Joseph feared for his life. Then a black robin landed
on Nezzurd's hut. Joseph was filled with inspiration.
"My dear Brizzly and Nezzurd from the land of men
with beards who like to count, I have tarried with the Druid
in the uncharted forest, and it was he who taught me how to add."
"How do you know about the Druid?" Brizzly asked
after a minute.
"Better you tell me how you know about him," Joseph replied.
"OK fine," said Brizzly. "We were sorely hungry in the famine
in the land of the men with beards. We walked to the general store,
but their shelves were empty. We were so delirious with hunger
that we got lost on our way home. We ended up in the uncharted
forest. We collapsed in that wild place when after a while
the Druid appeared, and said 'Get up men who have beards
and listen to me.' We felt a little better and both got up.
The Druid carried a tree branch in both of his hands.
'Brizzly, take this tree branch. You Nezzurd, take this branch.'
He knew our names so we were both afraid and did as he said
though we felt a little better. 'Men from the land of beards
which is in famine,' he commanded. 'Take these branches
back to your huts and count the leaves on them. You must trust me
and not even eat a grain of dirt until this task is finished.'
We both felt a little better even though no food had passed through
our lips. We finished the task, and the land was fertile again."
"So Joseph who knows the Druid, tell us what has passed
betwixt you," Nezzurd said.
"I too like to count things," Joseph began. "My brothers and I
were counting the rocks in the land when I got separated from them
and came on my own into the uncharted forest. After a while,
all the trees began to look like rocks. I had counted to a thousand
when suddenly the Druid appeared. 'Joseph from the family
of the Crow tell me how many rocks you have counted today,
and I will restore you to your brothers.' It seemed like an impossible
question because I would have to go back and recount all the rocks
in the land of the wide plains and then keep counting the rocks
in the uncharted forest. At that moment all the rocks turned
to old growth trees, and I knew the answer. 'Two thousand,'
I told the Druid. 'Now you can go back to your brothers,' he said.
I can't tell you how I learned to add. I just suddenly knew
once the rocks turned back to trees."
After a while Brizzly said, "Indeed brother, strange things are afoot
in the land. This adding that Joseph talks about is very strange."
At this moment Joseph took his leave. "I must journey back
to my family so we can finish counting the rocks where we live
in the wide plains."
"You are truly a wise man," said Nezzurd.
But Joseph didn't feel that wise. He had many thoughts in his mind
as he walked back along the river. Brill had told them it was his doing
that alleviated the famine. He poured the water from the clay vessel
into the river, and the land was fertile again. Wasn't that correct?
Now this story of Brizzly and Nezzurd counting leaves on the old
growth tree branches made him wonder.