Story: The Stranger

This is a TEACHING story – trust your intuition and know that some will take advantage. Those who are the grandest and the noisiest and seem to be most impressive have a long way to fall.

Listen to my RECORDING

Read the story below

the stranger

Long ago in a far off valley called Shipora there lived a community which had developed a reputation for sewing fine garments. People would travel many days to buy and trade for these unique garments that appeared to be embroidered with a sparkling gold.

This was an ancient and contented community that produced what it could from the land and supplemented this by trading in the garments that they sewed

One day a tall stranger with deep brown eyes and commanding presence, rode into the valley of Shipora. When he dismounted from his horse, he announced that he was from a distant land that few had heard of. His clothes fascinated the children; dressed as he was in black from head to toe except for a red cloak. He was given food and shelter and in the evening invited to sit round the fire when everyone congregated to discuss the events of the day and plans for tomorrow. Sometimes there were songs and stories.

The stranger’s name was Kenrick, which in his land meant “bold ruler”. Kenrick told stories that night of travels through many lands and battles fought with dragons and beasts. The group were entranced. In the morning, the hunters left to find meat, the farmer set to work on the land and the others were engaged with sewing. The children played.

All talked of Kenrick and his stories. Kenrick watched the people sewing and asked many questions. He admired their work. Days became weeks and Kenrick stayed on, watching, laughing and entertaining them around the fire with stories of his bravery, daring and cunning. One or two leaders in the community were becoming concerned because traditionally the secrets of the sewing were kept among themselves, unless someone was willing to learn it properly and this took years of dedication and came at a price. Some of the women too began to feel uncomfortable with the stranger observing them so closely.

On his arrival, Kenrick had given over some gold coins that those coins were not equal in value to what he had already taken in hospitality and the knowledge he had gleaned concerning the sewing. Yet in whispered conversations, some of the master sewers disregarded this. It was as if Kenrick held them in some kind of spell.

Then one day, Jep, one of the leaders, returned from hunting ahead of the others. He entered the valley from the High Hill to the North. Looking down, he saw a black figure enter a cave to the left of him and although a distance away, instinct told him this was Kenrick, entering a cave used by his people in the production of the cloth. Angry at this violation, Jep rode to the cave, intent on confronting Kenrick.

Nearing the opening to the cave, Jep heard the unmistakable sound of something or someone facing extreme danger – perhaps death. Soundlessly entering the cave his eyes took a moment to adjust to the light and to see a deadly snake staring at Kenrick, ready to strike. Kenrick was cornered. Without thought, Jep distracted the snake and struck it a fatal blow in two swift movements that lasted seconds.

Kenrick seemed to crumple inside and suddenly looked as small and as vulnerable as a child. No words were needed as two sets of eyes met in the knowledge that Kenrick would soon be leaving the community.

Hilary Farmer