, he arrived to Burkina Faso, and noticed green lizards running everywhere, he was thoroughly enchanted by them and kept watching them for a long time. Soon a small boy, whose name was Bombbo, walked past the white man and the lizards. Bombbo, of course, knew that the lizards were very common "margouillat"-lizards, but when the white man all in awe of the wonderful lizards asked, which animals these fascinating creatures would be, the boy said they are small crocodiles. "But the will grow big, if they get enough to eat."

This made the white man extremely excited and he immediately reached for his camera in his pockets. Bombbo, on the other hand, who had already in his early infancy learned that white men always have too much money with them, suggested the man that he might catch some crocodiles for him, if the man would give Bombbo thirteen gold coins and a blue medal of honor. And of course the man was interested in buying small crocodiles. Bombbo ran after the lizards and managed to capture some in a jar, which he then brought to the white man. White man paid for the crocodiles and left happily away from this story.

Meanwhile, somewhere else, somewhere, where there live more white men, in Southern Europe, in the country of Italy, there are pink lizards running all around in the houses. People called them geckos, and the Italians believed that the Geckos bring luck to the house -- in addition to keeping the house clear from all kind of annoying little bugs they like to eat.

Still in some third place, not necessarily in Italy nor in Burkina Faso, a group of scientists kept geckos in a jar, and made cruel animal tests for them. However, the animal testing was not aimed to create a new beauty lotion for the over-weight middle-aged women, but this time the scientist were trying to find out how on earth the geckos are able to walk on the walls and roofs and even glass surfaces. A long time ago people thought the geckos would have a suction cups in their feet, but the scientists had already proven this false before.

And then, in one sunny afternoon, the most clever of the scientists and the most qualified of the research team discovered that the geckos have these things in their legs, which allows them to attach themselves to the atomic structure of the surfaces that face their feet. This was something no-one had heard before, since there is no other animal which would be capable of doing this. And geckos are so tightly intertwined with the atoms, that if a gecko is sticking on a ceiling, it can hold a weight over one hundred kilos without losing its grip. "Gee, wow, what a great animal", the scientist thought, and realized that there would be a plenty of use for a property like this. So the scientists all around the world started really hunting geckos so that they could study them more thoroughly, and thereby to be able to do some day the same as the geckos do all naturally.

Sometime when all these three events had happened a long time before -- so long before that they were nothing more than stories anymore, stories to be told by a campfire, a fireplace or maybe just in a dinner table -- there was a group of mainly white people spending a night in a capital of certain African country south of Sahara. One of these white people was extremely excited about all kinds of lizards, just like the man of the first story, and he had written already several stories of these lizards in his internet-pages.

So when the people talked this and that in the dinner table, suddenly a pink lizard leaped from behind a cupboard. "Hoplando!" yelled the man who was so excited about lizards, "You have a lizard indoors!" The others looked this lizard freak with amazement and yawned: "Those? But those are everywhere."

After this the others, the ones that knew more about lizards, they were friendly enough to tell all these stories about lizards I just told you here, to the white man who knew less about lizards, but who was more excited about them, and who had come from somewhere very far north, from somewhere where there are hardly any lizards at all. This white man was so enthusiastic about the lizards that all the other people around the table thought him to be weird, at least.

Despite all this,

The End.

Tommi © Tommi & Kaisu-Leena Rajala 2003-2004