Journeyman Pete Written by: Evelyn Pointer, Elder
Once upon a time in the land of the great forests, lived a little boy named Journeyman Pete. He lived with his mother and father and three older sisters in a small town called Happy Valley. Their house was built in the west shore of the Laughing River, three miles south of the northern farms, but east of Spring Meadows. It used to be a thriving town. I say, he lived in the land of the great forester, but the great forests were no more. Journeyman Pet’s mother told him about the time that the forests were so large, with trees so tall and thick you could not see through them.
She told him how Laughing River used to
actually be a wide river where the children would swim and play and where they would all have picnics every Sunday, instead of the dry ground that it now was. She told him about prosperous farms and green grass and apples on trees and full bellies and fat children, but he could barely believe her.
You see, Happy
Valley was not a happy place anymore, and there were no more trees and no more forests.
As far as the eye could see everything was brown and dry.
Journeyman Pete’s father told him that many ears before Journey man was born that a terrible event changed their whole world. One day it just didn’t rain. For several years it did not rain. And then a great swarm of insects came and ate the leaves of all the places in the land of the great forests did everything they could, but slowly like a giant wave, the draught and desolation covered the land, until there was nothing left, but sand and tumbleweeds where there used to be field of flowers, rocks and weeds where there used to be farms, and old decaying skeletons of trees dead long ago. This was the world that Journeyman Pete knew and grew up in. Almost everyone in Happy Valley was skinny.
There was never enough food.
Most of the people moved away. There were only six families left in the town. I said, almost everyone was skinny, except Aunt Mabel.
She was fat, no one
knew why. She only ate beans like the rest of them but she stayed fat. They tried to catch her eating or hoarding food. No one ever did. So, all they ate was beans, beans and a little water , a little water and beans. One day Journeyman Pete went to visit Aunt Mabel. He was hoping he would catch her with food. But, as usual, she was just trying to clean the sand and dust out of her house. “Aunt Mabel,” he said, “I’m so hungry I could die.”
Aunt Mabel just smiled and said, “ Is that so, Journeyman Pete?” “Yes, Aunt Mabel,” he said, “Do yo have anything to eat?” I’m sorry,” she said, “I just ate my last bean.” “But, Aunt Mabel,” he dared, hunger making him bold, because in those days to be fat was a status symbol, so Aunt Mabel was a lot to look up to, “Why are you so fat and no one else?”
Aunt Mabel just laughed “ Why
Journeyman, years ago I was considered just fine, not fate!
It’s just that
everybody else is so skinny! But I have a secret that keeps me fat!” “What is that, Aunt Mabel?” Journeyman asked. “Well,” she said, her eyes singing that one day I’ll have plenty to eat again, an can walk in the shadows of the great trees and swim in the water of the Laughing River. But, that will never happen, Journeyman said. Boy, that’s what hope is, hope keeps me fat, and if you had hope you wouldn’t be so skinny and hungry, besides, she said, if my old leg wasn’t so crippled I would do something about it. What would you do? Journey man Pete asked.
Why I would walk to the other side of the great forest to the
Seed Keepers Cottage and but me some seed and plant a garden.
won’t grow Aunt Mabel, just a few beans, m daddy told me, the land is too poor. Journeyman said.
Your daddy could use some hope too, Aunt Mabel said, and
shooed him out of her house. Journeyman Pete thought about what Aunt Mabel said, he asked his parents who told him that she was just an old woman with dreams.
But, each day as they all
grew hungrier and hungrier, Journeyman Pete thought more and more about it. Maybe, just maybe, it was worth a try. But, he was just a little boy, seven years old and stunted from hunger. What could he do? One day Journeyman’s mother became sick. She became too weak to cook and clean. His father said it was the ‘Hunger.’ There was nothing else that he could do, he had to try He sneaked out of the house and began a long journey to the other side of the great forest. It took him ten long days and ten even longer colder nights, but he came to a small cottage that said “Seed keeper,” and he knocked on the door and went in. seeds he had.
He asked the seed keeper what types of
The seed keeper showed him many bags of seeds, different
sizes, shapes and colors, some beautiful like colorful jewels, shaped like beans. “But how much do they cost?” Journeyman asked. “What do you have?” the seed keeper asked. “Nothing,” Journeyman replied.
“Nothing it is then,” said the seed keeper. For such a brave little boy the seeds are free, choose whichever seeds you want,” Journeyman Pete looked at ll of the bags and chose the biggest bag with the prettiest colors. On his way home Journeyman became so hungry, he couldn’t help himself, he ate a seed, it was so good, he ate another. By the time he came home there were only six seeds left, one for each family. Aunt Mabel just shook her head, they ate all of their seeds and there was nothing left to plant. Pete, his mother was still very hungry and very sick.
So Journeyman Pete
decided to make the trip again. This time he chose a bag with mostly the same type of delicious seeds, but also some plain bean seeds. Just as before he ate most of the delicious seeds, but there were a few bean seeds to plant, that yielded as usual a pitiful crop of beans.
It wasn’t enough.
Aunt Mabel just
shook her heard. “You have to make a wise choice Journeyman Pete,” she said. Journeyman Pete was a little disheartened, not only that but his stomach never felt good after he ate so many of the pretty seeds. wanted to try he went again.
But because he really
This is the last time, he thought.
lonesome journey brought him to the seed keeper cottage and again he bought the best look bag of seeds. He didn’t eat so many of them before but when he planted them the pretty seeds didn’t grow and the plain seeds only grew a few large flowers. “Why is this no good,” he said to Aunt Mabel, “I chose all of the best seeds and hoped all I could but we’re still starving.” He cried like his heart was breaking. Aunt Mabel just held him in her soft fat arms until he stopped. “Journeyman Pete,” she said, “have you ever thought that good things come in small packages? What do yo mean, Aunt Mabel, he asked. Just think about it Journeyman, you’re small, but you’re the bravest man in the village. Well, the compliment made him feel better, but he was tired of walking through the dead trees, and the pretty seeds gave him a stomach ache and Aunt Mabel was just and old woman with dreams. That night he saw his father sitting beside his sick mother, he was crying! Journey man had never seen his father cry before. No matter how bad things were or how hungry they were. He knew his mother was dying. I’ll try one more time, he thought “one more time to save my mother.” So before anyone could stop him, off he was again hoping that he would make it in time.
But this time when he reached the seed keeper cottage and asked for seeds the seed keeper told him that all of the bags of seeds were gone “why, little boy I’ve given you every bag of my most beautiful seeds for free,” he said “Have those not pleased you?”
“Oh no,” Journeyman said “the pretty seeds tasted
very good and sweet but they made my stomach hurt, and the other plain seeds with them did not grow enough food. “But,” said the seed keeper, “I let you choose whichever seeds you wanted, and all of those kinds of seeds are gone.” Journeyman began to cry. He told the seed keeper how his mother was dying and how he had tried as hard as he could and how Aunt Mabel told him to hope but nothing worked. The seed keeper was a very kindly old man. He listened to little Journeyman and said, “you have been a very good boy Journeyman but also a very silly boy. You chose the seeds that looked the best, not the seeds that were the best.”
“But” Journeyman said
“Which seeds are the best?” “Well,” said the seed keeper, “I only have a few, I’ve tried to sell them but no one wants such little plain seeds when they can have big bags of beautiful seeds.” “May I have them?” Journey man asked “You may have only one,” the seed keeper said “they are very rare and precious, so I will only give yo one and one is all you will need.” the seed keeper climbed upon on a ladder and took a small box from the highest shelf. Very slowly he opened the box and with a pair of tweezers he took out one tiny seed.
nothing,” Journey man said “How can that tiny seed do anything when I’ve had bags and bags of beautiful good seeds!”
“Were they good?” the seed keeper
said “Good things come in small packages!” This is just what Aunt Mabel said! Still unsure he took the tiny seed and placed it in his pocket. This was his last chance he knew, and there was nothing else he could do.
Careful of the seed,
Journeyman Pete made his way back home. When all of the villagers saw him, they looked hopefully for the delicious seeds, they didn’t last but at least they tasted good. When he showed them the seed they laughed at him. “What can that do?”
They said “Silly Journeyman Pete is just a baby!”
The older boys
said. “Leave him alone! “ Aunt Mabel said. Journeyman Pete ran home see how his mother was. She was barely holding on. His father was beside himself.
His older sisters were crying and didn’t want to be bothered by him. Journeyman Pete ran to Aunt Mabel’s house who was in her back yard hoeing in the dirt. She had dug perfect little squares and marked them off with sticks and stakes. “I tried Aunt Mabel, I really did but I couldn’t make it work. Hope doesn’t work and neither do seeds.” He cried to her. “Oh Journeyman Pete,” she said tears running down her face, “you are the most wonderful boy in the world. Don’t you know the seed keeper gave you the most precious seed in the world?” “But everybody laughed at me and my sisters were angry at me and my father didn’t even notice I was gone.” That’s because they are afraid, but you are braver than them all,” Aunt Mabel told him, “And right now we’re going to plant that seed in the middle of my garden.” Journeyman Pete handed her the tiny little seed and Aunt Mabel kissed him. center of her dusty sandy yard.
Together they planted it in the
aunt Mabel pound out a few drops of her
precious water allotment on the seed and giggled like a little girl, when she stood up she danced, her skirt flying about her legs int he breeze. “Let’s go back to my house and pray and thank the good Lord,” she said. “And together that’s just what they did. Later Autn Mabel made up a bed for him in her spare room and they went to sleep. Some time in the middle of the night they heard a strange and rare noise. A soft thump, thump, thump, a soft rumble. “What is that,” Journey man Pete thought.
He ran to Aunt Mabel’s room and saw her
sitting looking out of her window hugging her arms and rocking back and forth. “What is that Aunt Mabel?” Journeyman Pete asked.
“Why child,” she said
“that’s rain!” Andy they sat up the rest of the night and watched the rain fall. That morning it still rained and didn’t stop until the afternoon.
looked outside they saw a soft caret of green stuff on the ground “that’s grass,” Aunt Mabel told Journeyman Pete.
It rained again later that evening
and through the next night. The next morning beautiful bright colord flowers were everywhere and thing young trees were growing.
The town people
rejoiced. What a wonderful thing to happen. After 20 years the drought was over. But what made it happen? Everyday, actually every hour things grew. You could almost see it grow. In one weeks time Aunt Mabel’s backyard was full of fruit trees in flowers, and cabbages and carrots and green beans and peas and sweet potatoes and white potatoes and little round tomatoes and red ripe straw berries and rose vines climbed right up the side of her house, and spilled over to the roof.
The town was beautiful. Journeyman’s mother got stronger everyday with the fresh fruits and vegetables, and the cows that used to be skinny and sick were giving gallons and gallons of rich milk. the forest was full of trees, young and thin but growing bigger everyday, and the river was almost full with clean rushing water.
IN fact, as far as they could see everything was green and
growing. It started with them, but the green kept spreading and spreading until the whole world was beautiful and fruitful. Journeyman learned not take anything at face value. everything that looks good on the outside and attractive to the eye, things that may be gin and shiny, and that everybody seems to want, may not be worth much.
But there is a rare
thing, so mall and plain and little that is the greatest thing of all, and most people won’t see it or choose it or know its worth. And that thing will fill the whole world with goodness. Now let us consider Journeyman Pete’s choices and what he finally came to learn.