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Thursday, March 23, 2006

In A Village Far Far Away...

The Moral of Honesty

A Silence is Disturbed

There was a small hut, far far away.
It was part of a village. Oh, how the children did play.
And the noises and sounds, of day running into day.
The unforgettable serenity, that held all in its sway.

No trouble here, I thought in my head.
No one to cheat or kill, or hurt, I said.
And so, a hapless visitor, I came here perchance
On a quest of rediscovery. Like life, happenstance.

So, back to the hut, for it was sunset.
But the village wasn't done, at least not yet.
No, it was time to gather around the elders.
There is an issue, they said. Slowly dying embers.

A crime had come to pass. Quite hard to believe.
I guess it was too good to last. Poor comic reprieve.
Long Feather has killed his brother. The facts, at last.
He must be punished, utterly. The empty silence, so vast.

Never have we seen this. He must be dealt with!
Murderer. Murderer! Deafening unison. Justice forthwith.

Out came the offender, hands bound, cold stare.
The others cursed softly. Quick glances, heavy the air.
I killed my brother. Most deliberately he spoke.
I watched him writhe in pain, said he through the smoke.

The engulfing silence, it belied the rage of the crowd.
A speechless few left, their sense of right screamed too loud.
The remainder rose up, and shocked though they were,
Wanted more, for it is human to err.

But Long Feather went on, he had more to say.
He didn't know why, and I saw no mistake.
Shock grew to horror, and then it erupted.
Let's kill this madman! Excuses. Enough said.

And as they made their way, with a swiftening roar.
And as they cried out, till their throats grew sore.
And as the first knife, came plunging down.
WAIT! shouted dear Long Feather, standing his ground.

The knife faltered at first, and then it just halted.
As did the mass of venomous avengers, their rage humbled.
He was my own brother, why would I simply dispose of him?
No answer was offered. The air, it grew still again.

Long Feather's Tale

We were out hunting, in the forest by the lake,
When we saw two deer playing; coming to us, their only mistake.
One was a magnificent male, with antlers unrivaled!
And the other, his mate; their joy, unbridled.

Let us leave them be Brother Black Bear, for they promise new life.
But my brother's greed knew no sympathy, for desire is strife.
No dear brother. I will flank them on the left.
And when I give the signal, we'll trap them in that cleft.

And before I could say anything to convince him otherwise,
Black Bear was off; a dangerous hue glazed his eyes.
I could not bear it, the thought of what was to be,
So I uttered a sharp cry, and the creatures did flee.

My brother was more than thoroughly unimpressed.
There was rage in his eyes. He barked, Are you possessed?
What the hell were you thinking? Why did you shout?
Now we've lost both food and trophy. Oh what an ignominious clout!

Be calm my brother. This forest is our host.
It will provide for us. All is not lost.

But before I could utter another word, a placatory note,
Brother Black Bear struck me down, with his great wooden bow.

Then he was upon me, his hands firm, around my throat.
You fool. We have nothing. Nothing! Not even groat.
He shouted, his anger foamed, his mouth frothed.
Fearing for my life, I panicked. I hit him with a rock.

Disabled momentarily, long enough for me to recover,
Brother Black Bear made a fresh attack.
He came at me with his trusty blade, eyes glazed over.
But I was ready. His anger his only lack.

Rage turned to surprise, and then he looked at me.
In his haste he had lost. Now gazing questioningly.
His ire, his most hateful of hates had let him down.
For in that moment, my blade its mark had found.

And that is what transpired, said Long Feather at last.
The angry mob, subdued by this tale, dissipated fast.
But the elders had to act; no tolerance for brotherly slaughter.
He will die at sunrise, their only verdict. He would get no quarter.

A Stranger's Revelation

So there stood Long Feather, blithe, moored to his final stanchion.
He awaited death. No repentance. The verdict he did not question.
And I couldn't fathom why. Was this truly an unpardonable misdeed?
Curiosity got the better of me. An idle bystander? Indeed!

Brother Long Feather, is it not? An attempt to converse.
He chuckled, There's only you who is left to curse.
No, I don't wish to do that. But I simply must ask.
Why put sanctity of life above menial tasks?

He turned suddenly, and looked at me.
His eyes wide as could be.
And I detected a hint of knowing,
Behind this mask of apathy.

It seems that you are too curious stranger.
Don't trouble yourself with actions passed.
Life is a great mystery that promises you
Only one thing: that it will never last.

But why would he get so angry? What stormy rage you spoke of!
To attack his own brother? Why that's simply unheard of.
And were you not afraid?
I persisted to a vexing crescendo.
But he did not budge. He looked downward, breathing ever so slow.

The funny thing is, in spite of knowing right from wrong,
We continue to act. And it is this which forces us to sin.
But some things happen. And you can only go further in.
What's here is here. What's gone is gone
, looking down, he rambled on.

But you grieve so grimly. Surely you don't think it's your fault.
With that he turned and looked me in the eye, almost immediately.
Even death cannot undo some villainy, said Long Feather deliberately.
We all pay. But some do more dearly. May Black Bear forgive this assault.

And he continued to stare, seeking some understanding deep within me.
Yet, ponder as I might what he was saying to me, I couldn't see.
Until suddenly, the picture revealed itself, excruciatingly.
This crime had been committed in cold blood. No witnesses. No mercy.

I guess he saw that I'd finally come to.
For he smiled, but said nothing, for there was nothing to be said.
Night was turning into day. A waking dove cooed.
The morning promised repentance, and vengeance for the dead.

The thing about honesty is that it doesn't have to be true.
For there are those more honest, than I or you.
It is what we make of it, and just like we pray to God for favors,
Our will is what drives us. And right and wrong are just life's flavors.

Turning around briefly, to glance back at my interim abode,
I noticed that people had gone back to their lives; the pleasantly sane.
Two brothers died. Their lives and souls scarred by both pleasure and pain.
But life goes on; a little unplanned, a little foretold.

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