vrijdag 24 januari 2014

How a blade of grass gave birth to a bean

 A fairy tale

There once was a grass blade. She stood proudly fresh and green with her fine rootlets into the earth. ''Oh, life is good", said the grass blade, and she looked at the blue sky. It was raining a bit and the wind blew her dry.
''Mmm... good", thought the grass blade and she grew a little each day. And so she grew into a fresh and strong girl. She got a new leaf and a beautiful grass plume grew on her head.
''Oh, how beautiful I am", said the grass blade and looked around her.
''Oh, I sure am just as beautiful as she and she and she and she ...''
And so the grass blade discovered that she was not the only one under the blue sky. She also discovered that there were some other, more funny grasses among the normal. Grasses with yellow flowers and red and blue ones, with prickle stems and in funny shapes.
''Hey, who are you?" cried the grass blade at a yellow flower.
''Do not bother me'', said the yellow flower. ''I'm just busy with to sprout my but". And then there was a new yellow flower on the yellow flower.
''How do you do that?" the grass blade asked.
"I don't know", the yellow flower mumbled. ''This happens to me all the time and I still can not help it".
''Oh", the grass blade said cheerfully. ''Then I am glad that I only have one plume. Isn't it beautiful?''
''Yes'', said the yellow flower. "And it seemed a lot less difficult".

And so the days passed. The sun rose radiant in the sky and the days were warm. It rained a bit and the days grew warmer and warmer. And the grass blade grew and grew. She saw the moon and then she felt the warmth of the sun. On her crept a little animal with his spidery legs and a bird hung on her strong stem and pecked at her big plume. For meanwhile there where growing delicious bird seeds in her beautiful plume. And the grass blade was happy. But she got also a bit smothery. Her jacket started to get a bit tight and she would like a new one, in a more spacious cut. But how should a grass blade take off her jacket and how could she buy a new one?
"She must just learn to deal with it and have peace with it", the other grasses said.
''We all have to deal with it. We all are a little smothery. This belongs to us''.
And the grass blade consented in her fate. What else could she do?

On a cool morning, the field was startled by a flock of sheep. They ran noisily through the grass and made a horrible hubbub. Bells jingled and they bleated in all keys, from basso to soprano. The grass blade was disturbed from her nap and saw that her grass blade friends were trampled by many sheep feet. She herself lost her plume, as a sheep ate it right off her head.
''Mmm, delicious'', said the sheep.
''Well, all right then'', said the grass blade. ''It is kind of fun to be found delicious. And well, I can do without. I do not need so much to be happy. By sheep!''
But the sheep did not hear her anymore. She had already run away, because behind her ran a sheepdog, which drove her further and further.
''Pooh, it is not fun to be a sheep'', the grass blade thought.
And she did not understand how it came, but she now felt a lot less smothery.

That afternoon the sun was burning fiercely. It was actually quite hot in the middle of the day. There came some people to look at the fields. They admired the grasses and said to each other that it was high now. And they found that it was good enough now. Our grass blade did not understand, but a few hours later she understood the better.
A scythe past under her as if it was the wind and the grass blade suddenly lay flat on the ground. It took only a moment and she got not even a second to feel shocked.
''Hey, what's happening here'', all the grass blades cried around her.
Because the same happened to them also. They all were cut.
''Now I have no roots anymore'', the grass blade thought. ''Now I can walk and buy a new jacket!''.
And then a miracle happened.

She was gripped and floated through the air. Together with the other grass blades and flowers. A big man led them in a bucket and with his giant feet he trampled them around. He shaped all grasses and flowers together in a nice package of hay. They were crushed and bruised, and he trampled around until the grass blade could take off the sleeves from her jacket. And all her friends took off a bit of their jackets too.
''Wow, some fresh air is good in this heat'', they said.
And the flowers were happy also. Because they had bloomed long ago and did not see so much meaning in life anymore. They had already become old and creaky and a little grumpy.
''You have nicely done'', the flowers had told the grasses.
''You all are golden. We are already woody and prickly. Ugh, we do not want that. We also want a new coat!''
And now they were in a basket all together, each one in its own round package. And they felt that they all could buy a new coat. And later it was even more fun, because all packets went to the haystack. There the grass blades and flowers chatted about their bruised status and their retirement aging. Well, this new coat could wait. For they all felt not smothery anymore. Wich was the biggest profit.
It started to rain a little and the big man covered them with a warm cloth.
''So, now you stay nice and dry'', the man said. And he looked pleased.
And that made the grass blades and flowers feel confident. They were snug together a long time. And ignorant about what was yet to come.

An unfamiliar odor was spread. The grass blade could smell it, but she did not understand this fragrance. She was still lost in thoughts when she was gripped and immersed in cold water. This giant man pressed their cozy hay package under water and he even went to stand on them!
For a long time the grass blade had not experience so very much. And this happened so very sudden. She did not even have time to get scared. And now... there was that smell everywhere.
'' Brrr...'', She shuddered.
And her friends were not happy about this brutality also.
''Who is doing this to us? This brute force!'', they cried.
''I have always been too nice an too compliant'', the grass blade thought.
''Now it is time that I come into rebellion.'' And she struggled and hustled and bustled.
''I will not go down. Do not think that I like to live in this wet stink shit!'', the grass blade called. ''Hey guys, push! Together!"
And they all pressed in all there power, all together. But the man was stronger and he put a big stone on the grass blades and flowers. Exhausted, they remained in the dirty brown water. Fought weary they all put their poor heads down.
''Bulb," yet the grass blade said. And then she seemed to drown.
''Oh, oh, now what?''

And so the grass blade became softer and softer. Looser and looser. Weaker and weaker. It took hours and hours. It took much too long for her idea. Because she was not feeling well. And if you are not feeling well, then everything takes a long time. There were things in the dirty water crawling, she was not familiar with. Those things tickled her and were looking for a way to get inside her. Crawled into the broken sleeves of her jacket. It seemed that those things were planning to live inside her.
''So this is a beautiful house'', they said to each other.
The grass blade had heard them. She was pretty sure they did say that.
''Really, they come to live inside me. And it is getting quite busy,'' she thought.
The things inside her did their own thing and were very satisfied with our grass blade. More and more 'things family members' arrived and they pushed the air out of her, for they needed more space.
''Bulb," said the grass blade again and she burped.
''Here one can eat from the floor", the things said. ''There is enough.''
And the things in her where eating in her and shitting in her and they made a big mess.
''Ugh'', cried the grass blade.
But there was not so much left for her to stipulate. She was getting looser and softer and wetter. And so she fell into a deep sleep.

What our grass blade did not know is that this status really does not take so long. At least not for our peoples concepts. Already after a day and a night the man freed the grass blade and her fiends from the cold dirty water. There was a nice bucket waiting for them, where they were allowed to drip and drain and to stay for a while, to recover from the shock. And meanwhile they could warm up a bit.
Then the grass blade felt reborn. Meanwhile, she had made peace with the things that lived inside her. It also seemed that those things would remain there. For they had lots of fun. There was enough food because the grass blade gave it to them in a noble gesture. She herself was also in a good shape. Only very different. She had become somewhat thinner and more flexible on the outside. She had always been called flexible, but then from within. A nice sweet girl and especially beautiful. But now she was flexible on the outside as well. And what pleased her the most was that her tight jacket, her suffocating bodice, was almost completely dissolved. It felt like a pleasant liberation. Sometimes it may be weird to live a grass blades life.

The grass blade enjoyed the warmth in the barrel, together with her friends. She had fun. But hey, everything always seems to come to an end. For life goes further and brings new things with it. And so it was. There were new things and the old things went. The things that lived inside her died one by one. They were cleaned up by the new things that came. The grass blade thought this might be so because of the heat. Because the old things complained bitterly. And the new things seized their chance. For complaining does not help. Indeed If you complain, there is always someone who uses it. And so it went. The new things took the inside of the grass blade over and went to live in her, for as long as they would live.
It was a hive of activity. They ate and drank, talked all together and sang songs. And so the grass blade became aware that the things called themselves 'bacteria'.
''The people of bacteria," the things said. But this was not all they said.
They found themselves... "The super people of the super bacteria."
''We are the chosen people'', they said and they believed strongly in this.
''We are going to war", they said.
''We shall overcome'', they said.
''We want to die in battle, because we are fighting the good fight!''
Our grass blade never had heard such things before. Such aggressive language. And her friends were also amazed.
''It is unheard of'', they said.
But yet it happened. And so it was.

There abruptly came an end to all that bickering, when the lid of the barril was opened.
''You are now being drained enough," the man said with his deep voice.
''I'm going to get you out of here and put you in a big bag.''
Now the grass blade was completely forgotten about the dripping and the draining. She had been so consumed by the bacteria, that she had completely forgotten. She was embarrassed and faded a bit. And her friends seemed to fade also.
''That's okay,'' the man said. ''It's the oxygen.''
''Oh",  the grass blade said. ''Oxygen? I am cold! It was just so nice and warm in here.'' And she was not only faded, she wilted also. And her friends wilted too.
Meanwhile the grass blades and the flowers had become familiar with the dirty water and their noisy inmates. It was quite sociable and with all this peculiar company one can hear new things. And well, let's be clear, that fight of these inmates was not the fight of the grass blades and the flowers, of course. They where just regretful about new arrangements in their lives to come. Why was this? It was okay as it was. Now all things went quite different.
''Let us but sit here in the barrel'', said the blades of grass and the flowers.
But such a life was not for them.

What happened next was unprecedented. The entire barrel with wilted grasses and flowers was shoveled empty and put upside down. The dirty water was poured out and all our grass and flower friends were trampled ruthlessly in a large bag. And there where  more wilted grasses and flowers, that also where tamped. It was a hassle. All was noise, all was mixed up like fury. All the grasses and flowers were piled on each other and everyone was lost.
The bacteria with their big mouth about their superiority, created a fight with a vengeance. In the heat of the battle other species of their type of bacteria took the helm and took matters into their own hands. The one coup followed the other. Then there was a president and then there was a military leader. Then there was an election and everyone had to choose, but none knew who. And the one who was elected eventually was deposed again. Yet there was always one group of bacteria that shouted: ''To battle!'' And then it all started from scratch. Yes, and all this in only one big bag. In short, it was a mess. It was not just a storm in a teacup, no this was war. It was a big bateria warfare.
The grasses and flowers have always been a peace-loving folk. But now they suffered defeat. They were completely taken up by the bacteria. And you could see it in them.
Skin and bones, dirty and flabby. You could recognize their structure yet. Thin slices and grass stalk. Adhered to each other and scared. Just a flower button stuck out of there. It was a horror.

This war lasted long. Later it was called the 'three-month war'. Later, because this too came to an end. As all things start, carry on and pass, there will be an end to all things, then to proceed in something else. There are terrible times and there are beautiful moments. But the terrible times we remember best. They leave their mark on us, imprint us. And such had happened to our grass blade. She was marked for life. One could barely recognize her structure. She fell apart in misery. And in order to make it even worse ... she went on the sieve.

The sieve kicked her around completely. She was divided into pieces. And she was cold. Suddenly there was air everywhere and the wind seemed to blow. She and all her friends where divided in small pieces and scraps, as if it was a delight to be littered everywhere. Unheard, after what had happened to them already.
When all the friends were sifted into scraps and bits, they all went to a heap. There they had to dry, the big man told them.
"That man, he was the major culprit", our little scraped grass blade thought.
Afterwards she held him responsible for everything. He was the one that done this to them. What a misery. Now she was just a little scrap and now she was also broken. Life had begone so beautiful and now this was her destiny. To be a scrap. This she was grumbling lying on the heap with all the other scraps.
''My name is not grass blade anymore", she murmured. "My name is scrap.''
And so she should die, she thought. Her tombstone would read...
"Here lies our dear little scrap, who was once a proud blade of grass."

It was raining a bit and the guilty man covered them up with a warm cloth. But this all did not bother her anymore. She saw no new life for her in the future. And so it was with her companions likely. All the grasses and flowers that survived the battle were divided. There was no togetherness any more. She missed the old friendships. But to whom she could turn? Indeed, there was nobody any more ... Until...

One morning there was a woman. She had a big shovel and jumped our little scrap with a lot of other scraps in a nice big pot. Just as long until the whole pot was filled.
''Oh, this is a beautiful compost'', the woman said. ''This will be a success.'' And she planted a bean in the pot.
There was a bit of rain and a water-hose came by. The bean drank a bit of water. But otherwise not much happened.
"Mm, good'', he said and he grew a little thicker every day. He became thicker and thicker. And on a nice day of spring...

''Who are you ?'' Our little scrap asked.
''I am a bean'', the bean said. ''Oh, and I think you are very sweet'', he said and he gave her a little kiss. ''So beautiful and soft and a bit damp. But a little cold. Am I allowed to warm you?"
"Oh .. '', the little scrap said. And she was speechless for a moment. She also had to wink away a tear. For these were words, she had not heard in a long time. Warm reminded her of the past. Warm was good and it had made her happy.
''Well'', said little scrap. ''You may warm me, but then you have to marry me.''
And then our little scrap married her bean. He embraced her with his many roots and held her tightly. They fused together in a beautiful green bean plant and were very happy. When the first baby bean was born they made a party and told everyone who would listen. And the whole pot was happy .
Together they had many beans. Until such time as our new story began. And that story was called: How a bean plant gave birth to a carrot.


Stella Andrea.

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