The Golden Wastes
Samedi and the Saurian
Far across the desert when Samedi was very young, he was skinning a wolf that he had taken from his trap. Samedi was out in the forest at a considerable distance from his home. He saw a rider coming tward him and recognized his neighbor’s horse; however, the entity on the horse was not his neighbor, but a mighty Saurian warrior followed by three more on foot. Samedi took shelter behind a rock and fired at the rider, toppling him from his mount. Instantly grabbing at his quiver to reload, he found to his dismay that it was empty. While skinning the wolf, the quiver was tipped and spilled all over the ground far from his rock. Flight held out the only hope for survival. Samedi ran for dear life, the saurians at his heel. Samedi was a good runner and two of the pursuers quickly fell behind, but the third was fast gaining on him. Samedi’s bow with no ammo had become an impediment and he discarded it, hoping that the saurian would pick it up and thereby delayed, but the lizard ignored it. Samedi next threw away his jeweled hat, but the saurian wasted no time on it either. Samedi flung way his blue coat with its shining silver buttons, sure that this, at least, would cause his axe-waving pursuer to stop. It did not. Barley reaching the top of a little knoll ahead of his adversary, the desperate Prodigy had recourse to another stratagem. He waved his arms and shouted, as if calling upon some friends for help: “come on, boys, shoot the son of a bitch before he gets away!” This fooled the lizard warrior, who stopped in his tracks, convinced that he had fallen into a deadly ambush of armed men. The saurian turned on his heels and fled back into the forest. Samedi hastened home, happy to have lost only his hat, coat, and bow, rather than his skin.
Some years passed. The treaty of peace between the saurians and men was about to be signed. The emperor sent bigwigs in gold laced uniforms to preside over the event. Saurian chiefs arrived to “touch the pen.” Samedi also came to witness the proceedings. The commissioners and the lizards sat in a circle. Gifts were spread. Among the saurian elders putting their marks on the treaty documents was a solemn lizard in a faded and frayed blue coat with silver buttons, cradling a Prodigy made bow in the crook of his arm. Both coat and bow seemed familiar to Samedi. The saurian looked at him, nodded, and grinned. Samedi smiled back.
After the ceremony the chief walked over to Samedi to shake hands. They reminisced about the day when they had almost killed each other. “Me warrior then,” Hissed the lizard, “now big chief. We never finish race.”
“Well then.” said Samedi, “why not finish it now?”
The news that there was going to be a running contest spread swiftly. A crowd gathered. One of the self-important bigwigs with a cocked hat arrived at the scene to take over the management of the affair. He pointed to a large distant rock: “You fellows run to that rock and touch it, then race back here to the mark.”
The chief stripped to his breechcloth, Samedi to his drawers. The man with the cocked hat gave the signal and they were off. Both rivals touched the tree almost simultaneously, but when arriving back at the mark, Samedi was about twenty steps ahead. Panting, the loser sat down on a rock, rubbing one knee and ankle: “Stiff, stiff, to old to run.”
“Well, you got the better of me last time,” said Samedi, “and thereby got my bow. Now I got the better of you and should have it back.” With that he smilingly took the bow and walked off heading to the desert, leaving the saurian somewhat surprised.