A Letter

Dear Mrs. M,

It is so wonderful here – the other day we climbed a mountain, by car, through steep turns on narrow roads having the East Coast below us, deep, deep down on the one side and the ominous mountain rising majestically on the other side. We drove through the jungle with ancient palm trees with twining orchids and other vines, and where big, black apes with pink old-man faces played on the road, while screaming, colorful parrots flew among huge (as big as small birds) multicolored butterflies.

We looked down into a big crater from where large sulfur puffs were rising, and we went to a “cannibal market” far into the mountains, where a tribe, The Bataks, were practicing cannibalism only a few years ago. Today, only the wildest of them will eat humans in secret, but it gave me the chills to walk around their market with Erik, looking at their interesting and home-made wares knowing that I was surrounded only by former cannibals!

In a way, they look harmless but on the other hand, they are not very friendly to the “whites” and sometimes they set fire to the tobacco fields. I did see one major fire that the Bataks had started and it was interesting to witness how the natives – Javanese, Chinese, Bengalese, etc. – put out the fire by hitting on it with large palm leaves.

Everything is very primitive here – we are behind at least a hundred years in regards to comfort and convenience. Now, I must finish and I send you and your family warm regards.

Sincerely yours,



About Elizabeth Stokkebye

Spent childhood and youth in Denmark. Lived and worked forty years in the US. Now, living my senior years in Denmark. Always the artist.
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