Pseudopod 060: The Heart of Tu’a Halaita

By Tara Kolden

Read by K.J. Johnson

“You are a thief,” the native translator repeated. “There are two things my people say about the tree god. The first is that no one who steals from him goes unpunished.”

Heglund’s eyes narrowed. “And what is the other?”

Callala looked at the dirt floor inside the priest’s hut. His voice was quiet. “They say the taste of a man’s blood stirs the heart of Tu’a Halaita. After a single bite, he will have no satisfaction until the whole man is eaten.”


Wikipedia has a nice picture of a baobab tree you can gaze upon to enhance your listening experience, if only to give you an idea of the size of the thing. (At least it’s there at the time of this writing — with Wikipedia, you never know.)

01
October 20th, 2007 5:49 pm

Jeez, this is some fantastic stuff! Tu’a Halaita rules. :-3

I always found the idea of missionaries silly…

02
Bela
October 21st, 2007 12:56 pm

The story was awesome, but I don’t think the author thought through the missionary character. I guess I am coming from the view of a religious person here, but did anybody not find it strange that he prayed briefly and only once in the whole story? I lived with missionaries, and I can imagine to dare some native jungle one would have to be pretty feverishly devoted. I just think as a missionary he would pray for his “flock” much more often as well as for himself later on.

Yeah, I do realize that the theft was not very bible-like strategy, so he would have prayed for forgivness. I know I would :-P

03
Fluffy Bunny
October 24th, 2007 11:54 am

I think the idea is that he’s not a very good missionary to begin with. He thinks and does many things that a ‘good’ missionary wouldn’t do.

Also, I can’t believe I’m the first one to post this link to a story of another carnivorous tree:
http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEK20071023040252&Page=K&Headline='Cow-eating'+trees+of+Padrame&Title=Southern+News+-+Karnataka&Topic=0

04
Rhio2k
October 24th, 2007 8:47 pm

Didn’t I read this before in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine over a decade ago? It’s an okay story, but I SWEAR I read this a long, long time ago in some monthly scifi digest-sized magazine.

05
TaraK
October 25th, 2007 1:23 am

I’m flattered if the story resembles something that F&SF would publish. But if you’ve read it before, it could only have been in the Hellbound Books anthology, DeathGrip: Legacy of Terror. If you track down that old story, though, please share a link so we can all enjoy. Here’s to man-eating trees!

06
Spork
November 2nd, 2007 5:27 pm

If you didn’t see everything coming after he went to the tree, you need to improve your reading comprehension.

The story was passable, but nothing at all surprising happened.

07
December 17th, 2007 11:21 pm

Great story. I really enjoyed this one !

08
Mari Mitchell
April 20th, 2008 8:49 pm

Somehow I can help but feel that “Spork” is a writer. I would be wiling to bet that his credits are composed of things he has posted or printed himself.

He fails to see that storytelling is largely the journey and not always the end.