Grandmothers are treasure troves. My two grandmothers told me so many stories from their childhood and young-adulthood that I think if I had stepped into a wormhole that took me back in time to the early- to mid-1900s I would have managed to fit in without anyone realising I was from the future.
I think being a girl in those days was a lot safer though. Here's a story from each that has to do with chivalry and facing bulls.
From my paternal grandmother who had 6 sisters. They were out for a walk with a male cousin when a bull charged them. Of course all the girls screamed and while some were rooted to the spot others ran. The cousin, realising, as he later said, that he was the only male, stood his ground. The bull got closer and closer and then stopped just a few feet away from the lone figure. The bull snorted, flashed his horns and stamped the ground. For one heartstopping moment the girls thought their cousin was about to be gored. But then the bull turned and nonchalantly walked away.
From my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather were out on a narrow footbridge in Chilaw, fishing with friends. A herd of water buffalo came by but when they saw the humans occupying their bridge they slipped into the water and swam across. All save one. He stomped, snorted, and then charged. Atu, the animal expert, called for everyone to jump while he wrestled the hefty bull. Quick as lightning my grandfather grabbed my grandmother's hand and leaped into the water with the others. But at the last minute my grandmother twisted her hand out of his grasp. She couldn't swim and was terrified she would drown. "Jump! I'll catch you!" my grandfather shouted from the water below. There was a splash. But it was only Atu being flung into the water by the bull who then lowered his head and charged, heading straight for my grandmother. She turned and ran hoping to make it over land before the bull caught up with her. But the bull's hoofbeats got louder and louder till she imagined he was inches behind her. With a scream she swung around and the wind caught her saree pota making it billow out behind her. Another splash! This time it was the bull who swam away sheepishly (excuse the pun) ashamed to have been scared by a saree.
2 months ago