In this Book I will Be telling you a story about the river mumma (mermaide)
Legend says that River Mumma inhabits the rivers of Jamaica, and all the fish are River Mumma's children. Sometimes, people say, River Mumma rises out of the river to sit on the rocks and comb her long, black hair. But, like they say, don't touch River Mumma. Don't even look at her. There's no telling what she will do if you try. Some say if you so much as see her, you'll fall into a trance and she'll grab you by the heels and drag you under the river. If you try to catch her, the fish will disappear; the river will run dry. It's best, they say, not to make trouble with River Mumma.
River Mumma lives in deep rivers, way down in those places where the water is tranquil, still and achingly blue, in spots beneath the shade of cotton trees, rimmed with plumes and spears of palms and overhung with ferns and ropes and vines of plants. It is there, they say, in those still places, way down at the bottom of the river, that the Golden Table lies hidden. The Spaniards left this table, made of solid gold, during their quest for gold many centuries ago. River Mumma guards that table.
But often at noon, on the hottest of blazing-hot days, the Golden Table will rise slowly to the surface and hover there. When the greedy see that table, they long to steal it. Many have tried. One time, in the deepest blue river on the land of a great sugar estate, the foreman saw that table rise, so he chained a team of oxen to it. "Pull!" he cried, and he snapped his whip across his oxens' backs. "Pull!"
They pulled, and they pulled ? 12 muscular, broad-backed oxen ? but that Golden Table simply pulled every single animal and all the yokes and chains into the river, all the way to the bottom. That, they say, is what happens to anyone who tries to steal the Golden Table.
One day Bastian and his sister, Lora, were walking home at high noon, and as they passed the river, they saw sitting on some rocks the River Mumma. "Run away," Lora cried, but it was too late. Bastian saw it right before his eyes ? that magnificent Golden Table rising up out of the river, hovering there, gleaming bright.
"Let's get that table," Bastian gasped. He couldn't believe his eyes. He'd heard the tales, of course. Everyone had. But he had never imagined something so hypnotizing.
Lora grabbed his arm. "Never, never, brother," she said, and she pulled him on, trying to get him on the path back home. "You know what happens to greedy people, Bastian."