The Tale of Dove and Thunderdevil

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Dove and Thunderdevil were once the best of friends, but Dove could not understand why Thunderdevil never laughed. No matter how excited and amusing the conversation might be, he would merely smile a little and then stop. Dove asked him what the reasons was for this.

“I rarely laugh,” Thunderdevil said, “because my laugh is coarse and mush too noisy. If I laughed you would be terrified — you would think the world was bursting open.”

“You are my friend,” said Dove, “and I am your friend; I would be happy if you laughed.”

Thunderdevil never laughed. There came a time when Dove invited him to dine in his home, and when preparing the meal he remembered he had a quantity of palm wine.

“Ha!” he thought. “If I can persuade Thunderdevil to drink palm wine, I’m sure I can make him laugh.”

He brought the palm wine and poured it into an old cooling jar his grandmother had as a girl, and stirred it with a golden spear. Dove’s grandfather had owned the golden spear, and with it he had conquered all his enemies.

On the appointed day Thunderdevil came; the two friends dined well, and made merry with large quantities of palm wine. The conversation became unusually exciting and amusing, and Thunderbird was happy with the wine. He eyed the gleaming golden spear and asked:

“Dove, where did you get that golden spear?”

“Oh, it belonged to my grandfather,” Dove said proudly. “He made it out of pure gold, and with it he conquered all his enemies.”

The idea of a Dove conquering anyone — and with a golden spear — was too much for Thunderdevil. He burst out laughing. The house exploded. Dove found himself enveloped in a violent burst of noise, and was hurled through the air to some distant place. He fell to earth in a foreign land and lay swooning on the ground for seven days.

From that time until now Dove has never built another house, and he has never talked again to Thunderdevil. All night and often during daylight hours he may be found on forest trails and roads, searching always and everywhere for his grandfather’s golden spear.

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