Looking around the one room hut showed that it was actually bigger than it seemed from the outside. It the far corner there was a little bed and a bed side table next to it. On the table the children saw a stack of books that looked as old as she was, or even older. They also saw a little battery operated lamp glowing weakly on the table. There as another lamp hanging from the ceiling of the hut as well, it was a little brighter than the one on the table but not by much. Old picture frames hung from the wooden walls, most of the photographs were yellow and worn. The children saw an old rocking chair facing a wooden window that was now shut tight against the heavy rains outside.
There was a little stove in one corner with a slightly rusted red and grey gas tank at its side. There was a pot on the fire and the old woman shuffled over to check on it. The children had never really seen her before today, they just imagined that she just had be old and scary-looking because of how creepy her home looked from the outside, with vines and bushes growning up and over the hut. She was tiny compared to the other adults of the village, she was barely taller than the children themselves were. She was hunched over and moved around with the help of a walking stick. Her hair was long and silver, her skin brown and wrinkled.
The children saw that she was probably very beautiful when she was young, and even now she still held on to her beauty refusing to let age win totally. Her eyes were bright and seemed to sparkle in the dim light of the hut. Her hands seem delicate yet strong as she held a wooden spoon and stirred the contents of the pot. Bringing the spoon up to her lips she tasted and smiled.
Much to the surprise of the children, the old woman turned around and spoke. "Anthony and Arianne, would you take five cups out of the cupboard and rinse them out in the sink please."
The two children were so surprised that the old woman knew their names and addressed them directly, that they did as she asked without question.
"Reshma and Yohann," she continued, "would you bring my rocking chair over here please," as she pointed to the centre of the room, "and be careful, it's older than I am." She chuckled quietly. Her smile grew as she saw their eyes widen and they carefully lifted the chair and move it. "Little Joy," the old lady smiled, "would you help me to my chair and bring my blanket please."
Even the Griot was surprised when the tiny girl took her thumb out of her mouth long enough to say, "yes granny," before running over to the bed to pick up the blanket, they holding on to the free hand of the old woman and help guide her to her chair, "thank you my dear."
"Arianne, Anthony," the Griot called, "the pot should be cool enough now, fill the cups and share them out please."
"Yes granny," they replied.
The boy and girl used the wooden spoon to fill up the enamil cups and handed them to the other children. The brown liquid smelled good and the warm metal of the cups felt good in their hands as the rain continued to pound on the galvanize roof of the hut. The thunder boom loudly and all the children jumped, little Joy ran to the Griot and clutched her arm tightly, letting out a quiet whimper.
"Do not fear children," smiled the Griot, "you are safe here, nothing will harm you."
Joy looked up into the grey eyes of the Griot and stopped trembling, she really did feel safe.
"Come children, sit down and drink."
"What is this in the cup granny?" asked Arianne. Yohann seemed to agree as he smelled the contents of his cup trying to figure out what it was.
The Griot smiled, "Your mother has taught you well child, I made us some Hibiscus tea, would you mind getting me a cup as well please?"
"Isn't Hibiscus a flower granny?" asked Reshma.
"Very good," smiled the Griot, "yes it is Reshma."
"I know it!" shouted Joy excitedly, "it's a pretty pink flower!"
"No," corrected Anthony, "the Hibiscus flower is red."
"You are both correct children," the old lady said while accepting a cup from Arianne, nodding in thanks, "Hibiscus come in different colours."
"I didn't know you could make tea from a flower," commented Arianne, "my mommy buys tea in a box with little packs."
All the children nodded, the Griot smiled, "yes most people now buy their tea in the grocery store and super markets, but the old way is to pick your ingredients fresh and make your own that is how I was taught." She sipped her cup.
"Why are some flowers red and some pink granny?" asked Joy, her eyes bright in the dim light of the hut.
"Because of the Zigwarians my dear," answered the Griot.
"Who are they?" asked Yohann and Anthony at the same time.
"They were a race of tiny people that lived a long time ago," the old woman sipped her tea again, "the Zigwarians of the air were in charge of the flowers, we called them the little feathered people."
"Where did they live?" asked an excited Joy.
"They lived mostly in trees, sometimes sharing nests with birds, like the Kiskadee."
The Griot had all the children's attention.
"Would you like to hear a story about the little feathered people?"
"Yes please!" all the children shouted as the rain continued to fall heavily outside.