The Sacred Word

Long ago, far away in a desert, a hard working artisan was building a sphinx. It took him many days and many nights, and the sound of his pounding was heard far and beyond. People everywhere could hear the pounding of his tools on the stone but no one came to find out what it was. 

Until one day it stopped. 

No sound was heard, no pounding was carried across the dunes. The desert was silent; the sphinx was silent.

Now curious, the people came to see why the hammering stopped. The artisan was gone. There was only a note attached to the large stone:
One word has the power to bring this sphinx to life.
Speak it out loud, and touch the spirit of love.

Everyone stared at the sphinx as it stood high above them stony and silent. Suddenly, a warrior stepped out. He stretched his chest and flexed his muscles. Then he raised his sword above his head and shouted: "B R A V E R Y!" 

For a moment, the people held their breath and paused - but nothing happened. The sphinx stood still, high above them all, stony and silent.

All of a sudden, a gust breezed through and carried the note with it. It flew across deserts, over mountains and rivers, and landed by a tree in a sunny meadow. Curious people gathered around. Amongst them was a monk who read: 
One word has the power to bring this sphinx to life.
Speak it out loud, and touch the spirit of love.

The monk was certain he knew the word, and at once he lead off toward the sphinx. With only water and bread in his sack he walked over rivers and mountains, across the desert, until at last he stood at its feet. Then lowly he whispered: 
"C H A S T I T Y!" 

For a moment he held his breath and paused. But nothing happened. Meanwhile, winds began to blow and once again carried the note away. It drifted through civilizations and colonies, over cities, towns and villages. From everywhere, people were searching their minds for the sacred word.

A demanding Emperor, with nations and citizens under his ruling, yelled to the sphinx: "P O W E R!"
A scholar, prudent and advisable in every way, cried: "W I S D O M!"
A leisure class man, with gold and diamonds in his treasure chests, shouted: 
"W E A L T H!"
A clown from the circus, trained in making people grin, came running to the sphinx. "L A U G H T E R!" he yelled.
A fighter shouted: "S T R E N G T H!" A singer chanted: "H A R M O N Y!"
A lover called out: "P A S S I O N!" 
An athlete exclaimed "D E T E R M I N A T I O N!"

But all and all the sphinx remained still - silently awaiting. Years went by. The quest for the sacred word remained persistent. More people tried, and failed. No one seemed to have the word.

Then one day, a storm took over the desert. Winds were hurling and shrieking, blizzards were howling and growling. Whirlpools of dust and sand were lifted in the air. People needed to hide. Everyone ran for shelter. All, but a little girl. Lost and scared she was running through the desert. Escaping the roaring winds, she came to the sphinx. Frightened, she hurried up the body, climbing up, rising further toward the face. There, under the large head, she tucked her small body in, curled up, and called: "M A M A!"

At that, the sphinx lowered her head. She opened her eyes and looked at the little girl. A glow softened her face, a shimmer sparkled in her stare. And with a tender tremble she took her first breath and embraced the child.


More by :  Siggie Cohen

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