Long, long ago our ancestors sang of one who was the Source of all life. They called him the Lord of the Beasts. Book available here
They rode in darkness until the moon rose, and then Colban could see shiny ribbons of rivers and dots of lakes far below. They were traveling far, far beyond where his legs could ever carry him. “How big is the world?” Colban wondered. The Lord, hearing his thoughts, answered. “It is very big and has no end like an apricot has no end. You can keep going round and round it.” “But don’t you fall off when you get to the bottom side?” Colban asked, worried. The Lord laughed, “No, no, you don’t.” “But why not?” Colban asked.
“I can’t tell you,” said the Lord. “Is it a secret?” asked Colban. “No, it’s not a secret. I can’t tell you because you can’t understand. Will you believe me that you won’t fall off and won’t even know even know when you are on the bottom? It will seem just like this.” The Lord said. Colban thought about this, then said, “I can’t understand that.” “”Right,” said the Lord, “That’s what I told you.”
Now the sun was rising and the night animals were going to bed while the day animals were waking up and stretching. Odo was descending, down, down to a green valley cut through by a clear blue stream. The horse landed on a gentle slope and the Lord swung to the ground and reached up to help the little boy down. Colban thought the valley was the most beautiful he had ever seen.
The grass was thick and green and the leaves on the trees danced in the morning breeze. A hundred birds were singing and the chuckling stream added to their melody. Colorful flowers waved on the hillside and red and gold fruit blushed nearby on sturdy bushes. Colban picked a soft, golden fruit and bit it, letting the sweet juice run down his chin. He felt more alive than he had ever felt before and wanted to run through the grass. And so he did, as the Lord of the Beasts watched, smiling.
The little boy, bursting with joy, ran down the hill and jumped over the crystal clear stream, then along its banks and finally back to the Lord, who was now seated and leaning against a cedar tree. “This place is great!” Colban announced as he plunked himself down next to the Lord. “Yes,” the Lord agreed.
“Where is this place?” Colban asked. “Why, it is right here-on the apricot,” the Lord answered. “I mean, can I bring the People here?” “Can you mount them on a flying horse?” the Lord asked. “No,” answered Colban, feeling a little sad about that.
Colban and the Lord ate golden fruit and sweet nuts for breakfast. The sun had warmed the land, sending up a soothing smell of green growing things. Colban, belly full and with the comforting sound of the stream in his ears, soon fell asleep. When he awoke, the Lord was still sitting next to him. Colban yawned and stretched. “Are you still going to tell me things?” Colban asked the Lord. “The Big Things?”
The Lord smiled. “Come with me to the river,” he said. They walked down the hill through the flowers and stopped at the riverbank. The Lord of the Beasts reached down and grabbed a handful of clay and began to fashion a little man-shape.
“What is this?” asked the Lord. “It is a clay man,” said Colban. The Lord worked on the clay man for awhile until it looked exactly like a real man. “Can I hold it?’ Colban asked, amazed at its detail. “You are really good at this,” Colban said in wonder. “Why, thank you,” said the Lord with a smile.
“It’s a real man,” said Colban. “Is it?” said the Lord. “Yes, it has eyes and ears and legs and arms and even hair,” Colban answered. “So it has everything a real man has?” asked the Lord. Colban turned the clay man over in his hands and thought. “Well, it doesn’t have…life,” said Colban at last. “What does life look like?” asked the Lord, “Tell me and I will add it.”
“Life…doesn’t look like anything exactly,” Colban said. “How do you know it doesn’t have life then?” the Lord asked. “Because it doesn’t breathe, or talk or move,” Colban answered. “Hmmm,” said the Lord. “Life is an important part of man, then? Though it is invisible?”
“It is the most important part, I guess,” said Colban. “Otherwise, it’s just clay.”
“Where does life come from?” asked the Lord, looking intently at Colban.
The boy looked into the eyes of the Lord of the Beasts, kindly, smiling eyes but within them burned the fire of a thousand suns.
Colban suddenly knew, “Life…comes from you,” he said. “Where do you come from, Colban?” “From you?” Colban asked. “Or from clay?”
The Lord looked away over the river, slowly twirling a stem of grass in his hand, and did not reply. “From clay and from you,” Colban finally said and the Lord smiled.
“That’s the answer to my first question!” Colban announced.
“But why am I here?” Colban asked, hoping to get answers to all his questions at once. “Come on, little one, let’s ride,” said the Lord and then called out “Odo, come.”
The rain cloud horse lifted his head from the thick green grass where he had been grazing and trotted over to the Lord of the Beasts, who leapt onto Odo and reached down for the boy. “Hold on,” he said.
As the sun lowered over the distant hazy blue mountains, they shot into the sky and away, away into the gathering night.
to be continued…