Announcer: This is a story about a relationship between a little Tibetan boy and the mountain where he takes his goats for grazing.
Background sounds of monks chanting interspersed with birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees…there’s an overwhelming sense of purity in the air. In the distance the faint strains of a flute can be heard.
Little boy (clucking): Here, here…no, no. You…here, Kalsang (his voice goes up a few pitches), Kalsang you never follow my directions. Next time I’ll leave you behind with Mo and then ..…
Goats calling out
Little boy (humming under his breath): Kalsang, you silly boy… I named you and yet you never listen to me. Do you know Kalsang means good fortune? Heh? Good fortune! And you just want to be like the other goats.
Singing tunelessly as he wanders around. From the pitch and tone of his voice it seems like he is around 11-12 years old.
Little boy (calling out): RI…RI how are you this morning. Why so serious? Your Mo didn’t hug you? So what if you’re a mountain, so big and rough.. but your Mo loves you.
(Ri is the Tibetan word for mountain)
Low rumbling of clouds from a distance. The sound of the wind gets a little harsher.
Little boy: Kalsang, come here. Looks like it may rain. No shelter here.
Then turning his face towards the mountain
Ri, take away this rain. The goats have not eaten properly and they will not give milk and my Mo will be so mad at me.
Faint sounds of thunder. As if from a distance.
Little boy: Kalsang, wait here. I’ll get the other goats.
(With a warning tone in his voice): Don’t you dare move from here Kalsang or I’ll never bring you with me again.
The sound of the wind as it whips past
Little boy: Meh…meh…meh (making a goat-like sounds as he calls out to them)
(Then in a plaintive little boy voice) What happened Ri? Everything was fine when I came and then suddenly you’ve changed.
Are you angry with me? No? Then don’t let the storm come. Please, Ri…(pleading)
Little boy continues: Meh…meh…meh Come here. We have to go home.
Sounds of goats meh-mehying in protest as they are herded together
Little boy (muttering under his breath): Six, seven..Norbu…Yeshe..eleven…Diki..Tashi (then, letting out a huge sigh as if in relief) okay, all of you… let’s go home before the storm catches us.
The sound of wind gets stronger…almost a nasal tone
Little boy (calling out): Kalsang…we’re here…let’s go. Where are you hiding KALSANG!! K-A-L-S-A-N-G don’t make me angry you silly goat. We have to leave NOW.
The boy’s voice seems frayed at the edges with anxiety.
The wind gives a menacing roar and the clouds join in.
Little boy (muttering under his breath): Kalsang…please come out. Please Kalsang..if we’re stranded here then I’ll lose all the goats and Mo will never speak to me again.
Loudly yelling again : KALSANG….KALSANG…
A faint meh..meh..can be heard from a distance against the sound of the wind.
The boy’s voice lights up with happiness: Kalsang…come here. We’re here.
The meh…meh’s of the other goats as they huddle together can be heard in the foreground.
Little boy (talking to his herd): We can’t go back. Too windy and the rain is there too…. And Kalsang… I need to find him.
KALSANG… (The boy makes meh..meh noises). The missing goat now seems closer as it responds to the little boy’s call.
Little boy: Come here… Kalsang. You’re a brave boy. Come…come…we’re all here. How did you get lost? I told you to stay here but you never listen…always running off to do your own thing. That’s what Mo tells me and you’re just like me. We’re brothers…
He gives out a shout of laughter. Relief and joy mingle together. It rings out against the sound of the gathering storm.
Little boy: Ri, we need your help. Find us a place where we can shelter against the storm. Please Ri, help me. You and I know each other since I came here as a toddler with Pha. He used to sing songs to you, remember?
I wish he was still here. But he’s not. Mo has become so quiet after he…
His voice drops. His sadness is palpable. And then suddenly, the wind screams and the thunder barks out loud.
Little boy (softly, pleading): Please Ri…
Sounds of hooves trotting on interspersed with the frightened meh…meh’s of the goats. The boy is pushing them on.
The first drops of rain burst forth. The little boy starts singing softly under his breath. It sounds like a folk song. Almost like a song of the mountains…
Another crack of thunder and almost at the same time we hear a yelp of joy from the boy.
Little boy: Look Kalsang… do you see that corner? Come on all of you. It looks like a small hollowed out corner. We can shelter there from the rain.
Pitter-patter of hooves followed by urgings from the boy
Little boy (in a singing tone):
Come with me and I’ll take you to a little corner.
My friend Ri has saved it for us.
He may not smile but he’s a friend.
Behind that stern face is a kind heart.
My friend Ri he is helping us.
He is a true friend. And he will always be there for us.
The sound of the wind and rain decreases. As if the entire group of goats and boy are now in a sheltered space.
Little boy: See, we’re so lucky. We’re safe and dry. The rain cannot hurt us. (Then shouting out aloud with glee): Rain, rain we’ve escaped you. Now you can pour all you want. You can’t do anything to us.
The goats sound more confident. There is no trace of nervousness in their meh…meh’ing.
Little boy: Look, somebody has left a bunch of grass and what’s this… it looks like a broken flute. Okay, something for you and for me.
The sound of a raggedy melody coming from the broken flute. In the background can be heard the restless movements of the herd.
Little boy (a broken sob in his voice): Pha, pha..why did you leave? Where are you now? Why doesn’t Mo tell me anything about you? Are you dead? Yes, maybe you’re dead like Jigme’s uncle. That’s why you haven’t come back.
As if the idea makes perfect sense. There is a sense of relief in the boy’s voice.
Little boy: Yes, that’s why. But doesn’t Mo know you’re dead? She knows everything. She always knows when I’m lying to her.
In the background the rain and wind continue to rage on.
Little boy (singing softly to himself): My pha was a brave man. He was never afraid. He used to laugh at Ri.
Then as if an idea strikes him.
Little boy: Of course, Ri knows what happened to Pha. I should ask Ri. When the storm goes away I’ll ask him. He’s my friend. He will… (he lets out a yawn)
From a distance sounds of chants as if from a monastery. The wind is whistling through the trees. The weather has cleared.
Little boy (he yawns and stretches as if he has just woken up): The storm has passed! Look Kalsang, the sky has cleared. Let’s go quickly. I’m hungry and Mo will be angry. She’ll think I was wasting my time.
Sounds of goats being herded together.
Little boy: Let’s go… c’mon Norbu, faster, faster. Tashi! If you don’t move your lazy butt I’m leaving you here.
Frantic meh..meh’s as the goats jostle together. And then, suddenly…
Little boy: Wait, what was that sound? Did you hear it?
There is a quiet pause as if the goats understand the urgency in his voice.
From a distance the sound of the wind whispering gently. Almost sounds like it is saying “Jinpaaaa” “Jinpaaah” (Jinpa is a Tibetan name)
Little boy: Someone is calling me. Someone is saying my name. Ri, are you calling me? You know my name? Of course, you know…pha used to call out to me when I was little when he came here to graze the goats.
Again, the wind whispers urgently, “Jinpaaa” “Jinpaah”
The sounds of the goats getting restless.
Little boy: Tell me Ri. I know it is you. Tell me. Do you want me the follow the call? Okay, I’m coming there.
Sounds of movement. Goats moving. Their bodies brushing against each other.
Little boy (muttering under his breath): Ri, just a few minutes. I’ll be there. I’m almost….
Loud, thunderous noise. As if the mountain is falling. Boulders crashing down. The goats bleat in fright.
Little boy: Ri, what happened? What is that sound? Ri? Ri?
Gentle voice: Jinpa, don’t be afraid. I’m your pha. I’m taking care of you. Nothing will happen to you. Remember, I’m always with you. Always.
Voice fades away
Little boy: Pha…pha…wait. Talk to me. Where are you? I want to see you. Pha..
Sounds of goats bleating loudly. Impatiently.
Little boy (as if waking up suddenly): What? What happened? Pha?
Then suddenly he gives out a shout of laughter.
Little boy: Kalsang, you silly fellow. Stop pushing me. Yes, we’ll leave now before Mo comes here herself. I’ll tell you secret Kalsang. My pha came to me in a dream. Ri, brought him to me. He has not vanished Kalsang. He is with me. All the time. And he watches …. (his voice fades away).