by Dr. D
For a young plains youth, the journey to find wealth and wisdom is not what he expected.
|The Elder Klint shook his head as he looked at Gildo sitting in his tent. Gildo had his arms crossed and a scowling face. Klint sighed, “Gildo, what have you done now?” “It was not my fault.” blurted out Gildo, “When I ran through tanning area I accidentally knocked over a cup of dye.” Elder Klint’s eyes went wide and Gildo quickly said with a panicked look “It is the tanners that should be in here not me, if they had been responsible they would not have left a cup that could be so easily spilled.” Gildo took in a breath of air and looked up hopeful thinking that perhaps he might get a lesser punishment, but he knew he had gone too far this time. Elder Klint just rolled his eyes and said “What am I to do with you? Every few days they bring you to me and I prescribe a punishment or task and you return again like the sun rising. I have run out of punishments.” Elder Klint’s sighed then and he smiled. “Perhaps I could show you something very precious to our people. Maybe it will help you reconsider your ways. So, he took him to the back of the tent to a long black box and said, “Now I want you to know that this is our greatest treasure and our greatest secret, so I need you to prepare for it. Are you ready?” Gildo nodded solemnly. “I want you to cover your eyes with both hands”. Gildo did that. “Now I want you to cover your mouth with both hands”. Gildo did that. “Now stomp the floor with your left foot”. Gildo did that. “Now bite your right hand until it hurts.” Gildo did that. “Now you are ready”, and as he turned around to open the box Gildo asked, “Is that the secret ceremony of Elders?” “Well”, said Elder Klint turned his head and winked at him. “If told you, it would not be a secret any more, right?” He then opened the box up. With eyes of wonder Gildo glanced inside but was soon confused. All he saw was black rags and an old sack. He put his hands inside and moved the rags around and found nothing. He lifted the rags up and looked at them. “There is nothing in here but a shirt and pants that are in poor condition, torn and badly patched and a sack with big holes at the bottom.” Elder Klint looked a little perplexed and said “Well, now that I have your fresh perspective it does not seem like much, but no one ever said our village was rich.” Klint paused for a moment and looked at the contents wistfully. “When I first saw this, I imagined that there used to be a great magical bracelet that could grant wishes and our village was wonderful and beautiful and these were the wondrous cloths that cleaned it. But at some point, someone stole it and the cloths turned to rags and that is why our people look worn and our children surly. At least this is what I came up with to explain it. What would you have thought it was?” Gildo looked carefully in and said “look how long the box is. I think it was a great sword of a hero and this was his armor, and someone stole it and the armor turned to rags and one day one of us will go and find it and return it. The rags will become armor again and then the hero will return, but until that day our village will look worn.” He then looked up at the Elder with a sad face “I still will be Gildo”. Klint smiled and clapped, “I do like your tale better than mine, I think I will keep it to tell others” and he closed the box “But remember it is still a secret and it probably would not look good on us if the other villages found that our treasure was rags”. Eldar Klint sat on the box and said “Gildo, sit down on that cushion. There is a story I would like to tell you about a boy very much like you from a village very much like this one. I will tell you of the Journey of Zimdar!” Gildo sighed “I already know that story.” Elder Klint shook his head, “You only know the one that the troubadours embellished and is told at campfires. It usually has Zimdar defeating various beasts, wrestling the Wanderer and forcing him to give knowledge to make the staff, tricking him into showing the circles and collecting the tiles and running home a hero. But I want to tell you the real story that has been passed down from Elder to Elder.”
Once there was as boy, almost a man, who was dissatisfied with the village he was in and always tested the edges and thought the people of his village not worthy of him. Sometimes the caravans would come by and, when they did, he listened to their tales of greatness in other nations and knowledge and wisdom. They even talked of the Wanderer who would impart knowledge to only those most worthy and he felt he was worthy but the others in the village would never measure up. He told his parents that he would leave and find this Wanderer and demand of him the knowledge and wisdom and riches he so deserved. So, they took him to the elders and he repeated his mission and they had sad eyes as he spoke. The village father said that he knew of this Wanderer, but our people call him the Wind Guide. Zimdar’s eyes lit up “you have seen him?” The elder smiled and said, “I hear him in the wind and in the cry of a child, and in the thunder of hoofs. He speaks for the Creator.” Zimdar looked puzzled then angry, “You lie, the great Wanderer would not speak through brats and hoofs, his voice would be powerful and wondrous, you know nothing of him.” The elder said “Maybe, maybe not, but my great grandfather met him. He went to the desert and found a hill and shouted to him and he came and gave him gifts. Perhaps you can go meet the Wind Guide yourself. But what do you think makes YOU worthy?” Zimdar spoke up with pride, “I am worthy because my arms are strong, and my hands are not dirtied by goats and horses. My thoughts are higher than our stinking dirt and grasses and I can imagine great cities made of materials far better than the sticks and hides we live in.” With sadness, the elder said. “You should go but give us a week to help prepare things for your journey. And I will give you the map my great grandfather gave me”. And Zimdar agreed. At the end of the week many of the village came to see him off. Some of the other children who he harassed were calling him insults and said he should die out there. His mother brought him an outfit she made for him from some material his great aunt had, a gift from the Kalmeer for his great uncle’s bravery, and beads from her private collection. His father gave him his best horse, Raldo. His Grandfather gave him a large almost straight staff that was blank and told him to carve in images of his journey, so he could retell them later. His Grandmother, the village healer, gave him her most precious herb box and told him that it was to hold all the valuable things he would find. Finally, the elder came and just gave him a sack and said “If you find anything useful bring it back in this sack.” and then handed him the map. When all had said their goodbyes, Zimdar rode a few paces away then turn and yelled back. “This is why you never will be worthy; you have nothing, yet you gave what you had away. You are weak and pathetic, and I will never set my foot in this village again!” And with that, he turned and rode fast but he could hear his mother wailing, and that would haunt him a long time.
He rode steadily East at a fast pace for about two weeks and at the third week he was at the desert border. Raldo, his horse, was not doing well as he did not allow time for proper feeding or rest or water. He found the proper markings of rocks and mountains on the map and pressed into the desert. After two days Raldo just stopped and lay down and would not get up. He tried to get it going by hitting it and kicking it, but he realized he had not treated the horse properly and yelled in frustration at the wind. He gathered all that he could carry on his back and, looking sadly into Raldo’s eyes, he left the horse to die. He continued for two more days without water. He was wobbling and was near the end of his strength when he saw a bird circling a little Northeast. He mustered the last of his strength and headed that way. He saw the clump of trees and green at the bottom of a tall rocky hill between two long ridges that went out and met the desert. Halfway there he dropped his pack and made his way there and found a very large pond. He got water and rested in the shade and later that afternoon he went back and got his pack. The next morning he got up, dressed in the good clothes his mother had made him, and hiked to the top and called for the Wind Guide, called for the Wanderer, and whatever else he could think of to come teach him wisdom and give knowledge and great riches. After about two hours at noon he stopped and came down and ate sparingly and gathered sticks for a fire and thought about how wonderful his life will be when he has gotten his riches and knowledge and what power he will have. He did this for three days and on the fourth when he came down there was an old man in rags going through his stuff pulling things out. Zimdar yelled and ran toward him but the old man ran just fast enough to get the bushes and when Zimdar got there he could not find him. He ate his dinner and tried to remain watchful but eventually he slept. When he woke up early the old man was not anywhere to be seen but he would not be stopped from his task, so he dug a hole and buried his supplies and went again to the top of the hill. When he came down he saw that the old man had dug up his stuff and was picking things up and looking at them and he got angry. He did not yell but quietly ran towards the old man. Too late the bent ragged man looked up and tried to hobble across the opening but Zimdar quickly closed the gap, and just before the man got to the bushes he hit him hard on the back with his staff and he collapsed. He hit him many times, as the man rolled into a ball, Zimdar yelled things like “Thief. Useless rag man. Son of a Jackel.” Zimdar poured into those hits all that he hated about the world around him and his frustrations about how unfair the world was to him. All the old man could do was shriek and cry. Finally, Zimdar stopped when he noticed that the man was not shrieking anymore and appeared very still. He walked back to his site thinking to himself that he had killed the man and he hated himself for it…:”
Gildo interrupted Elder Klint “I thought Zimdar was a hero, he is horrible in this story.” “Yes, Gildo, the Old Zimdar was selfish, self-centered, conceited with no concern for others. But to be honest, at your age I also had a lot of Old Zimdar in me and my own journey has been to make it less over time and for the most part I have succeeded. But let’s get back to the story
“…Back at the fire pit, Zimdar slowly fixed his meal and his eyes were at the edge of tears when he heard a moan from that broken pile of rags across the way. His guilt welled up as well as his anger but his guilt won out. He made some soup for him while scowling and muttering at the ground, the pot, the sky. He brought the bowl to the man but the man continued to moan without moving. So, he begrudgingly knelt down and put the man’s head in his lap and spoon fed him all the while justifying to the man his actions and berating him for being a thief even though inside he knew that neither was true. Zimdar went back to his site and as evening came, he gathered sticks for a small fire. The wind blew cold, so he huddled in his blanket and occasionally he heard the rag man moan. He finally got up and went to the old man and picked him up and placed him in his small tent and put his blanket on him. Zimdar spend a cold restless night outside and when dawn finally came he made a small meal for himself and some for the old man who he fed in the tent. He got dressed in the good clothes and went up to the top of the hill and did his usual pleading. He would also brag, show strength and say loudly that he was not like the others, he was better. At about noon, he came down again disheartened and found that the man had crawled out of the tent to be near the fire and was prostrate. He croaked “water” as Zimdar got near. Zimdar got him a drink. He could see the bruises and gashes he had given the man and decided to get his grandmother’s box. He opened it and found six small bags of leaves and powder and a small container of what looked like solid fat. He just stared at the open box because he had no clue what any of it was. Was it tea or for healing or for starting fire, or just lubricating, or for cooking? He did not know. He put the box down hard and stood up with a loud growl of frustration to the sky. “What is your name?” the old man croaked. “I am Zimdar”. “Why does that box cause you so much trouble?” Zimdar replied, “My grandmother gave me this box to hold any treasures I might get, but she also left a few bags and a small box that I thought might help you, but I do not know what anything is, so it’s useless.” The old man with a shaky voice said “Perhaps I can help. Bring the box here and bring up each bag so I can look and smell them.” Zimdar brought the box and did as the old man asked him. After smelling each, the old man gave it back to Zimdar to look at and smell and as he did the old man gave it a name and a use for each one. He told of blatsup to dull pain, willpa root to stop the wound from getting worse from unseen elements in the air, torknut for healing, racha a spice to cook with that the westerners call pepper, Tik leaves which is a tea, and Tinsel, a spice that has a strong flavor preferred by the plains people. “Notice how your grandmother put yellow strings on the bags meant for food. Now put some blatsup and torknut into the beeswax/fat and spread it over my sores.” When Zimdar was finished the frail man curled on the ground and went to sleep. When it came time for dinner, Zimdar gently woke the old man but this time he could feed himself and leaned up against a rock by the fire. The man appeared to be asleep as Zimdar was staring at the first appearing stars. “How can a box be so light and the contents so heavy?” the old man asked. Zimdar looked at him confused, “They are both light.” The old man replied “if you were to find a wonderfully made knife on the ground and you really needed it for some important task but it was too heavy to lift, would it be useful or useless?” Zimdar was unsure “Useless I guess” The old man continued “isn’t that the word you used for the bags earlier?” Zimdar was silent for a long time. He was thoughtful and he listened to the old man wheezing, and the breeze in the trees. When it got fully dark, Zimdar spoke again “Old man, I see the bags were too heavy for me to lift” and with a smile at the wizened man, “ but I know them now and they are light as a feather.” The old one only shook his head and said, “Would you believe me if I told you that your Grandmother can barely lift those bags?” Zimdar shrugged his shoulders “She is old and perhaps they are too heavy for her.” The old man coughed and grimaced a little then said “The folly of youth never ceases to amaze me. Let me see if I can find how truly light the bags really are. Tell me of torknut.” Zimdar smiled, usually he did not listen but this time he did. He knew the answer, so he answered smugly, “Torknut is for healing!” The gaunt man looked into the sky with his eyes that looked hollow in the glow of the embers. “Yes, I can see that is light as a feather to you. Perhaps I can make it heavier. Can you tell me if it heals broken bones, or an aching stomach or a failing heart? Will it help if it is taken in food? Could it also be deadly? Where can it be found? Is it the roots or stem or leaves or flowers that has the healing? Do other parts of the torknut plant have other uses not yet discovered that could help the village better?” Zimdar looked perplexed and said, “I do not know. Maybe the bag is heavier than I thought.” The old man looked over to the pond and said, “I know your grandmother and she would think each bag a mighty weight.” Zimdar gasped, “You know my grandmother?” The old one’s head turned to Zimdar “Her specifically, maybe not, but I have traveled a lot of this world and perhaps I have met her, but I know herb women like her, and most have similar stories and they know a lot about herbs and torknut. They know where it grows and that it is the leaves that must be picked after flowering and dried carefully. They know that the northwest Kingdoms use the roots to flavor their beers. They know that in small amounts with food, it can help an ailing stomach. I knew a woman once, and who knows, it may even have been your grandmother, who had a dear friend and they were inseparable. They both loved a young man very much, but the young man chose her friend and married her and it strained their relationship. The husband one day got a serious pain in his stomach so her friend came to her for some medicine knowing the she was learning herbs with an older herb woman. She did not want to go to their tent as it hurt her too much to see them together, so she gave her friend a small bag of torknut and told her to give him a little in his food. When she got home the man in his folly put the whole bag in his food assuming it would heal faster. Late into the night she and the older herb woman were called to her friend’s tent to a man screaming in agony but there was nothing they could do and soon after he died. She wept, for she still loved the man but her friend accused her of purposely killing him. She and the older woman tried to explain that the empty bag meant he took too much but she knew that if she had only come she would have made sure he got the right amount and she was consumed with guilt. Ever since that time the two friends, who were not friends, lived in the same village but were as far apart the plains are wide. This woman went on to help many people and save many lives but sometimes the cures would for some unknown reason would not work or the people came too far gone and they would die. She bore the burden each day that maybe she was not up to the task expected of her. That would add to her sorrow and she would relentlessly try to learn a little more so she could pass it on so some other young man or woman so they would not have the deep sorrow she has. When your grandmother looks at her herbs does she look with joy or sadness?” Zimdar was feeling very uncomfortable and said, “She always looked sad, but I thought it was because she did not know how to laugh. And by the way it could not be my grandmother because she is married to my grandfather.” “You would not believe the laughter buried in your grandmother, but she is so tempered with sorrow that it has a hard time finding its way out. If you ever see your grandmother again, or a woman like her, see if you can, at least for a moment ease her burden and help her find her laughter. Something else you should also know. Most grandmothers have secrets you do not even know, both good and bad, try and discover them, learn from them, cry with them, laugh with them but remember to reserve judgement until you have walked the same path. “Zimdar was quit again and said, “I am sorry I beat you but…” and as he paused he realized he was going to try and justify himself so he put his hand in his mouth and bit hard. He then finished “I…was…wrong”. The old man only said, “Why did you bite your hand?” Guiltily, Zimdar exhaled “My grandmother would tell me that if I was going to say something stupid that would get me in further trouble to bite my hand hard and it would pass into my hand. I was then supposed to later wash my hands to make it go away.” The old man looked at him “You did not wash your hands very much did you?” Zimdar laughed “I guess not”. With that he got up and went to the pond and washed his hands. When he came back he brought the old man into the tent, covered him, and sat again outside, cold, listening to the snoring from within the tent. Eventually he found some sleep.
As the sun got near to revealing itself, Zimdar arose and cooked a sparse meal for himself and the injured old man. He then dressed himself once more in his good clothes and went up to the top of the mount with his box, bag and staff. He called and cajoled the wind but it answered him not. He came down a little discouraged but not yet dejected. He changed back into his old clothes and as he started to make some lunch of the ground meal he had and the last of the dried meat, the old man asked quietly what he did on that hill each morning. Zimdar replied with confidence “I am on a great quest to see the Wind Guide, or Wanderer or whatever other names he goes by. I seek great wisdom and knowledge and treasure. I alone of my village have the vision.” “What does he look like?” the old man queried. “He is wonderful to behold and magnificent in appearance. He hails the sun like a brother in the morning and rides the moon like a mare at night. His footsteps cause the mountains to tremble and winds just mimic his breath.” “Rides the moon” the old man chuckled. “and so stout that his feet shake the ground. Sounds like a big wind bag to me.” Zimdar glared down to him “You mock what you could not possibly know. I will go before him and once he sees me he will greet me and grant me my wishes.” Zimdar kneeled again by the fire to stir the porridge and he looked up at wizened one before him. The old man held his gaze a moment and said “What will the glorious wind bag see when he looks at you?” Zimdar ignored the insult to the Wanderer and with confidence replied “He would see a man of vision and of great spirit, that I made a noble and valiant journey to see him. He would see,..” but at he was saying those things he remembered the last insult to the villagers, his mother wailing, his father’s horse dying and as he moved his gaze to the pot he glanced at the bruises on the old man and finished quietly “ a special person”. The old man said cheerfully “Well I hope that goes well with you, is the food ready yet?” Zimdar put part of the porridge in the one bowl he had and gave it to the old man with the last of the dried meat. The old man tasted it and grimaced. “This tastes like dung, could you put some racha and tinsel from your bags in it?” Zimdahl smiled and did so and afterwards did the same for his portion. When he had finished and cleaned the bowl and pot he sat again and said wistfully “I had hoped to see the wanderer by now, but I fear that he is busy with long lines of rulers, High Elders and great ones who are noble and just, to remember this lonely outpost. I may not last…” and he looks at the man a little sorrowfully and then restates “We may not last that long as I only have food for 2 more days, maybe 3 if we stretch it.” The old man looked at the sky and said “Long lines I believe, but you may be surprised how few noble and just there really are. As for surviving, this place is a storehouse of food. “ Zimdar looked around him and said “Are you daft old man, I have walked all around here and I saw no food.” “Well…” the old man inhaled “those little odd shaped black rocks you keep complaining about and kick out of the way are doulie nuts, look up at the trees and see how many there are” and Zimdal looked up and saw how many black specks there were in the trees. “You break them open and smash the insides and leach them with water for two days to get rid of the bitterness and poisons and it makes a wonderful bread. Some rikas found their way here one time and now there is a large coven of them in the in boroughs beneath us terrorizing the roots. You could trap them. This is the season that the flat billed moulari birds migrate south and there are always ones that get lost in the winds and find sanctuary at this pond. The winds have brought many seeds here and you will find that there are herbs aplenty, even the ones to replace those you brought in your grandmother’s bags. Perhaps I can show you how to do these things so you can wait for that ‘moon rider’s’ long lines to die down.” So Zimdar collected a pile of doulie nuts and broke them and ground the insides and placed them in a bowl of leaves and filled them with water to start the leaching process. That night by the fire the old man asked Zimdar about the staff. “My grandfather gave it to me to write stories on, but I want to write down the great wisdom the Spirit Guide will give me.” The old man commented “It is a very large stick with a lot of room, and you don’t seem like the kind of boy that remembers things that well, so perhaps the Spirit Guide would not mind if you took just a little portion on the end and with small writing put down some of the things you learned about herbs” and so Zimdar did that. Late that evening, when they were getting ready for the nights rest, the old man said “It is not right for you to stay out here. We could share the tent and blanket”. So Zimdar got in the tent and over the many nights they shared the tent. Each night they started each with the blanket over them but the old man managed to pull it off him in the night and he would wake up cold and pull it back. The old man snored every night but when it got exceptionally loud, Zimdar lightly hit him and turn him more on his side and the volume would lessen. One day the old man told Zimdar that he thought he heard the Wanderer last night. Zimdar only laughed, “I doubt it. He could have yelled in your ears and you would not have heard him over your snoring”. After two weeks Zimdar decided to do something about the smell of the old man and asked him how one could make a tub and he told him of putting stones closely fitting in a basin and filling the gaps with clay and building a fire to harden the clay and leave a place for a drain and how to make soap from herbs and a brush from roots. Zimdar did all of it and filled it with water and brought the old man to it and cleaned him and his clothes and the water was near black. The next day he cleaned himself and the smell in the camp lessened.
This had been going on for 2 months. Each morning Zimdar would dress and pause a moment before the hill and the old man would say “Good luck with the great wind bag up there” . Zimdar would march up with the box and Staff and near noon he would come down and change clothes. He would then get eagerly to his activities of finding and preparing food for the days to come and then walking with the old man as he told him stories and showed him herbs or helped him trap raka. He learned to shoot the occasional Moulari with a bow. At night they would talk and the old man would ask him questions like “What do you know of horses or stones or children or healing or happiness or sorrow?” And each time Zimdar would tell him what he knew and each time the old man would tell him “You do not know very much do you?” and then told him volumes about each topic and drew symbols or pictures in the dirt. Each night Zimdar would cut more on his staff with his knife in his small uncertain writing or make symbols or pictures. The old man would also tell him stories and sing songs with a terrible voice or do dances.
Then one day, with a morning no different than any other, Zimdar stood before the hill and did not move.
The old man said “What is wrong?”
Zimdar was silent for a moment, then replied “He is not coming”
“How long have you known this?”
“For about a week but I suspected for a long time”.
“Do you not believe in the Wind Guide anymore?”
“Oh no, I believe in the Creator more than ever after listening to all the things that you have revealed to me and mysteries that are even in the plants and animals and people and stars and rocks. And if there is a Creator, he must have sent a guide for us”
“Why, then, did you continue to go up the hill?
“I actually did it for you. I so wanted you to think that I was something special and I so enjoyed being with you and I thought if I stopped going up you would think me a failure and would not talk to me again.”
“Why did you stop today?”
“Last night I filled the last little part of the staff and I knew that if the Wanderer did come with great knowledge and wisdom I would have no place to put it and I realized something else”
The old man said in a tired voice, “You found you are not worthy”
At that a broken young man turned around with tears in his eyes and said “Yes” and he continued while sobbing. “How can I be worthy? I could not be asked to take care of great treasure as I could not even take care of my father’s horse and this box surely is not appropriate to hold a great object” and he put the box down and held up the staff “This staff is full of practical things that I only know a fraction of, yet it is a weight I can hardly bear. If the wanderer were to give me great knowledge and wisdom it would surely crush me. What would I ask for if the Wind Guide questioned me? I fear I would forget to bite my hand and would ask stupid things like how to make a meal that would surprise my mother. Or find a flower that my sister has not seen to make her smile. I might ask him tell me what I could do to make my father proud or make my grandmother laugh. “Zimdar started to take off his mother’s special clothes “I realize now that only the great ones should enter the wanders presence and though I am not worthy…” and he pulls off the rest “… I think I know someone who might be close.” He then walks in just his small clothes with his outfit in his hands over to the old man and he then starts to pull off the old man’s shirt. “What are you doing you young turd?” but Zimdar just says “hold still old man I am trying to dress you.” Zimdar then puts his shirt on crooked man. And, with more fuss. he was able to exchange the pants. He then rolls up the sleeves on the shirt and pants so they will fit better as they were too long. “Come old man. I will take you to the top. He put the box in the sack that he had put straps on and swung it on his back. He gave the old man the staff and he grabbed the old one’s arm and started to the hill. The old man resisted at first but gave in. After a short while, he noticed that the bent man was wheezing and that the staff was too heavy for him so he took the staff and put his arm under the wizened one’s shoulder “lean on me, it will help.” They got about two thirds up then the old man stopped. “I cannot go on, this is a young man’s journey, leave me here.” Zimdar took off his pack and sat to think. Then it came to him. He took the box out of the pack and cut two holes on the bottom of the sack. He then told the old man to step into the sack through the holes. “These pants you made fit me even worse than your good clothes.” But Zimdar went in front of the man turned around and kneeled. He then grabbed the straps and pulled the old man onto his back. Picked up the box then grabbed the staff and headed up the steep trail. Zimdar chuckled and the old man said “What’s so funny?” “If my sister was here and saw us now, she would be laughing”. “Hummph, funny indeed, you’re not the one jostling like a box on a mule”. The last part was tricky with no hands available and the man squirming on his back but at last he reached the top. He set the staff and the box down in the middle of the open area and let the old man down and helped pull his legs out of the pack. “So what do I do now” ask the man “do a dance?” Zimdar shrugged “I really don’t actually know. I have seen you dance and I don’t think the Wind Guide would appreciate it as much as I do. I think you are to yell or speak his name.” Zimdar then looked at him sheepishly. “Perhaps you should not use your regular names for him, I think he needs nice ones. The village people use words to describe him that are puffy like the clouds.” Zimdar stopped and scratched his head. “If I had to guess it is probably like wooing a girl. My friends told me your supposed to bring flowers and pretty things to her and extol her virtues and, if she doesn’t have that many, then make some up as it seems that it takes a lot of words to get their notice.” The old man laughed “I have never heard it that way before but does accurately reflect a lot that I have seen. I will try it your way.” As Zimdar started walking away the old man raised his voice over the rising wind “Where are you going?” Zimdar stopped and with half turn looked back and said loudly “He will not come if I am here, so I will go down below the rocks, and besides, I am in my small clothes and that would be a double insult. If I could ask one favor. Could you request the Wind Guide to smile on my village” and he went down the hill. The old man looked tenderly at the retreating Zimdar and said quietly “I already have”.
Zimdar made it to the bottom of the rocks and the wind was picking up and he was excited, perhaps the Wind Guide is truly coming. But the wind increased more and howled and the sand was painful as it struck his exposed chest and legs and arms and face. He started to worry for the old man. The dust above thickened and darkness came and then a flash of light that nearly blinded him. That was followed by the ground shaking and a peal of deafening thunder that knocked him down. As quick as he could he got up and bounded through the tearing sand in the wind up the rocks to the top. By the time he got there the wind had subsided and only a small whirlwind, dark and flashing, was at the far edge of the clearing. Zimdal looked to where the old man was and there was just a large black stain and the staff split in half and the box was broken. In anger he yelled at the whirl wind. “What did you do to him? He was worthy.” It spoke in a thundering voice, “He was useless” Zimdar was dumbstruck that Wind Guide would say that. He yelled back “Yes he was old, and could not climb a tree and could hardly walk. But he taught me so much and kept me alive down there and gave me hope.” The whirlwind replied “..and he stunk” Zimdar was at a loss… this is the great Wind Guide?. “Yes he stunk, but not as much as before I gave him a bath. I thought you great ones were supposed to look deeper inside.” And finally the whirlwind said in a deep commanding voice “..and he snores loudly” At this point Zimdar lost it and he trembled with anger. “You would destroy a man for a snore? You destroyed the staff that had knowledge for my people for a snore? You destroyed my grandmother box for a SNORE?” He quickly put his hand in his mouth and bit hard as his mind churned through all the foul epitaphs he had ever learned. And he boiled inside until finally he released his hand and with all the vehemence he could muster “YOU GREAT… BIG… BAG .. OF..WIND”. The whirlwind started dying down and a voice near normal that sounded familiar came out of it “Now ‘s there’s something I could agree on.” The wind died completely away and there was left a young man in white beaded clothing that looked somewhat familiar. It was his mother’s gift the Wanderer was wearing but it did not have the stains or dirt on it. The stranger walked towards him with a solemn look and Zimdar squinted and looked intensely and his mouth dropped down momentarily. “Is that you?” he said carefully and the Wind Guide nodded. The Wind Guide stopped and leaned down to touch the box and sides gathered and it became whole again. He reached for the staff and it became one piece and the carvings transformed. His chicken scratches became beautiful script and his crude pictures became life like. The Wind Guide smiled as he walked over to Zimdar, then frowning, hit him on the head with the staff while saying “Idiot”. “oww” Zimdar exclaimed as he put his hand to his head “what was that for”. “Four things. ONE,” and he put one finger up, “I did not destroy the knowledge in the staff, it was hopefully safely in there.” as he put the finger on Zimdar’s forehead. “The staff was only to help you remember”. He brought his hand down and produced a second finger “TWO, the staff was not destroyed but only broken in half, you could still read all your squiggles on it though no one else could which is why I modified most of your stuff into a more readable form. Apparently writing and drawing is a lost art these days. And THREE, the box was not destroyed, it was only the sides of the box that fell down, you could have nailed them back again or made another box.” Zimdar rushed him and hugged him saying “you are back old man, I missed you.” The Wanderer smiled for a moment then got a serious look and pushing him back said “the fourth, uh hum, the FOURTH thing” and Zimdar stepped back smiling. “All of those times you went before the great Wind Guide, you could have at least mentioned my dancing as it is shown here” and he then starts looking at the staff up and down then with a quizzical face he turns it over and over. Zimdar says “I never wrote it down.” The Wind Guide looked aghast at him and said “Mortals, I do not know why I ever mix with them, where are their priorities. How will you ever teach your sister?” Zimdar continued smiling “A wise old man told me once that some mysteries are best learned from their source and my sister will teach me well.” The Wind Guide looked thoughtful “That does sound very wise, I will have to keep that one. “Then he stepped back and said “You have come to get knowledge and wisdom and riches. Well let’s see what I can do.” He then lifted the sack up “Sadly if I did give you riches it would fallen out of these holes. But truth be told I cannot give you riches. It is not that I do not have the power. I have far greater power than you could imagine, but the Creator gave me a task to guide and nudge this world and if I was to form things, for my pleasure or the pleasure of others, without his command, it would be disobedience and I would never do that. But I will give you a hint as to where to find great treasure. It is hidden in plain sight in your village.” He then held the staff up. “I already gave you the knowledge, but you will find out that there is nothing in it that is not already known in this world. A few bits are pieces of knowledge lost from ages past but most is common today, though some of the knowledge may be new to you or your people. If you would search the world you would have found almost all of it out there. All I did was condense and put it in one place for your benefit.” He put down the staff and picked up the box. “The trickiest and hardest to give is wisdom. But I requested and am allowed to give you this.” He raised his hands and the sand and dirt arose blurring Zimdar’s vision then it all fell down and they were on a large plain in the middle of a circle with circles around. The Wind Guide said, “Describe what you see starting outward and working your way in.” Zimdar replied looking out, “The distance looks hazy and we are in circles within circles” and he kept dipping his head while looking out as if he is counting “and I see six other circles going out a distance from here outside the one we are in. Inside this circle I see the staff, my grandma box, “ and he smiles ”…the Elders sack with two holes” and turning around he points “ and that big blue sack and…” he then notices the clothes he is wearing and looks up at the Wind Guide in amazement “… I am wearing your patched up clothing? It does not smell anymore. Is this clothing the source of all wisdom?”
At this point in the story Gildo could not contain himself looking with amazement at the box the elder was sitting on “Is that the sack and the Wanderer’s clothes from Zimdar’s journey in there?”. Elder Klint look surprised “What? How do you come up with these things? Your mind is like the rika in the plains, you never know which of its den entrances its head will pop out of next. It is a mystery what goes on in that head of yours. We were at an important part of the story, now where was I?” and he patted the box below him lovingly.
“…Circles…clothes…Oh yes, when Zimdar had asked if the clothes were the source of all wisdom the Wanderer laughed richly. “No, quite the opposite. The outfit you wear now was made by Genna, from the village of Chinken, at the foothills of the north of the mountains you now call Grot Tek which means God’s Teeth, but was formally called the Dragon’s Spine. You probably know Genna better as the Meka Thalmar, the Maiden Warrior that some call a hero from her actions at the northern battles a few years ago. When she was younger I met her and she was cocky and full of self pride and asked for a weapon worthy of her. I told her she must first fulfill a task so I put her in a room with a black cloth, a knive, needle and thread and told her she had a week to make a shirt and pants. After the first day she made some barely passable cloths. I came, changed the chamber pot, gave her food for the next day. When she presented the clothes, I looked at them and then looked at her, and said she had six more days to make some pants and a shirt. I did this each day and on the fourth day she was so impatient and angry that the following day she took her knife and shredded the clothes with cuts and tears everywhere, When I came on that fifth day I looked at the sorry strips and said to her that she had two more days to make a shirt and pants. I then asked why she tore up a perfectly good outfit and that perhaps she should patch it up. She realized her folly, thinking I thought her work was not good enough and over the next two days she patched it up with the small amount of cloth left. On the seventh day I took her outfit and told her it would be fine. Then I told her that she had to wear the outfit for a year, no armor, no weapons. She was furious but I told her that a weapon worthy of her could not just be given to her, but it had to be earned. So she did it and at the end of the year I came and I asked her what she had learned. She told me that beyond learning she was a bad seamstress she did not need the weapon she had foolishly asked for before. She told me the outfit showed her that people who did not have her abilities got hurt without protection and she learned to be less reckless and not put others in danger as much. She learned that she needed to depend on others more. She learned how to fight up close and disarm others quickly. She learned how the clothes worn affect greatly how people see you and they demanded more because they expected less. She learned that outward weapons while good are not as powerful as inward strength and the strength that one gets from trusted comrades. I took the clothes back and she did become a greater leader on the battle field. And now you wear them and I will one day ask what you learned from wearing them. I did myself find them quite comfortable and they have good freedom of motion and they breathe nicely but I must warn you they are horrible at stopping staffs. Now go to the blue bag and lift it up.” Zimdal barely was able to. “It’s very heavy.” “Now take out the contents.” Zimdahl pulled a bag out of it about the same size and weight. “Zimdal, keep emptying the bag” and he found two more large heavy bags in it but could find no more and as soon as he let go of the bag it blew away. “Now take those sacks and throw them out as far as you can in different directions and he did and all three ended up in the middle of the first layer from the center. “Now go empty each one completely” and when he had done that he pulled three sacks from each and was told to throw those into the second outer layer. As he walked to the second outer layer he asked “How can one sack have three sacks inside that all weigh the same. The wanderer told him to go back and lift the empty sack in the first layer and he did and it was just as heavy empty. “The wanderer said “That sack represents where some knowledge had come from, like on a scroll, or from a person. Once they give the knowledge, they are still the same afterwards and valuable and can be used to give that same knowledge or wisdom to someone else. Now go and throw those sacks into the third layer and open them up and he did and each had three bags in them. He threw all of those into the fourth layer and each had three sacks in them. He threw those sacks into the fifth layer when he started to empty those sacks he found only three light tiles and he was told to throw those into the sixth layer so emptied all two hundred and forty three sacks, each having three tiles and threw them out. As they walked to the sixth layer the wanderer said “Each of these tiles represent some object, some action, some knowledge and there is a symbol on each one to show that. Try and lift one up now. “ Zimdal tried but he could not lift it.” The wanderer commented “when it was just a tile to you it had no weight but once you knew that it had great importance but you knew nothing about it took on a great weight to you. How many tiles do you think are here in this circle. Zimdar shrugged “perhaps a thousand”. The Wanderer smiled and said “Go around and count them.” So Zimdar did and when he had completed the circle he said 703 but the Wanderer shook his head and said “Zimdar you miscounted and I want you to try again. I must go for a bit but here is a slate and charcoal. I want you to count every ten then make a mark in the sand and on the slate and look back to see that you counted ten then move forward and to another ten. By the time you are done I will get back.” So Zimdar did so and when he had completed the circle the Wanderer had returned. Zimdar proudly announced “742 tiles” The Wanderer shook his head “wrong again, did you look back after each ten?” Zimdar replied “I noticed after the first 4 sets of looking back I always had 10 behind me so I stopped looking back.” “Where is your slate?” and Zimdar said he lost it. So the Wanderer scanned the circle and noticed that the first eight sets where he made the mark with his foot had ten in them but after that some had nine, some ten, some 11 and one had twelve. “Ah, there the slate is…” and he put his hand up and the slate sailed across the circles to him “… at the tile of Time represented by the picture of an hourglass” Zimdal looked embarrassed. “I thought that tile was a woman’s shape and I stayed there a while thinking of the mysteries you might tell me of that one.” “Those mysteries are for your mother and father to tell you, not me. I will not send you around again but you could have gotten that number another way. How many sacks were in the first outer layer?” Zimdal answered hesitantly “Three?” “Yes, Zimdal, and how many in the second layer?” and at that point the Wander put both hands in front of him with his palms facing himself and put one thumb to his palm so that he was showing nine fingers. Zimdal looked carefully at the fingers and scratched his head and his face got a screwy look to it. The Wanderer looked to his fingers then to Zimdal then to his fingers again and finally said “Zimdal, how many?” and Zimdal blurted out “Ten”. The Wanderer shouted out “Ten? It was nine. NINE. I put up nine fingers to help, how could you get ten?” And Zimdal looked very confused. “ I knew it was nine like the next layer was 27 but when I went to the second layer you told me to look at a previous sack and also you had me count by tens on this outer layer so I thought maybe it was an important number and finally when I saw your hands up I knew your thumb was in back and I thought it was one of those mysterious things you say to me and I was supposed to see what was “hidden” ” As the Wanderer composed himself he said “let that be a lesson to both of us sometimes a nine is just a nine. The exact number of tiles is not important for our purpose now but let me tell you why the tiles are here. Ultimate wisdom comes from the Creator and if one is truly seeking wisdom, one must ask of him but there is some wisdom that can be learned by study. Wisdom never acts on nothing and these tiles will represent things that wisdom can be applied to. Wisdom also works with the ability and purpose. Each of the things that are expressed in the tiles have individual abilities and purposes. Two or more of the tiles can be combined and in varying amounts to give new things that may have quite different abilities and purposes. On top of this each of us can achieve abilities to use each object, to the extent of our potential, to use these things and a purpose that has been set in our lives. When it comes to purpose and ability, you will find that one does not lead to the other. Some with great purpose have low abilities and some with great abilities have small purposes so do not measure the greatness of purpose by the ability of that person. My brethren and I were created with great abilities. I have the ability to destroy all life on this world and even the world itself. Others of my kind are greater and can move stars themselves and form one. But even with our great power we can only work with what is already existing. Anything a person can do or learn or have an ability in, my brethren and I can do far better. But despite our mighty abilities our purpose is small, we were created to serve the Creator and His wishes. Now people, on the other hand, have abilities far lower than us yet their purpose is far greater. They were created to have a relationship with Him, and if they give themselves to him they can become His children and therefor have a higher place than us.
A long time ago a third of my brethren rebelled against the Creator. They did not like the purpose the Creator had for them or the grand plans for humanity and wanted to use their powers for themselves and the greatest of us thought he could overthrow the Creator but they could not. Some fled to other worlds like ours thinking to hide from the Creator or to destroy what the Creator loved. The one you know as the Dark One came here and the Creator would not let him leave and the creator limited how he could use his powers. When people were introduced to this world the Dark One bent what little he was allowed to do to ruin and distort harmony between people and the Creator. He even walked on this world for a season in disobedience and the Creator had me bind him but his thoughts are still allowed to stretch out to men that want to hear it.”
Now the tiles themselves can be put into three categories much like the nature of the Creator himself.
‘Here is the mystery of the Creator:
He commands an action you cannot do,
so He acts to do what He commands for you,
then He can do His commands by His Action through you.’
The tiles can represent physical things, or represent actions or movement, or represent nonphysical things like thought or emotions or spirit. None is by itself above the other. You see this in the child’s game that reflects this principle called ‘Stone-Shears-Scroll’. Stone breaks shears, shears cut scroll, scroll covers stone. These tiles are not wisdom but there is great wisdom in them. As an example, I will tell you of the wisdom of the knife you wear. You could think of it as a combination of five tiles. There is a tile for ORE and a tile for SMELTING and a tile for METAL and a tile for SMITHING and a tile for DESIGN. Your knife started when an ore was found that was smelted to give metal that was smithed with a design and now you have your knife. Where do you think the wisdom is in this?”
Zimdar replied, “I see no wisdom, all I see is skill.”
“Yes, Zimdar, that is true, there is a lot of skill involved at each level. To see the wisdom lets first look at only a few of the purposes or abilities of the tiles we are talking about, though there are many more.
A purpose of the ore is to contain and hide, and its abilities may be the elements that it contains
A purpose of smelting is to release or reveal, and its abilities may be the methods used
A purpose of metal is its usefulness, and its abilities may be properties like hardness or workability.
A purpose of smithing is to form and connect, and its abilities may be the techniques used
A purpose of a design is to make a useful product, and its abilities may be design features.
The knife is a result of all these tiles, but its purpose and ability are different and separate from any of them. A purpose for a knife is to sustain and protect but it can also be used to divide and destroy. Its abilities depend not only on what went into making it but also who wields it.
Now here is the wisdom. Even if you are only looking for iron there are many iron ores. Each can produce different qualities of iron that are all useful for some application. Some ores may be easy to accessible, but low quality and some hard to get and high quality. The one that gets the ores must make wise decisions on how much to get of each ore and is based on value and demand that changes constantly. Once the specific ores are brought to the smelter there are several methods and temperatures that can be applied to each ore depending on whether you want low grade iron, high grade iron, or steel. And they need to be separated and finally come to the smith who must depend on the skill and wisdom of his suppliers, if his work is to be manageable. Low grade iron is useful for hinges, high grade iron for shields and steel for knives and swords. Even when he knows that he must make knives, he needs to decide a design. Is it used for utility like yours or is it for a tanner or for eating with or other specialized uses? Each may require a different technique or time involved or shape depending on the intended use. Your knife is full of skill and wisdom. Now if your knife fails, is it because you did not use it as it was intended or the smith was at fault or the materials he got were at fault going all the way back to who chose the ore?
You may not see it but the same process is used by a teacher to create a lesson and knowledge is like the metal. They find a scroll that has useful knowledge, then extract out what is relevant. They would then form it into a lesson deciding how to teach based on the level of the student.
We can see this also with a master craftsman with an apprentice. He must find an apprentice with potential ability, then determine what the apprentice can do. Based on that, he guides them to skills to reach their potential and potentially send them to another craftsman to specialize in their strengths. As you see there may even be wisdom in practical choices.
So wisdom is the choice you make to do the right thing for the right reasons at the right time. Your people also call the written guides that help you to make wise choices to be Wisdom. Therefore, wisdom can be something you give or something you do. This sometimes leads to a contradiction of sorts in that a person may be wise because they give wise advice but may be unwise as they may themselves make poor or unwise decisions. The trouble with what many people call wisdom is it depends on what they define as good or right or who it is right for. Who do you consider when making choices? Are you trying to do the right thing just yourself, perhaps for your family or maybe for your village? Maybe you are even considering doing the right thing for your nation or even perhaps what is best for all the people of the world. Most guides for wisdom are general and may not apply to a specific situation you are in. You will find that many choices in your life will be right to someone and wrong to another or that any choice you make will hurt someone. Remember also that not doing anything IS a choice and could be wise or unwise. Ultimately, the greatest wisdom is to do what the Creator asks of you and that may make you many enemies, as what many desire is at odds with the Creator’s wishes. Let us now look at these tiles.”
The Wind Guide went to each tile and described what it was, then gave many purposes for it and properties of it. He told of how it could be used wisely or unwisely. After he had finished looking at the tiles individually he then started to show some combinations of things to worked together.
“As I mentioned before there are more tiles I could have put down but even for the ones I did put down, the combinations are near endless. People are the most complex mixture of all, they contain physical items in a complex design that is in constant motion and then you have soul which makes you to have the potential to be in the Creators image.
After he had explained the tiles, he told Zimdar to take all the tiles back to the center. Zimdar noticed that there was only one bag left, so he went around and collected all the tiles and then walked to the center. When he got to the center his bag disintegrated and blew away and the tiles fell clattering to the ground “Your bag going away was symbolic of your eventual death and if you do not give the knowledge you have away, it will be lost. Now take the box and make a row of tiles on one side of the bottom and tell me how many?” and Zimdar did it and looked up and smiled “Nine”. The Wanderer continued “Now fill the bottom of the box and tell me how many rows of nine there are?” Zimdar complied and then said, “There are nine rows of nine.” Now in one corner stack new tiles to the top of the box” Zimdar stacked eight more tiles on top “I see there is nine tiles high.” “Now finish putting all the tiles in” and when they were all put in Zimdar was amazed that they exactly fit in the box
A ladder suddenly appeared, and the Wind Guide told Zimdar to climb it and describe what he sees. Zimdar climbed it looked around for a while then said “I see many circles outside of this one. Some have only a few rings while others seem to have a lot. Why are some parts lit up blue and some red and some not at all?” The Wind Guide replied “Each set of circles represents a person and the layers are their potential abilities and working knowledge. The dark areas are things to still learn, the blue represents things learned that are neutral or good uses of abilities that the individual has become proficient in. The red areas are where they have chosen to use them to harm others or serve the Dark One. Don’t be deceived by the blue that most would call good. You will notice everyone has some red streaks in them and the Creator can only accept pure blue. How can man then be acceptable to the Creator? It is through the mystery I have already mentioned and another mystery:
.........Only by red can red be removed.
Though this mystery will take place on another world, it will directly affect you and any other who chooses to serve the Creator.
You may see that some which have the reddest streaks have many parts dark, but they have paths of red that zigzags to the far end of the circle because they seek power and control. Those ones have neglected or burned out the section of family, friendship, compassion and love. Most people have far more potential than they ever achieve. You will see only a few that have a filled circle and they should be honored even if they have only two or three layers.
Zimdar then said “In the distance I see a great circle made of many layers and it is almost all filled with blue, who is that?” The Wind Guide looked sad in that direction
“She is not to be born for a long time. Do not envy her as sorrow will follow her closely and she will be beaten by her friends and she will devour her enemies yet they will embrace her like kin. She will bend knee to the evil one and armies will be raised and blood will flow on this world like rivers. But be not dismayed, the Evil One will find rest in her arms and she will wander the lands and be called cursed wherever she goes.
“Come down” and when Zimdar had reached the ground the Wind Guide continued “I have something for you to give your brother Tidmar. Remember you saw some circles with less rings and your brother is one of those. It is not that he has less but it is very difficult for him to do some rings so he either stops or skips those rings and continues on. For him the social ring or being able to act politely or recognize when he has offended someone is not accessible so most like him are neglected and people think they are useless. But because of his special abilities he can do things you cannot. Give him this Stone of Five Dances” and he handed Zimdar a clear ovoid stone that had complicated swirls of different colors. “Your brother can find the five dances inside the stone but you or your Elders will not. When he can do all five dances he will be ready to go and start a journey to all the villages of the land and teach others, like himself, to do the dances and help them to do practical things for their villages. They, if given the chance, have the most likelihood of filling their circles and should be honored. When he is ready, I will meet with him. Now I will take you to a place where you can reflect and practice what you have learned. When Zimdar had come down the Wanderer lifted his arms and the dust rose again obscuring everything and when it fell they were in a mountain valley. At his feet was the sack with holes, the staff and the box. He heard a horse neigh behind him and he turned around and exclaimed. “Raldo, your alive! You brought him back from the dead.” “Yes Zimdar, it is your horse, but I cannot raise the dead. After you left Raldo I took him to this valley to recuperate.” Zimdar went and put his arms around Raldo. “Now Zimdar, this valley is in the Turloch mountains south of your plains. you will be here for eight months to reflect on what you have learned. Like a good stew, what you have learned needs time to simmer to draw out the flavors. These are the two tasks I put before you. First, you are to make gifts for the village, but they must be made from your hands alone. Make them knives and needles and nails, bring them blankets and wool. Make some instruments for music like drums and flutes. You will find all the materials are in this valley including ores and goats. Secondly, there is a woman of many years that has come to this valley to die, and she will die in about six months, though you are not to tell her. She is up in that stone hunters shack her father built. You are to take care of her and perhaps even make her smile. Initially she will not trust you and perhaps fear you and she won’t believe that I sent you, but trust is earned. She will have many things you can learn from her, including making blankets and dyes and she has a vegetable and herb garden. Winter will come in four months so prepare and she will help you do that. I will come at different times to aid you. I will show you the ore you must dig and then you will go and introduce yourself to Pamilla
END OF JOURNEY
One year after he had left Zimdar arrived at the outskirts of his village, wearing a ragged shirt and pants with an empty sack…”
Gildo interrupted excitedly eagerly looking at the box “is that the same …“ But Elder Klint put up his hand and gave a stern look “Gildo, do not interrupt me in the middle of the story. Now, where was I?” Gildo was listening but his eyes remained fastened on the box. “Let’s see, ragged pants and shirt and…” and as he continued he lovingly patted the box below him.
“..and an empty sack when a boy saw him and looked a little scared. He told him to gather the village to come here and tell them Zimdar has returned and I must see them. He had put the staff and the box behind him on the ground and stood silently. As the villagers came and stared at him, some tried to talk to him, but he just put his hand out and shook his head. Some made comments about his appearance and laughed at him. His grandmother and grandfather came and stood in front together. His mother and father and sister stood to one side. His mother and sister started toward him, but their father put his hands on their shoulders and held them back with a stern face. Finally, the village elders came and stood before him and Zimdar said, “Do I have your permission to come into the village.” One young man said, “You have legs, just walk in.” But Zimdar shook his head and said, “That is not what I mean. I have chosen from a child to be an outsider thinking I belonged somewhere else even though I heard your laughter, shared your food, did the least I could do and even then with no heart. I want to enter this village for the first time in my life to be part of your laughter, your work, your ways, not only to take but also to give.” The elder smiled, and said with intonation, “Zimdar the outsider, we welcome you to our simple village. We welcome you to our hearths and to our hearts, to our labors and our laughter, to our bounty and our sorrow.” Then Zimdar stepped over the line and breathed deeply, smiled, and said softly, “home”. He then turned to the elder and handed him the sack “I have found great riches and brought them back.” The elder took the bag and opened it up then turned it over and looked at the two large holes at each end, but nothing came out. The elder looked at him questioningly, gave the bag back to him and said, “Then you have failed? “Zimdar replied “Maybe, Maybe not” and the elder smiled remembering that he had said the very same words to a young brash man some time ago. “Did you find the Wind Guide?” he asked. Zimdar looked with all seriousness and said, “Yes, but he was nothing like I thought he would be and I did not find him in the place I expected, and he confirmed the truth you had told me.” Zimdar opened the bag and put his ear into as if listening “I can hear the Wind Guide now” and some in the crowd gasped. Zimdar looked at his father and said, “I hear his voice in the thunder of hoofs and the care of foils”. Looking at his mother he said, “I hear his voice in the whisper of a needle going through cloth.” Looking at his sister “I hear his voice in laughter and dance”. Looking at his Grandmother “I hear his voice in the rustle of herbs in a bag”. Looking at his grandfather, “I hear his voice in stories of adventure and loss”. Looking at all the villagers, “I hear his voice in the advices you had given me” and finally looking at the elder, “I” hear his voice in the wisdom your years have given you. This bag is empty not because I could not find a treasure. The Wind Guide made me aware that the greatest treasure that a man could want is you, my people, and in you is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that I still need to discover. But I did bring some things back to share.” He looked back and beckoned a boy who was leading the horse and goats in the distance. He stepped back to the box and the staff, picked them up and brought them to the elder. He handed him the staff first. “On this staff I wrote pieces of the information the Wind Guide gave me. Some symbols some pictures, some things that you already know and some things that may be new. I would like to share with the village these things. Though I might bring something new to you, I feel that I will be learning far more from you of the depth of each item and that as a village we will be stronger.” The he gave the elder the box from his grandmother. “This box contains tiles that have sigils on them. There are nine rows of nine tiles stacked nine high in the box each representing an object, a thought, an action. I been shown what each is but my knowledge is still incomplete. I have also been shown that the combinations of them have meaning beyond the individual tiles and I know but a few combinations but far more I know exist. Perhaps Elders we may together search the mysteries that are in the tiles.” The elder nodded and at that time the horse and goats, led by a boy, arrived. “The Wind Guide suggested I bring back things that my hands had made.” He went to the first and pulled off some rugs and blankets.” I made these from wool I had gathered and dyes I had made and as you can see my skill is not very good and they may only be suitable for animals. But I brought back sacks of wool and bags of dyes for the village. I found it is easier to chase goats for wool and gather and grind dyes than it is to put them together into something that looks decent, it is a mystery that for now escapes me.” He then took several leather bags off and opens them on the ground to reveal needles and hooks and knives and nails. “I was taught how to find rocks that contain metals and I broke them up. I learned to make a furnace with stones and clay. I burned the rocks and collected the metal and learned to form it. I made knives first and a short sword, then I made nails and fishhooks then needles which were the hardest of all. The knives may not look very good but they will carry an edge. All of these things, including the goats, I brought back and are for the village. And this young boy was out on a journey to find knowledge and wisdom so I agreed to take him to a place that was full of both. I brought him here so he could learn from you, his name is Taktinel.” Taktinal was carrying a box and a staff over it. Zimdar took the staff and handed it to his grandfather “You gave me a staff but I returned it to the village, so I made another one and put on it the new stories and ballads I learned so I would remember to tell them to you. Perhaps in days to come we can tell our stories to each other and then share them with others.” His grandfather smiled and nodded. Zimdar then got the box and gave it to his grandmother. “This box is not as skillfully made as the other, but I made it with my own hands. I did not know when I left what the bags were for that you gave me for my journey or what great worth you had given me, but I have since learned and used them all. I was taught a lot about herbs and roots and flowers and their purposes and names. I collected many and dried them and put them in bags and labeled them and put them in this box. Most you will know and some you will not but of the ones you know I know only a little. Perhaps we can sit and go through them and learn together. “His grandmother was beaming and said “I will gladly share all I know, and I eagerly await to hear of what I do not. You do not yet fully know the gift you are giving me and the village.” Zimdar then said loudly as he walked to the horse. “For the ones I hurt the most, I have no gifts to give.” He took the horse and led it to his father. “You lent me Raldo and I give him back to you.” The father looks confused “But I gave you that horse, I could not take him back.” Zimdar bowed his head and said, “Father, you do not fully know my shame. I did not take care of this horse, I abused it took it into the desert when I knew it was weak, but I thought if I beat it hard enough it would get me to my destination. In the desert he collapsed, and I left it for dead. An old man found it restored it and much later returned it to me. I do not deserve this horse. But I do ask a great favor from you.” The father took the reins with mixed emotions of disgust and pride “What is it?” “I have not shown myself worthy, but would you help me find a horse, teach me how to take care of it, rub it, and what feed is best. Teach me how to make the reins, for as you see, the ones I made to replace yours are not very good. Teach me to know my horse and how to take care of it when it gets sick.” His father grinned and said, “That is always what I wanted to teach you and that I will.” Zimdar went to his sister and said, “I have no gift for you I ask a gift from you”. She said, “I have nothing to give you.” “Oh, little sprout, you have no idea the treasures you have that I so desire. Teach me to laugh, and dance and sing. Teach me to find wonder in the world around us. I have learned some songs and dances but perhaps together we can bring life to them.” She screeched with glee and ran to him and wrapping her gangly arms around him said “I am so glad you are home and I will sing and laugh and dance with you.” With his arms around his sister he looked at his mother and his eyes started to water. “Mother, I did not know, I did not know.” She looked unsure and said, “Know what?” “How great the gift you gave me was. I had no pride in it but I wore it in my pride. I got it dirty and stained. The Wind Guide saw it and marveled at the fine stiches and the patterns of beads and asked where did I buy it. I told him my mother made it. He then asked me what great city she came from to make something that fine. I told him you came only from our village. He said surely she has great wealth to purchase all of those beads. I told him you make them at night from pebbles you break, polish and grind holes. He then said it must have taken her years to make that many and I looked at them and thought about it and told him yes. He then said it must have taken her months to make the outfit, but I replied that you made it in a week. The Guide was astonished and asked me if I realized that she would have had to work from sun up to sun down and most of every night to finish something this amazing. She probably gave up her treasure of beads she had been saving for years for clothing for herself or your sister. I can feel the love she put into each stitch and tears into each bead. You must have been a loving and obedient son to deserve this.” At this point Zimdar started to sob while speaking and his mother was crying too. “I told him no, I did not mind her and spoke back to her and belittled her. I did not know why you made it for me. Later he asked if he could keep the outfit and the stains and dirt disappeared, but the outfit was the same and he told me that he had never before been adorned with such splendor.” His mother’s eyes went wide “He said that?” and she blushed. Zimdar continued his voice becoming firmer. “As you see, I am in need of clothes. Will you teach me to make proper clothes? His Mother walked over to him saying “Yes I will” and put her arms around him next to his sister and he hugged her as he never had before. He then said “Mother, I told the Wind Guide of your tinchar stew and how wonderful it was and I tried to make it for him but it never tasted quite right and I asked him what I was doing wrong. He told me that the mystery of tinchar stew was not his and that some mysteries you need to go to the source to find. He then told me that perhaps one day he may come by to behold and taste that mystery. Would you teach me this mystery?” She smiled and said, “Oh my, who would have known tinchar stew was a mystery?” Zimdar looked around and asked “Where is Tidmar? I have a gift for him from the Wanderer” His father walked through the crowd and they moved aside and far behind he finds Tidmar picking at the post. He took his son’s hand and led him back. “This is the stone of five dances that only you Tidmar, of all of us, can read the swirly patterns inside. When you have learned them, it will be your mission to search the land to find others like you and teach them. The Creator wants us to know that He finds little value in great abilities used on ourselves but esteems greatly even small abilities that for Him are used to help others.” He then hands the stone to Tidmar. With that Zimdar took his mothers and sisters hand and walked back into the village and his home.
Young Gildo said abruptly “Is that why I have to be nice to Zicher even though he is irritating and stupid and can’t do the stuff my friends and I can?” “Yes Gildo, it is easy to value someone that has a lot or offers you much, but it is a measure of a man how he treats those that lack or have little to offer.”
Gildo then said, “I know how the story ends, Zimdar is perfect and all is good after that.” The Elder Klint looks at Gildo and smiles, “Oh no, my dear boy, that was not the end of this story. You see within days of getting back he got frustrated and walked away from a task and the villagers said ‘Old Zimdar has come back’ but Zimdar a day later came back and tried it again and again until he could do it, it never came easy. Another day he got angry and yelled at someone, but eventually he apologized and worked it out. The older he got the fewer times the Old Zimdar came out, but it never left him. It is also rumored that years later when the village was doing the celebration of bells at high summer, the villagers all brought food for a great feast. Several villagers exclaimed to Zimdar’s mother that her Tinchar stew was the best that they had ever tasted when a cool refreshing breeze went through the gathering and a stranger appeared wearing beaded clothes and said loudly ‘I am here taste the mystery of tinchar stew.’ And when he had tasted it he winked at Zimdar ‘it was all you said it would be and more’. The stranger stayed late into the night and played with the children and did dances with the people and told stories and answered many questions.
Gildo looked eager and says, “was that the Wind Guide come back?” Elder Klint looked puzzled and said to Gildo “Uh, well, I had never thought of that, though now you say it, it does seem to make a lot of sense.” Scratching his head a minute, he then looked again at Gildo and waved his hand at the boy, “You best be going as you have given me something to think about. Oh, if anyone asks, tell them I beat you as I do not want anyone to think I had gone soft”. With that Gildo left smug thinking he had given the elder something important but also with a resolve that tomorrow he would try to not be like the old Zimdar.