March 4, 2009
For the last few weeks, the conversation I have with Gabriel (who turned 2 on Sunday) at bedtime goes like this:
Me: "What kind of story do you want tonight?'
Gabriel: "Rock story."
So I tell a story about a rock. If I try to tell a story twice I invariably hear the demand, "new one".
Anyway here are 3 new stories about rocks... more on the way...
THE LONELY ROCK
Once there was a rock.
As far as the rock knew, it was alone in the world — one rock sitting quietly by itself on a grassy field that spread out as far as the eye can see. But this rock had no eyes and it saw nothing, so it did the only thing it knew how to do, it rolled. It rolled through days and nights and rain and fog until it bumped up against another rock.
The two rocks enjoyed one other's company so there they stayed until they were bumped by a third rock and three was even nicer than two so they cuddled up for a very long time until along came another, and maybe a year later another, and another, and so on. After a more days than even I know how to count, where there had once been one rock in a field, there was now a great pile of rocks. Birds came and made their nests on the pile and grass grew up around the edges and the rocks forgot they were rocks and today they speak with one voice when they bother to speak at all, because they are happy bunch, happy to have found one another in such a wide world, happy to have found their place. And today they call themselves a mountain.
THE RICH KING
Far away and a long time ago there lived a very rich king who loved things. This king built himself a castle on a grass covered mountain far away from everything and instructed his knights to go out into the world and fill the castle with resplendent things. Each room contained a specific treasure. Room 32A was filled hummingbird eggs, 22D was stacked with flying carpets, 7C housed a collection of the world's finest ukuleles. There was, of course, a geode room, and several rooms full of dinosaur bones. One room upstairs was covered floor to ceiling with paintings of volcanoes, another was stuffed with pirate maps, and an entire wing was devoted to illustrated love letters all neatly catalogued. The king loved his castle and each day he would sleep in, have a late breakfast, and wait for the knights to arrive with his riches.
But one day, the king awoke to a strange silence. His castle was empty, the gate had been left open, his breakfast was unmade, and all around there was evidence his servants and lords and ladies had run away in great haste. No knights arrived. He ate cereal and waited all day and night. Early the next day three of his men staggered through the gate. All were in bad shape, bloodied and bruised. "The rival king is on his way", they said, "he is looking for his own treasures and will take everything. We have already lost the war" they said.
The king immediately decided to secure his castle. He closed the windows, locked the doors, barred the gates and burned the drawbridge. Then he led his men down the mountain to a very large rock which he had them push with all their might. Underneath this rock he placed a small box with keys to the castle gate and all the rooms inside. So heavy was the rock that all three men, spent from their trials, collapsed with exhaustion after shoving the rock back in it's place. The king, because he trusted no one, killed each of the men in their sleep the preserve the secret of the keys. He then donned peasant clothing and made his way out into the world.
The rival king never made it to the mountain turning back without ever discovering the castle or the once rich king who was now disguised as a peasant and living out his days as a goatherd. One day the goats wandered back to the great rock and the king who was now a very old man was too weak to move it. He died a few years later. They found him in his hut which he had decorated with birds nests, turtle shells, and colored pebbles found out in the fields. The dead knights' ghosts haunted the rock, but grew bored and wandered away. The castle remains there up on that mountain, now it's all covered in vines waiting to be discovered. And the rock is annoyed someone has placed a small box under it's belly and can't wait for someone to remove that key. It dreams of rolling up to the castle and smashing the gate if only to see the geode room.
THE GIANT AND THE ROCK
Not so long ago, out near the edge of the world, lived a hungry giant. One fine day the giant's friend, a normal sized boy, noticed a very large, very round rock buried in his field. This particular giant liked to eat rocks so the boy asked his giant friend to make a deal. "Dig up that rock and you can eat as much as you want", suggested the boy, "just take the rock away from here." The giant started digging and eating and digging and eating until he had dug up so much of the world that the boy got nervous. "Please giant, stop digging!" So the giant stepped into the deep hole, pulled the huge round rock from the earth and held it up over his head. "How high can you throw that rock?" yelled the boy." And the giant threw the rock high in the sky where it got stuck. Now we call that rock the moon, and that hole the giant dug,was filled by rain and became the ocean. This was all a very long time ago. And the giant? Well he liked that moon rock so much that every now and then he takes a big bite. Look up in the sky, if you're lucky you'll see it.