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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)

TITLE: Brick maker
By Jasti Victor


Acchim was from a village where the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers meet, down South towards the present day Persian Gulf. He was an experienced brick maker, having mastered the art in his father’s kiln. Overjoyed that his father had returned from Shinar, after a gap of three seasons, which in the present day parlance is about a year, Acchim dressed a young and a tender calf. His mother, red eyed, from the time she heard that Acchim would be leaving with his father, took three measures of fine meal, knead it, and made cakes upon the hearth. She also served the fish pickle his father is very fond off.

Shinar is a plain place between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, where his father worked day and night making burnt clay bricks. From the time the art of burning clay bricks was discovered,his father prospered. The burnt clay bricks replaced the stone, speeding up the construction activity

Acchim’s father was sent by his overseer to rush and get his only sixteen year old son to Shinar, because of the need to manufacture a very large number of burnt bricks. The father and the son reached the site just as the sun was setting. Acchim, who never saw so many tents and workers at one region, was awestruck. Many of the men he saw were strange looking, which his father explained, were from far off regions. But though they looked strange, tall and rough, they spoke softly when introduced.

Walking towards his tent, Acchim saw the many camp fires stretching far and wide. Tired from the journey, he slept soundly and woke up at dawn, by the hectic activity.

The kilns were lighted up and the dried clay bricks were neatly stacked inside, to be burnt. Adjacent, stored in large pits were huge lumps of naturally occurring bitumen, a thick, heavy, sticky tar like form, taken from the river bed. This bitumen is then heated and used as a binder to hold the burnt bricks together thus making it possible to build structures faster, stronger and higher

Acchim in no time mastered the art of manufacturing and supplying bricks at a very brisk pace that his supervisor seeing the immense potential of this young man, made him in charge of all the kilns.

When Acchim first arrived, the construction of Ziggurat, a pyramid like structure with steps leading up the sides, had just started. And now with the limitless supply of burnt bricks, the structure was built at a rapid pace.

After six seasons, that is about two years, Acchim saw the supervisor admiring the breathtaking height of the structure, and said, “Acchim with your limitless supply of burnt bricks, the towers will reach the heavens.”

And everyone around laughed.

That night, they all drank and made merry. It was very late when Acchim staggered towards his tent, and seeing that his father was already fast asleep, silently slept in a corner.

The Sun was shining bright when Acchim woke up, startled at the loud shouts and angry voices. And out of the many screaming voices, he recognized his father’s!

Getting up quickly, he went outside and saw everyone in the camp quarreling. Quarreling! It looked more like shouting. Yes, they were shouting. But what are they shouting about. His father, usually a quiet and a mild one, for once was shouting in a loud voice to his assistant, the one whose job is to light the kiln. His father turned towards Acchim and said, “I have been telling him to light the kiln. The poor fellow does not seem to understand what I am telling him.”

Acchim listened for sometime, and turning pale, whispered, “Father he is talking in a strange tongue.”

And it is written in the Holy Bible, in Genesis, eleventh chapter, verse seven, that God said, “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

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This article has been read 357 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon12/18/10
What a story of the tower of Babel. I enjoyed this immensely. Thank you for a wonderful story and beautifully written.
Joanne Sher 12/19/10
Creative take on the topic--enjoyed the detail.
Nancy Sullivan 12/21/10
This was fast-paced and well-written account of an incredible moment in time. I enjoyed it very much.
Michael Throne12/22/10
Good story! I didn't know what was happening until the end. I enjoyed this very much.
PamFord Davis 12/23/10
Fresh insight into a familiar
passage, thanks!