THE DABBERSTONE - Part FourOct 11, 2021
Deelie’s mother had many things for her to do that day. She was not free to go to the potter’s til after the evening meal. But then she did go. The potter was not at her worktable, nor in her house. Deelie started up to the spring, but then she thought what if she’s sitting in the silence? I shouldn’t disturb her. She stopped. But her feet slowly took another step and another. Slowly she entered the woods and was feeling the stillness all around her. But then there were footsteps, and the potter was coming toward her with two buckets of water.
She set the buckets down. “I’m glad to see you. I’m tired and you can help me carry this water. “ Deelie took the buckets. Halfway back to the house she put them down to rest and the old woman picked them up again and took them the rest of the way.
“Grandmother, my mother had a lot of work to do today, but I came anyway at the end of the day to ask if I can bring a little girl with me sometime. She came down to the river as I was sitting in the silence this morning. She said she also goes to the river for peace from Split and when I told her I’m learning to make pottery she asked if I would teach her. “
The old woman took her water buckets to the place she usually kept them. Then she came out and sat outside her workshop with her back against the wall. She finally said, “I think you’re wise enough to know if it would be good. See if you can take that question into the silence, or maybe you can dream about it. “ Deelie walked home with a large handful of clay, squeezing it from one shape to another.
She sat in her room in front of her box to be quiet and tried to take the question of whether to bring the little girl to the potter into the silence like the potter said, but she didn’t know how to do that. Maybe she would dream about it.
In the morning, she did remember a dream of that little girl in the potter’s house, but it didn’t make sense. The girl was older, and she was only one among a whole group of children of various ages. And it seemed as if it were Deelie’s own house. There seemed to be a man there too, but she didn’t get a clear sight of him, somehow.
Anyhow, Deelie had to work that day, for her mother in the morning, and for the potter in the afternoon, digging up more clay and carrying water to soak it. When it rained the water from the roof went into the soaking pit, but it almost never rained this time of the year. She was tired when she was done but it was getting harder and harder for the old potter to do the heavy work like that.
When she went back around from the soaking pit to the other side of the house where the pottery workshop and the door were, there was a mule and a donkey hobbled. Deelie expected to find customers in the shop. But there was nobody there. She went into the house and found an old man talking with the potter and a young man sitting there listening. They all looked at her when she came in.
“This is Deelie, the girl I was telling you about, “ said the potter. The men didn’t say anything right away. The old man just looked at her intently, a long, thorough look. “Tell me how you found your way to the stillness. I don’t think it would be easy to do in Split. “ Deelie told him the story of the Dabberstone and her dog and all. “I have heard many things, including some that few people would understand or believe, but I have never heard of anything like this before, “ the old man said.
“That’s what Cruddly Poot said too. He said he’d never heard of somebody who never knew about the Dabberstone coming and saying the right words. “
“I’m sure very few people who grew up in Split have ever found their way to the peace and stillness either, and yet you did, and you keep seeking it and have grown and grown in it. Perhaps you have a natural connection to the silence, and it sent you to get rid of the Dabberstone. If that is true, your dog did not die in vain, since, otherwise, that stone might still be there. I cannot be sure, but sometimes a centre of discord and destruction like that can emit a vibration like a screeching and ugly sound that cannot be heard with the ears, but it sets the minds and hearts of a whole village or city on edge. Maybe Split can begin to heal now. Will you come with us up to the spring to be quiet for a while?”
They all walked up the potter’s path into the woods without saying a word. When they came to the spring, they sat on the log that had been sat on many times before. The four of them were silent. Deelie closed her eyes and listened to the spring water trickling down the rock. There seemed to be more power in the silence than she had ever felt before. After she had sat for a long time, lost in the vast peace, Deelie began to think of Split and the unhappiness of the people there, so strong it almost made her cry. She felt like sending some of the peace to them and she tried to do that, she willed it or something.
Then the old man stood, and they all followed his lead and returned to the potter’s house, still without saying a word. The old man, the potter, and Deelie sat in the house while the young man cooked some food for them all. Deelie had never heard him say a word yet. She wavered about leaving, going to help with the food, or going out to work on pots, but the old man indicated with a gesture she should sit with them.
He said, “This world is full of lost, wandering, and wounded people. There are also those, like those who follow the path I follow, who are here like doctors, trying to help the sick and wounded. There are places in the world that are like sores on a body or like wounds that won’t heal, where pain and misery go on from generation to generation. Some of these grow larger and spread their infection far and wide. Some smolder on, even for centuries, in their small spots. Split is such a place, yet it sits on one of the blood vessels of the world and may trickle a little of its poison into the blood that passes through it. We have tried to heal Split for ages, but it has remained the same. You, Deelie, have already shown yourself to be one of the doctors. Perhaps what you have already done will turn out to be the key, or one of the keys. “
“But I have lived in Split all my life and I used to be that way too, “ she objected. “I wanted to punish my mother. That’s how it started. And I did put curses on a bunch of people. “
“Even doctors get sick. In fact, sometimes it is being sick as a child that makes people think of learning to be a doctor. “
“I don’t think I want to study herbs and medicines and diseases “, said Deelie. “I just go to the river and be quiet, because it is the only way I can get away from all the misery of fighting and angriness that Split is full of. “
“Sickness of the spirit comes before sickness of the body. The source of all healing for both is found in the power that dwells in the stillness. The sickness of Split works against finding your way into that silence. I think very few people from Split have ever found it. Yet it has driven you there. I wonder if there are any more in Split today who are ready to find the way. “
Deelie said, “Two days ago I was sitting by the river and a little girl came, who said she goes there to get away from the fighting in Split. She wants to learn to make pottery and I said I’d ask if I can bring her. Grandmother told me to ask for a dream about it, and I did have a dream, but I don’t know what it means. “ She told her dream, and they were all silent for a while.
Before anyone said anything the young man announced the food was ready. That was the first time she’d heard him speak. His voice sounded kind, like it would never utter a curse. They ate in silence.
Afterwards, they went outside and sat under the roof of the pottery shed around the worktable. The old potter, perhaps from habit, picked up a lump of clay and began to shape a dish. Deelie, following her example, did the same. The old man asked Deelie how she had felt when she awakened from the dream she had told him. She stopped working and closed her eyes for a little. “I’m not sure if I remember plainly. I think I felt responsible and as if I were in the middle of a work that would go on for many years. But peaceful too, something I feel like after sitting by the river, not worried whether my work will please anybody. “
“I wonder if you are having a school for these children. “
“What is a school like?” They did not have such a thing in Split. Deelie had heard the word, but she didn’t have a clear idea of one.
“There are different kinds of schools, [Something missing here] “What would I teach?”
“Peace. Love. Stillness. Kindness. You have already learned something about those things, and you will have learned more by the time shown in the dream, won’t you? You will not know everything about it. Maybe no one can claim that. But you will know more than the people of Split. It is said that people already know, but we have forgotten. Split has forgotten.
No one can teach those who don’t want to learn, but if you gather children who are young enough to remember that they long for these things and encourage them and give them a place that is safe, it will be like gathering coals together where they will warm each other. They will burn brighter. One coal left alone, surrounded by wet, cold, soggy ones will most likely go out. But this won’t be for a few years yet. When you are old enough you may do it. Or perhaps you won’t. No one can tell that yet. “
“Are you a teacher?” asked Deelie. The old man turned and glanced at the young one. He turned back and said, “That’s what Tma calls me. You can call me that too, if you like. I call myself a guide. I show the way I have traveled to those who want help finding their way. There are other ways. It is said they all arrive at the same destination, but I do not know all those ways. It takes a whole lifetime to learn one path well. I am still learning too. “
Nobody said anything more for a while. Deelie picked up her clay again and resumed her work. The old potter had never stopped. When the sun was getting low in the sky, Deelie stood up. “I’d better go, “ she said. “Next time I see that little girl I will bring her here with me. I will come tomorrow, Grandmother. I will see you tomorrow, teacher. “
“Perhaps. If you come early enough. We must be on our way. We have a long way to go. “
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