THE HAPPY TRAVELER
(A short story)
I was a very fortunate young individual. My upbringing is a cluster of joyful memories as far as my historical sight can recall. The turbulent and violent times of adolescence were for me but an ongoing spring in which I found here and there only beautiful flowers and never one vile weed. My propensity to melancholy and distress is so insignificant that I cannot remember anything in my life that has made me stumble to the ground in fluent tears. The sky of my life has always been clear and bright and never one dark cloud has disturbed the happiness that fills me. I have always felt like the wind, so light and free that no Wall of China could put a halt to it. Having such a fortunate condition I made the best of it. I decided to travel around the world to discover the glorious joy that envelops our planet.
My travels were extensive and meticulous. I persistently endeavored to cross the smallest village as well as the most monumental metropolis. I saw the great variety of habits that consume the hours of men and women, the wonderful imaginations for constructing their homes and monuments, the delightful multiplicity of languages, and the different shades of faces that belong to each race. Not long after my departure I was convinced of the richness of life in this planet and this strengthened my belief that the world is a beautiful place.
What I loved most of all was to talk to the people. Of all the long list of topics that was the matter of my discussions the one I enjoyed the most was Religion. I found all religions equally beautiful; they had such a wealth of poetic visions and profound meanings. The most startling thing was that the religion would change even after a day’s walking distance. It was evident that mankind has been everywhere and at all times an artistic creature wont to express the deepest mysteries of the universe in an arabesque of images. I learned about gods that are kings, gods with more than one head, gods as big as the whole cosmos and others as small as pebbles! All this fascinated me profoundly since in my childhood and early years I never was acquainted with any imaginative representation of the world. In my land people did not attribute any sort of personality to the workings behind the universe. Everything was explained by the blind, brute, irrational forces of nature that had no attributes like those of the other gods. I never heard of the sun being carried by a chariot or of a reptilian deity that sends down the rain. All the facts of my natural world were a lackluster picture without any charm or mystery.
I remember once I had a heated conversation with a believer of a god that was monarch of the whole universe. This god created the world out of nothing and brought to life all that we see around us. The old man told me this god was involved still today in the affairs of men and women. The god had given us codes of conduct and we were to obey these laws otherwise we could end up in a dreary place. However, the god promised wonderful treasures to those that obeyed him and loved him. I asked him how did this story originated and the old man told me of a book inked by men who were inspired by the wisdom of their god. The book contained the word of his god and it spoke of a human-god that once visited this earth and delivered the whole world from the perpetual state of sin. I could not swerve my eyes for a moment as I heard with inexpressible wonder the intricate and aged history of this poetic vision of the world. After some attempt to convince me that this should be my belief also, I simply answered that I would carefully remember all that he said and when my travels are over, recall with joy his story and tell it to my friends. My new friend was a bit frustrated with me because he wanted me to accept this as a universal truth. At this moment, I could not very clearly understand what he meant by truth. All I knew was that this religion was as rich and profound as those I have heard of a universe without beginning or end in a perennial cycle of destruction and creation, or as the religion that claims that it is not a religion at all!
Since my return I have shared all of my experiences with my dear and close ones. I speak for nights on end about the jewels buried in the multifarious laughs of each country, the majestic landscapes gilded by the touch of the sun, and of the delicious creativity that goes into the food of all of the world’s strange and amiable people. My friends insist that I should record these adventures in a book so future comers will profit from my experience, but I feel this is not a wise choice. Instead of asking these newcomers to be readers stuck to a chair I would exhort them to open their sails and navigate through all of the furrowed land this tiny but lovable planet has to offer. Dear people of the future, do not read about the world – rise from your seats and explore the lush curves of our rotating orb!!!