On December 24th 2011, I originally posted the short story entitled A Birth in the Woods on Xanga. I had reposted it on WordPress, but that was in 2012. I figured I would repost it again this year. It is one of my favorite short stories I’ve written and I hope you all enjoy.
Long ago, during Snow month, two Tsalagi boys were lost in the forest. Their names were Indeever and Meghnad. The two were sent to look for wood so fires could be built for cooking that night, but the two had gotten lost due to their carelessness and fighting.
Now, night had fallen, the cold chilled their bones. They were worried to be in the forest this late, sightings of wolves in the forest had increased lately.
The boys did their best to keep warm. They marched through the newly fallen snow, which still continued to fall, in hopes of finding their way home. But it wasn’t long before they began to argue and blame one another for getting lost.
“It is your fault,” Indeever said. “You were never very good with direction and you insisted on leading.”
“Me?” Meghnad said. “You’re the one who wandered off the path to play silly games when we supposed to be hunting for wood!”
This arguing continued until they heard a low growl. Immediately, they stopped fighting and grew very quiet. Their eyes searching for the animal. It was a wolf, they knew it. Meghnad began to move quietly and away from the area before they were attacked. But Indeever thought running was the best choice. He shoved Meghnad out-of-the-way and ran as fast as he could. Furious, Meghnad began running to catch up with Indeever. They began to argue again.
“The wolf heard you from miles away!” Indeever shouted. “If I didn’t run, I would have been attacked.”
“The wolf heard me?” Meghnad shouted back. “An ant could hear you with as loud as you walk!”
As they continued to run and argue, they ran into a man gathering firewood, but in their arguing they did not see him. He gently, but firmly grabbed them both. They were alarmed by the strangers touch. Indeever tried to run away while Meghnad stared at the man.
“You must be calm and quiet,” he spoke and released them both.
The man gathered the rest of his firewood and motioned for them to follow.
“You both look cold. Come so you may get warm.”
The boys, feeling they could trust this man, followed him into a clearing with a fire already going. Next to the fire, lay a woman who was surrounded by furs. She was heavily pregnant.
The man motioned for Indeever and Meghnad sit by the fire. They did and felt themselves warming quickly. They were very grateful for the warmth and for the moment, forgot about their fighting. Everyone was quiet until the woman decided to speak.
“What are you two boys doing out in the woods?”
“We got lost,” they both said.
She nodded and moved around a little. She closed her eyes and rubbed her stomach.
The boys noticed that she looked to be only a few years older than them. They wondered why this man and woman were both in the forest, especially when she was pregnant. But the boys decided not to ask.
“It’s time,” she said and the man came instantly to her side.
The boys were excited, as giving birth was something was very special and celebrated. But then something happened the boys had never seen before. Wild animals began to come and gather around. There were wolves, who sat quietly, the deer stood and watched. The rabbits came very close to the mother, one even choosing to sit beside her.
“Is there anything we can do?” Indeever asked the man.
“No. Everything is taken care of,” he replied.
The boys still sat at the fire and watched as more animals came into the clearing. All patiently waiting for the mother to give birth. And when the snow had finally stopped falling, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The man wrapped the baby in furs and handed him to the mother.
“Avanish shall be his name,” she rocked the baby gently.
“And now you two,” she looked at the boys. “You should head home now. I’m sure your families are wondering where you are.”
“But we’re lost and don’t know how to get back,” Meghnad said.
“You must work together,” she spoke gently. “And not fight again. If you do this, you will find your way home.”
The boys nodded and thanked the man for inviting them to sit at their fire. Then again they headed into the forest and as they were leaving they saw three men dressed in unfamiliar clothing approach the clearing, each carrying something.
This time, they did not fight and did their best to remember the way they had come. Soon, they came upon the path they had started from and both boys thought it was strange that it was not snow-covered as everything else was.
They took the path and it led them back home. Their families were happy to see them return and did not seem angry with them.
“What did you learn?” they asked. Indeever and Meghnad said they had learned to work together and not to fight. It soon became apparent they did learn something. Indeever and Meghnad never fought again. They always worked together whenever a problem would arise.
And many years later, when Indeever and Meghnad were both men with wives and children, they heard of a man named Avanish. He was healing people by just touching them, he made food appear when there was none and his abilities were like nothing any had seen.
It was then Indeever and Meghnad realized they had witnessed a very special birth that night, they witnessed the birth of the man named Avanish. It was a night they had never forgot.