The Legend of Rontu

Ramo is 12 years old now. But ever since he was a little boy, he has heard stories of a huge tiger named Rontu. Some people said Rontu was only half tiger, and half bear. Others

said he was nothing but myth. Whatever he was, he had the people of his village in Tanzania terrorized. One day, coming back from the river where he had been playing with some of

the other village boys, Ramo discovered something. It looked like a necklace, but in the center was something Ramo had never seen before: a tiger tooth. The necklace was decorated

all over with bright beads that sparkled when then sunlight hit them. Ramo's fingers seemed to tingle when he touched it. Excitement shivered through him as he ran back to the village

clutching the necklace closely in his hand. He never noticed the dark amber eyes watching him from the cover of the woods... As soon as Ramo got home he hid the necklace

underneath his bed. He wasn't sure why, but he knew his parents wouldn't want him to keep it if they found it. After he was sure his parents were asleep he took the necklace out from

under his bed and held it in his hands looking at it. At that same time, a huge tiger softly crept through the village until it was directly beneath Ramo's window. "Boy!" it called softly,

"Boy come out here!" Ramo thought it might be his father calling him so he went to the window and peered out. "Who's there?" he called.

"My name is Rontu," said the tiger as he stepped into the moonlight, "and I need your help."

"My help?" Ramo asked softly.

"Meet me at the river tomorrow morning and I will explain," said Rontu as he began fading back into the shadows.

"Wait! How am I able to understand you?"

"Remember that necklace you found today? Don't ever take it off. If you do, all you will be able to hear are roars and growls." answered the tiger as he disappeared from sight.

Early the next morning Ramo slipped out of his house and down the edge of the river. Straining his eyes to see through the dense jungle on the other side, Ramo sighted the tip of

Rontu's tail. "Wait! Wait! Oh please, just a minute!" Ramo cried out as he plunged into the river. Reaching the other side he approached the enormous tiger trembling slightly.

"Well? What are you waiting for?" Rontu asked. "We must hurry," Rontu started walking into the jungle.

"But, where are we going?" Ramo asked fearfully. He still did not trust the tiger's claws and teeth.

"We are going to help my kind." said Rontu as calmly as if he had been asked the time of day, "Come on now, we really must be going."

"How'm I supposed to keep up with you?" Ramo asked. At this the tiger seemed to hesitate, but only for a moment.

"Why you can ride on my back of course. If we don't leave now your parents will come looking for you. And then there will be trouble."

"Of course, I see now." said Ramo, who immediately jumped up on the tiger's back.

"If you're all settled, we're off!" cried Rontu and leaped away towards the heart of the jungle.

After two days of riding on the tiger's back, stopping only occasionally to rest and eat, Ramo was tiring quickly. "Rontu, can't we just stop for awhile? I'm so tired."

"No." said Rontu, "we must keep moving."

"But why?" asked the boy. "What's so important that we have to keep going at this pace?"

"Everything," replied the Tiger, "everything you've ever known."

Bewildered the boy sighed, "All right, let's move."

Two days later Ramo found himself outside a huge temple ruin. Once inside he was surrounded by hundreds of jungle cats: tigers, panthers, leopards, cheetahs and more. "This is

what I have brought you for," said Rontu quietly, "these cats plan to kill all the people in your village so that the entire jungle may be free of humans...so they won't be hunted down."

"And what am I supposed to do?!" said Ramo despairingly, "Are you saying I have to convince them to leave my village alone?"

"If you want your people to survive, yes."

"Great," muttered Ramo before standing up to address all the cats. As determined as he was not to be afraid, his voice trembled and his knees wobbled slightly as he spoke, "Great

cats of the jungle, I have come on the behalf of my people to beg that you spare their lives. Please, let me go explain to them what you want from them. I know we can work something

out!"

"NO!" cried one of the cats.

"Why should we listen to you?" said another.

Then suddenly one voice rising above the others cried out in a husky voice, "Eat him."

Suddenly Ramo found himself surrounded by cats. Then they dove on him and he knew no more. But as he hit the ground the necklace shattered and Rontu knew that there was no

more hope for the little village. Ramo had been their only chance. The legend of Rontu was at an end.

So there you have it folks. A sad ending, but all the happy ones I tried didn't fit properly. Hope you liked it.