Of Truth and Tales

By Amelia Brown

Once upon a time, there was a man who vowed all his life to stand for what he knew to be true, and upon his oath became convinced that he knew truth itself.
            To each person he came upon, he spoke of his truth in strong words and with the conviction of one who has a certainty—and with that came the overpowering urge to convince.  Naturally this led to many an argument lasting late into the night.  And in such a state, the man lived his life from day to day, journeying, and telling, and attempting to convince.
            There came a day when, tired and weary, he had no more energy to devote to speech; indeed he had no more energy to stand.  Thus it was that a wayward old woman came along and found him collapsed on the side of the road, and she took him to her cottage and tended to him.  As he lay in his illness, he heard her muttering words, singing songs, and telling stories about her life for his amusement, as his recovery was achingly long.  And he, having nothing else to do and no strength to speak, began to listen.
            A change came over him then, a feeling of peace and curiosity and wonder as he heard the stories of her life and mutterings of her delight in new grasses and the smell of soil and the joyous sound of a bird’s call; for in the midst of her tales and her asides something sounded in him that rang of truth in a way he had, as yet, never known.  So it was that when he went out into the world, after bidding the old woman much thanks and adieu, he found his mind so hungry for other tales and ringings of truth, that he went out in search of them.
            And when the time came for him to lay his head down on the silky grass and breathe the deep soil and hear birdsong for the final time, he smiled, for he felt that, in the end, he had kept his vow.

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