April 16, 2011

The Misionary and the Grub, a True Story

M is for missionary. A-Z Blogging Challenge

Yes, it happened to me.  I was this missionary.

A missionary in Papua Barat (formerly known as Irian Jaya), Indonesia was visiting two missionary friends. A  villager showed up at the door and proudly handed the visiting missionary a gift wrapped in a large banana leaf.  She curiously unwrapped it, and there lay 60 fat, wiggling sago grubs.  These short, stout larva or worms lived inside sago trees and were considered a favorite food among the tribal people in Papua.

"Enak" ("delicious" in English),  grinned the villager as he reached for the frying pan. "I will cook them just for you." 

Knowing it would be extremely rude to refuse, the missionary thought maybe it would be acceptable to limit the amount of grubs she was expected to eat.  "Oh, I'll just eat one," she told the villager.

The houseboy grinned and nodded, but continued  to toss the grubs into the frying pan.

"I'll only eat one,"  the missionary reminded him again and again.  But the houseboy's grin only got wider.  So the missionary watched as 60 round, fat grubs sizzled over the fire.  She wished a dozen times she was having lunch somewhere else.

Ten minutes later, the village boy placed the platter of 60 hot, freshly-fried grubs in front of the missionary's plate.  "Enak," he again reassured her.

The missionary, ever mindful of not offending the Papuans, took a helping of rice and several spoonfuls of green beans.  And then she took a helping of just one grub.  It was the smallest one on the platter, as far as she could tell.

The missionary ate the rice and the green beans.  Too soon her plate was empty excepting for one, lone little sago grub. Which, by the way, no longer seemed so little!

She glanced around the table. Her friends were watching her.  The village boy was watching her, still grinning.

She cleared her throat, swallowed hard, took a deep breath and picked up that sago grub.  She shut her eyes, popped it into her mouth, chewed gingerly, and swallowed.  And then she reached for a tall glass of water . . .

The village boy ate the remaining 59 grubs for his lunch.  Remember that grubs are considered a favorite among these tribal people.  Therefore, he was delighted to have them.  The missionary, too, was delighted for him to have them!

I cannot think of a moral to end this silly--but very true--story.  Can you?

1 comment:

  1. Well,

    I too can't come up with a moral!! But the ending was quite good!!

    with warm regards
    CatchyTips for writers