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Today I will be sharing a fairy tale with all of you. All characters in this story are fictional representations of truth, any likeness to real persons living or dead is purely incidental. Without further ado, here is The Wise Woman and the Beautiful Child.
There once was a wise woman who stood amid a vast sea of fools. She sailed on a little ship that puttered along against skys both black and blue, only stopping to throw out a line for those she saw drowning in the deeps. These lines were her salvation and her blessing. Saving the drowned and drowning allowed the wise woman to keep her ship afloat, and to nourish the small family of sailors on board.
One day the wise woman came upon new waters commandeered by state and national agencies and, from that day on, she was never short of waterlogged lungs to wring dry. The sailors on board had seen many things at the helm of the wise woman’s ship but none so sad as the little lost ones, or so frightening as those that took their charge by tying rocks to the little one’s feet and leaving them to drown.
On a cold gray dawn a little one was fished from the water, and lay still and silent on the deck waiting for air to gasp into her lungs. There were a number of little ones on the boat now, learning to navigate roughened waters. More importantly, they were learning to navigate smooth waters as well. Many had never seen a truly sunny day and wouldn’t recognize a lack of clouds in the sky if it were not pointed out to them. All children are beautiful, but this new little creature held a beauty that surpassed many others. Quiet and withdrawn, a dagger always in hand and ready, she met the others with a wariness and cunning that only the drowning possess—a willingness to strike even at those who are trying to save them as the survival instinct is all their young minds know.
The wise woman had met many like this and found herself in a unique position to help these creatures, having been one herself. She had grown into the wise woman amid a family of the drowning, and though she could not save them she had learned to help others by learning to help herself. This healing is a slow process, and she was wise enough to know she had not completed it yet and might not ever. So the woman set about helping the little girl learn how to live, to love, and to heal. Giving her the tools to continue this journey once she would have to disembark from the ship for no one could stay forever.
But there was treachery here, and the woman soon recognized the signs of wounds that were not healing but being torn open again and again. She watched and waited, knowing that her fears could only be confirmed by time. One day the littler girl grew comfortable enough to trust the wise woman, and she told a dark story of her drowning days. The wise woman held back her tears and her alarm, knowing from experience to stay calm, she occupied the beautiful child with play and set about mounting the S.O.S.
Soon help arrived, bigger ships floating in from the new waters. The wise woman told them they had missed something, that the little girl should have been removed from the waters in which she was drowning, that she was not one of the ones who simply needed a life preserver.
An agent of the ship looked at this wise woman with calculating eyes, having heard stories of her far and wide. This agent harbored a secret jealousy against the wise woman and loathed the idea that someone who had never been formally taught the ways of the sea could be so well-known and respected. Instead of thinking of the drowning creature, this person was thinking of how to undermine the work of the wise woman, and this tempered how the agent heard the wise woman’s plea.
The wise woman told the agent what she had learned from the child and long suspected. She spoke of horrors that should not exist, of a trade in goods and innocence. The agent took the information and smiled, acting warmly while beginning the steps to have the child removed from the waters, all the while thinking of ways to tear apart the wise woman’s little ship.
The child stayed on the wise woman’s little ship for several nights, until the bigger ships could find a temporary port in which to store her. Soon she had to leave the wise woman, who covered her in kisses and promised she would help her. The wise woman knew that temporary ports were often no better than drowning waters.
And so the beautiful child left, and the little ship and all its sailors could do little more than wonder at her future. The wise woman, however, knew it was not time to wonder but to act. She set about searching for dry land on which the child could live forever and watch rainbows crisscross the sky. Soon she found just the right place and set about working with the bigger ships to set the beautiful child merrily on her way.
But the agent saw this with freshly blooming hatred and also saw how to turn the triumph to misery. The agent smiled to the wise woman’s face, acting kindly, while sewing seeds of discord within the large ships. Soon the tides had turned against the wise woman and she stood accused of abusing and circumventing the due process of maritime law by seeking out dry land for the child when none was needed, when perhaps the child didn’t need to be plucked from the waters at all.
The wise woman, never bending even the slightest to threats, stood tall and morphed before their eyes into a dragon. She breathed fire down their necks, creating a bright enough light to shame all of them with their foolishness. She boarded their ships stamping, hollering, and spewing flame until they had no choice but to take the beautiful child and place her onto dry land where she still searches the sky for rainbows to this day.
Many stood amazed at the wise woman’s bravery as, no matter how big she grew, the little ship on which she sailed could still be easily capsized by the bigger ships. But the wise woman knew that, to save the lost and the drowning, sometimes one has to be willing to risk even the vessel upon which she sails.