THE TWINS GO TO WAR.
-A Tale of Happing Hundred.
At the time of this story no-one knew how to farm. They were all hunters, trappers and gatherers.
Up on top of what is now called Happisburgh hill, where the church now stands, there lived a small clan who we’ll call the Haepe, and of all similar clans in the area, they were the most warlike.
They were ever rushing off to destroy their neighbours’ villages or defending their own from revenge attacks.
They neglected their hunting. They neglected their fishing. They felt lost when not fighting so just sat around moping waiting for the next war to break out and every year there were fewer and fewer of them left alive.
TWINS-CHUBAK AND UDOGA
Now, into this clan were born twin boys whose names were Chubak and Udoga. The Haepe were careful to honour the two boys because it was believed that twins brought good luck.
Besides, there was something special about them. By the time they were just five years old, they were so much wiser than anyone else in the village that both the men and women of the clan came to them for advice.
Then it happened!
One day a Haepe hunter found that one of his traps had been sprung but the animal was missing. He could tell from the signs that it had been a weasel and that it had been taken by a man of the Ludda clan, who lived on what today we call How Hill.
The Haepe hunter went straight to his chief to inform him of the theft.
“This is a grave insult,” roared the chief, “Prepare for War!”
All of the Haepe men rushed off eagerly to prepare their stone axes, knives, bows, arrows and spears..=
“Not again?” cried the chief’s wife. “Is a weasel worth killing and dying for?”
“We are men”, said the chief, “Must a man not fight?”
“You are men,” screamed his wife, “Must a man be so stupid?”
Along with the other Haepe women, she went straight to the twins for their advice.
“Udoga, Chubak, tell the men to stay home. We’ve had enough of this fighting and killing.”
“She’s right, brother,” said Chubak to Udoga, “There has been too much war!” So Udoga spoke to the women promising that the two of them would do what they could to prevent further bloodshed.
CHUBAK AND UDOGA’S ADVICE TO THEIR CHIEF
Not long after it was the men’s turn to speak with Chubak and Udoga with the chief asking for their advice.
Chubak picked up a warrior’s bow. “Never has a clan been so insulted! If the thief had taken a deer, we could forgive him. The meat of a deer has value. But a weasel is virtually worthless. It must have been taken just to shame us. If we have been shamed we have no honour and without honour we are as good as dead!”
Udoga picked up a spear. “The Ludda have killed us, so now we must kill them back. All their men must die. Death to the Ludda!”
“But wait,” said Udoga, “This is no ordinary war. The Ludda are so evil , the place where they live is evil too. We must not let this evil touch us. We must take a vow not to eat any food from their land nor drink a single drop of their water.” WE MUST TAKE WHAT WE NEED WITH US AND SWEAR NOT TO COME BACK FOR MORE AND NOT ONE OF US IS TO RETURN UNTIL WE HAVE WON!”
“We swear it! We swear it! Death to the Ludda! Death to the Ludda!”
The women were beside themselves. “What hope do we have?” said the chief’s wife, “when even the twins turn against us and go to war?” Giving up, they set to preparing the men’s food.
Next morning the men loaded themselves with as much food and water as they could carry. Then, taking tht wins with them, they set out for the Ludda village.
They walked all day to cover the 11 miles. It was slow, hard going, partly because there were no roads but mainly because of all they had to carry. The further they went, the angrier they got at the Ludda.
At last they came upon some Ludda women gathering some berries. Chubak called out, “You women! We are coming to your village! We wont leave a single man alive!”
The women ran off to warn their men folk.
“Why did you warn them?” asked the chief in dismay, with all that we are carrying, those owmen will get to the village long before we do. The men will hide in their houses behind their stockade and we will have to wait them out!”
“What is that to us? replied Udoga, “Nothing they do can save them!”
The Haepe finally reached the village, but the Ludda men were already hiding inside. They were not like the Haepe. They did not want to fight. They wanted to stay put until those crazy Haepe had gone back home from surrounding the village by hiding in the long grass and behind the bushes.
The Haepe knew it would only be a matter of time before the Ludda men would have to come out. They would need to hunt and fish. Then they would have them.
Next morning, however, the Ludda men did not come out, but the women did and they were carrying big sticks!
They searched for the Haepe in the grass and as soon as one was found, he found himself being beaten by a well wielded cudgel.
“You stupid Haepe!” yelled the wife of the Ludda chief. “Why don’t you go back to your village where you belong?”
“Be brave!” cried Udoga to the men, “Remember you must never hit a woman!”
His chief called, “But what if the woman-OW!-does not act-OW! Like a woman-OW?”
“What does it matter?” called Chubak, “We are men. How could a woman hurt us?”
“Ow!” replied the chief.
Day after day they waited for the Ludda men and day after day out came the women to beat them. The Haepe men were brave.
Then their food ran out.
“Remember your vow!” Chubak called after them. “We will take no food from this evil land!”
“But how can we fight without food?” asked the chief. “Don’t worry!” said Chuback, “It wont be long now!”
So they were brave a little longer.
Then their water ran out.
“Remember your vow!” said Udoga, “Not a drop of water from this place of evil!”
“But we cannot last long without water<“ said the chief. “We won’t have to,” said Udoga, “We’ve almost won!”
So they were brave a little longer.
Then their patience ran out.
“What kind of war is this?” said the chief. “We’re so weak from hunger and thirst, we can barely hold our spears!”
“We are men,” said Cherbak. “When honour is at stake, how can we complain of hardship?”
So they were brave a little longer.
At last the Ludda chief appeared. He came out to plead with the Haepe chief. “Please,” he said, “can’t we talk and settle this without fighting?”
“How can talk restore honour?” asked Udoga. “We will be satisfied only by a great gift.”
“Yes,” said Cherbak, “a gift such as never given before!”
The Ludda chief trembled, “What do you want?”
Udoga said, “You must give us………the skin of the weasel!”
Both chiefs stared at the twins in astonishment. The Ludda chief lost no time in running back to tell the good news.
The Haepe chief’s face grew red. “Was that such a great gift? Is that why we starved and suffered- for nothing but the skin of a weasel?”
“It was the weasel skin that sent us to war,” said Chuback. “Why should it not bring us home?”
When the Haepe got back to their village, the chief told his wife, “What a war that was. It was the most terrible war of all. We never want to go to war again.”
And they didn’t- thanks to Udoga and Chubak.
I have told the story, now it is your turn. What is its point?