This story takes place in the forests of Uganda. In the distant village, Dier Kwaadstoker was being born. Dier Kwaadstoker translates into “Animal Whisperer.” From the moment he was born, Dier was obsessed with animals. There were unfortunate tragedies that occurred in his sad life, for instance, shortly after Diers birth, his mother fell ill. Even though the village doctor, Doctor Malcolm Muua, had arrived at the situation, Diers mother was massively ill. Shortly after that scene, Doctor Muua had given the large family the dreadful news. Mjane had…
“Died…” the doctor remarked sympathetically.
“I’m… so sorry.”
Even though Dier was only little, he had felt the whole impact on his life. This pain, however, is nothing compared to the pain that this adventure will cause him.
His family, you might ask. Who are they? How are they? Where are they? With this entire bubbling question glaring Dier in the face, he had to know and learn the complicated answers. He had two brothers, one named Bahati and the other was named Kofi. Bahati was thirteen, a broad-shouldered, hunky fellow. He had short brown hair and chocolate-brown skin. “Dier,” he would say, “you have many gifts, though there is one you must focus on, one, that even the cleverest people can’t achieve, focus!” Even though that he would never find that fact out, he must hope… and focus.
Kofi was the complete opposite. He was rude and a bad-mannered brat, as his mother used to call him. He was twenty-one, and was a poacher. And as you could imagine, this really hurt Dier. Although Dier tried to imagine it, he could not think about the gun in your hand… aimed at the fastest leopard, the weight of it in your hand… the thought of the animal… the thought of your finger, wrapped around the trigger. He could not bear with it.
There was one other member of the family, Donder. Donder was a powerful man, strong and powerful. He did the farming for the family. He was the one who supplied the whole family with food. He was a burly, in his mid-forties. Now you know the characters in this story, we can begin…
It was early in the morning, around 9:30 am. And Dier was out for a stroll in the smelly forests. The air was damp and wet and Dier was out looking for wildlife. He usually went for walks in the morning, before his father or his brothers were asleep. Today, as usual, Dier was out looking for a black panther, but what he got was more than he bargained for…
The Black Panther was Dier’s favorite animal. He loved it… because it was so agile on its feet…
He loved it because of the way it hunts.
Although Dier thought he was alone. His thoughts were not. They were away… in a distant planet… thinking about the life of a vet. How nice it must be, to look at all of the patients… telling you what a good job you had done. And thanking you. The compliments would be great. But the opportunity to share a relationship between animals would be astonishing.
In the distance were the poachers, as usual holding up a carpet made of some rhino skin or a purse made of snake-skin. Dier spotted Kofi. The head, he was holing up the championship prize; a lion’s head on a shelf next to a pile of leopard skin rugs. The other poachers smiled and reached for their wallets. Dier hadn’t realized it, but he had edged his way towards the end of the forest to see a smiling Kofi.
Kofi sniffed… he looked… he shot…
Dier spun around… Unaware of the consequences, he tore off, racing to help this poor animal that could probably hardly make it. He made his way towards the hissing animal. Was it a lion, which was making its way back to the lair? Was it a cheetah, hunting its prey when a mighty shot rang out? He had no idea what the animal could be. But one thing he knew was that this animal was in serious pain. He could hear Kofi, tearing down into the rainforest top see what this animal would be. He too, could not imagine what it could be. Maybe it was a mighty lioness? Who knows? He finally came to where the animal was panicking. Dier’s mouth, dropped open. No! It couldn’t be! Could it?
He couldn’t believe it! Sitting in the bush, curled up and bleeding heavily…
Was a Black Panther!
‘Wow!’ Dier thought.
This was unbelievable. Astonishing! Mystifying! Although Dier would like to stand around gaping at the struggling animal. Dier knew that the poachers were coming with sticks and shotguns, ready to manufacture the beautiful creature. Dier ran towards the Panther and pulled it onto his shoulders. It was heavy on his back and Dier knew he would have to be quick if he were to get the animal away from danger.
The poachers tore into where Dier was just at and looked around shocked. There was no animal where they were. Perhaps it had staggered off and managed to heal its wound with the cold, running water it the distant.
‘Or maybe the bullet had just missed it!’ cried another poacher, his bearded chin high.
‘Nonsense!’ cried another poacher ‘Kofi never misses his shots!’
It was indeed a mystery to the poachers. Next to a bush, out of sight and watching the whole thing was Dier, the Panther still on his back. But Dier was used to the heavy load, as he had once helped the village doctor carry his loads of medicine into his little hut nearby the village where he lived. The problem was how was Dier supposed to carry the heavy animal all the way back to the village? The village was a four Kilometre walk and would take Dier four hours to carry it back. Could he take the Panther to a hospital nearby the village? No, he thought. It would take him too long to get there. The Panther was badly hurt. It had taken a shot to the leg. And its fibula was crushed beyond its dreams. Dier finally made up his mind. He would lie it down on the ground and treat the Panther there. Dier was only a young boy and had never operated on an animal before. He laid the Panther down on the grass and picked up some leaves that were lying on the ground. He went over to the river and soaked the leaves, then, he went over to the Panther and wrapped the wet leaves around the growling panther’s leg in great caution. As Dier was only 11 at this time, he had never proceeded an operation on an animal before and wasn’t sure how or what to do. Maybe what he had to do was commit mouth to mouth on the struggling animal? Or maybe was it to proceed to the hospital with the panther on his back? Dier didn’t know what to do, but he knew that the panther didn’t have long to live. Whatever he was to do, he had to do it quickly. He decided to keep the panther in secret so as not to become a suspect to Kofi raging list. What Dier would do know, is to stop the bleeding and take out the bullet from the thigh of the towering beast. He squeezed the leaves around the panther’s legs and pulled two twigs out of a bush nearby. He would use the twigs as a pair of tweezers, to force the bullet out of the panther’s leg. He put them together like a pair of chopsticks and proceeded to force the bullet from the panther’s skin. Dier’s twigs came to something solid and curved in a way that a bullet is, all curved up at the top like a domed observatory. He pulled it out slowly as to not affect the creature’s muscles. He succeeded in pulling the bullet out of the animal’s skin. On the metallic surface was a single word: Kofi
So this was the famous bullet of Kofi. He had often heard Kofi say that if he ever were to see a black panther, he would load the gun with this special bullet, and pull the trigger. This was the most precious bullet that Kofi had collected in his long career as a poacher. He had collected it in Afghanistan. There he had sold his famous lion skin rugs and cheetah dressing gowns. This had given him the money to buy him a solid steel bullet. Now Dier was worried, if the poor panther had been shot in the thigh by a solid steel bullet, could it survive? Could it survive the terrible pain? The panthers bleeding had restarted and Dier vowed that he would do anything he could to save this animals life. Is this the life of a vet? Dier was maybe having second thoughts on this animal. Thoughts that forced his mind back to what Bahati had said “you have many gifts, though there is one you must focus on, one, that even the cleverest people can’t achieve, focus!” But Dier had one thing in his mind. The terrible sighting of death. He had witnessed death even before he was born. He thought back to his mother, happy and smiling, with all the family cramped around her to hear her stories. She was a good story-teller. That was about all that Dier had learnt about his mother, the day that she died. After the news, all the family had changed, the darkness had come and the family turned stronger, stronger in the name of Mjane. Dier felt tears roll down his cheeks. He was going to witness death once more, but this time it might be an animal that had lived a short life, that had once been so happy, prowling with its family and playing tug of war with its parents. The joy of being alive was the happiest thing about the world, it wasn’t the food or the fur coats of the bears that had died. But the most important thing about the world was the gift of life. And we all had it, a gift of pure happiness and joy. People wasted it, while others chose to carry it on and have a good time-line in their lives. The people who had grown old were the ones that were the cleverest of minds. He wanted the same for the Black Panther, for it to live on and commit a happy life, playing war with his friends and bringing home lots of food for his family. Dier smiled as he remembered what every great Doctor would do. Dier, first Ugandan Doctor… He picked up the leaves and went into the dark, misty forest. He came back with: ten coconuts and a pail of water. He knew what to do. And now, he was going to do it, for the first time in years…
In his life, (what Dier meant by for the first time in years) Dier had been obsessed with animals, so when he was helping his father, Donder, with the farming. He had spotted a cheetah, lying on the canopy floor of the forest. It was clearly down and Dier had simply sneaked of out of view and had gone over to the poor Cheetah. He did not know what to do with the animal.
He had not operated that day, the day of dreams and happiness. How could he? He didn’t know how to, or did he?
He was back home in his shared room with eight people. They were not even in the family! The family next door moved in after their house blew down in a sandstorm. So that family had moved in after Donder had, asked too kindly. They hadn’t been too bad. If they had Dier would have said something against them. While he was there, he looked at everyone in his tiny, little bedroom and sighed. He thought of the panther, which was outside the nurse’s office at the local hospital, in the bin and near the forest in which Dier had first found the panther and where he had taken a look at Kofi, snipping his prey. He knew Kofi would rampage the owner of the bullet, the person who had dared to steal his precious, reusable bullet. In the right hands, it was deadly. And that was why Dier had to keep it in his trouser pocket. Hidden in the trouser pocket, Kofi couldn’t find it. And where Kofi couldn’t find it, there was bound to be trouble…
He was now backing behind the bin with the panther. The panther was alive, but was not yet well enough to be released into the wild. He would have to keep on going until his beloved panther was properly alive. He would do it so that the panther could live as long as it could. He thought of himself being a vet and the things he would do for people. He would help them and nurse their animals back to health. But for now, he just had to keep this animal alive. He got another stack of leaves and soaked them in the river water. So far, no-one had questioned what he was doing. Kofi had visited last night, and had attempted to penetrate force of love between the animal and Dier. Unfortunately for Dier, Kofi had found several clues to what might be happening around. Number one was that Donder had told Kofi that Dier had been out in the forest the day the bullet was lost. Not only was Kofi looking for the bullet, but he was looking for his prize. The panther. Dier hoped that Kofi had nothing against him. But if he had, then Dier had better be careful. What would Dier do with the panther? Its leg was still bleeding and Dier knew to expect the worst. The absolute worst, and that would obviously be the dreaded moment of the Black Panther dying. That would be the worst moment of his life. If that were to happen, then Dier would give in and fall. Fall further than he’d ever fallen before in his entire life. He would fall down into a gaping pit, and he would never return. One thing Dier knew he must do was to make sure that the panther didn’t die. If the panther died, Dier’s heart would be broken. Crumpled up into a million pieces and thrown into the bin. That would be terrible like a broken dream, but for Dier… It would be a broken dream. A dream that could never be resurrected and would die a painful death. Dier knew what to do, and without a moment too soon his dad came in. He was swollen in the face and his cheek was small and puffed.
“Hey, just been with Kofi” he said defiantly through puffs of frustration and anger. But Dier just looked on with anger. His cheeks were swelling and going red. He stormed into the living room and confronted Kofi siting on a wooden chair and wearing a leopard skin scarf.
“Get out of here! You don’t live here anymore!”
Dier was horrified, he was mystified! What was this swill? Of course Dier still lived here, it was his house! He paid the rent with the money allocated to him in his medicine delivery job.
“I live here! It’s my house! I pay the wages and I won’t stand for this” he screamed.
He was fuming with agony now and Kofi was going to pay, pay big time for the time and effort that this family had gone through. He sprinted towards Kofi and put his face against his.
“I’m not going anywhere, so don’t you dare go against that. You moved out of here three years ago. And you’re not moving in now! You actually expect that I’m going to believe that you are moving in, you-” but he couldn’t say anymore because at that moment Donder walked in.
“Sorry son, but Kofi’s moving in. And he has to take your bedroom. So in a way you’re moving out. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.”
Heartbroken and with lungs bursting, Dier ran out of the room and out of the house. And he didn’t stop until he finally realised that his pocket felt empty and wired. He felt into his pocket and soon his eyes turned back once again to utter disbelief. The bullet… It was gone!
He froze on the spot and then ran, fully ran all the way to the nurses room and back to the bins. He saw the Panther, but he realised that something was wrong, very wrong…
The panther did not look like a panther anymore. Instead, It looked like a rag that had newly been vaporised and left burning to the ground. He fell to the floor and started to cry. He cried so much, he didn’t stop, until he felt a stroke of fur against his hand. It was the panther, it was the panther! Still alive and kicking, but stooping and then, it lay down again. Dier could hear whimpering, like a small boy under his bed-covers. Dier looked and knew what to do. Something he should have done a long time ago. Something that would help this panther and return its life back to him. He raced into the nurses office and ran into the store cupboard. He would be in massive trouble if anyone saw him taking this stuff. But currently trouble wasn’t a problem. Trouble was a little thing compared to another creatures life force.
What he had taken was in-fact some antibiotics, a syringe and some anti-histamine. He took 10 ml of anti-histamine into the syringe and placed a needle inside it. Then he stuck the injection into the panthers thigh and pushed down to allow the anti-histamine to goose into the panthers body. Then what happened was he took the antibiotics and fed them to the still whimpering panther. He knew that that should fix whatever problems that the panther was facing. At once the panthers face grew less pale and Dier decided to keep an eye out for anyone who happened to be around. Though as soon as Dier went out into view he knew he should have stayed where he was. Because there, standing in the corner of a tree, was a smiling Kofi…
“So there you are with my panther. What ‘you give him?” he said scarcely.
“Nothing to do with you, he’s my panther! You want to kill him! He’s as good as dead isn’t he. Let me guess, your shot must have tempered his DNA making the structure of his leg wrong?”
“You would be correct in-fact” said Kofi grinning.
“Well you’re not taking him!”
“Oh yes I am, and you can’t stop me” he said as he walked over to where the panther was hiding. But when he got there, the panther was nowhere in sight.
“Where is he!?” he screamed scanning around for any black shape. But there was no
black shape in the distance. But out of the corner of Dier’s eye, was the panther… Stuttering back into the forests of Uganda. And there he will remain for the rest of his life, where he will remain forever and live a long, happy life.
So what happened to Dier? Well, he grew up to become big and strong, he became a vet, and Doctor Malcolm Muua still visits him every once in a while. Dier was also given a medal by the government of Africa for his noble deed. He looks at it every night before he goes to bed. And when he looks at it, he thinks of home and the adventures he once had with the Black Panther. The panther still lives today. And if you’re in Uganda and you go for a safari tour, you can see the panther with a scar on his leg. He is tame, so you can go and have a look at him, to examine his scar. But be careful, too much pressure can be bad for it.
Dier will have a happy rest of his life as a Vet and exploring medicines and getting degrees from local Science Schools.
He always thinks of the adventures that he had as a boy, with the panther he loved…