The unfinished tale

by Marilyn Daniels

Once upon a time…
In a land beyond time…
Was a village known far and wide.

Now in that village
The people woke with the sun
And worked in the fields and at their crafts
from dawn ‘til dusk.

Then their fires were lit
One by one…
And they sat together by the fire’s glow
Eating, drinking, singing and telling stories.

And all was as it should be.

Now from time to time
In this land beyond time…
The people were visited by hardship –
Drought, illnesses and terrible dragons

That was the time
In the land beyond time…
They would walk to the edge of the village
Where field meets forest
And sit with the wise old ones.

The old ones would listen
And then give them a gift…
A charm, potion, or riddle.
And things were set right.

Once again things were as they should be.

Now there came a time
in this land beyond time
that a great power was found.
It banished pain, fear and illness
and made the people grow ever younger.

But… it brought a great forgetfulness.

Soon this great power came to dwell
In the hearts and minds of everyone…
The fires began to die one by one…
And the people forgot their stories.

The wise, old ones,
becoming both youthful and forgetful…
Soon forgot their charms, potions and riddles.
And the people of the village
forgot that they were once in need of such things…
So great was this strange power

Now in the animal kingdom
there arose a great cry…

They said:
“A terrible sickness has come over the village,
the people are forgetful and cannot see
that great disaster awaits them.”

The herons of the skies said…
“They have forgotten how to see
through the eyes of the winged ones…
Many miles at a time.”

The tigers of the forest said…
“They have forgotten what the animals know…
The courage to see and face
what lies in the dark.”

The dragonflies of the gardens said…
“In their busy-ness
they have forgotten their place
in the pattern of nature.”

The fish of the sea said…
“They have forgotten
what lies beneath the surface
and how to swim to the depths.”

The caterpillars on the leaves said…
“They have forgotten the beauty and value
in the small things around them.”

But the moon…
Who was very old and remembers all things
And who could see the entire earth
in one glance…
Well, she said something else.

She said…
“You are right, my friends.
They have forgotten these things…”

Now in the animal kingdom
there arose a great cry…

“And yet there is one thing greater
they have also forgotten:
The old ones and their wisdom.”

“But”, the creatures cried,
“The old ones have become young and
forgotten their charms, potions and riddles.
How can they recover what has been lost?”

And the moon replied
“Again, you are right my friends.
The old ones were lost when the fires died
and when the people stopped telling their stories.”

“What the people don’t know..
is that the old ones live inside each of them.

If they would once again light their fires
And tell the stories of the hearts
They would remember their wisdom
And things would again be as they should”

Now, as you know…
In all heroic tales there are two things:
A hero and a “happy-ever-after.”
But this tale is not yet at its end.
So we have neither… yet.

What kind of hero is needed to finish this story?
A hero to listen to the animals and moon…
A hero to light the first fire…
A hero to tell the story of their heart…
A hero to listen to that story
and to tell their own story…

And so it goes…
that many heroes are needed to finish this story…
To light the fire and remember their wisdom,
To become old once again and remember
What our friends the animals and moon never forgot.

And then, in “happy-ever-after”
The people will be visited
by drought, illness and dragons.
But they will remember.
And all will be as it should be.


  1. Thank you, Marilyn, for this beautiful and inspiring poem/story. It sheds light on important, timely truths. We will reflect on this story as we search for the heroes and happy ending.

  2. That’s a lovely story and provides some hope at the end. Time will tell how Canadian life is being shaped by this pandemic and our desire to wipe it out by social isolation – the occurrence of more frustrations as we feel pent-up yet also a time for reflection and new opportunities to re-focus one’s life.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yes, how good to read this and be reminded, that perhaps it does hang on our remembering and listening and sharing the stories. Well, at least it’s what we can do. Thanks for sharing f this meaningful story.

  4. Hi Marilyn,
    Wow…beautiful amazing tale of humanity. And we are waking to our cosmological story (Brian Swimme) and taking our places around the fire again and remembering once again! And choosing anew.
    Thank you for your story’s presence in our present spacious time.

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