I have a long WIP list. So much to write, so little time! One of the things I’m working on is a series of short stories tentatively titled “How-To Wisdom Tales”, starring various creaturely heroes such as tigers, frogs, fleas, deer, fish, dragonflies, robins, and more. Each tale shows “how to” tell truth from lies.
Here are the first few paragraphs from a tale called Trout: How to Know It All. Tell me if you’d like to read more, and I’ll send you the rest of the story via email, in exchange for your opinion. Remember this is a Work In Progress.
Long ago, or maybe only yesterday, there was a young woman who wanted to know everything. She read thousands of books. She took thousands of classes. She listened to thousands of wise men and women, and asked thousands of questions. Still, no matter how much she knew, there was always more to know.
One day after she had been studying for a long time, she went for a walk to freshen her head. Her walk took her along the banks of a wild and twisty river. The river pushed and shoved and whirled and churned, making its way over rocks and fallen logs. It sang and whispered and whistled and slurped. It threw up cold spray that dampened her legs and splattered on her face. Soon her head was very fresh indeed, eager to know more new things.
She turned to go back to her studies, and just then an enormous Rainbow Trout jumped out of the river in a flashing, graceful arc. He was as long as a dolphin, plump and juicy, and his sides glistened with a rainbow glaze, pink and green and silver. He smoothly entered the river again and swam to where the young woman stood watching, her attention caught by his size and beauty. He shimmered in the shallows near the bank, his fin making giant ripples on the surface of the river. She could see his face through the clear water. His unblinking eyes were fixed upon hers.
Trout gestured with his tail toward a deep green patch of smooth water in back of him, near the opposite bank of the river. It was a calm quiet circle in the midst of the rushing turmoil of the river, a place where the current did not go.
“That is my Home,” said Trout in a watery voice. “The deep bottom of the river, where all is known.” He gave the young woman a keen look, expectation plainly written on his rainbow scales. Evidently he wanted her to understand something.
She certainly liked the sound of a place where all is known, but she didn’t know what Trout wanted her to understand, or to do. She stared at him, watching Trout watch her. They watched each other.
Finally, she spoke. “Is there something I should know about the dark quiet water, your Home?” she asked.
“You may find an answer there,” said Trout, through the bubbles and swirl of the river. Plainly he did not use people-speak very often, for his voice was heavily accented with the rhythm of the river.