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For Our Lessons Begin Tomorrow Morning
By Adam D Walsvik
Friday, December 06, 2002
In the land of Nimat which lies west of the sea of the stillborngods
and east of the great Etaltyg mountains, there lived a young wolf
named Nona. Nona was an ordinary wolf in every way but one: He was a wolf who wished to be a man.
One day he told Kurn, the wisest of the elders of his tribe, about
this unusual wish. "Why do you wish to be a man?", asked Kurn.
"Have we not taught you of their treachery?"
"Yes",replied Nona. "But as you know men have not persecuted us in these lands for five generations."
"Again, young Nona, I ask you why you wish to do this."
I have stalked men and seen the things they can do.
Wondrous things. I have seen them bring down large game from great distances. They can summon fire from their very hands! surely they possess great wisdom to rival any elder of this territory."
"Mind your toungue", chided Kurn ."You seem Serious in your intentions. Is this so?"
" Oh, yes ! most serious!"
"Very well. " there is only one who can grant such wishes."
"Tell me who is this one?"
Kurn summoned his voice of reverence saying:"The one I speakof
is the spirit of the cave of the birth of the first wolf. But I must warn you." "Though he has power to grant great wishes, the greater the wish, the greater the chance for error on the part of the seeker."
"You have listened and heeded this warning?"
"Very well.", sighed Kurn. " You may find the spirit you seek half a day's lope east of the sacred feasting grounds of the lost tribeof
Bamod. In a cave near the ancient oak where the infirm go to die.
Look for a large blue spider in her web, and speak to her these
The first wolf was born in this place. From him I came.
And to his cradle I now return. Let me pass. And she will
let you pass. If you do not say these words, she will
tell you a riddle which will wipe out your memory for
a time and you will become lost in the forest until she
tells you the answer. So remember the words well."
"Yes, great Kurn."
And so Nona set out. In two and a half days Nona
reached the cave Kurn had described to him.
And there was the spider in her web. Nona called
upon the ancestors and recited:"The first wolf was
born here. From him I came. And to his cradle I
" So, you know the words. Very well. I will let you
pass. But first a riddle."
Nona was caught off his guard. Kurn had said
nothing of this.
The spider saw Nona's alarm saying: "This is not the riddle you
fear. Yet if you do not answer it correctly, the price of your wish
will be greater."
"Ask your riddle wise spider", said Nona."As you know", began the spider,"It is costomary among wolves for sires to name
their sons. And for male pups, when they reach the
age of knowledge, to learn their names, and the meanings of their
names from their sires. And to howl with their first howls their
given names and their meanings."
"You are testing me", replied Nona
"Naturally", said the spider. "So tell me what name did the wolf born in this cave howl upon learning his name?"
" I know the answer", said Nona.
"Yes. The wolf born here was the first male wolf."
"And since he was the first male wolf he had no sire to teach him his name."
The spider looked slyly at Nona and said,"So this wolf has no name."
"He has a name. He is Feytyng and his name means seed of all He was named by his mate Beytyng whose name means womb of all. And she of course was named by her mother whose name is Desyfi,which means Unnamed. She received this name from her sister
Syfindesyfi whose name means namegiver to Desyfi. And she is
the mother of Feytyng who was born in this place."
"You are correct. You may pass."
Nona entered the cave. It was, of course, dark inside but there was a
faint, yet powerful glow coming from the walls. Suddenly there was a strange music which Nona heard , but not in his ears. And then a voice which was like the light, faint, yet powerful saying: "I know you for you were born here, and I have always been here."
"Why do you seek me?"
" I wish to become a man",said Nona
" I see", said the spirit." Do you have a favorite vantage point in this land?" "Yes. When I lead the hunt I lead my companions to the highest cliff in our territory. From there we can easily watch the movements of the herds on the plain below."
"I see", said the spirit. "And when you do not lead the hunt?"
When I do not lead we do not go there for the way is steep and treacherous and the others do not yet know the safe paths as I do."
"Very Well." "Starting three days from today go to this high cliff every
morning for 100 days and watch the sunrise. on the hundredth day you will become a man."
" Oh, wise spirit thank you, but tell me. For how long will this wish be granted to me, for the price seems very small."
"You must trust me when I say that your wish will be granted to you for as long as you want."
Nona sighed and said, "thank you, and farewell kindly spirit." I must go now and carry out your instructions."
"Farewell, said the spirit. "Perhaps we will meet again."
After three days had passed, Nona began his daily ritual of climbing to the high cliff edge and on the one-hundredth morning Nona the wolf became Nona the man. He looked down at himself, and saw the body of a man. The hands of a man. The legs and feet of a man.He was standing on two legs as he had seen men do. Then came his human mind.
And with his new human mind, he remembered his life as a wolf, and immediately longed to be his former self.
Then he cried out in the language of men,"Oh spirit of the cave of the birth of the first wolf, hear me and answer my cry!"
"I do not wish to be a man!" And the voice of the spirit came to Nona saying,"I told you that your wish would be granted for as long as you wanted, and so it shall be."
Watch the sunset for 100 days, and on the 100th day you
will be restored." "Only this time you may choose ,from day to day, where you complete your daily ritual."
"Oh, thank you, wise and just spirit, you are most generous and kind." "You are welcome. Farewell, pioneer, until we meet again."
"Oh, no", said Nona. You will never see me again, for I have seen the folly of my ways. I was unwise, and ignorant, and wished for too much. I will surely not be so reckless again. I will surely think things through more carefully in the future."
"Very well. And yet we may meet again you and me."
With that the spirit was gone.
Nona stayed on the high cliff all that day, and in the evening watched the sunset. The first of 100. He slept up there and in the morning went down to the river to drink and met a friendly man from a nearbyvillage. The man introduced himself as Bekh and Nona told bekh his name and they began to talk. Nona spoke of his plight and his new friend sympathized, and invited Nona to stay with him and his family in his village for the remaining 99 days of Nona's mission. Nona met Bekh's family, and they also were friendlyandsympathetic,
but Nona was sad because he did not belong with these people.
Bekh and his household fed and sheltered Nona and he was grateful for this but he would not speak to his friends while he was with them, except in gratitude.
Nona watched the sunset alone every day from many places near the village, and Bekh and his family were kind and helpful, telling Nona of places where the sunsets were most beautiful, but after a while Nona was so sad that he didn't care where he watched from. So he would sit just outside his little shelter each evening as the sun sank in the west and then go inside and straight to sleep, sometimes waking up suddenly to the sound of his brothers reciting their names to each other in the hills beyond the river.
Then at last the 100th day came, and Nona was happy. Bekh and his family were happy for him. Nona even played a ball game with Bekh, his wife Sorel, and their two daughters, Morel and Ilbekha. At the end of the day Nona set out to see his final sunset as a man. Since Nona was happy that day, Bekh asked if he could go along this time to see Nona get his wish, and Nona said he didn't mind. So the two of them walked in silence up into the hills where tonight Nona could finally answer the calls of his brothers. As the sun fell, Nona thanked Bekh for his great
kindness and wept both for the joy of returning to his home, and for the grief of leaving his friend. Bekh wept as well and they embraced.
With the last of the sun came the sound Nona had heard so many days before. The strange musical sound which had accompanied
the spirit of the cave of the birthplace of the first wolf.
Indeed it was that same spirit, and The two friends heard its voice
saying to Nona, "When you became a man you wished to be restored to your former self. Had you been more wise, you would be that self even now. I gave you the choice of any vantage-point you wished upon your second request.Your first choice was a wise one, yet you did not grasp your own wisdom! As a result of this ignorance, you will never again be Nona the wolf as you were born. But look. beside you is Bekh of men, your friend. If you cannot be as you were, perhaps he can teach you to be as you now are. And perhaps you can teach him all of what you know concerning what he is not , yet longs to be, for he longs above all to become a wolf.
Nona turned to Bekh, and asked him if this was true . Bekh said that it was, and told Nona of how he had visited The cave of the birth-place ofthe first wolf, and asked its spirit to tell him of how he might become a wolf . The spirit had told him that there was only one way.
He must find a wolf willing to teach him the ways of wolves.
Bekh told of his great frustration upon hearing this. How could this be possible? For wolves had feared men always. And Bekh did not speak or understand the language of wolves, so how could this come to pass? Yet the spirit had assured him that it was quite possible.
"So the years passed",Bekh said, "and I married and raised a family, and was happy, though secretly I longed to be as you have been.
A wolf. Every morning I would go down to the river to drink and to pray to the spirits of the river stones who have seen millions of rivers pass over them, each new river bringing with it wisdom and prophesy from the ancient springs of the great mountains. But the only answer I ever received from them was 'always drink here at this place in the river.' So Idid.
Then one morning, I went down to drink, and you were there. You were a stranger to me so I thought you might be one from the cities of the north who sometimes cause trouble for my people. So I was friendly but wary. But when you told me of your plight, I knew then that the spirits of the riverstones were wise and good. And so I took you in. I wanted badly to ask your help, but you were so sad and spoke of nothing. I did not want to burdon you further with my foolish wish. So I kept it to myself. But now I will speak."
"Nona, my friend, will you teach me all I need to know to be a wolf?"
"Yes, my friend, I will. And will you teach me of how my wish to be a man was a wise one after all?"
"And I assure you, Bekh that you will take my place in the tribe of my ancestors."
"And I will be that much more content in my new home knowing that you are looking after my Wife and daughters, for you are my brother, and you have learned honor from those who have never lived without honor." "But come , we must take our rest soon, for our lessons begin tomorrow morning!"
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|Reviewed by Kate Clifford
|loved the understanding that spreads throughout this write! We often do not realize that our wish has been granted :-) I needed this lesson, right now. Thanks!|
|Reviewed by Londis Carpenter
|Aha...I see you are versatile . . .not limited to poetry. I enjoyed the story. ty Lonny|
|Reviewed by Laura Via
|I was hooked from the start ... life is full of lessons, it only takes one to be open minded and wise.|
|Reviewed by Stacey Sloan
|Once again, thank you for your words. You really have a good thing going. I look forward to reading more of your work. Maybe one year I'll catch up with you at a convention or something. By the way, if you haven't already...check out www.poetry.com. It's a site where you can post your poetry and enter contests all at the same time. They have a convention coming up in Feb. You may want to look into it.|
|Reviewed by *********** **********
|It's almost like ...careful what you wish for it might come true. I enjoyed this story. Your writing is very polished and tight. And this was interesting....it held my attention...Ty for sharing the story of Nona the Wolf who desired to become an ordinary man.
You're very good at stories..
Keep writing...Ty, Dani