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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: Days of Yore
By Carol Eames


Days of Yore

Modernisation and development have their place and society certainly seems to welcome them, but were those old days so bad? The cowboy towns of the nomad lands have all but disappeared, being swollowed up by video stores tucked in behind 4 wheel drive vehicles and over-chromed motorbikes.

In the days of yore, yak and donkeys were tethered to the flimsy railings at either side of the rutted dirt road. All the day they would stand their post munching on whatever vegetation rested in the rubbish heaps, waiting for their owners to return heavy laden and ready to go home.

There was not the clatter of the modern buses and trucks that negotiate their way past the vendors and pedestrians. Instead one could hear clear high pitched whistles that caught the animalís attention and beckoned him to get a move on. There were the shrill voices of the women who excitedly greeted acquaintances they had not seen for months on end, and the resonating sounds of the men hailing their friends to draw close and discuss the business of life.

The pedestrians too were different, then. The mountain men seemed to roll along the roads due to their exaggerated gait from riding barrel-chested yak or horses. Their thick outer robe, trimmed with otter pelts, was riveted into place by a wide red or green sash. The Mongolians chose to wear theirs in a jaunty style that hugged their hips while the Tibetans preferred to bind theirs close to the waist. Whatever, both styles served well to store the candles, rock sugar, tobacco leaves and tea in the flap that wrapped against their chest.

So used to wandering the vast expanses of grasslands were these nomad men that they were quite overwhelmed by the built up township with its two-storeyed buildings. Wide eyed they would gape at the sights and suck in a breath through their teeth to show their amazement. The cold lent them no desire to be fussy about washing and so they were quite accustomed to going a year without bathing. Their black hair, plaited into a long glossy braid was wound around the crown of their head, or for some, cropped shorter on the edges and allowed to matt into dreadlocks, leaving the long plait at the back. Though their clothes and skin were grubby, they were festooned with the finest of jewelry. Large gold or silver rings studded with coral and turquoise hung upon their ear and fingers. Beads larger than tombolas were strung about their neck. Their display of wealth and fashion was completed by their massive fox fur and silk hats.

Occasionally though, these magnificent people were stopped dead in their tracks, for a sight even more astounding than the buildings and city lights crossed their path. Not frequently, but sometimes, a fair skinned, yellow-haired person would be on the street as well. It was of no difference whether the foreigner wore local garb or remained in his native attire, he stood out in the crowd. How large they were! Standing a good half a head higher than all others and usually of a robustness that made the locals envy them. The nomads would size them up, stare boldly for countless seconds and then take a circuit around the stationery figure. Such a daring tale to tell by the home fires.

Back in those days, the law was relaxed and those foreign gentlemen went to the town to sit by the temple gate and chat to any who might be interested to hear their words. Though their speech was faltering, it none-the-less carried a clear and strange message. There was yet a different road to eternal life. There was a path that would free a man from the countless rebirths and tyranny of good works. It was all too nonsensical! Everyone knew that all a man could do was to try hard to escape the present suffering by prostrating and turning the prayer wheels. What was the good of a salvation that came free of cost and required the blood sacrifice of a man called Jesus?

Yet, they were good men. Everybody said the same. They never cheated people. They never used bad talk or broke their promise. And in their saddle packs they carried good medicine. For the sake of getting a medicine superior to those their lamas concocted, many a local was ready to tolerate the prayer or booklet offered them in Jesusí name. They were indeed good days!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Powers 05/11/07
Very interesting and filled with vivid details. I could see the scene clearly. Good job
Suzanne R09/01/07
Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it. Such live descriptions. Wow. Great writing. And fancy finding you here :-). Write more, more, more - build up a collection of pieces like this to teach the rest of the world what life is like ... or, in this case, what life WAS like ... in other parts of the world. Seriously - you're GOOD.