(Update: I noticed today that my email followers is over 900. Thank you! Each and every one of my dear readers!)
After long cycles of debate, the Peoples had decided that they would introduce themselves to the humans. But yet the questioned remained of who would do the introductions?
“We are too unlike them. We cannot understand their needs.” The Tree People argued.
“They would kill us and eat us.” The Rabbit People added.
“They already kill and eat us.” The Deer People said.
It was in that moment that a person came into the circle among all the competing voices.
“I will do it.” The small voice said.
It was not heard over the cacophony. Many of the People gave reasons why they should not be the ones to introduce themselves to the humans.
“I will do it.” The small voice repeated.
It was in that moment that one of Tree People noticed the tiny little person. It was a small boy. A small human boy. To this point, no humans had ever joined the debates.
“How did you get here?” The Tree asked. The boy looked around, and an expression of fear crossed his face.
“I am unsure. I was laying down to sleep, and when I woke up I was here.” The little boy said.
The Tree then addressed the group, and brought their attention to the little boy. He repeated his offer.
“Why have we never considered a human before?” The Wolf asked.
“Of all the People that would understand their needs, it would make sense it would be one of their own.” The Tree added.
“And in time, this human can start to introduce his people to our own.” The Deer said.
“We could grow together as friends as allies.” Bear said, obviously excited by the idea.
By nearly unanimous vote it was decided that the boy would serve as the mediator to humanity. The only one that voted against it was a very unfriendly member of the Pine Clan. When pressed for a reason why, all the Pine would say was;
“I dunno. I just don’t like him.”
The boy was invited to sit in with the council of the Peoples, and he would live and learn from them.
“Why can’t I go be with my own people now?” The boy asked.
“You have a lot of learning to do first. There is much that you must understand, and when it is time, you will have to teach all you have learned to your own people. Then we all can begin the long process of getting to know each other.”
The boy nodded in agreement, and his days as a student began. Over many long ages did the boy grown into a young man, learning all he could from the People of all kinds. Even if he spent a year with each, there would never be enough time to learn from them all.
In what seemed to be the blink of an eye, the boy had grown into an old man. He had learned much, and had become wise and full of knowledge. One of the Oak People approached him.
“You have become quite wise in the time you have spent with us, but now it is time for you to take all you have learned back to your own people. I do think your descendants will be quite happy to see you.” The Oak said.
“My descendants?” The old man asked.
“Oh yes. You have spent quite a bit of time with us here, time in fact for many of your relatives to grow and have children of their own, and as such down through the generations.” The Oak said.
“How long?” The old man said.
“Generations, but the exact amount of time is not important. What is important that they learn of what you have to teach. It is important that they learn the way of other Peoples.” The oak said.
“How will I do that?” The old man asked. The Oak invited the old man for a walk.
They walked across the land, and as they did it started to shift and change. It was noticeable for only a second, and then the old man found himself staring down a hill at a small group of humans sitting around a fire.
He turned to see that the Oak person was gone.
The old man took a deep breath, an walked into the stranger’s camp.
I have had writer’s block on this series for a while, mostly because of this story. I have found out something about myself all through this process, and that is I struggle a lot with writing shorter stories. I am much more of a novelist at heart. The reason being, I think, is mostly because I am a wordy person. I feel like there is always more to a story, and more to the world than a short story allows me to explore.
Deliberately editing myself drives me a little bit crazy. There is plenty of material here for a few thousand words, and here I am trying to keep it under a thousand. You know, a good size to read in a single sitting; something fit for a blog instead of a novel.
All that aside, there were a few things I really enjoyed about this story. It really has an “otherworldly” feel in my opinion. The little boy comes to the People at the beginning of the story. Honestly, I imagined that the boy had died young, and so he met all these people in some sort of after life, where time and space really don’t play my the rules of “reality.”
That is why by the time the boy has become an old man, an inexact number of “generations” has passed. The way I figured it, learning from even a few dozen mentors could be a long process. Never mind that the People represent different species, of which there is some trillion or so living on the planet. Can you imagine the length of time it would take to learn all that, or even a small part of it? Even if you spent a day with each of them, that is still some trillion days.
Which, if I have enough zeros (12) in my calculator, is something like 2,739,726,027 years.
It’s a really long time, even I messed up the math. That is some 2.7 billion years. Humanity hasn’t even been on the planet that long.
Math! I know, it is pretty intense. There is another odd note I wanted to make about the “time” of this story. Sometimes the chapters of my two series are interconnected, sometime they are not. It is all part of the same “story arc”, but they don’t always line up one-to-one. This is one of those felt really disjointed to me. I am not really sure where it should fall in the time line, if it really fits at all.
All the same, in the next part of this series, we get to explore the earliest evidence we have for spiritual and/or religious belief.
Thanks for reading!