My friend’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was named Naupa.
Naupa’s village was located on the banks of the river Bai, surrounded by lush jungle, mango trees, and rice fields. Naupa and the other villagers never went north of the Tall Rock Waterfall or East of the bubbling hot springs because it was said that the Furious Black Serpent slithered around outside the borders of the village, and one drop of his venom would destroy a person from the inside out.
One year, the beloved chief died suddenly and left his young son in control of the village affairs. The young leader Kazu had much to learn still about the world and the nature of existence. He believed that everything people did, or said was because of him. He was very selfish thinking this way, but he was still young. When his teacher smiled, Kazu always thought it was because of something he had done, and couldn’t see it was the eternal joy that always flowed out of his teacher. Similarly, when his cook cursed the scalding hot oil that burned his hand, Kazu selfishly thought the curses were about something he had done.
Really Kazu was sad about losing his father, and angry at the world for taking him away. He felt jealous of the other villagers who had their families. He believed he was rejected by others because he was so young to be a leader. He hated himself as he became more and more selfish, and he took more and more things personally.
He started to walk around the village pointing his finger at others, and telling them what they were doing wrong. “You need to work harder” “You need to exercise more.” “You are not good enough.” With every point of a finger, the villagers could see how there were three pointing back at Kazu, and they could all see his suffering and did not take his insults personally.
At dusk one day Kazu went to be alone by the Tall Rock Waterfall. “Why me?! Why is everyone so mean to me?!” He cried out at the cascading waterfall.
The Black Serpent heard his cries, and slithered over to where Kazu sat. He licked his lips as he could see that Kazu would be very easy prey indeed.
He lunged forward and sunk his teeth into Kazu and spat out his poisonous venom, “You are a nasty boy and nobody loves you.” Because Kazu took everything personally, the venom went straight into his blood and froze his heart. The snake feeling nicely satisfied after he had shared his nasty poison with someone else, slinked back into the cover of the jungle.
Naupa had been out picking flowers to leave as offerings at the village temple, when she heard a cry from the waterfall. She saw the young chief frozen and dying from the predator’s venom. She laid her shawl over him and rushed off to find help.
The villagers unanimously agreed that they needed to contact the Medicine Monk who resided in the Forest Temple near the border. He was well renowned before retiring to his hermitage as a peaceful warrior who could bring peace to any battle, and heal any injury. He was said to have no fear and be trained in the mysteries of love. The young chief’s father had fought beside him, and loved the Medicine Monk very much.
Naupa went off to call on him, but she had to go north of the Tall Rock Waterfall. Over and over she chanted to keep the Black Serpent away, “I’m rubber. You’re glue. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
Sensing the force field she had created with her chant, the serpent knew he would have no success with his venom on her, and kept away.
The Medicine Monk was out for a walk with his blue umbrella when Naupa arrived. He commended Naupa on her bravery, knowing full well that she had crossed the habitat of the Black Serpent. He gave her a scroll as a personal gift for her efforts, that read “Serenity is peace within the storm, not shelter from the storm.” A gift from such a wise man was a real honour and Naupa’s family has passed the scroll down for many generations.
After Naupa told the Medicine Monk about the young chief, the two flew back to the village on the wings of the Green Tailed Sunbird.
The monk kneeled down over Kazu, pressed his hands over his heart and whispered something in his ear. This was the magic antidote that reverses the effects of the poisonous venom.
The Medicine Monk shone a dimpled smile on the villagers and returned to his forest temple. When Kazu was fully recovered and strong, he taught the entire village how Naupa had protected herself from the serpent, and he shared the sacred antidote in case anyone ever got hurt again.
These are the words the monk whispered as he put his hands on Kazu’s heart:
"Me. Me. Me. It’s not about me.
Other’s project what they feel inside, I see.
If it’s good or bad, ultimately,
It’s not for me to take personally.”
Naupa and Kazu were soon after married and the village was a happy place where the people could walk around with open hearts without fear.