Tis early morning here on the fur North-West Coastal 40 and enjoying my second cup of coffee, I Am.
My first cup was leisurely consumed upon the rear deck, in the company of Brother Owl, chatting to me from a distant limb in the enchanted forest. "Who, who, who are you?" ....... I Am Stephen, don't you know? .... "Who, who, who are you?"
Father Sun was beginning to stretch his arms through the trees, bringing a gentle wake up call to all the critters, I suppose. Grandfather Wind was yawning, a gentle breeze to stir the little ones, I suppose. Mother Earth was smiling, I am sure, for it is the beginning of a beautiful New Day. "Who, who, who are you"?
Silly Night Eagle, I Am ........ your little brother. "Who, who, who are you?"
Enjoying a magical moment, I am, waiting to see the Tree Fairies and Elves begin to play in my enchanted forest. For play they do, scurrying here and there. Playing tag, I suppose. Occasionally to stop behind one of our Tall Standing Brothers. A moment later to sneak a peek at me, with devilish grin and twinkling eyes, as if to say, "I know who you are."
That's better, I was beginning to wonder. "Who, who, who are we?"
Gawd, ...... oops, tis not Brother Owl. Tis the Light of my Soul. Good morning, Beautiful Lady.
"It is indeed, Beloved, and who are we this fine morning?" ..... Don't you mean, how are we?... "No, Dear One, who do we desire to be this day? For many fine hats we have."
I'm game, it's a Glorious morning. Let's do something exciting, something adventurous. Let's manifest a kayak and paddle around the lake. I would love to see the beautiful homes and yards that cannot be viewed from the road as we drive by. What fun!
"Hmm, energy you have, enthusiasm you have, yet muscle dexterity is somewhat in doubt. Perhaps we should leave the explorer's hat on the shelve for now. How about the story teller's hat?"
One day we are going to paddle around the lake though. You want me to tell a story, right?
"Well .... err yes and we will. A story would be much less stressful on such a marvelous day."
Sounds good to me. And I know just the tale. There once was a lady from ......... "Stephen, sweetie, you are such a good story teller yet might I have a turn .... pretty please?"
Will I ever get a chance to tell about the lady from Nan.... "Stephen, I am sure you will. Relax now and show me what a good listener you are. "Do I have a choice? Forget it, go ahead.
Once there was a wealthy merchant, wise in the ways of the land. Acquired great riches, he had yet was always searching for more. And as it happened one day, while traveling through an Enchanted Forest, (I like that)..... Stephen, listen? ....came upon a mysterious clearing. Peering into it he noticed, in the distance, a fine castle. And before him a beautiful meadow with winding path following a stream that led to a small lake. What a wonderful sight, the waters of the lake especially. They glittered, sparkled .... I must add this place to my estate, he thought. I shall visit the castle and see if I can buy this land.
On the path his journey began, but before long he began to feel somewhat odd. Difficult, it was, to understand this feeling. The further he ventured, the better he felt. This was truly a magical place.
Approaching the lake he noticed a small hut beside the trail. And a sign hanging from the porch saying "Guardian of the Toll". On the porch was sitting a little boy. A truly beautiful child, with golden hair and deep blue eyes. Now this was a pleasant surprise. Might he find out more about this place, who owned the castle? Hello friend, he said.
The boy looked up to him and smiled.
Would you kindly give me information as to how long the path is and who owns the castle?
In a voice that flowed like a melody upon a harp, the lad said, "Tis as long as you desire and the Enchantress owns the castle."
Enchantress? Do share more please.
"Tis said that she can grant you your heart's greatest desire."
Wonderful, thank you. I shall journey on.
"First, you must agree to a fair passing toll for traversing this path before you."
Fair passing toll? ... the merchant asked, the shrewd businessman beginning to surface. .... What really can I afford?
"That is the toll, only that which you can afford. For each day you journey you must pay twice as much as you did the day before."
My, it doesn't look to be a long path, what is the first day's toll?
"A penny." says the boy.
Ahh, that I can manage. ... Thinking to himself, the Enchantress, will be a joy to bargain with for this land. ... Where do I pay this toll?
"At the end of each day you shall see an urn beside the path. Place your toll there. Journey well."
Quite content, the merchant continued this now his quest. His steps light, joy in his heart, was indeed a good day. And sure enough, at the end of the day there was the urn. A penny and a night's rest, was a fine day, although he felt that the distance traveled was not a great as he thought it should be. Oh well. Tomorrow I will achieve my goal.
At the end of the second day, the urn and two penny's please. I am sure that the castle seems closer now.
The lake is so beautiful. Each time I drink from it's waters I feel refreshed. Each time I bathe I feel renewed. How many days has it been? There is today's urn ......... 256 pennies please. Goodness that is ten days I have been on this trail. Does the castle look closer?
The quest goes on, at times a steady pace, then to dally here and there. To take in the beauty of the land, to breathe the sweet fragrance of the wind. I must have this for mine own. There is today's urn. What is this ..... 540,288 pennies please. Twenty days I have journeyed and don't seem closer than the day before. I must, though, have this land, it's wonder is amazing. Just think what the castle will be like.
I do seem to be closer now but I am so tired. I shall bathe in these mystical waters, renew myself. Tomorrow I shall attain my goal. .... 69,156,864 pennies please. Seven days more I have been. I cannot afford to tarry any longer.
Twenty eight, twenty nine days ...... Lord, help me please. My wealth is just about spent yet I seem so close now. Let there be only one more day.
And so it is that his wish is granted for the next day, the thirtieth day, he arrives at the gates to the castle. But what is this ... one more urn. The merchant slumps to the ground and weeps for on this final urn it says 553,254,912 pennies please.
Lord, I do not have enough for even the toll yet alone to buy the castle and this land. What has this Enchantress done to me? And at that moment the gates open. The merchant, still sobbing, struggles up to the door and knocks.
The door opens to a chorus of Heavenly music and there stands the lad from the toll hut. "Come in, Beloved, we have been waiting for you." He takes the merchant's hand and leads him through majestic halls, with sculptured walls where luxurious tapestries hang, through rooms where portraits and exquisite paintings adorn every vantage point. Then into a chamber where sits a magnificent throne of gold and precious jewels. And upon the throne is the most beautiful Goddess that he has ever seen.
He can only kneel and bow his head before this Radiant Being.
"Welcome, Dear One, you have journeyed well."
The merchant cried out, .... I have nothing left. I have spent everything to get here. And I so desired to own this land, this castle.
"But, Beloved, you are the owner of these lands, the Master of this castle."
Sobbing ... Oh God, oh God, where am I?
"You are home, Beloved."
What is this home? Who is this beautiful lad, the Guardian of the Toll? Who are you?
"This is your Heart, Precious Child of the Universe, and I Am Who you Are."
And as I marvel at this tale, told by the Light of my Soul I can hear from my window ........
"Who, who, who are you?"
But of course!
your little brother