Chuche-Qhalin: The Story
“Once, on a big mountain, there was a small village…”
The Storyteller describes the life of a lonely grandmother who has worked all her life as a master weaver. Ayesha’s only grandson has been killed by a landmine, so she weaves herself a little boy made of carpet to love and cherish in her old age. But though her cloth boy is beautifully made, she is saddened by his lifeless form.
Then, magically, a fairy-like Afghan Peri visits, and Ayesha’s prayers are answered.
Delighted to have been brought to life, Chuchi has an adventurous spirit and is easily persuaded to stray, quite literally, from the path – despite warnings from his grandmother and the village Headman.
Indeed, he meets with danger on his very first walk to school. “Where are you going on those fine legs of yours?” ask a pair of Djins – evil, shape-shifting characters from Afghan folklore. The green and blue ogres are in search of treasure, but, wise to the problem of landmines, they refrain from entering abandoned buildings where they believe that treasure might be hidden. No, they need someone to do that for them, someone who can easily be tempted, someone young, innocent, a little stupid perhaps …
“Don’t go there!” cries Jaladul, Chuchi’s noble camel Helper Guide.
Unfortunately, Chuchi does.
There’s an explosion, and he is badly hurt. But it takes more than this for Chuchi to learn. The warning signs Jaladul mentions, an overgrown, unused path, an animal dead for some time, go unheaded. Finally, and luckily for him – for this is a story and not real life – the Little Carpet Boy is given one more chance.
This time, he makes sensible decisions. Having learnt his lessons, Chuchi is magically turned into a real boy by the Peri, and old Ayesha’s dreams come true.