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Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Hundred Mountains

Once there was a boy who lived in a village in the valley of a great mountain. Everything that everyone needed was provided in the valley so that there was no need to go up the mountain. There were farms to prepare, seeds to plant, food to harvest and water to drink. There were herds to feed and houses to build; the sort of work that would satisfy any man. But every once in a while someone proud and strong would climb the mountain.

Strangely, whenever they came back they never wanted to talk about it or tell anybody what they had seen. The people who came back from the mountain were suddenly very humble and meek. They never talked much and always worked very hard. People said that those who came back from the mountain had met God; others said their spirits were taken away and replaced with new ones. Others said the mountain was bewitched and that it forbids anyone returning from the top from speaking about it.

None of the other boys in the village talked about the mountain and no one was willing to go there. They had not been told to stay but somehow they knew they did not need to go. So one day when all the other boys were playing in the field the boy stole up the mountain and climbed to the very top. He had to run back quickly before it was dark so that no one would know where he had gone.

The next day he did his work quickly and quietly. He played with the other boys, but was also very respectful. He ate his food but only ate enough and helped others do their chores. At last, his mother asked him, "Have you been up the mountain?" "Yes", he said, "and what did you see?" his mother asked. He stood silent for a while then said, "a hundred other mountains".  

Allan Bukusi

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