When Disobedience Helped






Ezra Azra


.


 
Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra





Photo by Александр Максин on Pexels.
Photo by Александр Максин on Pexels.


There had been no rain for eight years. The hundred-acre farm at the foot of mountains, was up for sale.

It had been in the family for generations. All the farm animals had been sold off, five years ago.

It had been a thriving apple farm; not just for fresh fruit. The apples sent to the factory to produce apple juice for the entire country were far more valuable. The family had been on its way into a bank account of many, many millions.

After eight years of drought, the farm was bankrupt. All the fruit trees were dead. The only bright spot in the darkness was that the four adult children, all of whom had chosen to not be apple farmers, were in secure professional employment in the City. They could afford to save the family's name, by paying the last taxes on the farm.

The west boundary of the farm was part of a mountain range. The whole range was covered in dense forest that continued past the farm limit.

Strangely, the drought did not have as drastic an effect on the mountain forest.

For some strange reason from so long ago that nobody remembered, but diligently obeyed, nobody had climbed through the forest up the mountain. Why not, if only because no large animal predator had ever been known to be in the forest?

And so, when Sholz, the last owner of the farm, found himself struggling up through the dense jungle maze of vines and branches, accompanied by one of his Grandchildren, Vivian, fourteen years old, he was sure the reason must have had something to do with the impenetrable density of the vegetation.

He paused, panting and perspiring. "Vivian, are you sure the surprise you are promising at the top of this climb is worth all this suffering?"

"Grampa, I know it's worth it. I've done this climb three times already. If I were not absolutely sure you will be happily surprised, I would not have promised to polish your boots for the rest of your life, if you will be disappointed. So, you rest a little while while I move ahead and clear a path for you."

He was too exhausted to voice his agreement. He leaned against a tree, and waved her on. She smiled, and plunged ahead.

He thought to himself, "Three times? That much disobedience could have been what brought down the curse of the drought on the farm. Had I known this was the fourth time, I would not have agreed to be a part of it." He was depressed; too depressed to be angry with his favourite Grandchild.

He tried to recall, but failed, why he had agreed to this climb. Perhaps, it was in anger that, despite everyone obeying the ancient no-climbing rule, the family farm was yet brought to ruin. If the rule had not helped, why continue to obey it, huh? If Vivian's disobedient climbing had brought down the curse, which time of the three? At the first time she would have been about six years old. At so young an age, would she have dared? After the first time, would she not have been deterred by the density of the vegetation?

He fought against his depression by being thankful that he had thought of it, and that she had eventually given in to it; his request that they wear boots and gloves and safari helmets and long-sleeved denim shirts. She had resisted at first, protesting he was trying to dress her to look like an old person.

He resumed his climb, following the sounds of his disobedient Granddaughter's progress ahead. He resolved that if he survived this adventure, he would find ways to have absolutely nothing to do with her again; forever.

She had cleared a path so well for him that when he came up upon her sitting on the ground, waiting for him, he was surprised how short a time it seemed for him to have caught up with her.

"Have a seat, Grampa."

"How much farther?"

"About twenty of my steps. Remember, I have been here before now."

Jokingly, "Three times, disobedient child." She smiled at him, prettily and defiantly, as only favourite children know how to be both simultaneously.

"Grampa, do you remember that small diamond that I found on the farm, weeks ago?"

"Yes. The one we guessed must have been accidentally dropped by the people who came to inspect the farm, up for sale."

"And you advertised that diamond in the newspapers, but nobody claimed it."

"Yes."

"And you joked that since that diamond was worth only a few hundreds of dollars, the rich owners who had lost it were too embarrassed to admit they owned it, and that's why nobody came forward to claim it."

"Yes, Vivian, I remember all that, but what's all that got to do with anything up ahead?"

Vivian got up off the ground, and looked at her Grampa. "Because, Grampa, I put that diamond on the farm where I lied I had found it. I had found that diamond up ahead, Grampa. Come on, I'll show you where." She pushed on ahead. Wide-eyed, he hurried after her.

About twenty of her steps ahead, she reached the end of the tree line. She stood, and looked back down at her Grampa, approaching. She put out a hand to caution him to slow down to a stop. He stopped at her side. She pointed ahead and down.

There was no more mountain to climb. He saw an expansive crater that had, all around, not-so-steep a sand bank that declined to a lake below. His surprise caused him to be speechless.

"I've been all the way down to the shore of that lake, Grampa. You want to try?"

"Vivian, I won't make it back up before dark. And, you lose, Vivian, because a lake in an extinct volcanic crater is not that much of a wonder. I grant you it is a surprise that it has been here forever, undiscovered, but that's not enough, child. Let's head back down to where you will be polishing my boots forever." He turned to head back down.

She spoke slowly and clearly and softly to him. "Grampa, I scooped up a handful of diamonds on that lake's shore. Each one not that expensive; but hundreds, if not thousands, Grampa."

He stood rigidly motionless so suddenly, it was as if he had turned to stone.

She dashed down to him. They hugged. Through tears, he whispered, "Baby, you have saved the farm."

Through tears, she whispered back, "Better than that, Grampa, I will not be polishing your boots, any time soon. Forever."

They were still laughing when they reached the bottom of the mountain.  



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