Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
By Jack Taylor
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“There must be a reason,” said Moose to Buffalo and Goat. “Why are we seven each and the others only two? Does having extra numbers make us special, right and true?”
“Perhaps we are more humble,” said Goat in reply. “The Pig, the Bear, the Lion are no doubt arrogant and proud. Two of them is enough to fathom in our crowd.”
“Perhaps we are more worthy,” said Buffalo. “Beaver, Monkey and Kangaroo don’t seem to fit. Two is enough of creatures that are active and won’t quit.”
Moose shook his head to speak. “I heard the one pronounce us clean, but now I question ‘what does this mean?’”
For one whole year the conversation flowed with input from Elk, Ox and Caribou. Through stormy nights and quiet dawns the thoughtful pondered through. Committee Ark, without a man, tried hard to fathom out the plan.
“This is no accident I know,” said Antelope to Giraffe. “For they are always two and we are always seven. Seven cattle, seven deer, seven elk and seven oxen. Never less. Two Dog, two Fox, two Tiger and two Horse. Never more.”
Giraffe bowed low and looked across the pens. “There be seven of the fowl that rest out there in cages. Chicken, Goose, Duck and Quail growing up in stages. There are seven - more than one with spouse. Partridge, Sparrow, Pheasant and Grouse, all nestled in their little house.
“Yet there be only two of Eagle, Hawk and Vulture. And Raven, Pelican and Owl one pair there is for nurture. The Bat, the Rat, the Slug and Snail are with us as we sail. But who has numbered us and placed us in this rail? Who has labeled them unclean and what in truth can this all mean?”
Ibex and Reindeer shuffled east, west, north and south. This question seemed to have no answer from their mouth. ‘Why were they seven and Cheetah only Two? And male and female always for Coyote, Jackal, Wolf. No extra one for Armadillo, Badger, Rabbit. No extra one for Llama, Hippo, Camel. And thank God there was no extra one for Skunk.’
Deer showed her grace when finally she did share. “The Creator has his reason for including all that’s there. We can’t divide or embrace the fear. One day we’ll know and we’ll be clear.”
Five months of floating without stop and still the question would not drop. The clouds filtered slowly from the sky. A year went by then dove and raven sprang to fly.
The humans who had stopped to feed and meet them in their every need, one day stopped by to choose a few of each of those who numbered seven. They led them out and then knelt down and called on up to heaven.
The ones with two were passed right by and left to sit and wonder why. But as the smoke of sacrifice rose high, a brilliant rainbow filled the sky.
A voice rose up above the ground and filtered down to all around. To people, birds, livestock and the wild, I announce my covenant as with a child. The ones with seven have shared their lives for food and warmth and sacrifice. Now earth is yours to start again. The home of animals and men.
No longer seven but down to four. The clean went out their life to pour. As Deer had claimed the plan was clear. Spent lives had brought Creator near. And lives still left to give would provide more life for twos to live.
And in the lives of Two and Seven we learn Truth of life before heaven. Some live to give their lives for others and share themselves for all their brothers. Some follow up to cleanse and clear the land from all that does not cheer.
And even larger there will be a way to reach eternity. Life shared will open up a way and we will pass our judgment day. A rainbow in the sky will show the way of truth by which to go. A covenant has been secured by one who struggled and endured.
The animals who sailed the Ark are all of those who gained the mark of their Creator’s plan and scheme. They sailed the seas and reached the dream.
This story lights the eye of girl and boy but still is meant for all our joy. The promise was for not just man – but for the animals within our land. Extra has a price.
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