The boy who drew in the.., p.2
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       The Boy Who Drew In The Mud and other parables, p.2
 

           Zachary Harper
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The Fable of the Pig, the Horse, and the Dog

  On a comfortable farm surrounded by acres of rolling hills and gently swaying trees, there lived a Pig, a Horse, and a Dog. The Dog guarded the farm, scaring off the wolves and the foxes that tried to steal into the pens in the dark of night; the Horse pulled the plows through the fields and the carts into town; the Pig ate and ate, in hopes of bringing a good price at market. Every morning, after the rooster was roused by the sun, the farmer would bring out their meals; the Dog would get a large bowl of diced lamb and carrots, the Horse a trough with sweet feed and hay, while the Pig would get a bucket of slop, filled to the brim.

  Now, one day, the Pig looked over at the Dogs bowl, and looked over at the Horses trough, and became jealous. “Why should they have such choice foods while I have only this slop?” So he began to plot. When a clever idea came to him, he called the Horse over.

  “Friend Horse, look at how wonderful the Dogs meal is. There is lamb, sweet and succulent, and carrots, which I know you have a tooth for. Every day he feasts on these, while you have only your grain and molasses and I nothing but my slop! Is it not unfair that we never get to taste such delicacies? Let us divide all of our food in three parts, and each share our food so that we do not tire of our mundane meals. You can share of the Dogs carrots, and I will take some the Lamb, and together we will grow strong!”

  So the Horse, who did indeed have a tooth for carrots, heartily agreed. The next morning, when the rooster greeted the sun and the farmer brought out the daily lunch, the Horse and the Pig approached the Dog and took his bowl, and each ate a portion of his food, and each left the Dog with a portion of theirs.

  But though the Pig could eat the lamb, and the Horse could eat the carrots, the Dog could not eat either the sweetened grains of the Horse, nor the dirty slop of the Pig. And as the days wore on, the Dog weakened, and eventually died.

  The next night, a Wolf crept into the farm, vicious and hungry, but the Dog was not there to alert the farmer. So the Wolf stalked into the Pigs cage and ate the Pig, and as he left, the Horse saw the Wolf and reared, so the Wolf bit the Horses leg before running off, full and satisfied. The next morning, the farmer saw the Horse could no longer work, for the bite was deep. His heart torn with sadness, the farmer took the Horse behind the barn and shot him.

  The Fable of the Young Turtle

  There once was a young turtle, his shell had just hardened and his mother, though prone to worrying, finally let him out to play with the rest of the animals.

  So the young turtle went first towards the trees, and in the branches sat a charm of tiny finches, singing their little hearts out. And the young turtle called out to them, “Little birds! Little birds! You sing so beautifully! Teach me how to sing!” But no matter how hard they tried, the finches could not teach the turtle to sing. The young turtle was sad, and when he left, the finches worried to each other, saying “How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t sing. I hope he will visit us again.”

  The young turtle next went towards a pond, and on the lily pads were a knot of tiny frogs, jumping to and fro as high as they could. And the young turtle called out to them, “Little frogs! Little frogs! You jump so high! Teach me how to jump!” But no matter how hard they tried, the frogs could not teach the turtle to jump. The young turtle was sad, and when he left, the frogs worried to each other, saying “How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t jump. I hope he will visit us again.”

  The young turtle next went towards a field, and in the grass ran a coterie of prairie dogs, digging and digging as fast as they could in the packed ground. And the young turtle called out to them, “Little dogs! Little dogs! You dig so fast! Teach me how to dig!” But no matter how hard they tried, the prairie dogs could not teach the turtle to dig in the packed ground. The young turtle was sad, and when he left, the prairie dogs worried to each other, saying “How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t dig. I hope he will visit us again.”

  Home the young turtle went, face long and heart heavy, for he could do nothing the other animals could do. As he walked, he passed by an ancient, wizened tortoise who, though old and slow, knew much of what was happening in the forest. When he saw the young turtle walking so dejected, he called out “Young turtle! Young turtle! Why is your face long and your heart heavy?” The turtle replied, “I can not sing like the birds, nor jump like the frogs, nor dig like the dogs! I can do nothing but feel sorrow, so I will go home and never talk to the other animals again.”

  The old tortoise replied, “Early this morning, I saw a charm of finches fly by, and they were saying ‘How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t sing. I hope he will visit us again.’ At noon, I saw a knot of frogs hop by, and they were saying ‘How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t jump. I hope he will visit us again.’ This evening, I saw a coterie of prairie dogs walk by, and they were saying ‘How sweet is the young turtle, though he can’t dig. I hope he will visit us again.’ What need you to sing, when you have the love of the birds? What need you to jump, when you have the love of the frogs? What need you to dig, when you have the love of the dogs? Your talent is to love, and it is far greater to have love than to be able to do all the things you wish to do. If you could sing but cannot love, who would you sing to? If you could jump but cannot love, where would you jump to? If you could dig but cannot love, who would you dig with? Little turtle, little turtle, you have the greatest gift of all!”

  So the little turtle went home with a happy face and a light heart, and when he wished to hear a song, he went to the birds to play. And when he wished to see an acrobat, he went to the frogs to play. And when he wished to explore the earth, he went to the prairie dogs to play. The little turtle was never lonely, and grew to be as old and wizened as the ancient tortoise.

  The Fable of the Three Birds

  On the edge of a forest lived three birds: a songbird, a crow, and a mockingbird. Every morning, the songbird woke and flew to the highest branch in her tree to sing to the forest a most beautiful song – the joy of her tiny heart bubbled and fizzled and burst out through her beak, and the song would float along the wind and into the sky . But the crow, a nasty and spiteful beast, would daily land on her branch, and with the smell of carrion on his breath, lambasted the little songbird with jeers and biting words. “Who do you sing to, little bird? The wind? The sky? They hear you not, and they enjoy it not! How your little tweets and hoots are wasted on deaf ears, and how you do make such a fool of yourself to the forest!” And the mockingbird, a mis-shapen and dark-minded beast, would daily land on her branch and sing his own mocking song, but it had not the beauty or heart of the songbirds, and it’s song would fall flat to the forest floor.

  One day, a torrent raged upon the trees, and the branches were whipped to and fro, and the birds knew that it was only a matter of time before the tree they lived in was swept away. But the songbird worried not, and flew to the highest branch and sang, the wind crashing like waves on the tree, but her voice flying ever higher, and the rain couldn’t drown her melody out. The crow flew to her branch, and while the branch swung wildly, laughed a most hideous laugh, and said “Why sing such a beautiful song, poor wretch? Don’t you know this tree will be carried off, with us in it? This storm will end us, and no one will ever hear you sing again!” And the crow, with his chest puffed and his pride bursting, laughed and walked to the edge of the branch, where the wind picked him up and threw him off deep into the forest. And the mockingbird waddled his way to the songbird, and blasted his dissonant tune that fell even faster than the rain, stopping only to cackle at the songbird, until the wind picked him up and threw him after the crow. And as the storm grew stronger, so did the songbirds song, until she too was thrown into the forest.

  The next morning, the three birds, with their wings broken and nests scattered about, sat on the forest floor, yet still the songbird began to sing her most beautiful tune, and it was lifted up into the freshly cleaned forest, and seemed to wash it again with her soul
ful cry. And the crow grew hot with fury, yelling “What makes you sing, damned fool! Your wing is broke and nest is shattered, and there is still no one to hear you!” And the mockingbird sang his most mocking song, shaking the leaves and boiling the puddles, and the screeches burrowed into the ground like worms.

  But the songbird’s song was carried by the wind, and reached the ear of an elderly woman who walked the forest, and had often stopped to listen to the songbird. She knew the voice, and found the songbird with her broken wing and scattered nest, and scooped both up and brought them home. She mended the wing and rebuilt the nest in a light-fixture above her front door, and every morning the songbird would sing for the old woman, and every night the old woman would feed the songbird, and both pleased each other’s soul greatly.

  A Parable in Three Parts, with Lamentations

 
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