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Tenth Insight

Go With The Flow- The Pearlboy

"Entangled in his net was a beautiful mermaid!"

When they were out of sight of the shore the two elder brothers executed their plan. They fell on their younger brother, tied him up and wrapped him in the fishing net, weighed him down with stones and threw him overboard, surely to drown in the depths of the sea.

They then concocted a story of how they had trapped a sea monster, and how their brother had been pulled overboard in the struggle. They returned home and broke the story to their parents. What grief struck that family! The father became old and frail overnight and the light in the mother’s heart died. When the fisherman fished, his nets were now nearly empty.

Their bright little home became grey with the gathering dust. As there was now little driftwood to be found, their hearth grew cold. War broke out in the country and recession hit the community. The eldest son lost most of his pupils to the war, and the business which employed the middle son collapsed and he was left with no means. Both sons now returned with their wives to their father’s home. They went fishing in vain and struggled to make ends meet as the ocean refused to fill their nets.

Meanwhile, we return to the plight of the youngest son whom we left sinking to the bottom of the sea. He struggled with the nets and the rope and allowed the motion of the sea to help him. The sea turned him over and over, and he became dizzy. He began to feel hands pulling and tugging at the net; opening his eyes, he saw that he was encircled by mermaids working to disentangle him. Eventually they freed him and gently guided him up to the surface. They swam with him and sang to him to keep him company and to keep his spirits from sinking. When night came a storm blew up and brought him a beautiful white seahorse.

The mermaids urgently beckoned him to mount, he did as they bid. They waved farewell and the white horse took off across the waves, surfing the ocean for days and nights, until the clouds parted company giving way to a heavenly expanse of blue graced by a shining sun. The white seahorse graciously deposited him on a golden shore. It was an island of paradise. The son thought that he had truly died and that heaven lay all about him. He felt the warmth of the sun on his skin, the softness of the supporting sand and the delicious cool of the sea water whispering around his feet. He stretched and breathed and realised he was alive. He sat up and looked about.

There were palm trees nearby laden with fruit, waiting for him. Suddenly hungry, he gathered all he needed and feasted on the shore of his new found home. He erected a shelter and built a boat and made nets. The trees provided him with fruit. When he went out in his boat, the fish offered themselves up to his nets. Life was good, nature was providing, he was happy and he sang to the birds. They flocked to him to listen and join in, then flew across the island to spread the news of the Pearlboy’s arrival.

The news reached the birds of the palace. The wise man there heard their chatter and asked the king for permission to travel. Guided by the stories the birds sang out, he eventually found the Pearlboy on the shore, surrounded by birds and wild animals who had totally lost all fear of human the hunter. The youth greeted the old sage and offered him food and drink and the old man asked him to sing. And as the Pearlboy sang, tears streamed down the old man’s face, tears of sorrow, sorrow for the sadness that afflicted his country.

He told the Pearlboy that the land was sad, so the people were sad, so the palace was sad, and that at the palace there lived a beautiful princess who was near to death for grief. He had prayed to the guardian spirits of the land to send them a saviour. They had replied that, when the time was right, someone would be brought from across the sea, and the winged messengers would spread the news of his arrival throughout the land. The sage implored the Pearlboy to sing and spread his joy, travel the country and sing and heal the land. They would travel together, visit the sacred places.

They would sing at the full moon and the new moon and the turning of the seasons, at dawn, at dusk, in the valleys, on the hills, to the trees, to the earth, to the rocks, to the wind and to the rivers and lakes. This they did and it took them seven years. In seven years they healed the land. People began to smile. Laughter and music could be heard in the towns. The country was alive with the choirs of birds and the sound of singing wafted out of the palace. The Pearlboy had arrived and was singing in the presence of the dormant princess. The beauty of his voice pierced the depths of her soul and she opened her eyes, turned to the singer and smiled. It was a smile of recognition and welcome.

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