The Valley, Part 5

(Continued from Part 4)

The next day, the boy went back to his usual problems and activities, but soon he noticed that things had changed. People were looking at him oddly: some with respect, and some, quite surprisingly, with hate in their eyes. He stopped and asked them why they were angry at him. “We are not angry,” they said, and quickly left him.

That night, he again saw his two friends, and they told him what had happened: The friends of the Remahs (there were several of the Valley who were close to the Remahs) were whispering quietly to the other people of the Valley.

What are they saying? Asked the boy. “Are they telling people I am bad?”

His friends, the boy and girl, looked at each other, and he knew that they didn’t want to hurt him by telling him.

What is it?” He asked again.

The boy gathered his courage. “They are not saying anything bad about you,” he said. “They are…” He paused, not knowing how to say it properly.

They’re telling people that you are a Great, Holy Person,” the girl said.

He was stunned. This made no sense at all. He had defeated the Remah leader; the Remahs hated him. “I don’t understand,” he murmured.

We do,” said the boy. “They have made everyone in the Valley feel bad about you. You were the same as the rest of us, and now you are the Holy One. It makes everyone else feel defeated and without dignity.”

Oh my…” he murmured again, and felt sick.

I’m not a Holy One!” he said.

The boy and girl didn’t know what to think. “But you defeated the Remahs” they said.

Yes, and so can you! You just said, I was the same as you!”

They looked like they were returning to normal – that is, not feeling inferior and hurt.

After a moment, he spoke again: “Is this talk going on all through the Valley?”

Yes,” they said, “it is.”

They I, too, shall have to leave,” he said. The boy and girl were very sad, though still confused.

Please go home now, and tell no one of this conversation… and please come here very early in the morning. Will you do this for me, please?”

Yes,” they said, and left quietly.

The boy packed his magic box and the wood carving very carefully. He also packed his tools, his best clothes and some food. Then he slept the few hours that remained till sunrise.

As first light broke across the Valley, he loaded everything he had packed on to a cart he owned, and headed down the road toward his friends’ homes, which were near the edge of the Valley. He met them on the road as they were leaving for his house.

I am leaving the Valley,” he said. “I know a place on a hill, up-river from here. You are most welcome to visit me there, although it is a full day’s journey, so you will have to stay at least one night before returning.”

The boy and girl were sad, but they knew it was the best thing for him; after just a day of hearing about their friend being “the Holy One,” many people in the Valley were finding reasons to hate him.

And what is the name of the hill?” the girl asked, “so we may find you.”

The boy smiled. “I have given it no name, and will not. It is a beautiful, green hill with flowers and streams, and you will know when you see it. It has many beauties and fascinating surprises. I wish to remember them all, and not to hide them beneath a name.”

His friends didn’t understand, but they promised that they would come visit him soon. Then, he thanked them and parted from them with great warmth. He was out of the Valley before anyone else saw him. By nightfall, he was at the hill and slept beneath a great tree. The next day, he began working.

And there, on a hill with no name, he built a lodging, then a beautiful case for the magic box, with the wood carving on its cover. And there, as time went by, he used the magic box to uncover the wonders of the world.


Paul Rosenberg