(On WWI:)A man of importance had been shot at a place I could not pronounce in Swahili or in English and, because of this shooting, whole countries were at war. It seemed a laborious method of retribution, but that was the way it was being done. ...A messenger came to the farm with a story to tell. It was not a story that meant much as stories went in those days. It was about how the war progressed in German East Africa and about a tall young man who was killed in it. ... It was an ordinary story, but Kibii and I, who knew him well, thought there was no story like it, or one as sad and we think so now.The young man tied his shuka on his shoulder one day and took his shield and his spear and went to war. He thought war was made of spears and shields and courage and he brought them all.But they gave him a gun, so he left the spear and the shield behind him and took the courage and went where they sent him because they said this was his duty and he believed in duty. ...He took the gun and held it the way they had told him to hold it and walked where they told him to walk, smiling a little and looking for another man to fight.He was shot and killed by the other man, who also believed in duty and he was buried where he fell. It was so simple and so unimportant.But of course it meant something to Kibii and me, because the tall young man was Kibii's father and my most special friend. Arab Maina died on the field of action in the service of the King. But some said it was because he had forsaken his spear.
Beryl Markham
When Rhiannon was small and had just learned to read, her mother brought her into the hall one day when her father was on campaign and led her to the large table upon which a great map of their lands lay. She instructed Rhiannon to read the words of the landmarks: castle, road, mountain, forest, village. The young girl touched words inscribed over a place where trees met craggy peaks. What does that say, my love? her mother prompted. Here be dragons, Rhiannon answered, glancing up at her mother. Her mother nodded, smiling. She knelt down in front of Rhiannon so they were at the same height. The lady’s hazel eyes sparkled as she whispered, I have a secret to share. But I can only share it with a little girl with red and gold hair, she pulled playfully on Rhiannon’s braid, who knows how to read. Rhiannon giggled. Are you a little girl such as this? Rhiannon nodded eagerly and her mother laughed. She stood up and gestured at a tapestry on the wall. Come, child, the dragon guards our treasure. Hand in hand they walked to the tapestry of the sleeping dragon. Your great-great grandmother wove this tapestry when she was an old woman. It took her a long time to complete, with her hands gnarled so, like the twisted oak by the drawbridge. The dragon was curled up in front of a turret, with stone dolmens in a semi-circle behind it, interspersed with trees and a mountain peak in the background and bright blue sky above. The dragon’s scales were crimson and woven through with glittering gold thread and its curved horns and talons were gold. As they paused in front of the large tapestry, Rhiannon looked closely at the eyes of the dragon; she thought perhaps she could see a slit of gold, as if the dragon were only pretending to be asleep. Rhiannon’s mother stood on tiptoe and moved part of the tapestry to the side, revealing a slit in the stone wall. With her free hand she reached in and drew out a large leather-bound tome. She motioned her daughter to come sit with her on one of the benches that lined the walls. Look and listen well, my daughter, she said and ran her fingers along the smooth cover, this book is our special treasure and it contains many secrets within its pages. I am going to teach you how to read them. She opened the book as Rhiannon snuggled closer to her, her mother’s loose red-gold hair falling over the girl’s shoulder and brushing the crinkly parchment pages of the book which she turned until she came to the picture of a girl.'s Message
Lori J. Fitzgerald
It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually--if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning-- you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as--Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so--I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I am that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it.
Alan W. Watts