Come, my son let us go together, up on that hill. Let us go over there sit down and talk. I have something important to teach you. And together hand in hand we walked across the dense grove of trees. Over the paths between the green fields. We made haste for the light had begun to fade and the moon had not yet fully come up on the horizon.
Papa, can I ask you a question? Yes of course you can I replied. You should always ask questions. Because only then can you learn. Papa, why do we take our goats to new places every day? That’s a good question my son. I’m glad you asked. If we let the goats eat grass from one place for many days then all the grass would be over. Then it will take a long time to grow back again. It is better to take a little and leave a little, and then the grass will grow back fast. Do you understand? Yes. Papa my son replied.
I was quite satisfied, it was going to be a very important evening for my son to learn and grow up. After a while we reached the top of the hill. It wasn’t a long way up. We sat down and I began to remove bread, cheese and some wine from my pack. We sat there quietly eating and having some wine. Looking up towards the night sky, a drama was unfolding with a thousand stars shining down in the ever deepening blackness, like a thousand little bright jewels shimmering across the black velvet. And as we ate and drank the wine, the full moon emerged out of his hiding, slowly but surely, and bathed the beautiful countryside in pale light. Papa the sky looks very beautiful doesn’t it? Yes it does.
Listen son, the reason I bought you here is because I wanted to teach you something. You have to be good. Always. You have to do good things to yourself and others. You should never do bad things. Papa, what is good and bad? I don’t understand! He asked me in his childlike innocence. For he was, but a mere boy of six. It was going to be difficult for me to explain to him about good and bad. Children have no concept of it. You see. Sometimes I think that they are better than us adults.
Well, when you do good things to others, they are happy and they smile. You also feel happy. When you do bad things to others, it makes them sad and sometimes they cry. You feel sad also. Papa, you mean that day at school someone took my friend’s apple from him and my friend was very sad. So that was a bad thing. Right? Yes son. You are right I replied. And when I shared my orange with my friend, my son continued – because he was sad, that was a good thing. Yes. I said smiling. Children can really delight and surprise you sometimes, with their insight. One moment they seem to know nothing, and the next they understand. Their simplicity and innocence is so good, that I really wonder why they ever grow up.
Now do you understand son? Yes papa he replied. Someday when all your life you have done good things, and you really grow up, you can go out there, I said pointing towards the sky, among the stars. You walk on the mother Earth all your life, and someday you will walk among the stars. One day you will meet a lovely woman, a fertile ground and you will ride on the wings of light, dance with her and plan a garden in her. And both of you will be very happy.
You mean like romance papa? I was so pleasantly surprised. Yes son, like romance. Who told you about romance? Mama did. He replied. That was very good of her to do that. She is lovely isn’t she, your mama? Yes papa, she is the loveliest mama in our village.
Papa, will you do romance with her tonight? It took me all my will to stop laughing. It’s not a good thing to laugh at children questions. It is a little insulting to them. Why son? Because I want a nice sister, papa. He replied. If you do romance with mama tonight will I have a sister in the morning papa? No. I replied with a soft smile. Because you want to have a sister we will do romance tonight and tomorrow, your mama and me.
Papa, I want to do romance too! When can I do it? This time I laughed and gave him a wink. You will have to have patience, you will do romance when you learn and grow up and be responsible. OK. Papa. Papa, are all those stars mama and papas? No my son. Papas are the winds which blow across the planet mamas. Some papas and mamas when they grow up they become stars. The mamas go around the stars, and their sons and daughters go around the mamas. Papas come from far away fields where they are resting and come home to mama to do their work.
When your mama and papa leave mother earth they will go to different schools and then they will play in different playgrounds. Papa, what do you mean leave earth? When people die and they have been good then they leave mother earth. I replied. So papa, when you and mama die you both will leave mother earth? Yes I replied. Both your mama and me have been very good people.
Then one day, all the mamas, papas and the stars will come together and meet each other. You mean like the yearly festival we have? When all the people from our village come to meet each other. And there is singing and dancing and a lot of delicious food? He asked. Yes. I replied. That’s so nice. I like the festival very much. It is so much fun. He said. And then when their festival is over all the mamas, papas and the stars go back.
By then it was getting too late, and we both were getting hungry again. I was quite satisfied with the conversation with my son. I think he is going to grow up to a fine young man. Come my son let us go back to our home mama must have cooked special dinner today, as she always does every full moon.
Papa, I have been thinking. Are all our goats have always been with us? No of course not. They roam through the fields and the forests. So papa, you collect them. Maybe they don’t like it. Have you asked them? I stopped dead in my tracks. I think they are sad he continued. So if they are sad, then you are doing a bad thing. So when you die, you cannot leave mother earth. Can you papa?