“In the beginning… In the beginning…”
Old lips smacked aimlessly, as if trying to taste the words that had slipped past them. Rheumy eyes darted back and forth.
“Confound it all! In the beginning…. I don’t remember any more. Don’t they teach you anything these days? What did your fathers and mothers tell you?”
“And what about the rest of you? What did your parents tell you?”
The children shuffled their feet. “Nothing,” one of them said. “They’re too busy.”
He lowered himself carefully to the ground. Ancient joints creaked. He gazed at the anxious, hopeful faces circled around him. His lips worked.
“I don’t remember the beginning any more. It was a long, long time ago. A long time before even my great-great-grandfather was born. But the beginning isn’t important. You can tell any story you like about the beginning. Here’s the only part you really need to know.
Every young eye was on him
“You aren’t alone. You have each other. And you have the world. The world is alive, little ones. The whole universe is alive. As alive as you are. Everything has a soul. And those souls know you, and your souls know them.
“Whatever stories you tell, don’t ever forget that the world is alive. Because if you do forget, and start to tell yourselves stories of a dead world without a soul, your souls will die, too. And then you will surely try to kill the world and everything in it.”
Ancient joints creaked again as he laboriously struggled to his feet.
“You are not alone, little ones. You are not alone. Because the universe is alive.”