The Boy Who Cried Out

He could have been called the brother of Cassandra but for the fact that he couldn’t state his case adequately. It had always been a problem, going back to his youth. The village had always found him a strange boy though not too strange: perfectly suitable and apt to grow into a sense of normalcy. Of course, that was before they made him shepherd boy. Once they placed him on the hillock to keep watch over their flock, stranger things happened still.

Several months did pass without incident. The initial situation was good. The boy performed his duties promptly and dutifully. He never complained about the work, and though restless at times, he never strayed from the hillock, only paced about, to and fro, to keep boredom at bay. The villagers believed that he was on his proper path at last.

However, the wolves changed all of that. When they stalked up upon the flock, the boy did what he had been instructed: ran for help and yelled at the top of his lungs. The sheepdog tried to keep the wolves back with intimidating growls, but reinforcements were needed. The boy’s cries went out to the villagers, yet confusion was the only effect produced. None of them seemed to understand. The boy called out again and again to no avail. He tried and tried, cried and cried. And then, he finally heard his own words. They went like this:

      Long, I poise the hammer
      Gripping, pinched, the nail.
      And down goes the table:
      Splinters all a ruckus,
      Sawdust all around us,
      Just like snow,
      Don’t ya know?
      And, every splinter matters….

This cry did not rally the villagers. The flock was decimated. Woolen blankets and lamb-shank suppers were not forthcoming. The boy was relieved of his position as shepherd, and he did not protest. He only wanted to hide.

So, that’s the tragic part of the story. Is there a happy ending? Well, yes.

It took a little time, a little growth, some unfortunate incidents that I shall just skip (the exact nature of them is irrelevant anyway), and a little good luck, but he found his calling. The boy, now a man, had procured a more appropriate position as proprietor of the local tavern. Here his outcries were always a welcome part of the job. The patrons loved to ask him, “What’s new?”, for he would always answer this way:

      Vegetables are hard to eat;
      They grow them in the dirt!
      Why don’t they just use sugar?
      That would be a treat!
      Then the stalk, asparagus
      Would taste like licorice,
      And more, the taste of peas,
      Would evoke a candy piece!
      Oh, let them grow in sweet,
      So bitter never prospers!

Cheers would go up. Much merriment was had by all. And why not? Yes, everyone has their place. Somewhere in this world there lies a pair of shoes for us to walk in. It’s not just Cinderella’s feet that fit perfectly into a certain mould.

Copyright 2008 by Michael Marsters.
All Rights Reserved.


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