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Sketched Worldsa variety of

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Fabrice SchombergFabrice Schomberg
various writersvarious writers

by Fabrice Schomberg

High up in a castle on top of a mountain lived the King of the land.

  He did not, however, live there alone, as there were other people living in the castle too. The King did not know them all, so he was faced with a dilemma, how could he trust these people to live with him? How could he trust those he didn't know? After pondering this matter thoroughly the King came to the conclusion that the only way he could trust people around him was to get to know them.

  So the king got off his throne and began the task of making the acquaintance of each person in the castle.

  By the time he had got back to his throne he had met each and every one. Some he trusted and some he didn't. Therefore the King announced that only those he trusted would he allow to live with him in the castle, and all the others he would cast off to live on the land, a land where the span of a thousand years was equivalent to one day in the King’s castle.

  However, with time ,things did not turn out as perfectly as the King had first desired. It transpired that not everybody the King had trusted did in fact trust him in return and their assigned tasks were not completed to perfection.

  Therefore, again the King decided to get off his throne and tour the castle to get to know the people living around him more thoroughly. He would now check whether those he trusted did in fact trust him, because how could he trust someone who didn’t trust him?

  After the while it took, the King returned to his throne and decided that those whom he trusted and who trusted him could stay and live with him in the castle and he would call them angels; however the rest whom he had previously trusted, but who had not initially trusted him, he would cast out to live on the land, alongside the others he had first cast out.

  Now the King was happy being around his angels whom he trusted and they him, but now he wanted to see if he trusted his kingdom and the people of his land.

  One day he decided to leave his castle and come back only after he had met each and every person in his kingdom, to see if he trusted them just as he did the angels.

  The King commenced his journey around the land of his kingdom and shortly after leaving the castle he came upon a fruit tree bearing figs. To know more about the fig tree, the King stayed a while with it, since it too was part of his kingdom. Each year the fig tree would create shade and produce fruit for the King and the King got to know the tree and trusted it to bear its figs once a year and make shade.

  In this manner the King familiarised himself with the kingdom’s surroundings and, in doing so, was able to trust more elements of nature in his kingdom. Eventually, he set off to meet each and every person living in it.

  It took a long while, but when he got back to his throne, he decided that only a certain number of the people he had met he trusted, since they too got to know him and trusted him. Therefore, he decided he would like to be King only to those people he trusted and over the rest he would govern and rule.

  Lots of his newly trusted subjects were scattered all over his land, but majority of his people belonged to a community of Shipbuilders.

  The King now desired to find out more about the people he trusted and learn everything he could about the ships they were building, so that he might trust those ships too.

  The Shipbuilders showed him the vessels and how they contained people and floated on water. The King acquainted himself with the workings of the ships, and of course trusted the builders, but now he also trusted the ships to contain people and float. But float on what? They floated on the waters of the rivers they told him, but could he trust the waters to hold the ships? Well, the people told him that the water came from the sky; the clouds rain down on the mountain and the water flows down the river then carries on to the sea where all the water gathers to evaporate and form clouds and rain again.

  ‘In that case,’ the King thought, ‘I shall go to the sea, to see if I can trust it to maintain the ships afloat.’ And so it was that the King journeyed to the sea.

  The sea and water was part of Nature, therefore if he were to trust the ships on the waters of the rivers and sea, he would also have to trust Nature to keep the ships afloat.

  By the time the King had reached the sea he had come to the conclusion that he could trust all the nature he had passed through on his journey, as he knew it well, just as he did the fig tree.

  The King stood on the shore and watched the waves. After a long while he came to understand the language of the sea. He surmised that the sea trusted the ships and so he in turn trusted the Sea to keep them afloat.

  Because the King now trusted Nature as a whole and Nature trusted him not to mistreat it, the King decided that he could therefore be the King of Nature to those for whom he was king, and let Nature rule over all those under his governance.

  The King was glad and returned to his throne after a long journey to get to know and trust his kingdom completely.

  As one day for those in the castle was like a thousand years for those outside on the land, it was generations later that the same King came to know his angels very well and they him. They even understood each other. He also came to know the Shipbuilders very well and they him and they even understood each other.

  One day the King realised that he could not trust someone or something he could not understand. Therefore he decided to commence a tour of his kingdom just as he had done previously in order to trust his kingdom once more by now also understanding it.

  The angels and the Shipbuilders, over whom he ruled, he already trusted and understood and they him, so he started off again on his path of understanding with the fig tree.

  This time he wanted to understand the tree, so that he could really trust it, because, even though he already knew the tree, how could he trust something he could not understand?

  The King stayed a while with the fig tree and commenced a dedicated study. He came to understand how the roots beneath the soil soaked up the water that both fell from the sky and lay beneath the earth’s surface. He understood that the fig tree was made of small cells, that the leaves collect energy from the sun, and how the small fig wasp helps in the pollination.

  Now that he understood the fig tree, he continued on to understand the rest of Nature. He came to know and understand its every element, from the cells to the stars. He travelled through his land and kingdom until he reached the Shipbuilders, whom he already trusted, and they him.

  The King now however wanted to trust their ships by understanding them. The Shipbuilders showed him how the ships were built, their design and construction, their waterproof materials as well as the balance and weight properties of each element. After a broad explanation, the King once more trusted the ships as he now understood them.

  The King asked what it was that the ships were floating upon and whence had it come from?

  The people explained that the water came from the sky, materialised into drops that fell on the mountain and made pools that then became rivers that the ships were built upon, and this water then carried on to join the sea.

  “Very well” said the King, “I speak the language of the sea. I shall go to meet it at once to understand it, so I could reaffirm my trust in it and in Nature again” and this he did.

  The King traveled to the sea, he observed it and asked it,

  “How do you contain all the water that falls from above?”

  And the sea gave the answer with a wavelet, but it was not one the King could not understand. The sea carried on with another answer in another wavelet, but again the King failed to understand. This happened many times, again and again, but the King could just not comprehend the Sea's answers. He was very troubled by this, so he decided to go back to his castle and think about it.

  On the way he decided to travel once more through all of his land and meet once more all the people in it, and get to know them all once more and try to understand them, since perhaps they could help him understand the Sea, for without understanding it, he did not trust the Sea with his ships and all Nature.

  Again the King traveled far and wide throughout all his land and met every single person, yet no one could solve his enigma.

  When he got back to his throne he said,

  “In my travels I have met some people that I trust and understand and they trust and understand me. Therefore, I shall invite these people to my castle to be my wise men”.

  The wise men all arrived to the castle and the King asked them all to solve the riddle of the Sea, to help him comprehend the Sea,

  “What is it that contains the Sea?” He asked them all.

  The wise men thought and thought. Such a question was very hard to answer. The sea was so large, could anything contain it at all?

  After a long discussion and lengthy debate the wise men came to the conclusion and said that “The only way to contain water is in a glass. The Sea is covered with water, therefore the only way to contain the Sea is in a very large glass, but no glass is so large and it could break, therefore it is in a very big bucket”.

  These men were very wise indeed, but the King wanted proof. So he instructed the Shipbuilders to build a large ship. Then he took all his people, the Shipbuilders, the angels and the wise men, and put them all together on the large ship. He now called them all sailors and told them all to sail to the end of the sea and look for the rim of this bucket to prove this theory correct.

  After preparation, the sailors set off on their expedition only to return the next day, saying that they had not found the bucket.

  ‘Something contained the sea alright,’ they did conclude, but they had sailed all over the Sea and could not find its end nor this supposed bucket rim.

  The King was about to dismiss this theory, when one of the wise men who was now a sailor said that this in fact was only one sea and there are seven more on the other side of the mountain, why not travel those seas to prove this claim.

  The King acknowledged the possibility and they took the ship to the other side of the mountain to set sail under the King’s instructions, and set sail each sea for a day.

  After seven days the King came back from his castle to greet the ship and its sailors, but they had not returned. So he came back the next day, which was the eighth day since they had departed, to see if they had returned, but still they had not come back. So he came back the next day, and the next, but they had still not come back.

  Another seven days from the first seven days and another seven days went by, this was out of the ordinary, since they were to sail each of the seven seas, one per day. Another seven days and another seven days, another seven days and another seven days went by and the King came back every day journeying from his castle, until, eventually on the forty ninth day since they had left, suddenly there came floating a bottle with a message inside it written in the language of the Sea, and it read,

  “Dear King, we set sail for the seven seas to look for the end bit of the sea with the rim of the big bucket that contains the Sea, only to find seven more seas and seven more seas and seven more seas and seven more seas and seven more seas which then became seven great oceans that envelope seven great lands, and it seems that these great oceans make one great big sea. We do not know if we are in the beginning of the Sea, the end of the Sea or in the middle of it, but it seems that it is not a question of what contains the Sea as it seems the Sea is what is containing us. Therefore, we are in the bucket just as this ship could be a bucket and we want to come back. Could you dear King, perhaps agree to trust the Sea without comprehending it so we could come back?”

  Now the King had a dove with him that could get to the ship and help them return home, However, he was faced with a dilemma - what message to give the dove, should he tell his people to come back and even though he was intrigued by the question and wanted to know, trust the Sea as he does the ships, yet without completely understanding it, or tell them to carry on this expedition in search of a bucket rim?

  The King finally decided to bring them back to ask them another riddle, because he was now intrigued by the question of how does the first Sea the one they had first traveled not connect to this great big Sea? making it a fiftieth.

  For this, you shall have to ask a Rabbi.

  Regarding the first dilemma, as the King talked the language of the Sea, he kept on as King the sea, but the Sea kept on saying the same thing again and again, and till this day the King and everybody else

would hear it always in a different way.

edited by Janet Cartlidge, copyright © 2011 Fabrice Schomberg

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