WE ARE THE MIRACLE
ROBERT J. LEWIS
1: THE MIRACLE
UPON A TIME there was a place that was very far away from everything.
It was so far away the earth wasn't called the earth and the
sky wasn't called the sky. Imagine a place where nothing has
a name. Imagine if you didn't have a name. Nobody would know
you. Nobody could call you. Without a name you wouldn't be you.
day in this strange, far away place it began to rain. It rained
for a long, long time. Puddles of water formed on the ground.
Some of the smaller puddles trickled into each other and formed
bigger puddles. Then the rain stopped. The sky cleared and turned
blue, and overhead the sun was shining brightly. The sun's hot
rays fell on the cool puddles. A mist formed. The mist was so
thick you couldn’t see anything. It was like being inside
looked like a shape of something began to form, but you couldn’t
tell what it was because of the mist. At first, it looked like
a tree, but the longer you looked the more it didn't look like
anything. What could it be?
something like an arm appeared. And then another arm stuck out.
And then you could see what looked like two legs attached to
a body. And on top of the body -- a head. Wow! It wasn't a tree.
It was a man.
man with legs, body and head stood tall, his head and shoulders
above the mist. He spread his arms and opened his hands and
watched the mist disappear. Everything was now very clear. He
looked around and saw that he was surrounded by beautiful things
of many colours.
wonder where I am?" he asked himself. He looked down and
saw that his feet were standing on the ground. He stamped down
his right foot and then his left foot. Then with both feet he
jumped up and down. He was relieved that he didn't sink and
disappear. The ground was solid and firm and kept him from floating
off into space. "My being here makes this ground very special,"
the man decided. "I'm going to give this ground a name."
He thought for a long moment while looking at all the things
held in place by the ground. "I'm going to name it The
Earth. Without The Earth, there wouldn't be a
place for me. Without The Earth, I wouldn't be anywhere,
and nobody wants to be nowhere." And so The Earth
received its name.
the man lifted his eyes and looked into the clear blue sky that
seemed to go on forever. In the blueness the white fluffy clouds
looked like floating islands. He took a deep breath. It was
clean and smelled of forest and wild flowers. He took another
deep breath and felt strong. "This is also something very
special," the man said, feeling his lungs expand. "It
also deserves a name." He thought and thought, and then
clapping his hands he said: "I've got it. I'm going to
name it The Air. Without The Air I wouldn't
be able to breathe, and neither would the trees and flowers
man continued to explore his new home where everything was so
new nothing had been named.
a while, he noticed his lips were dry and so was the inside
of his mouth. "I must be thirsty," he thought. He
looked about for something to drink. His tongue was as dry as
old bread. In the distance, he noticed a cluster of large circles
shining on the ground and he wondered what they might be. Faster
than a rabbit, he ran to the circles and discovered that they
were puddles. It was exactly what he needed. "My thirst
makes this very special," he said. "I must give it
a name." Instead of drinking right away, he thought until
the right name came to him. "I've got it," he said.
"My thirst will always be thankful for” -- and then
he spoke the word “Water.” Without Water
I would shrivel up and disappear.
thirsty man went over to one of the bigger puddles of water.
The water was so clear he could see to the bottom. He fell to
his knees and was bending over to drink when he suddenly saw
the shape of another man in the water. He was startled and moved
back. The man in the water was also startled and moved back.
"Who could that be?" He inched closer. At the same
time, the man in the water also moved closer, inch by inch.
This was very strange. Next he waved his hand and the man in
the water also waved his hand. He wanted to know why the man
in the water was doing exactly the same as him. "Who are
you?" he asked. "And why are you copying me?"
"I am you," the man in the water answered back. "No
you're not. I am me." "That's right," said the
man in the water. "I am you." "Really,"
they both said at the same time. Once again he looked into the
perfectly still water, and lo and behold, he saw himself.
It's true," he said, amazed. "You are me," he
said to his face in the water. "You are my reflection.
When the water is still, it acts like a mirror." He touched
his chin and nose with his hand. His reflection did exactly
the same thing at the same time. "It is me," he said
in wonderment. "That means I'm something -- and not nothing
-- just like the Earth and Air and Water
are something." He suddenly stopped. "But I don’t
have a name."
thought for a long, long time. He thought for so long he even
forgot he was thirsty. It wasn't easy to name something that
could talk and run and laugh and name other things. "Only
I can give names to other things. I must be something very special.
I must be a miracle." He jumped up in the air and started
waving his hands and shouting. "I know what I am. I'm a
miracle. I’m a person. I'm a miracle," he kept shouting
again and again. "From now on, my name is going to be --
it's going to be -- Person."
whispered his name and then everything fell silent. In the stillness
was gathered the Earth, Air and Water.
Person fell to his knees and beheld the miracle of it all. "And
all these things that I have named make up -- The World.
I am in The World," he said. "I am in The
World." And for this he was very thankful. He then
shaped his hands into a cup and brought cool water to his mouth.
Never had anything tasted so good. The dryness in his mouth
and throat disappeared. He drank until he felt strong enough
to continue exploring his new home.
Person went, he was the first to be there. His footsteps
made new paths. Along the way he discovered trees with white
bark which he named Birch Trees; and he gave the name
Grasshopper to the insect that hopped high into the
air. But there was still something he hadn't discovered, and
yet he couldn't say what it was.
continued exploring and giving names to the new things he encountered,
but after a while there wasn't much to do and time passed very
slowly. He wished he had a friend with whom he could play and
explore, but there was no one. "Is there another person
here?" he shouted. He waited for an answer, but none came.
sat down beneath the shade of a Birch Tree and looked
around him at all the wonderful things he had discovered, but
he wasn't very happy. "It's no fun being a miracle all
by yourself," he muttered. His new home, The World,
was beautiful, but it wasn't fun being in it all alone. He wanted
to share The World with others. "But I'm not going
to find other people sitting here all day," he said, pushing
himself up. And with a new purpose in his stride, he went off
looking for others.
walked and walked. The minutes turned into hours. And to make
matters worse, the hot sun was slowing him down. It wasn't long
before he fell thirsty again. But when he looked for water,
he couldn't find any puddles. The ground was dry and cracked
and the grass and bushes were brown and shriveled. He wondered
if it ever rained here. He looked around him. There was nobody.
He continued even though he knew he didn’t know where
he was going.
was feeling pooped when he noticed the sun was almost touching
the earth. He stopped and looked to where the sky and earth
met. There, in the distance, the sky turned bright orange, then
red and violet, and finally deep purple. Person had
never seen anything so beautiful. It looked like a painting.
A few minutes later the sun disappeared and so did the beautiful
colours. He was sad The Sunset didn't last longer.
he started to walk again, he could hardly see where he was going.
At the same time, his legs began to feel heavy and so did his
eyelids. "I had better rest to have strength for the next
day," he decided.
in a grassy shallow protected by a high hedge, he found a soft
piece of sandy ground to lie down on. He stretched out. It felt
good to rest. He decided he would name the time to rest and
sleep -- The Night.
he looked up into the sky everything was black except for small
little lights which were twinkling. He named them Stars.
And that which was hanging in the sky like a big yellow ball
he named The Moon. It was too dark to see anything
else so he thought about all the wonderful things he had discovered
during the day. He soon fell into a deep sleep.
CHAPTER 2: ANOTHER MIRACLE
Person awoke the next morning, The Night had already departed
and the sun was shining on his face. He stretched out his arms
and legs and blinked open his eyes. At first, he didn't know
where he was. But then he began to recall his many adventures
of the day before, and then he knew where he was. Without the-day-before,
he wouldn't have been able to remember what he did and where
he had explored. For this place he was very thankful. The-day-before
was so important he decided to give it a name. He named it Yesterday.
After all, without Yesterday, there wouldn't be a place
now that he was wide awake, he understood that when he got tired
and fell asleep there would be the day-after where he would
wake up. For this he was also thankful, because without the-day-after,
as soon as he fell asleep he would sleep forever. And that meant
he would never again be able to discover things and play outside.
The-day-after was so important he named it Tomorrow.
He needed Tomorrow because he needed a place to wake
up. Person was happy because his new day had only just begun
and he had already discovered Yesterday and Tomorrow.
started to sing a song. And then with a burst of energy he began
to run. Only when he fell short of breath did he slow down to
a walk, and then he remembered that he was looking for another
person with whom he could explore and share The World. He walked
and walked and walked but he didn't meet a single person. He
felt sad and lonely. "What's the point in being a miracle
if you can't tell anybody," he mumbled to himself.
hot sun was directly over his head. Beads of sweat were gathering
on his forehead. He licked his tongue. It was dry like sand.
And the air was as dry as flour. He suddenly felt dizzy and
could hardly walk in a straight line. Person desperately needed
water, but there was none to find. He dropped to his knees.
A gust of wind blew dirt into his eyes and mouth. He started
to cough and his eyes began to tear. For a long time he didn't
move. The hot sun was beating down on him. He felt weak and
miserable. He looked at his arms and saw that the skin had turned
reddish-pink and was starting to peel. He realized he had to
do something or he would dry up and disappear.
forced himself to stand up. With great difficulty, dragging
his feet, he took one step and then another, and plodded on,
ever so slowly, not knowing where he was going. Sometimes the
wind would sweep up the ground and he would disappear in a cloud
of dirt. He was just about to give up when he heard a strange
sound far above him.
He looked up and squinted into the blinding white sky and saw
a flock of birds flying in a circle. The birds were flying easily
over a patch of dark blue ground. Person turned himself in the
direction of the blue ground. He was puzzled. He had always
known The Earth to be either green or brown.
trudged along at a snail’s pace. With each step, the blue
patch grew bigger and bigger, but because of the heat he was
feeling weaker and dizzier. He was almost at the edge of the
blue surface when he realized it wasn't The Earth. It was something
else. Smooth ripples were traveling across its surface, curling
in upon themselves at the edges. He cautiously floated the tips
of his fingers over it. It was wet and cool, like water. "Yes,"
he said, jumping for joy. "It's a huge huge puddle of water."
was so happy he cried. Now he wouldn't dry up and disappear.
Before drinking, he sailed his eyes over the endless expanse
of blue. He couldn't see where it ended. There was enough water
to quench everyone's thirst. He named this body of water a Lake
because it was so much bigger than a puddle of water.
was very thirsty. His tongue was dry and his throat was parched.
He couldn't remember when he last drank. The water was cool
and inviting. He fell to his knees and offered thanks to The
Lake for showing itself. "Without your water I would
dry up and disappear," Person said to his new friend. He
cupped his hands and scooped fresh cool water to his lips. He
had never tasted anything so good. "My thirst makes your
water very special." He drank slowly until he was no longer
thirsty. When he had quenched his thirst he said goodbye to
The Lake and continued his search for others. After
all, what was the point of there being such a big Lake
without others to drink from it?
the remainder of the day Person walked in the heat. Finally,
in the early evening, he felt the air begin to cool off. He
also felt a small emptiness in his stomach. The emptiness got
bigger and bigger, and even hurt a little. When he stopped to
listen he could hear gurgling inside the emptiness. It didn't
take him long to figure out what was making his stomach talk
out loud. He was hungry. He couldn't remember when he last ate.
He was so hungry his legs began to feel wobbly. And to make
matters worse, the sun would soon disappear behind the earth,
which meant The Night would soon arrive and he wouldn't be able
to see where he was going.
had already begun to look for a place to sleep when he noticed
a thin stream of smoke in the distance. "I wonder where
that's coming from?" There was still a little light left
in the sky so he decided he would try to find the source of
soon found himself in a wooded area. The trees were so tall
and thick he could no longer see the smoke, but he found a footpath
which he followed with growing excitement. He wondered how the
path came to be there.
path led him past trees he had never seen before and guided
him in between huge rocks. He could now smell the smoke he still
couldn't see. The path brought him to a small clearing. In the
clearing stood a wooden cabin. He stopped and stared. He had
never before seen a cabin. He approached it cautiously.
cabin had two windows whose shutters were open, and a door that
was closed. Smoke was coming out of the chimney. He walked around
the cabin, admiring its shape and slanted roof. He wondered
what was inside.
the door opened and a face appeared. Person's eyes opened wide.
And so did the eyes of the other person standing in the doorway.
He looked at the face and the face looked at him. It reminded
him of the face he saw in the water. It had a nose, chin, eyes,
ears and mouth. Neither could speak. They were both astonished
by what they saw. Person began to stammer: "He-he-hello."
other person also stammered: "He-he-hello."
name is Person. I'm a miracle." He approached the other
person and held out his hand. The other person offered his hand.
Their hands clasped. "Your hand is warm like mine,"
said Person. "You must also be a miracle." Tears of
joy formed in Person's eyes and in the eyes of the other person.
"I am so happy to have found you. I've been looking for
you ever since I can remember."
I've been waiting for a visitor since I can remember,"
said the other person. "My name is Mr. Other.
Please come into our home."
you," said Person, and followed Mr. Other inside. The log
cabin was cozy and warm. Wood was burning in the fireplace.
Person was spellbound by the flames. "These flamed made
it possible to see in the night."
flames also give off warmth," said Mr. Other. "The
cold winter makes these warm flames very special. The wood with
which we make the fire is also very special. Without trees we
wouldn't have been able to build our home. I'm thankful these
trees have showed themselves to me and my family."
words are warm, Mr. Other. And I'm thankful to hear them."
must be hungry. Would you like something to eat?"
yes, Mr. Other. I'm starving. I can't remember when I last ate."
Person followed Mr. Other into the kitchen where another surprise
greeted him. Seated around a wooden table were three other persons.
Two of them were very tiny.
is my family," said Mr. Other, beaming with pride. "This
is my wife, Mrs. Other." Person held out his hand
which Mrs. Other clasped. Her hand was also warm. "And
these are our two Children." Person placed his
hands on their soft, warm cheeks.
have such a wonderful family."
am a very fortunate man," said Mr. Other.
have never seen such small persons as your two children,"
said Person, amazed.
should have seen them when they were born," said Mr. Other.
"They were no bigger than loaves of bread."
said Person, even more amazed.
Other continued. "But each day they grew a tiny bit. Then
one day they began to walk, and soon after that they began to
talk. It was something to behold, I tell you."
miracle," said Person, in a hushed voice.
a miracle is something to wonder at, then our children are truly
miracles," joined in Mrs. Other. "Now you wait here,
Person, and I'll be back in a minute."
Other went outside to a stone kiln. With a flat piece of wood,
she reached inside and pulled out a freshly baked loaf of bread
that she brought inside and set on the table. Person's mouth
began to water.
smells heavenly, Mrs. Other. How on earth did you make it?"
a long story," said Mr. and Mrs. Other together.
I hear it?" requested Person.
Other was only too happy to tell the story of the bread. He
took his place at the table and became very serious. The others
leaned forward on their elbows.
upon a time, where our cabin now stands, there was nothing but
tall trees and heavy rocks. So we began by cutting down the
trees and clearing the rocks. This took many months of back-breaking
labor." Mr. Other looked at his children. "And your
good mother was at my side every single day. When the trees
were felled we stripped them of their branches and used the
logs to build our cabin.
we had to clear the area around the cabin because we needed
land to grow food. But the ground was too hard. It had to be
chopped up and tilled, and that took one whole month. Only when
the soil was loosened could we plant seeds. But seeds need rain
if they are to sprout into plants. Sometimes weeks pass without
rain. Without rain, the seeds won't grow into food and without
anything to eat we would all disappear. You can well imagine
how thankful we are when the rains come.
the back of our house we have planted wheat seeds. The wheat
has to grow for many months before kernels appear. Then, at
the end of the summer, Mrs. Other and myself go into the fields
and harvest the kernels. We gather enough to last us through
the cold winter."
make bread," continued Mrs. Other, "I take a measure
of kernels and grind them with a big stone into flour. I then
mix the flour with water and yeast and bake it inside the kiln.
I'll show it to you tomorrow. The heat makes the mixture rise
into a loaf of bread. Go ahead and try it. It's the best bread
The Earth can give."
fell silent while a strange feeling came over him. He felt something
inside of him that wanted to speak, but its tongue was tied.
He thought about all the work Mr. and Mrs. Other undertook to
make a loaf of bread and how lucky he was to have found them.
Suddenly his feelings found the word he was looking for. The
word was Thank You. He was thankful to Mr. and Mrs.
Other for making him understand how a loaf of bread comes to
be what it is. Saying Thank You brought him closer
to them and their labour and their bread. "My hunger makes
this bread very special," said Person, breaking off a piece
before passing it around the table. In turn, each broke off
a piece of bread. Person bit into it. The crust was crusty and
the inside warm and tasty. He had never tasted such good bread.
night, before falling asleep on the bed Mrs. Other had prepared
for him, he thought of the wonderful new people he had met who
were sharing their food and shelter with him. "Their appearance
in The World is nothing less then a miracle," Person thought
to himself. "Tomorrow I'm going to do something special
for them." On that final thought, he fell into a deep sleep.
3: PERSON'S DREAM
the middle of the night Person had a strange dream. He dreamt
the sky was on the ground and the ground was in the sky. He
was looking for water to drink but he couldn't find the lake
because everything was upside down. The more thirsty he became
the more afraid he was going to dry up and disappear. When looked
down at his feet he couldn't see the ground. He began to tremble
and shake. All of a sudden he felt cold air blowing up all around
him. It pulled his hair straight up on end. He realized he was
falling, faster and faster. Everything rushed by him in a blur,
but the ground was nowhere in sight. He was terrified and was
about to cry out for help when he heard a deep voice that sounded
like it came from a place very far away: Are you looking for
Yes," Person sobbed. "Please help me find the ground."
Being is the only person who can help you find the ground.
Go find him."
where is he?" cried Person. "Where should I look for
him?" There was no answer.
waited for the voice to return. He waited and waited.
wind had stopped blowing, and in the calm that followed he began
to think of Mr. Being. He wondered how he would recognize
him if he were to find him. Soon afterwards, he fell asleep
he awoke the next morning he heard the familiar voices of Mr.
and Mrs. Other and their two children.
4: THE SHARING
bounded out of bed and went to the window. Warm sunlight was
slanting through the trees. The bright light falling on the
morning dew made the leaves glitter like crystal. Person looked
on for a long time – in awe of the beauty of the outside
-- before going into the kitchen to join the others. "Good
morning," they greeted him in unison. He had never been
greeted before. It made his waking up very special.
good morning to all of you," Person returned warmly.
are honoured to have you as a visitor," declared Mrs. Other.
the honored one," said Person. The children slid themselves
off their chairs and with short steps hurried over to Person
who immediately surrendered to their affection. "You have
wonderful children," Person said to Mr. and Mrs. Other.
they are happy you have come to stay with us," said their
grateful mother, beaming with pleasure.
children make each day special," said Mr. Other.
don't forget your dear wife," said Mrs. Other winking.
course not, my love," said Mr. Other, planting a kiss on
her rosy cheek.
with me," invited Person. "I want you to look out
the window."They proceeded to the living room. Mr. Other
opened the shutters. They all gathered around the window and
beheld the forest that was bathed in crystal light. The Others
had seen this before, but each time it was as if they were seeing
it for the very first time, so beautiful was it. "Is it
like this every morning?" asked Person, spellbound.
no," said Mr. Other. "These mornings are very special.
The nights must be cool so dew forms on the leaves and the mornings
must be sunny."
Other left the others and went outside to take a closer look
at the trees. On the ground beneath the trees were containers
made of tree bark which had been turned up at the edges like
saucers. Most of them were full of fresh water that had dripped
off the wet leaves. Mrs. Other took each bowl and poured it
into a big clay jug. The others watched her pour. When the jug
was full she brought it into the house and set it on the kitchen
table. "We have good water to drink this morning,"
she said, solemnly.
poured water for her children, and then the others, serving
observed the hard work that went into gathering water, Person
now understood how some water could be more important than other
water. He thought of the big lake whose water was there without
drank in silence. Mrs. Other saved half the jug for evening.
"Is this how you fetch your drinking water everyday?"
depends," said Mrs. Other. "If it rains, our well
fills with water which lasts a long time. But sometimes it doesn't
rain for weeks on end and the well dries up. Then we must gather
the dew that drips off the leaves into the bark containers I
have set beneath the trees. Often during the hot summers, the
nights aren't cool enough for dew to form on the leaves. Then
we have to go the entire day without drinking. Going all day
without drinking water makes us all very thankful for whatever
water the morning dew provides.”
"Yes. Yes," said Person, thoughtfully. "Without
drinking water we would dry up and disappear."
the summer we often wonder if we are going to disappear,"
said Mrs. Other, afraid for her family.
listened. His heart was trying to tell him something. It told
him to return the goodness the Other family had been extending
to him since his arrival. Wanting to help them reminded him
of a very special place. "I want you all to come with me,"
he said, all excited.
asked Mr. Other.
not far from here," said Person, pointing to the edge of
the forest. "Do you have any empty jugs?"
this one here that's half full, and two empty ones outside."
They went outside to where the jugs stood against the wall.
bring them with us," said Person, wrapping his arms around
one of the empty ones.
so began their adventure. Person's excitement spread to the
others, who eagerly followed him along the same path he had
found the night before, a path which the Other family themselves
had made a long time ago. It led them to the edge of the forest
and into the open prairie.
have never been this far from home," announced Mrs. Other,
nervously pressing the hands of her children to her sides. "The
ground is very dry here."
worry," said Person. "It's not far now." The
heat and wind had turned everything brown and rust-colored.
They listened to the sun-burnt stubble crackle beneath their
steps. "There it is," said Person, pointing to a big
patch of blue in the distance.
that?" they asked, puzzled.
and see," invited Person, smiling. With Mr. Other in the
lead, they all started running towards the blue patch of whatever
it was they had never seen before. When they got close enough
to the blue to see what it really was, they started shouting:
"Water, water, water. There's enough water here for everybody
named a Lake," explained Person. "It's where large
bodies of water gather and stay."
Other clasped her hands. Her eyes filled with tears. "Thank
you ever so much for bringing us to the Lake," she said
to Person. "Now our children will never go thirsty and
they won't cry out for water in the middle of the night."
all sat down at the Lake's sandy shore and beheld its vastness.
In the peaceful silence, Mr. Other began to speak: "Person
has taught us something very special today. He showed us a Lake
that has always been here. There must be many things that have
always been here which we don't see. We must look for these
things and make them appear to us."
thought about Mr. Others words.
the children had waded into the cool water and were splashing
each other and squealing with delight. Soon the others joined
them and discovered they could keep cool in the heat of the
day. Yes. Today the adults learned something from the children.
the hottest part of the day had passed, they filled the empty
jugs with water and began the journey homeward. They now had
two days worth of water, plus the dew-water gathered from the
single file they retraced their steps. They crossed the flat,
unprotected prairie which led them to the forest. There, they
were happy because the forest provided welcome shade. It wasn't
too long before they could see the friendly outline of their
cabin through the trees.
was breathing in the wonderful pine scent of the forest when
his nose began to twitch. A familiar and delicious aroma was
making his mouth water. Mrs. Other was twinkling her eyes. "I
see you have discovered my secret," she said. "Early
this morning I put two loaves of bread in the oven. By the smell,
I think they are ready to be eaten."
can't wait," said Person. Mrs. Other went to fetch the
bread while the others began looking for a soft grassy spot
in the shade.
were already sitting in a circle when Mrs. Other returned with
one of the loaves, which was round and crusty. It didn't last
long. When they finished eating, they poured themselves fresh
water from one of the jugs. After their wonderful picnic, they
all stretched out and dozed for a while.
was late in the afternoon when they awoke. Person slowly rose
to his feet and looked at each member of the Other family. There
was sadness in his eyes. He reluctantly told his friends that
he had to leave them and continue his journey. The two children
began to cry. "Stay with us," they pleaded. They had
grown to love Person. Person's eyes clouded with tears. He wished
he could stay.
know you are welcome to live with us," said Mr. and Mrs.
Other. "We would so much like you to stay. You have brought
much happiness to our home."
would love to stay with you but I must go."
must you go?" asked Mr. Other, with a puzzled expression
on his face.
looking for someone very special."
who is that?"
looking for Mr. Being."
Being. Who is Mr. Being? I don't believe I've
heard of him."
not sure myself who he is," admitted Person. "That's
why I must find him."
do you want to find him?" asked Mr. Other.
only he can tell me why I'm looking for him."
it important that you find him?"
him will be the most important event in my life."
said Mr. Other. "He must be very important."
prepared to take his leave. Mrs. Other bundled up an half-loaf
of bread and some fresh fruit on a stick. Person thanked her
and promised to return after finding Mr. Being. "And
bring him with you," Mr. Other reminded him.
surely will," said Person. "And during my search I
will think of you often. I will always think of you as my family
and of this place as my home."
"And we will think of you whenever we drink from the Lake."
kissed the children goodbye. They clung to him and wouldn't
let go. He reluctantly freed himself from their grasp. "Goodbye,
my dearest friends," said Person.
Person," said the Others. They didn't stop waving until
he had disappeared into the deep green of the forest.
CHAPTER 5: A TALE OF TWO CITIES
was a beautiful day. The sun was smiling brightly and there
was a gentle breeze in the air. When he looked up into the turquoise
blue sky he saw white, fluffy clouds floating by, throwing patches
of shade onto the ground.
had long ago left the prairie behind him and was now walking
amongst rolling green hills. He couldn't wait to climb the hills,
each promising a view of what lay beyond. From the top of one
of the higher hills, he spotted a stream winding its way along
the valley bed. He ran down to the stream, fell to his knees
and slowly drank its waters. The cool water quenched his thirst.
He listened to the soft murmur and gurgling of the stream. Its
music was peaceful and inviting. He decided he would follow
the way he discovered many new fruits. His hunger made these
new fruits very special. He gave each new fruit a name.
bright red fruit that was the size of a bite and grew close
to the ground he named Strawberries. The furry fruit
that was round and yellow and hung in trees he named Peaches.
And the dark blue fruit that was tiny and sweet he named Blueberries.They
all tasted wonderful and he was thankful that they showed themselves
into the stream and the fruits that drank from it, and the cozy,
rolling green hills that protected everything, he thought how
nice it would be to live in such a place. Like Mr. and Mrs.
Other, he would built a log cabin from the trees that grew on
the highest hills. And with the extra wood he would make a fire
at night. "Maybe I'll settle down here after I find Mr.
Being," Person thought to himself.
stream took a sudden turn. Its course narrowed and its waters
flowed faster. The hills were now rugged and mountainous, some
with sharp, rocky peaks. In the distance, along the steep sides
of the two mountains that were almost touching each other, he
saw the shapes of houses on each side. Far below the houses
were dangerous rapids in the river, foaming and angry. Above
the rapids was a bridge that linked the two towns. On one side,
the houses were painted dark blue and brown. On the other side,
the houses were bright orange and yellow.
hurried toward the town and soon heard the playful voices of
other miracles. Their many voices sounded like music and made
him feel happy. "Maybe the others who live in the town
will be able to help me find Mr. Being," Person
thought out loud. He picked a few ripe berries to nibble on
before entering the town.
had hardly advanced ten steps when he noticed smoke rising from
a clump of bushes not too far from the river. He approached
the smoke cautiously, not wanting to disturb the person who
was making the smoke. But when he arrived, no one was there.
A camp fire was burning. Person looked around. "Is anyone
here?" he shouted. No one answered.
the wind picked up and blew some of the fire into the nearby
bushes which caught fire. Person quickly went over to the bushes
and began stamping out the fire with his feet. "If the
bushes catch fire, the berries will burn and disappear,"
said Person, alarmed, "and the miracle that they are will
disappear forever. Whoever forgot to look after his fire isn't
very thankful," Person concluded.
went to the river, cupped his hands and brought water to the
fire. The fire hissed and sizzled and gave off huge puffs of
smoke. Only after many trips back and forth to the river were
the last flames and red hot ashes finally extinguished.
was getting ready to continue his journey when suddenly a voice
stopped him: "Who are you?” boomed the voice. It
wasn't friendly and not at all thankful for meeting another
a miracle," answered Person. "And so are you."
don't know what you're talking about," said the other,
who laughed in a gruff sort of way. "Now I asked you where
are you going?" A man wearing dirty clothes and a crooked
black hat that slanted over one of his eyes stepped out from
behind a peach tree. He plucked a juicy peach from the tree,
took a single bite, then tossed the peach into the river. Person
watched the peach sink and disappear.
hunger makes that peach very special," said Person, still
looking where the peach sank in the water. "That peach
is now gone forever."
you quit talking nonsense and tell me what you're doing in these
looking for Mr. Being."
Being," the man snickered. "Why are you looking
he can tell me that," answered Person.
Being can't help you."
why is that?" asked Person.
there is no such person as Mr. Being. That's why."
Person didn't believe him.
you just said he couldn't help me. Which means there is a Mr.
Being. Maybe he lives in town," suggested Person.
know each and every person who lives in town," said the
man. "Come with me and you'll see there is no Mr. Being
living there." Person decided to follow the man into town.
name is Person. What is your name?"
call me Falling." The both of them shook hands.
Falling's hands were much colder than Mr. Other's.
you live in the town?" asked Person.
I do and sometimes I don't," answered Falling, in a wishy-washy
way. "But it's a fun town," he added with a smirk.
do you mean by fun?"
find out soon enough," promised Falling, with
a glint of mischief in his eye. "And you'll also find out
that there is no Mr. Being there because he doesn't
know how to have fun."
you just told me that Mr. Being doesn't exist."
never seen him," said Falling. "The people
who live in the yellow and orange houses on the other side of
the bridge sometimes talk about him, but I've never seen him.
Anyway, I don't like that part of town. The people there don't
know how to have fun."
what about the people who live on this side of the bridge?"
ask too many questions," said Falling. But Person
continued anyway. He still had more questions to ask.
the people who like to have fun talk to the people who don’t
like to have fun?"
never," said Falling.
why does a bridge connect the two sides?"
guess they can't live without each other," said Falling
doubtfully. "Now stop asking so many questions." Falling
made no secret of being fed up.
wondered how he would be able to learn about things if he couldn't
wide path along the river turned into a narrow dirt road that
twisted and turned up to the town. Those who lived just outside
the town were walking their milk cows and goats back and forth
between their farms and the market place. The streets and sidewalks
were full of people. They were talking in loud voices, hurrying
to and fro, walking with their elbows up, bumping into and pushing
with Person immediately behind him, elbowed his way through
the noisy crowd. Catching bits and pieces of conversation, Person
listened to the people argue about who was the fastest, the
strongest, the smartest, the richest and the prettiest. They
didn't seem happy to have each other. "I'm a miracle,"
Person said to some of them as they passed by. "And so
are you." But the townspeople didn't pay any attention
passed two elderly ladies who were sitting fearfully on a rickety
old bench. One was eating a chocolate bar. Faster than the eye
could see, Falling snatched the chocolate from out
of the hands of the old lady. "That's my chocolate,"
she shouted to deaf ears.
it's mine," Falling declared triumphantly. "And thank
you very much, Madame." And in a gleeful, cackling voice,
he turned to Person and said," we must always be polite
and respect our elders, mustn't we?"
bit off a chunk of the chocolate and passed it to Person who
wouldn't accept it. "Come on. Taste it," urged Falling.
Person hesitated before taking it, and then sunk his teeth into
it. The chocolate melted in his mouth. He had never tasted anything
so good. He took another bite and then another. He was enjoying
his chocolate so much he didn't even hear the lady who was still
crying after her chocolate. "Let me have a bite,"
said Falling, grabbing what remained out of Person's
hand. It didn't last long.
disappeared fast," said Falling, with a satisfied look
on his face. He threw the wrapper on the street. "But don't
worry. There's lots more where that came from."
wished so hard there was more chocolate to eat he didn't bother
to think about the people who had planted and harvested the
chocolate beans or the others who worked all day long and turned
the beans into tasty chocolate bars. He didn't even bother asking
if chocolate grew in the ground or on trees.
met up with a circle of people who were shouting and jostling
each other. Falling and Person wedged their way into
people were fighting, throwing their fists at each other. One
of the fighters grabbed the other by the hair, threw him to
the ground, pounced on him like a tiger and then bit him in
the ear. When the ear started to bleed, everyone clapped their
hands and shouted their approval. "This is your lucky day,"
said Falling. "I haven't seen a good fight in
a long while." Falling urged the fighter on the
ground to get up and defend himself. Person joined the others
in their merriment, and his voice sounded just like the other
loud voices. He became so excited by the fight he could hardly
hold himself back.
everyone was scratching and throwing punches at everyone else
when two policemen with clubs entered and broke up the fight.
Everyone booed. The fighter with the bleeding ear began to shout
insults at the policemen. He wanted to continue fighting. He
wanted revenge. But the policemen stepped in between and separated
the two fighters, and then ordered everyone to return to their
work. Reluctantly, the crowd dispersed.
you enjoy the fight?" asked Falling.
guess I did," answered Person, in an uncertain voice.
now take you to the bridge." Falling led Person
along a narrow street that was cluttered with broken bottles,
empty food cans and orange and banana peels. The smell was terrible.
Men with dirty faces and torn clothing were walking up and down
holding their hands out for food. Some of them were sleeping
right on the sidewalk.
don't these people have enough food to eat?" asked Person.
ask too many questions," replied Falling, with
a sneer. They came to a long flight of steps that led to the
were so many steps Person couldn't see to the top. He tried
to count them, but he lost track. When they finally reached
the top, both of them were puffing -- especially Falling.
Person looked across the bridge. The wooden houses were indeed
brighter on the other side, and the people were quieter and
more orderly as they performed their daily chores.
we go to the other side?" asked Person.
take you there," agreed Falling. "But you
have to promise to do exactly as me. OK?"
promise," said Person. "But what do I have to do?"
me. And remember. You promised." Falling went
to the bridge and climbed onto the narrow hand railing. He slowly
stood up. There was nothing to hold onto. With his arms extended
flat out to balance himself, he inched his way towards the other
crowd that had gathered out of nowhere was fearful and silent.
"If he falls into the rapids below, he will disappear forever,"
Person muttered to himself. "Or if he falls onto the sharp
rocks he will surely hurt himself very badly."
one point, Falling almost lost his balance and the
onlookers let out a gasp. But he regained his balance and finally
made it to the other side.
"Now it's your turn," shouted Falling from
the other side of the bridge.
approached the railing. He was afraid. His legs felt rubbery.
He hesitated. "Are you yellow?" someone in the crowd
shouted. Person didn't know what to do. "Chicken, chicken,"
the crowd began yelling. "Promise breaker," another
couldn't break his promise, and yet he knew that the miracle
that he was would disappear for ever if he lost his balance
and fell into the rapids. He tried to think, but the noise of
the people shouting made it impossible. He felt dizzy. Around
him everything was a blur.
had already climbed onto the narrow railing and had taken his
first steps when he felt a friendly hand on his shoulder.
"You can decide not to walk across the railing," said
a gentle voice.
I made a promise," replied Person, looking frightfully
into the raging rapids below.
you forgotten the miracle that you are?" the gentle voice
I haven't. But I haven't forgotten my promise either."
you must choose between keeping the miracle that you are or
keeping your promise. But remember. If you lose your balance
and fall into the rapids, the miracle that you are will disappear
looked down into the black waters that were surging over the
sharp rocks. His heart was pounding. He placed his hand over
his heart as if to calm himself, and felt the miracle of it
beating inside him. He also felt on his shoulder the warm hand
of the person beside him.
was only one choice. He carefully climbed down from the railing.
Falling and the mob were hurling insults at him and
calling him names, but he didn't hear any of it. "My name
is Care," was the only voice he heard. They clasped
am thankful for showing yourself to me," said Person. "I
had truly forgotten the miracle that I am. I might have fallen
into the dark waters and disappeared forever." Person suddenly
felt so bad inside he couldn’t look into Care's
eyes. He felt himself grow smaller and smaller and wished there
was somewhere he could hide. The name he gave to this feeling
was Shame. He felt shame in forgetting that he was
a miracle. "It's very easy to forget," he finally
said, in a meek voice.
know," said Care. "Falling has forgotten
the miracle that he is. And so have all his friends. It's important
to choose the right friends."
we cross the bridge together?" asked Person. "And
we will not invite Falling, who will not be my friend,"
isn't welcome in that part of town," explained Care.
"But he goes there anyway. In fact, Falling is
everywhere. He's in every town, in every forest, by every lake,
along every path."
said Person, discouraged. "What can we do about him?"
only thing we can do is not to forget that he is always nearby.
If we don't forget that, he can't do any harm." Person
listened to Care's words.
came just in time, Care."
you made the right choice, Person."
hope we will become good friends," said Person.
would like that very much."
together, hand in hand, Person and Care crossed the
long bridge to the other side of town where all the houses and
stores were painted in bright colors and the streets were clean
and the people were friendly.
CHAPTER 6: THE PROFESSOR
first thing Person noticed was how quiet and peaceful it was
on this side of town. "Back there," said Person, pointing
with his thumb, "there was so much noise I couldn't think
straight. In fact, I wasn't thinking at all. If you hadn't thought
about me, I might have disappeared forever. I thank you for
saving me, Care."
saved yourself," said Care. "You decided not to walk
across the railing. I just helped you think straight."
glad you did," said Person, squeezing Care's hand. They
continued walking down the main street of the town. They came
to a park with a playground for children and a pond with ducks.
They passed by two mothers who were watching over their children.
"Good afternoon," said Care and Person.
afternoon," offered the mothers. "Isn't it a lovely
surely is," replied Care.
soon found themselves in the middle of the park beneath a circle
of huge chestnut trees and a water fountain from which they
are you doing in these parts?" asked Care.
looking for Mr. Being."
idea," said Care. "It's the best thing a person can
do. Maybe I can help you find him. He's much closer than you
looked around him. "Can I see him from here?"
no," said Care, laughing. "No one can see Mr.
Being. But you'll know him when you find him."
how can you know someone you can't see?" asked Person,
you know what it's like to be thirsty?" asked Care.
can be sure of that,” answered Person, recalling how thirsty
he was before he discovered the lake."
can you see thirst?" asked Care. Person thought for a moment.
guess I can't," Person conceded.
means you know what thirst is without having to see it."
guess that is so,” agreed Person, but not quite sure.
“Is Mr. Being like that? You don’t have
to see him to know him?”
you're catching on," said Care, with an appreciative nod.
"Which means you have learned something very important
about Mr. Being. And the more you learn, the closer
you are to finding him"
can I learn more?" asked Person.
continuing to ask questions and to remember that looking for
Mr. Being is more important than everything else."
continued walking through the town admiring the shapes and colours
of the buildings and the tall trees that shaded the sidewalks.
soon arrived at the school house which was empty because it
was summer and everyone was on vacation. In the school yard
they noticed a man beneath one of the chestnut trees. He was
reading a book. "That's The Professor," said
Care. They quietly approached him. "Good afternoon, Professor."
didn't hear them. "Good afternoon, Professor,"
said Care in a louder voice. The Professor looked up,
a little startled.
My goodness. I must have been concentrating on this wonderful
book that I'm reading for a second time. Good afternoon. Good
afternoon my friends. Please sit down and enjoy the magnificent
shade of this wonderful chestnut tree."
and Person sat down and leaned their backs against the tree's
smooth trunk. They had been on their feet all day and it felt
good to rest. Care then introduced the Professor and Person
to each other. "Why are you still at school when everyone
is on holidays?" asked Person.
much to learn," answered The Professor. "Everyday
is a school day for me," he laughed.
must know everything," volunteered Person.
afraid not," said The Professor. "The only
thing I know for certain is that there is much more to learn."
you know Mr. Being?" asked Person, hopefully.
I'm reading about him at this very moment." The Professor
held up his book. It was called WE ARE THE MIRACLE.
said Person amazed. "A book about Mr. Being. Does
the book tell where you can find him?"
Professor didn't answer right away. "Well. Not exactly,"
he finally said. "But it tells you how you might go about
looking for him."
that mean I won't find him unless I read your book?"
again The Professor took his time before answering.
"Let me put it this way," he began slowly. "You
don't have to read this exact book to find him. But at the same
time, you can't find him without words."
don't understand," said Person, confused.
you want to find Mr. Being," began the professor
again, "you have to ask questions. For example, right now
you are asking me questions about Mr. Being. And to
ask questions you need words, right? Just try asking a question
without words. You'll see it's impossible." Person tried
to ask a question without words, but he couldn't. "Words
are very important," continued the professor. "Without
words we wouldn't be able to think about Mr. Being.
Thanks to words, we are at this very moment speaking about Mr.
Being. Try speaking without words." Person tried but
he couldn't open his mouth.
right, Professor. Without words we can't speak."
should make us all thankful that there are words," added
long have you been looking for Mr. Being?" asked
since I can remember," answered The Professor.
you ever get tired looking for him," asked Person.
no," said The Professor. "Looking for Mr.
Being makes waking up every morning very special."
shadow cast by the tree was growing longer which meant there
wasn't much daylight left. It was time to leave. Person and
Care rose to their feet to say goodbye.
will you go now?" asked The Professor.
look for Mr. Being, of course."
I suggest you visit a very old and dear friend of mine whom
everyone calls Johnny A."
is Johnny A?"
lives along the river. You'll know him by his long grey beard.
He is also a very wise man."
go and see him right away, Professor. Thank you so much for
hope you will come and visit me again," invited The
Professor." Your visit has made my afternoon very
will surely visit you again," said Person and Care in one
voice. They shook hands with The Professor and continued
on their way.
CHAPTER 7: JOHHNY A.
and Care followed the road out of town and found themselves
walking along the banks of the winding river. Along these banks
there wasn't much to eat: just a few berries. The rolling hills
gave way to flatter country and the stream shrunk to a small
trickle. "I don't see Johnny A. around here," said
Person, in a tired voice. "And the sun is falling. That
means night will soon arrive."
looked into the sun that was level with his eyes. Soon the sky
would be full of colour. "I think we should rest up for
tomorrow," suggested Care. They found a soft bed of grass
near the stream which was protected from the wind by a semi-circle
of berry bushes. Together they stretched out their tired legs
and watched the sun disappear and the lower sky fill with dazzling
colours. By the time night arrived they were both sound asleep.
Person woke up the next morning, the light was pale blue and
there was a gentle breeze in the air. He stretched out his arms
legs. "I feel full of energy today," he announced.
"Sleep makes this energy very special." But when he
turned towards Care, he experienced a frightful shock. Care
wasn't there. Person sprung to his legs and looked all around
him. "Care," he shouted. "Care. Where are you?"
was no answer. He shouted again, and again there was no answer.
Like a balloon losing its air, Person felt his energy drain.
He dropped himself onto a nearby flat stone. For a long time
he just sat there, slumped, sad and alone.
the first time ever he missed someone. He missed Care, and the
loss brought tears to his eyes. Very sad thoughts filled the
place where the loss was felt. That place was his heart.
had completely forgotten about looking for Mr. Being
and Johnny A. Would he ever remember to look for them again?
his head bowed, his shoulders drooping, his back hunched over,
he wondered why Care disappeared without saying good bye. For
a long time he just sat there, as lifeless as the stone on which
he was sitting, when all of a sudden he heard a familiar voice.
"Good morning, Person. You don't look very well this morning."
It's you," cried Person, jumping up in the air. "I'm
so happy to see you. I thought you went away forever."
was downstream," explained Care. "I went to pick berries
for breakfast. I had to go far because it's very dry in this
was afraid we would never see each other again."
would never leave you without saying good bye," assured
Care. "That would mean I don't care for you and you know
I care for you very much."
thought I lost you forever, Care, makes me especially thankful
that you're here. I'm glad we're together again."
glad you're glad," said Care. "Now let's eat these
berries were fat and sweet. After their breakfast, which turned
their tongues blue, they drank from the stream and continued
on their way.
walked and walked until the stream completely dried up. They
were now following a muddy river bed. On both sides of the bed
the land was flat and dry. "Do you think the professor
made a mistake?" asked Person. "Or maybe Johnny A.
moved away. There's nothing here."
hot sun was directly above them. They were both getting thirsty
and their walk had slowed down to a turtle's pace. Suddenly
Care stopped in his tracks. "What's that?" he asked,
pointing in the distance.
don't know," said Person, straining his eyes to get a better
look at the small red dots sparkling on the horizon. "Let's
footsteps quickened. They soon noticed that the red dots were
attached to the trees. And by the time their flowery scent had
reached them, the dots had become round and full, and were big
enough to held inside a hand.
reached up and picked one and brought it to his nose. It smelled
fruity. "I think we can eat it," proposed Person.
He bit into the fruit. It was juicy and tasty. "Hmmmmm."
said Person. "It's delicious. Try one."
picked one and took a bite. "Hmmmmmmm. It ‘is’
delicious. Our thirst makes this juicy red fruit something very
special." In silence they ate their newly discovered fruit.
orchard was quite small. There were no more than a 100 trees.
At the end of the orchard were many very small trees. And just
back of these baby trees was an old man with a long, sparkling,
grey beard and flaming white shirt bent over the earth. "That
must be Johnny A. Let's go over and talk to him."
and Person went over to Johnny A. "Good afternoon, Johnny
A. The professor in town sent us over to visit you. My name
is Person and this is my good friend Care."
put down his bag and shook hands with his new friends. “Did
you try The Apples?” asked Johnny.
that's what you have named them," said Person, approvingly.
"The apples are delicious," said Person and Care in
you here all by yourself?" asked Person.
receive many visitors," explained Johnny. "And when
they go away I always think about them, so I'm never really
must love your apples."
yes. And before they leave, I always invite them to take extra
apples home with them so they can make apple pies and apple
scanned his eyes over the small orchard. "But if everyone
picks extra apples, there won’t be enough left for everybody?"
will always be enough apples so long as everyone thinks of the
others that will come after them. You can imagine what would
happen if only one person picked all the apples for himself?"
would disappear except for the person with all the apples. And
it's no fun being a miracle all by yourself," announced
began to work the earth with his hoe. Care and Person observed
the old man with great interest. His beard was so long it almost
touched the ground when he bent over, and his face had so many
wrinkles he looked ancient.
does the ‘A’ stand for in Johnny A?" asked
chuckled. "You'll know what the 'A’ stands for when
you get to know me better. Just keep watching." Person
you tell me what's inside your bag?"
bet I will. This bag is full of apple seeds. Without seeds you
can’t grow apple trees. First, with my hoe, I make a wedge
in the earth like I'm doing right now; and then I plant the
seeds and cover them. Look behind you. Those are baby apple
trees. These seeds here will one day sprout into baby apple
long does it take an apple tree to make apples?"
long time,” said Johnny, thoughtfully.
planted those fully grown trees just in the back of you when
I was a young man. By the time they grew apples my beard was
a long long time," said Person.
watched Johnny take the seeds out of the bag and place them
carefully in the ground. When a row of seeds had been planted,
he covered them with earth.
and I would like to help you plant seeds, if that's OK with
thank you for your kindness," said Johnny, very much pleased
by their offer to help.
our way of thanking you for thinking of us," said Person.
"Thanks to you thinking of us a long long time ago, we
now have delicious apples to eat." Care and Person took
turns hoeing the earth while Johnny followed them planting seeds.
While working, Person was thinking all sorts of apple thoughts
when a question popped into his head.
me, Johnny," he began. "Aren't you too old to see
those baby trees grow up into apple trees?"
very true," said Johnny, pulling on his grey beard. "I'm
an old man. But I'm old enough to know that there were other
people here before me, and that there will be other people who
will follow me. Those baby trees are for the others who will
come after me, and that includes the others who haven't yet
and Person were touched by Johnny's goodness. "You care
very much for others, Johnny. Your caring makes these trees
continued to work through the afternoon. When the sun was too
hot, Johnny invited his friends to join him in the middle of
the apple orchard where he had built a small hut where he could
eat and rest and stay dry when it rained.
brought out some apple bread which he shared with his friends.
Care and Person bit into the bread. "This is the best apple
bread I've ever eaten," said Person. After they had satisfied
their hunger, they relaxed for a while. "I'll bet you're
looking for Mr. Being," said Johnny, unexpectedly.
looked at old Johnny with astonishment. He seemed to know everything.
"How do you know that?" asked Person, in disbelief.
you've been around as long as I, you learn a few things,"
said Johnny, with a look of amusement on his old, wise face.
you know Mr. Being?", asked Person, doubtfully.
know where he is," said Johnny.
Where?" asked Person, his eyes opening wide, his voice
trembling with excitement.
down now," said Johnny, holding up his hand. "Looking
for Mr. Being isn't like looking for a mountain. He's
different from everything you know, which means you can't look
for him like you would for something you have lost. Let me tell
you how I found him."
rolled up the sleeves of his shirt and smoothed his long, grey
beard. Care and Person prepared themselves to listen. Johnny
began: "The story goes like this.
you, I, too, was once looking for Mr. Being. I went
from place to place, from village to village, across mountains,
rivers, valleys and fields. I braved the scorching heat of summer,
the bitter cold of winter. I trudged through rain and mud and
plodded through knee-high snow. But I just couldn't seem to
find him even though I felt he was always nearby.
one day I thought of all the people I had met during my travels
and the kindness they showed me. Everywhere I went, good people
offered me food and shelter and hope. The more I thought about
all these good people, the more thankful I became. And then
I realized I wanted to do something for them. I wanted to thank
them. And that's when I decided I would plant apple trees.
first it was very hard work and it took many many years before
the trees grew apples. But during those long years of waiting
for the miracle of the apples to appear, I would think of the
others who were waiting for the apples -- and it was there that
Mr. Being showed himself."
said Person, confused. "Where is there?"
in the thinking," said Johnny.
was baffled. And then he recalled the professor inviting him
to think without words, but he couldn’t do it, his mind
went blank, he couldn't think his thoughts.
continued. "I was thinking about all the others who had
helped me during my travels, who were waiting for the apples
to appear -- and that's when Mr. Being appeared."
was still puzzled, and then he remembered what Care had told
him about Mr. Being: “You can't see him, but
like hunger and thirst he's something you feel.”
I know my story is a little hard to follow," said Johnny,
sympathetically, "but I promise you that if you think hard
enough, you, too, will find Mr. Being. Now if you'll
excuse me, I'm going to take a little snooze before I return
to my planting. I'm not as young as I used to be," he chuckled,
and then crossed his arms over his long, grey beard and closed
and Care watched him nap. His breathing was easy and restful;
his face looked peaceful and contented. He's a very special
person," said Care.
surely is," agreed Person.
and Care spent many days with Johnny. They just couldn't leave
him. They worked hard and all day long. At night, Johnny would
build a camp fire around which they would sit and listen to
him talk about his life. But in his turn, Johnny was very curious
about their adventures and asked them many questions.
told Johnny the story of how he came to be a person, and discovered
that he was a miracle. Care told Johnny about Falling,
and how Falling almost convinced Person to risk losing
the miracle that he is by daring him to walk across the railing
of the bridge.
and Care loved Johnny. When it came time for them to move on,
they were very sad. Person had learned so many things about
life from this gentle, grey-bearded man; he loved him as one
loves a father. "Don't be sad," said Johnny, as they
shook hands good bye. "You know how to remember, don't
you?" Person's eyes filled with tears. "Things disappear
when you forget them. Remembering brings them near. So when
you want me near, all you have to do is remember me and I'll
be with you. Now take this for your journey." Johnny handed
Person a bag of apples and several loaves of freshly baked apple
bread. Suddenly Person understood what the ‘A’ in
Johnny A. stood for. He knew it as surely as he knew his own
don't forget to pay me a visit," Johnny Appleseed
reminded them. "In about two months I'll need some help
gathering apples which will fall to the ground if they're not
picked up. There are many people who depend on these apples."
worry," promised Person. "You can depend on us. We
will remember our promise."
again Care and Person took to the riverbed. When they looked
back one last time, Johnny Appleseed was already back
at work, hoeing the ground and planting seeds.
nice to be able to remember," said Person.
said Care. "Being able to think about Johnny when
he's not here with us makes remembering very special."
we must remember to continue looking for Mr. Being,"
added Person. "I have a feeling that he is very near."
followed the muddy river bed until it completely dried and they
found themselves in the open prairie. The sky began to darken
and the wind picked up.
CHAPTER 8: THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
was a very cold day. The sky was low and grey and a strong wind
was slashing across the open prairie, making the burnt grass
ripple like waves. Once the wind almost blew Care's hat away.
Person's hands were buried deep in his pockets. He wished he
had something to protect his ears which were turning blue with
began to rain. The cold rain drenched their coats and pants.
Person's teeth began to chatter. "How far to go?"
too far," answered Care, doubtfully. They were going to
visit Care's friends in the village.
you sure it's not far?" There was no answer.
driving rain thudded against the ground, turning it into mud
which stuck to their shoes. Their every step was slow and heavy.
They plodded on, silently, each thinking about the village which
was nowhere to be seen.
a blast of cold air arrived and the rain drops turned into huge
white snow flakes. A few minutes later the ground was buried
under a blanket of snow.
teeth began to chatter and he, too, buried his hands in his
pockets. "A day like today makes remembering summer very
special," he said.
for sure," replied Person. "I think today is the first
day I have really loved summer."
fell silent, listening to their shoes trudge through the deep
snow was falling so fast and thick they couldn't see more than
a few steps ahead. "My toes are going numb," declared
are mine," said Care.
road which led to the village had long since disappeared. The
snow grew deeper and deeper. It was almost up to their knees.
Each step was more difficult than the one before. They were
both breathing heavily. It was so cold they were puffing steam
out of their mouths. Person was certain they were lost because
their road was lost somewhere under the snow.
plodded along slowly, fitfully, fearfully, afraid they would
become so cold they wouldn't be able to move. Gusts of blowing
snow made it difficult to see. They were in a blizzard.
without warning, Person tripped over something and fell face
first into the snow. For a moment he just lay there, too stunned
to get up. He thought about how nice it would be to fall asleep
and rest for a while. "Are you OK?" asked Care, hurrying
over to help. He pulled Person out of the snow and up onto his
feet. Person, still dazed, waited for his head to clear, and
then shook the snow off his hair, jacket and pants.
OK – I think. I wonder what I tripped over?"
find out." They both began scooping away the snow around
an object that showed itself to be the top part of an evenly
cut log. “It might be a fence," said Care, cautiously.
“Let’s keep digging.” Excited, they scooped
and scooped as fast as they could until they uncovered a second,
evenly cut log. “It’s a fence,” he cried.
“This must be the beginning of the village. We have finally
both breathed a huge sigh of relief. Through the blizzard, they
could see just ahead of them what looked like the grey shadows
of houses and their slanted roofs.
had already started off in the direction of the village when
they heard a strange cry. They stopped and listened. It was
a cry for help and it wasn't a human cry. Again the cry sounded,
rising above the howling wind. Person turned his ear towards
the cry, and then his eye found what his ears were hearing.
"Look over there," he pointed. "It's a sheep.
It must be stuck in deep snow. Let's help free it."
just then another shape appeared and walked right by the crying
sheep, not caring a hoot that it was in distress. The shape
was bundled up in a sheepskin coat, but they recognized the
black hat that was slanted across one eye. It was Falling.
don't believe my eyes," said Person, dumbfounded. "Falling
is wearing a sheepskin coat and he isn't even thankful to the
poor sheep who grew his coat."
is never thankful," said Care. "Falling has
forgotten how to be thankful."
waited for him to pass out of sight before going over to help
sheep was stuck in a deep snow drift. Together, Care and Person
cleared away the snow from around the fearful sheep and pulled
him free. The sheep then made a sheep-sound that sounded like
a ‘thank-you.’ It was now free to find its way back
to its flock.
and Care entered the village. In the center, it was easier to
walk because the village people were already shoveling the streets
and sidewalks. Care and Person thanked each and everyone of
them as they passed by.
finally arrived at a bright red and white house. The roof was
covered with a furry cap of snow that hung over the edge. Smoke
was curling out of the brick-coloured chimney.
walked up to the house. Through the front window they saw wood
burning in the fireplace. But they didn't see any people.
knocked on the door and waited. No one answered. Care and Person
just looked at each other. "I don't understand," said
Care, in a downcast voice. "Where is everybody?"
was about to knock again when the door suddenly opened by itself,
but there was no one there. The two of them just stood there,
not knowing what to do. Then, from behind the door, a chorus
of voices shouted: "Happy Birthday, Care. Happy Birthday.
friends burst out from behind the door, releasing a bunch of
balloons, blowing whistles and clapping their hands. Care embraced
his friends and introduced them to his good friend Person.
led Care and Person into the living room while singing happy
birthday. Care was happy to be with his old friends. He was
happy they remembered him while they helped him and Person get
out of their wet clothes. "Come and sit by the fireplace
and warm your feet," someone suggested.
gathered round the fire. "This fire is nice and warm,"
said Care. "But what is truly warm when it’s cold
outside is other people. Warmth happens when people think of
and care for each other. I thank you all for thinking of me,
for remembering my birthday. Today is the day when I first appeared
as a miracle. But it wouldn't be any fun if it couldn't be shared
with other miracles. Your being here makes my birthday very
rolled in a huge chocolate cake that was decorated with swirls
of icing shaped into flowers. Again everyone sang Happy Birthday.
"But we can't eat it until you blow out all the candles,"
they said all together. Care went up to the cake, filled his
lungs, and blowing with all his might he blew out each and every
candle. Everyone clapped and cheered. Care then cut everyone
a big piece of cake, serving himself last.
cake was moist and chocolatey. They ate slowly, savouring every
bite, trying to make it last as long as possible.
they finished, Care's friends gathered around him and asked
him to tell them about his travels. Care's friends were happy
to see him. And Person was happy that Care was enjoying the
company of his old friends.
felt very close to Care. He loved him as he would love a brother.
He remembered how Care had saved him from Falling,
and how they met the Professor and Johnny Appleseed together.
he was thinking about all of these things, a feeling of thankfulness
came over him. He was thankful for everything that had happened
to him, especially the day he discovered he was something and
not a nothing; and that there were other persons in the world
beside himself. He felt his heart beating with happiness, when
he suddenly jumped up and shouted: "I've found him, I've
found him, I've found Mr. Being."
stopped and looked. "He's right here. He's right here,"
said Person, pointing to himself. "Mr. Being is
right here, inside of me. I am Mr. Being, and you are
Mr. Being. When we find him we are all Mr. Being."
Everybody started to clap.
Person and Mr. Being another piece of cake," someone
I'll put a scoop of ice cream on top," another volunteered.
Care went over to Person and embraced him.
knew all along, didn't you Care?"
course I knew all along," said Care, his eyes twinkling.
"But I also know that no one can find him for you. Every
person must find Mr. Being for himself. And he's the
most difficult person to find because he's so close. He's right
inside all of us."
said Person, thoughtfully. "I was looking everywhere but
inside myself. And then, just now, I was thinking of how your
friendship with me was so special, and how thankful I was that
it showed itself to me -- and that's when I felt Mr. Being
inside of me."
said Care. "Thinking and thanking and Mr. Being
are so close together you can't separate them.” Person
listened carefully to Care's words.
that you have found Mr. Being, it's important that
you don't forget about him. Because if you do forget for too
long, he'll disappear and you might never find him again."
won't lose him," promised Person.
birthday party continued into the night. Only when the last
of the logs had turned into glowing red embers did everyone
finally fall asleep in front of the fireplace.
next morning they prepared to leave.
and Person said good bye to everybody and thanked them for the
wonderful birthday party. They all agreed to meet again soon.
CHAPTER 9: HOMEWARD BOUND
and Care were once again in the open country. "Now that
I have found Mr. Being, what do you think I should
do now?" asked Person.
you once tell me that it is no fun being a miracle all by yourself."
do remember telling you that."
same goes for Mr. Being. If Mr. Being is a
miracle, it's no fun being alone in finding him, is it?"
right," said Person. "We must help other people find
continued Care. "There are many people who aren’t
even looking for him because they don't know he exists."
means we had better spread the news that Mr. Being
is alive and well -- and really close by,” said Person
in a serious voice.
we had better begin right away,” added Care. “There
are so many people who haven't even heard of Mr. Being."
that afternoon they came to a lake. It looked familiar. "I
know this lake," said Person, scratching his head. "A
long time ago it saved me from drying up and disappearing. My
oldest friends live nearby. How would you like to meet Mr. and
Mrs. Other and their two children? After myself, they were the
first miracles I met."
would love to meet them," said Care.
the near distance, they could now see the magnificent forest.
Its deep green colour was peaceful and inviting. Smoke from
the Other's chimney was rising above the tops of the trees.
they heard a sharp noise behind them. Person looked back over
his shoulder. "Oh no," he cried. "It's Falling.
I wonder what he wants?"
worry about him," reassured Care. "Falling
is everywhere. As long as you don't forget he is always nearby,
he can't do any harm. It's when you forget about him trouble
continued along the way.
after, accompanied by the warbling of birds and the song of
wind rustling the leaves, Person and Care entered the sunlit
forest. And before long, the wonderful smell of Mrs. Other's
freshly baked bread reached their noses. And by and by, they
could hear the happy voices of the Other children playing outside.
© Robert J. Lewis