THE ADVENTURES OF HABU

Part II

THE GREAT FIRE

 
This work was written by Roderick W. Marling and is protected by copyright. However it is formatted so that you can easily download it for your own personal use. Give it to all those you feel might benefit, but for any other consideration please contact KamaKala Publications.
 

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Habu was seated at the kitchen table having great fun painting with her watercolors. She was very busy painting a purple dragon with big red eyes and lots of fire coming out of his mouth. The dragon had wings like a bat; sharp claws like a tiger and a tail like a big snake. And he was riding a black thundercloud high in the sky.

Mata was also painting with her today, which always added to the fun. She was painting a picture of the Purple Mountains that rose high into the clouds on the other side of the Great Forest.

As they painted together, they sang a little song, which Habu liked to sing whenever she was feeling happy.

"Row, row,

Row your boat

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream."

After some time, when they had finished with their paintings, Mata began to clean the brushes and asked Habu: "Will you please put the paints back on the shelf?"

"No," replied Habu sharply. "I don't want to."

Mata looked up at Habu in surprise. For she did not expect to hear such an answer coming from Habu, who was always so happy to help with everything. But Mata didn't say anything; she just put the paints away and went into the kitchen to start cooking dinner.

Habu ran outside to look for Asha. This evening Asha was waiting for Habu in the backyard, and ran up to her and licked her on the ankle.

"Hi Asha," Habu greeted her little friend. "I missed you yesterday. I hope you didn't get into any mischief."

Asha looked up at Habu with his dark eyes and gave a little squeak.

"I know, I know you're a good little raccoon," Habu said as she bent down and scratched his head.

Just then, they heard a bell. It was the bell that Mata rang whenever it was mealtime.

"I have to go in now for dinner," Habu said. "But I will be back in a short while with a rice cake for you."

When Habu arrived in the kitchen, Mata was putting the rice and vegetables on the table. Baba was already seated at his place. As Habu sat down at the table Baba announced, "here comes the star."

After they had finished all the brown rice, carrots, peas and broccoli, Mata asked: "Habu would you please help me wash the dishes before you go outside to play?"

But Habu who was now on her way out the door with two rice cakes, pretended not to hear. And with a few quick steps, she was gone. This time Mata was sad and a little confused, because Habu always liked to help her with the dishes before. And they always liked to talk, and tell each other stories while cleaning up. She just couldn't figure out why Habu was acting like this.

Later that evening, Mata went into Baba's workroom to talk with him. Baba was very busy making a flute for Habu's eighth birthday, which was coming up in just ten days. Baba listened in silence to the story Mata told about Habu's unusual behavior.

"Maybe it is best that we not say anything for awhile," Baba said softly. "I think Habu will come to discover something very important about this all by herself."

That night at bedtime, Mata came into Habu's room to say goodnight. Habu had a question that she had been thinking about all day long.

"Mata, where did Human Beings come from?"

Mata sat down on the chair beside Habu's bed. Closing her eyes for a few moments, she then began: "Well, a long, long time ago the Children of Light, who were shining bright with all the beautiful colors of the rainbow, were playing their usual games. When one day, one of the Sons of Light had a great idea for a new game they could try; for they all tried their best to think up new and exciting games to play. He told them to all sit down in a big circle holding hands with one another. And then with their eyes closed, he asked them all to sing "OOOMMM, OOOMMM, OOOMMM," and to go on singing this sound over and over again. And while they sang together, he told them to imagine a beautiful blue and green planet; a planet with lots and lots of water, which were called oceans, lakes and rivers. This planet also had plenty of land, which was called humus. He told them, that if they wished they all could now go on a trip to visit their beautiful planet.

They soon discovered however, that if they were to actually play on this wonderful new planet, they all needed different bodies. Their bodies were so light they just wouldn’t stay on the ground for very long. Instead, they found themselves always floating up in the clouds. Well, that was a lot of fun at first, but after awhile they got tired of the clouds, and wanted to go exploring in the great forests and mountains down below. So they thought of something that would make their bodies heavier. They all took lots of humus and mixed it with water. They then smeared globs of wet humus all over themselves. This did indeed make their bodies heavier.

Now that they were all wearing their humus bodies, they were able to walk and run and jump about. And for fun they now called themselves Human Beings.

After awhile, the Human Beings were having such a wonderful time exploring their new planet and playing all sorts of new games, they forgot all about their homes in the Land of Light. So they decided to have some time out for awhile, and go home for a visit. Making beds of cool green moss and ferns, and yellow leaves, they all laid down, closed their eyes and went to sleep.

And as their humus bodies slept, the Children of Light went home for a short visit. They played their usual games as before, but now they had even more fun, planning new games, which they could then play later back on the beautiful planet in their new bodies. And so it was that the Beings called Humans, came to live on the planet Earth.

Mata closed her eyes for just a few moments. A little smile crept over her face, and then she said to Habu, "Well now my Child of Light, it is time for you to go home for your short visit."

Mata kissed Habu goodnight. She then turned out the light and closed the door behind her. Habu stared out of the bedroom window into the night sky filled with stars.

"I wonder where the Children of Light lived before they came here?" she thought to herself. "I will have to ask Mata tomorrow."

Habu then closed her tired eyes and looked deep within the dark cave inside her head. As her body became more and more relaxed, she began to feel a strange kind of movement. She felt herself lifting up, as if she were floating. The very next thing Habu knew, she was standing beside her body, which lay asleep on the bed.

"This is strange," she thought, "I’m now in another body." She began to study her arms and legs more closely. Moving her arms about, they seemed to float wherever she wanted them to move.

"This body is different," she said to herself. "It looks exactly like the one still sleeping, but it doesn’t feel as heavy."

Again, she tried moving her arms, swinging them in large circles. It didn't take any effort at all to move her body. She simply thought about moving, and it happened sort of all by itself.

After a few more experiments with her new body, Habu looked around the bedroom. She could see her bed with the orange wool blanket, and the picture of the purple dragon that she had painted. The dragon's red eyes caught her attention. For they seemed to be moving as if they could actually see.

Then all at once, she noticed the dragon was growing!

"This can't be true," she thought. "How can a picture get bigger?"

She looked again, only closer this time. There was no mistake about it. The dragon was getting bigger! In fact, he was now actually larger than the page itself, and he jumped out at her, breathing fire from his mouth.

Habu jumped back in fright, and flew over to the open window. Yes, she actually flew to the window. For her dream body was so light, she now realized she could fly. So without hesitation, she flew out the window and into the dark sky. She went sailing over the treetops of the Great Forest. What a wonderful feeling! She was so free and able to move so fast.

But then suddenly she remembered the purple dragon. Glancing back over her shoulder, there it was not far behind. Only now the dragon was much, much bigger. He was big as a house!

"Oh!" cried Habu; "I have to go faster!"

No sooner had she said this, than she was flying faster. The tree tops underneath went racing by, as she now flew towards the Purple Mountains. The dragon was left far behind. But Habu also knew, that sooner or later she must find a safe place to hide.

"Perhaps I can find a place to hide on Zafu Mountain," she thought to herself. "Being the highest mountain, it just might be out of the dragon's reach."

Just then, down below in the Great Forest, Habu saw an old woman. The woman had long white hair and wore a bright red robe, and was walking along the forest path as fast as she could go. Zooming down to meet her, Habu asked:

"Do you know a safe place to hide from a dragon?"

The woman didn't even look up from the forest path, but kept right on walking as fast as ever.

"No, I can't help you," snapped the old women. "Please leave me alone."

Disappointed, Habu once again sailed off toward the Purple Mountains. It was not long however, before she approached the first of the mountains, that looked like a dark giant reaching up into the clouds. Quickly, she glanced back over her shoulder to see if the dragon was anywhere in sight. But what she saw then was something even worse - a huge fire! Fire was everywhere! It lit up the dark sky, and filled the air with tremendous clouds of black smoke. Deer and squirrels and raccoons were running as fast as they could to escape the fierce flames. She could also hear the cries of the birds, as they were forced to flee their nesting trees.

"Oh dear me!" exclaimed Habu. "The dragon has done this. What am I going to do now?"

Quickly looking back toward the mountains, she saw a man in the distance walking up the side of a mountain. He was an old man wearing a blue robe. He did not have any hair on his head, and he was whistling a merry tune as he briskly walked along.

Habu called out to the old man, but he just kept walking and whistling. She called again, louder this time. But still the old man with no hair paid not the least bit of attention to her.

"What's the matter with everybody; are their ears broken?" yelled Habu in frustration.

Feeling sad and lonely now, Habu landed on the top of Zafu Mountain. And there, right beside her was her good friend Eva. Eva looked to be much younger than Habu remembered. Her reddish brown hair hung loose over her shoulders and she was wearing a white robe, trimmed in gold.

"Having a little trouble getting help these days?" Eva chuckled merrily.

"Oh Eva, am I ever glad to see you!" Habu almost shouted with excitement. "There is a terrible purple dragon chasing me. He’s set the forest on fire, and no one will help me find a safe hiding place."

No sooner had Habu finished speaking, than the strangest of feelings came over her. For she now noticed that they were no longer standing on a mountaintop at all, but back inside her own bedroom.

Not in the least bit concerned about the drastic change in their location, Eva continued laughing softly, and asked: "Didn't you enjoy your wonderful game with your dragon? Why, I thought it was a splendid idea."

Habu did not think it was so funny. "Didn't you see the trouble I was in?" she asked loudly. "And what do you mean, calling it a game?"

Eva stopped chuckling and smiled at Habu. Her dark eyes radiated their familiar warmth. "Well, you see," she began to explain, "you wanted to play an exciting game, in which you would learn how it felt to be desperately in need of help, and yet no one would be willing to help you. And now, because of your experience, you know how valuable it is to help others. That is good. For now you can help all the people back in your village. You can warn them about the big fire that will soon come to the Great Forest. This is something you also chose to do."

Habu looked down at her sleeping body underneath the orange wool blanket. For just a moment, she felt herself being pulled back into it. Then she thought of another question to ask.

"What should I tell the village people to do?" she asked.

"Tell them to put plenty of water on their housetops tomorrow afternoon," Eva replied. "And their homes will be safe."

This time the pull from her sleeping body was much stronger, and she felt herself slipping back into it with a gentle rocking motion.

The next thing Habu could remember, she was opening her eyes and softly repeating the words: "Plenty of water on the housetops tomorrow. Plenty of water on the housetops tomorrow."

 

HABU HELPS

 

Habu put on her favorite yellow sweater, the one with a blue star on the front, and then went to find Mata and Baba. She could smell incense in the hallway, so she knew they must be finishing with their morning meditation.

Quietly she entered their room. It was filled with a sweet cloud of sandalwood smoke, and the soft glow of candlelight. Habu felt a peaceful feeling now come into her heart. Baba and Mata were singing softly:

 

"In the sunshine of Her gaze

Pouring down all around us

The Joy of our days,

Like rose petals falling

To the lawn down below,

Love came with Her calling

To our hearts

Long ago."

 

Mata motioned for Habu to come and sit down beside her. They all sang together for some time, and then sat quietly for a few moments.

Mata turned to Habu and asked: "How is it that you're up so early this morning? Why, the sun hasn't even climbed out of bed."

Habu then told them of her dream about the dragon and the fire, and what Eve had said about warning all the village people. Baba looked very serious. "Did she say anything about what the people should do?" he asked.

"Yes," answered Habu, she said they should put lots of water on their housetops."

"Well then, there isn't a minute to waste," said Baba. "Let's be off to the village circle. We’ll ring the big bell to call the people together."

Quickly they put on their sandals and were out the door, headed down the path to the center of the village.

Once the big bell had been rung, it wasn't long before all the people started coming out of their homes to find out what all the commotion was about. For only on very important occasions did they ever hear the big bell. Since it was still so early in the morning, all the people knew that something very serious must have been going on.

Baba told all the village people of Habu's dream about the fire in the Great Forest. Habu then told them what Eva had said about putting lots of water on their housetops.

Everyone looked very serious indeed. The people simply could not imagine a fire in the Great Forest. For no one had ever seen a forest fire before, not even the village elders who could remember the days before even Baba was born.

One of the elders with a long white beard almost down to his knees, asked Habu: "How did the fire get started in the Great Forest?"

Habu thought for a moment. "I think it might have been the purple dragon who started it."

Some of the village people began to laugh. For they now thought that Habu had simply made up a silly story. But the wisest and oldest of the elders, who knew something of such matters as dragons, came forward. He squinted his big eyes and rubbed his bald head.

"Was the dragon on the ground?" he asked. "Or was it in the sky?"

Habu quickly replied, "It was in the sky, riding on a big black cloud."

The wisest and the oldest of the elders, then turned to all the village people and said in a loud voice: "Please listen to this young girl, and do exactly as she says. For we are going to have a severe thunderstorm, and lightning will start a fire in the Great Forest." And with that, he walked away.

With great excitement and much talk, all the village people then went back to their homes. But there were still a few people, who didn’t believe a fire would ever come to the Great Forest.

It was late in the afternoon when storm clouds gathered in the sky. It grew unusually dark outside, and the cold North Wind began to blow with all his might. And even the tallest of the fir trees had to bow down low, to such a mighty wind as he. Leaves and paper and pieces of wood were flying in the sky. People went running for their homes.

Habu was already safely sitting in her bedroom looking out the window at all the excitement. All at once, a loud clap of thunder made the windows rattle. It was the loudest noise she had ever heard in her life. And she was very glad that she was inside the house.

She glanced over at her picture of the purple dragon. Just then, a flash of lightning lit up the room. For a moment the dragon's red eyes shone with a terrible glow. Habu jumped up ready to run out of the room, but she couldn't take her eyes off the picture.

"Am I dreaming?" she asked herself out loud. For a few moments she thought about the dragon's eyes, and then concluded that it must have been the lightning flash that made his eyes shine like that.

Feeling a little calmer now, she sat down and turned back to look out the window. What a shock! The same terrible red glow was now coming from the Great Forest!

Habu jumped up and raced into the hallway shouting. "The forest is on fire! The forest is on fire!"

Baba immediately ran outside, and started pouring water on the roof. But he couldn’t understand why it had not started raining yet. "Certainly, there are enough rain clouds up there," he thought to himself.

Habu ran down the little path all the way to the center of the village. And all by herself, she rang the big bell to warn the people about the fire. No one doubted her story now. Everyone immediately went to work getting plenty of water on their housetops.

After sitting down beside the bell for a short rest, Habu started walking back home. On the way home she stopped to help a neighbor put water on his roof. This proved to be very difficult. The wind was blowing so hard that it sometimes blew the water away before it could land on the roof. Her eyes were red and stinging, because of the all the smoke now pouring out of the Great Forest. And it even sometimes hurt their lungs to breathe. Habu had to tie a piece of cloth over her mouth and nose to keep the smoke out.

Swirling streams of angry orange and red sparks were riding on the wild North wind - spreading fire everywhere. Habu could now hear the terrible roar of the flames, as they ate their way through the Great Forest like a giant, hungry beast. And it was coming closer.

Suddenly above the noise of the roaring fire, Habu heard someone crying. Walking down the road was a little girl not more than two years old. She was holding her arm and crying loudly.

Habu ran over to see if she was hurt. The little girl showed Habu her arm, which had a small red burn on it.

"That's probably from one of those terrible sparks flying all around," Habu said. "Where do you live?"

But the little girl just continued to cry. Habu grew concerned now. For the sun had already disappeared behind the Western Hills, and it was getting quite dark.

"Well, you can't stay out here all by yourself," Habu said. "You can come home with me. I live just a few houses down this path. And then I can put some healing plants on your arm to make it feel better."

So taking the little girl by the hand, Habu led her down the path to her own front yard. They then went to find the Aloe Vera plant that was growing near the front corner of the house.

"This is a wonderful medicine for burns," Habu assured the little girl. She broke off a juicy leaf and rubbed it on the burn, while trying to see in her mind, a healing light surrounding the little arm that hurt so much.

After a short while, the little girl stopped crying and asked Habu for something to drink.

Let's go into the house," Habu said. "I am thirsty too. We can make some fresh chamomile tea, and then you can sleep in my room."

Habu thought for a moment. "My name is Habu. What is your name?"

The little girl replied in a soft voice, "My name is Kamala."

Habu then took her new friend into the house. They had lots of Chamomile tea to drink, and they ate a whole loaf of freshly baked bread. Mata listened carefully as Habu told her about how she found Kamala crying with a burn on her arm.

Mata then went to get a sleeping mat to put into Habu's room for Kamala. Kamala was very sleepy. When she laid down on the mat, she went right to sleep.

Even though Habu was also very tired, she went out into the backyard to help Baba, who was on guard for any sparks that might come flying into the yard.

When Habu arrived in the backyard, it seemed like a completely different world than the one she used to know. As far as she could see, there was a great lake of yellow and red flames lighting up the blackness of the night sky. She could hear the loud crackling and popping of burning trees. The trees stood like tall flaming torches for awhile, and then came crashing down in a great cloud of flying sparks.

"Baba what is going to happen to all the animals?" asked Habu in a sad and tired voice. "Do you think Asha is all right?"

"The animals will find other places to make new homes," replied Baba. "And some animals will not survive the fire."

"And what about Asha? Where is Asha now?" yelled Habu.

Baba came over and held Habu in his arms. And then explained: "All things must come to an end eventually, to make way for the new. And then in time they too must move on. The old life forms of the forest had to come to an end, to allow new life to grow. The end of one, is the beginning of another. That is the way of all things here on the Earth. If you can understand this ever flowing stream of birth and death and rebirth, then you can always play here in happiness."

Habu's eyes were closed. It had been a very long day for a girl of almost eight years old. Baba kissed her on the cheek and carried her into the house.

Mata was just getting Habu's bed ready when they came into the bedroom. Baba laid Habu on top of the bed with all her clothes still on, so as not to wake her. He then covered her up with the orange wool blanket.

 

THE ANCIENT OAK TREE

 

When Habu opened her eyes again, the morning was bright. For the sun had already climbed high in the clear blue sky. At first Habu just laid there trying to figure out exactly where she was. When she closed her eyes, she still could see dream images shining in her mind. The ancient Oak tree deep in the Great Forest had been telling her something but she could not remember now.

Suddenly Habu sat up in bed. It was so quiet.

"What is the matter here?" she asked herself. And then all at once, she knew what it was. The birds were not singing. There was not one bird that was singing his usual morning songs. It seemed so very strange not to hear the birds singing. Habu wondered if there were any birds left after such a terrible fire.

Kamala, who had been sleeping on the mat at the foot of Habu's bed, was no longer there. Habu quickly got out of bed and put on a clean change of clothes. She was happy to find her new green shirt did not smell of smoke.

Walking down the hallway, Habu peeked into the kitchen. Seated at the breakfast table were Mata and Baba and little Kamala, enjoying buckwheat pancakes with blackberry jelly on top.

"Just in time for some of Baba's delicious pancakes," Mata said with a smile. "We thought you might sleep all morning. You know you had a very busy day yesterday." Mata thought for a moment and then added, "I guess we all had a busy day."

In the middle of the table was a green package. It was long and slender, and had the name "Habu" on it.

"I know your birthday isn't for a few days yet," Baba explained, "but because of your generous help to everyone yesterday, I decided to let you have your present today."

Habu did not take long at all in opening the green paper. It was a beautiful flute. Baba had made it from bamboo.

"Oh it's wonderful," Habu said smiling from ear to ear. "Thank you very much Baba." She went over and kissed him.

For a few minutes Habu and Kamala took turns blowing on the flute making all sorts of strange sounds. After awhile Habu couldn't resist the buckwheat pancakes any longer. She didn’t realize how hungry she really was. Before breakfast was over Habu had eaten six whole pancakes all by herself. Everyone couldn’t believe that a young girl could eat so much.

After breakfast was over Habu helped Baba clean off the table and wash the dishes, while Mata took Kamala back to the village to find her parents.

"Baba, do you think Asha is still somewhere out there in the Great Forest?" Habu asked.

"Probably not," answered Baba softly. "But if you are planning to go out into the burned area please wear some heavy boots. The ground out there is still very hot in places. The roots of some of the trees are still burning underneath the ground. It may actually take many days yet for the fire to burn itself out completely. So you will have to be extremely careful."

After they finished with the dishes, Habu put on her brown boots that came up over her ankles. And then she packed her backpack with three bananas and seven rice cakes to take along for the journey.

As Habu stepped into the backyard, she hardly could believe her eyes. The Great Forest was gone! All the beautiful trees and wonderful plants were all gone. All that remained now was a huge blanket of blackness, with dark skeletons of trees here and there, still smoking from the smoldering fires within their trunks.

Habu began to walk slowly, still in a daze of unbelief. Walking out on to all the ashes and scorched earth, it felt as if she was walking into another world. The beautiful forest that was once there, all green and lush was no longer to be seen anywhere.

As Habu walked further into the black area, she wondered: "Where did all the yellow butterflies and blue jays go? Where are the deer with white tails, and the playful raccoons? And where can Asha be?"

Coming upon a burned tree trunk, that now lay on the ground with smoke rising up from it, Habu kicked it. A big chunk of the blackness broke off revealing red-hot coals inside.

After some time of wandering through this strange wasteland, suddenly Habu thought she saw something moving in the distance. Cautiously walking toward it, she finally recognized the moving object. It was a white tail deer.

"Poor thing, she is out here all by herself, probably looking for her family," thought Habu. "Or maybe she is hungry and looking for something to eat."

Reaching into her backpack, Habu got out a rice cake and held it out. The deer was now approaching quite close. She came up to Habu with big sad eyes, and ate the rice cake from her hand. Habu then gave her another one, and then another.

After the deer had eaten three rice cakes, she licked Habu's hand. Habu rubbed her soft brown head and said: "You’re so lonely out here. I wish I could take you home with me, but there would be no place for you to stay at my house. It’s better if you go far from here, where you can find another forest and make new friends."

It was sad to see the deer walking away and then finally disappear behind a distant hill. Habu felt as if the last living thing in this whole burned up forest had just left, leaving her standing all alone in a graveyard of trees.

The sun was already at its highest place in the sky, right over Habu's head. And with no trees or bushes to offer their protecting shade, the day was extremely hot. There were no sounds of birds arguing in the trees like there always was at this time of the day. There were no sounds at all, except the "crunch," "crunch," "crunch" of the scorched earth beneath her feet as she continued walking on.

Off in the distance she could barely make out what it was, but Habu thought she could see a tree. It appeared to be standing straight and tall, and with leaves still on it. As Habu walked closer, she could definitely see that it was indeed, a living tree. In fact, it was none other than the ancient Oak tree. The large colorful meadow that surrounded the old tree somehow had not been completely burned. There were still some bluebells and buttercups growing in a large circle around this mysterious old tree. And then came the biggest surprise of all. Right beside the tree sat Asha!

"Asha!" yelled Habu, now beginning to run. "Oh Asha! Am I glad to see you!" They were both so happy to see one another, that they ran circles around the tree chasing each other. At last Habu was so exhausted, she laid down in a patch of bluebells. Asha came up and licked her cheek with his pink little tongue.

"I thought I would never see you again," Habu said. "How did you ever escape that terrible fire? I wish you could talk. I know you have a lot of stories to tell."

Sitting under the pleasant shade of the ancient Oak tree, Habu opened her backpack. She took out two rice cakes and two bananas. Habu gave Asha the rice cakes, while she ate the bananas. When they had finished eating, Habu leaned back against the tree and looked up into its high branches. The leaves gently moved and seemed to be whispering secrets to the breeze that passed by, while up above a great white cloud went sailing over head.

Habu grew very sleepy and laid down in the sweet smelling grass. Asha curled up beside her. His little black nose resting between his two front paws.

The next thing Habu knew, she was standing looking down at her sleeping body in the grass. She recognized at once that she was again in the world of dream bodies, where she could fly if she wanted and see many wonderful and strange things.

Right beside her was Asha in his dream body too. He was looking up at her with bright eyes. Then all at once to Habu's great surprise, Asha began to speak in a squeaky little voice.

"When the fire first started," Asha started to explain, "I was very scared, just like all the other animals in the Great Forest. I did not know what to do or where to go. But then, I remembered our friend here the ancient Oak tree. So I ran here as fast as I could to ask her what to do. For she is the wisest of all that lived in the Great Forest and I knew she could help me. She told me to wait here beside her and not to worry about the fire. And that is what I tried to do. Even though at times when the fire got closer, I wanted to run away."

Habu listened to Asha in amazement. She then looked up at the ancient Oak. The tree was now glowing with a bright golden color, and seemed to be so alive that it might at any moment get up and walk away. Instead, Habu heard the mysterious tree begin to speak.

"Good afternoon my little friend," the tree said in a deep voice that sounded very old. "My name is Diana. I come from an ancient family of trees. The Oak family is one of the oldest families among all the trees of the Earth. And I am one of the elders among my family. So you see I have learned a great many things from watching and listening to others. You know that is what I do best - watching and listening, listening and watching."

Habu looked around quickly for a moment. She still could hardly believe that the tree was actually talking.

But the ancient Oak continued, "I have seen and heard a great many things in my life. And now I would like to tell you not to be so sad that the hungry fire has come and eaten up the forest. You see, the Great Forest isn’t really dead, as you think it is."

"What do you mean, the Great Forest is not dead?" Habu asked quite irritated. "Just look around you! It’s plain to see there’s nothing left."

"Ah yes, that is what I mean," said Diana in a calm voice. "Just look around you. That is what I ask, look around. Look over in the West. What do you see there?"

Habu turned around. "Well, she said slowly. "I can't see anything, except the sun disappearing behind the Western Hills."

"That is very good," Diana replied. "And then tomorrow morning the sun will appear again from behind the Purple Mountains, only to disappear once more in the evening. That is the way of the sun, is it not?"

"Yes," replied Habu looking back to the talking tree.

"And now," continued Diana, "look above you and tell me what you see."

"I see the moon," answered Habu. "It looks like someone took a big bite out of it."

"Very good indeed," Diana said. "You see the moon now as half light and half dark. But seven days ago, it wasn’t to be seen at all. And seven days from now, what will it be?"

Habu thought for a moment, "It will be completely full of light."

"Yes," the Oak tree said in a happy voice. "It will be a full moon then. And after some time passes, its light will become smaller and smaller until it will once again disappear. That’s the way of the moon. Is it not?"

"I know that's what happens to the moon," said Habu, "because my Mata and I like to watch it get bigger and smaller."

"Very good," Diana replied. "Now please, look at my branches. See how they’re all covered with green leaves. But can you tell me what will happen in the Autumn?"

"That’s easy. All your leaves will fall off," answered Habu.

"Yes, that’s correct," said the ancient Oak. "Some people might think because I don’t have any leaves in the Winter that I have died. But in the Spring new leaves will again appear, and I'll actually have more leaves than I do now. That is the way of leaves."

"Now look around you at the Great Forest," continued Diana. "You see it has indeed burned down, but I will now show you a wondrous secret. See that small acorn on the ground down by your feet?"

Habu looked down. "Yes, I see it," she replied, Habu picked up the acorn.

"Now break it open," Diana said, "and tell me what you see."

After breaking open the hard brown shell with a rock, Habu said: "I see a small yellow seed inside."

"Very good," replied Diana. "You are now holding in your hand the next Great Forest."

"I am?" questioned Habu in disbelief.

"Yes, my little friend, you are indeed. That little seed which you’re now holding in your hand is alive, and it has the power to become a big tree someday just like me. And from that one tree will come hundreds and thousands of other little seeds, which in turn will grow up to be other big trees. All these new trees will then produce more acorns and so on, until there is a forest of trees once again. You see, from that one little acorn can come enough trees to fill the entire Earth."

Habu glanced down for a moment at her sleeping body in the grass, and then looked back at the ancient Oak tree.

"My little friend," Diana continued, "this is not only the way of trees but the way of all Life. You see; Life can never really die. Life is the strongest force in the Universe. There is nothing that can stand in its way. The power of the fire is nothing compared to the power of that small drop of Life that exists within the seed you now hold in your hand."

Habu once again looked closely at the little acorn. A wondrous feeling of happiness began to grow in her heart.

"Now please hold the seed tightly and look around you," Diana said in a mysterious voice.

As Habu looked out into the blackness of the burned forest, she could see hundreds of little green lights. The little lights danced along the ground like fireflies. Only these small lights soon began to grow larger and larger. Habu watched the growing lights with great interest. Then all at once, she noticed that the green lights were coming together to form small trees and bushes. She hardly could believe her eyes. But sure enough, all kinds of plants and bushes and trees were now springing up all around, growing taller and taller.

"How wonderful!" thought Habu. She continued to watch as the Great Forest grew up all around her. But suddenly, she began to feel a strong pull from her sleeping body on the grass. And she began to slide back into it with a gentle rocking motion.

The next thing Habu knew, she was back in her heavier body repeating to herself, "How wonderful! How wonderful!" For she still could see in her mind all the plants and trees of the Great Forest as they continued to grow.

Opening her eyes now to the outside world, Habu was astonished to find nothing but blackness as far as she could see. For a few moments she felt very sad and disappointed. But then she remembered Diana.

Looking up at the ancient Oak tree Habu remembered all that the tree had told her, and how the Great Forest would one day come back. How happy her heart felt now! She stood up and hugged Diana's big trunk.

Just then, Asha woke up with a funny little squeak. Habu bent down and gave him a hug too. Asha licked Habu's cheek.

"Asha you can come home with me," Habu said. "You’ll have a new home now."

The sun had long ago disappeared behind the Western Hills, and the first bright star of the evening was already shining in the sky. Habu and Asha started their long walk back through the ashes of the Great Forest. And as they walked along, Habu began to sing:

"Row, row, your boat

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream."

 
* * * * *
 
To Continue:

Part III

 
Vamacara Tantra Vol. I Vamacara Tantra Vol. II The Cannabis Papers
History - A Spiritual Analysis In Her Fields - Poetry to the Goddess Roderick W. Marling Biography
 

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Portland, Oregon USA

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