Sadly there haven’t been many village parties recently. No one in the tree village feels completely happy or festive as they used to. Oh yes, they still go about their daily activities just as before. They still chat on the street corners at the bottom of the tree and in their houses everything seems to be normal. The first thing you will notice is that they don’t laugh quite as often or as loudly as they used to. They don’t visit the neighbors as much as they did before. Even the children seem quieter when they are at play and in school. Everything has changed since the village icon was stolen from them by the Banyogs.
Many seasons ago the Ghazen ventured outside the tree villages for a great festival. Villagers from all the trees in the area came to enjoy the food and music and dancing. It was one of those rare days when everything seemed perfect. Old Grandfather Seamus had reported that the omens were good for leaving the tree villages for the day. He had climbed to the top of the tree in the insect-like way of the Ghazen and studied the heavens. It was a very long climb and took the entire day to reach the highest branches. The trip was worth it. The signs were good! The huge full moon was a beautiful golden and so big it seemed to half fill the sky. He was satisfied that no humans, or Biguns as they called them, would be in the forest that day.
Very quickly, he climbed back down the tree. He was moving so fast the long, sharp nails of his fingers and toes were leaving scratches on the bark of the tree! He was so excited he could barely contain himself!
Old Grandfather Seamus gave his report to the village Elders and it seemed that the news spread throughout the village within minutes! Everyone was excited because it had been three seasons since they had been able to leave the tree village. Runners were sent to all the neighboring trees with the news. Tomorrow will be the Outside Festival!
Ghazen in all the trees slept little that night. Preparations were being made. Food was prepared and what a glorious lot of food it was to be! Tingle leaves stuffed with ants and pollen, ivy soup, Hovea blue salad decorated with creamy Old Man’s Beard flowers. For afters they had huge containers of Peppermint leaf pudding as well as Peppermint cakes decorated with the star-shaped Crowea flowers. All these goodies were to be washed down with mugs of warm Karri tea. Oh yes, it was going to be a great day altogether!
The Elders dressed themselves in their robes of office and with the solemn air that only old men can muster they went in procession to remove the Great Tingle Cup from it’s place of honor deep within the walls of the tree.
The Great Tingle cup is the fruit of the Tingle tree. When the seeds have been released after blooming the fruit hardens to wood. For the Ghazen this relic is the defining symbol of their civilization because it is from the Cup that the beginnings of their life came. In all ceremonies, rituals and gatherings the Great Tingle Cup occupies a place of honor in the center of the activities. At the four corners of the table where the Cup stands are the honor guards. It is their sole responsibility to see that no harm comes to the ancient relic.