“Since many years ago, a man has been residing on top of the Himalayan range in the cave. He comes down to the village once in six years. Very few people have seen him but many have told a bedtime story about him. Whenever he comes, the villagers lock their gates and hide their cattle.
The mountain is covered with a blanket of snow, where there is no trace of human existence. How can one assume it as an abode for someone?”
Palvit yawns while hearing a fascinating story sitting in a bullock cart. He is shifting to the neighbouring village named Manang with his father, Keshvan.
The two oxen are continuously pulling the cart on the foothills. The little bells tied on their necks keep ringing as the melancholy tune travels through the waves of a cold breeze and makes its way from rich pine trees to his old village.
Palvit is staring far down to the endless trail which was left behind. His heart however knows, on the other end of the road, his mother will be waiting for them. They are here for a short period due to their work.
But since the driver has started boasting the story, Palvit shifts his gaze at the peak of the Himalayas.
The sharp edges of the hills seem peaceful to him. It is standing tall and, the soft hue of dusk is exquisite. He murmurs, “Indeed! Heaven”. It exists without any start or end. The colour of the sunset falls on the front of the Himalayas that slowly starts disappearing into the dark.
Palvit had heard about the beauty of the Himalayas and grew up on a bedtime story about them but never thought he could live there.
They hardly have anything to carry with them except a few bundles of food and clothes. The temperature is already dropping. The chilled wind under the clear sky can compel anyone to tremble. Keshvan brings out a long shawl from one of the bundles of clothes for Palvit that is ripped and has many holes in it.
“We have almost reached. Once we settle down here, we can bring your mother here to stay with us,” says Keshvan.
Palvit cannot wait for that day. But he also cannot deny the thoughts of the caveman who lives with a monstrous-looking ape-like creature.
“This must be a fantasy. Yeti is a fiction made up by our elders for the good bedtime stories.” Palvit thinks.
He falls asleep quickly once he reaches their rented tiny hut. They barely have food to have twice a day but hunger makes him sleep quietly.
Above all, it is windy and snowing on top. The whimsical high cliffs without flora and fauna do not seem to exist on the planet, yet it has stretched its arms to the various region.
The shuffling sound of the footsteps would however break the silence. He slowly walks out of the cave with a long stick in his hand that has a conical shape in the end.
The caveman is wearing a smock garment which is held up by a shoulder strap on one side. His long hair reaches his waist and, the full-grown beard has covered half of his face.
Yeti, however wakes up by the sound. This abominable snowman has an absurd combination of a bear and a yak’s face. He is a large bipedal ape-like creature and his fur is as white as the snow that has covered him all around.
Because of Yeti’s movement, the tectonic plates start to shake and vibrate. He was sleeping all this time. But now he is awake. He is going to follow his master.
His big feet are more than seven feet long, leaving behind gigantic footprints as he progresses. “Where are we going, my master?” Yeti asks. His voice is dense and loud.
The caveman firmly answers. “We are friends, yeti.”
After a pause, the caveman signals. “Down, to the village.”
Palvit firstly, keeps arranging the bundle of woods in the forest and throws them in the cart. Keshvan is a woodcutter.
He is hitting on the trees with the sharp blade of the axe. Abruptly, they can hear loud noises that are getting closer. They both look clueless. But seeing the caveman and Yeti standing in front of their eyes, they turn pale and numb.
“Don’t be afraid. We are here for the food.” The caveman politely initiates the conversation.
Palvit can see the dark unibrows and untidy nails of the caveman.
“We don’t have any.” Keshvan stutters. “Please spare us.” He kneels in fear.
Yeti steps forward towards him but gets stopped by Palvit. His reflexes act naturally to stand fearlessly between the Yeti and Keshvan.
“Quite a scene.” The caveman looks surprised.
“You can take the wood. Get the wild fruits or veggies from the forest. Light the fire yourself.”
Palvit offers. There is a sheer silence among all.
The caveman replies after a pause with a smirk. “I take the deal, my boy.”
Yeti collects a few bundles. Before leaving, the caveman places a small red bead in front of Palvit.
“I don’t take anything for free. Have this. It can fulfil one of your wishes.”
Keshvan warns him not to touch it but, Palvit’s curiosity secretly manages to pick and hide it inside the pocket. As soon as the caveman and Yeti disappear, they immediately rush to the village.
Palvit and Keshvan see some long wooden sticks and barbed fences in the middle of the road as a blockage in the entrance of the village borders.
“You are not allowed to enter the village because we have banished you.” One of the villagers shouts. Everyone has a stick in their hands.
The words shake Palvit and Keshvan. “Why?” Keshvan starts sobbing and begging. “Please let us.”
Another villager yells, “You helped the caveman. Someone saw you giving them wood.”
Palvit’s rebellious side start kicking off with his teary eyes. He looks deeply disheartened by the harsh behaviour of villagers.
“But we haven’t provided them food.”
“So they can cook our cattle by those woods.” The backlashes seem never-ending.
“Carry your stuff and never come back.” Other villagers throw their luggage on the road. They gulp down the grief and then collect their luggage.
“You should not feed others when you are hungry.”
His father is crying while walking down the rough road barefoot. Palvit can see the dark wounds on the soles of Keshvan. Instead, he keeps thinking about the bead he is carrying secretly with him.
In addition, they have almost reached the banks of the Marsyangdi River. Under the fainted sky, they can barely see each other as darkness descends.
Their empty stomachs also start wheezing and, their troubles are not over yet.
The bridge is broken. It is impossible to cross the river by swimming.
Suddenly, they hear the sound of the chariot coming from the same direction of the village.
They turn to look but the chariot stops. People inside the chariot belongs to the same village. The rider asks, “How did this happen? We have an urgency to reach the noble doctor who lives across this river.”
Palvit peeps quietly through the window of the chariot. He finds an old lady breathing rather heavily.
“We don’t know, sir.” Keshvan’s miserable condition narrates the situation.
“You might be the people who are banished.” The rider becomes suspicious. They all are stuck.
Looking at the critical condition of the lady, Palvit thinks to try his luck.
“I wish the bridge gets repaired.” He wishes by placing the bead on his palm. His eyelids are constantly staring at the broken bridge in the hope of some miracle. But sadly, nothing happens.
Soon, they all hear the sound of a loud bang. It was just like in a bedtime story they remembered from their youth. Their eardrums are ringing with the sound of heavy footsteps. Yes! The caveman is coming straight to Palvit with Yeti.
The rider and passenger are frightened by the unbelievable sight turning into reality. Also, the horse starts neighing and kicking in the air looking, at the caveman and yeti. The rider tries to control his horse.
Yeti is still carrying the same bundle of wood on his back. The caveman smiles and finally pats Palvit’s back. “You’ve used that one wish for all.”
The sound had caught the attention of the villagers.
In no time, everyone gathers with a torch in their hands. The fire still burning at the tip lit up the entire valley with light. They witness how Yeti miraculously lengthens the size of the wood and sets it up with more force on both sides of the river to rebuild a bridge. The ropes tied around small bundles have become longer and thicker in size. Yeti, then connects the two ends tightly and gets the bridge fixed.
The villagers are finally no longer afraid of the caveman and Yeti and apologize for their actions. Once he fulfils the wish, he disappears along with the yeti. The caveman smiles looking, at Palvit’s selfless gesture.
Palvit and Keshvan tell all the children a bedtime story of all they have learned from the caveman and the yeti.
This story was written by Pooja Porte, a Dream Away stories contributor.