Monday, August 15, 2005

Beckonings II

"Follow the red brick road," so says the Wizard of Oz as he pointed north, "and you will find the real Wizard, the Wizard of Orh, soon enough. He will help you find your way home." And so, armed with just my water bottle, I headed off. Just my luck that the first wizard turned out to be a humbug. *Grumble grumble*

The going was easy initially, but I soon found parts of the road getting narrow or rocky or both. I hoped more than a few times that this second journey will not take too long.

A scurry through the tall lalang grass on my left startled me. "I'm late! I'm late! No time to waste. I'm late!" The grass parted to reveal a rabbit holding a large round waist clock in his right hand. His other hand seemed hurt and was in a sling. He got onto the road and broke into a spontaneous jog.

"Hey, wait! What are you late for?"

"Many things… many things. No time to waste on useless questions. Gotta run, gotta run."

"Calm down. Haven't you heard of more haste less speed? Patience, my friend."

He stopped suddenly and turned around,"Yes indeed, I do know I'm impatient. In fact, I am heading north to seek an attendance with the Wizard of Orh. I would like to ask him to grant me some patience."

"Hey, I am heading there too, to ask him to send me home. Let's journey together."

"Alright, but I'll dictate the pace."

"No go. You're injured, so a slower pace will suit us both better."

Reluctantly, he agreed. And so, after a brief rest (I had to insist) and a swipe of water from my water bottle, we started off together.

The going got progressively tougher as we headed north. It got warmer too and I had to try and ration out my water. For some reason, Rabbit did not feel any thirst at all. Either that, or he had a high level of tolerance.

We soon find ourselves in a midst of a jungle. A very dark one.

"Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn't I?"

"What's that? What's that?" asks Rabbit as he jumped into my arms, eyeballs darting from side to side.

"Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn' I?"

I mastered my most forceful voice and offered,"Who's there? Come on out now!"

We heard some rustling of leaves and cracking of branches but still saw no one.

So I repeated and added a threat,"Who's there? Come on out now or we'll… we'll come and get you (though I know not how)."

"Please don't. I am already standing next to you… (That really startled us!) Oh, I forgot…" came back a ladylike voice.

She stepped onto the brick road and we finally saw her true form.

"Why, it's a pollywog. A female one at that!" exclaimed Rabbit.

"Which was why you couldn't see me just now; I was standing against the backdrop of the jungle," explained Pollywog.

And we all shared a hearty laugh over it.

"So why were you mumbling "Should I? Shouldn't I?" repeatedly?"

*Sigh* "I'm trying to decide whether to leave the jungle."

"And have you decided?"

"No, not for many moons."

"Many moons? Gee, you’re an indecisive one," Rabbit interjected.

"Indeed I am. I'm actually trying to decide if I should leave the jungle to go up north. I was thinking of asking the great Wizard of Orh for a heart. Then I will have the heart to make up my mind once and for all."

"Hey, we're heading there too. Let us make the decision for you this time. Come with us and once you are granted your heart, you can then decide whether you want to return to the jungle."

And so, we did, after a brief rest (I had to insist and decide) and a further swipe of water from my water bottle.

Soon, we were out of the jungle. Ms. Pollywog was noticeably apprehensive just after leaving the boundaries of the jungle, but soon settled down after our repeated assurances. Both Rabbit and myself, on the other hand, were mighty relieved to leave the dark jungle behind us and be back in broad daylight again. But the underside of that is it got really warm again. When the welcome sight of a pond appeared, it got us racing one another to it.

That was the first time I saw Rabbit drinking since we started journeyed together. As I refilled my water bottle, I noticed a pair of ducks bobbing serenely in the middle of the pond, one of which seemed to be hesitating.

"Go on," said the larger one to the smaller one.

Reluctantly, the smaller one swam towards us.

"Hi. I came over just to say hello."

"Hi there. And why the earlier hesitation? Do we look hostile?"

"No, of course not. Don't get me wrong. I just had to ask my mother for permission first."

"Hmm… you could do with more independence," interrupted Ms. Pollywog somewhat rudely.

"Yes, I know. I was thinking of leaving my mother and the pond to go up north. I would like to ask for some independence from the Wizard of Orh. Then mother will not have to worry about me anymore."

"That's where all of us are headed. Come with us."

"I should inform my mother first."

"Sure thing. Tell her not to worry about you. We'll take good care of you on the journey north."

Of course, her mother agreed and we did, after a brief rest (I had to insist, decide and reassure) and a further swipe of water from my water bottle.

I heard the Wizard of Orh stayed in a green city too, as did the Wizard of Oz. Instead of emeralds, it is covered with greenery. So they named it the Garden City. I wondered how much longer before we got there.

Akan Datang: Peanuts!

228 days to go.


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