‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The House of Stone

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

PART 9

TO SACRIFICE A KING

The House of Stone

(Containing an enlightening life-lesson of an old man and his house.)

This is the story of Chariot and an old man who would prove to be much trouble in the future.

At the time of this story, only a year and a half were left to King John the Cute to save the Land of All Legends. At the end of the year and a half King John the Cute would die at the hands of Prince Charming the Fifth. So, at least, was the claim, as foretold by the Foreseeing Propheseers.

Chariot, the king’s cloud and personal friend, had brought King John the Cute and his party to the River Red Continent, in a desperate attempt to learn secrets that would save the land, even as time was running out.

Chariot waited while the king and his party spoke to Magno the Magnificent and heard his secrets. Chariot waited until the king would need him again.

After a few hours, the king and his party emerged from Magno the Magnificent’s cave. But they did not need the services of Chariot yet. They headed to another cave, to speak to Otto the Outstanding.

Chariot waited once more until the king would require his services.

Thirty three minutes after the king and his party entered Otto the Outstanding’s cave, an old man came to stand near Chariot.

“I thought I saw a cloud,” he said. “Hello, my name is Farmer Moozik.”

“My name is Chariot,” said Chariot.

“Nice to meet you Chariot. May I ask you for a favor? My farm is right over that incredibly high mountain behind you. The River Red Continent has not seen a cloud in at least a year. As a result, there has been no rain and my crops are dying. I depend on those crops to earn money to feed myself and my entire family. May I ask you to take a small trip over that tall mountain, water my crops for a little while, and then return?”

Chariot wanted to help Farmer Moozik, but did not want to fail his king. “How long do you think it would take?” asked Chariot.

“No more than an hour for the whole thing,” said Farmer Moozik earnestly. “Please. It would help my family.”

“All right, then, I will water your crops,” said Chariot. “But if I hear my king calling, I shall abandon all that I am doing and return to him right away.”

“Of course,” smiled Farmer Moozik. “May I climb aboard you as we travel over the mountain?”

Farmer Moozik climbed aboard Chariot. Chariot carried Farmer Moozik above the tallest mountain of the River Red Continent. On the other side, Chariot found a vast farm with no crops. “I have had no crops this year because of the drought,” said Farmer Moozik.

In the middle of the vast farm was a house made completely of small stone pebbles, and next to the house stood a little steel pole.

“That is an impressive house,” said Chariot. “It seems to be made completely out of little stones.”

“That is true. And there is a story behind the house,” said Farmer Moozik, who stepped off Chariot and stood on the porch of his house. “I will tell it to you while you bring water to my land, if you so desire.”

“I would love to hear it.”

Chariot began to bring soft rain upon the small farm, and the farmer began to tell his tale.

“Once upon a time,” began Farmer Moozik, “I was a young man. I grew up on the side farthest from here on the continent, and one day I decided it was time to grow up, leave home, and find my destiny in the world.

“I left my house with a song on my lips, hope in my heart, and a big empty bag on my shoulders. Quite soon, I reached a fork in the path. I chose to take one road and not another. Before moving on, I took a stone from the road not taken, and put it in my empty bag.

“Soon, I came upon another path. Once more, I had to take a choice, knowing that choice would influence my future. For my future, I knew, lay at the end of the path I was taking. I chose a path, hoping it was a wise choice. And once more I took a stone from the path not taken and put it in my bag.

“And so I traveled from one corner of the continent to another. I had to face many paths and I had to make many choices. After each choice, I took a stone from the path not taken. After the first two days, my bag had grown heavy, and its weight burdened me. Already, it weighed more than I did.

“But I did not give up and I did not stop. I continued on the path, I continued choosing paths, and I continued to take stones from the paths not taken. Each of these stones I called a ‘No Stone’ because each stone represented a path I did not take.”

“After a few more days, I reached the tall mountains we had just crossed. The weight on my back was so large that I could hardly take another step. Taking the last path and the last choice, I took one more stone, put it in the bag, and went up the mountain, because that is where the path led. With this weight, it took me four days to climb up the mountain. Then it took me three more days to come down and stand where we are standing.

“At that point, I had no more strength in me. I threw the bag of No Stones down and the choices of the past no longer weighed heavily upon me. Here, I vowed, I would make my home and discover my future.

“And so I built my house where I had dropped the bag. And I had built the house from the stones I had collected. Here I lived to be an old man, I lived to have a family, a business, and a good life. Here I found myself and my future, in a house made of the choices I did not take.

“And that, my dear Chariot, is how I learned an important life-lesson, that one life can be built on many No’s.”

“That is a beautiful grownup tale of discovery,” said Chariot. “I hope one day to have one of my own. In the meantime, I have watered your crops. I hope it will help.”

“I know that it will, Chariot. It will take six months for my crops to grow fully. Thank you for your help.”

“It was my pleasure. Now, with your permission, I will leave and return to my king.”

“You can try,” said Farmer Moozik.

Less than two hours have passed since the king and his party had entered the cave of Otto the Outstanding. In his cave, Otto the Outstanding was telling his second tale. Over the mountains, Chariot was beginning to rise in an attempt to cross the mountains. But he would not reach his destination for a long time. But those events will be told in other stories. In the meantime, this has been the grownup story in which Chariot learned that many No’s make a life.

This has also been the story of Chariot and an old man, who would prove to be much trouble quite soon.

(To be continued on Thursday…)
 
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