Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

IT WAS a dark autumn night. The old banker was walking up and down his study and remembering how, fifteen years before, he had given a party one autumn evening. There had been many clever men there, and there had been interesting conversations. Among other things they had talked of capital punishment. The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States. In the opinion of some of them the death penalty ought to be replaced everywhere by imprisonment for life.

“I don’t agree with you,” said their host the banker. “I have not tried either the death penalty or imprisonment for life, but if one may judge _a priori_, the death penalty is more moral and more humane than imprisonment for life. Capital punishment kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who drags the life out of you in the course of many years?”

“Both are equally immoral,” observed one of the guests, “for they both have the same object — to take away life. The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to.”

Among the guests was a young lawyer, a young man of five-and-twenty. When he was asked his opinion, he said:

“The death sentence and the life sentence are equally immoral, but if I had to choose between the death penalty and imprisonment for life, I would certainly choose the second. To live anyhow is better than not at all.”

A lively discussion arose. The banker, who was younger and more nervous in those days, was suddenly carried away by excitement; he struck the table with his fist and shouted at the young man:

“It’s not true! I’ll bet you two millions you wouldn’t stay in solitary confinement for five years.”

“If you mean that in earnest,” said the young man, “I’ll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years.”

“Fifteen? Done!” cried the banker. “Gentlemen, I stake two millions!”

“Agreed! You stake your millions and I stake my freedom!” said the young man.

And this wild, senseless bet was carried out! The banker, spoilt and frivolous, with millions beyond his reckoning, was delighted at the bet. At supper he made fun of the young man, and said:

“Think better of it, young man, while there is still time. To me two millions are a trifle, but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life. I say three or four, because you won’t stay longer. Don’t forget either, you unhappy man, that voluntary confinement is a great deal harder to bear than compulsory. The thought that you have the right to step out in liberty at any moment will poison your whole existence in prison. I am sorry for you.”

And now the banker, walking to and fro, remembered all this, and asked himself: “What was the object of that bet? What is the good of that man’s losing fifteen years of his life and my throwing away two millions? Can it prove that the death penalty is better or worse than imprisonment for life? No, no. It was all nonsensical and meaningless. On my part it was the caprice of a pampered man, and on his part simple greed for money. . . .”

Then he remembered what followed that evening. It was decided that the young man should spend the years of his captivity under the strictest supervision in one of the lodges in the banker’s garden. It was agreed that for fifteen years he should not be free to cross the threshold of the lodge, to see human beings, to hear the human voice, or to receive letters and newspapers. He was allowed to have a musical instrument and books, and was allowed to write letters, to drink wine, and to smoke. By the terms of the agreement, the only relations he could have with the outer world were by a little window made purposely for that object. He might have anything he wanted — books, music, wine, and so on — in any quantity he desired by writing an order, but could only receive them through the window. The agreement provided for every detail and every trifle that would make his imprisonment strictly solitary, and bound the young man to stay there _exactly_ fifteen years, beginning from twelve o’clock of November 14, 1870, and ending at twelve o’clock of November 14, 1885. The slightest attempt on his part to break the conditions, if only two minutes before the end, released the banker from the obligation to pay him two millions.

For the first year of his confinement, as far as one could judge from his brief notes, the prisoner suffered severely from loneliness and depression. The sounds of the piano could be heard continually day and night from his lodge. He refused wine and tobacco. Wine, he wrote, excites the desires, and desires are the worst foes of the prisoner; and besides, nothing could be more dreary than drinking good wine and seeing no one. And tobacco spoilt the air of his room. In the first year the books he sent for were principally of a light character; novels with a complicated love plot, sensational and fantastic stories, and so on.

In the second year the piano was silent in the lodge, and the prisoner asked only for the classics. In the fifth year music was audible again, and the prisoner asked for wine. Those who watched him through the window said that all that year he spent doing nothing but eating and drinking and lying on his bed, frequently yawning and angrily talking to himself. He did not read books. Sometimes at night he would sit down to write; he would spend hours writing, and in the morning tear up all that he had written. More than once he could be heard crying.

In the second half of the sixth year the prisoner began zealously studying languages, philosophy, and history. He threw himself eagerly into these studies — so much so that the banker had enough to do to get him the books he ordered. In the course of four years some six hundred volumes were procured at his request. It was during this period that the banker received the following letter from his prisoner:

“My dear Jailer, I write you these lines in six languages. Show them to people who know the languages. Let them read them. If they find not one mistake I implore you to fire a shot in the garden. That shot will show me that my efforts have not been thrown away. The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages, but the same flame burns in them all. Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them!” The prisoner’s desire was fulfilled. The banker ordered two shots to be fired in the garden.

Then after the tenth year, the prisoner sat immovably at the table and read nothing but the Gospel. It seemed strange to the banker that a man who in four years had mastered six hundred learned volumes should waste nearly a year over one thin book easy of comprehension. Theology and histories of religion followed the Gospels.

In the last two years of his confinement the prisoner read an immense quantity of books quite indiscriminately. At one time he was busy with the natural sciences, then he would ask for Byron or Shakespeare. There were notes in which he demanded at the same time books on chemistry, and a manual of medicine, and a novel, and some treatise on philosophy or theology. His reading suggested a man swimming in the sea among the wreckage of his ship, and trying to save his life by greedily clutching first at one spar and then at another.


The old banker remembered all this, and thought:

“To-morrow at twelve o’clock he will regain his freedom. By our agreement I ought to pay him two millions. If I do pay him, it is all over with me: I shall be utterly ruined.”

Fifteen years before, his millions had been beyond his reckoning; now he was afraid to ask himself which were greater, his debts or his assets. Desperate gambling on the Stock Exchange, wild speculation and the excitability which he could not get over even in advancing years, had by degrees led to the decline of his fortune and the proud, fearless, self-confident millionaire had become a banker of middling rank, trembling at every rise and fall in his investments. “Cursed bet!” muttered the old man, clutching his head in despair “Why didn’t the man die? He is only forty now. He will take my last penny from me, he will marry, will enjoy life, will gamble on the Exchange; while I shall look at him with envy like a beggar, and hear from him every day the same sentence: ‘I am indebted to you for the happiness of my life, let me help you!’ No, it is too much! The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!”

It struck three o’clock, the banker listened; everyone was asleep in the house and nothing could be heard outside but the rustling of the chilled trees. Trying to make no noise, he took from a fireproof safe the key of the door which had not been opened for fifteen years, put on his overcoat, and went out of the house.

It was dark and cold in the garden. Rain was falling. A damp cutting wind was racing about the garden, howling and giving the trees no rest. The banker strained his eyes, but could see neither the earth nor the white statues, nor the lodge, nor the trees. Going to the spot where the lodge stood, he twice called the watchman. No answer followed. Evidently the watchman had sought shelter from the weather, and was now asleep somewhere either in the kitchen or in the greenhouse.

“If I had the pluck to carry out my intention,” thought the old man, “Suspicion would fall first upon the watchman.”

He felt in the darkness for the steps and the door, and went into the entry of the lodge. Then he groped his way into a little passage and lighted a match. There was not a soul there. There was a bedstead with no bedding on it, and in the corner there was a dark cast-iron stove. The seals on the door leading to the prisoner’s rooms were intact.

When the match went out the old man, trembling with emotion, peeped through the little window. A candle was burning dimly in the prisoner’s room. He was sitting at the table. Nothing could be seen but his back, the hair on his head, and his hands. Open books were lying on the table, on the two easy-chairs, and on the carpet near the table.

Five minutes passed and the prisoner did not once stir. Fifteen years’ imprisonment had taught him to sit still. The banker tapped at the window with his finger, and the prisoner made no movement whatever in response. Then the banker cautiously broke the seals off the door and put the key in the keyhole. The rusty lock gave a grating sound and the door creaked. The banker expected to hear at once footsteps and a cry of astonishment, but three minutes passed and it was as quiet as ever in the room. He made up his mind to go in.

At the table a man unlike ordinary people was sitting motionless. He was a skeleton with the skin drawn tight over his bones, with long curls like a woman’s and a shaggy beard. His face was yellow with an earthy tint in it, his cheeks were hollow, his back long and narrow, and the hand on which his shaggy head was propped was so thin and delicate that it was dreadful to look at it. His hair was already streaked with silver, and seeing his emaciated, aged-looking face, no one would have believed that he was only forty. He was asleep. . . . In front of his bowed head there lay on the table a sheet of paper on which there was something written in fine handwriting.

“Poor creature!” thought the banker, “he is asleep and most likely dreaming of the millions. And I have only to take this half-dead man, throw him on the bed, stifle him a little with the pillow, and the most conscientious expert would find no sign of a violent death. But let us first read what he has written here. . . .”

The banker took the page from the table and read as follows:

“To-morrow at twelve o’clock I regain my freedom and the right to associate with other men, but before I leave this room and see the sunshine, I think it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience I tell you, as before God, who beholds me, that I despise freedom and life and health, and all that in your books is called the good things of the world.

“For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women. . . . Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds’ pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God. . . . In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms. . . .

“Your books have given me wisdom. All that the unresting thought of man has created in the ages is compressed into a small compass in my brain. I know that I am wiser than all of you.

“And I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor, and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe.

“You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. I don’t want to understand you.

“To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two millions of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which now I despise. To deprive myself of the right to the money I shall go out from here five hours before the time fixed, and so break the compact. . . .”

When the banker had read this he laid the page on the table, kissed the strange man on the head, and went out of the lodge, weeping. At no other time, even when he had lost heavily on the Stock Exchange, had he felt so great a contempt for himself. When he got home he lay on his bed, but his tears and emotion kept him for hours from sleeping.

Next morning the watchmen ran in with pale faces, and told him they had seen the man who lived in the lodge climb out of the window into the garden, go to the gate, and disappear. The banker went at once with the servants to the lodge and made sure of the flight of his prisoner. To avoid arousing unnecessary talk, he took from the table the writing in which the millions were renounced, and when he got home locked it up in the fireproof safe.



Anton Pavlovich Chekov (1860-1904)

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Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all day long-Rumi
Oh lover of my days
Tarry for the night,I’ll seek your ways
In the coal-heap of the past.
‘Oh my tender love, your wound is deep
If day has thus treated!
Leave off the ash of regrets
From the hem of your gown:
The day has its sign woven
About your brow, feel it and make it
your sign above all!
Even night shall be as plain as day.’

Day and night are sides of the same coin mined from Love-benny

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The Aztecs believed in after life. They sacrificed the first born to the Sun in a belief that souls of the dead occupied the starry heavens. These souls according to them kept the best place for their fathers and for the siblings. Thus each Aztec warrior took pride that the perfect fruit of his loins had found his perfect bliss.Of course they had also reserved their place in heaven. On the All Soul’s Day the believers climbed to the top of a volcano in order to have a foretaste of it. They stood hand in hand around the crater to celebrate life. It was a mystery which admitted only the Aztecs.
On the twelth year after this rite was made an important event in their calendar, they climbed to their sacred spot.
On top of the mount they ate and drank according to the custom and at the wave of the High Priest’s staff they began their sacred rite.
But they were not alone.
There was a tribe of pygmies who lived nearby and whose custom was so different from theirs. Hearing some strange rumors they slipped unnoticed to enjoy the spectacle.
As the Aztec warriors danced in frenzy flames of fire seemed to descend and each warrior was transported in spirit to commune with his soul above. The pygmies missed what happened before their eyes. All they saw were their straw sandals and their belts of hemp. Pointing to their own shoes of finest vicuna hides and plumes of exotic birds they sniggered. ‘Such beggarly material!’one exclaimed and another said they were dirt farmers from the plains.
They did not see the Aztecs! They wondered where they could have run to.
One controlling his laugh said, ‘If all I had for my shoes such sorry sandals I would also jump into the deepest hole.’
The pygmies were disappointed. After returning to their own camp they narrated how the Aztecs had commited mass suicide for shame of their unfortunate circumstances.
Is it not how we speak of things we do not understand? As humans how we can measure God except in human terms?
We are least equipped to know God in his divine form. Even so we draw ridiculous assumptions according to human wisdom. It is not the Writ but what our reason can digest we pontificate. Instead of taking the simple meaning to words we weave clever philosophy. ‘The earth he has given to the children of men(Ps.115:16) is a verse that pleases some TV pastors. It is a license to add to their wardrobe the most expensive and abuse the poor circumstances of their flock so blatantly.
Before the cameras and under lights they behave like prima donnas and speak words calculated to bedazzle the congregation. All these for what? For some gold and silver! We lay so much importance to our body and its appetites. What we dismiss is the best part of our being. Our soul must speak for us here and now. God is love. Can we also love others? Can we also forgive as He has?
Our souls must also speak for hereafter.
In the Fable ‘What Price Grace’God forgave the foolishness of the pastor for his human failing. Grace covered his soul from being lost. The flesh profits nothing and what is for the earth to the earth shall go. My belief is that the Lord God shall purify my soul till is fully resored after my term on earth is ended.
But one world at a time. If I cannot prove my credentials in this world who shall entrust me with a world to come?

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Soul of man gives him a taste of truth. But does he take it seriously? To Everyman truth invariably presents itself in everyday things. Also in his daily interaction with others. No matter what his soul is it is the only article he has to rely upon. For better or worse.

The only Welshman ever to hold the office of Prime Minister of the British government never dreamt he would go that far. But David Lloyd George despite his straitened circumstances and in Llanystumdwy, North Wales  found all that necessary to equip himself for that highest post. Of course such a rise came in degrees. His uncle Richard, a master cobbler and later a lay Baptist preacher was a strong Liberal who encouraged him to take up a career in law and enter politics. A great deal of his self-confidence came from having been brought up by one who trusted in his abilities and provided a good role model. One day while sitting on the branch of a tree young David in a flash saw he was someone special. Soul gives such flashes of intuitive understanding and it without exception is couched in Truth. Spirit of man however must tap on the spirit of the times and know how to negotiate with those who are all competing with him.

For those who take their cues from the Scriptures, the soul works more or less in similar fashion. Soul looks at Truth through the window of words. Certain passages are signposts and comfort or warning in the verses at times come with far greater force that one who is spiritually tuned to the Word cannot miss them.


If our soul is adequate to lead us to Truth why some seek signs and wonders? In Jesus’ time also such curious folks did exist and they followed Jesus but not for knowing Truth. (Jn 4:48). Fellowship of saints or believers do have great power when each soul is a free agent. In the day of Pentecost those who heard Peter and other apostles knew Truth was at the heart of the extraordinary event. Their souls did vouch for that. We read that they didn’t ask for a replay or another miracle. ‘Men and brethren what shall we do?’ They asked and  submitted themselves to the promise the Word held out to them.

John was a cousin of Jesus. John in his time did no miracle or toadied to the shallow whims of his audience. Of him Jesus said he was the greatest born of women. (Mt.11:11) Since a Christian is born of Word, Spirit and Water he is born again. He is raised up to the heavenly places (Eph. 2:4-6) and his Soul as such does not need silly tricks we see some preachers employ to finance their rich life style. These false preachers succeed with those who hold their souls in light esteem.

Tailpiece: there is no magic bullet that can demolish your disbelief than your own soul. benny

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Soul as I mentioned in the earlier posts has its own language; so has our rational mind. Soul of man is a finite representation of something otherworldly. Thus we have two components :body and soul. Both work often at contrary purposes.
Let us take the life of Patriarch Abraham. He was seventy five when the Lord God promised him a nation (Gen 12:2). In the land of Sichem, a Canaanite land God appeared to him in a vision. ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land.’ It is Soul that sets up visions that to a believing heart shall have a great impact. Moses sees the burning bush and what does he do? He removes his sandals in obedience to the vision of God.  Similarly the day of Pentecost prompts Ananias and Sapphira. Soul’s prompting must have been sufficiently strong for them to sell their possession as so many others. But did they follow it through?
Others brought the proceeds from the sale to the common fund. Cold logic however prompted Ananias and his wife to reconsider. ‘If they gave away all their wealth on what shall they live on? (Ac 4:32, 5:1-3) Here we see how differently soul and body exert their pull on man?
Coming back to Patriarch Abraham could not in his worldly wisdom believe Sarai could bear children. He chose to go into Hagar and she bore Ishmael as a result of the union. Since then Ishmael’s seed posed an ever present threat,- and still is, to the children of Israel. We see how sometimes our intellect can trip us up.
Spirit is what settles a man to walk the line after he had believed the Soul’s prompting. Spirit is part of the equation where each and everyone who takes the name of the Lord may live a fruitful life. (2 Pe.1:3-8)
St. Peter begins the second epistle with the idea of divine power, which is a two- fold impact of soul and spirit on a body that is imperfect. We wear our corruptible bodies and yet we are slowly undergoing a certain process that can only be called divine. Since God has begun this change in us we may say godliness begins even in our very imperfections. Only that we are subject to a higher authority while we go through the motions of living on this side of paradise.
Tailpiece: For a Christian the scriptures is the work of Holy Spirit (2 Pe 1:21) Even so how a Christian can be settled in a life of godliness is a slow process. Spirit has much to do since it is a spirit of belief, of knowledge and so on.

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Enter Immanuel

Winter was well underway and Agostino felt it all too keenly. His blanket was no longer adequate and with another thrown over it just about prevented him from freezing to death at nights. On evenings a warm fireplace with logs crackling in a blazing fire made him stare away from goblins of boredom. It became a constant struggle to attend to his daily needful things. He knew his age had finally caught up with him. He was old and worn out.
To be old and with so many hurts still unattended to took their toll: it made him perpetually sour and angry.
The more he glanced at his past, all those little hurts became more insolent and seemed to outstare him. When he was rough and ready he was relieved off his trusty axe. Why? He thought it made mock of his muscular strength.
“Oh I was young and strong of nerves to swing an axe”, his mind was ready with an excuse. ”But did you get a woman, a helpmate for all that fire in your blood?” No why? He was slowly building a cage about him and creepers with thorns were blocking the quietness of his existence. The Cloud Peak was beoming drab and dry!
No more he could bear to look at his dolls. It brought up his old annoyances again. Now and then he saw some children taking a peek into the house and scurry away in fright. They were still frightened of him. Even when he would have made peace it was not possible. The dolls were now ruined beyond repair.

Whenever weather permitted him he would cautiously step out and meet other folks to catch up with news; he took time out to attend a few funerals and visit the houses of mourning. From casual talks it was apparent those children who were once regular visitors to his house had gone each in his own way. Some were away in the fields, or in the mines; some had joined up in vessels or as apprentices to some tradesmen. A few like Polybus and Ciprian had joined with their fathers. Well Agostino could understand they were past the age of playing with the dolls. He had nothing to do with their going away. Yet whenever he looked at his dolls with this new understanding he didn’t feel at ease.
His dolls remained still ruined.
Being old his sleep was light; and one night he heard  scratching sounds that a cat would make on wood while filing its claws. He lit a candle and walked to the door.
To his amazement a little boy stood outside his head flaked still with soft snow. It had just began falling. He hurriedly opened the door wide urging him to to come in. The boy, hardly thirteen and shivering a little stumbled in. His clothes were spotted with slush; and his knuckles, the old man could see, were almost blue from cold. Agostino felt pity that he had not reckoned for guests lodging for the night. It was such nights as these his solitary existence showed its nothingness. He revived the fire, which blazed new with a whimper. Thereafter he was on the run to fetch his best blanket to wrap over him. The boy still held on to his valise which was light and he smiled weakly to say his name. ‘Immanuel’, he said. Agostino nodded even as he put some water to boil. Next he handed over his own shirt that was too large for the child. It was at least dry and its coarse weave could keep the cold out. Agostino breathlessly attended to his comfort as best as he could.
Soon a warm broth revived the boy who would have spoken but the old man shushed him and showed the alcove where a bed was fitted. The child weak as he was slumped and let the host tuck him for the night. Immediately he fell asleep. Agostino was not surprised: the boy was faint with cold and harshness of his travel.
He walked across and knocked at the door of the weaver whom among other neighbours had shown him proof of friendliness more often. Though unaccustomed to ask favours he flew to him. It was emergency. So much the weaver could well gather as Agostino mumbled his want. Instantly he fetched a loaf of bread and gave it to him. Silently he took off.
Agostino went tiptoe and hearing his steady breath he
let out a sigh of satisfaction. He knew the boy was none the worse for hazarding out in such a cold night. Silently he placed the coarse bread near his head.
“What is the mystery?” he asked himself as he went to lie in his bed. He just lay still unable to sleep.
When he had woken up he saw the soft morning sun swept half across the rush mat that lay in front of his bed. He had overslept! Quickly he went over to the next room. Immanuel had eaten off half his loaf of bread and he had arrayed the dolls on the bed and he was lost in thoughts with same expression he had often seen in those kids from the neighbourhood.
The doll-maker winced as the child squealed in pleasure. “This is marvellous!” The host was apologetic and in the face of such innocent expression his words trailed in despair. As far as he had seen they were a sorry lot callously reminding of a sorry episode.

The news had meanwhile reached into every nook and corner of that village. The folks had something to chew about. A strange boy had come in search of his father. They had heard from children of some dark secret that made the odd jobs man a queer body. What Ambrose, the imbecile had once bandied about revived. So the dark secret of the doll-maker was true after all!
A few children who had never been inside went to the cottage. To their astonishment a total stranger now had those dolls. He played as natural as though he owned them! They stood there mystified.
Immanuel broke off in the middle of his game and looked up to the children. He with a nod invited them over and soon they were into the swim of things as though their fantasies were one, made evenly matched by their innocence. Even when the host came in they simply continued with their ‘doll watching.’
Agostino made peace with children most of them he had never seen them before. And they, were under his roof as though they rightly belonged there, and accepted what was proffered and ate. They continued with their play.
The old man quickly made himself scarce in order to encourage children a clear field. On the fourth day Immanuel stopped as he made for the door and said,” We are among friends. Aren’t we?” He looked at those children who nodded in agreement. They never before had seen dolls so close. They looked at their host as though scales were dropped from their eyes. In their eyes they knew he was a harmless old man who were possessed with some uncommon gifts. In the presence of a child who sweetly played with the dolls the children knew the doll-maker was a wizard who could make his dolls so endearing. Did Immanuel by his sweet disposition clear the air as it were, or they were natural to believe only what their eyes had seen?
Agostino was going through some turmoil and he excused himself to prepare for the supper. Later in the evening, after the table was cleared the boy sat down waiting. He instinctively seemed to guess at something: What troubled the old man? He asked and Agostino in a tremulous voice that betrayed his troubled mind admitted he was sorry for his life spent foolishly creating some dolls. Ashamed he broke off to ask instead what made him set out through that rough terrain at such time of the year. By the candlelight, the face of the boy had something of an angel surrounded by the aura of innocence.
He replied, ”I came to see you.”
Agostino took a double take. His expression remained clear and sweet as he explained, ”I heard your name while I was in the fields; and during my voyage I heard some boys speak of you with the same affection. Glaucus and Felix are from these parts. You know the children  of the stone mason?” Agostino shook his head.
“Of course Ambrose you know,?” Immanuel persisted,”- and he was the cabin boy who attended me and we got around to talk. At one point he said how happy he was once. He was evidently homesick. And you know what he said next? ‘How those dolls made me feel whole and complete!’ The way he said it, he has some strange way of expressing himself,- nevertheless it was convincing, and it made me curious. So many others, why they look back to some dolls with longing and regrets? In all of them, without any exception, your dolls were so impacted. Why I wanted to know?”
Agostino could not believe. He never had thought his handiwork meant to another as much as it was for him. Neither could he imagine those dolls would have rounded off the childhood of any to perfection. In him what loomed large was his quarrel. Whereas his dolls meant something far more than he had imagined.
In short he and the boy seemed to be talking of altogether two different things!
Immanuel with a hand on his arm restrained him.
“You are a good man. So I wanted to come and tell you myself,” After turning towards the dolls, ”and of course see them myself.”
“These dolls are ruined!” Agostino shook up in sobs. He cried and he didn’t try to stop. The presence of the boy made it all seem so natural.
Before turning in for the night Immanuel set each doll on the work bench and setting Safiah against Deborah side by side he said casually, ”See these two have kissed and made up!” He made each doll kiss one another as though those dolls had a life of their own! Agostino looked on with ‘a wild surmise’ as the poet would say.
Some strange thought seemed to rake up the turmoil within and smoothen it once more. He felt joy welling, something new. It was truly felt.
These dolls were no more ruined than he was! In the presence of the boy his handiwork had broken the lie and showed things in their true order: What he did for those children was beyond himself and beyond every lie. He had
given to their drab childhood, a shine that no dark cloud ever massing over their lives could quite erase. A silver lining.
He felt elated.
That night he slept soundly as if nothing ever troubled his mind.

(to be cont’d)

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