The Storyteller

by Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas

Long, long ago, before there were stories to tell, a little Saligao boy named Jayant Salganvkar went hunting. One day in the rainy season he hunted from dawn to dusk but caught nothing except two small squirrels. Cold, hungry and weary, Jayant sat near a great rock to rest.

Suddenly he heard a deep voice say “Hello!”

“Who’s there? Who speaks?” Jayant asked with alarm.

“It is I, the voice of your ancestors, the voice of creation. Do you want to know the story of how Saligao was made, of how the grasses grew and where the animals came from, how warm breezes filled the night and the smell of the flowers filled the air?”

The rock told the story and at the end said to Jayant, “Go now and tell your people this story.”

“But I am only a small boy. They will laugh at me. They will not listen.”

“They will listen,” the rock assured him.

Leaving a squirrel as a gift for the rock, Jayant returned home and summoned the people to his longhouse. He recounted the wonderful things he had heard. The people did not laugh. Instead they said, “Tomorrow you must go back to the rock and ask for more stories.”

Returning the next day with a small bird as a gift, Jayant heard another story. And so it went for many months. Every day, Jayant offered a gift and returned with a new story to delight the people.

One day the rock said, “This is the last story I will tell.”

Jayant grew sad. “But my people love stories.”

“That is why there is no more need for me to tell any,” the rock replied. “Wherever people care and things happen, stories will come. Now, go and tell your own stories. Call others to tell their stories.”

♣ ♣ ♣

On the Saligao Serenade website, each storyteller invites you, dear reader, to enter into the story, adding details from your own life.

As Saligaokars, we re-tell the story of Saligao happenings with our lives. We also listen to the stories of our people told by others and become part of their stories. Valmiki Faleiro from Margao tells the story of the army personnel from Saligao who defended our country India. Then there are other stories such as the ones by Yvonne Vaz Ezdani, through her walks and talks in the village of Saligao. The stories and sketches by Mel D’Souza are captivating, haunting us like the playful ghosts of memory. And someone special that I have to thank is Val Souza, for brilliantly editing and presenting all the stories on Saligao Serenade very efficiently since the last two years.

At this time I am no longer in Saligao. I have these stories, gathered like precious flowers from others’ gardens, but once upon a time I myself ambled upon Saligao soil and have offered you the blooms and the thorns of our living roses, through Saligao Serenade.

Happy reading!

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