Adaptation of the popular tale of Colombia
In a country called Colombia, near the Andes mountain range, lived an indigenous tribe that had settled in those lands for many years. Its members were simple people who lived together peacefully, until one day the group of young people met in an assembly and made a terrible decision: to expel all the elderly from the village!
The arrogant boys declared that the old men had become a hindrance to the proper functioning of the community because they no longer had the strength to carry the bags of seeds and because their movements had become so clumsy that they needed help even to eat or wash. For these reasons, they assured, it was necessary to cast them out forever.
Only a good and generous boy named Llivan believed that a great injustice was being committed and he rebelled against others:
– Are you crazy?!… We can’t do that outrage! We owe them everything we are, everything we own. They have always helped us and now we are the ones who must take care of them with love and respect.
Unfortunately, no one was moved and Llivan had to watch in horror as the elderly were forced to leave their homes.
– This is horrible! Nobody deserves to be treated like this.
When he saw them walk out of town with head down and shuffling, he decided he couldn’t just sit idly by. Without stopping to think, he ran until he caught up with them.
– Wait, please wait! If you allow me, I will go with you so that you feel more secure and help you find a good place to live.
The older man smiled and accepted the proposal on his behalf and on behalf of the others.
– Of course it is, Llivan. You are a good boy and not a scoundrel. We greatly appreciate your company and all the help you can provide us.
– Oh no, don’t thank me! I feel that it is my duty, but I assure you that I do it with pleasure.
Llivan took the lead and led them into a warm and beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. It took several hours, but it was worth it.
– This is the place chosen to set up the new town! The land is fertile, ideal for farming. In addition, it is crossed by a river in which we can fish daily. Isn’t that perfect?
The oldest recognized that the choice was excellent.
– You have a good eye, Llivan. It is certainly a wonderful place.
Llivan took a deep breath and filled his lungs with fresh air.
– Well, what are we waiting for? … Let’s get to work!
For weeks the boy worked at a frenetic pace, building houses of mud, wood and straw during the day, and making hunting and fishing gadgets by firelight at nightfall. He was the only one who had the physical strength to carry out the toughest tasks, but the elderly, who had the wisdom and experience of a lifetime, also did their bit by directing the works.
Thanks to the good advice of the elders and the great effort of Llivan, the goal was achieved sooner than expected. Meanwhile, in the other tribe, the young men took over and everything got out of hand, mainly because they were ignorant of how things were done and there were no elders to ask for advice. This was very serious, especially if someone fell ill, because the remedies based on medicinal plants were only known to the grandparents and there was not one left. Where once there was peace and well-being, now chaos reigned.
A few years passed and Llivan became a healthy and strong adult. His life with the elderly was happy and he only missed one thing: to form his own family. For that reason, one day he decided to express his feelings to them.
– Dear friends, you know that I am very happy here, but the truth is that I would also like to get married and have children. The problem is that there are no women in this town. Since you are like my parents, I want to ask your permission to go to the youth village. Who knows, maybe there I can meet a special girl!
The one who always gave the go-ahead patted him on the shoulder and agreed:
– Of course you have our approval! We adore you, but it is normal that you want to fall in love, get married and have children. Go ahead and find that wife you want so much, but please be very careful.
– Thank you, thank you very much, I will carry you in my heart!
After handing out a lot of hugs, Llivan headed for his old village. It was almost night when he stepped foot in it and he couldn’t help but get excited.
– Oh, how many years without seeing the place where I was born! But … why is everything so dirty and ramshackle? I’m afraid something strange is happening here!
He was trying to understand what was happening the moment several men jumped on him, seized him and tied him to a tree. The one who looked like the leader, shouted in his ear:
– We have recognized you, Llivan… How dare you go back?!… You, who betrayed us years ago!
Llivan realized that he was in front of the group that had expelled the old men and flushed with anger.
– What did I betray you? … You are a bunch of shameless and cowards! … Let go of me right now!
The little chief laughed and said in a mocking tone:
– Oh, yes, you will think that I am so stupid! … Now we send us, and look where, you are our prisoner. As soon as dawn, you will have what you deserve.
Having said this, they walked about fifty meters away and sat in a circle, eating and drinking without measure. Taking advantage of the fact that they were entertained and ignored him, Llivan tried to free himself, but the ropes were too tight!
He was about to resign himself when a woman with black eyes and hair curled up to her waist appeared from the shadows and, without making a sound, she approached him and whispered:
– Who are you and what are you doing tied to a log?
Llivan also answered him in a low tone.
– My name is Llivan and I grew up in this town, but when they banished the elderly years ago I went with them. Today I have returned to this place that I love so much, but as soon as I arrived I was captured by that mob that you see there.
The girl glanced at the group of men, afraid of being discovered.
– Llivan … Llivan … Yes, of course, I remember you. Well actually everyone in this area knows your story.
– Oh yeah? … And tell me, how are things going in the tribe?
– Well, the truth is that fatal! Those guys are not good and have no idea of governing. Because of him people are getting poorer and more ignorant.
– They threw out the elderly and on top of that they have been behaving like tyrants for years? … I’m sorry, but I don’t understand that you accept their rules … You should rise up!
– No, we do not accept them, but they are always armed and no one dares to confront them. We can do nothing but hold on!
– Well, I think the time has come to put an end to this indecency! If you help me escape I’ll fix it… I promise!
The woman fixed her eyes on Llivan’s and felt that she was being sincere. Without hesitation, he untied the rope that bound his hands.
– Let’s go to my house, you’ll be safe there!
They crept away and came to a humble little hut. By the entrance, lying in a dusty hammock, was his little brother.
– Dear little brother, listen to me carefully: my friend Llivan is going to help us get rid of those despots who have dominated the entire town, but we need your collaboration.
– That’s fine, but … what do I have to do?
Llivan was very clear about the steps to follow.
– Please, let all the neighbors know. I want them to come here as soon as possible!
– All right, I won’t be long.
Minutes later, dozens of people listened to Llivan’s speech under the pale moonlight.
– Friends, this was a prosperous town until one day the young people took over the government. Years have passed and look at the result: you are more unhappy and you live much worse than before.
They all nodded in agreement that what he said was true.
– Throwing out the elderly was a mistake, but I think there is still a solution. Let’s make the rulers repent! For this I need each of you to pick a nettle from the field.
They did not know what Llivan was up to, but they obeyed without question; later, they went in search of the dictators and found them lying on the ground, fast asleep. Llivan gave the order to act.
– They are snoring like lions… This is our chance! Let’s undress them and wait.
Their clothes were removed in no time and they waited a few minutes for the cold of the night to wake them up. When the individuals opened their eyes they found themselves surrounded by more than a hundred people with threatening faces and a nettle in hand. They had no escape!
Then Llivan raised his voice:
– Years ago you committed a tremendous injustice to your elders, and as if that were not enough, you have ruined your people. You are truly irresponsible! If you don’t want us to rub your bodies with nettles, acknowledge mistake and apologize right now.
The men looked at each other terrified and did not hesitate: they got on their knees and crying like children, they asked for forgiveness between tears.
– From now on you will respect all people equally and will work for the benefit of the community until the town is once again a flourishing place.
The applause was unanimous.
– Thank you, thank you very much, friends, but the most important thing is missing: that the grandparents who one day had to leave their home return.
Llivan heard another ovation and felt that he had said and done the right thing.
– As soon as the sun rises I will go for them. I hope that when they return they will be treated with the love and respect they deserve.
Three days later, the grandparents entered their old town and were greeted with applause, hugs and kisses. The moment of collective happiness that was lived was unique and unrepeatable.
At last everything was back to the way it was before!… Well, not everything, because things were even better for Llivan. He was unanimously elected governor of the town and, when spring came, he married the beautiful girl who had helped him end injustice. The story goes that they formed a large family and were happily ever after.