The Captain’s Voyage

In this story, the earth was flat, and the edge was terrible! The land was on the edge of the plate, with waters in the middle and below it cascading waterfalls over the edge into the abyss below. In from the rim, there was a great and vast sea that spread over the whole area within the Rim World, and in the center of the Sea was rumored a dark hole, ever enshrouded in cloud and rain. The waters flowed in the sea out from the center, onto the beaches of the Rim World, and underneath eroding the underside. The inhabitants of the Rim World knew or chose not to know that they and the land were doomed to destruction, should no way of escape be found. Many lived inland as far from either shore they could to feel the security of land everywhere their eyes looked, still others sought to turn away from the waters of judgment flowing from the Center, and stared off the terrible edge into the black seeking false promises of salvation in the Abyss itself. But from this abyss, no salvation could be found.

Still others looked from the shore of the Rim World to the inner Sea, and in this world, sooner or later, most people came to take up the profession of Sailing. Ships sailed around and around the Rim and the Center. Every once in a while, the Column of cloud and swirl of rain in the distance at the center lit up with a golden flash like a lantern. One time this happened, a Captain in port of the Rim met a man who told of one who had fallen into the Center Abyss and had returned. He said, for those who have the courage, the center is the doorway to a New Heavenly World. There was also a story that the waters near the centered flowed down from the Heavens, and that the Center let anyone whose ship belonged to the Master of the Seas to sail among the Heavens with Him. And so the flashes of gold would light up the dismal hopeless lands as reportedly, a ship would rise from the Center up to the Heaven World.

This Captain believed, and started preparing his vessel, setting off from port. Many had attempted this journey, but few completed it. The Water flowed contrary to the Vessel out from the Center, but the Wind blew ever toward the Center. But people would go so far and roll up their sails, or suffer themselves to be driven back to the Rim. But the Heaven World was for those whose sails were open on their journey to the Center.

The Captain settled in his heart he and his crew were going to the Center. He knew the Rim world was doomed to fall into the nothingness over the edge, so being pulled out to sea, he opened his sails and waited. The Holy Wind filled his sails and carried him along. At first, he rode around staying near the shore empowered by this new wind, but he soon learned that the wind bore a voice that spoke to him in the rattling and flapping of the sails calling him to remember his quest, and the One who went before. So with his crew, he and a fleet of sailing ships made for the ominous cloud round the hole that was hastening the rim’s demise with its downpour.

In a fearsome fog and storm, the Captain had to learn to follow the Voice on the Wind alone and soon came through the fog, along with a handful of boats. The rest stayed in the fog or turned back.

As they sailed, they came upon a Cruise ship which had dropped anchor part way between the center and the land at a little floating dock in the water. People were celebrating the Wind’s cool breeze and their avoidance of the Rim world’s destruction, and they powered their docks with windmills. Being content with company and this world, often they would sail back and forth between the Rim and the floating town, to repeat the simulation of their journey to the center. But often such docks lasted only a short while in these turbulent seas, and people left floating would either go back to the Rim world, or struggle to build another wharf. Still others would return to their original quest. This last group was very few.

The Captain moored in this floating harbor called “Near Gathering” and when he saw that it would one day fall, sinking daily despite the efforts of the cruise ship captain, he listened for the wind, which spoke of a specific path to the Center he must take. He announced to his fellow captains, whose boats were all moored there like cars in a parking lot, and said to them, “The Wind has spoken to me, if I am to reach the Center, this is my path to take. What say you? Will anyone go with me?” Many counseled him to stay and help keep their floating wharf afloat, but some who knew the true aim of any Sailor’s quest committed them to the Voice on the Wind they all heard, and the Captain moved beyond, now with a couple of ships following him.

The Next journey’s stage was choppy but wind-swept. Wreckages of ships sailing for the Center nearly lost, with flotsam and jetsam and men and women overboard. The Captain and his crew had been charged with the task of rescue and recovery; but many they rescued wished only to return to land, some wanted to return to the floating wharf, and the Captain sailed to and from the Wharf to drop people off. Eventually, he saw that there was too much work for him alone to accomplish for those shipwrecked between the Center and the Rim world. He knew two causes of the ship-wrecks: a sea serpent beneath the surface and jagged rocks upon which other former captains now stood to raid and commandeer other ships in waters choppy and churning not only with the downpour of water not far away, but the swirling sea monster they had been un-shipped to serve. Each was the King of his own island, and they fought each other, except when it came to preventing other captains from reaching the Center. Then they worked together.

The Captain kept his sails open as he steered past these jagged rocks, ever listening to the Voice on the Wind and being vigilant for the attacks, persuasions, or feigned friendship of the other Entrapping Captains seeking to plunder the treasure his vessel had gathered with the flotsam and jetsam and to rule yet another minion of their own dark corners of the world. The flow of water was against, the comfort of land behind drew them back, the encouragement of the floating wharf seemed more palatable, and the work of rescuing shipwrecked was so necessary. Perhaps this Captain should turn back, he wondered.

But no. He had set out for the New Country. The Heaven World. These who blocked the way were preventing many from entering and were themselves not entering. Woe to them! They had taken their stand in opposition to the Master of the Sea’s intention to let all who wish, come and enter in. He denounced them on their threatening Spires and bade them repent and stop oppressing the poor, and instead leave their tiny Rim-worlds and get onto his ship as he made for the Heaven world. None heeded his call, and now, a fear of the Master of the Seas constrained them, from their attack. Sailing wind-swept and voice-led, he passed the row of jagged rocks that were all that remained from here to the whirlpool at the center or so he thought.

The Sea Serpent ruled these lands directly, and began battering the Ship. The Captain quailed at first wondering if it was too late to turn back for the Rim world, but then he remembered the Joy of the Heaven world and he turned his wheel to tack full force on the Wind. He was so near the edge of the whirlpool now. At the very last, as the keel of his ship broke the wall of the Swirl, the sea serpent charged its head straight through the heart of the ship, and reared its ugly dragonhead at him. Many of his men went overboard as the ship lifted up out of the water, but the Captain held his wheel fast. “You have failed,” he cried, “For I am still kept by the Wind, and He will carry me to His everlasting Kingdom.” And so the Dragon could not withstand the wind and the rain here so near to the Center, and falling backwards he descended down the black pit being cast cast down until he was seen no more. The Ship settled back in the water now began to founder and was caught in the swell of the Sea’s whirlpool, spinning downward, downward toward the dark into which the serpent had fallen. All grew dark around the Captain and his men.

Then, suddenly, the torrent of black and water around him turned to golden light caught in the now illuminated water swirling like blown glass windows gleaming with the light of the sun. The Ship once descending was now ascending and or a moment the swirl of water pulsing out from the center ceased as the whirlpool’s polarity reversed. The clouds broke, the rain stopped, and all around the world from the jagged rocks to the shipwrecked peoples, to the floating wharf, to the fog enshrouded to the newly sailing, to the Rim world inhabitants, to those on the edge of oblivion, all of them saw that familiar glow at the Center of the flat earth. They saw someone had made it. The water’s outflow was stilled, and it was easier to sail toward this beacon of light again; so like many moths to a flame, the sea was filled with white sails all endeavoring to make the same journey to the New Heaven World.

For the Captain and the few of his crew who clung to the Ship, their rising up was a joy and a celebration. They praised the Maker of this way, and eagerly awaited their new home to which they neared moment by moment. Beyond the clouds and rain and out of sight of the jagged rocks, and treacherous waters, they came to a fair mild water way above the one they had just left. The Ship with its breached hull was changed to now be made of wood that would never sink. It bore the scars of its battles, and its treasures that were fit for this new world, and the Captain felt the Wind not only in the Sails, but all around him.

He lifted his eyes and saw a Heavenly Kingdom: a great golden city on land, and the waters were not flat, but rather they continued perpetually in a sphere and the Kingdom was alight all around as if the Blue sky above and the land all about glowed as with a light within and without. A Small sea round the portal flowed down in a waterfall, but the further away the ship sailed, it narrowed to a river which the Captain steered no longer to navigate. Rather, the wind carried him up the River of life; on either side of the River grew trees of different fruit and the city of Gold rose up on either side; the River ended at a great throne, and the One who sat upon it was the one whose Wind had carried His voice. He said, “Welcome home, Captain.”

And there was great celebration as the one who sat enthroned was praised for the Rescue of another, and the Captain was given the Rank of Commodore, and given charge of ten cities in this new world. And he ruled at the side of His Master for the rest of forever.

Male and Female

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who lived in an underground village. It was dark where they were. It was a cave. They heard stories of the outside, and wanted to go and explore. The people in this village had a custom that a male and a female would be intended for each other, and when they had reached 12 years old, both of them would work together to reach the surface. They were given no more training than this.

I see a lad digging through the surface, his muscles strengthening as he keeps simply going in one direction. He has a little candle to see by. Behind him is a lady who takes the dirt he digs through, and shores up the tunnel they make together. She stores the dirt, she strengthens the wall, she carries the light, she does all that she can to assist him.

They breach into the light, the man first, then the woman. They make a home together in the sunland. The man goes and hunts and makes advances in the world. The woman makes the home, and nurtures and helps.

They go back into the tunnel and return to the village when they have a child.

The Happiness Room

“All have a desire to be happy, but few have the courage and resolution to grapple with the difficulties that meet them in the way to their happiness.”~ William Gurnall

A man woke up on the cold hard floor of a room. A barred window let in the only light. The walls were smooth and plain, only one brown door with a black knob. No furniture populated the room except a small round table in the center. On the table there was a key and a loaf of bread.

The man got up and walked over to the table and picked up the key and tries the lock. The key was stuck in the lock and didn’t turn. The man frowned and went back to the table. The loaf of bread was fresh, and he ate it hungrily. He saved some for later. Nothing else happened that day and he fell asleep when the light o the day had receded.

The next morning he rose from the cold hard floor and found that the key was still where he had left it but the loaf of bread was now stale. He tried the key in the lock again, and still nothing happened. The key refused to turn.

He returned to the table and ate half of the remaining bread. Being nourished by it, he decided it was time to try some other ways out. He inspected the window and the bars were solid. Next he hurled himself at the door, and his body weight could not budge the door though he tried many times. He inspected the hinges, but he had no tool to take them off.

Suddenly, it occurred to him. He set the loaf of bread onto the ground and picked up the table and ran at the door to smash it down against the door. The table shattered but it also broke through the wood near the door knob.

He smashed it and smashed it and reached his hand through the narrow opening and unlocked the door from the other side.

He left the hard plain room and into his eyes entered a new sight. He entered into a room much like the one he left with barred window lighting, a locked door across from him, and a table in the center of the space. This chamber in additiob had a thin berber red-brown carpet and an opening shelf built into the wall. On that shelf was a tray of bread, cheese, and water. He immediately drained the cup of water since he was quite thirsty and then ate the last of the bread from the old room. He saw a door opposite the one leading from the old room and checked the table which was slightly larger round and oval-shaped. On the table he found a lock pickers set of tools.

The man very clumsily tried the lock pickers tools being very unfamiliar with them, and nothing happened to the door lock. He eased his frustration with the bread and cheese until the light of the day through the window faded to blackness. He fell asleep on the carpet and slept soundly but for a great clanging noise that roused him in the middle of the night.

The next morning he awoke and looked around the room to see what had changed that night. The only difference he noticed was that the shelf built into the wall was now closed behind a metal panel. He went over and fingered hia way arojnd the esge til he foind a latch, and the panel slid down to reveal the tray of food. To his surprise, curiosity, and gratitude the tray was replenished with food and the water cup was full again. He ate of the food on the shelf and drank the water and felt encouraged to keep trying to get out of this room.

He thought to himself if only he could use the wooden pieces from the last room to get through the door, but try as he might all he got was a splinter and a cut in his hand. the wood of this door was of sturdier stuff he guessed. He wrapped it in cloth from the bread tray and attempted the lock picking set. He met only frustration.

Then, it came to him that he should try the key in the other door. He had to use the lock picking tools to even pry the key out of the first lock, and he tried it on the second door. The lock would not turn. He went back to the oval table and examined it. He found nothing. He examined the tray and found nothing underneath it besides the concrete of the wall shelf.

Here the man’s frustration began to edge at him. He felt inadequate to get through the door, he had already hurt himself, and he still had no idea what had caused the claninging noise. He curled up onto the carpet with some bread and cheese and lay still munching away.

He stayed in this room another night and heard the same mysterious clang in the darkness and found his food  and water were replenished.

He sat down on the oval table facing the next door for a while then pced between the two rooms.

It was around this time that he considered a long view approach to his situation. He fingered the key in his hand and realized that this key was probably meant for something, and that “probably meant for something” might be to learn how the lock picking tools simulated a key.

He spent that afternoon studying the key and the lock picking tools and he practiced on the broken door first. It took him countless tries after which he took a break to eat and came back before he finally unlocked the broken first door.

He hurried to grasp the second door hands too shaky from the excitement to open anything. He had just leaped so many hurdles in this one moment that he felt he could conquer the world. He gingerly felt the lock easing under his precise touches with the tool, but he didn’t get it to turn until the sun had completely set. Then CLICK the door was open and he pulled the door back and thought to step into the dark, but for all he knew it would lead downhill or into a trap. He decided to find his blind way back to the carpet and get some sleep.

Before he did, he thought to get some water and food before that panel clanged shut again. He first gingerly felt in the dark and found where everything rested then quickly snatch the bread off the tray with his hands, and then quickly grabbed the cup and guzzled down the sips that remained and then threw the cup back into the dark shelf.

Like a metal jaw the panel sliced shut bumping into his hand as he retracted it. A wave of terror of what could have happened froze his body from torso outward.

He returned to the carpet and eagerly awaited the next day. The twilight came and he rose from his floor bed and pulled the door open.

This room was so much unlike the first two. Color splashed into his sight as yellow,  purple and dark blue met his view on the far wall. Inside this larger parlor scattered all over the place were giant shapes like squares and triangles made of foam, furniture, and a plush bed. The temperature was mild, and there were lamps, a bathroom, and a new shelf in the wall on the side of the room very similar to the one in the room before, but this one had pastries, and chocolate milk and fruit juice.

The only other thing similar in that room to the ones before it,  was the table in the center of the space and after much looking around, a door behind the big blocks. The table this time was rectangular and nothing rested on it but a plain, straight, smooth walking stick.

The newcomer felt no urgency to leave this room. He ate of the delicacies, drank the juice and walked around to the bed and fell into a luxurious, comfortable snooze from which he woke to explore the place further.  Walking around blocks and finding no secret passages and no window in this room he approached the door. There was no door knob. Only a light brown circle of wood where the door knob might be.

It was pretty solid. He pushed against it, and thought of using the stick on the table just as he had used the table,  but he saw that the staff would break if it was swung at something. The table was to heavy for him to manage. He tried manipulating various configurations of toys,  blocks,  triangles,  and nothing got the door to budge. “Maybe it isn’t even a door.” he thought as he set up some Lincoln logs. He also began to wonder if the door knob was hidden, and if he needed to find it in the misat all of these things.

The man spent a week in this room,  eating,  playing, and occasionally, searching. He began to grow tired of the kingdom he built in that parlor,  which he ruled over with his wooden scepter.  He lived like a king,  but with no one else to share it with. He had as much as he could want, but his heart grew weary playing and not progressing.

He left the color room back to the carpeted room, and back again to the first room at which he had started. He lay on the cold floor and remebered: he was a prisoner here. He had once refused to stay, but he had grown accustomed to his cell. Does he still want to get out?

He sat up and looked around.  Only broken pieces of the table remained. He entered the second room and saw the bare table. It had held the tools needed to get into the next room. And the third room held only the walking stick.

It clicked for him. It was simple. He took his staff in hand and ran at the door with terrific speed. With his hands he gripped his pole horizontally in one hand behind and the other in front. Finding himself mere feet from the door, he braced for impact.

With a terrific crack the door broke open a crack and the stopped stuck. A white light from the outside pierced inside. He pushed gently on the door, and then intently. Then harder, and then he used his stick to pry it open. It swung free.

The man stepped out into a white, snowy hillside with white clouds above him and a sheer mountain’s grey face greeting him and welcoming him to this brave new world.

 

 

Math Myth

At lunch today I told this story to some 5th grade kids.

Once there was a division between the Sum and the multiplication. There was also a guy named Minus, who wasn’t very good at doing things. He wanted to remove the division between the Sum and the multiplication.

Minus had one problem. He didn’t have a heart big enough.

So he drank a lot of milk to make himself stronger.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

He went to school and learned everything he could about the division between the Sum and the multiplication.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

After school he gathered as many numbers around him as he could: all kinds of possessions.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

Finally, he prayed and asked God to give him a bigger heart.
And God gave him a bigger heart.

After this, Minus found Sum and multiplication still divided.
And because his heart was bigger now,
He applied himself to the division between the Sum and the multiplication
And Viola! He “subtracted” the division from between the Sum and the multiplication.

The Sum and the multiplication had a party and celebrated with cupcakes.

Then they all made an equation to remember how a Minus is always able to remove the division between the Sum and the multiplication.

That is why there is a minus sign used in the Division symbol.