Story Time

An old short story of mine for you, enjoy :)

The Gazebo

There was a tribe I visited once, on my travels. I forget where they lived, the Amazon I think, anyway, their village was dominated by trees, they lived in hollowed out gnarled trunks, their sky was a green canopy of leaves, but everywhere were paintings and pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and clouds.

The nearest clearing was probably over a hundred miles away, so I asked the elder where the pictures came from.

The elder took me through the undergrowth to a very strange clearing, there were fewer trees here, but still the sky was the green of a million leaves. In the middle of the clearing was a very strange tree (or so I thought) it’s four thin parallel trunks stretched up through the leaves above, almost geometrical branches in weird patterns, linked the trunks. And the tree was obviously very old, so covered in creepers it was.

“it’s beautiful” I said, admiring this strange specimen, at this the elder burst into a fit of deep, booming laughter, and as he lead me to the many steps, he told me a story. A story that ended when we reached the top, and I saw the most incredible sight I have ever seen in my entire life.

One normal day in the village a man woke up. He sat bolt upright in his bed, and let out a great cry

“GAAAZEEEBOOOOOO”

The village fairly shook with his cry, and soon the elders of the tribe were gathered around his trunk, questioning him deeply.

It transpired, that he had been visited by Timor, the tribes god of the sky, and had been instructed to build a strange monument for the villagers, a monument by which they were to worship the sky.

The elders were excited, visions such as this were rare, and the instructions the young man had revealed were very explicit.

The young man had been instructed to build the “Gazebo”, in a clearing some 500 meters from the village, he enlisted the help of most of the rest of the village, and work commenced immediately. 4 of the tallest trees in the vicinity were found, and after an elaborate 3 day blessing, chopped down. Over the period of the next month these trees were raised in the centre of the clearing in a relatively small square. As the work continued food began to deplete in the village, and certain people were taken off the project to gather berries, and hunt wild boar.

Next work began at the base of the trees, securing and building platforms, during this time a neighbouring tribe realised that the majority of the time the village was vacant, and took to raiding the village more and more frequently. About half the workforce was removed, to guard the village from such raids.

Next, steps were constructed leading up the inside of the gazebo, and more platforms were created, though it seemed that each step placed saw the loss of a worker, either to injury, or necessity. By the time the steps reached halfway up the gazebo, only the inspired original tribsman remained, he now laboured alone to complete the monument.

Months passed, steps were placed, people forgot, the elders now talked of new wonders, a magical stone had been found, and Timor, the Gazebo, the lone tribesman, paled into comparison… the stone was blue.

But yet he worked, never lagging, sleeping on steps, eating grubs, and dreaming of the sky.

If anyone had visited they would have seen him climb ever closer to that green canopy, day by day, step by step, and they would have seen him stop, exactly a year after his vision, and pluck a leaf, a green leaf from that canopy, with tears in his eyes.

Then they would have seen him place more steps, slowly disappearing into the trees.

3 months later they would have seen him appear again, and slowly walk down the steps, a stunned look of wonder on his face, his ravaged, thin sunburnt body barely able to support him, they would have seen him walk from the clearing, towards the village.

They did see him approach, mistaking him for a stranger, all guarded looks and aggressive actions, until he collapsed some feet from his hut.

he awoke in a small trunk, one of the village girls by his side, the village elders huddled around the doorway.

“It’s beautiful” they said, the girl and the elders almost in unison.

He smiled “the gazebo?”

They nodded.

The village was transformed. The gazebo had changed their lives, they could worship the sky, and the gods were pleased, everyone was so happy. As he walked through the village people applauded him as a hero, “It’s beautiful,” they cried “so beautiful”. He could hardly speak, so choked with emotion he was. The impact it had had on their lives was so obvious, he had seen the sky too, and he knew exactly how they felt. Nothing else could affect people like this. Such powerful wonders nature held.

He walked towards the clearing, the villagers followed him, yet as he came through towards the gazebo, the villagers formed a circle, around it, their backs pressed up against the trees at the very edge of the clearing, at first he was puzzled by this, but then he realised that they were letting him walk to the sky on his own, he supposed as a kind of gesture of thanks..

He placed his foot on the first step..

The villagers all started to murmur.

He placed his other foot on the second step..

The murmuring grew to a concerned chatter.

As he placed his foot on the third step the elder cried out to him, and rushed across the clearing.

“Wait, Wait”

As the elder reached him both men looked puzzled

”What is the matter”, asked the tribesman

“Where are you going?” asked the elder in obvious distress.

The elder took the tribesman by the hand and lead him off the steps and back across the clearing, pressing his back against one of the trees he stared up at the gazebo.

“I think you’ll find you can see it best from here, look….” The elder pointed at the Gazebo “It’s Beautiful”