Daily Short Fiction: Day 153 of 365

This is an entry into my daily writing adventure. To read from the beginning, you need to go to the bottom and read upwards.

Here are the Rules:

  1. I must write 365 words (or more) a day. Practice makes perfect!
    1. NOTE: I have permission to write less than 365 words a day if I finish a story in less than 365.
  2. No editing any of these short stories until the year is over- and this includes simple stuff like spelling mistakes. It’s okay to write bad stuff!
  3. I must publish everything I write for this project, and I cannot take it down afterward.

Do not copy, repost or claim ownership of any section of these stories.


Here’s a link to my first 40 short stories.

Day 153

Saturday, July 24, 2021

NOTE: This is the last update in a while, because I’m having trouble with my blog. Simply put, wordpress has started bugging out and I’m unable to convert blogposts to private anymore. As a result, if I keep posting more blogposts, they’re just going to clutter up the front page of my website. In an effort to keep my blog fairly clean, today is the last update I’ll do to this daily series for a week or two. Hopefully in that time, the bug will be fixed.

Divinity 15

Great strength in weakness

Great power found from within

Nothing, in all things


Day 152

Friday, July 23, 2021

Divinity 14

The quiet darkness

Deep caverns, filled with night

Holy oblivion


Day 151

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Divinity 13

The void of colors

The siren’s eldritch embrace

Become enigma


Day 150

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Divinity 12

A desert of sand

An oasis, real or false

Empty horizons


Day 149

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Divinity 11

Hidden, held secret

Available to everyone

Expensive, yet free


Day 148

Monday, July 19, 2021

Divinity 10

Endurance of stone

The permanence of mountains

Ceaselessness pervades


Day 147

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Divinity 9

The sight of the wind

The echoes of the unheard

The taste of water


Day 146

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Divinity 8

Temporality

Seething yesterdays call forth

Starting and stopping


Day 145

Friday, July 16, 2021

Divinity 7

Pleasure, taste of ash

The breadth and depth of the sea

Timeless is the song


Day 144

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Divinity 6

A pain, felt inside

A promise, kept beyond hope

A pact, unbroken


Day 143

Tuesday, July 14, 2021

NOTE: I felt like doing an extra today. Enjoy.

Divinity 5

The grace of autumn

The quickening of spring rains

The abundance of summer

Divinity 4

The birth of new life

Cold water flowing downhill

The comfort of spring


Day 142

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

NOTE: Looks like I forgot to post a new poem yesterday. I’ll do two today.

Divinity 2

Ashes on the wind

The song of birds heard at dawn

Echoes of lost days

Divinity 3

The empty heart, filled

The call of pale nothingness

The absence of pain


Day 141

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Flight

Wings of the eagle

Endless expanses of clouds

The dome of the sky




Day 140

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Breath

The song of the sea

Whispering willows speak out

Overwhelming peace


Day 139

Friday, July 9, 2021

The Deeps

The calling ocean

Deep beneath the black abyss

Ever lies sleeping


Day 138

Thursday July 8, 2021

Shallow

Glimmering tide pools

Water flowing from the sea

Called by the moon


Day 137

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Emptiness

All the walls collapse

Alone, together, divine

Eternity floods


Day 136

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Virtue

Grace under pressure

Dignity even in loss

Patience overcomes


Day 135

Monday, July 5, 2021

Mist

Warm soil, cold air mix

A fog rises above all

Unseen do we walk


Day 134

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Fire

The sun sets at dusk

The smell of burning resin

Ashes in the hearth


Day 133

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Sweetness

The blooming iris

Nectar for the bumble bee

Honey in the jar


Day 132

Friday, July 2, 2021

Dawn

After night, twilight

Twilight births tranquility

And then comes morning


Day 131

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Dignity

Upstanding virtue

The boughs of an ancient pine

Grace in the changing seasons


Day 130

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Beginnings

Soft amber resin

Cool springtime rains fall upon leaves

The promise of new life


Day 129

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Void

Emptiness of form

The color of black and white

Presence in absence


Day 128

Monday, June 29, 2021

Hope

The fear of lost love

The dread of night, pain and death

Hope salves the soul’s wounds


Day 127

Sunday June 27, 2021

Cesation

Calming winter winds

The poignancy of death’s kiss

Renewal come spring


Day 126

Saturday June 26, 2021

Tree

Enduring virtue

Renewing vitality

The gift of the earth


Day 125

Friday June 25, 2021

Water

Water flowing home

Destructive and creative

The song of the sea


Day 124

Thursday, June 24 2021

Passion

Passion for writing

Perfectionism hinders me

By patience, I endure


Day 123

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Entropy

Immense size and strength

Changes, the passage of time

Miniscule remains


Day 122

Tuesday June 21, 2021

The Long Shadow

Endless expanses

The dark of night succeeds day

Quietude awaits


Day 121

Monday June 21 2021

The Divine

Emptiness within

The Oversoul unites all

The same, in and out


Day 120

Sunday June 20, 2021

NOTE: I’ve been very productive in my main fiction for the last few days. As a consequence, I’m drained my writing muscles. You’re gonna get poetry for the foreseeable future.

IOU3 creative writings. You’re getting those three today, plus the 1 for today’s fiction.

An Ode to Time

Sand in the hourglass

Time, fleeting and eternal

Blessed rest, ’til dawn

Words Wordless

Trees whisper in wind,

Water babbles in the creek,

Of what do they speak?

Flames

The gift of fire

Transforms matter into food

Warmth on cold nights alone

Doors

Between here and there

Are they inside or outside?

Or maybe they’re both?


Day 119

Saturday June 19, 2021

NOTE1: IOU 2 stories

NOTE: I got a good deal of writing done for my actual story, and feel unable to re-track my mind to write a short story tonight. Tomorrow I’ll owe you 4 works of fiction. I’m planning on writing some poetry then to decompress a bit. No fiction today, so I apologize.


Day 118

Friday June 18 2021

An Unwise Promise

NOTE: Today’s story is a retelling of a story I heard in one of my lectures about the history of religion.

In the distant land of Caramatri, there was once a rabbi. The scholar was famous far and wide for his wisdom- so much so that he drew acolytes from distant lands to study the law with him.

One day a reckless young man approached the rabbi.

“Oh great scholar, are you not known far and wide for you skillful interpretations of the law?” The young man asked.

“Indeed so,” the rabbi confirmed.

“I swear on my honor to convert to your religion, but you must explain to me the entirety of your religion in the time I can stand on one foot! If you fail, you must convert to my religion!”

“Very well,” the rabbit agreed. “Stand on your foot.”

The foolish boy stood on one foot.

“Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” the rabbit said. He handed the young man a scroll. “Now go and study.”


Day 117

Thursday June 17, 2021

A Tale of Empathy

Once upon a time there were two neighbors met at a crossroads, one a tanner, and one a fisherman.

The Tanner was walking home after a long day at the factory when the hooked fly at the end of fisherman’s fishing pole caught the the Tanner’s ear.

“Ow! Watch where you wave that thing!” The tanner complained, and pulled the hook from his ear. “You’d do well to be more careful, you dog!”

“Watch where you’re walking! You were on my side of the road,” the fisherman shouted back. The two neighbors went their separate ways.

The next night, the tanner brought home a urine-scented surprise and left it under the open window of the fisherman’s home.

In revenge, the night after that the fisherman gutted his fish and left the stinking mess upon the windowsill of the tanner.

And on and on it went, until the local Justice of the Law was brought in to mediate.

“What was the origin of this feud?” The Justice demanded.

“He caught my ear in his fishing hook!” The tanner complained.

“That wasn’t my intention!” The fisherman shot back. “He invaded my personal space on the road. He got so close that he got his own ear hooked on my hook!”

“Which man speaks truth?” The Justice asked the gods.

“They both do,” the gods answered. “In a moment of distraction by the tanner, the tanner invaded the fisherman’s personal space. In a moment of distraction by the fisherman, the fisherman’s hook accidentally attached itself to the tanner’s ear. If either took better care, this could have been avoided.”

Both tanner and fisherman looked embarrassed. The Justice looked annoyed.

“Let this be a lesson to you both. We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their perceived actions,” the judge said. “I sentence you both to community service. You must cooperate to make your village better.”

And thus was the beginning of a great friendship.


Day 116

Wednesday June 16 2021

A Riddle

Note: IOU 2 stories

“I have a riddle for you,” the archdruid told her student. “Once upon a time there were two brothers. Both were abandoned on an island, where they were forced to live out the rest of their days.”

“The elder brother was a man of great artifice. With his prodigious talents he built a great castle, with hundreds of clockwork robots to act as his servants. He spent the idle hours of his long life gazing up into the sky, and studying the passage of the stars.”

“The younger brother was a man of great folly. He wandered the forest, unclothed. He ate fruit which fell before him. He had no great intellect, but lived in rhythm with the forest by pure instinct.”

“Both brothers lived to be old men.”

“Now, student, tell me: which brother was happier?”

The student thought long and hard.

“The elder brother was happier,” the student answered. “With his great tools and his drive to study the natural world, he was without a doubt the happier of the two. He lived in comfort ’til the end of his days.”

“You are wrong. Guess again.”

The student thought long and hard.

“The younger brother was wiser. He lived in harmony with nature, with the great earth providing all the food and shelter he desired. He was no doubt happier for it.”

“You are wrong. Guess again,” the archdruid repeated.

“How can I be wrong about both?!” The student asked impatiently. “It was an either/or question!”

“No, it wasn’t,” the archdruid insisted. “I haven’t given you enough information to judge the happiness of these men. No man can judge the happiness of another by just gazing at the surface of people.”

“The answer to the riddle is thus: sometimes the question you should answer, is not the question you are being asked,” the archdruid finished.


Day 115

Tuesday June 15 2021

A Tale of Two Monkeys

There were once two monkeys who lived in The Pharaoh’s gardens. They were The Pharaoh’s possessions, and he brought them out to do tricks for his court.

“Grab me that fruit!” The Pharaoh commanded.

The smarter monkey built a ladder, and climbed the ladder to pluck the fruit from the tree.

The clever monkey climbed the tree and plucked the fruit.

“Sit down!” The Pharaoh commanded.

The smarter monkey built a chair from wood and nail, and sat in it.

The clever monkey sat upon the ground.

“Catch me a fish!” The Pharaoh commanded.

The smart monkey wove a net, and caught a fish from within The Pharaoh’s trout pond.

The clever monkey flopped around in the water uselessly, and failed to catch a fish.

“Stupid monkey, begone from my garden! The other one is more entertaining than you!” The Pharaoh commanded, exiling the monkey from his gardens.

The clever monkey was freed from slavery to The Pharaoh, and lived a long and happy life in the jungles. The smart monkey died of sorrow, alone in the gardens. Sometimes the cleverer thing to do is the obvious one, and we are enslaved because of our skills and habits.


Day 114

Monday June 14 2021

NOTE: IOU 2 stories

Underestimation

A hundred years ago in the Kingdom of Thenes, a great succession crisis befell the local monastery.

The old abbot died without appointing a successor. Instead, the abbot left behind a prophesy for who will replace him. The prophesy was impossible to complete, so the wise men of the monastery sent the stupidest monk to find a living saint to appoint a new abbot.

The stupid monk diligently traveled far and wide to find a saint, and eventually returned with a saint in tow.

“Why have you summoned me?” The Saint Beatrice asked the wise men of the monastery when she arrived.

“Our past abbot left us an impossible prophesy to complete. We cannot complete the prophesy, and until we do our monastery is rife with dissension,” the eldest of the surviving monks answered. “Without a new abbot, our monastery will fall apart.”

“What is the prophesy?” Saint Beatrice asked.

Instead of answering, the wise men of the monastery pointed to the tablet on which the prophesy was written.

He who travels to the island of Thenes and plucks a rose from the sacred bush will be my successor. However, my successor may not travel by boat, build a bridge or swim to cross the river.

“It cannot be done! How can you cross the river without boat, bridge or swimming?” The wise men of the monastery complained. “Saint Beatrice, you have the holy authority to appoint a new abbot. You must choose a new abbot.”

“Nonsense. I think this deed can be done,” Saint Beatrice answered.

She turned to the stupid monk. The stupid monk was treated poorly by the other monks, and used for manual labor around the abbey. When the stupid monk was gone, all the unworldly monks had neglected the worldly needs of the abbey and the surrounding villages. With his return, the stupid monk immediately got to work cleaning up the neglected messes created by the supposedly wise men.

“Good sir, would you please fetch that rose for me?” Saint Beatrice asked the stupid monk, pointing at the rose on the other bank of the river.

“Yes ma’am,” the stupid monk answered, bowing. He walked across the surface of the water of the river, plucked a rose and the walked back across the surface of the water to give it to her. He got back to work sweeping.

The rest of the monks stared in awe at the miraculous feat achieved by the stupidest of their number.

“I think we all know who the new abbot is,” the Saint answered.


Day 113

Sunday June 13 2021

Note iou 2 stories

Addiction

Once upon a time there was a woman who enjoyed coffee far too much. She drank a glass before breakfast, during breakfast, and after. She drank it with lunch and dinner. She even had shots of espresso along with her afternoon snacks.

She consumed so much coffee that she was rapidly running out of money. Making matters worse, when she didn’t get enough coffee every day, she experienced headaches and nausea.

“I’ve got to get this under control,” she said as she walked out of a coffee bistro, a venti mug of steaming joe in hand.

The next day she went cold turkey. She experienced terrible headaches and nausea for weeks as her body became accustomed to the lack of caffeine. But, eventually, she recovered.

“I have my life back!” She said cheerfully, and went back about her life.

For a year and a day she maintained her very strict sans-coffee diet. But then, in a moment of weakness, she went back to her favorite bistro and got a glass.

One glass led two, and two to eight. Soon enough, she was once again in the throes of addiction.

“I don’t know what to do!” She complained to her friend, even as she drank her iced coffee. “I cured my addiction! For a full year I was without coffee! I just wanted one taste! Why did I relapse?”

“You never cured your addiction. You ran far away from your addiction, and in so doing you let your fear of your addiction control you,” her friend the sheikh answered as she drank from her mint tea. “Instead try to cut back slowly. Start with seven glasses, then six, then five. Work your way down to one. In so doing you’ll control your addiction, and your addiction won’t control you.”

So the woman gradually cut back, drinking less and less a day, until she drank none at all- save when she and her friend the sheikh went out for beverages together.


Day 112

Saturday June 12 2021

NOTE: IOU 2 stories.

NOTE2: I felt like doing a haiku today

Impermanence

Water flowing down

The moon rises behind clouds

The sleeper, dreaming


Day 111

Friday June 11 2021

NOTE: iou 2 stories

Life

“Apprentice, what do you think of a person’s life?” The archdruid asked her apprentice.

“A person’s life is a single, holy unit; ineffable and true,” the apprentice druid answered. “If the saying is ‘I think, therefore I am,’ then life is the capacity to think.”

“Is the infant the same person as the adult, or the elder?” The archdruid asked.

“Of course.”

“No, you have the wrong answer. Meditate on this assignment.”

The apprentice meditated on the assignment, but remained unenlightened.

“Archdruid, I still don’t understand this assignment!” The druidic apprentice complained. “You asked me to contemplate the meaning of a person’s life, but no matter how long I meditate on the topic I don’t come up with a solution!”

“Don’t ask me; ask a doctor instead,” the archdruid answered, and sent the apprentice on his way. “Ask him what life is. Her answer might be informative.”

“Doctor, what’s life?” The apprentice asked later that day.

“When you break a person down, they are an interrelated systems of organs. Lungs link up to blood vessels, which link up to the heart, which link up to the nervous system, which attaches to the brain, which attaches to the spine, which attaches to the skeleton, which attaches to the teeth, which attaches to the digestive system. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea,” the doctor answered. “Does that help?”

“I think so,” the apprentice said, wearing a contemplative expression. He returned to his archdruid the next day.

“Tell me, apprentice, what do you think of a person’s life?”

“Life is a flexible and changing thing, a group of systems which interact and influence one another. Happiness, sadness, love and pain… all of them are transitory states of being pressed upon the living body of a person,” the apprentice answered.

“Is the infant the same person as the adult, or the elder?” The archdruid asked.

“They are different people. Our life experiences influence and change who we are fundamentally. Our parents raise us, our schools teach us, and life molds us into who we become. We are all interconnected with the world around us.”


Day 110

Thursday June 10 2021

NOTE: IOU 2 stories

Delusions

There were once two brothers, one wise and the other foolish.

The elder brother was a scholar of great merit, acclaimed in his field of study. He was a happy husband and father to his sons, and his family loved him. He was an athlete, with a healthy body. He lived a blessed live.

The younger brother was an irritable man, who couldn’t hold down a job for more than a few months. He had no woman, for none could tolerate him. After years of gluttonous overindulgence, he was as fat as he was mean. He lived a miserable life.

They met one holiday.

“Brother, I am worried about you,” the elder brother told his younger brother.

“I have my life under control!”

Some weeks later, tragedy struck. A lifelong friend of both brothers died. Both brothers spiraled into depression, and drowned their pain in alcohol.

The elder brother lost his job due to alcohol abuse. When he became violent with his family, they abandoned him. He grew sickly from poor diet.

The younger brother’s already miserable life hit rock bottom. He became completely unemployable, and nearly died from alcohol poisoning.

On his near-deathbed, the younger brother had a realization: he was unhappy, and the reasons for his unhappiness were all under his control.

The younger brother got clean from alcohol. He moderated his interactions with others, and tried to keep a more positive attitude on life. He got a decent job for the first time in years, and lost weight. He even met a woman, and was happy to adopt her daughters.

The elder brother never hit rock bottom.

The brothers met again, one holiday.

“Brother, I am worried about you,” the younger brother told his elder brother.

“I have my life under control!”


Day 109

Wednesday June 9 2021

NOTE: IOU 2 stories

The Fire Extinguisher

The King of Sancree was visiting his favorite theater when he saw a strange peasant: a hunchbacked man who was carrying around a fire extinguisher. The King summoned the strange peasant to him.

“My good man, why do you have that fire extinguisher?” The king asked his subject.

“Twenty years ago, I was trapped in a burning building. I managed to save myself using this fire extinguisher,” the peasant explained. “I swore to carry this useful thing with me everywhere I went from then on. “

“Isn’t that thing heavy?” The perplexed king asked.

“Indeed it is, sir. It weighs almost ten pounds. That weight is what’s given me this hunchback. My back hurts from it.”

“This extinguisher served you well in a fire, but now it serves only to break you,” the king said. “Why don’t you give it to a firefighter who might get more use out of it than you? It is no longer of any use for you.”

“But any day now I might need to use it again,” the peasant protested. “You can never guess when a fire will start.”

The king dismissed the strange man.

The peasant never needed the extinguisher again, but carried it with him until his dying day. He never learned the virtue of giving away that which you don’t need anymore. As a consequence, he suffered back problems for the rest of his long, long life.


Day 108, Tuesday June 8 2021

The Passage of Time

NOTE: IOU 2 additional stories

There was once a small village, in which lived a family which loved one another very much. They were a mother and father, their daughter and the four grandparents. The seven of them lived together for many years in peace and harmony.

Over the course of a single year their lives fell apart.

When one of the grandparents died of old age, her spouse died not long after of a broken heart.

The mother and one of the remaining grandparents contracted an influenza pandemic which spread like fire that year, and fled this mortal coil.

The final grandparent, having lost wife and daughter both, drank himself to death.

This left the father and the daughter, alone in a very big, very drafty house.

“I hate the passage of time. Just one year ago we were happy. Now all is lost,” the father said as he laid the final grandfather to rest. “Nothing good ever comes from impermanence. I will never be happy again.”

Many years passed. The girl grew up. She made many friends. She got married and had children. The husband fell in love again, got married, and had more children. The large, drafty house was filled with laughter once again.


Day 107

Sunday June 7, 2021

A Date with Death

NOTE: I based this story on a story by Rumi.

The Saint Beatrice was once in the Magocracy of Noor, healing the sick king of that land. One day, when she was addressing the mage-king’s injuries, the king’s vizier approached her.

“Saint Beatrice, blessed of the gods! You have to help me!” The aged vizier said. He grabbed her and held her tight. “Just now I saw The Implacable Ferryman! He was staring at me! I think the god of death plans to kill me!”

“I’m sure there must be a logical explanation for this,” Beatrice said. “Let me speak with The Ferryman, and sort this out.”

“There is no time! Even now I can feel his eyes staring at me!” The vizier wailed. He turned to his king. “My lord, you must send me to a distant land, where The Ferryman will not find me!”

“It is done,” the mage-king said, and waved a hand. By the king’s great sorcery, a portal was created, sending the vizier to the distant land of Sumpfig. Not long after, the Saint Beatrice finished her ministrations upon the mage-king, received her payment and departed his palace.

“Beatrice,” The Implacable Ferryman said when she stepped out of the palace. The Ferryman sat on a bench outside the palace, an intimidating figure in pure white.

“Ferryman, is it true you intended to kill the king’s aged vizier?” Beatrice asked the god of death. He shook his head.

“The appointed moment of his death is tomorrow, in distant Sumpfig. There he will die of a heart attack, caused by the stress of fear. I was surprised when I saw him here in Noor, so I stared at him. I have no idea how he will travel halfway across the planet between then and now,” the god answered. “I fear he might miss his date with death.”

“Oh my! The king just portaled his vizier to Sumpfig! He will no doubt make his appointment,” The Saint said. She then asked, “If you are not here to collect the vizier, why are you here, waiting?”

“I sit here, waiting for you. I want to ask you out for a meal,” the god of death said. He stood up from his bench, and bowed to the Saint Beatrice, blessed of the gods. He held out a hand. “There is a little falafel shop up the street which, I am told, sells the greatest falafel on the planet. Would you care to join me?”

“Yes, but no staring at people!” The Saint demanded, accepting his hand. “Promise me you will try to look less intimidating. It’s most rude to scare people into fleeing the continent.”

“I will try,” the sombre god acceded. Together, The Saint and The Ferryman, went on a date.


Day 106

Sunday 6/6/2021

The Dictator and his Wife

Many years ago the Despotship of Shoor-ban was ruled by a tyrannical Archdruid. Such was his cruelty that his nation suffered many years of civil wars. To triumph over his many enemies, he brought the cudgel of the law down upon friend and enemy alike. When at last the Despot triumphed over his final rival, he returned to his palace, exhausted.

“It is done,” the Despot told his wife, the Despotista as he submerged himself in his bathing pool. “At last we have found peace.”

“Now that we have peace, is it not time to end the oppression caused by the cudgel of the law?” His wife asked as she massaged his shoulders.

“This peace is but a fleeting moment,” the Despot said, shaking his head. “It will not last.”

“If this peace will only last for a fleeting moment, will you not let us savor this moment?” His wife begged. “Is it not a tenet of druidism to enjoy every moment, and live life to it’s fullest? Oppression is against the natural order!”

“Enough! My decision is final!” The Despot said.

His words proved prophetic, but not as he would have hoped. Because of his oppression, another rebellion took seed and grew. The Despotship collapsed not long after.


Day 105

NOTE: IOU 2 stories

A Lesson in Compassion

The Saint Beatrice visited a village beset with disease, there to work her craft. In the center of the village was an depressed healer.

“I can’t do this!” The healer said, weeping. “I’ve worked and worked and worked! Still more get sick! Still more die! I’m not good enough! Their deaths are all my fault! I hate myself!”

The Saint Beatrice kissed the healer’s forehead.

“Do you have compassion for the sick and dying?” The Saint asked the village healer.

“Of course.”

“How can you have compassion for other people when you don’t have compassion for yourself?” The Saint asked. “You must have compassion for yourself. Self-love is practice for loving for other people.”

“Ma’am, it’s not that easy!”

“Look inward, and find the spark of divinity the gods placed within you. Then look outward, and find the same divine spark in your patients,” The Saint said. “You aren’t alone. The gods love you. I love you. We all believe in you. You aren’t failing; this task is just very hard.”

The healer took a great, shuddering breath, and together the Saint and the healer got back to work.


Day 104 – Friday June 4 2021

NOTE: IOU 2 stories

The Vampire

Once upon a time a vampire and a human were trapped in a burning building together. That building had two escape routes.

The first route was a door. The only door out of the building was locked and barred. The key to the lock was inside the building’s chapel- a holy place where the unholy vampire could not go. The bar on the door was so heavy that no human could lift it. Only by working together could both the vampire and human escape before the building burned.

The second route was a window, inside the chapel. The human could climb through the window, but the fall from the forth-story window might kill a human. The vampire, in this case, would burn.

“What do I choose?” The human asked. “Do I trust the vampire, and use this key to escape? Or do I climb through the window, and hope I don’t die?”

“I swear I will not harm you,” the vampire promised as the building burned around them. “Fetch the key, I will unbar the door, and together we will be free.”

The human decided to trust the vampire.

The human came out of hiding, and the first thing the vampire did was kill the human.

“You fool! You needed me to get the key! With me dead, you too will die! You have killed us both!” The human said as he lay dying.

“I am a vampire. It is in my nature to kill,” the monster answered. “Better to trust the uncertain death of the windowsill than the certain death of the hungry maw.”

The building burned down with both still inside. And so both human and vampire were killed by foolish trust.


Day 103 – Thursday June 3 2021

A Lump of Clay

NOTE: I’m basing this story on a old story from the Upanishads.

Once upon a time, the founder of the Zen Druidic tradition was captured by a king. The king wanted to crush the druidic tradition to preserve his theocratic power in his nation. He was sentenced to death by exposure. The king had a cage made, stuffed the naked druid in the cage and hung the cage out in the open so the whole kingdom could watch him die.

“Let this be a lesson to all my rivals,” the king said as he locked the cage. “My religion is the true religion. All others are false.”

“I forgive you, my lord,” the druid said humbly even as the king departed.

The princess stayed behind to speak with the druid after her father left.

“Why do you forgive my father?” The princess asked. “By his will, you will die!”

“Good princess, how is the universe like a lump of clay?” The Zen Druid asked.

“I don’t know,” the princess answered humbly.

“Think it over and come back tomorrow,” the druid suggested.

The princess left, and over the question. She returned the next day.

“The universe is solid and unchanging. It is tangible, and you can step upon it, much like you can walk upon clay bricks,” the princess answered.

“Is that so? Then why does clay melt when you soak it in water? And can you not transform clay into pots and sculpture as much bricks?” The druid asked. “You are indeed correct, the universe is as solid and unchanging as a lump of clay. But you are also wrong; the universe is as multiform as clay too.”

“But what does that have to do with you forgiving my father?” The princess asked.

“Think it over and come back tomorrow,” the druid repeated.

The princess left, and thought over the question. She returned the next day.

When she returned, the druid was on the verge of dying from exposure. He was shivering, naked in the cold, and parched with thirst.

“You forgive my father for he is clay. You are also clay.”

“Poisonous plants and healthy plants grow in the same soil,” he said. “Your father is the shape his life has made him. In another circumstance, I would have become him. How can I not forgive him? He is me.”

“If you truly love the king as you love yourself, then your execution is unconscionable!” The princess said. “Let me free you, bring you food and clothing!”

“No. Your father would deny my request for freedom or food. Even the oldest trees must die one day; today is my day,” the druid answered. “Come back to me tomorrow with an answer to this question: are you clay too?”

The princess left, and thought over the question. She returned the next day.

She returned, and found the archdruid dead in his cage. She felt empathy for the dead man, and through that bond of empathy she recognized the shared divinity between herself and the dead druid- herself and the whole world.

The princess would go on to take over her father’s kingdom, convert to Zen Druidism and bring peace to the land. All was happy and right.


Day 102 – Wednesday June 2 2021

An Overflowing Watering Can

Once upon a time a university professor invited a great Zen Archdruid to the university to speak with the students. The professor was a very wise man; he was filled up with much wisdom.

In the hours before the Archdruid’s seminar was to begin, the professor and the druid spent some time in the university’s gardens together. As they toured the garden, they got to talking.

“I wish for you to teach me about Druidism,” the professor of religious history asked of the druid. “I always want to know more.”

“What a lovely Arboretum!” The druid said. “I must compliment the discipline of your gardeners.”

“Yes, I trained them myself,” the professor said proudly. “Thank you for the complement.”

“Is that so?” The druid said, picking up a watering can. He started filling it with water from a spigot.

“Yes! I read and studied all the major works of all the major schools of Druidism, and designed the landscaping of the gardens to perfectly capture the philosophical manifestation of the enlightened spirit.”

The druid kept filling the watering can.

“I pull the weeds to protect the flowers. I fertilize the soils with discarded mulch, to reuse what others have cast away.”

The druid kept filling the watering can.

“I pollard the trees and bushes, so they don’t grow shabby with needless twigs. I mow the grass, to keep them likewise under control.”

The druid kept filling the watering can.

“I water at dawn and dusk, when the garden beds are thirstiest. I amend the soils with salts and clays, to make them the proper texture for roots. I follow the rules of the druid to excellence.”

The watering can was full of water, but still the druid kept pouring more water into it.

“I- Good sir, the watering can is full! Why do you still pump more into it?”

“The utility of the watering can is in it’s emptiness. So too is the human mind,” the archdruid explained. “Instead of focusing on learning new gardening techniques from me, focus instead on finding the silence and emptiness within.”


Day 101 – Tuesday June 1, 2021

No update for today. IOU 2 stories.



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