Tata Duende by Ruvi Bautista STD 6 (7th Grade) Bishop Martin RC School (Note: Tata Duende is a spirit and a protector of the environment.)

In the village of Alone Zone there lives Tata Duende. Tata Duende is a minute man, guardian of the forest. He is shockingly awkward. His feet are backwards, he is thumbless and yet is an excellent guitarist. He is three feet tall, almost the size of a child and wears a huge brown hat which conceals his face. Tata Duende is convinced that if he is thumbless then anyone who meets also must be thumbless and so is accustomed to chop off the thumbs of those who have them.

One night while I was roaming in the forest which is near my house, I met Tata Duende and my life was never the same. It all began when I was gradually becoming far away from my house. Suddenly, I heard someone playing the guitar far, far away. The notes sounded so beautiful, enchanting, almost perfect that I was totally fascinated and I began following the sound to get to the person playing. Finally, I arrived there but I couldn’t see the person’s face. I was hiding behind a tree for I had a bad feeling. I got goosebumps and my heart began beating rapidly. I was sweating and as the playing ceased, I peeped, no one was there. When I turned around, a rough tiny hand grabbed mine and I recognized Tata Duende! He surely noticed that I had thumbs and holding my hand tightly he was about to chop off my thumbs with a shiny sharp medium sized machete. As I saw this, I screamed with a high pitched voice of terror and fright. I stared in Tata Duende’s eyes and he saw my eyes filled with sadness and unexpectedly he stopped himself and let go of my hand. I didn’t run away at that moment as others would, but I bravely spoke to him. I curiously asked, “why do you chop off people’s thumbs? Is it because you do not have any?” I didn’t expect him to answer, but he did. “I don’t know why I do it. My task is to guard the forest from people harming it,” he answered. So I had a brief conversation with him and it concluded when he asked me, “If I can guard the forest, why not guard children too instead of chopping off their thumbs?” “That’s a brilliant idea!” I exclaimed. “I could not have thought of anything better myself!”

So Tata Duende accompanied me all the way to my house as part of his new job guarding children. My life was never the same after that because I knew that while I roamed in the forest at night someone would be looking out for me. Although he is awkward he can have good feelings at the bottom of his heart. And we can have a good image of him, which most people don’t. That was the greatest experience of my life!

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