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‘How Far Is The River?’ tells the tale of a young boy who embarks on a journey to appreciate nature’s beauty.
The boy around twelve years had good features and clear brown skin, but his hands and feet were rough and scratched. He had unruly black hair and shining black eyes. He walked around barefooted to enjoy the sensation of warm stones and cool grass. The river was hidden by the densely forested mountain, but the boy knew it was there. He wanted to feel the water and get to know it. His mother and father had spent the entire day visiting relatives. They wouldn’t know where he’d gone if he arrived home before they did.
He packed a loaf of bread for his journey and set out. The boy passed a woodcutter and asked him how far it was to the river. He was seven miles away and even after the woodcutter warned him that it was a long walk for a little boy like him, he was confident he was a good walker and would make it. The trail was narrow and steep, so the boy had to run for the majority of the time. He slid a couple of times on the dizzying, curving slope.
The route smoothed out and ascended as the boy approached the valley. He ran into a girl going in the opposite direction. She was holding a long, curved knife that she had been using to chop grass. The girl had evidently never been to the river or was thinking of another, for she stated twenty miles without hesitation.
White, Blue and Beautiful
Another boy appeared ahead of him, herding a couple of goats down the trail. The boy smiled and told him that the river was very close now. Feeling hungry, the lad unwrapped his loaf of bread and cut it in half, giving one half to the village boy. They ate in solitude while sitting on the mountain. After a while, his partner had to divert along a different path, leaving the boy alone once more.
He was missing the local boy who was then no longer in sight. By the side of the mountain, his own house was likewise hidden from view. The river was also not visible. He started to get discouraged. He was sad he had used up all of the bread; he might need it again later. He was adamant about getting to the river. He continued walking along the hot, dusty, stony route, through mud huts and terraced fields, until there were no more fields or huts left, only forest, sun, solitude and silence.
The silence was both stunning and terrifying. The silence was broken into music when the boy rounded a tight bend. The music of the flowing river. The river fell over rocks far down in the valley. He stumbled and slipped, but he kept running. He was then ankle-deep in the freezing alpine water. And the water was white, blue and beautiful.
The roughest journeys lead to the most beautiful places. With determination and strength, one can go far in life too.