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Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Currant of the River: A Fable, Part III

I just realized I haven't posted an installment in a while. Granted, probably no one cares, but on the off chance, here's part three. You have to go back to March or so for Parts I, and II.


She went on about her water fetching, day after day, trip after trip. But each time she went she snuck to the sun dial and whispered a truth “you are always free, you belong to the world.” Her words assured the sun he’d made the right choice in folding his golden rays into her sides. The sun dial relaxed knowing she spoke the truth, filled with heat and meaning.

The father in the mean time, his usual self, had failed to notice anything of his daughter. He had a new project planned to teach the villagers civility. He would cultivate their small plot. He tried to force plants the way he had the sun, but the sun watched all around and helped the plants escape calling on the rains and birds to interfere. The birds stole the seeds and took them in their bellies far, far away. Similarly, the rains washed them away to the floodplains. Frustrated, and angry the man gave up. He yelled and planned. He began now instead to cage wild animals in hopes of building a livestock farm. The tribe was appalled. How could he do such a thing? First to pin down a piece of the sun who had so kindly given you a small amount of paint for your skin, and then to trap animals who stayed around even where no humans would? The sun too was angered.

But they all loved the girl and knew their gift to the family was not yet complete, and in this growing gift their hope remained. In the mean time, the girl began to notice her breasts swelling and as they did the air she blew with her words to the sun dial became thicker. Her words were gradually wearing away at the sun dial, rusting here, decaying there the traps of the man’s meaningless words. The day the first crack appeared she skipped all the way to the river. She allowed herself for one moment to feel the lessons she’d learned so long before. She watched the water. The moon longed for her, could sense her, begged her to wait until she could light her properly from around the corner. But the girl knew she was not permitted this luxury. She went home and found the sun dial leaning. She smiled, looked at the sun, then went inside.

Her mother looked up from her book as the daughter came in, (the same book and the same words she’d read every day since they’d arrived) and was shocked at what she saw. Her daughter was pregnant! How could this have happened? She must hide it or, or, or… maybe should could find a way to send the husband away so he would not find out. But he happened to know the daughter was back with water and came inside to drink some, so thirsty was he from his cage building.

As soon as he entered he knew. He became enraged like never before and his yelling reached new volumes. The tribes people thought surely the noise must be the lightening. “But it was uncommon sounding; there must be something wrong with the lightening to hear such sounds.” They thought.

Then, everything happened at once. The tribe realized the disdain the father showed for their gift. The girl too realized the father did not understand the goodness of her growing seeds. He could not see through his jealousy, none of his seeds had grown after all. The sun and moon knew that her babes were unloved by the people who got to light them day after day, sing and swoon for them, and became angry. The father’s anger was unmatched for that of the world around him. The lightening, infuriated by his meager imitation, struck just as the sun dial tipped and broke. And where it struck, the misunderstandings of the whole village concentrated and opened up a hole. The hole sucked the entire family, including the girl, into another world. The animals who had been caged jumped in their cages and willed themselves after the family in order to care for the girl.

They swirled down the hole, into their own cage. Theirs was a cage of the father’s own perceptions, his own selfishness, closed off from the world around them. They could no longer see the village, and because the family was so integral to the father’s tunnel vision, they were forced into the hole with him. Here he did not know his daughter was pregnant, and indeed her unborn children could not grow there. However, they stayed sheltered from his tunnel. Protected in her womb, they existed in a world of their own, a world lighted by the dusk where they were made.

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