Titocli was just a small boy, his family sailed in a ship from the Middle
East to South America. It took them many long months of rough seas and
storms before they arrived. Once they landed, they chose a place to build
their new home. Titocli had to help his father carry wood and carve stones
into squares. They saw many strange animals that they'd never seen before;
jaguars, coatmundi, puma, alpaca, and llamas. Giant butterflies and
brightly colored parrots often flew past them, bringing giggles of joy to
several weeks, they finished building their home. Titocli and his father
went exploring, to see what other new and exciting things they could find.
At first they rowed their canoe down the river, but when they came upon
the waterfalls, they had to pull the canoe onto the banks and walk. The
trees grew thick and it was hard for them to see much of anything except
vines, monkeys and leaves. Sometimes they'd see a snake slither past.
Titocli would run and hide behind his father, afraid of the huge, fat
morning they came upon a clearing. “Papa, look at those buildings with
steps. They look like temples,” Titocli said. Smells of roasting food
filled the air and noise roared across the sand.
a city, Titocli. There are many temples and many houses.”
women rushed past, carrying baskets of wool, bananas, apricots, flat
breads, and grapes on their heads. “It's busy here. Much busier than home
in the Middle East,” Titocli said. A group of men stood near one of the
temples. They carried spears and shields and boys and arrows. “Papa, are
those men going into battle? Why do they carry weapons?”
warriors. I'm sure with all the gold I see here, they must be attacked
quite often. One thing that men cannot resist is gold.”
going to live near the city, then maybe we should have spears and a shield
too, to protect Mama and the girls.” Titocli gazed at his father.
you're right.” Papa called one of the warriors over and asked where he
could buy a shield and spear just like his. The man pointed at a building.
“Come, Titocli. We must go over there.” He led his son through the town.
When they stopped, Papa asked the man if they could buy two spears and two
shields. He sold them his best. They headed for home.
days later Mama and the girls saw Papa and Titocli coming home. “It's
Papa,” shouted Milika. She ran to give him a hug.
their spears. “Why are you carrying spears, Papa?”
a large city, with temples covered in gold and turquoise and precious
metals. Warriors protect the city. Titocli thought we should have some
weapons to protect us and I agreed. Many will come to attack the city and
try to take their gold.” Papa stuck his hands in his pockets. “I brought
you and the girls some necklaces and beads for your hair.
showed the girls. They giggled and slipped the necklaces on. Titocli
already wore his.
night they feasted on roasted wild pig and fruits that the girls had
morning Papa took the whole family to the city. They saw the finery of the
wealthy people who lived there. Feathered capes and golden bracelets sold
in the markets, along with squash, avocados, yams, beans, plums and
pineapple. Baskets of fish stood on the ground, luring all who walked by
with their colorful scales. Boxes of hot peppers, garlic and onions
tempted Mama to stop. She'd never seen such things before.
them down the road to show them the warriors who guarded the temples. Each
of them carried a shield and a spear, or bows and arrows.
they went home, Mama tucked her girls into their beds. Titocli helped Papa
build a wall around their home. Mama was glad they'd seen the city. She
hoped Titocli and Papa would never have to use their spears.
night, when the stars filled the heavens and the moon glowed, Mama and
Papa sat outside, enjoying the quiet of their new home. They missed their
old home, but knew that they'd made the right choice by traveling to this
distant land to start a new life.