Tribal Matters

 The old man was led into the forest and along a narrow track.  It was a beautiful day and the scene was accompanied by the music of thrumming insect wings, bees humming and birds singing.  There was no wind, not even a breath of air moving.

The old man didn't have a clue where he was going and although very ancient, his mind was still sharp and he was full of anticipation and expecting something quite special.

the path broadened out into a meadow by the banks of a pond where the wild ducks scattered at his approach and the dragonflies helicoptered above the still water.  This was a magical place - once the site of an abbey and it's fishponds, not even a single stone remained of the abbey, but the water and the reeds and the fish were still there.

In the clearing the people had erected a tent and brought special food and drink for the ceremony.

They dressed in ceremonial robes, some of which were very old - as old as the wizened old man.

The ceremony began and everyone was thanked for coming - some people had travelled great distances to be there and had brought gifts of food and drink as well as cards and presents.  The ancient one is 88 years old - the youngest of the tribe is 14 months.

Then came the main part of the ceremony.  The old man was proclaimed the most valued member of the clan.  He donned the Jacket of Wisdom...

...and the Hat of Forgetfulness...

And everyone raised a glass of a potent brew in celebration of his age and wisdom and the many ways in which he has enriched the lives of the individuals in the tribe over the years.

... and then there was feasting and drinking

and music and dancing (well only a little dancing...).

The weather stayed brilliant all the rest of the day and after several hours of merriment everyone helped to pack up.  As they left, the old man looked back at the little meadow which had been the scene of such a special occasion... and it had once again returned to nature, to peace and quiet as if they had never been there at all.


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