Today I’m posting the second half of Chapter One from my Fable, “The Wise man on the Mountain.” So far this is the largest story in my work-in-progress, a book of stories and poems. Just thought I’d tempt you with a little excerpt. 🙂
“Tell your troubles to the wise man up on the mountain,” a friend would usually advise. “He will surely have an answer.”
Sometimes the breezes would blow from one house to the other with words like, “She said that you said that he said that they said…” Then several fuming people would be making their way up the mountain seeking help.
Now the old man and his wife were very wise to these nasty little breezes and the troubles they could cause. And because they loved the people dearly, they never turned anyone away who came to ask for help.
So every morning the old man would sit in front of the cabin and wait for the people. The first one would arrive and the old man would listen carefully as he or she poured out his or her troubles. Then he would get up and go into the cabin, where his wife had been listening, too. He would take her hand, they would sit down together at the table, and discuss the matter.
The old man would ask, “Now, beloved, what advice shall we give this person?”
She would consider carefully, then tell him what she thought would be a good solution. He would nod in agreement, then he would go out and deliver the advice – and the one with the problem could usually see the wisdom of it, too. Thus many people left their problems behind and went away with a light heart and good direction.
Not all did, though; some went away grumbling and scowling – as sour as the little breeze that had filled their minds. The old couple would sadly watch someone like this as he walked away; they knew he’d never find a solution until he saw the devilishness of that breeze he’d been listening to. The breeze would just get louder and stronger until it swept him away completely to that dreadful dark cave on the other side of the valley.
Of course the master of all these evil breezes sent many of them up the mountain, too, each one tempting this wise old man. But he had a keen nose for that sour smell.
“Your wife doesn’t love you enough,” one naughty breeze murmured.
“If she loves me even a little, I will rejoice all my day,” he replied. “And I love her dearly. Now go away – you smell awful!”
“Your wife doesn’t respect you enough,” another whispered.
“So who am I to deserve such great respect? My wife is the one who deserves great respect, so wise and kind she is.” And the little breeze slunk back down the mountain, grumbling all the way.
“What shall we do?” The master of the breezes lamented. “He exposes and destroys all our work!”
Finally he declared, “I have one last idea – and for that I need the very most feeble breeze among you to do the work. This will be the plan…”
The next morning, just as the day was breaking, the very most feeble breeze crept up the side of the mountain. He blew over among the flowers and waited quietly until the wise old man was taking his seat in the clearing. The man looked down along the trail and saw several people coming toward him.
Gathering up some floral scent to cover its smell, the very feeble breeze puffed a tiny thought gently into the old man’s mind, like the softest sigh. “They are coming to seek your advice.”
Now this fact was so obvious that the old man couldn’t dispute it.
“It’s because you are so wise that folks come to you for help.” The voice was so soft and its scent almost pleasant. As he watched the folks coming into the clearing, he nodded. “Yes, folks are coming because we are wise and can help them.”
Stealing the scent from a few more flowers, the breeze whispered again, “Because they know YOU are so wise.” Then the evil breeze crept away to bide its time.
That afternoon the old man was down by the stream dipping a bucketful of water when the feeble breeze crept up to him again, just as he caught sight of his reflection in the water. “That is the face of a very wise man,” it breathed in his ear. Then it flew away again, lest he detect its sour scent.
The old man gazed down into the stream. The thought had never crossed his mind just that way before, but he supposed it was true. He chuckled and gazed into the stream a moment longer before heading back to the cabin.
To be continued in my upcoming book…