Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The pipe was hand-carved, and the tobacco was crushed by the girls’ own hands. A group of heavy smokers smiled as they smoked, and it looked really good.
As they smoked, food came in. There was smoked fish, bacon, wild herb stew, whole roasted rabbits, some home-brewed wine and so on.
Among vegetables, there were what Tavisi called “baba,” baked, steamed, fried, and mashed.
This “baba” was potatoes, which originated in America. They were first consumed by people living in the Andes in South America, Peru and Chile, about 8000 years ago. A native tribe migrated from the east to the cold of the Andes, set up camp in the Lake Titicaca area, and discovered potatoes in the wild.
Until this day, potatoes were the most important edible plant of the Native American tribes, and while some were cultivated, most of them were still wild potatoes.
Not everything was better in its natural state. Wild potatoes were low in starch, and they were not as prolific and provided less energy than cultivated potato plants.
The chief smoked his pipe and beckoned them to eat. Li Du tasted some baba, which was not much different from the potatoes he usually ate. If he tasted them carefully, he would find them bitter and slightly harder.
Hakatulama, who sat near the Chief, said with a sour face, “The tribe’s food stock is getting low, chief. Why waste supplies on these strangers?”
The chief frowned and said, “Keep your mouth shut, Hakatulama. Where are the manners that your parents taught you? We are not savages. Don’t let the guests hear you!”
When rebuked, Hakatulama fell into sullen silence.
Sadisram said as he ate and drank, “Chief, Mr. Li really had a holy wolf, and Catulom and I owe our lives to him. Especially Catulom, who would have been dead for sure if it was a little late!”
The chief nodded his head and looked curiously at Ah Ow.
Ah Ow noticed that someone was looking at her, turned her head and gave him a dirty glare, then continued to state at Li Du’s mouth as he ate.
Sadisram whispered to Li Du, “Mr. Li, show us the power and wisdom of the Holy Wolf.”
Li Du decided to play dumb. He sipped his wine and said, “What power and wisdom? What are you talking about?”
“She can understand you, just as she did on the way here. She has potential, and could jump on a rock as tall as a man…” Sadisram said in ae when he heard this.
On the way, Li Du had played with the little ones because he felt bored. The abilities displayed by Ah Meow and Ah Ow were quite ordinary to Li Du, but they made Sadisram and his nephew, who saw them for the first time, feel shocked.
Li Du smiled and said, “Let’s eat first. Ah Ow is not a circus monkey. She is not good at performing.”
Sadisram became more anxious and tried to persuade him. Hakatulama laughed and said contemptuously, “The Holy Wolf is noble, it will not be ruled by men. You are really stupid, Sadisram, aren’t you?”
Li Du ate his food in silence. He was not interested in the tussles of the Tavisi.
Hakatulama was a rough man, a most troublesome kind of fellow. He mocked Sadisram, and then turned to Li Du, “Is this really a wolf? She doesn’t really look like one. She’s more like a dog, isn’t she?”
While Li Du wasn’t interested in conflict, he would not just sit back and let some idiot make fun of him.
He noticed that the chief was looking at him with interest. He had no idea what he was thinking, but he assumed that the other side was still interested in Ah Ow’s identity.
So he clapped his hands and said, “Ah Ow, come to me.”
Ah Ow licked her lips and came up close. Li Du looked at Hakatulama and said, “See that guy? Go and frighten him.”
With that, he leaned over Ah Ow’s ear and whispered a few words, which consisted of detailed instructions on how to do it.
Ah Ow was smart, but she couldn’t possibly have the same understanding as a human.
After some guidance, Ah Ow understood and licked the back of Li Du’s hand. Suddenly the muscles of her four limbs contracted and she dashed towards Hakatulama like a spring.
The power of her muscles was incredible, and she lunged like a cannonball. One second she was licking Li Du’s hand, and a moment later, she slammed into Hakatulama’s chest.
Ah Ow’s diet was good, and she exercised and had a healthy muscle tone. She weighed about 40 or 45 kilograms, which was typical for a dog with big body size.
She crashed into Hakatulama and sent him flying. Ah Ow then bit into his belt, grabbed it with her teeth and dragged him away under the trees.
Hakatulama screamed twice in fear, and then he realized that he was dragged to the ground. He had no clothes on his upper body, and his skin was rubbing against the twigs and stones. He kept screaming, “Let me go! You bastard! Bastard!”
The Chief’s facial expression changed, and he hurriedly said, “Mohican God! Sir, stop it! Ask it to let that fool Hakatulama go!”
Li Du whistled, and Ah Ow let go of Hakatulama, growled in his face, turned and ran to Li Du happily.
Seeing this scene, the natives who were sitting around exploded in an uproar.
Sadisram’s face lit up with joy and he shouted, “This is the Holy Wolf, see? It’s really the Holy Wolf!”
Li Du pursed his lips a little and continued to sip his wine.
Hakatulama got up awkwardly. Ah Ow attacked him, but instead of being angry, he murmured with a look of uncertainty, “Is it really the holy wolf? Could it be true?”
The chief’s face was serious. He knelt before Ah Ow and pointed at her chest, and then her head, with his right index finger. He then sprinkled something upon Ah Ow.
Li Du did not know what the ceremony was, but it was supposed to be a sign of respect, for when the others saw the chief make the gesture, they fell to their knees and followed suit.
Ah Ow was not interested in this. She turned her eyes to the food and finally targeted a roasted sheep’s foreleg. Then she swept Li Du’s neck with her tail and gazed at the foreleg with pleading eyes.
The Chief, Hakatulama, and others stood back respectfully when they saw this.
Li Du passed the foreleg of sheep to Ah Ow, who dragged it away and joyfully gnawed on it.
The foreleg bone was extremely hard, but Ah Ow crushed it like a chocolate bar, splintering it into pieces in a few bites.
Now no one doubted Ah Ow’s identity. As natives who were familiar with wild animals, they knew perfectly well the difference in bite force between a wolf and a dog.