The Three Youths

The Three Youths,
A New Fairytale
Pamela Bruns

It was a pretty schooner, silver-fair and masted, sailing on a windless sea, pulled by starlight, pushed by moonlight. Three innocents were therein resting on pillows of satin. One lay on his back beholding twinkling stars through somber eyes. Another lay on his stomach beholding twinkling lights upon a sea of glass. The third lay sleeping beholding visions unknown behind closed eyes.

Standing facing east was a great woman. Her light rivaled Venus before dawn. The three innocents reflected her glow but had none of their own; their likeness to hers as the moon to sun.

Time was unknown in these waters and age unfelt. But the innocents would soon be standing. The endless stars, endless rest, endless water would give way to something greater. The great woman knew the change and welcomed it. She would face east until the change in the light. Ever lighter-giving way to a sea shore. So the first time, that was not time, ended.

And the innocent ones found that water and starlight gave quickly way. With a sudden shock their virgin feet felt smooth stones; hard sand. The great lady watched them. They were safe, and not. She gave a sweet sigh and turned to the mountain. The three did not wonder at the loss of the lady. They did not wonder at the hard earth or the trees. The babbling brook seemed a friend. And they grew in stature. The island home became a nursery, the trees a guardian and the mastery of fire a treasure.

The boys, lanky now and strong heard the strong calling in the wind but found it a terror. The great lady would glance their way occasionally from her mountain home and laugh merrily at the sight. The One in the wind would bend low and speak but they could not hear. Nor should they. Their ears were closed. But the trees heard and gave shelter. The fire heard and gave heat. The strong wind would leave and warm secure peace would enfold again. Time and time again it happened.

The three youths began to see and hear with older eyes. And their sanctuary nursery school bowed its head to the limits of time and showed them things unheard of.

First, the danger of the tree that cares; the poison fruit, the rotten wood, the viper hidden there. There tree-god bowed and found its humble place.

Next the fickle fire that warms; burns and consumes without much care. Destroys all within its path. Its heart is neither friend nor foe. And the fire-god bowed its head, it sunk low it its embers. Dead- there is no resurrection.

The lady on her mountain home looked down and wondered, perhaps they are ready for me now. But the One who inhabits the wind knew her thoughts and said not yet- they have other gods to deal with.

And so the youths began to look at their reflection in the river water. Surely, I must be a king and these my brothers, royalty. And so they grew for a time but they were crooked in their thoughts. Strange dreams assailed them. Self-love, and jealousy.

The One in the wind sent a storm to teach them. The first youth raised his fist up to the heavens and yelled, “I defy you- wind. You are strong, but I the stronger.”

The second youth turned his back toward the wind and said, “You are strong, but I outlast you.”

The third youth looked around and his heart was humbled. “You are strong and come from something greater.” That day man was born from youth.

The raging wind kept up its fierceness by day, by night, by day. The defiant youth paced the rocky beach, the furious waves threaten his existence. The salt spray tore relentlessly, but his defiance grew more bold.

The second youth searched for a rocky cave, built a fire and persevered- dry and warm of body.

The third youth-man heard his name in the fierce winds and gave a tentative answer. “Man” the voice cried. “Here I am,” was the reply.

Where are your brothers?” asked the Wind.

One is defying, one is hiding” came the answer.

And what of you, Man?”

I feel as though I am dying.”

You speak truth,” said the Wind.

You are dying to your arrogance. The tree-god knows his place. And the fire-god knows his place. And you Man, you shall know yours.

And the storm ceased its raging. A beautiful lady walked through its final showers. Her radiance was beyond all knowledge. The man recognized her from somewhere though he knew not where.

Where are your brothers?” asked the lady.

One is defying, one is hiding,” came the reply.

And what of you, Man?”

I do not know.”

Good,” said Wisdom, and she took his hand and let him up the path.

Are you the wind?” Asked Man.

No,” replied Wisdom. I am above the wind-god. He knows his place. He hears the voice of Another and obeys.

The man looked toward the sea, and saw a defiant youth raising his fists in triumph to the peaceful shore. The man looked toward the cave and saw a cautious youth emerging. But he passed on unnoticed by the youths and soon come to the foot of a mountain.

Wisdom halted at the foot of the mountain. I guard treasures, Man. They are not mine. They belong to someone greater.

Do they belong to the tree-god?”

No, his roots are not that strong.”

Do they belong to the wind-god?

No, his strength is metaphor.”

Do they belong to the fire-god?”

No- but deception dances there. The fire-god would mock, but must bow.”

At this Wisdom pointed to a footpath and disappeared.

The man, failing to look back, succeeded in looking forward. He did not see a defiant youth dancing on the shore, or a fearful youth looking for his companions. Man was alone. And not. The path was steep. And for sometime he lost time. The lonely path was hard and the lady gone. Ahead a sharp curve beckoned him; shadows danced beyond the turn.

Man remembered Wisdom. He remembered the fire-god. He rounded the bend and saw Fire. His power seemed tremendous. And Man began to quake, but he remembered fire’s deception. He passed by without tribute to the fire-god, and so gained his first victory. Evening grew and dazzled with heavy perfume and a deepening sky. Man craved shelter and thought of the tree-god, but then the rot, and the viper, and so sought the shelter of the One who made the tree-god. Resting along the path, exposed to the starry sky, he gained his second victory. In the dark of night the wind-god whispered. Man listened. The wind-god knew his place. Man was learning his own. And so the third victory came subtly.

Man slept. He dreamed of stars on water. One like a Star approached him. And he listened. He heard the Truths.

There are Two Obediences, Natural and Spiritual. Natural teach Spiritual. Gravity teaches Love.”

I do not understand,” said Man.

You will.”

Man awoke. That day he walked further up the footpath. That night he slept under the stars. He dreamed of violent storms. One like a Cloud came to him.

There are Three Simplicities. Simplicity of heart, mind, and body.”

I do not understand,” said Man.

You will.”

Man awoke. Again he journeyed up the footpath. Again he slept. He dreamed of his brothers and their homely fire. One like a Flaming Fire came to him.

There are Seven Humilities. The first is found in the two obediences. The second is found in the three simplicities. The third is love of neighbor. The fourth is love of self. The fifth is love of created order. The sixth is love of enemies. The seventh is love of God.”

I do not understand,” said Man.

You will.”

Man awoke. The day was somehow different. Still. He walked along the footpath. Evening came. Man slept. He dreamt of a great and fierce wind. One like a still small voice came to him.

There are Nine Healings. The first is wrapped up in the two obediences. The second is found in the three simplicities. The third is in the seven humilities. The fourth is in charity. The fifth is in generosity of spirit. The sixth is in baptism with fire. The seventh is in eucharist. The eighth is in contemplation. The ninth is hidden in the Name.”

I do not understand,” said Man.

You will.”

Man awoke. He began to understand. He continued his walk. At the top of a barren mountaintop a tree grew. It’s fruit was blood red. Man took and ate, and found refreshment. His face grew radiant. His heart learned humility.


The Three Youths: Copyright 2022 by Pamela Bruns. All rights reserved.

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