In a small Japanese village, a group of men rushed to an isolated hut. But as they arrived at the front door, the group stopped suddenly, and looked at each other with excitement, because tonight was the annual Freedom Festival and on the other side of this door, a special guest awaited. This was the fifth Freedom Festival, and every year the same guest made an appearance and told the story of remembrance. The lead man stepped up and banged frantically, as the rest of the group stood back to wait for the door to open.
"Who is it?"
"Story teller, it’s the village council. We have come to escort you to the stage." Trevor shouted through the door.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Story teller responded. "We do this every year! I know where the stage is! I am not even supposed to go on for another hour, and the stage is only a ten minute walk from here! Come back in 45 minutes! I am painting right now!
Storyteller then got up, and let the men in.
" I am sorry to disturb you so early Story teller, but we have to follow protocol. Oh my, is this another painting of your home? It’s beautiful."
"Thank you for the compliment. (Pause) I used to follow protocol and look at what it got me. This stump I have for a leg now, has taught me to slow down and enjoy life more, literally. So, you can stick your protocol where the sun doesn’t shine! Storyteller responded.
"You know if I don’t come back with you, the wise one will have my head, literally. So please, don’t make such a fuss."
"Who is that woman in the painting? She is beautiful." Trevor asked.
"Thank you again. She was somebody I knew a long time ago, before I was stranded in this God forsaken place."
" Was she your wife?"
"Yes, but we lost touch after I was transferred here. I miss this part of my life dearly, but I know I can never go back to it. I think this is the reason why I took up painting, to remember. Anyway, I better get cleaned up so we can go. I don’t want to get you into trouble."
"Thank you, I appreciate that. The wise one has been in a foul mood today. So, I don’t want to get on her bad side. The last time I managed to anger her, she lectured me for three hours and then made me walk that stupid dog of hers."
"What did you do to make her so angry?" Storyteller asked.
"I made a comment about why we had to make a dinner setting for that flea bag of hers to one of the council members, and it somehow got back to her.
"For someone so wise, she is very peculiar about that dog."
"Yes, I have wondered that myself, and I had found out why in that three hour lecture. She told me that this dog was given to her by her father, so in her eyes; this makes the dog apart of her family. And you of all people know how she loves to keep the past alive."
"That I do, but I live in the past myself, so I would be a hypocrite to fault her for it. That is interesting about her dog though. You would think that I of all people would know the history on that mutt. But anyway, we should get going, if you don’t want to take that miserable creature for a walk again."
"Good idea. My men will help you as usual. We had prepared you tea and a little something to eat before your performance."
"Fantastic! I am famished. Could you please prepare some extra tea for the stage? I always get a bit thirsty about half through the story."
"We have plenty of tea for you. Don’t you worry. I do have to admit, I am looking forward towards your story. I know I was there and I have heard this story a million times, but the way you sell it to the audience is amazing. You are a very talented speaker."
"Stop it, please. All of this praising is making me blush.
But I am happy that you enjoy my story. Thank you, again. Now, enough talking, we should go."
"You are right, we should go. There will be plenty of time to talk after the show. Alright everybody, let’s head on back before we are any later than we are now."
The group of men and the Story teller made their way to the middle of the village, where the night’s festivities would be held. Groups of villagers greeted the Story teller as he made his way towards the stage. The group entered a small tent, where tea and sandwiches awaited the night’s entertainment.
The Story teller sat and waited, while inhaling half a sandwich in one bite. Suddenly, a small dog ran through the tents opening and began to yap at everything it saw, for example, the chair, the table, and then towards the Story teller. The Story teller rolled his eyes and finished his sandwich. Right then, a young girl entered the tent.
"Wise one! It is a pleasure to see you! How is everything?"
"Hello, Story teller. I am sorry but I am not in a very good mood today, so I don’t feel like talking." Wiseone responded in her best little girl pouty voice.
"What’s wrong little one?" Storyteller asked.
"I miss my dad. And today out of all days makes me miss him more. I wish I could see him again. Do you think things will change and he will be able to come home?"
"That I do not know, but one thing I do know is that your father is a great man, and a lot of people respect him. And he had laid his knowledge upon you, in which, makes you the wise one. That is why we are celebrating today, but I don’t need to tell you things you already know.
Ouch! Get off me you filthy beast!"
"Don’t hurt my dog! He is the only family I have got!"
"Now that is where you are wrong. We are your family. We all think of you as our own daughter. Everyone loves you here."
"Then why do the other children treat me like a freak? I just want to be a normal girl, with normal parents. But, my mother was taken away, and my father has led this crazy crusade to save the world! And I am stuck here by myself, expected to follow in his footsteps. And on top of that, I have been given a nick name that I don’t even like!"
"That name was given to you by your father. And this name that you are appalled of has kept you alive."
"I know but…"
"Don’t worry about the other children because they are too young to understand your importance. And I am sorry about your parents not being here, but fate has chosen that, so there is nothing we can do but hope for something to change. But just remember the sacrifice your father paid for all of us. You should be very proud of him."
Wiseone began to warm up a little and responded, " I know, I am proud of him. I just miss him, and my mother, that’s all. By the way, I was wondering. When you had spent time with my father, did he ever tell you why he called me wise one?"
"As a matter of fact he did. Apparently, when you were a baby, your eyes were abnormally large. He told me that you resembled an owl. So, he nick named you wise one."
"Really? I thought the reason why everyone called me this was because I was smart."
"Oh, you are smart but that’s not the only reason why you were given your name. You just looked like an owl. Are you upset?"
"No I am okay. I am just a little surprised, that’s all. I learn a little bit about my past every day. One day, I think I am admired because of my intelligence and then the next day I find out I look like a bird."
"Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everything has a way of working out in the end. Your father had taught me that. But, I must get ready now. I think I only have a few minutes before show time. Oh, before I leave you, I was told you have been giving the local council a hard time. Is this true?"
"If you are talking about my dogs’ right to eat at the dinner table, yes it’s true. Where ever I go, my dog goes. Why, is there a problem?" Wiseone responded in her now snotty voice.
"No, I just thought it was an amusing story. You really do take after your fathers’ side with your stubbornness. Anyway, I must get going. Will you watch the performance?"
"Of course I will. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Oh, and Story teller, thanks for talking with me. I feel better now."
"It was my honor little one. We will talk again after the show.
See you later."
"See you later, and good luck!"
The villagers gathered around the stage and waited for the performance to begin. A small murmur of talking had traveled back and forth throughout the crowd, as the audience spoke amongst themselves. Suddenly, Trevor made his way on to the stage, and the audience went silent with anticipation. Trevor gave a short speech and introduced the Story teller. The audience stood and applauded as the Story teller was helped on to the stage. The Story teller sat down in the middle of the stage and waved to the cheering crowd. And the story began.
To be continued......