Excerpt for Stranger by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Adalsteinn Eaglehawk 2015

Attribution Non-commercial No-derivatives

An allegorical tale

Suitable for older children and young adults

ISBN: 9781370419258

Title: Stranger

Author: Adalsteinn Eaglehawk

Publisher: Smashwords, Inc.


Chapter 1

Far, far away there was a great mountain and sitting crossed legged under a tree upon the top of that mountain was a young man. His age was about twenty four years and sitting, staring up into his face was a ginger cat. The young man had long hair and a beard and wore a blue cloak over white shirt and trousers- that were a bit baggy. He said to his cat, 'My young friend, we must go on a journey into the unknown, among woods and fells and over mountains and down into deep valleys. We will cross kingdoms and seas and rivers and climb rock faces so that we can go anywhere we choose. What do you think Samuel?'

Samuel rubbed his nose with his paw and the young man said, 'Well said, Samuel. We'll start right away. Firstly our things. I have packed us a blanket and a water bottle and for you Samuel a dried fish- and for me some dried figs. Let's be on our way!'

The young man ran down a track and Samuel sat in the top of his satchel, looking out from behind. Soon they came to a rope ladder and gingerly they climbed down with Samuel occasionally meowing to give his opinion on the descent. Far below were outstretched plains and in the distance a city. It was a long arduous descent and the young man was surprisingly fast. After a day they reached the bottom.

Before the young man was a great tree that towered above him far into the sky. He said to Samuel, 'If only we could have jumped onto this tree. How old do you think it is Samuel?'

'I am old, very old', the tree said, before Samuel could meow. His voice was deep and woody- and not used to barking out commands- it was a mellow voice. 'What is your name?', asked the tree.

'My name is Song- what is yours?', asked Song.

The tree replied, 'My name is far too long to say in human but you may call me Rostagaullipililahhdoragorathetyinmartislarkropiuntymaliopeiessdetnebbill-'

'Hold on!', interrupted Song, 'That is far too long for us. May I call you Rostagaul?'

'No!' ,thundered the tree, 'But you may call me Twig.'

Samuel meowed and a branch reached down and gently picked him out of the satchel and Twig said, 'And who may you be my fine, furry friend?'

Samuel replied, 'Meeeowww.'

Twig said, 'Well, Samuel, I am very pleased to meet you. I think I knew your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great- Ahhh- Perhaps I should say I once knew your ancestor Silver.'

Song asked, 'You have seen everything that goes on under the sun?'

Twig replied, 'I have seen everything since I was a shoot. I have seen wars and I have seen fires. I have seen storms with thunder to shake the earth. I have survived floods and I have been climbed by boys and girls and I have watched yonder city grow from three huts to thousands of buildings and battlements with lookouts and soldiers everywhere like tiny ants. Hmmm. I have seen much.'

'We are on a journey, as you can see and we are hungry but not famished. Where may we find food?'asked Song.

Twig replied,'Go nowhere near the city. It is an evil and dark place accursed by men. Only those who are wicked live there. They have been a stench in my nostrils for many years. Oh, the plains were so beautiful before they came. They despise my wisdom and cannot talk to me as you do Song. It has been so long since I have heard human conversation. I once knew your great, great, great, great, great, great, great...'

After a while Twig said, 'Look to the west. See an orchard. It is overgrown but the trees still bear their fruit. Go there and come back to me.'

Chapter 2

Song and Samuel trudged to the orchard and fought their way into where the trees were at their thickest. In one twisted and gnarled tree sat a tiny lizard with a pink spot on its forehead. It scurried away. From that tree they ate the fruit that was a bit dry, orange inside with black pips and on the outside bright yellow like a grapefruit.

Samuel lay on the ground and fell fast asleep. To Song's surprise his hair suddenly started to grow and it grew almost until it had reached the ground. 'What is this?' cried Song aloud and then fell over into a deep slumber- in which he had this dream:

There was a great mountain and in the middle of the mountain there formed a vertical split, like a curtain opening up and out gushed a torrent of water. It came like a flood all across the land. In the flood were dolphins and whales and there were great sea eagles that flew over it. Also in its waters were an abundance of fish and many other water creatures.

Suddenly from up and out of the water arose a very great giant that towered over all the great lake and he too was made of water! Opening his mouth a great gush of water poured forth. Looking about him- he looked like a man made of see-through jelly- he surveyed all the land. Then looking at Song- who in this dream was standing at the edge of this new, great lake the giant said, 'Song! Remember me? Look and see if you can figure out who I really am and where I really came from.'

Song looked steadily up at the giant and he seemed to remind Song of his father, a sailor who died at sea many years ago. The giant said, 'I see you can recognise me. I was taken by water and by water I have returned. It is to give you this message Song. Evil shall flood over this land and sweep all before it. When you awake you must go to the wicked city on the plains- but first return to Twig.'

Then the giant fell with a splash into the lake and the lake receded across the land and water gushed backwards into the mountain and the mountain closed up and all was as it had been before.

Song awoke to find Samuel patting him on the nose. 'Did you have the same dream too?' he asked.

Samuel nodded a 'yes' very regally. Together they returned to Twig and it was now night time. Twig said, 'Hmmm, I had the same dream. I'm sorry you must go there Song to that city called Nobody but you must.

They all slept together, Song on a high branch, Samuel on Song and Twig, snoring long, woody snores that to the people of Nobody sounded like a distant storm.

Chapter 3

In the morning Song and Samuel travelled directly to the city of Nobody after saying farewell to Twig. After three hours they were at the city gate and there at the gate were stationed soldiers who inquired of Song, 'Stranger, who are you and what is your business in Nobody?'

To this Song replied, 'I dwell upon the great mountain and I have come to see civilisation to get an education about life.'

The soldiers laughed, 'You'll get an education here alright m'boy. In ya go and keep out of trouble- as if!'

Song went in looking about him at high stone walls and at people in fancy and colourful clothes. There were child beggars in the streets and people beating rugs to get the dust out. There was a very big and round man being carried on a palanquin that was carried by four black slaves wearing baggy trousers, shoes with the points curved upwards, sashes around their waists and waistcoats with coloured stripes.

In the market place was a man sitting cross legged, wearing a turban and playing a pipe as a cobra swayed before him hypnotised by his swaying. Someone flung a silver coin into his basket. There were three dwarfs carrying large watermelons and behind them a beautiful, young, Princess surrounded by guards with scimitars. It was she who threw the silver into the snake charmer's basket.

After the Princess did so she looked right at Song, and looking deeply into his eyes she visibly shuddered, turned about and hurried back along a long, winding, stone cobbled street and surrounded by her guards went up towards a palace. Two doors opened and then shut with a thud behind her.

Samuel meowed as Song said, 'What was that about? It was as if she'd seen a ghost- and I was the ghost!'

A street, shoe pedlar and cobbler said to him, 'Yes, I saw her shake like a leaf. What is this effect you have on beautiful, young women?'

'I do not know', replied Song, 'I have only been here five minutes. She looks like a Princess.'

The cobbler replied, 'Looks like?- she is! It was Princess Khepri. The third child of Emir Nizar Yakar.' He pronounced Khepri as Kepry. She was seventeen years of age.

Chapter 4

Meanwhile Princess Khepri was alone, seated on a sedan chair and sobbing her eyes out. 'Ahhh arr bhuah ah ah oohwah ahhh ugh ugh ugh', she cried. Then wiping her eyes, giving her nose a big blow she stood erect, took a deep breath, walked over to the portal looking out onto the city and said to herself, 'Is this the man I have to marry? The shaykha was so insistent. She drew his picture so clearly- but he is not even a noble- and his skin is white as marble and his hair longer than mine! No one has green eyes! How did he get green eyes? Ahhh, boooh hah ugh uh...' she cried.

So Princess Khepri called for the shaykha and in came a woman of about twenty five years who was short and dark with wild hair and a perfect face.

'So, you have seen him I take it? It is not so bad. He will make you rich and powerful. All depends on him and your future depends on marrying him.'

'I am not a piece of furniture to be sold off!', screamed the Princess, 'And even if I were he could not afford me. His only possession seems to be a ginger cat!'

'Now, now Princess. Every woman gets sold off sooner or later, if they're lucky- even fiery and independent Princesses', replied the shaykha Namwi.

Chapter 5

Soon Song found an inn and he paid a few copper coins to get a room. Then he took out a book and began to read:

In earth, in sky and sea

are wonders scattered liberally

Over land and dale and stream

I keep swimming in the same dream.

'Sounds like me Samuel', said Song.

He lay on the bed and looked at the ceiling. 'It doesn't seem too bad Samuel. I haven't seen much evil in this city.'

Suddenly his door flung open and four big men jumped on him, took what little money he had and his few possessions, even his satchel and they would have taken Samuel too if he hadn't spat and scratched and clawed.

They were gone as quickly as they came and in the doorway appeared the innkeeper with a wry look upon his face and he said, 'I don't care about your troubles. You're paid up for the night but first thing in the morning I want you out! Got it?'

'Yes, sir', replied Song.

Song put a chair against the door knob and curled up with Samuel on his bed and went fitfully to sleep but he was hungry. As the sun rose he awoke, picked up Samuel and quietly left the inn.

Chapter 6

He wandered through the city and this time it didn't seem so friendly and he pitied the little children that had slept in the streets. 'At least I was better off than they', said Song to Samuel, 'If only I had given my money to them. I think I have committed a grave error. From now on Samuel I give what I get or earn and live by loving God.'

As they trudged together through the city looking for work Song said, 'We'll trust in God to supply our food, like true disciples.'

Night had come but there was no food and no work to be had- that was moral. Song said, 'God is repaying me for not giving to the poor yesterday. I have received nothing but I will give what I have.'

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