A young man, Agostin, dreamed of discovering a new land. His thoughts so compelled him that he gathered his belongings, packed them into his sailboat and set out to sea. At last he was free, on his voyage of discovery. The broad, limitless ocean bolstered his ambitions and he felt certain to achieve great discoveries.
When night fell, he sailed under the starry heavens with a sliver of moon offering its beacon of light. After such an eventful and arduous beginning to his sojourn, Agostin tired and fixing his rudder to hold a straight course, bundled up, lay down and fell into a deep sleep.
The little boat sailed silently onward. Then, from the fathomless ocean came a wave that caught up the vessel and engulfed it, carrying it into timelessness.
When Agostin woke he stood upon a broad shore, his boat resting high upon the sand. He had aged considerably and thought, surely I am an old man.
Gazing to his right and to his left, he grabbed his hat and through it in the air—thankful for his health and discovery. Then he set out walking.
The land was rocky, with sparse shrubs and small trees. Occasionally he saw a butterfly, and a bird or two flew by. Soon Agostin came to a trail and began walking on it toward the western horizon. Reaching a hilltop he could see a village in the distance. As he followed the trail, a man with his wife and child appeared, coming toward him. They all held bundles and when they met, told Agostin not to go further. “There is a plague in that village! So many people dying . . . better if you turn around and go back to where you came from.”
Agostin knew he had to go forward, for this is where his fate took him. Soon, he came to the village walls, and knocked at the gate. The big door creaked open and young man stood gazing and asked “What do you want? Don’t you know strangers are not allowed here?” Agostin stood firm and said, “I have travelled from afar, I need somewhere to rest and eat. Perhaps I can help.” The young man, who looked feverish, said, “Go away old man!” and shut the gate. There was nothing to do but stand there. Agostin stood, praying to be shown a path forward, and also how to help the people. Suddenly the gate opened. A girl looked intently into his eyes. Behind her was an old woman, her grey hair falling disheveled over her shoulders, gazing quizzically. The old woman spoke: “You came to me in my dream last night! The ancestors have sent you to help us. Come in!”
From the moment Agostin stepped in the village , he could see clearly what had happened and what needed to be done. The streets were lined with poor dwellings. Further on, bodies were being loaded upon carts to be taken for burial. An eerie quiet permeated the air. Not an animal or even bird was to be seen. Above the hovels, stood a castle and gated homes. There too, bodies were being tossed upon death carts.
Agostin saw in his minds eye a month of strong winds, carrying small particles of toxic red dust. He also saw how the kingdom had become lost, isolated, forgetting to thank the ancestors or make offerings to them. A drought had come—then the red winds.
A crowd surrounded Agostin. “Tell us who you are!” shouted the young man who had opened the gate. Agostin knew the people had lost hope. “They must believe,” he thought. Grasping his cape with one hand, he twirled it over the ground. Lifting his arm and the cape, a blooming flower stood on the spot. Everyone gasped. Now with the villagers full attention, Agostin spoke:
“I have been sent by your ancestors, who take pity upon you. My voyage here has given me the vision to help you. Each home must have a shrine, to bring ancestor spirit back.”
The king and his court had now arrived. Waving his cloak again, an ancestor appeared beside Agostin, and spoke: “We have seen the misery that has come here. The earth became tired of your footsteps and nature has turned her bounty to dust as a warning. You must make a council from all the people. This council will be for the good of all, and call the Creator into its chamber during consultation. Men and women are to be considered equal, wealth to be share equitably, worship will commence and the good of all considered at all times.”
The ancestor looked directly at the king. At this, the king bowed and knelt with his knee to the ground. “I swear by my life, I shall be the instrument of your message. Thank you!”
The ancestor looked around him into every face, then said, “Tonight a wind will come and lift the scourge that has beset you. It is time to begin anew, remembering to give thanks and keep your hearts pure for the new days ahead.”
With that, the ancestor vanished . . . and so too did Agostin.