THE PUSHION PEOPLE

 

 

 By John James Carty

 

Chapter Three - The Monster Anikk Meets the Loberts

 

Anikk's castle looked as good as new once more and he glowed with pride again as he inspected it. Anikk enjoyed the castle so much that he didn't like to leave it. He soon realized that he could rule the other creatures by cutting off the supply of the goods they needed, and soon he was doing whatever he liked. The other creatures came to complain, but Anikk always sent them away, telling them proudly that he knew what was best for them and for Dalriada.

He grew tired of listening to complaints and would allow no one to see him. Even the most important creatures could only get as far as the Great Hall and could only speak to his eldest son.

After a few weeks of this, Tasker Pushion, the chief of the Pushion People, would not take it anymore. He told Anikk he was being unfair and he refused to come in the evenings to tell his stories. Anikk quickly became bored with long empty evenings without a storyteller. He wondered how he could force a Pushion, any Pushion, to come and tell him stories.

It had now reached the stage where Anikk's power affected every creature in Dalriada and every day there would be a line of them going up the hill to plead with Anikk or to find out what he wanted from them. The noise of these crowds at his gate annoyed Anikk and, what was worse, made it look as if he was unpopular. This, he knew, was nonsense. Wasn't he a great king who did so much good for Dalriada?

 

A king should not have to listen to a lot of moaning and complaining, he decided. ‘But what could he do about it? he asked himself.

He thought of the Loberts. The Loberts were fierce wild creatures who always wanted to fight and kill everything they saw. They were very strong stocky creatures, quite short, and they looked somehow like donkeys, although they had only two legs and they had arms.

Another strange thing about them was that they hated to touch any other creature in any way. They simply detested any form of bodily contact. But not everyone knew that, and the Loberts would sit on the hill all day throwing lumps of mud or stones at everyone and screeching,

‘I´m going to punch your nose! I’ll come down there and strangle you!' and things like that, although every Lobert knew that if they had to touch another creature to punch it or strangle it they would be sick with disgust. Luckily, their voices were weak and few could hear them.

 

No one had ever found a use for the Loberts and they were really just a nuisance. It was Reid Pushion who truly said of them, ‘They have lost their memory and found a temper.’ That is the most remarkable thing of all about the Loberts. They have absolutely no memory at all and are always angry and violent.

For much of the time they are so bad tempered because they have forgotten to eat and, like all other creatures, their temper is worse if they are hungry. But Loberts aren’t just hungry – sometimes they are starving and because they had no memory they didn't know that the pangs in their stomach meant that it was time to eat something.

So they usually only ate by accident, when they had run out of other things to do. Even when they did eat they had problems because they couldn't remember what kind of things Loberts ate. So they would try to eat something that Loberts don't like or can't eat and then spit it out in disgust, angrier than ever.

Sometimes they ate things that were not good at all, like knives or cooking pots, and they would cut themselves or break their teeth and get really mad. Even when they found some food they liked it wasn't easy because from one meal until the next they couldn't remember where their mouth was and they would stick food in their eyes, their ears or their neck. A Lobert who had just had his dinner was not a pretty sight.

 

Anikk called his son. He told him to go and get the Loberts and put them on the castle walls with a good supply of stones. The younger Anikk went to the Loberts on the hill and explained what he wanted. As he spoke to the leader the others threw stones at him.

‘What!' yelled the Lobert, 'You pie-faced moron! You dare to come and talk to me! Are you mad? Why, I could take your giant neck in one hand and break it!’

‘We will feed you with spoons,' the Anikk said kindly.

‘What? How dare you! I’ve never been so insulted in my life! I feel like tearing a hole out of your pants! I could, you know, just like that! Big burbling idiot!'

The Lobert stopped suddenly, 'Anyway, I demand to know, pie-face, what's a spoon? And what do you mean by "feed"? I've never heard of such nonsense!' After a good deal of screeching the young Anikk managed to get all the Loberts to follow him to the castle.

 

It took some time because they all forgot who he was or where they were going and wandered off in all directions. In the end he tied a long rope to their wrists and they went happily enough, screeching, shouting and spitting at every creature they passed.

Anikk placed the Loberts on the battlements, gave them a lot of stones and pointed them in the right direction. From then onwards no one could even come near the castle. The Anikks themselves started to wear heavy iron helmets which protected them from the Loberts' stones - and made them look very fierce.