Friday, December 30, 2011

Shira (3) The brothers reunited

(Continued from yesterday)

The Brothers Reunited

At once Bara turned his step towards the sound, for he wanted to find out who was so filled with sorrow and wondered if he could help them in their pain.  Meanwhile the loving voices became stronger, and stronger.  He knew then that if he was truly going to help this poor wretch he must open his eyes, and so he did.  There before him was Bild, weeping by the side of his mare, Mara. 

Bara raced towards his brother, to embrace him and give him all the love he could muster.

“I have found Shira”, said Bild, sadly.

Bara was puzzled. “Then if this is true why are you weeping? Why do you look so sad?”

Bild told him his story of how he had found Shira, but not in the race, that Shira was with him, nearby but always just out of sight.

Bara caught his breath. “But that is just what I have found…” he cried, and he looked around then for his guide, so that he could see his face and thank him for guiding him to this place, for the trees were thinning now and Bara could see the way clearly into the light.  But there was no guiding touch upon his shoulder; no gentle presence beside him.  There was no one there.

Bara understood then  why Bild was weeping.  His own heart was breaking because he would never find the magical hiding place, and now even that loving guiding presence was gone.  The two brothers sat together at the edge of the forest, with the mare grazing nearby, and silently grieved for all their dreams: for the race that could never be; for the unattainable Shira; for the elusive, magical place that would never be found.

For a long time they grieved and tried to comfort one another.  Then their hearts lifted a little, for Tamba came towards them from out of the forest.  They took that as a sign to get going again and try to find their way home.  And so the two brothers mounted their horses, and set off on the way out of the forest, along a well-worn path.  Sometimes Bild caught a glimpse of a golden mane, just out of sight, and when the darkness fell Bild had a strong sense of the guiding touch but it faded when he awoke.  Bild too had known the soft touch in his dreams and they both learned to recognise that this was Shira.

It was a long, long journey and they did not seem to be getting anywhere that Bara could recognise on the map, despite his close and regular scrutiny of every possible path and every sign of where they might be.  Bara scanned the horizon and thought as hard as he could, and Bild summoned up all his strength to endure, but to no avail.

One day they were sitting by a lake when Bild had an idea.
“When you were lost in the forest and you walked with closed eyes, Shira guided you to the place where I was.”
Bara had not thought about it in quite that way before.  He said;  “I suppose that was Shira, guiding me….”
Bild went on, “And I often get a glimpse of his mane, just out of the corner of my eye, but it seems as if I never manage to see him properly,”
“That sounds as if he is hiding from you,” said Bara.

Bild turned to his brother. “But not from you,” he said.

Bara looked at Bild for a long time with his bright blue eyes shining with hope.  His quick mind wondered what all this could mean.  Then he knew, and his eyes darkened.

“He comes to me when my eyes are closed,” he said. “ When I am…blind.”

Bara had always had the gift of far- seeing, and had come to rely on this.  His long sight and quick mind made him brave and bold and unafraid to venture into the darkest places where few other people dared to go.  At that moment he realised that to get home he must relinquish his far sight and rely on the gentle touch of the unseen, wonderful horse to guide him.

Bild had other ideas.  If  Shira came to Bara when his eyes were closed, then Bild would be able to see him properly, close to, in all his beauty!  So Bild went and hid in the bushes, and waited for Shira to come.  They waited for a long time, until they were weary with waiting, but the horse never came. 

Then Bild said: “Maybe Shira is hiding from me now.  He always seems to come when I least expect it."

“Yes,” said Bara. “Maybe you need to close your eyes too.”

And so they roped the horses together and they sat still, waiting, both with their eyes closed, both wishing that Shira would come and they would feel the soft guiding touch, but the hours passed and there was nothing.

Soon they decided that they would have to move somehow, and make some kind of decision.  They set off towards the setting sun, slowly, eyes closed, still roped together.

Soon they both had the feeling that Shira may be somewhere near, but they were afraid to look in case he disappeared.  They moved slowly, neither of them knowing where they were going, but still there was no soft touch, no guide. Eventually they stopped in a green meadow where the horses began grazing greedily.  The two brothers opened their eyes to see that the grass was soft and fresh with spring shoots, and all around them new buds were growing and bulbs were shooting.

Bara began to laugh. “ Of course we have arrived here in this wonderful soft grass!” he cried.  We may have had our eyes closed, but the horses knew exactly where they were going!”

Bild looked puzzled. “You mean that only if they too do not know where they are going that Shira will come? Is he is hiding from them too?”

Bara shrugged.  "Maybe, who knows?  Anyway, tomorrow I will bind up their eyes, then we will all be unable to see and maybe then Shira will come and guide us home.”

The next day they saddled up the two horses, who looked well fed on good new grass.  They bound the eyes of the two horses, who whinnied and shifted and seemed to be afraid.  Then Bara and Bild mounted their blind horses, closed their eyes, and waited for Shira to come and show them the way.

They waited for the long time, but there was no soft touch to guide them, only the sound of the breeze blowing in the wind.  They moved off slowly, filled with disappointment, but still hoping, still believing that if they waited long enough Shira would come.

The gentle breeze became a strong wind at their back, almost blowing them along the path.   Bild felt afraid but he relied upon his strength to give him courage.  Bara was wondering why the breeze had become a wind so suddenly, would there be a storm?  He too was afraid but he relied upon his wits and knew that he had only to open his eyes and he would be able to see everything.  He began to think that they may be going the wrong way after all, but the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to stop.  

He turned Tamba’s head a little and guided the two horses into the wind, for he knew that if they walked into the wind the storm would pass more quickly.  They battled on into the wind, their eyes shut against the rain, hoping that their gentle guide would come to rescue them.  They blindly stumbled on and on, the horses picking their way slowly through the rocks.  Bara became concerned for the horses, because there were so many rocks.

“I am going to unmask the horses,” he said. “They may get hurt.”

Opening his eyes he saw that they were in a thick mist and only a few feet in front of them was visible.

“Bild! You may as well open your eyes now, for we can’t see where we are going anyway.  There is a mist.”  Bild opened his eyes, and looked around him, there was no sign of any familiar landmarks.  They were totally lost.  The rocky path was clear under their feet but it was not clear where it was going.  The pathway was all they had to guide them and the wind that blew hard in their faces.  The sound of rushing water was somewhere near.

All at once, Bara knew what to do.  “This is enough to go on!”  He cried.  “We have the pathway, and the water, so let’s go on, bit by bit.  We are not lost if we have these.” And so the two horses and their riders moved slowly and carefully into the mist, with the pathway and the river to guide them, heading towards home.

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