So now Aunt Matilda was coming tomorrow! Why? Was she planning to take him back to the city? His father had been making more and more remarks about “proper schooling” lately. His grandfather refused to talk to him about it but he was sure there was some discussion going on between him and his father. So was tomorrow the day, the day they sent him away? The thought of going away from his beloved village brought tears to his eyes. Lesedi lay awake trying to decide what to do. Maybe he should get up early and disappear for the day. He was sure she wouldn’t stay longer than a day, she hated it here so much. Her high heels kept filling up with sand and she made such a fuss about going to the long drop toilet. He would go to Mampharing Island and find Kgatwe his gecko friend. Mampharing Island was an island that not many people went to. It was frequented by monitor lizards and geckos and no one in the village was too keen on these creatures.
Lesedi had built himself a small reed hut on this island where he kept all his treasures. Special things he had collected while out in the bush with his grandfather, things he didn’t want his siblings to see. There was also something else there, the mysterious Ivory Palm Nut that his grandfather had given him on his tenth birthday a few weeks ago and told him to hide away very carefully and not tell anyone, even Lorato, where he had hidden it. He had found this very strange. Why would his grandfather be so secretive and want to hide an Ivory Palm Nut? There were hundreds of them all over the place. What was so special about this one? He had started to ask all these questions but uncharacteristically his grandfather had shushed him. He would find out in good time when he was old enough and able to cope with such things. Lesedi thought he was plenty old enough to cope with everything but persuading grown-ups of this was another matter.
He had initially put the Nut in his little box in the hut where he slept with the others but then had thought better of it. Tshiamo was always scratching around in everyone’s boxes and throwing things about, so he had taken it out to Mampharing Island. There he decided to be even more careful and not put it with his other treasures but hide it in Mrs. Noto’s nest. Mrs. Noto was a strange brown bird with a head like a hammer. She had built an enormous nest in the fork of a rain tree in the middle of the island. This nest was so huge that Lesedi could sit on top of it without falling through. It was built with sticks and grass and mud and whatever else Mrs. Noto could find. She would collect plastic bags, bits of cloth and leather from the village, and there was even an old tin mug and a discarded shoe in there. Lesedi figured that with all this mess she would never notice an Ivory Palm Nut.
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