Another story written a while back


The Old Man In The Forest

The man wandered alone in the desolate forest. Naked and ravaged trees yearned upward to the grey sky. The cold was intense. Broken twigs, overgrown grass weeds as well as fallen leaves frail and helpless strewn chaotically in every direction.

Occasional quiet sprinkling of bird song was a welcome sign of life yet, he knew that he was lost. Pausing he picked up a frail leave which crumbled easily in his hands. It was just like humanity and indeed like him frail and always vulnerable.

At last a clearing. The man moved cautiously; he longed for rest yet could find nowhere. So very tired...he collapsed to the ground weeping.

There was no sense of time. He had been lost for very many years. Several paths had opened yet, which one to follow? The path he eventually followed was a long one, he took it because was there. There came an awareness of another presence.

Stand up dear friend”

A kindly old man dressed in a monastic habit and snooping slightly stood near him. He had long grey hair and a grey beard.

All will be well now”

The man stood up. There was no fear; at last he was safe with a welcome other

I am lost” he said

I know, you have been here for some time. I know that you search for that which can be most difficult indeed to find.”

How do you know this?” asked the man

The old man smiled benevolently. A gentle light gleamed in his eyes his voice was quiet and reassuring.

My dear friend it matters now how I know yet I know. You are seeking for you know not what yet you are seeking”

The man listened intently and with great concern.

Essentially dear man you are seeking for yourself, to discover who you are and perhaps even what you mean by ‘I’”

That’s right I suppose” said the man

Well there is no permanent ‘I’ – no permanent and fixed self. This can change with time and can even change from moment to moment.”

So what I have really sought is an understand”

Yes, you are as a flower in a garden that has been unable to light, your seeking has been choked by weeds of betrayal and despair.”

you have known betrayal, you have been overwhelmed by forces of ignorance, moral blindness and evil that attached themselves to you and, you took what seemed to be the only way out.”

Yes, I can remember now...”

Yes, suicide is mankind’s ultimate betrayal of itself, it is the self scattered by despair like fallen and fragile autumn leaves. There is peace for you now, you have been able to find your way through the forest in your mind.”

The man felt calm now. There was a sense of feeling safe with the old man who seemed, in a way, like someone he had known for all of his life.

The old man extended a hand which he gladly took.

What’s your name?”

I am called by many names yet, I am death”

George Coombs (516 words)





Submitted: May 21, 2012

© Copyright 2023 Chiang Yee. All rights reserved.

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