Saturday/ Valie of the Vaal Dam

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The Vaal Dam is close to the town of Vereeniging, where I grew up and went to high school.

I’m still finding proper places for items I brought back from South Africa.  One very special item is a book from my childhood that had been in my parents’ house for several decades, then traveled to Australia with my brother Chris (it was his book, gifted to him in 1967).   When I mentioned earlier this year that I wonder where the book is and that I would love to find it, he brought it to South Africa and gave it to me for my birthday.

The book is out of print; it was printed in 1963.  It is about a friendly, lonely dragon* in the Vaal Dam*.   Well : the Vaal Dam is a real dam, and we went there many times when I was little.  I would later waterski on it behind my dad’s motor boat.  In 1975 when I started high school, the dam overflowed and my hometown of Vereeniging was flooded.   My parents’ house and its parquet flooring was spared, but only by inches.  There was flood water everywhere – in the front yard as well as the back yard.

*Here is a synopsis from Google Books.  (I’m impressed that I could find the book on there).  Deep in the murky water behind Vaal Dam, lived a monster called Valie. Although Valie had scales on his back and a huge tail, Valie was a friendly monster, but there were no other monsters at the dam, and Valie was very lonely. One day, a man came to the Vaal Dam to catch some fish. To his surprise, he hooked Valie! The man went running away but came back with more men with guns. Valie pretended to be dead and when the men came close, Valie popped up to surprise them. They all ran away, except one boy, who learned that Valie was gentle and friendly and who figured out a way to make everyone happy.

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Here is Valie (say ‘fah-lee’) trying to make friends with a fisherman (who is scared out of his wits). To this day the theme of dragons make for good stories. Just recently in 2010 there was the animated film ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ with a sequel to it released this year.

One Reply to “Saturday/ Valie of the Vaal Dam”

  1. I am so glad to read your positive post. I am married to the eldest son of the illustrator and had the privilege of knowing this incredible man for many years. I’ve always tried to get a copy of this book for my children and grandchildren but to no avail. He has since passed away but I’m still trying to see whether I could find someone who is willing to part with their copies.

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