The Riddle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

The Riddle is a story my father in law told me. This is the first part of the story of a young man who is fond of talking in riddles. Can riddles be a turning point in his life? Enjoy.

 

The Riddle

 

Once upon a time, a rich farmer lived with his kind hearted wife in a small village. They lived in  prosperity, good health and  peace of mind. They had a big farm in which more than one barn were built. He also had a large herd of sheep and a fine breed of horses. The rich farmer was a generous man ; he used to help the needy living in his village. He would give them flour, corn, hay and from now and then he would distribute meat, milk and olives. The kind hearted wife did encourage her husband to have the poor share with them some of what God had blessed them with.

“This is the gift of life! This is the gift of God! Let’s be thankful and help those who haven’t been blessed with God’s mercy yet.” She used to say to her husband in a compassionate voice.

She would send her maids to help other women in the village in time of pregnancy or illness. She would also give some of her fine and expensive dresses to women who had celebrations and wanted to be well dressed...

The rich farmer and his good wife could not ask for more. They had gold between their hands, angels within their souls and contentment in their hearts. Their life revolved around how they could make their financial wealth thrive and how they could raise their only son till he would stand on his own feet.

Jade, the farmer’s son, was the joy of his  parents. He was not only given the chance to savour the pleasures of life but also treasured as a very dear son. Jade liked horses very much. He never got tired of spoiling them, taking care of them and riding them. His father, the rich farmer,  would look at him - while having his usual rides - with pride and admiration. His mother, the kind hearted woman, would - while watching him grow to manhood - pray to God to bless him and keep a watchful eye on him.

Jade was now a handsome young man. He lived with his caring and loving parents the sweetest moments of his life. He rejoiced in their fortune and didn’t seem to worry much about what happened around him or even think that there could be an unpleasant or harsh side of life. Everything in his garden seemed to be rosy. The sun, the moon and all the glittering stars were busy chasing all the dark clouds from Jade’s sky providing him protection against the anger of life. Both, Jade’s father and mother would do whatever it takes to please and meet their son’s needs.

Jade actually lived in a world of his own. He delighted in the company of his horses. He had three fine horses at his disposal. They were his best and devoted friends. He even gave them names. Green Stone, Amazing Knight and Born To Be Great. He used to spend most of his time with them. His relationship with his horses was very special. He used to talk to them as if they were human beings. He would whisper in their ears words of appreciation and encouragement. But when he spoke in a loud voice you would only hear an unusual talk. Jade liked very much speaking in riddles with his horses. And what was really bewildering  was that the horses around him got used to his habit and seemed to understand his strange code of speech.  “Fine strings of gold will add beauty to the white dress

And pieces of music will be celebrating a new day.”

 

The horses would understand that he was speaking about fine weather, shining sun and singing birds.

 

“We have a lonely white deer grazing in the prairie!”  While saying this, Jade would look amusingly in one of his horses eyes. The latter would quickly lick the remaining food from his mouth and chew it.

 

It was on and on and Jade didn’t get tired of this simple and interesting life of his. He was too overwhelmed that he didn’t seem to feel the unusual atmosphere in their house, neither did he notice the distressed look on his loving parents’ faces.

 

One day, the rich farmer could no more hide his worry and fear  : “I’m losing my fortune day by day! I can’t stand this any more. Jade should know about our financial situation. We ”

 

“Please, don’t. Don’t tell Jade about our loss. He will suffer and wither. He is our precious little boy. How can we do him any harm and tell him about horrible things like these?!” His wife interrupted him begging.

 

“He is a man now. We should rely on him in hard times. We are old now and we are losing our possessions. How are we going to make ends meet in the coming days? I’m afraid I’ll be obliged to sell what remained of the sheep and the herd of the horses including Jade’s three horses.”

The wife was so shocked that she could not help raising her voice : “Poor son! It will be too hard for him... It’s unfair! How can life be so cruel with us?!”

 

“How dare you say such things, woman? Don’t you remember? We have been blessed with an affluent life for a very long time and been leading a very comfortable life for many years...” The farmer was getting angrier and angrier.

 

“Sorry husband, I didn’t mean to be ungrateful to God’s blessings.” His wife said in a shaking voice.

 

The following day, the farmer headed to the village market dragging a big number of sheep and horses and carrying inside him a heavy and bleeding heart. The farmer actually didn’t take all his horses to the market. He left Green Stone, Born To Be Great and Amazing Knight with Jade for the last ride, the last riddle and the last good bye.

 

Jade could not believe his ears as he was listening to his father, a day before, telling him about the heavy and dark clouds which were now hovering over their life! The bright and glittering sun was unfortunately taking leave.

 

“I will listen to knocks on my door no more,

Angels of great beauty won’t in my heaven be any more,

Surfing powerful waves, diving in their ocean no more,

 A man without a bride, a groom you cannot call,

A bird without wings it is his shame and fall,

Come cats and dogs do rain it is the end of it all.”

 

Those were the last perplexing words Jade said before he retreated to the small room he shared with his old parents now as they became broke leading a penurious life. Everything the good farmer possessed as well as his big house and farm were sold to get money and be able to live.

 

Jade remained silent for many days. He didn’t exchange words or looks with his parents. The old farmer tried to stay away from his son and let him heal himself by himself. The loving mother was very anxious and concerned about her son. She tried to console him and bring him to senses but in vain. Jade once again was living in another world. He could not adjust to the idea that there could be a life without his devoted horses, without going for rides and without cherishing and spoiling them!

 

In the meantime, both the farmer and his good wife tried to find work in the village in order to earn their living and provide their son with the least of what he used to enjoy. It was too hard for them to get enough money for their daily struggle to survive. Some of their neighbours, who were well off,  were very embarrassed to hire the old farmer and his good wife, who used to be extremely generous with the poor in their village, and found it very hard to let them work. Nevertheless, those neighbours along with many women of the village tried their best to help the farmer and his wife and ultimately stand by them.

“How can I forget those beautiful dresses she used to give me?” said one of the women.

“I will always remember the time when she sent me one of her maids to help me as I gave birth to my first baby child. What a caring kind hearted woman she is!” added another.

“We won’t let them down. We won’t let them feel humiliated. What a pity! They used to lead a charmed life and now they crammed into a tiny cottage in the prairie. How brutal life can be!” one of the neighbours said in a determined and compassionate voice.

The old farmer and his good wife could not survive without their neighbours’ support and the friendship of the women of the village. Both of them were back to life again. They went out for their daily routines, they worked, and they also visited their good friends. On the contrary, Jade was unable to accept the changes in his life and the challenge was too difficult for him to bear. His state got worse and worse. He barely exchanged words with his parents. He even stopped to eat as much as he used to. He didn’t go outside anymore. Jade was now suffering his big losses. You would see him lying on what remained of a bed staring at nothing. Sometimes you would see a tear escaping from his eye rolling down his grieving and expressionless face. His parents were so anxious about him that they called the doctor of their village to check on him.

“Your son is fine. He doesn’t seem to complain from any health problem!”

The doctor confirmed.

“But he speaks no more, he eats no more, he isn’t the same anymore. We are losing our son, doctor” the warm hearted mother could not help herself from sobbing...


Submitted: July 05, 2011

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