An Ancient Book Finds its Voice
Once upon a time in town perched high up on the mountains there lived an illustrious man, MC, with a fair amount of holdings and a rather a large size family. He had vast fields that needed tending and he always hired seasonal help to till the soil, sow the seeds and later still, do the harvesting. On the side he ran a small grocery shop where his prices were fair and many were allowed to receive necessary supplies even without promissory notes, based on the honor system, if they happened to be short of funds that week or month.
MC was an honest and upright man that cared for many things and was well respected in the community. An eccentric of sorts, he did have a wild side to him as well and if warranted, he was not above breaking stringent rules he felt were unjust. His grocery store in time became the gathering place for the idle locals. For he never turned away company fair and foe, and all without exception felt welcome to simply gather around, specially on hot summer afternoons, to drink cool refreshments or partake of the local coffee while they conversed, caught up in the newest hearsay or local gossip.
This happens to be the backdrop to our true story. (The initials are used to protect the identity of this individual.)
In this small town there was a historic chapel where locals often congregated to pray and hear sermons and seek advice from the spiritual leader. He was a tolerant, compassionate old man who at times went far beyond his allocated duties. For instance, he would still take time to gather food and distribute it to the needy outside of his congregation. He went beyond the far reaches of town to outlying villages and visited isolated abodes, to lend a hand and to help alleviate any suffering from natural disasters.
Once a week he would give a sermon to the local congregates. He was not particularly good at his sermons and contented himself if he did not put the gathered few into deep slumber.
In this holy place there happened to be a very old book, displayed in a nook in a far corner. The old relic rested there, unread and long forgotten.
One day, MC took notice of this book and after glimpsing inside and liking what he read; he decided to borrow it for a time to peruse the contents at his own leisure.
You see MC had one other advantage over the locals, he was somewhat of a learned man and he knew several languages, a skill he had acquired when during his youth he served in the Foreign Legion. Obviously he was a more interesting individual than the norm; yet he’d chosen to live a quiet life in this town on this island. MC could also read and translate various languages and so understood well the contents of the book.
The spiritual leader eventually noticed the absence of this ancient book but chose not to raise an alarm that might accidentally offend someone innocent. He had faith that things would eventually come to light.
Over time several anecdotes began to circulate in the town and it reached the ears of the spiritual leader. These were moral stories he knew quite well and suspected their true origin in the missing book. Still he bided his time till he was ascertained of the location from which these stories spread.
Then one fine day he paid a visit to MC and, when they were alone, he, not mincing any words, abruptly queried him.
“Of course I took it” MC openly admitted, without hesitation or the least sign of remorse. “It was resting there idle in the far corner gathering dust and doing no good to anyone.”
The spiritual leader nodded thoughtfully. He’d been too bogged down with other responsibilities to give even a single thought to the contents of the ancient book. Meanwhile it was as if the antiquity had found its voice. As he considered how far and wide the stories had spread now, he could not help but feel elated and most grateful. For it had enriched and motivated many good people and affected the simple folk as much as any weekly sermon could. After all, everyone loved a good tale and there was no one better than MC to tell it, for he turned even the most mundane facts into thrilling and delightful narrations.
The spiritual leader at long last smiled, and uttered words of his blessings. Yes, he left the book with MC to continue on with his good mission of spreading the words of wisdom wrapped in tales from the pages of that ancient tome.