LEGEND OF THE MAGIC WOK
by Lynn Dowless
John Burman was as sporter. The label, sporter, was a euphemism on the phrase, front line soldier, on this new arm of the free born people called, The Patriot’s Liberation Front. To be specific about the matter, John Burman was actually a rifleman, just to use the old terminology. This war was different from all of the others in history, however. This war was as much a battle between ideologies as it was a contesting force of arms fighting for total domination.
To be brutally honest about the situation, we could reach far backward into history to discover the roots of this horrible conflict that had gripped the land of the free. It all began with this other great Civil War. History has recorded this battle as being the first Civil War encompassing enough territories and people that the safety of the entire citizen base and the nation at large was threatened.
John had devoted years into the studying this war and his history at large. He knew the real truth, and he was aware as to just who the real villains of history were. To be honest about the matter, they were the same villains that were responsible for trouble in the land now, the trouble that had deteriorated into a nation wide firefight in which John was a front line soldier.
These demonic villains were the central bank and the corporations that had grown up around it, intending to force themselves upon the civilians as a distraction, while they purloin the entire privately held civilian resource base. Back during the time prior to the first Civil War, there had been half of the national congress who demanded that checks and balances stand between all corporate interests, those of the banks, and their cooperating constituents high on the hill; demanding that all loans taken out or funds appropriated to any systemic organization be done so to the beneficial service of the citizens in conjunction with constitutional law, rather than to themselves alone. The attack by the defacto central bank of the day on the economic base of this half of the congress who demanded checks and balances, wound up exterminating this body of congress who supported the interests of citizens. When the war ended all that the nation had running it was a collective absolute authority.
There was much more to the story, unfortunately. Back before the fist Civil War, individual citizens were allowed to own slaves. Since the nation had been founded in the ideology of an enterprising individual ascending the ladder of wealth into a level of prosperity on par with that of aristocracy, the only realistic manner that he could achieve this ideal was through ownership of property that generated raw product. This raw product was then transformed into processed product. These products were then exchanged locally, nationally, and internationally. The wealth generated from the exchange was used to facilitate a series of services back down to the surrounding population, up to and including both money lending services and general banking services.
Unfortunately the only way that a such an estate could ever be facilitated before the days of mechanization was through use of slave labor. The individual’s right to own slaves was guaranteed in five constitutional articles, and available to all demographics, who could and did make use of the them, and for all of the same reasons.
When the war of the corporations and the banks against the individually owned citizens resource base ended, the only way the this death and destruction could ever be justified was by being propagandized as being a battle of liberation. The problem of the future was that dividing lines had been drawn between national demographic bodies of the population. This effort was intentional being that these divisions could agitated for the purpose of compelling individuals to move one way on an issue or the next, or even compelling them against one another.
There was more that had led the nation to the point where it presently stood. The government had compelled the ex-slaves into signing up for military service by telling them that if they wanted legal freedom, then doing so was their only way. During their times of furlough, they were instructed to commit what in other times would have would have been outright criminal activities, such as but not limited to; theft of property, sabotage, random murder, home invasion, arson, rape, child kidnapping, kidnapping, child molestation and murder. They were encouraged to do so by being promised, legal vindication, the ability to retain what they steal, and that they would be given forty acres and a mule for the dirty deeds.
There existed an organization called the home-guard whose duty was to provide security, but the home-guard primarily consisted of older men and others unfit for military service, and was little match for soldiers on furlough who were skilled in the art of war. When this dreadful war ended, this regional home-guard assembled as a broken series of paramilitary forces whose duty it was to provide security, and pursue the perpetrators. The problem in this whole deal was that the when the war was over then ex-slaves did not leave the area, they settled back in among the same dominant population who they had made war against, and whose families and property they had insulted. As a result, understandably, the raw hatred seethed.
Soldiers returning from the battlefield who were informed of the travesty that their families and property had experienced, were ready to strike back at the perpetrators. Their ranks filled the broken paramilitary forces of the wartime home-guard. With random crime still in progress, these community forces provided the badly needed security, and rode out with a new vengeance in pursuit of the perpetrators. With increasing effectiveness, by 1875 these loose nit security forces merged into the three primary organizations for the purpose of providing a more effective service to communities, one of which is still alive and well to this very day.
Five years after the ten year period of martial law had ended, the two warring demographics imposed partition laws forbidding any sort of social interaction. These laws would stand as inviolable for eighty years, while a bitter vendetta war ensured for the criminal behavior condoned and conducted during the first great Civil War. Something else began to stir the citizens of the day some eighty years later.
Some eighty years following the first Civil War, the Communists schemed to take over this freeborn land of the free. Their forces merged with the political party who once had been exterminated from the halls of congress. By doing this, the once dead political party of the people, was given new life. At the top end of the political spectrum, a back door embrace was made between the congress, who supported the corporation and the central bank with no checks and balances; and national leadership, out side of a few well meaning voices in the dark wilderness.
At the same time, two vicious wars were engaged where the citizens on the ground were informed that the purpose of both conflicts was to halt the communist advance on the earth. We were told that the Russians were moving to take over the world, when in reality since they were our allies, they were only recapturing territory that they had lost during the first World War.
In the case of the first two wars mentioned, the real story was that new technology developed during the second World War and purchased by the military needed testing. The Korean war didn’t last long enough due to the effectiveness of American troops, so the war in Vietnam was simply dragged out by the high command, upon an increasing effectiveness of US troops, until the conclusive statistics, comparisons, the effectiveness of weapons, troops, and chemicals measured down on the ground.
Other reasons for US troops fighting on the ground were to feign the suggestion into the minds of US citizens, that the US government was against Communism, when in reality it was embraced with wide open arms behind closed doors. Body bags with friends and family arriving in national communities on a daily basis also provided a cruel distraction to the citizens at large, from the true reality of a social-communist national conquest.
In addition to the distraction of battle, body bags, and human bodies arriving home in pieces, one demographic has been motivated into an uprising, with this motivation soaked heavily in appeal to emotion resulting from a mythologized past and present offense from the opposing demographic. Underneath this great distraction was packaged a heavy socialized agenda intending to transform the entire national character from one of an individual enterprise system into a collectivist system, where all business is conducted through large corporations who were married with government.
The problem of the time that would most certainly transcend into much larger problems of the future, was one of property ownership rights, especially rights where an individual could profit from trading the products of his own property, and service who he damn well pleased in the process. If an individual was allowed to conduct his own business, then he would not submit to the next great theft of private resources.
As time passed, the checks and balances on corporations were removed. In addition, when corporations has purloined an individual’s right to engage in his own business through petitioning his conjunctiva representatives to regulate the right away, they then demanded that any person seeking employment verify his ability to give journey level works and services over to the benefit of the corporation. This vitrifaction was made by the individual attending some sort of university financed by the central bank, unto which he was heavily indebted for his entire working life. This crime amounted to the first great nation wide sin against the citizen base.
Once this verification had been made, when the individual finally secured employment, the individual seeking employment went in at an apprentice level classification labeled with a carefully selected euphemism, for apprentice level pay. The corporation also demanded that they retain the right to give raises based on their own criterion, and at their own whim. Such was the second sin nation wide sin against the citizen base.
This development was also the method utilized by the corporations to compel citizens into handing them their best labor, in exchange for a return as near to nothing as was possible to give. What was even more damning was the fact that all of these demands occurred at the same time the corporations were sending the production base offshore, seeking to obtain production at a minimum of labor costs, the average citizen could starve to death, as far as both the corporation or the government was concerned. This crime exerted against the citizens by a conspiring union between government and corporations had been labeled as the greatest fleecing of national citizens ever to occur in history.
Problems inside the present day arrived when one half of the population had been swayed by the propaganda demanded that corporations and government support the masses, and the other half demanded that they be allowed to acquire property, manage this property as they saw fit, and utilize the proceeds therefrom to the benefit of their own families and their enterprise businesses. This was the true way of life for freeborn citizens founded on constitutional values and individual liberty.
The check had been removed from the president declaring himself an absolute authority. All that was needed now was a motivation of the two political ideologies to clash, and the presidential call for a national emergency could be justified at the top end of the system. Once the presidential call for a national emergency had been made, in the stroke of a pen martial law would then be implemented, and rule of law based on hard facts be replaced by political inquisition based on irrational assumption and opinion. More important to the central bank and corporations, the entire privately held resource base would then instantly be handed over to the government, who could then turn around and sell it back down to corporations for virtual pennies on the dollar. This specified end result was what the entire negative situation was about any way, the government and corporations wanted everything it was that the people owned, and they demanded the right to enslave the people.
Somehow the leftist just couldn’t see it. John and a number of others had spent hours pondering the question, now there was nothing remaining to ponder. The battle between left and right had raged for more than nine months now. The most fierce fighting had been done in the southern half of the nation, but many of the large cities inside the other half were in raging flames.
In the northern half of the nation, the tone of the battle held to politics for the longest duration. In the southern half, almost instantly the fight have deteriorated from being one of political motivation, into a seething, raging, racial conflagration. Death, crime of every sort, terror, and atrocity was the rule of the day.
John expected the negative situation to continue for at least another nine months, based on a prior study of other similar situations throughout the world in recent history. For this reason, he had carefully selected a limestone cave high up on a mountaintop. When he made it to the top, and had pickaxed his dwelling cave out, he was shocked that he already had neighbors, and more than a few. Many people of all political ideologies had decided to call this place home, and had picked out their own cave holes. Most of the caves were connected, and consisted of entire families.
The caves were positioned in two large hills, with a flat area between them. The locals called this area their yard. All of these people were self sufficient, but the potential danger from venturing outside had caused every person to remain in hiding. In the distance John could hear the crying of babies and small children, revealing the fact that hunger was beginning to settle in among the residents.
Even John’s rations were beginning to run low. He had managed to carry his cage of Guinea pigs from his old home site, into the cave for livestock. He fed them from his garden plot, but that was several hundred yards away, and the fighting had once been fierce down below, trapping himself and the others inside. He was now down to nine Guinea Pigs, and about the same number of jars filled with preserved vegetables.
Every now and then, officials from his military legion would make their way toward the hills base, where he would meet them for further instruction. He might be payed in coin, but more than likely it would be commodities of one sort or another. When he would return to his cave community, the crying faces of children would meet his own shriveled, starving, body.
“Please, we need food. What do you have? What can we do? We need food, please sir!,” they would cry.
In huge gatherings they would walk with both hands held out toward him, pleading in their mud covered rags meant to be clothes. There was nothing else left for them to wear. As he walked through, an idea suddenly struck him. He walked back into his cave toward the fire place, taking a Guinea Pig and his standard sized cast iron wok out into the yard area. He stooped down, digging a hole, then filling it with dried sticks as he struck a flint and steel to light it. The children rushed over toward him.
“Food!,” they all loudly cried. “This man has food!”
A few of them attempted to grab the Guinea pig before he began to even prepare it for cooking.
“Listen to me,” spoke John. “I have this Guinea Pig. Do any of you have any thing, anything at all to put into this pot?”
“I know where I can get an onion,” spoke a very dirty boy with no front teeth.
“Great,” replied John, “go fetch that for the pot.
“I know where I can get some rutabagas,” spoke a smiling girl with dirty hair who was covered with abscesses of some type.
“Outstanding,” replied John, “go find all of these things and bring them here to the pot. I have the water, the salt and the pepper.”
By the time that the fire was finally going well, the pot had been filled and was sitting on a flat rock inside a glowing bed of coals. The children could hardly wait, the expressions of leaping joy was written all over their faces.
“Always remember this fact of living,” spoke John to the children, “if we share and work together, we can all live relatively well and survive. Should one give in to the forces of greed and self centrality, then he will do so to the detriment of the entire group. The concluding consequence will be that we all shall perish”
When the soup finally finished making, each child grabbed a bowl scrounged from the burnt out houses far below, then dipped with both scrounged and gourd dippers, until their peck bowls were half full. When the last child had taken his bowl full, then John dipped in to retrieve his own measure for the day. Strangely enough, everyone felt completely nourished by the time their dinner was finished.
“Now isn’t that just amazing. There are what, maybe fifty of you here? Has not everyone now taken his fill? Allow this experience to be a lesson in generosity. How much more time is left before the fighting passes from our area?,” asked John.
“I don’t know,” replied one of the children, “there might be nine days or at most eighteen, some of the elders have told us earlier.
“See what you have around you and bring it here tomorrow evening at this same time; and with a bit more effort seven turnips, one guinea pig, a handful of beans, and one onion, just might feed fifty children tomorrow,” spoke John. “Say your prayers to the ancient one on high, that it will be so!”
The differing political ideologies abounding throughout the cave complex had become increasingly tense as the days prior had passed. In the beginning, when the first group had entered into the limestone mountain area, they were all seeking refuge for their families, close friends, and associates. The fierce fighting going on abroad outside the area, then the fighting eventually encompassing the foot of the mountain, had been a subtle shock to all of the residents, who continued to live unnoticed by either side.
What had really struck the hearts of the residents was the flagrant viscous brutality of this conflict between the forces of left and right. Not only that, there were frequent signs that the nature of this new Civil War was turning into a fight between demographic groups. What has disturbed the citizens of the limestone caves most of all, was the outright murder of children who resided within these demographics. Many times horrible acts were committed without prior provocation, intending to install fear; such as amputation of limbs, kidnapping the young for use as livestock and cannibalistic consumption, slaves of every sort and variety, along with many other horrors. When discovery was made by the residents of this tragedy on the ground below, and specifically who it was that the perpetrators were, the formerly peaceful residents of the limestone caves were beginning to take sides.
Already the demographic who was the former majority, was gradually beginning to gain an upper hand. The locals called them The Children Of The Light. There had been great suffering among this demographic in the initiative due to their hesitation in launching acts of violence. In the beginning a majority residents of the limestone had assumed alliance to their cause, prompted by feelings of sympathy due to the rate of horrible suffering observed by the residents.
While the Children Of The Light were slow to anger and willing to assume a certain amount of abuse, there was a limit, and they had already reached their limit with their opposition, known by the locals as The Forces Of Darkness. Rather react due to the motivation of raw emotion, the Children Of The Light tended to act based on calculated strategy. For this reason, even though in many instances they were vastly out numbered, they were gaining the upper hand in a vast broad area. Once they knew that the ability to resist had been eliminated from the opposing forces, their strategic objective was total elimination.
The children of the opposing forces were literally herded up, housed in pens like livestock, then slaughtered and sold back to their own people residing in areas beyond the battle parameters. The idea was to gain confidence of the enemy by feigning friendship and concern since starvation was so ramped, so that that huge groups could be manipulated into vulnerable positions, eliminate them at the same time by feeding them their own people who had been led to believe that they were consuming pork, and insult them in the process even though they had yet to figure out what was happening. When one population had been systematically eliminated, their land and resources occupied, then at the same time another vast population was being courted.
According to scouts on the ground who were willing to offer recorded accounts, other vast populations of the enemy sitting far away from the war zone were surrounded and isolated while the general slaughter was occurring, with manufactured diseases being released in among them killing masses with a terrifying silence that was deadly effective. Sometimes the disease was used to soften up an enemy, we were informed, then military ground forces sent in finish off the dirty work of slaughtering the helpless survivors.
Because of this observed horror, people in the limestone cave community were taking sides. Many heated verbal conflicts had already occurred, but skilled negotiators who lived among them had managed to neutralize any issues before verbal conflict transformed into violence, people were harmed, then families would seek revenge.
Inside the sunset of evening, the starving mass of children met inside the yard area, with a few dropping his meager gifts of vegetables, fruit, and if the day proved lucky, a bit of meat. With only a few handfuls in many instances, the entire mass was always fed. As the days passed, the small servings had increased into a slightly growing amount.
Talk had commenced to buzz around the limestone cave community, John had noticed. The general feeling conveyed from this speech was that this mass meeting before the wok in the evenings projected a calming feeling of tranquility, since for some strange reason it was noticed that all convictions of animosity were cast aside during this time. What was even more exciting to John, was the fact that older teens and adults of varying ages were meeting in the evening to stand before the wok. Each person brought in his own meager share, and the food bank was growing! Now the serving could increase.
Since the food bank was growing, with the same mass of people could meet to greet the rise of the sun in to both take breakfast and bow in humble beseech to the Lord Of The Universe for a reestablishment of peace to the region. John could now act as chief priest to the Lord God Oh High. Soon a new pedestal had been discovered for the wok constructed from surrounding stone in the shape of an L, covered by an insulating mound of earth. This L was positioned in the yard on the eastern side, with a great forested plain beyond as a back drop. Into the lower opening of the L small handfuls of twigs were placed.
With the wok standing upon the stove before him, and the great plain behind him, he stood in salutation to the masses on the opposite side, cooking the soup and timing it so that he could serve with the rise of the sun. When the sun finally crept up on the distant horizon, he would raise both hands as he faced the masses before him.
“Allow this day of new beginning to be one of seeking to preserve all peace. Forget about personal prosperity at this time, prosperity will assume with the resurrection of peace. Allow each meager gift, no matter how trivial, contribute to what will climax into a splendid glory.”
With both hands still raised, he turned to face the rising sun.
“Repeat after me, my fellow brothers here inside our Cornucopia Of Plenty, please. Our dear father, whose divine throne sits in heaven above, cause your glory to give light unto this dark secular world in which we all dwell. Please forgive us for our insults unto you, dear Lord; then oh dear Lord, please allow us to possess the courage to forgive all of the insults dished out by one another among our own.
“Dear Lord above, please allow your soothing warmth to envelope us, as does the nurturing spirit of peace upon each and every body standing here before you today. May a new paradise of absolute peace and perfect contentment take the place of this dark travesty in which we presently have no choice but to dwell, Amen and Amen.”
In the looming distance suddenly the low thumping “poof” of mortar fire was heard from multiple, followed by the thunder of an exploding round somewhere on the horizon. The rat-a-tat-tat of fifty caliber machine gun fire seemed to blossom out all over from every side. Even the screams of troops shattered by casualty was discerned by these unscathed residents of The Cornucopia. The masses continued to stand rigidly, facing the rising sun, in spite of their own potential for casualty as they face the open there on a mountain top, high above a forested plain below.
Though John could never figure out how, stragglers from below soon found their way onto the mountain top. At first they were greeted with suspicion, but upon their conviction of brotherhood for the group, these people were eventually allowed to assume membership into The Cornucopia. Every morning and afternoon John would stand to greet the group with both arms raised high in anticipation of their blessed greeting.
Eventually an incense of anointing had been crafted from the bark of wild juniper, sassafras, and beech bark. This mixture was both infused as a tea for sprinkling, and used in dry form as a divine incense. Beside the wok was constructed two incense altars, with the L shaped altar of sacrifice containing the wok. While the morning devotion was given, the incense of anointing was passed around so that each member of this growing group could sprinkle himself for the purpose of purification. In the background loomed the sound of artillery and small arms, but to what was observed increasingly as being a decreasing intensity.
John raised both hands, facing the masses standing before him.
“Oh my fellow brethren, please allow this horrible specter of war to pass far from us. We were told by our elders that it would only last nine days or possibly eighteen. We have accomplished much inside a span of time that seems like months, rather than days. Even as I speak our ranks are growing with devotees, who are both enraptured and captivated by the spirit of peace. As always, my fellow brethren, observe that our precious life giving wok still provides nourishment for all, with only a single serving. When we began we had only fifty, then we grew to one hundred, now at this present moment we have counted two hundred. Oh how can this be? Praise be unto the god of peace above!,” he would say while he turned as the sun broke the horizon before them.
By the forth day from the time of the altar of sacrifice being constructed, the violence that broke the stillness of the morning had ceased, and the crowd without had swelled into a thousand people. John again stood before the masses in greetings and collective salutation to the rising sun.
“Praises be to the glory of the sky! Our ranks have swelled even more, the violence has ceased, and our health is being restored. Praise be to him on high!”
John reached down with his right hand, retrieving a quart sized vile, then holding it high.
“Pass before me, my dear brethren, and receive your blessed anointment of divine aloe, which I and I alone can give, since that duty is allotted only to the high priest of O Ilios Patéras Mas. The holy law has hereby been established and recorded for all time hence forth inside our holy codex. Does it not say, that one day is as thirty, hence eighteen days is equaled to 540, which calculates to one year and a half? Now we know the secret of our long suffering.”
As the people walked passed he would toss a sprinkle of the anointing tea upon them, lay his right hand upon their shoulder, then say:
“Blessed be you in the name of the Lord, who is aware of our presence even as I speak these words. Receive your divine blessing in his name, for only I am the truth and the way. Look, he is the light! No person receives him that has not first received my blessing. Blessed by the name of him on high!”
By the time the morning ceremonies had been completed, the meal of the wok had completed it’s preparation. Not only were the thousand fed with a single serving, there was more food banked in abundance than one could have ever imagined. No longer would any person ever again suffer malnutrition of starvation there was plenty in abundance.
The numbers of ragged, dirty, starving converts continued to pour in, but an astonishing spirit of compassion and eternal brotherhood appeared to have settled upon the throngs of followers. No longer was the sound of battle heard, only an endless buzz of devotees pouring into the cave yard complex, and very eager to hear the story of god on high. John stood before the mass of people with both hands raised high in evening address.
“The holy spirit of O Ilios Patéras Mas has made his address unto me last night. I beheld his presence inside the vapor of incense as I consumed the sacred drink of the gods. He is coming to take me, and soon, though I shall remain with you in spirit. With my mortal taking, then shall our divine rule of peace be eternal. I was informed that it could occur at any moment. When that moment arrives, rejoice, for eternity is yours for the taking! Blessed be the words his majesty on high!”
When the dusk of morning arrived, John assumed his position with his face toward the magic wok and the throngs who gathered about. The stove was lit, the water carefully poured into the pot, the blessed food placed inside. As the people assumed their rightful positions, the hands of john raised high greetings.
“Blessed be the name of him on high, my fellow brethren. I beseech all of you to pray that today be the commencement of his divine kingdom on earth. May both his name and the spirit of peace reign for all eternity. Let us sing praises to the glory of god on high!”
The people then sang the sacred song of beseech for the establishment of his heavenly kingdom on earth, and soon. Soon the sun peeked above the distant horizon in the back ground, eventually revealing his head as the body of John, the high priest, turned in greeting. In the lone distance a gun shot rang out from far below, and the body of the high priest crumbled upon the natural pedestal of stone behind the magic wok, and the huge throngs beyond.
About the Author:
Lynn Dowless is an academic instructor stateside and abroad. He has been a writer for over thirty years. He enjoys researching controversial nonfictional topics, and writing fiction of a variety. He has numerous publishing credits. His latest publishing successes include two volumes of historical research with Algora Publishing, and a host o fictional success stories with literary journals, magazines, and publishing companies all without the past year. These journals, magazines, and publishing companies include, but are not limited to.; Leaves Of Ink, The fear Of Monkeys, Short Story Lovers, CC&D Magazine, Frontier Tales, The Scarlet Leaf Publishing Company, WIPF and Stock Publishers.