“Here, take this gift to the young woman I love.”
So said Changó, once upon a time, to a green lizard. Faster than I can tell you, she began to reduce the distance separating her and her destination. But the weight of the present was much too much for so slim a body. She had to stop to catch her breath.
“I’ll carry it in my jaws,” she told itself and she managed to for quite a while. But a branch of honey-berry, suddenly shaken by the wind, scared her. She swallowed the gift, willy-nilly!
“When Changó knows about this what’s going to happen? All his rage will descend upon poor little green me!” wailed the lizard.
Scared to death of Changó she came up with an idea:
“I will find a hideaway behind the palm tree. He won’t see me. After a while, when he has forgotten his anger, I will explain what happened.”
Time went by.
One day, Changó went to visit his girlfriend.
“How’d you like the gift?”
“What gift?” she cracked back.
“The gift the lizard delivered to you from me.”
“It ain’t necessarily so!”
Ahhhh! How much anger can there be in one single blow of the fist? Go ask the stone struck by Changó’s fist!
He hollered into the teeth of the wind:
“Where are you, you lying lizard? You’ve screwed-up real good!”
The lizard heard that, no problem! She was super quiet in her hidy-hole.
Changó spent more than a few days poking around for her. After all the futile searching, he threw himself down under a palm tree, knackered! Still, it was his favourite tree. He loved its beautiful shape, its exuberant hair…but could he now not “Let me explain. It was not my fault!”
“Don’t give me any nonsense! If you had given me the goods in the beginning, everything would be hunky-dorey. But now I’ll show you no one can monkey around with me,” boomed Changó.
And he summed up all his sundry strengths into one mother-of-a-ray and the whole palm tree was toast! But not lady lizard! She was well camouflaged and missed the meltdown.
The legend says that ever since, whenever Changó comes across a lizard in a palm tree he is reminded that he failed to zap his messenger, and he shoots off a ray or two. And as it happened the first time, some hapless tree is trashed. But never the slender messenger who, as if by magic, becomes invincible by taking on the colours of the bark!