A Fairy Tale

the dog and the boy

the dog and the boy

There was a boy born to the duke and duchess near the capitol of the kingdom. The duchess had for many years been under the influence of an evil spirit, and so was very fearful about and cruel to her new baby. She warned him, from the time he was born, “You must not show yourself.”  The duke was a foolish and weak man, and was sure his powerful wife must be right so often repeated her warning to the child: “You must not show yourself.”

As the boy grew a dog came to live with him. The boy and the dog loved each other the way only a boy and a dog can. They were always together and understood each other without a word. Often the boy repeated the warning from the duchess to his dog, “I must not show myself.”  The dog, of course, didn’t understand human language, but he saw and understood the boy as well as he knew himself. So, when the boy said to him, “I must not show myself” the dog understood that the boy wanted love. Without understanding the words, he simply looked the boy in the eyes and repeated, “Must not.” The meaning, as far as the dog knew, was “I see you and I love you.” But the boy couldn’t understand.

One day the boy met a wise man. The wise man said to him, “I am traveling to a valley in the South. You can come with me.” The boy agreed to go. “I must warn you though – there is no language in this valley. Once we enter we cannot speak until we leave again.”  The boy followed the man to the valley.

There, without words, the boy experienced something magnificent. He saw the stars and realized that they were him. He heard the birds and realized that they were him. He smelled food cooking and realized that it was him. Everything showed itself to him, and he could not distinguish himself from anything. He could neither show nor hide himself. He was free and happy and went for long silent walks with the dog and sat silently in the grass with the dog and had nothing to show to or hide from anyone.

After some time the wise man came to the boy and gestured that it was time to leave. So the boy followed him out of the valley and back to the duchy they had come from. Once they arrived back home the boy learned that the duke and duchess had died. The boy looked at the dog and said, “I must not show myself.” “Must not,” said the dog. On hearing those words repeated back to him the boy felt a deep sorrow and longed to return to the valley in the South.  Since the duchess had died, the evil spirit which had influenced her now focused its energy on the boy. Every time the boy tried to find his way back to the valley, his way was blocked. First by a dense forest, then by an impassable swamp. Once he was misled to a different valley, which was beautiful but had language so that he immediately found himself saying to the dog, “I must not show myself.”  “Must not.”

Lost, the boy and the dog walked deep into that valley. At the bottom they found a clear, fast running river. They followed the river downstream. Walking along with each other they heard nothing but the songs of the birds, the rush of the wind, and the eternal ringing of the river as it flowed over the earth. After many miles the boy and the dog became thirsty, so they stopped to drink from the river. The boy knelt next to the dog and they both stooped down to drink. The boy saw his own reflection. Next to him he saw the dog, above him tree branches, leaves, the sky and clouds. He heard the language of the universe spoken by the long silver tongue of the earth. An enormous black bird flew down from the sky, skimmed the surface of the river, and flew far away.