Before history was written, it was spoken. It was handed down in stories from generation to generation. When words or deeds began to fade from memory, they were replaced or exaggerated so that the stories could be completed, as best that could be remembered. By the time it was able to be written they were written as they were remembered. With history lending itself as it does to the history of those that came before the stories may not have been exact. What was truth, what was not, all mixed together until no one can or could remember what was real and what was not. Everyone knows that legends are not legends until they have been handed down over several generations. Until they become legend they are only stories that have been passed on from family to family. Yet each time they pass from one generation to another they begin to take on a life of their own. Still, there is one more thing that needs to happen before they can truly be called legends. The last step is when no one alive can remember when the story took place, or be sure if or how it all happened. Legends are born of truth mixed with half-truth and no truth at all to become as they are. So, if you can follow that then I guess you will not have any trouble following along later on.
It was some time ago while working for a friend renovating an old house when I came across a medium sized wooden box. Believe me when I tell you all now that the house has no importance in the story that you are now reading. If it were important to our story I would be more than happy to tell you all about it. Yet having just now told you this some of you, I know who you are, will ask about it at least once before this story is at an end and to that I will tell you get over it already. The box was locked and heavy but made no noise when I shook it. I showed it to my friend who looked at it once and told me that I could toss it out if I wanted. However the box was well crafted and I thought that maybe one day I would find a way to open it with out breaking it. Hoping it would make a nice piece for a desk I decided to keep it. I put the box in the toolbox on my truck and thought nothing more of it for more than a year. I know what your thinking how could I have forgotten all about a box I found in an old house, what can I tell you, it happens, again get over it. I can’t remember the exact reason I was digging around the bottom of my toolbox when I came across it again. I took the box to a locksmith who, after a few attempts, was able to open it with out damaging any more than part of the lock.
Inside were the following items; one light green crystal the size of a boys fist, one small blue stone surrounded by silver, one silver dagger, one pendant with a tiny green stone, one gold ring with a tiny green stone, and four hand written books wrapped in oiled parchment paper. The books appeared to be intact and in very good shape, unfortunately they were written in a language that neither I nor any one I knew could read. I figured that if someone had taken the time and energy to save these books that there just might be something interesting in them so, I made copies of one of the pages and sent to every linguist I could find the address for.
Months passed and I was beginning to think that it was going to be a useless search and decided that I might as well give up on ever learning about the books. I packed the books away one day and was thinking that I was now in the possession of some nice conversation pieces that I could bring out at gatherings for people to wonder and talk about. I had even given up until a young woman in California contacted me saying that she thought her Grandfather might be able to help me with the language. She told that she was not positive but she was sure she remembered seeing similar writing in a few books that her Grandfather had shown her some years ago. She said that he had always tried to teach her the language but she was afraid that she could not remember any of the words. Either way she said she was sure that he would be able to help me. She also told me that I should not delay in visiting him as he was up in years and was ill at the time. I packed up the contents of the box and headed to the forests of Oregon where he was living at the time.
I immediately showed him the box when I arrived not wanting to waste much time. His eyes grew wide with amazement as I handed it to him and I knew immediately that I had finally found the one person that could help me. He pulled a watch from his pocket and fumbled with its chain. On the end of the chain was a key and it seemed to disappoint him when it would not work the lock. I did explain to him that we had broken it slightly when we opened it but yet he still was disappointed. Yet as he sorted through the contents his disappointment was replaced with a large smile. His eyes began to light up even more as he unwrapped the oil soaked parchment from the books and began reading them. He stopped abruptly and began to tell me a story about the box and its contents. He spent little time that day with the other articles but he held those books in his hand and would flip through the pages of them as he told me about them. He told me that the books that I had found were considered lost and long ago destroyed by those that knew the story the best. More than once he would forget that he was telling the story and just sit and read, it was some hours later when he finally finished and told me that he wanted to show them to me. He said that he could not teach me everything about them in just one day so he invited me to stay as he taught me the letters and words of the language so that I could carry on in the event that he could no longer. He only spoke of it as the language of the ancestors and those that came before. It was a few months after my arrival that he began to share with me more books written in the same language all telling a part or version of the story. I spent nearly a year in that home in the woods with the old man reading his books, learning what I had come to call, his language. Each book held a part or all of a story. Together they tell the history of a long ago Kingdom, long lost to the world. While he taught me how to read the language he told me no more of the story than he had on that first day allowing it to unfold to me as I will let it unfold to you.
My time spent learning from him and reading the books was out shined by the turn in his health. He went from a frail man to a vibrant being full of life. His family believed that he even began to look years younger. Now I am not suggesting that by simply reading this book you will become younger or that your health will improve, no, that I believe can only be the work of an immortal or an ancestor. Is the old man such a being, I do not know for sure. I can only say that I know what I saw happen to that man over that year.
The culmination of that trip and the time I spent with him has become this book that you are now holding in your hands. I give it to you to read translated as best that I could. While not in the language or even in some cases the exact framing of words the story does not lose itself on any level it is as it was the same in any language. He has asked that his name not be used in connection of this writing for what reason I cannot say for certain I only want to honor that man by telling you this now.
Fact, Fiction or Folklore you decide. I know what I read and I know what I wrote, and I saw with my own eyes the transformation of an old man….
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One response to “From The Travelers : In the Beginning”
Thinks this one is Great … has more details around the box and the old man … 🙂