The Last was the Lust

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Based on the concept of seven deadly sins and a man in distress,desperate to reverse his fortune. Special thanks to my friend, Farhan Ahmed Mozumder, for his contribution on certain grounds.

Submitted: May 15, 2019

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Submitted: May 15, 2019

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The Last was the Lust

Ishraq Hassan (2019)

 

It was a sunny day, Johan the shepherd just came home from the valley herding all the sheep. While he returned he saw two elderly men waiting for him and haggles with his only mother. No sooner they saw Johan all moved towards him to confer. Johan was anxious and asked the elders, “Good elders, what drives you to my poor abode? What business do you have here?” One of the elder replied, “We are here for the gold coins that your father took from us as a loan before he died .It has been one month that I have waited after his death but no more” One of the elder hands over the contract to Johan which states his father’s agreement to the loan. Johan begged, “But good elders, we are poor living souls. We do not have enough gold to repay my father’s debt!” The elder replied back, “I can care less! I want my gold coins now! However, it seems like you have 14 sheep, my debt is equal to half of them. If you cannot pay my coins back than give me half of your sheep and we have no quarrel!” Johan’s mother cried for mercy but they refuse to show any and intimidate to take them to the Jarl. Hence, seeing no choice left Johan had to give up 7 of his sheep to the elders. Johan consoled her heartbroken mother and was thinking why God is punishing them with such melancholy.

 

The next day, when Johan went to the valley to herd sheep, he sat beside a tree and worries about future prosperity in life. During the moment he was interrupted by a pleasant voice nearby the forest. It was a girl singing a song,

 

“I schedule my time every day,

To talk to someone who passes by

I know not how I could get away

But I know how cold touches my heart

And be embraced in warm arms

Carried away by his charms”

 

The voice was so charming that Johan could not resist himself but to find the person behind it. When he went little inside the forest, he found a young maiden sitting beside the dew pond playing with her hair and singing. As Johan snooped behind a tree, the young maiden chuckles and said,” Now Now! I can see you are observing me. It’s all right, do not be shy, come forth! Johan nervously responded, “Oh young maiden! Please forgive me, I did not mean to pry! Your voice is so beautiful that I could not hold myself but to listen.” The maiden replied, “I am grateful, thank you Johan the Shepherd! Johan was astonished and curiously asked how she knew his name and who was she. The Maiden answered back, “Do not be perturbed, my name is Alisha and I know everything about you. I can feel you are troubled with your measly life .I can help you overcome it.” Johan asked, “How can you tell? Why do you want to help me?” Alisha convinced Johan that she is willing to do so just because he praised her voice, nothing else. She directed him a way to the “Cave of Secrecy”, where he will find enough gold to reverse his fortune and tells him to go at midnight. Alisha insists to keep the matter amicable. Johan replied, “Wouldn’t it be stealing?”Alisha answered back, “The wealth of the cave is only for those who is in need. Surely it is God’s help for the poor in clandestine”. Johan naively believed her and gave his word to do so without even knowing how she knew about the cave, also promised her to return if everything turns out well to felicitate her for the help.

 

It was midnight. Johan got ready with an empty sack and a lamp, on to his way to the “Cave of Secrecy”. First he made sure his mother was asleep and then sneaked away. Following the route that Alisha directed him, he finally found the cave after quite some time covered with heavy mist. He was glad as well as frightened, because the place was daunting and isolated. When he was about to enter, a ferocious voice from behind startled him, and yelled, “Impede yourself earthly human or else I will devour you!” Johan looked behind and trembled with fear. It was no human that called him, it was a foul beast with men like posture and a head of a wolf covered with fur also having huge claws. Johan started stammering with shock and requested, “God! Have mercy! Please do not harm me! If you kill me my mother will feel sad and there is no one but me to look after her”. The Beast questioned, “Then why are you here alone at dark?” Johan answered, “I have been told that this cave will have the essential possessions to help me overcome my poor distress.” The beast calms himself down and clears about him, “Indeed! I am Wruko! And I am the guardian of this cave. But before you enter you have to pass my test, otherwise if you fail I will have no choice but to gobble you. Even now if you step back then I will gobble you as well for what you have witnessed”. During the situation, Johan’s only way of survival is to pass the test, so he asked Wruko what the test was. Wruko states that Johan have to answer one of his riddle and only then he can go inside the cave. He riddled,

 

“Useless for one,

Bliss for two

Free for the small boy

Some shares with coy

Privilege for the devotee

Faith; to the young lady

Now tell me this

  What it might be?”

 

Johan thought carefully and after taking little time he answered the riddle, “I believe the answer is Love, because it is the only thing that can be shared with others besides oneself and some shy to share it to their precious ones, who is in this order a woman!” Wruko was amazed and praised him, “Finely done human, you have indeed given me the correct answer! Very Well! You may proceed! But hear this…” Wruko explains that when he enters the cave, there are 3 spirits who will try to manipulate him to do something which is an offense to god. There used to be 4 spirits and one of them wandered off. Johan was well advised to avoid them and he will be able to come out of the cave with his gold, but if somehow he falls on to their trap and commit a sin then a tragic fate will come towards him.

 

The cave had three floors starting from the underneath. Johan entered and went underground to the bottom of the cave. When he reached the bottom he found massive piles of gold and jewelries which made him so happy where he started to think that his life of misery was over. He stuffed enough gold into his sack and about to leave, but before he did Johan encountered a child (Spirit).The child spirit said, “Greetings fortune maker! My name is Envag! I see you have enough wealth to become a powerful man among your village”. Johan replied, “I do not intend to be powerful but this wealth will help me and my mother have a decent life”. Envag insists agitatedly, “What do you mean? Do not you remember the time those uncouth elders been bad-mannered to you? Surely it is time you can take revenge. Allow me to give you the power of fury, by which no can stand before you for your rage and you will be dominant. The most influential men that you envy can never do any harm and your riches will be safe and sound!” Johan answered, “Anger and jealousy take a person to ruins! Let people recognize me for my politeness. Definitely people will avoid troubling me for my good manners and understand their faults”. Hearing this, Envag (Child Spirit) Vanished into thin air allowed Johan to overcome the first trick of the spirit.

 

While Johan came to the second floor of the cave he encountered the second spirit, who appeared wearing poor clothes and looked very meager. The Poor spirit asked, “Good fortune maker! You might be feeling as joyful as you take these precious assets with you. But why take only one sack? Here, take my sack and bring some more”. Johan replied, “I do not need your sack nor I need any more gold! I have enough for my decent living and I am happy with it.” The poor spirit insists, “Do not be a fool! Take my advice and take as much gold as you can. Your wealth will make you flourish with fame and if you hire me as your preacher, I, Grep, at your service will ensure that everyone knows about your reputation and you will live your life with pride.” Johan answered back, “Pride and Greed takes men to ruins. I do not intend to live a boastful life. All my intention is to have a simple livelihood”. Hearing this, Grep (Poor Spirit) also vanished into thin air and let Johan overcome the second trick of the spirit.

 

Lastly when Johan came to the third floor and about to exit the cave, he met the third spirit which was an old man. The Spirit yarns and said, “Mmm! Aahh! Well! What do I have here? Hello fortune maker! It seems like you have enough gold to make your life delightful. Now without a doubt you can sit around and pass your life with rest, you no longer have to do anything at all.”Johan replied, “This wealth will help me in my distress for sure but I do not intend to pass my life procrastinating depending on it. I will use certain amount of gold where it is necessary and keep the rest as saving for my upcoming must. Laziness is a curse for men”. “Nonsense! You are definitely going to be rich when you take this amount of wealth with you. Of course you should enjoy your daily life with expensive feasts every day. I, Glusto, can be your chef and feed you the best delicacies this world can ever offer”, Glusto Insisted. But Johan answered back, “If I spend my wealth only on food then I will have nothing at one point. I am not a glutton nor is it a good thing to be. Best food should only be served when we have a festival or when one desires to have some on a certain day, not on daily basis. One should only have healthy meal everyday!” Hearing this Glusto (Spirit) also like the rest of the two vanished in the air and Johan finally came out of the cave overcoming the trickery of the cave spirits.

 

Once Johan finally came out of the cave, he saw Wruko waiting. Wruko praised Johan by saying, “Surprising human! Very surprising! You managed to answer my riddle, avoid the tricks of the cave spirits, and came out with the riches. You are indeed worthy of the wealth of the cave by heart. But Wruko also warns him to be cautious before Johan left, because the 4th spirit of the cave still roams around freely. If Johan falls for the trick of the spirit the consequence is also demise.  When Johan came back home, he dug a hole into his yard carefully so that he does not wake his mother up and waited till dawn to show the collected gold coins to her, lying about it that he found all of it under their yard and advices to keep this matter furtive to all. Johan’s mother believed his son and categorizes it as a present of God in their time of distress. Johan did not tell her the truth because not only his mother but no one will believe him. Hence, their fortune was reversed; Johan bought back his 7 sheep from the elder who took it from them. They were at last solvent. Even After having so many riches Johan and his mother do not spent a single penny to extravagance. After few weeks later, when every problem of Johan was settled, he remembered about Alisha, without whom he would never knew about the cave. So he decided to thank her and show her his gratitude for the knowledge she shared. So the next day when he went to the valley to herd sheep again, he also intended to meet her.

 

Beside the dew pond he awaited but did not find her at all. At that moment, Johan started to call by her name, and finally from behind she responded out of now where, “Look who came back? Is it that shepherd who was in sorrow? The shepherd who admired my voice? Your presence is making me curious”. Johan responded back, “Alisha! I am here to thank you for telling me about the Cave of Secrecy, I am here to fulfill my promise to you.” Alisha asked, “Which is? (Plays with water while she sits beside the dew pond)”. Johan reminded her, “I gave you my word that if everything goes well I will come back to honor you. I have done what you have told me and I was successful! Now, tell me! How should I honor you? What do you want from me?” Alisha laughed and said, “I wish I could believe you but I doubt! All have used my advice and deceived me afterwards. Besides, what I want is something you will never give me.” Johan assured, “What you think is wrong! I am surely not like others! For your help I am now solvent and happy. I will not deprive you but give you whatever you want. Please do not hesitate, you have my word! I swear upon my mother!” Alisha then finally revealed her craving, “Is that so? Very well then, Johan! I want you to meet my thirst for lust! Come and devote yourself to me and that would be all.” Johan was stricken, perplexed and shocked with what Alisha wanted. He suddenly committed to memory what Wruko warned him about. Johan realized that the 4th spirit was Alisha all along. It was even clearer when Johan asked Alisha if she was the cave spirit that wandered off, and she confessed, “Thus you figured it out? Yes, I am! I was so jaded inside the cave because no one had passed Wruko, the cave guardian’s riddle, and as a matter of fact I had no human companion to play with. So what is it going to be? Will you break your promise that you swear upon your mother’s life or keep your word to make me happy? If it so, then do not make me wait no more, come and make love to me, Johan, the shepherd!” Johan was trapped to the trick of a spirit after all and see no way to get out. So he strolled towards Alisha, crying to fulfill her lustful desire.

 

The time when Johan and Alisha came closer to their dishonest coupling, as usual like the other spirits of the cave, Alisha also vanished into thin air. Before Johan sighed his relieve, all of a sudden Wruko appeared. Wruko said, “Poor human! I told you to beware of the wandering spirit. Now, it is all over! At this moment your punishment is death, that I have already warned you earlier than. Alas human! Alas!” Johan cried for mercy and stated that his intention was not ill at all, but it was too late nor Wruko cared. Johan’s decency was the cause of his death, his unfair fate indeed. The tragedy in the end happened eventually, the scream of the poor fellow marched towards the air but no one to aid. Days went by, people searched for the shepherd but nobody found him anywhere. The flock of sheep which were taken last by him to herd were found but not the shepherd whose mother still wept and wished for her son’s return. The mother no longer cares about living and the wealth that Johan discovered was untouched, “The cave of Secrecy” was still unfenced for those deprived, and Alisha still sat and sang songs beside the dew pond waiting for a new companion.


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