A young lad sat playing on a white sandy beach. It was strewn for miles with thickets of rolled out rusty barbed wire. And, during those days, cities were left as blackened smoking holes, or dismembered skeletons. The debris of fallen bombs left behind devastation and sorrow. However, the surrounding countryside survived, still looking vibrant and green.
Day after day, the lad walked down to the beach, skimming the sands with his feet, seeking what hidden treasures lay buried beneath it. On several occasions he found some shillings and pence, dropped by unwary bathers, long before the war broke out.
One day, as he was about to leave the beach, his left foot pressed down on something that seemed big and solid, just beneath the sandy surface. Amazed at what manner of object attracted him so splendidly, he felt as though he’d stepped on a large pebble? Kneeling down he burrowed beneath the cool sand, from where he extracted a clear round stone. Like a crystal it shone brighter than the pale weak light of the winter sun. He gasped at its actual size! It was so small.
Holding the stone in the palm of his left hand, he noted rays of light pouring from between his fingers! Clenching his fist with sudden fright, he gripped the stone tightly, as the radiance encircled him where he stood. Within seconds his world of barbed wire and sandy beaches, disappeared.
He stood within the coolness of a deep green forest. And for a while, he felt as though his feet had taken root in the rich soil. A serene calmness overcame him. The lad looked around him and found himself within an ancient forest, where everything around him was from long ago.
Taking a step forward, he began turning in small circles, gaping at the wonders around him and completely dwarfed by these ancient trees, overshadowing him with their canopy of thick leaves. And try though he might, his eyes could not penetrate the greenness of it.
Then he remembered the stone! Unclenching his fist, he saw it had disappeared from his grasp! Round about him he heard soft rustlings and shuffling sounds within the twilight, a myriad of bright figures he knew to be the ‘Little People’. He had somehow been transported into the world of leprechauns, dwarfs, toby jugs, goblins, nature divas, fairies and the elvish folk.
The lad’s fair hair was caught by a shaft of sun from the green canopy above him. It shimmered like a golden halo around his head, his eyes were a blue/grey.
While his mind was occupied with these thoughts, there suddenly stood before him a tall, regal figure in a cream-coloured robe. The apparition bore copper-coloured, shoulder-length hair and eyes of blue/grey like his own.
‘It looks very young, for someone so tall!’ thought the lad looking up at the figure. “Are you Yeshua?” The bright figure replied with a gentle voice. “In a way. I have come to take you away from your unhappiness, but only for a short time. You will remain unhappy throughout your life,” replied the beautiful image, who then introduced himself.
“I am Master Babaji. I am going to show you the World, so one day you might look back on what you have seen now. These memories may help to ease your heart for a short time, before you leave this sphere. But first you should open your heart.”
The lad looked deeply into Babaji’s eyes; a bewildered look crossed the lad’s face, tears clouded his eyes, making them glow.
“Then why can I not die now? Why do I have to encounter sadness and happiness first?” The benevolent Babaji sat down in lotus position, beside him, looked deeply into the lad’s eyes.
He held out his left hand – a beautiful olive colour, with long slender fingers. The boy noticed there were ‘wings’ (webs) between his fingers. Picking up the master’s right hand, he saw it also had wings. Babaji was smiling, while the lad examined both his hands closely.
“Do you have wings on your feet as well?” The master, still smiling, nodded. The lad looked down at the master’s feet, noticing how beautifully long and slender they were, of the same olive colour and – yes – they had wings also.
“That means you can fly?“ exclaimed the lad, who began to laugh! “Yes,“ answered the master, whose eyes and face puckered in a smile.
The boy’s face crinkled into laughter, as Babaji took both his hands gently into his. “Close your eyes. Take a deep breath,“ said Babaji.
Suddenly both were swept up and away into the blue above them. The lad found himself soaring and, on opening his eyes, he saw himself flying with the master alongside him. He spread his arms out shouting to the high winds. “I’m flying, I’m flying free as a bird!“ He saw the green countryside far below; looking across at Babaji, “I’m free, Babaji!“ The sound of the lad’s voice, rang clear as a bell around them.
He had never felt so content or happy in his life.
And, although he was only seven years old when he met the master, it seemed as if he had gone for a very long time!
They flew over cities – many were centuries old, others modern. The lad saw so much beauty, but at times he saw blackened things far below him, with smoke curling up toward them, as though threatening to take hold of them in mid-flight! He saw flames shooting high into the sky and, during this time, the master remained silent, allowing the lad to see, experience, explore and feel everything he saw.
Later, an old man sat on the beach looking around him, somewhat dazed and bewildered.
What had happened? He could not seem to figure out much of anything these days; then he noticed the beach was pristine. However, something was missing but he could not recall it. Nevertheless, he felt the warmth of the sun on him, while a light breeze ruffled his thin grey hair.
Feeling a little dizzy he stood up and walked off the beach, into a forest. It looked familiar?
The floor was covered in leaf mould, buttercups, dandelions and lush grasses. Here he came upon a herd of healthy respectable, chubby-looking cows grazing peacefully. They did not budge, as he moved toward them. Old man reached out his hand to touch the nearest cow and found her tame; she mooed, her pleasure at his touch. The remainder of the herd began advancing, but not in a menacing way. Soon he was surrounded and, to his amazement, he found himself able to communicate with these beautiful animals!
And this was their story, as told to the old man by these beautiful animals. “We’ve lived in this forest for a very long time.” The rest of the herd mooed in agreement! “We were led here by our farmer who then left us, maybe to keep us safe? He said war broke out. Then Master Babaji found us, but we had no strength to get up; we were dying of hunger. We had simply given up waiting for death and yet somehow we felt the world was also passing through a painful time. We heard loud noises, big bangs and saw black smoke in the distance! There were far-off shattering sounds. We can see that you too, have suffered.”
Old man looked into their beautiful huge brown eyes and smiled, while stroking them gently around their ears, their coats long and soft. And in their own way they smiled back at him. Suddenly there appeared in the midst of them the man in the cream robe. Old man looked up at the figure! It was none other than Master Babaji! “I see you have gathered here; my friend needed to know that there is happiness beyond suffering. Pain does not put you through it. You allow, yourself the pain. You live the pain. Give it credence and it will destroy you! Simply let all go and flow; if you don’t fly, who then will fly for you?” The cows had since died and old man, alone again, lay down on the soft lush blue grass.
He closed his eyes for the last time and with a smile he walked into the light. For a brief time in his sad life, he’d opened his heart to others and listened, to their story.
This story is from a collection of short stories ‘GREEN TEA ‘N’ ORANGES’ and is dedicated to Andrew. Kat and Andrew have been married for 45 years, having rescued 18 pets: Cats, dogs and two pet rats, while living in various countries in Africa.