Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of one’s self) (02/19/15)
- TITLE: It's a Hard Fall from the Pedestal
By Pauline Carruthers
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Not a leaf stirred in the stillness. Dense green foliage drooped as if bent in adoration of the great warrior standing erect and tall in its midst. In one graceful movement Mighty Hunter shifted position, placing feet wide apart, sweat glistening on muscular coffee coloured limbs. One strong arm slowly raised, bringing sharpened spear on a level with haughty amber eyes. His head tilted back in a slow deliberate movement, before a powerful thrust connected spear to target. The boar fell; a clean accurate kill. Mighty Hunter grinned, every instinct alive to the watchful eyes hidden in the undergrowth. On a breath of self-satisfaction he strode along the path, thinking, ‘One day I will be chief.’
Down by the river a slender young man pulled his canoe up onto the bank, puny brown arms straining. Small Teacher, who had been watching the performance, raised his arrogant head and called into the empty space,
“One day Mighty Hunter, you will fall and I will take your place. For the pen is mightier than the spear. One day I will be chief.”
Stuffing the catch of rare fish into vine leaves and retrieving his precious papers from the canoe, he made his way along the overgrown path. Approaching the village he saw Mighty Hunter striding purposefully, spear poised in readiness for the anticipated adulation. The tempting aroma of roasting boar already filled the air.
“Come Small Teacher; enjoy what my skill has provided.”
“I have my fish Mighty Hunter; perfect in size and kind as befits my wisdom. Join me and enjoy rare delicacies such as you have never tasted before.”
The sun was setting, a fierce red globe above tall trees. The night sky began to fill with stars, twinkling down over the village. Mighty Hunter regaled his followers with tales of his extraordinary skills, whilst close by, Small Teacher taught the young boys that the future was the written word. Revealing to them the numerous pages filled with thoughts from his enquiring mind. His beautiful book that would bring him fame in his village and acclaim and fortune in the world outside.
Chief sat outside his hut, silently considering the cultural changes that were rapidly overtaking the old ways and pondering old skills set against new. He wondered if one could easily embrace the other. He was old now and soon would have to appoint his successor. After the death of his beloved wife, all but one of his children had left the village for the rapidly growing towns. And that one, to his shame, had succumbed to the missionary tales and given his heart and life to a man named Jesus. Yet he remained in the village, his gentleness, love and selfless giving to others a stark contrast to his former selfish ambitions.
Many moons later, when the sun was rising in a golden glow over the river and the sights and sounds of a new dawn enveloped the village, Chief sensed that his time was near. He had pondered the merits of both Mighty Hunter and Small Teacher, both capable of holding influence in the village. Yet his mind was not at peace. Each was guilty of being totally absorbed in his own arrogance, extolling his own qualities and merit, incapable of recognising the value of another’s gifts and abilities; opinionated, teeming with his own importance. Under their leadership the village would not survive the necessary cultural changes.
Desiring the right choice Chief sought a quiet place on the riverbank and began a halting, unfamiliar prayer, to the Jesus his son had spoken of many times. Earnestly praying he sensed the freedom to seek the counsel of Jesus. That evening he made his decision known to his people.
“Mighty Warrior and Small Teacher hold my respect. Yet neither are capable of relinquishing power to another, caring only to be exalted above all. Therefore I place the cloak of leadership on the shoulders of my son, who follows the ways of Jesus, without pride or self- seeking.”
Mighty Hunter defiantly raised his spear. “My time will come.”
Small Teacher turned, quietly muttering, “Not before mine, my friend.”
As a silver moon crept across a cloudless sky, father and son knelt before the glowing embers of a dying fire, hands clasped in prayer. Faithful Follower, bearing his new name, meekly took upon his shoulders the responsibility of his people, tearfully, yet joyfully, releasing the old Chief into the arms of his waiting Saviour.
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