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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

Christopher Woods, “Dawn Abstract 1”

Christopher Woods, “Dawn Abstract 1”

View Christopher Woods’ and his wife Linda’s online gallery, MOONBIRD HILL ARTS.

 

 

 

A Tale of a Tree
by Barbara J. Williams

In a far distant place at a long distant time, men, all at once, without warning, without worry, knew where God had buried Truth. The excited men gathered, spoke among themselves and made their plan to go deep, deep into the woods.

After a long time, the men reached the tree, the very tree, where God had interred all of Truth.

The tree was very old, very large, a majestic tree, So apt, the men thought, a resting place for Truth.

The roots of the old tree were tangled, thick and strong, creating a labyrinth where men sought fruitlessly for at least the meatless bones of Truth.

Meanwhile, the fragile women were left behind to tend the children and the vegetables, to stoke the fire and clear the hearth, to fetch the water and spin the thread, to clear the path and keep the wild wolves apart from the pretty meadow where they stayed.

The women grew weary of tasks unshared, grew lonely for the deep dark voices of the men. And, after brief and cautious consultation, the women set off, too, deep, deep into the woods. To that place in the forbidding woods where men sought Truth, the women would seek also.

The women packed the soft skins to lie upon. They packed the children and the vegetables. They even packed the fire. Because the women carried their lives, their homes, their futures, the journey was slow and arduous. The women grew painfully weary on the long, long trek to find the seekers of truth.

After much pain and cost to themselves, far, far away from the sweet meadow, at long last, the women found the men. Although they tried and tried, not even one woman could catch the eye of even one man.

The men, of course, were deeply engrossed in the elaborate puzzle of the roots of the tree, where Truth’s bones were buried.

The men had no time to see the women, to see the soft skins to lie on, to see the vegetables and the children, to see the fire. Nor did they notice the angry stalking of the wild wolves around the giant tree.

Then, all at once, without speaking among themselves, all the women began to cry. The women wailed and sobbed and hiccoughed their anguish, there, beside the magnificent Truth tree.

Seeing the women so unhappy, the children, too, began to cry. Deep in the forbidding forest, women and children sang sad cries to the men who only wanted to find truth.

The distant moon rose and set on the cold music of the tears of both the women and the children, while the men, enchanted with the fine question of exactly where God might have hidden Truth, were deaf to the chilling noise.

Many moons changed from black to white then black again. Stars died and fell. New stars exploded into being, while the men studied the tree. And the tears of the women and children watered the leafy carpet of the forbidding wood.

Then, magic happened. The men found a mystic way to uproot the ancient tree, to carry Truth with them back to the pretty meadow.

At home in the meadow, the men sought the secrets of Truth within the mighty limbs and gnarled roots. The men pounded and pummeled and washed and bleached bits of the tree until the once mighty tree was reduced to piles and piles of flat, colorless paper.

Upon these relics of their holy tree, the men, using sharp twigs dipped in the juice of sugary berries and other things, drew signs and symbols, tokens for all they knew, of Truth.

And, back in their sweet meadow, the women continued to tend the children and the vegetables and the fire. Sometimes they used bits of the Truth to feed the fire, to stave off the snarling wild wolves.

And sometimes the women and sometimes the children and sometimes both at once sobbed and hiccoughed and wailed, vainly trying to catch the eyes of the so serious men who, among the remains of the Truth tree, sought to learn its secrets.

 


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