An Old Man Becomes Stone Man's Rival

     Then Ibonia picked some ripe fruits in the fields, to take to the village of Many Palms and to offer to Handsome Gray-Eyed Man -- who was Stone Man's father -- and to Stone Man. He set out carrying the fruits and herbs on his shoulders, looking like Old Man. Stone Man's talismans shook and said, "An enemy is coming. He is an exterminator." (111) Then Ibonia came and entered the royal compound. The young princesses and Handsome were surprised. Handsome said, "Here comes a slave from old days." He put down the things he had brought, to the south of the hearth. The young princesses snatched the fruits away from one another. Joy-Giving Girl looked at Old Man.

     At evening, Handsome said, "Where are you going to sleep, Old Man?" Old Man said, "In the house where I always sleep, of course, with the dear child Joy-Giving Girl. The plate I eat from is there, the spoon I eat with is there, the mat I lie on is there." And he went to Joy-Giving Girl's house.

     When the rice was cooked, it was put in front of him in his usual dish. Then the dish cracked and the spoon broke. Joy-Giving Girl was angry at her servants, and said, "You fools have something against Old Man. You broke his plate and spilled his rice." Then Joy-Giving Girl put her own dish of rice in front of him. When Old Man was about to lie down, they unrolled the sleeping mat he always used. It shredded into small pieces. Again Joy-Giving Girl was angry, and said, "You have rough hands. Mats do not shred for no reason. You are doing him harm." They brought him another mat. (112)

     Stone Man's talismans were saying from morning to night, "An enemy is coming, he is getting stronger. An enemy is coming, he is getting stronger."
     Next morning, Handsome and Stone Man were playing fanorana. (113) Old Man came up and said, "I played that with your grandfather. Let me do it now; I used to play it, but not any more." He stood beside Handsome. He looked at the board and then said, "I see it now, my lord, and I will kill' [checkmate]." Stone Man said, "Do it then, if you are going to kill." And when he advanced his pieces, he "killed" Stone Man. They divided the pieces again, and Stone Man got "killed" three times, four times. Then Stone Man became angry and said, "Aah, Father, this is not Old Man. If it is, how does he know how to play fanorana? His job is weeding the fields. Let me shoot him with my gun, Father," he said. "This is a new Old Man." (114)     More Info

     Handsome said, "What are you going to do? Do I give you the slaves of my ancestors so you can shoot them? Wait until Friday. Thursday is still my day. (115) I will not allow any slave of my ancestors to be shot with a gun. That man played fanorana with my grandfather and my father. Now he is teaching you something, and because he killed' you you want to kill him! If you want to play the fool, my son, you will really be doing that if you kill the slaves of my ancestors." So Stone Man did not overcome the stubbornness of Handsome. He left and went back to his house.

     The next day, Stone Man was playing with the young men in Many Palms. They played cross-sticks. (116) The boys gathered into two teams. When one team attacked Stone Man, he caught all the crosses they threw. When it was Stone Man's turn to throw, the ground where the crosses passed over caught fire, and none of them could be caught. (117) Old Man, looking on at Handsome's side, said, "Allow me to let go of my soul' [prepare for death], Handsome. I cannot look on at these boys' games any longer."

     But Handsome stopped him, saying, "Don't do it. Stone Man will kill you. Maybe you did not see: when you beat him at fanorana, he almost murdered you." Old Man said, "What is it to you if I am killed by my own son? Let me go and do it, to let go of my soul.'" Old Man strode over there and said, "Let me play with you, boys. I see your game. I am ready to prepare for death. This takes me back to what we used to do back then." And Stone Man said, "Let him do it, the cursed one, so I can kill him." Old Man did not go to Stone Man's team; he went to the other team. And it was he that Stone Man aimed at with his cross-stick. Stone Man said,
          "This cross-stick, this is me, Stone Man.
               It touches only the top of the forehead,
                    it does not go through the heart.
               What it hits it kills,
                    what it does not hit it makes dizzy."
He threw his cross-stick at Old Man, and its passing started a fire. Then Old Man easily caught the cross-stick that Stone Man threw, so that it did not move. Then it was Old Man's turn to throw, and he said,
               "This cross-stick, this is me, Old Man.
               If Stone Man does not catch it, he will be dizzy.
               If he does catch it, he will be carried into the air,
                    and his body will be injured."
Then Old Man threw the cross-stick. Stone Man just caught it, but he was knocked down by the cross-stick, and his knees, elbows and sides were injured. Then Stone Man began again, but Old Man caught it easily. That surprised the people. Then the cross-stick players divided up. Stone Man was angry again, because people were talking about Old Man winning, saying, "Stone Man could not beat Old Man." (118) Stone Man said to his father, "Enough, Father. I will murder Old Man, because that is not Old Man, it is someone else. (119) If it were Old Man, would he beat me? What is he but an old man?" But Handsome did not agree to it.

     The next day, Stone Man again called the boys of Many Palms, and ordered them to drive in the strongest oxen for trampling. "Today we will do our planting," he said. When the strong oxen were in, they did the trampling. Old Man followed Handsome to watch the tramplers. Then the boys took the oxen by the horns; certain ones which Stone Man whipped were flayed. And the oxen hurried and galloped into the rice fields. Old Man said to Handsome, "I too shall go trample, Prince." Handsome tried to stop him, but he was not willing and went down anyway to trample. "I cannot stand it any longer, Prince, the prince's boys grabbing the oxen," said Old Man. And when Stone Man saw that Old Man had gone down there, he said, "Now I will kill that cat." When Old Man was right in the middle of the rice field, Stone Man turned his oxen around to face him. He whipped them and they galloped up on Old Man to tread him down. But Old Man seized the cows and used them to club the oxen, and the oxen died. And he clubbed the bulls with the oxen and the bulls died. And he clubbed the young oxen with the bulls, and the young oxen died. Then Stone Man became angry, as before, because many of his cattle were dead. Again he wanted to kill Old Man, but Handsome did not allow him to. And the tramplers went back to the village.

     Now Old Man now transformed himself into a kite, to search for Stone Man's talismans -- the ones name Unseen Body, Continuous Murmur, and Great Burning Fire. But he did not find them. Then he transformed himself into a cat, but he still could not find them. And he transformed himself into several other things, but he still did not find those talismans belonging to Stone Man. Then, at last, to find Stone Man's talismans, he transformed himself into wind. (120) Then he did find Stone Man's talismans. He abused and destroyed them, putting an end to their power. (121)

     Now trouble was upon Stone Man, they say. He called the people of Many Palms saying,
     "Those who own lean animals should kill them,
          those who own fat animals should destroy them,
     for we do not know how this land of Many Palms will end.
          The land will be conquered by a man of powerful
                         talismans, a man of power."

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