The Mirror of Truth

The Magic Coin

The Gopher’s Other World

The Forbidden Union

The Trail of Paradox

The Squirrel and the Apple

The Camel’s Conclusion

Will and Trust

The Subservient Child

Fanning the Freedom Flame

The Seed of Possibility

Harvest Forlorn


“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”

—Anne L. Watson

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Will and Trust

____ The trees love to tell a story of two communities at opposite ends of the woodlands, a city called Will and the village of Trust. Each possessed great natural beauty as flowers and plants graced the wide-open spaces. One day, the elders of the city of Will detected a horrid situation. It seemed as though some of the visitors to the city were picking the flowers, in many cases leaving broken and beaten stalks behind. The sight was atrocious and they feared the ultimate destruction of their beautiful landscape. They knew they must act quickly to restore order.
____ A meeting was called hastily, and the elders rushed into the chambers of the city hall where all major decisions were made. Angrily the mayor spoke. "The situation is indeed grave and it must not go on for another instant." A chorus of affirmations rang throughout the hall.
____ "We must adopt an ordinance making it a criminal offense to touch any of our plants,” called out one of the elders. Each agreed wholeheartedly and the plan was put into immediate action.
____ The first to be found guilty of the new crime was a teenage boy who ran into a patch of wildflowers to retrieve a ball that had gotten away at the ball field. Next came the prosecution of an elderly tourist who presented his wife with a fresh daisy. For days and weeks, many tourists and citizens alike were charged in contempt of this rigid new rule.
____ After the ordinance had been in effect for nearly a month, the local sheriff's deputy discovered a man walking amongst the flowers in the city's central park. He'd seen him many times before and at first thought it to be a most innocent occurrence. Looking closer, he found the man removing weeds from the foliage and pruning dead branches from the plants. Realizing the significance of the new law, he knew he must take charge.
____ "Who are you and what is your Business?" the deputy asked.
____ "I am Felecé, and I have come to assist glorious nature in her journey of purity and beauty. I have been the keeper of these grounds since my father's death, thirty-three years ago. The plants where his life and now they are mine."
____ "Do you not know of the city's stance against tampering with the plants?"
____ "I know only of nature's stance, and she delights at sharing her work with other creatures who appreciate and accept the challenges of beauty."
____ "Ignorance of the law is no excuse," the officer growled, and he took Felecé downtown to meet his just punishment.
____ As Felecé returned to his activities, this event repeated itself each week for two months, until the elders felt they had nothing left to do but to banish him from their city. Doing so, they sent him on his way.
____ Felecé walked through the forest for three days enjoying nature's majesty and strength. He felt no remorse for what he had done in Will, instead he felt sad that he could not help them to enjoy the gifts bestowed upon them. But he knew the loss was not his, for his journey would continue.
____ After the three days in the forest, Felecé began to feel restless and knew not why. "After all", he thought, "I am surrounded by nothing but nature's creation, unmolested by man." Then the answer hit him, "...unmolested by man." His father's quest had not only been to assist the plants in their growth, but to teach man and plant to come together as one spirit though housed in vastly differing shells. The prophecy could not be fulfilled without both the body of man and the stalk and foliage of botanical creatures. He knew he must set out for another place where man lived amongst the greenery.
____ Leaving the forest, he found himself entering the village of Trust, and moved toward the town square. He loved the gardens and parkways he encountered and felt an instant relief. Half of the needed formula was in obvious abundance, now he needed to meet the inhabitants of this beautiful community to see if his work could indeed be fulfilled.
____ After three days in the village, he had met every soul to be found, for he could not walk for twenty steps without a kind word of welcome reaching his ears. He felt truly wonderful and at peace with existence like never before. The following day, he decided to set out once again on his mission.
____ He moved into the city's main park and began to prune and pick. No one seemed to mind him prodding and poking at the lovely landscape. In fact, many complimented him for his apparent love of the plants. Even when he would find it necessary to uproot an entire plant, not a soul would suspect anything other than selfless intent. He decided to test his apparent position of acceptance and sought out the community's chief of state.
____ Looking around, he found no law enforcement office and no city hall. The nearest thing he found was the village library. Though this seemed strange to him, he did not pass judgment, deciding rather to inquire where he might be able to find the person in charge. The librarian informed him that there had been no need for a leader since the community had been founded by a loving individual many years before. Since that day, Trust had flourished on the founder's spirit.
____ Feeling truly at home, Felecé continued his work, and the plants in Trust grew more beautiful than ever before. His loving hands had nurtured a growth never before present in even the most bountiful season of growth.
____ Meanwhile, the people of Will continued to fulfill their obligations to their city, and the revenue from violators of their law was great. They earned enough money to build a shopping mall, an amusement park, and countless other amenities. They knew that they were well on their way to being the tourist capital of the region, but as they collected money and built structures, they failed to notice the change all about them. Without the aid of human hands, the plants continued to grow, but the hearty overtook the weak and soon all the land was covered in thistle and brush. The officers had no need to patrol the grounds, for the thorns took over the punishment of wandering hands. With no fines to collect and the beauty waning day by day, the city found itself in dire straits. The elders could not understand why travelers passed their city by as they traveled in the direction of Trust.
____ After two years of decline in Will, the elders decided to pay the thriving Trust a visit, for they knew there must be foul play at hand. Arriving in the bountiful town, even they could not escape its beauty. As they walked the village streets they noticed a crowd of people who had gathered in the village square awaiting some sort of celebration. The mayor of Will asked a citizen of Trust where he might find the community's mayor.
____ "You are a lucky man," the local answered, "for a day earlier and there would have been no such leader; but today we have requested the guidance of a truly great man."
____ The elders of Will were puzzled. "How could there be no leader?"
____ The Trustite answered with a huge grin on his face. "Here in Trust, there has never been a need for anyone to impose his views on anybody else."
____ "What made that change?"
____ "Oh, it never changed; in fact, we need rules and regulations even less these days."
____ "Then why do you need to crown a leader at this time?" Such ambiguities baffled the mayor.
____ "There is no need, only desire. Our town was beautiful from the first day of its existence, but since our special friend entered the village the beauty has flourished beyond belief. We simply want to honor him for bringing us his love. Our city has prospered greatly and we have earned much money from visitors who eat in our restaurants and purchase things from our stores. We decided we should use our money to add to this beauty and honor our founder. That is why we are gathered here. We commissioned a fantastic statue of our community's founder and today we shall unveil it."
____ "Could you please direct us to the special friend you will crown this day?" the mayor asked.
____ "Why yes," came the reply. "He sits over there in that chair before the podium."
The elders of Will must have run the full gamut of emotions in that instant as they laid eyes upon the newly appointed leader; Felecé, the very man whom they had banished from their city only years before.
____ Excitement filled the air as the moment arrived when the statue would be unveiled. Even Felecé was unaware of the statue's identity, for he was new to their town. As the cover fell from the magnificent shrine, Felecé could not believe his eyes. He was overcome with extreme elation as he gazed at the statue, a perfect likeness of his beloved father; founder of Trust.

© 1993 - Paul Stephens