The River Of Life

The stack of metal trays full of apricots crumbled…Twaaang! Clunk! Clank! The farmer had kept it there in the sun to dry them up.

“You wicked…I will sort you out”, he shouted at Ali.

After narrowly escaping the old farmer’s wrath he hastily entered his home. Seeing him breathless, Ali’s mother already knew that this was yet another day and yet another of his mischief. Not only his family but everyone in the entire village of Lu was fed up of his unruly behavior.

Lu was a small and picturesque village surrounded by lush green rolling hills. It had fruit orchards mainly of apricots and apple trees watered by streams curving their way out of the hills. The farming terraces carved on the surrounding hills created beautiful sinuous patterns. These majestic looking terraces were cultivated with peas and corn.

One beautiful morning, Ali set-out to go to school. The sun was rising up from behind the hills and the dew drops on the tree leaves were shining like pearls. It was bright but cool and the birds were chirping with joy. Under the sway of the beautiful weather, Ali strolled to the river instead of going to the school.

Sitting at the river bank, he watched the mesmerizing jewel-blue water flowing downstream. A bald eagle appeared out of nowhere, swooped down close to the water, dropped its feet and caught a fish. Stunned by the sight of it, Ali’s eyes started to follow the eagle’s spellbinding flight across the river. There across, he noticed a strange smoke coming out of the woods.

“What is it?”, he said to himself. Curious to know, he crossed the river by the shaky suspension bridge made out of cable and wooden planks.

“How could this be here?” he trembled as he caught sight of an old house shrouded in mystery. As he drew himself nearer to the house, he saw in its garden, trees laden with apples. He walked into the fruit garden and started munching on sweet and juicy apples. The garden had a small tractor, Ali quickly jumped onto it and straight away turned it on. But as the tractor moved downslope he lost control and immediately threw himself out of it. The tractor wobbled and thrashed everything it met on the way and finally broke open the garden fence…and out into the jungle.

Ali got up unhurt and without a pinch of remorse started plucking apples again. While he was enjoying the apple feast, he heard the crackling of the leaves under someone’s feet.

“Ah! enjoying apples young man? not a bad idea”, said the old man with a long white and silky beard. Ali turned around in fear and tried to escape but stumbled on a stone and fell on the ground. The old man lifted him up and held him tightly by his arm.

“You have completely messed up everything here” said the old man annoyingly. “NN…No, leave me” Ali stuttered a bit but showed no signs of regret. Seizing him by his arm, the old man started hauling him towards the river. A storm of thoughts gripped Ali with fear of punishment.

There, by the bank of the river, the old man surprisingly released him and put his hand on Ali’s shoulder.

“Look my dear…look at this river, it is rushing on rapidly downstream. Life is like rowing upstream in a river and those who do not learn from their mistakes drop back and ultimately drown under their burden”. the old man said all this with an air of mystery around him and after a brief pause he said, “You may go now”.

Ali’s heart melted at this like a drop of water, shrugging all the fearful and negative thoughts away.

“I am sorry”, said he.

“The best apology would be to change your behaviour”, replied the old man.

“Who are you?”, asked the boy curiously.

“My name is Discipulus and my abode is the ‘The River of Life’ “

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