Story Time: The Black Sea

Feb 01 2020

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Illustration by Ahmed Amin
Illustration by Ahmed Amin

Once upon a time there was an ogre called Nanagh, who loved to live on his own. He was passive in nature and never attended meetings with other ogres and giants.

One day in an angry mood, he walked through a big, old graveyard in the middle of the deep, thick forest. As he walked, he murmured to himself, mentally scolding his old friends with whom he never had a good time. He threw a pebble at the stone of an old grave and kept walking.

Suddenly, he felt that he heard some bubbling sounds which surprised him because how could there be a bubbling water source in the middle of the graveyard? He turned back and jumped with astonishment to see a sparkling lake in the graveyard. Nanagh screamed with fear and ran out of the graveyard.

From that day onwards, the spirits of the dead woke up and roamed angrily around the jungle. The angriest of them was the spirit of the Beast Master. Also, from that day, the water of the lake turned black and nobody would dare to go near the lake.

Many years passed by and the spirit of Beast Master and other angry spirits became a sign of horror in the jungle.

One autumn evening, a wicked witch was crossing the jungle. She didn’t know about the distracted spirits of the graveyard. As she went closer to the lake, she was surprised to see the black water. She eventually understood that this could only have been done by some angry soul. She realised that she was in danger now and the only way to escape was to make the angry spirits in the graveyard go away.

She firmly held to her magic wand and peeped into the lake. There was no reflection, in spite of the shiny full moon. Suddenly, she heard a roar and the whole jungle started shaking with noise that was so loud that her screams were barely audible.

A smoky spirit appeared in front of her and screamed at her, “How dare you come into our territory?”

“I was simply on my way to somewhere else,” she gently replied. “May I know, what made you so angry?” Today, she had decided to behave kindly so as to save her own life.

“Get out of our land, if you really want to save yourself,” the spirit yelled.

The witch took a step forward, cautiously and then another step followed by another. She waited for the roar, but nobody stopped her. She recalled a spell and started chanting.

She walked for the whole night, but couldn’t get out of the jungle. When she was so tired that she couldn’t take one more step forward, the witch sat down on the stump of a broken tree. There she saw the ogre Nanagh sitting nearby on a piece of wood.

“I am Nanagh,” Nanagh introduced himself and asked her, “Who are you and how did you reach here?”

“I saw a lake — a black water lake, in the centre of the graveyard,” she started telling him the story. “There are spirits here, stronger than me, stronger than any witch and ogre.”

“Yes, I know. I am the one who made this happen,” Nanagh told her with his head down. “Since then, I am a prisoner in this jungle. I am sorry, but now you are also a part of this.”

“No!” the witch cried with pain. “I won’t stay imprisoned here. Let me think, let me think for a while,” she said and opened her sack, searching for something with Nanagh looking at her oddly.

“What are you doing?” he asked her, but she didn’t reply. She put her hand in the sack and took out a white crystal. Then she smiled and started to chant a spell. The crystal rose up high and started moving toward the graveyard and the black lake. It was growing bigger as it moved forward. Finally, the crystal reached the top of the black lake and became huge in size before falling into the lake.

Splash! A loud sound rang all around, along with crying sounds from a crowd that was invisible. The tremor like that of an earthquake shook the whole jungle. Nanagh hid his face with his hands and fell to the ground.

Everything settled down in a few minutes. The witch smiled victoriously and said to Nanagh, “Come with me.”

He followed her, but had no clue about what had happened. When they were in the centre, Nanagh jumped with surprise, “What is this all about? Where is the black water gone? What happened to the curse?”

The witch was looking sad with her head down. “My magic crystal set us free from the curse, but I am not a witch anymore.”

“You mean that you have sacrificed your powers for the sake of our lives?” he asked with disbelief.

“Yes,” she replied, “I had no other option.”

Crystal, shiny waves of water were twinkling in front of them.

From that day, that black lake became known as “The Black Sea” and still is known by the same name.

Published in Dawn, Young World, February 1st, 2020