Saturday, May 30, 2009

How River Stole Rock’s Gold

Rock and River traveled upon the same road, one heading up and the other heading down, when they met one another by and by. Rock carried with him a bag full of gold and thought himself very clever. But River was cunning, and knew Rock’s hubris and so bowing low he spoke and said,

“Oh great Rock, son of Stone, father of Iron, where do you go this day?”

“Where I go is none of your business River! You, whose ancestry and progeny is so vilely mixed! Now let me pass, I am traveling down this road. You must give me the way.”

River smiled solemnly and answered, “Truly great words from such a noble son of Earth. I shall give thee the way. But hark, I have grown fat on these last few weeks of rain and cannot easily pass by. Mayhap if you moved to the side, I can pass on the other?”

Rock replied with curled lips, “Never! I am Rock, a Son of Earth, and I move for no one. I shall not be moved by the mere pleas of such a pathetic creature as you, River. Simply pass on my left.”

So River flowed on Rock’s left side, but truly as he had spoken, he was too large to pass on the left side. So once more he implored Rock,

“I cannot pass on your left side, perhaps if you moved a bit, there would be room to pass.”

But Rock was obstinate and would not move, and commanded instead that River pass on his right side. Again, River tried but Rock’s right side had less room then the left side. Again he pleaded to Rock,

“Please, noble Lord Rock, I too must go up this road and wish to pass you. But neither the left, nor the right, has enough room for me to pass by.” River implored.

“What matters that to me, where you go? Your kind mean nothing to me. If only you were more frigid and cold, you may have been ice, and at least had the solidness of stone. Then I could look you in the eye and have a small measure of respect for you. But instead you choose to be warm, letting all the rain that comes to you in, gathering all unto your wide banks. And now you have become so engorged by it that you cannot pass beside me. That is your own doing and own fault!” Rock declared curtly.

“It is true, I could have been more like you. However what’s done is done, and now, as you say, I cannot pass beside you. However, there is another way… though, no, you would not be able to bear it so I shall say no more of it.” River spoke coyly, turning his face from Rock as if in thought.

“What other way? Speak! There is nothing that the sons of Earth fear! There is nothing that can overcome the mighty Rock!” he boasted to the River.

“Well.” Answered River, “I could pass around and over you at the same time. Part of me would go on your left side and part on your right and part over you completely. However, you probably wouldn’t want to do that. What if you were caught in the current and rushed away to the sea? No, it is far too dangerous.”

“What! The audacity! I am Rock! I cannot be moved by mere puddles of water!” Rock fumed.

“It is fine. I understand that you are scared. It is okay, we will find another way.” River spoke with false remorse.

“Do not dare dishonor me anymore! Pass over and around me! Do it! I shall show you! I am not afraid of anything! I am Rock. I will not move.”

“Well, if you’re sure that’s what you want.” River answered meekly.

“Stop wasting time. I no longer wish to hear your irritating voice!” growled Rock.

Suddenly River grew to his full size, which he had kept hidden in a crack in the ground the whole time. He loomed as a giant over Rock, drawing back as a serpent would, before lunging towards Rock, who gripped the earth with all his might as the cascading waves rushed about him.

Rock’s entire world became shades of blues and greens and shadows, passing over and around him, dragging small hands across him, smoothing his bumpy and rigid form, making him smooth. Giggles and laughter echoed through the rushing torrent, as he heard River’s voice all around him.

“You call me vile for my lack of ancestry and progeny? That is because I supersede your simple minded labels. I come from my own progeny and birth my own ancestry. I am Ice and Rain and Snow and Steam and Mist and River all at the same time. I am Son of Water, and I am Water too. Today you learn that hubris comes at a price. And the lesson will cost you dearly.”

Rock felt his senses fading under the rushing waves. He was running our of air beneath the water, when the next instant, River was gone. Rock slowly turned and could make out the glittering light of the sun dancing on a far off ocean behind him. He looked and saw that his hideously humped, rigged, pock marked skin had been washed smooth and soft. Then he realized to his dismay that he was missing one of his bags of gold.

And that’s why to this day, River still carries a bit of gold he took from Rock and often leaves some of it behind when ever he sleeps in one of his sandy beds.

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