A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Introducing the happy couple, Owongo and Murumda.



It was something and nothing, really.

Something, because the gods had decreed that the weather should turn just a little bit evil, and nothing because Mirumda had gone and he didn’t know why.

Yes, she had gone, and with her taken the light from the Heavens and the good will of the myriad gods that protected Owongo day and night during his short but innocent life.

Mirumda was his … what was the word? Was there one? In the future it might have been angel or even strength but now, in these primitive years so soon after his recent ancestors had climbed out of the trees and learned to walk up-right across the vast acreage of grassland with its lurking predators, now there were no appropriate words. Words were in their infancy and grunts usually sufficed for most things.

But Owongo really wanted one right now, something more meaningful than any old grunt.

And if he ever found it, the right word, forged new in his mind out of the few scant syllables that actually meant anything at all, he would take himself up the Mount of the Dead where the ancestors’ bones lay open to the weather and bleached by the sun and holy as even the sturdiest forest god or randiest water nymph with her lady-parts wide open and beckoning all comers, and pronounce it loud as thunderstorms on flashing nights.

He’d known Mirumda since he’d been a snippet of a man, since his face had refused to sprout a beard and his heart had been simple, needing play with other snippets more than it needed big people with their shouted orders, vicious clouts round flaming ears and the weird crudities he couldn’t understand no matter how hard he tried.

Back then he hadn’t liked crudities. Mirumda had lived across the river from him, in a posher cave where the grandest people lived, grandest because they forced dribblings like himself to toil for them in return for unwanted droppings. Indeed, he himself had mopped the stone frontage of their high-class cave, had even picked nits out of their greased and tousled heads and enjoyed the protein of them, though he hadn’t known a blasted thing about protein, had once on a bad day cleaned the s**t from their back stink-hole where the whole family dropped their waste even when it was loose and foul. And, after a blockage, the stink had been unbearable and he had cleaned the foulness out until a stream washed it away to the river where it could stink for others to sniff.

Yes, he had toiled for them, and on one occasion his reward had been a nice new pant, a deerskin leather one, new and not used, a real treasure you might think.

The trouble had been that he didn’t need a nice new pant or anything like one, not at this time of year when the sun shone most of the daylight time, and he went about, like all honest folks, naked as the day he had been born with his parts exposed for all to see. But the people across the river where the lovely Mirumda played had thought a boy needed to wear a pant, and a lass, too. Mirumda, the daughter, had worn a deerskin pant and when she said anything to him she had told him how she hated the way it made her skin itch and become inflamed, but she had to wear it to cover her girlishness up lest a boy see it, and that was that.

And what be wrong with that?” he had foolishly demanded, and in return she hadn’t played with him for the full turning of the moon because, as she had put it, he was a pig with a pig’s hoggish habits and all decent people knew boys were boys and girls were girls and never the two must meet.

But he had resisted wearing the pant. And he got no red sore itches like Mirumda said she had, but his skin was pure like a lad’s skin should be, his limbs growing ever stronger and his heart grander.

Things in the way of that grand heart had started to change, though, at about the same time as his voice went from a lass’s to a lad’s.

And with that change he had looked through different eyes at Mirumda and the way she, too, was changing … but she had covered up the essence of those changes because lasses had bumps and lads didn’t.

Now, if she had lived on his side of the river she may well not have covered anything up because his class of folks didn’t. They were happy letting the sun bathe them with its balm, turn their rugged skin a nice mahogany colour and even though his boy part had suddenly increased from a worm to a snake (or their likeness), he was quite happy to set it free from pant bondage and allow it and its accompanying spheroids natural freedom.

His father didn’t wear a pant, so why should he? Nor did his mother, and this lack of modesty seemed only natural, but then the familiar and the constant do seem natural, don’t you think? No, the people his side of the river, be they man or woman, boy or girl, enjoyed the summer naked and unashamed and it was the people across the way who knew all about shame. After all, to his mind they had invented it along with a whole range of gods and goddesses who demanded it.

And suddenly Mirumda returned to his life.


It transpired that she had been turfed out of her cave for moaning one time too many about the way her flesh itched when she wore a particular deer-skin pant. Her mother, bless the woman for her fortitude, had suffered itches for ten plus ten and more years and her father’s man-part had even bled once or twice on account of his scratching at itches, but they both suffered the necessary inconvenience in stubborn silence and with their imagined gods looking on, and the daughter Mirumaa was thrashed for complaining more than a handful of times, and sent away to live or die alone.

She wasn’t going to die, though. Not with Owongo around.

She sought him out and they found a nice empty cave on the servile side of the river and set up home together, changing daily from the last vestiges of chidlings to the first of the big folk, and they learned to play games you might well imagine, games with two players in an intimate and cosy cave, games that seemed to tighten their bond one to the other.

Owongo, you see, loved her back then, and he loved her now that she had taken herself off once again, this time all on her own rather than at the behest of her parent-folk, who were, it was admitted, b******s.

What Owongo didn’t know, though, was why she had gone away from him, and if he’d known that he would have sought a second brand new word to scream from the Mount of the Dead.

Mirumda knew all right, though.

You see, she was heavy with child and at less than ten plus five summers she knew all about the ways of the world and babies and stuff like that, and knew that the very thought of it would turn Owongo’s stomach until he retched, and that would not be good. She knew full well of Owongo’s innocence.

So she went out into the forest near the grasslands, and bore the babe herself.

She called it Bongbong, and bore it on her own to the Mount of the Dead on that same day when it was quite clear it would never breathe, and that evening, still searching for vocabulary, Owongo’s heart leapt to the Heavens wherever they might be because, out of the black of early night, she returned to him.


© Peter Rogerson 10.04.17

© 2017 Peter Rogerson

Author's Note

Peter Rogerson
Here we are on another story, this one created by me as I go along with hardly even the vaguest idea where it might end up and through what trials it might survive

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Added on April 10, 2017
Last Updated on April 10, 2017
Tags: Owongo, Mirumda, social classes, wealthy, naked


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..