Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Currant of the River: A Fable Part I

The Currant of the River: A Fable

There once was a fat, loud missionary who traveled to Africa to “civilize” the tribes. He encountered a very holy tribe, long established in the region. He did not know the skill of listening and so talked and talked all day and all night. Worse still, he did not put meaning into his words, so they fell empty and with strange resonance on the ears of the tribes people. He did not share his wealth with the families of the village. He did not listen to the wisdom of the people.

For these indiscretions the leaders of the tribe deemed him unworthy tribal wisdom. “Maybe he was not given color because he did not give anything of himself in order to receive this gift from the sun?” They wondered. So they decided to watch him and see if he would not give and therefore color and change over time. The tribe watched from afar as the words continued to pour from his mouth without meaning or value, without input or god. His wife and daughter watched sadly not knowing what to do.

The sun, wanting to help, dripped down and painted the man a bit in spite of himself. But the tribe still did not move closer to the man; they knew the sun had painted him out of pity, and that his words flowed ceaseless with the hollowness of drops in a well. They did move closer to the daughter who had learned to put kindness into her words.

The daughter’s words began to take on striking beauty and truth, sounding much as their own but with some distant knowledge. She was quiet and interested and her eyes begged knowledge and understanding from the tribe members she passed on her way to gather water. One day the great medicine man of the tribe, saw the girl on one of these trips to the river. He noticed a desperate disease spreading through her body, which she could not yet sense. He spoke to one of the watchers who, after thinking how the father had been primed by the sun for color, agreed maybe it would not be so bad to cure this mere child of her ailment.

The medicine man met the girl on her daily journey to fetch water. He observed her watching the stream flip and flow, and knew her stillness held something in common with his own. The girl watched the swirls and twirls of the water as he came upon her. He greeted the girl, and handed her a few dark currants, motioning she was to eat them. She did at first reluctantly, then gratefully with a delighted tongue. He prepared to leave telling her to stay awhile and watch the river. As she ate the currants, her eyes grew wise with the juice. She watched one set of rocks for a long time. She saw how the water formed ribbons threading through them. She watched the sprays and splashes and felt impusivity leaping from them. As she watched, the water turned dark and insightful and night fell. The moon rose up and showed the river another view of itself, and as it did so, the girl knew two important truths: 1 The water has drops and cups, but you cannot take a single drop and separate it from the whole of the river. 2 She knew how to be in this moment. The truths healed her and she rose to go home.


Anna said...

Hey Karin,

So I think this thing is pretty good. I've never been much for editing writing, especially fiction. It does read like a fable though. Do you have any particular plans for it? It does need an ending- I want to know what happens!

Anna P

Silly Swedish Skier Says So said...

Thanks Anna:)
I had the whole thing up for a day or so but realized it was WAY too long and no one spends that much time on a blog. I haven't the foggiest idea what to do with it, but will post it in parts over the next several weeks.