THE ADVENTURES OF HABU

Part III

THE HOUSE OF WISDOM

 
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 sitting alone in her bedroom. She was looking out the window watching five swallows darting this way and that, catching their breakfast of insects. Habu was amazed to see how they swooped and swirled in the air as if doing a dance. The entertainment was stopped by a knock on the bedroom door.

"Who is it?" asked Habu.

"It is me," replied a deep, strong voice.

"Come in Baba," said Habu. Baba was wearing his usual white shirt and a pair of black pants.

"Habu, would you like to come for a walk with me?" asked Baba smiling. "The big apple tree near the village circle has dropped a lot of apples. We can go get some so Mata can make an applesauce cake for us."

Mata suddenly appeared in the doorway holding a large basket.

"Here," Mata said, "you can gather the apples in this basket. But be sure to be back for lunch time."

Habu quickly put on her sandals. Soon she and Baba were out the door. As they got into the middle of the front yard, Habu called out: "Here Asha, come here."

From around the back of the house came Asha, running as fast as his little raccoon legs could carry him. Asha ran up to Habu and licked her on the ankle with his little pink tongue.

"Good morning Asha," said Habu. "We are going out to pick some apples for Mata. Would you like to come along? You can even have one to eat. "

Asha gave a funny little squeak. He then followed Habu and Baba out the front gate to Circle Road. Circle Road had beautiful Willow trees on both sides. And underneath each tree, were bunches of red and yellow flowers.

The flowers and the trees all looked so fresh and happy this morning, that Habu began to sing a little song as they walked along:

"I am the raven,

Winging over your head,

Never sowing

Never reaping,

Yet remaining well fed."

 

After some time they finally arrived at the apple tree. The ground underneath the tree was covered with big red apples. Immediately they started to put the apples into the basket.

"Just look at all these apples!" exclaimed Baba. "The tree has made so many apples that they also can provide food for the birds and other animals. Isn't it wonderful? This is the way of all Life if people would just take the time to look. There can always be enough for everyone, if we just learn to share."

Just then, they heard a loud hammering sound coming from the middle of the village circle, which was not far away. Habu and Baba stopped gathering the apples and started walking in the direction of the loud banging.

In the open area of the village circle was a strange looking man hammering nails into some very large boards. The man had long black hair that came almost down to the ground.

"That looks like Joseph," said Habu. "The man I met a long time ago in the Great Forest."

As they got closer, Asha ran a quick circle around the tall man with the long hair, and then jumped right up on the board that he was hammering.

"Hello little friend," said the man in a surprised voice."

By this time Baba and Habu had also arrived. The man turned around revealing a beard almost as long as his hair.

"Joseph!" yelled Habu. "I thought it was you. It’s been so long since I've seen you. Where have you been?"

"Well, if it isn't my little wildflower," replied Joseph. "Or maybe I should say big wildflower. For I see you have grown so much since we last saw each other.

I have been visiting a land far beyond the Purple Mountains, where the people speak a different language and know all about the world of dreaming,"

"But do they know," asked Baba in a serious tone, "that this world is also a dream?"

For a moment Joseph just stood there, looking straight into Baba's eyes.

"Very good sir," replied Joseph, "Very good indeed. This world is a dream, but a very important dream that we are all creating together."

"What are you building," asked Habu?

"Well, it is a secret," Joseph answered. "I can’t tell you what it is or what it is for until I’m finished building it." Joseph picked up a saw and started cutting a large board in half.

Habu and Baba watched Joseph for awhile trying to figure out just what he could be building. But they soon said goodbye and left.

Returning to the apple tree, they quickly filled the basket and started walking back home. The sun was already high over head, and they knew that Mata would be wondering why they weren't back.

"You are just in time for lunch," Mata called out from the kitchen when they opened the front door. After washing their hands they all sat down at the table. They ate lots of brown rice with sliced carrots, steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. Habu told Mata all about Joseph, how he was building something in the village circle, but refusing to tell anyone what it is.

That evening just before bedtime, Habu went into Baba's room to say good night. The room was completely dark except for a small candle. Baba was sitting in meditation - silent and still.

Habu quietly sat down beside him and closed her eyes. She peered deep into the dark cave within her forehead. After a little while she could hear a faint, far away sound coming from the darkness inside. Habu listened more closely to the sound. She could hear it much clearer now. It sounded like what she had heard once when she put her ear up to a big seashell.

The more Habu listened to the sound the stronger it got, until it sounded like the roar of the ocean and she could feel it begin to vibrate through her whole body.

Not knowing what was happening, Habu opened her eyes. She reached over and touched Baba on the knee.

"Baba," she softly said. "Baba" she repeated again, this time patting his knee. Baba slowly opened his eyes and turned toward Habu.

"Baba, I was just sitting here with my eyes closed," explained Habu "when all at once, I began to hear a sound like the ocean."

"Why that’s wonderful Habu," said Baba. "That's the sound of Creation from which all things come. Many people have read about this sound, but very few have actually experienced it for themselves. Whenever you hear this sound, any question you may ask will be answered."

Habu thought for a moment. "Is that why you sit here so much?"

"No, not usually," replied Baba. "I don’t have that many questions. But I’ve discovered a wonderful feeling of happiness within my heart. And I just like to sit and feel this happiness inside. While we are here in this world we can play with happiness in our hearts, if we just take the time to feel it."

Baba closed his eyes for a few moments, and then patted Habu on the head. "Well, I believe it’s time for you to be going to bed."

Habu kissed Baba good night and slowly got up to leave. Just before she closed the door behind her, she poked her head back into the room and asked:

"Tomorrow do you think we could go back to the village circle to see what Joseph is building?"

"If you want," replied Baba, "we can go right after breakfast."

 

THE ANSWER IN THE OCEAN

 

Early the next morning, Habu, Baba and Mata ate a big breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and applesauce cake. Mata had made the apple sauce cake using the apples Habu and Baba picked the day before.

After finishing breakfast Habu began washing the dishes. They were all very much startled to hear a big bell ringing. It was the gathering bell in the village circle. Someone was ringing the bell to call all the village people together.

Habu quickly finished washing the remaining plates and joined Baba and Mata, who were already at the front door. They were all soon walking down Circle Road toward the center of the village. Asha was running up ahead, stopping here and there along the way to sniff the flowers.

A large number of people were already in the village circle when they arrived. The people were all crowded around a strange wooden building with no windows and a black iron door with three big locks on it. And in front of the iron door stood Joseph. Everyone was now wondering what this strange looking building was for, and why Joseph had rung the gathering bell.

Joseph waited until everyone had arrived before he began to speak.

"I have now finished building The House of Wisdom," he said in a loud voice. "I call it The House of Wisdom because whoever goes into this little house, will have to be very wise to get out again. Once I shut this big iron door, no one will be able to escape unless that person knows a special secret of Life."

Everyone in the village looked at each other in amazement. No one had ever heard of such a strange thing before. Even the village elders didn't know what to make of it.

Joseph continued: "Now who would like to come and visit The House of Wisdom? Who is the most brave, the most intelligent, the wisest in the entire village? Please come and step into this special building, from which none can escape unless he has found the secret. Come on don't be shy. Surely someone in this village is wise enough to find a way out of my little house."

Now it seemed like everyone began talking at once. Some people began to walk around the building, as if trying to find a hidden door somewhere. Other people pointed their fingers to the roof, While some tried to look underneath the building.

After several minutes of such inspection and much talk, Master Manas, one of the village elders stepped forward. He had white hair and a long white beard, and wore a beautiful red shirt trimmed in gold. Master Manas had personally read all the books in the village library and was considered by everyone to be very wise.

"I will enter your House of Wisdom," said Master Manas with a thin little smile, but I must take my ruler and calculator with me if you don't mind?"

"No, not at all," replied Joseph. "Please go right ahead."

Master Manas then entered the little wooden building, holding in one hand a large ruler and a pen, and in the other a small calculator and a writing tablet.

"Now who will be next to attempt the escape from The House of Wisdom?" asked Joseph smiling.

A young man about twenty years old with bulging muscles stepped forward. His name was Ben Brawn. It was said by some of the village people, that he once actually carried a stubborn donkey on his back, all the way into a barn.

"I can get out of that little building," said Ben with a laugh. "But I would like to take with me this pair of leather boots if you don’t mind." He then held up a pair of big brown boots in one hand.

"Please take your boots if you like," replied Joseph.

Joseph then glanced over the crowd. "Before I close the iron door, is there anyone else willing to go inside?"

Joseph waited for a few minutes, and then turned to close the door.

"Wait!" called a small voice from somewhere in the back of the crowd. "Wait, I would like to go inside."

Everyone turned to see who belonged to the little voice. Then, out from the crowd stepped Habu.

"Here I am," she said. "I would like to try to escape from The House of Wisdom."

Everyone could hardly believe their eyes, as they all stared down at young Habu. Joseph raised his eyebrows in surprise, and then smiled warmly.

"Why sure Habu, you can go inside The House of Wisdom if you like. And what would you like to take with you?"

Habu thought for a moment. "I don't have anything to take with me," Habu said looking down at the ground.

"That's all right, you can go in just the way you are," replied Joseph.

Habu then stepped into the building with no windows. Joseph shut the big iron door after her with a loud bang, and began adjusting the three locks.

All the people began talking at once. Some people said that Master Manas could escape from The House if anyone could. Other people said that Ben Brawn would be able to break his way out of the little house in no time at all. But one thing everyone pretty well agreed on was that they couldn't understand why Habu wanted to go inside the house. But after much discussion, many people finally came to the conclusion that Habu was a smart little girl, and she wanted to see for herself how one of the men would eventually escape.

Baba and Mata however didn't know what to think. Mata was hoping that it wouldn't take too long before they came back out, because she didn't want Habu to miss dinner.

After some time had passed the crowd became very quiet. Everyone was listening for sounds that might come from the little house. Although they all listened very carefully, no one could hear anything.

Inside the house it wasn’t as dark as Habu had expected it to be. The boards in the roof had enough space between them to allow light to come in. So she could see every detail of the walls and floor.

The wooden house seemed smaller inside than it looked from the outside, but there was still plenty of room for the three of them to walk around if they wanted to.

Habu didn't feel much like doing anything right now. She sat with her legs crossed on the floor in one of the corners watching Master Manas and Ben Brawn. Ben was also sitting on the floor. He was carefully lacing up his leather boots. Master Manas was busy with his ruler, measuring the big iron door and writing down numbers in his tablet.

No one said a word. In fact it was pretty quiet now, since all the people outside also stopped talking. So Habu closed her eyes and turned her attention to the cave of darkness inside. She began to hear a low roaring sound as if the sound was coming from a long way off. As the sound got louder and clearer, Habu recognized the roaring as the ocean sound she had heard before. She felt rather happy to hear it again, as if she were meeting an old friend.

Then all at once there was a loud bang! And the whole building shook from top to bottom. It scared Habu so bad she felt like she would jump right out of her body. Opening her eyes she saw Ben picking himself up off the floor and walking to the rear wall of the wooden building. He then ran at the big iron door. Jumping up in the air he gave the door a tremendous kick with both feet. There was another loud bang, and once again the building shook from top to bottom. Habu thought the door would surely come off its hinges, but it didn't budge an inch.

Ben Brawn once more had fallen to the floor. And once again, he picked himself up and slowly walked back to the rear wall to try another kick. Three times more Ben ran at the iron door and kicked it with all his might. But the door remained standing, as if nothing had happened. Covered with sweat and breathing like a horse after running a race, Ben laid down in the middle of the floor to rest.

All this time, Master Manas had not paid the least bit of attention to anything other than his own figuring. He was writing numbers in his tablet as fast as he could. Every once in awhile he would work with his calculator and then take up writing in the tablet again.

Habu couldn't understand what exactly he could be doing by all this, but she knew better than to interrupt his work by asking questions. For whatever it was it looked very serious. So Habu just closed her eyes once more.

After a short time the roaring sound came back, and she could feel it gently vibrating through her whole body. Inside the dark cave of her mind there appeared a picture of a blue ocean with swelling waves all dressed with white caps of foam. She could even see a few sea gulls circling overhead.

Habu now thought that it might be fun to see if she could lay on top of the water and float. After awhile she found herself floating on the waves, which gently rocked her body as they rose and fell. Feeling quite happy and safe, Habu took a deep breath and dove beneath the waves. Now swimming under the water she could see wonderful green and brown plants growing like small trees from the ocean floor. Gliding between the plants were beautiful rainbow fish that swam up to her as if to say hello.

Looking down at the bottom of the ocean Habu saw much to her surprise, a big iron door - just like the one in the House of Wisdom. Swimming closer to get a better look, she discovered the door was moving. In fact, it was beginning to open all by itself.

In a very short time the big door was completely open. And on the other side of the door was a beautiful golden light. In the middle of this light, appeared Joseph's smiling face.

Back in the little wooden house, a small fly had landed on the nose of Master Manas and he let out a loud sneeze. Habu jerked, startled half to death. Her eyes flew open and she quickly glanced around the room.

Master Manas was still sitting there doing his figuring as before. Ben Brawn was still lying in the middle of the floor resting. Everything was the same as before, yet somehow everything seemed different, or maybe, she was different.

Slowly Habu stood up and stretched her legs, which were rather stiff by now from sitting so long on the floor. She then slowly walked over to the iron door. And without really think much about it, she reached down and gave the doorknob a quick turn. What a surprise! The door suddenly sprung open! All this time the door wasn't even locked.

Habu stepped through the doorway into the bright sunlight. And there smiling up at her was Joseph. All the rest of the people including Mata and Baba had a look of total astonishment on their faces. No one ever thought for one moment that it would be young Habu to come through the iron door first.

For a minute there was complete silence, and then all at once everyone started cheering and laughing and talking. And of course, they all wanted to know exactly how she escaped from the House of Wisdom.

But the only thing Habu would say: "It's a secret."

 
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PART IV

HABU’S WISH

 

Habu stared out the bedroom window into the evening darkness. She was watching for the first star to appear in the sky so that she could make a wish. She had heard that if you see the first star appear in the evening, you can make a wish and it will always come true. So she had been standing quietly by the window waiting for Venus, the evening star.

"Everyone knows that wishes come true Habu, but the real secret is knowing what to wish for."

Habu quickly turned around to see Grandma standing in the doorway. Habu was very surprised to see her, because Grandma had been very sick. In fact, it had been several days now since she had even been out of bed.

Grandma was Mata's mother, who had come to live with them about a year ago. Her hair was white as snow and she had a black shawl made of wool about her shoulders. Now at the age of ninety, Grandma didn't walk very much, but usually sat in her chair in the kitchen. And when she did walk, she used a walking stick to help keep her balance.

Grandma never spoke much either. And when she did, Habu had to listen real closely because she didn't speak English very well. Most of the time she spoke a strange sounding language that only a few people in the world could understand. Most all the people that speak her language have now died. Mata can understand most of what Grandma says, but never actually learned to speak the language herself.

This time however, Grandma spoke to Habu in perfect English. And so Habu was quite surprised.

"How did you know I was going to make a wish?" asked Habu.

"You were looking out the window with wishing eyes," Grandma replied in a weak voice. "When Venus appears, you will get your wish."

Habu smiled with her whole face but then asked: "How can I tell for sure what to wish for?"

"Wishing is the hardest job in the whole world," Grandma said very seriously. "If your wish brings pain or unhappiness to yourself or others, then that is not good. But if your wish brings help and happiness to yourself or others, then that is best."

Grandma gazed out into the darkness of the sky, as if watching another world unfold before her eyes. She was silent for a long time, and when she spoke again, it was with the voice of the past.

"A long, long time ago, when I was still a young girl I sat one night on a hill and waited for Venus to come just as you are doing now. My people were living in another land far, far away from here. We were living in a valley that was rich and green, because the great river that flowed through the valley always had plenty of water for everyone. All the people loved the river. They bathed and swam and washed their clothes in the river. And they used its water to grow their crops.

The people grew golden barely and tall corn as high as the housetops. They raised goats from which they got plenty of milk and yogurt. There were also lots of sheep from which we got wool to make our clothes.

It was such a beautiful and peaceful valley and all my people were very happy there. But one night while we were all sleeping, a great earthquake shook the land. The earth split open and the hills were moved about, and the great river no longer flowed through our valley. All the water almost completely disappeared. Our crops all died without the water, and the animals and people were beginning to die too. Everyone knew that we would have to leave our homes in the valley or we would all die very soon. But nobody knew where to go. All the village elders would get together day after day and talk about the best places to go, but no one could think of a place that was as good as our beautiful valley had been.

One day I walked up into the hills. Eventually I came to a place on a certain high hill were my Grandma Diotima used to go and pray. On the very top of this hill was a large circle of giant stones standing tall against the blue sky. No one knew who brought these big stones to the hill. For they were there long before my people ever came to the valley.

I sat down in the center of the circle of stones and decided to wait for the darkness to come and for Venus. I knew she would give me my wish, because I wished it with all my heart. And I also knew that my wish was a good wish, because I was wishing to help my people find a new home.

Venus appeared that night riding on top of the new moon. I had never seen her so beautiful or so close to the moon as on that Spring night.

After awhile, Venus and the moon disappeared behind the hills of the West. And I laid down in the grass and went to sleep. In my dream that night, three beautiful geese flew out of the sky and came to sit beside me. The geese told me that they would help my people find a new home.

When I woke up it was still dark and the sky was filled with thousands of bright stars. Then I heard them, the wild geese, hundreds of them, making their honking and squawking sounds. They were flying in the shape of big arrowheads. My people had always said that in the early Spring the arrows fly to the land of the Bear. Now I knew what they meant. And it was also at that moment that I knew my wish had been answered. All we had to do was follow the geese, and they would show us our new home.

So that is exactly what we did. We followed the geese until they came to their nesting grounds in the North. And all the people settled down in a wonderful valley that was completely covered by huge oak trees. No one had ever seen such big trees in all their lives. These trees were so big, that it took three men to circle one tree trunk with their arms.

We gathered up the acorns that covered the ground in the fall. And we ground them up to make bread from the flour. We also roasted the acorns, and they were very good to eat. We caught all the fish we could ever need from the rivers and the many lakes that were abundant in our new valley.

To remember the day on which we left our old homes, we always had a big celebration on the night of the first new moon of the Spring. That was the night Venus came riding on the moon to bring the geese to help us find our new home."

Grandma stopped talking. She was completely still and silent for a long time. Then suddenly, she pointed to the window. Habu couldn't believe what she saw. Just above the Western horizon was a little sliver of a moon. And just above the moon was Venus shining bright and beautiful.

Habu ran out the bedroom and through the kitchen door into the night. She stared up at a very strange site indeed. Venus was indeed riding the new moon. And around them both was a faint but large ring of red and blue light. Habu knew that this was a special night and that if any night was good for wishing this had to be the best night of all. She stood there filled with wonder and amazement. And she wished with all her heart, that Grandma would get well.

The doctor said that Grandma could only live a few weeks more, but Habu knew that he must be wrong. Grandma was so full of love and goodness she just couldn't die now. So Habu stood there in the warm Spring night, asking Venus to make Grandma well.

"Habu," Mata called softly from the kitchen door. "Habu it is time to be getting ready for bed."

Habu said goodnight to Venus and the moon, and then slowly went back into the house. She kissed Grandma goodnight, brushed her teeth and went to bed.

Through her bedroom window, Habu could see the faint light of the new moon that was now playing hide and go seek among the clouds. And every now and then she caught a glimpse of Venus still as beautiful as ever. Habu closed her tired eyes and slowly drifted down the gentle stream of sleep.

 

VENUS ANSWERS

 

"Habu, Habu wake up," said Baba as he gently patted Habu's shoulder. Habu slowly opened her eyes, not knowing at first where she was. Suddenly she sat up.

"Habu, please put on your clothes," said Baba. "And come to Grandma's room. She is getting much worse and she’s asking for you."

Habu quickly put on her clothes and ran to Grandma's room. The room was filled with the soft yellow glow of two candles that were on the nightstand, and there was a faint smell of sandalwood incense in the air. Mata was sitting in a chair beside Grandma holding her hand. Baba was placing a cool wet cloth on Grandma's forehead, because she was very hot with a fever. Habu went over and stood beside Mata. She leaned over and said softly: "Grandma, I'm here."

Grandma barely opened her eyes and slowly turned toward Habu. For a long time she didn't say anything. It seemed as if it was hard work just for her to breathe. Grandma's green eyes opened wider as she spoke.

"Habu, I want to tell you something before I go."

Her eyes closed once again. Habu couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

"Grandma don't go. Please Grandma don't go."

Grandma slowly opened her eyes and with a very weak voice continued.

"The most important thing I learned in my ninety years is to care for all forms of life, as you yourself would want to be cared for. I found this to be the best way to live."

Grandma closed her eyes again. And now they could barely hear her breathing. A look of pain came over her face, and she whispered: "It’s winter now."

Her breath left her body with a long sigh, and never went back in. Grandma was gone.

Mata kissed the hand that she had been holding, and put it gently back on the bed.

Baba took the cloth off her forehead and put it on the nightstand beside the candles. And Habu knelt down beside the bed crying.

"You said that Venus would give me my wish," Habu sobbed. "You can't go now. You can't go. Come back Grandma. Come back."

Habu buried her head in the blankets and cried. Mata put her arms around Habu and tried to comfort her. Baba stroked her hair and said, "There is nothing we can do now Habu, Grandma has lived a long and wonderful life. Let's send her on her way with all our love and energy."

They were all silent and still for a long time. Each one saying goodbye in their own special way.

Baba then blew out the candles. And they stood in the darkness and softly sang: "000MMM, 000MMM, AAAHHHMMMEEENN."

They slowly left the room in a strange stillness, and went off to their own beds.

Habu crawled into her now cold bed, and curled up into a ball to get warm. Her heart still felt very sad. She also felt angry that Venus didn't answer her wish. Habu's thoughts raced around in her mind. Grandma was not only not well, she thought, but also now she was dead. How could this be? My wish was to help Grandma get better, not have her die. How could this happen? Habu's thoughts went round and round, until she just grew too tired to think anymore. And her mind softly sank beneath the dark blankets of sleep.

The next thing Habu noticed, was that she was outside looking up at Venus, bright and shining in the night sky. Habu called out to the beautiful light.

"You answered Grandma's wish when you showed her people where to find their new home, but why didn't you answer my wish and help Grandma to get better?"

"I am better!"

A cheerful voice came from the darkness. Quickly Habu turned around to find where the voice had come from. Grandma was standing there smiling. She was wearing her favorite green dress with bright yellow flowers, and her black wool shawl was wrapped around her shoulders.

"Grandma!" yelled Habu, as she ran over and gave Grandma a big hug.

"You didn't die, you're still alive," exclaimed Habu still hugging Grandma tightly.

"No and yes," answered Grandma with a little laugh. "No, I did indeed die, but yes, I’m still alive as you can plainly see."

Habu was a bit confused. "But why did you die Grandma?"

"Well my child, human beings simply don't stay in one body forever, that would get to be terribly boring. I had a long and good life, and now it was my time to move on to a new and greater adventure. My old body was getting very tired, so I simply left it behind.

"I thank you for wishing me to get better. For you see Venus did indeed answer your wish. I am better now, in fact a lot better. And I’m with all my people once again.

"My Grandma Diotima asked me to come and talk to you, and tell you not to be so sad. For when the wild geese return to their summer homes in the North, she will come to be your sister. Your Mata doesn't know it yet, but there is a baby growing inside her."

"A baby sister, I'm going to have a baby sister," Habu repeated to herself. "How wonderful, a baby sister!"

Grandma was gone, and the night had flown away. And all the birds were now singing their morning songs to the Sun. Habu opened her eyes with a big smile. She jumped out of bed and ran as fast as she could down the hall, yelling on the top of her voice:

"Mata guess what!"

"I’m going to have a baby sister!"

 
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