She Who Wrote the World – Part 7: Parable of Rain

She Who Wrote the World, a novella by Hannah Brewster-Stein

Remember to check out my Video page for audio recordings of this story!

Part Seven: The Parable of Rain

drought

In the span of twenty years, the world has seen tremendous changes: technological advancements in medicine, communication, industry and transportation, the utilization of tech to offset the destruction of the environment and new laws that prevent us from destroying our world and ourselves.  In the span of twenty years, I went from a nobody to the leader of the West: the oasis and power center of the world.  We have had civil war and we have won; I am triumphant on the throne of both political and religious power.  I am everything: I am the Author.

You could say I have lived a full life; a life people dream of, but will never have.  My achievements will forever be immortalized in my logs, which I record now within the mind of this sleeping girl.  Take notice, all of you who come after, of this simple girl who is smaller and slower than most, an undesirable girl who is doing nothing more than sleeping here as I sit beside her. Now she is the holder of my sacred knowledge.  I have chosen it to be so.  Her only worth is to be my book, my story.

Take heed to my story:

Once there lived a child named Crystal who dwelt in a small farming village, long before my time or yours.  Her father spent his days toiling in the fields alongside her older brothers.  Her mother was often in a dour mood being left alone in their one room house for most of the day, breathing in the fire’s smoke and drying out meats.

On stormy days, her mother’s mood was even worse.  There was nowhere for Crystal to play or run about without getting in her mother’s way and her untamed energy made her act out.  More often than not, Crystal had to endure brutal beatings from her mother, whose weapon of choice was a long handled wooden spoon, simply because she just could not abide the presence of children in the house.

On the other hand, Crystal loved sunny days.  She could play outside, free to run barefoot through the soft grass, feeling the exhilaration of speed in only the way young supple muscles can afford.  She loved to lie down, breathless and happy and look up into the blue sky, watching the fluffy white clouds morph into animals and faces.

One day, after a particularly harrowing beating, Crystal ran out into the storm.  The rain was aggressive against her cuts and soon she was cold, wet and sobbing, huddled against a tree.

“Why are you crying?” asked the rain.

“Because when you are here I am beaten.  I don’t want you here. Go away!” she replied.

The rain was quite taken aback.  The rain fell to bring good fortune to the people here, so its fields would grow crops and its trees bear fruit, not to cause a little girl to be beaten. Aghast, the rain called for the wind to blow him away.  Crystal was exuberant as she watched the storm clouds leave and the sun lighten up the sky once more.  She basked in the rays, allowing the warmth to dry her clothes, her tears, and fill her body with radiance.

Every day, as soon as dawn broke, Crystal ran outside.  She did not mind that there was no breakfast or that supper would be small. She did not mind that the crops were failing or that her father’s worry lines deepened.  She hardly felt thirsty at all.

Crystal did however notice that the stream that blocked her from the forest beyond had turned into mud.  Carefully, she scampered down the ledge and let her feet sink ankle deep into the softness.

“Help!”  A little voice cried.

Looking around, she spotted a tiny duckling stuck in the mud.  Tenderly, Crystal plucked him up and carried him to the other side.

“There you are,” Crystal said as she sat him down.

“What am I supposed to do now?” asked the duckling.  “This was my home and now it is gone.”

“Fly to a new home.” Crystal suggested, but even as she spoke the mud began to harden around the duckling’s body.

“I can’t move!” He exclaimed.  “If only there was water!  What have I done to deserve this?”

Crystal did not really blame herself for this, just because she asked the rain to go away.  Certainly, it was not her fault that the duckling landed in the mud and she could not think of anyway she could help him.

“Well, I’m very sorry this has happened to you, duckling. But, I must continue on.  After all, it is a beautiful sunny day and I must make the most of it.”

On the other side, Crystal entered a canopy of leafless trees with gnarled branches and broken twigs.  She walked slowly, shyly into its midst, hearing the cracking of dried leaves beneath each footfall.

“Woe!” A voice cried.

Crystal, startled, asked, “Who said that?”

“Woe!” it said again, “Woe is me, for I thirst and receive no water.”   A tree in front of her managed a small creaking bow.

“Oh my,” said Crystal.  “Are you ill?”

“I am dying, all is dying. Woe is us.  Why has the rain left us? What has caused this drought? Woe!”

Crystal looked down, feeling guilty.

“Surely, you are not really dying.” She said.  “Surely, the sun gives you great comfort.”

“Woe!” replied the tree.  “Look.”  The tree parted its branches so Crystal could look inside its hollowed center and there she saw and smelled three small squirrels, huddled together, in their final sleep.  Gasping, she took a step back.

“If only someone could bring the rain back; if only someone would tell us what we did so that would could remedy it.”

Crystal did not want the rain back.  She thought of her beatings and how the rain forced her to remain inside.  Besides, she wasn’t even sure she knew how to bring it back, even if she wanted too.

“Well, that’s too bad”, said Crystal, “but I really must be going.”

“Woe.” Replied the tree as its gnarly branches reached toward her.  Crystal turned and ran out of the dying forest and past the duckling and through the mud, which was now hardened and cracked.  She ran across the shriveled crop fields and stopped only would she could see her small home and collapsed, exhausted on the ground.

Soon, the sun set and a full moon lit the sky.  Crystal remained where she was, stilled and remained undiscovered as the village wasted away in drought and famine.

When villagers in a town further south, where food was still plentiful and the rain still fell, eventually heard of what befell the little girl’s village, they asked the rain, “Why did you not go there?”

The rain replied, “I gave the girl what she asked for.  Do you take back a present once it has been given?”

Like the tree, we experience suffering due to the communal karma we all partake in and like the duck, we can thus be thwarted in our desires.  Those who pursue folly, like the girl, will be cut down and it is upon us to prevent their karma from destroying us all.  The rain teaches us to take care in our requests.  It is not the happiness of one that matters but the good of all and remembering that, we accept both suffering and sacrifice for the greater good.

Soon drought will be coming to this land.  All will suffer for the good of some, my characters.  Some will transcend with me, some will be destroyed for ever and others yet, will remain behind, stuck in the mires, but to them, to you who hear this, is the task to start again.

PART 8 Coming TOMORROW

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