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The wayward traveler

The way was narrow, and painfully slow. The road was rough against the bare feet of the weary traveler, yet they valiantly received the torrid pebbles with each footfall. The traveler's skin was sun kissed, to say the least, and his brow was creased with perspiration. Brown eyes fixed forward with a gleam of anticipation and determination. Undeterred and unbroken by the adverse conditions of his excursion, he began to sing.
"Glory to the risen King!
For his greatness may I sing!"

And so he went forth with a new joy in his step and an expression of mirth on his face, the perfect image of a devoted servant to his beloved Master. However, as he came to a standstill at the foot of a perilous canyon, his commitment was indeed pushed. The traveler, who went by the name Anias, surveyed his new obstacle thoughtfully. Proceeding around the gulch was out of consideration, for it ran on as far as one's eye could perceive. Anias did contemplate the width of the canyon, but quickly disregarded the idea of leaping it. Frustration began seeping into his consciousness, for he had a location to be. His stomach growled its unappreciation, and Anias's mind wandered back to his cozy living at the foot of Mount Ignorance, where his food was not rationed as it was now. Suddenly the heat seemed almost unbearable, and his vexation sparked even more. His shout of anger echoed through the wash. The more his thoughts dwelled on the undesirables of his journey, the more agitated he became, until Anias began to question why he was even on this mission. Oh how swiftly man's faith can waver!

Anias sat on the edge of the canyon and moaned. Just then, a servant of his from his dwelling met him.

"Anias!Anias! How far I have walked;

To tell you the news, though I was mocked.

Your wife is dead, you see.

Hear me out, if you will;

For while you were away she grew ill."

The servant then left, and went home. Upon hearing the news, Anias did tear his clothes and shave his head and weep.


Now, a little yonder from Anias and the ravine, a healthy young spruce tree thrived. Among the leaves of the tree did an aging black bird rest, until the cry of the traveler awoke him with a start. The crow studied Anias with skeptical eyes as he determined his own approach, for he was a crow, after all. More cunning than the python and as misleading as the fox, he set out with his prize on his mind and his speech forming on his tongue.


By now the hour was getting rather advanced, and that was not the most ghastly of Anias's discomfort. His attention was called to certain clouds that rolled with inauspicious aim from the north, accompanied by a threatening roar. The wind screeched, as if just discovering it was prisoned between the mountains and the low-driving clouds. A flash a light opened up the heavens. Anias's heart sank.
"Oh, of all the bitter disturbances!
I must be cursed;
For I am out here even as the clouds burst!
Oh, if only I had not left my dwelling!"

He said to himself in full cry over the downpour. His eyes, which had previously been full of hope and excitement, now only revealed foolish resentment as they scanned their surroundings for shelter. At last his gaze settled on a small crag in the rock face that stood proud and tall behind him. Though Anias was indeed surprised that he had not noticed this boulder before now, he did not question or hesitate as he plunged through the fast running waters to it. It wasn't a very large cave, he noted, as he shoved his way through, but he supposed it would suffice for one night. Anias sank to the damp stone ground with a sigh in his limbs.
"Oh how I must suffer through my pain;
Could God not grant me refuge from rain?
Oh how this grotto shall chill me to the bone;
I fear I shall soon be sent to my tomb!"

Anias sang his sorrows out and mused on the contingencies of the morrow as the night went on, for he was loath to sleep.

And what a doleful night it was! So desolate, and oh so long! There was an inhospitable smell of cold soot and dust, and the thrashing of the storm ceased not. And so it was until the come of morning light.

~~~~

Against the brilliant sunrise, the hillside was dew-pearled. Already the creatures of the night lay concealed, and the trill of the lark was evident as he sang his joy to the morning. The light betrayed the black feathers of the crow, as he sat along the entrance to the traveler's slumber. It was luck that he had made it before the worst of the night storm hit, but he was not pleased. Nay, quite the opposite, as the cheer of day irked him terribly. Yet now it was his time, the moment when the crow would see to it that the fellow in the crag would have only one source to lay the blame of his sufferings. And so with a shake of his feathers and a clearing of his throat, the crow made his way to the traveler's wake, calling.
"Anias, my friend, art thou troubled?"

Anias jumped in shock and turned to see who was speaking. It was yet so dark in the cave though, that he could not see.
"Who is it that calls me by name?
Who then, addresses me as friend, though I am in shame?"

"Only I, humble friend, do come to thee in thy groaning;
It is I, thy brother, that cometh to thy comfort.
Only I, humble friend, do heareth thy moaning;
It is I, thy brother, that is near while thou art hurt."


The words sounded so sincere coming from a flattering tongue, that crow himself almost believed it. Anias's face crumpled at the memory of his wife, and turned again to the crow, though he still could not see.
"Oh, my anguish is indescribable!
I should have been home, you see;
From all of this pain I would have been free!
For now my guilt is undeniable.
Come, my friend, let us discourse in the light;
So that it may restore my sight."

"Nay, I am fond of the night;
Let us stay in it, brother, don't fight.
About thy guilt, thou art not to blame;
So ye see, thou hasn't a need for shame."

The crow spoke with such dexterity that one only gained with iteration, and Anias was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Yet his words were so beautiful, and Anias wanted so much to believe them. His mind wrestled with itself over control of his conscience. Carefully, Anias questioned his company.

"Who then, is to blame, my friend?"
Without a moment's hesitation the crow answered.
"Thy Maker is faulted;
For was it not He that had control?
Curse then, the Name of the Exalted;
And I will take back for thee what He stole."

For a moment, the temptation seemed to almost win the battle in Anias's heart. Desire ate at his mind, and thoughts of his beautiful wife and him sitting at the dinner table laughing filled him. But then that moment passed, and bile rose in his mouth as he reflected on what he had almost done. He sent a prayer asking for forgiveness and strength, and suddenly remembered a story he read in the Word, about a man named Job. Turning again to the crow he said,
"Woe is to you, oh deceitful!
Should I love God when all is peaceful?
And curse him when it storms?
For the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh."

"Thou art a fool;
I will come back to rule.
I will see thee before thou knowest.
In my hands, thy life will be;
Thou wilt not ever be free."

With those words left hanging in the air, the crow was gone. There was a new light in Anias's eyes again, and a burden seemed to lighten on his back. For he learned a valuable lesson that day, and it was with a new joy in his step and an expression of mirth on his face that he climbed out of the pit he dug himself in, and boldly faced the new day.
"Glory to the risen King!
For His greatness may I sing!"



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Nitchi's Mom said...
Feb. 2 at 10:15 pm:
This is an amazing story of faith, patience, suffering and surrender. And then faith once more. Thanks to this young writer, Myka,, you are a wise young woman and a talented writer.
 
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skye_k23 said...
Jan. 16 at 4:25 pm:
very well written with a beautiful moral. Very inspiring.
 
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