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Voices of Spencer Creek
|Three Tales for the Wintertide: Of Dragons and Dreams
Three fables to nourish the spirit when the daylight shortens and the nights grow long...
By Lois Barton
Posted on Nov 15, 2007
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The Insectís Revolt
Once upon a time in the kingdom of small creatures a great movement arose to take over the landscape for the benefit of insects and spiders and butterflies. This would require organization around food sources and suitable habitat. Up to that point the environment was diverse enough to accomodate all kinds of creatures both large and small.
The small creatures gathered to confer and to plan their take over. As they examined their needs it became clear that many insects depend on larger creatures for their food supply and also they discovered that they could not count on being immune from each other. Spiders trap and eat other insects. Butterflies need safe places for the storage of their chrysalises and food for the larvae.
Try as they would, no solution was found which would not require major changes in nature's current scheme of things. Then they began to rue their impulse to be dominant in all creation. This necessitated, they thought, finding a scapegoat to blame for the wasted energy.
When did this movement start? Who stood to gain from such a takeover? Suspicion and recrimination on all sides brought great sorrow and suffering until a peacemaker appeared.
"Canít you see," this wise one pointed out, "that each segment of you already dominates your piece of the whole? You never could control and direct those parts that are foreign to your needs and understanding. There is no need to question the wisdom or the balance of creation. It is your internal core of loving acceptance which brings contentment and a life of ease and satisfaction."
The Girl and the Dragon
Once upon a time there were flowers in bloom among the rocky crags of a seaside cliff. Birds floated in the air currents overhead. A girl of twenty sat in a niche gazing over the water. Her mind was filled with longing for wisdom as she decided on the next steps in her life. There was a choice between becoming a bride and going off to school.
As she sat bemused the sea seemed to open up at her feet. Out of the depths came a curious figure resembling a dragon, but with head and shoulders more human in form. This creature stood before her quietly, seeming to reflect the longing in the girlís gaze.
As it stood there, words formed in the girls mind as if it was speaking to her, but no motion of lips or sound came from the presence.
"Lovely one, your plea has reached us in the depths of the sea. We are eager to assist you, but first you must amswer a question. Are you ready?"
The girl nodded slightly as she gazed at the form before her. Could this be a real presence, or was she dreaming.
"Are you willing to trust your future to us, even though you donít understand who we are?" questioned the presence, still by telepathic impulse. "We came from the depths of your soul, you see. The water before you is symbolic of your inner self and offers a medium for our appearance."
"My life stretches out before me with no clear markers," she said "I feel drawn to a future which is more significant than that of housekeeper, but I love this man. Please help me decide."
"In this age of change and new understandings your dream neednít exclude either future. Live in the present, mindful of your inner guide and guardian angels at your elbow. Follow your love, but keep your inner serenity and doors will open for you." And the dragon figure faded from view as the girl arose and returned to her cottage home.
The Child and the Elder
In the days of yore there were teachers in the land who kept those around them in touch with their beginnings. Every child had a clear understanding of its beginnings prior to its birth. For example Pliarde, a lovely child, came to his mother one morning and asked her, "Momma, why do you tell me I am three years old?"
"Sweet child," she answered, "three years ago you came to live in this family as a new born baby. So of course, you are three years old since you have lived on earth that long."
"But, Mamma, surely you know I was already living for a long time before I came here."
"Dear child, we all know about that before time. But we donít count it as part of our age here."
"But how old am I really then? How long was I in the before time?"
"My memory is dim about my own before time," his mother said. "I cannot answer that question for you."
"Shall I ask Grandmother?" he said.
"Your grandmotherís memory is probably dimmer than mine since she has been here on earth even longer than I. Perhaps you will meet a teacher one day who has the "sight" and can answer your question for you."
So Pliarde went out to play. He was making a lovely circle in the dust of the roadside when an old stooped person stopped to watch.
"Thatís a great circle," said the elder. "If you shut your eyes and make lines across it as you imagine them in your mind, you might work a magic thing."
"Really? What kind of magic?"
"Why donít you try and see what hppens?"
"OK." Shutting his eyes Pliade began to draw across the circle. In his head he pictured a design that pleased him because it looked like a star shape with squiggles from each point. Now it felt finished and he opened his eyes to see what was there.
The elder had squatted beside Pliade and was waving his hands above the circle.
"Why are you doing that?" the child asked. "It makes the lines move whenever you go across them."
"Thatís right. Youíre pretty smart to notice. This is my way of answering your question," said the elder.
Pliarde looked at the elder, noticing that his eyes were bright and young looking. There was something about him that didnít look old and stooped at all.
" What question do you mean?" the child asked.
"The one you asked your mamma while ago." he said "About how long you were in the before time."
"Oh, do you know? Can you tell me? Are you a teacher?" Getting to his feet Pliarde stood beside the elder, eagerly watching his face.
"Little one," said the elder, "You know already. Just think a minute. Donít you remember when you were able to move about among the stars? You have been a part of the universe from the beginning, just as I have and all the rest of creation. Your life here on earth is only one small part of lifeís school. You and I canít measure our age in earth years and there is no need to do so. As we learn to love God and each other in each incarnation we fulfill the purpose of creation. Take care, little one." And the elder went smilingly on his way.
Copyright©2007 by Lois Barton
These fables were inspired by Lois Barton's meditation on the spirits of a constellation of stars named the Pleiades. According to Greek myth, the constellation were the seven daughters of Atlas. Atlas carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. His daughters, however, communed with the Universe.
Writer and historian
Lois Barton is an 88 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil.
Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life-long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.
Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including:
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Visit to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frank and the Rivers
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: My Friend Peg and the Peaceful Good Fight
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: These Stones Are Speaking
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Lucy McIver, Peace Pole Artist
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Telephones, Then and Now
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Remembering Bovine Tuberculosis
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: What Is a Quilt?
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Quakers in the British Virgin Islands
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Manta Rays, and Dandelions, A Poem, also introducing Carolann Krohn
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Those Husky Macadamia Nuts
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Fender's Blue, a Nine Day Wonder
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frannie and the Arrow
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Bhavia's Cambodia
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of the Smoking Chimney
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of Big Oak Stables
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Fishy Story
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Different Peace
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Hal and the Mountain
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Rogue River Adventure
Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Obituary for a Country Cat
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Cortesia Sanctuary
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Tree and Me and Lady Slippers
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development
and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.
See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By Northwest.org online magazine's archives:
Visit the Heron Rookery
Sauerkraut and All That
Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?
The MidwifeĖThe midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.
The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.
Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.
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