Story is the song line of a person’s life. We need to sing it and we need someone to hear the singing. Story told, story heard, story written, story read, create the web of life in words.

Christina Baldwin

Storycatcher, 2005


Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Journey. A Short Story for You.

The Journey

It was dusk when the girl walked into camp. Everyone was busy, bustling here and there, gathering wood, stirring pots, preparing the evening meal.The girl knew exactly what she wanted. She looked into all the faces, well, not all the faces. Only the old ones. She remembered what the villagers had told when they directed her to the camp. “When you arrive, look for the Old One,” said the first, “ The Ancient One,” said another. The girl asked: “A man, or woman?” They had told her no more. 
So she walked for most of the day through field and forest, her bonnet and shawl little protection against the bitter wind. And now here she was, in the camp, searching for the Old One, who just might hold the answer to the question in her heart.
Night fell quickly, and the girl was bone cold. A group had gathered at the far corner of the camp around a great fire. Instinctively, the girl approached. She scanned everyone who stood, sat, or walked around the blaze. She knew she would see what she came to see. Suddenly, she stopped. A flood of warmth shot up through her body. Her feet tingled in joy. There, in front of her, across from the fire, was The Old One. She was sitting quietly, her eyes closed, her presence radiating across the space. The girl made her way slowly and deliberately around the circle, her eyes fixed on the woman. Suddenly, she found herself standing right beside the woman. The girl, trembling with excitement, sat down beside The Ancient One and waited. 
After a time, the Old Woman spoke, without opening her eyes, or moving her head. “You came,” she said. Then gently, slowly, the woman turned and looked directly into the child’s face. With tears in her eyes, her voice barely a whisper, the girl said: “May I ask a question?” The Old Woman leaned toward the girl in response. The child sat up and whispered into the old woman’s ear. The Ancient One sat back and thought a good long time. Then slowly, deliberately, with a gesture she had done a thousand times before, The Old One reached down, and in one graceful swoop gathered a handful of dried herbs from a satchel by her side. Suddenly, she suddenly tossed the herbs into the fire. There was a great sputtering and crackling of the flames, and smoke shot up high, high into the night sky. The Old One watched the smoke for the longest time. She watched until there was nothing there but the great, wide dark. That was all the girl could see. Then the Old One turned to the child and spoke: “Go home,” she said, “go home.” The Ancient One then held out her hand as if to bless the girl, but in one elegant movement lifted herself up to standing. The girl bolted up in turn, wanting to hear more. The Old One walked away. Suddenly, she stopped and turned. She looked into the face of the child who had come such a long, long way, and said: “Be not afraid. You have everything you need.” The Old One turned, and walked into the dark night. 
The girl stood motionless, her eyes wide in wonder, and pain, and joy. After a moment, she began to breathe again. The child asked: “Was this why I came? Was there no more? What now?” All of these questions hung in the air.
        In the morning, the girl left the camp and followed the Ancient One’s advice. She did go home. And over time, not a short time, nor a long time, she did remember.

            And so ends my tale.

            I wish you Dear Reader, each and every one, a beautiful 
            holiday season of peace, of joy, and… a time to remember.

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