The Silent Witness (Published)

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CHAPTER 3 - MANKIND’S NEW FRIEND

As the years went by, villages and towns grew with people who took pride in their work and loved their families. Some became great physicians, musicians, and farmers who shared their knowledge with others and neighbouring villages on how to reap the harvest when Vězra changed the seasons, while many more became excellent engineers and architects who excelled in construction; building houses, infirmaries, store houses, harbours, garrisons, fortresses, and city walls.

The Evertheenian gods kept their promise for mankind to excel in themselves and to share their knowledge with others, not just locally, but abroad. Eventually, the empty spaces on the map of Barathorn had filled with many more thriving villages, towns, cities, and eventually kingdoms.

One evening, a fisherman (who was a widower), had a tragic incident where his only child, a girl of six, had drowned in the Mark River, in the fishing village of Caper Løck. A stone landmark with an inscription had been erected near the spot where the girl had fallen. Although he heard her cry, her father, who was fishing upstream had warned her earlier not to wander off. She was playing with her toys next to the river and somehow lost her footing and fell in. When the man heard his daughter’s cry for help, he dropped his rod and ran in the direction of her screams.

Diving into the water, he swam and felt a sense of dread when he could no longer see her above the waters. He went underneath, trying to feel around. He couldn’t open his eyes as the water was murky, but there was nothing to grab. He cried her name in vain, but no response came.

A couple of men came running when they heard the man’s cries. Eventually, after what seemed like hours, one of the men came out of the water, carrying in his arms the limp body of the little girl. He gently placed her on the ground while the father scrambled to her side, falling on his knees, weeping uncontrollably over the last piece of joy he had in his life after the death of his beloved wife.

* * * * *

Sërafinn wished the moon were in its full phase that dreadful evening. The moon would’ve given sufficient light for the father to see his little girl and would’ve been able to save her. Every night, she saw the man came and sat by the landmark and wept. His friends tried to comfort him, but he always pushed them away and angrily told them to leave him alone. Eventually, his friends respected his wishes and left him alone to his grief.

A few weeks later, when the man came to dwell on the events that took place, Sërafinn saw a wolf approaching the man, who was oblivious to the newcomer. She hesitated, wondering if she should intervene. Instead, the wolf walked slowly towards the man, who now became aware of the beast. Slowly standing up, he scanned around, trying to find anything that may be used as a weapon should the inevitable happen. For a while, man and beast stared at each other, and the wolf stepped forward, coming closer, then sat down. Puzzled, the man too, cautiously sat down.

The wolf got up again and walked towards the man, who now had no time to get up and fight off the wolf. Instead, the animal came and sat down next to him and gently nuzzled him. Cautiously, the man lifted his arm and the wolf stepped in and laid his head on the man’s chest. He gently lowered his arm and there, man and beast sat in content silence, side by side. For the first time, the man felt he was not alone. He looked up at the moon and smiled.

Sërafinn couldn’t believe what she had just witnessed. The following day she climbed into her silver chariot and rode across the Metropolis towards the grand palace to speak with her aunt, Kafshëva. Godlings stood along the road and stopped to gaze at Sërafinn, for it was not every day she would venture beyond the walls of her palace.

The Great Six resided in the grand palace while the other gods had palaces of their own; each built uniquely, reflecting the character of the residing god.

Sërafinn found Kafshëva in the throne room, who was idly looking out the Chart View.

“Aunt?”

Kafshëva turned and smiled. “Hello, child! Are you looking for your parents?”

“No, I came to see you,” Kafshëva frowned, then gestured for Sërafinn to sit beside her.

“What’s wrong my dear? You seem rather flustered.” Sërafinn told her aunt about what happened to the widower’s daughter. Kafshëva was distraught in hearing the tragic news.

“But something else happened which I thought you ought to know,” Sërafinn went on to explain how the wolf came and comforted the man. “I thought you may have had something to do with it.”

Kafshëva gave her a puzzled look. “My dear,” Kafshëva began after a moment’s silence, “I had nothing to do with it. In fact, I never knew about this until now and I would’ve known if the other gods would control one of my creations.” Sërafinn gazed out the Chart View while Kafshëva sat deep in thought.

Incredible!” She said in amazement. “What if… indeed, mankind shouldn’t be alone, should they?”

Kafshëva got up and began pacing up and down, her mind racing.

“Mankind needs friends - of course - but what if we gave them another sort of friend?” Kafshëva, now looking resolved, asked Sërafinn to show her where the incident took place. She pointed at the landmark from the Chart View.

Disguised in a grey woollen cloak, Kafshëva walked towards the landmark beside the Mark River. She stood for a while, reminiscing what Sërafinn had told her. She then turned and called the animal - who at once recognised its maker - and came out from the bushes, standing in front of her. Bowing his head, she smiled and placed her hand on his forehead, proclaiming, “You will be the first amongst your brethren who will be a friend to man.

“You will be the father of those among and after you, who will be man’s companion. From this day forth, you will bark to defend his home and family; to play when he needs a distraction, and as you have shown, to comfort him when he is lonely and grieving.

“Travel to the Purple Møuntains and on the highest peak when the moon is at her greatest, raise your head to the sky, and howl your story and my command I have given you. The four winds will carry your tale to your brethren and they will know their new role they have in life. Then, when you are done, come back to Caper Løck and live in your new home with your master… and friend.”

She kissed his forehead and he turned, running in the direction towards the Purple Møuntains. She stood there for a while and marvelled that an animal she had created like all the others, could feel the burden of a human as if it were its own. She turned, looking back at the river. A tragedy had turned into a miracle that would last throughout the ages.

A few days later, Sërafinn saw the wolf climb the highest peak of the Purple Møuntains as her aunt instructed him to do. He came as ‘close’ to the moon as he could manage. With Kafshëva’s blessing, the animal had been given the strength for such a task to both travel and climb.

The animal howled to seal its new purpose in life and Færró spread his call across the four corners of Barathorn.

Sërafinn made the moon shine a little brighter than it ever had before to mark this distinctive occasion.

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