So Johnny Tenda had returned to the village after a few years’ absence.
Nothing had changed greatly; village life continued to turn on its slow axis. Most villagers had abandoned their attempts to collect bottles, especially since most of them did not have the same outcome as Johnny.
This left many to again speculate that Mr. MaakDieBoereKwaad, indeed did have some special magic after all.
As for Johnny, his return was met with scepticism and suspicion mixed with plenty of curiosity, more so because of his strange habit of collecting stones.
“Small, round and smooth stones,” he insisted. The villagers just watched and kept on speculating.
“What could Johnny be up to this time?” was a favourite discussion around the fireplace at various homesteads.
“Maybe he’ll build a stone house, like we’ve seen in the town,” some said.
“Maybe the stones are part of his magic,” others added.
However, as the days turned into months, village life turned back to normal with most people now used to giving Johnny the smooth, small and round stones.
And just like that, Johnny was gone. One day he was there but the next, his homestead was again left empty. Again Mr. Tenda became the hot topic of the day.
“Will he return?” the villagers asked.
“I don’t care about that… All I want to know is where he went this time,” others stated.
As it was, no one could give any answers and thus conversation soon returned to the usual daily struggles.
Johnny was soon a forgotten topic but just as the villagers were about to wait for the rainy season, the man made a return.
And wasn’t this a spectacular return?
Driving a car and wearing some nice clothes - things the villagers only saw with the white men- Johnny came back. His car appeared to be brand new, as did his clothes and practically everything about him.
“Was his smile even bigger than usual?” some wondered.
Everybody wanted to run to ask him about his adventures and how he got what he had. But no one did.
Instead, speculation gave rise to even more speculation.
“Those stones must have magic,” most exclaimed.
“He must have sold the stones to the white men and received money,” the more practical among them said.
And yet no one bothered to ask Johnny of his sudden wealth. No one, except for a boy named Curious Silas. Silas was named as such because he asked the most questions in the village. “What does that do and why do you do that?” he would ask the villagers, wherever he went. Such was his curiosity and nagging that the villagers made sure to avoid him, when they spotted him.
“The other smart fool is coming,” they would tell their neighbours, right before dodging Silas.
Seeing as that most villagers were avoiding him, Silas decided to approach Johnny Tenda –aka Johnny MaakDieBoereKwaad.
At first, Silas watched the older man from a distance.
But every day, he would come a little closer until one day, Johnny spotted him. Turning on his heels to run away, Silas tried to flee.
But for some reason, he couldn’t find the strength to run.
WHAT CAUSED SILAS TO STOP RUNNING?
Catch part 3 of The Man who Collected Stones (tomorrow).
PS: This is an original Hector H. Mawonga story…