The Magic Twigs
WHEN Amadi's parents died, his uncle took the boy into his own home. Unfortunately after a few years the uncle also died, and a friend of the uncle's, who was also fond of the boy, took him in. The friend's wife, though, was not as keen as her husband on the newcomer to their household. The boy was nothing but trouble as far as she was concerned, stealing her husband's attention away from her and draining their savings. She fed him only table scraps and let him walk around in rags. The sooner he left their house, the better, and she didn't mind saying so. One day someone broke into a rich man's house. Maybe she mentioned to a few people that it'd be just like Amadi to steal. In a snap of a twig, word spread all over town that he was the thief. It came to no one's surprise a couple of days later that the dirty-faced boy was gone.
Where he was headed, Amadi had no idea. He wandered deep into the woods, picking up odd sticks and a stray piece of rope. He had no particular reason to pick up the rope, but the thought occurred to him that he might hang himself, since there was nowhere he could go for shelter for the night, and he'd probably become the victim of a lion or other ferocious beast anyway. He found a sturdy looking mahogany tree and tied the rope to a thick branch. But as he brushed up against the tree, he noticed in the distance a cluster of lights.
"That's strange, I never knew there was a town out here," he thought, then considered a new possibility. "I may as well go explore the town. If they're friendly, maybe I'll have a place to stay. If not, I'll be no worse off than I am now."
Amadi followed a path headed in the direction of the town. Turning a bend, he nearly bumped headlong into an antelope.
"Why are you here, son of humans?" she said, staring at him eye-to-eye. "You do not belong here."
"I don't belong anywhere," Amadi muttered. Then thought, "Wait, am I talking to an antelope?