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The best storyteller

Where there is land, there are storytellers.

By ElsaPublished 4 months ago 6 min read

Where there is land, there are storytellers. It is these storytellers who have shaped the history, culture and spirit of the kingdom. One day, on a whim, the king wanted to know who was the best storyteller in his kingdom. So I got a job, and I will travel every inch of the country to find the best storyteller.

  I climbed 7 mountains, waded 14 rivers, crossed 21 villages and towns, and heard countless stories, but the person I imagined never showed up.

  The following spring, in the town of Baihaba, I met "the unknown Zama". Zama is a painter who has only painted one person in his life.

  Zama draws his savior. In the winter when he was 9 years old, he accidentally fell into the river and was rescued by a handsome guy with curly hair. He was so stupid that when he remembered to say thank you to the brother who saved him, he only saw his back disappeared into the crowd. "I've been looking for him since that day." Zama talks about the past more than 60 years ago as if it happened yesterday.

  In Zama's studio, I saw the portrait of the handsome guy. At first, Zama painted a portrait of him every three months, and then changed to one a year. Zama grew up year by year, he got married, he had children, and the wrinkles on his face grew more and more day by day, and the gray hair on his head thickened day by day. The handsome guy in the portrait also grew old with Zama. The sun was a little melancholy that day, and in that small studio, I saw time flowing slowly like a river, like the most beautiful music.

  "Every year, I take the time, with a portrait, to find my benefactor. I've visited every street in Baihaba Town, I've asked everyone who lives there, and I haven't found him." After all these years, Zama's face still shows a lost expression. He has since traveled to many neighboring towns, and the handsome guy with curly hair has grown into an old man with white hair and a white beard, and they still haven't met.

  It took me a long time to come out of Zama's story. I said, "What I'm curious about is how many good things you've done over the years. I've been walking and listening to your story. You spent 60 years looking for your benefactor, and your benefactor was not found, but you became a benefactor to many people."

  "At the age of 40, I had a hunch that I would never find him, but I did not give up hope. Once, I met a young man who committed suicide and threw himself into a river, and I saved him, just as he saved me back then. That day, my world suddenly opened up. Instead of looking blindly and helplessly, it is better to do some good deeds on the journey and use these good deeds to remember him. So, I searched all the way, and I did good deeds all the way, and everyone called me'Zama who everyone knows'."

  That afternoon, Zama told me many stories. Finally, in front of the drawing board, Zama, who is in his 70s, painted another portrait of his benefactor. The old man in the painting is still handsome, with all white curly hair, and even his beard is white and curly. I looked at the old man with the curly white beard in the painting, and then at Zama with the curly white beard in front of him, and said in surprise: "Zama, look, the benefactor in your painting is more and more like yourself."

  Zama didn't seem to hear it. Maybe he heard it, but didn't know how to respond to me.

  After saying goodbye to Zama, I continued on my way. I climbed seven more mountains, waded 14 rivers, and crossed 21 villages and towns. On an autumn evening, I arrived in Blackwood River Town and found "Grandpa Rainbow's Old Yard." Along the way, in different towns, I came across 17 "Grandpa Rainbow's Old Yards," each of which said it learned from "Lorina of Blackwood River."

  In "Grandpa Rainbow's Old Yard", I met Loyna. As night approached, she and 72 old people were saying goodbye to another old man who was about to die. The old man was unable to speak, and he walked peacefully. He closed his eyes, as if entering an endless dream. "In the past few years, I have bid farewell to 27'old dads', some of whom were picked up by relatives, and some left forever. Every time someone said goodbye, the old yard would be quiet for several days, but fortunately there would be new old people living in." As she said this, Loyna's face was full of sadness.

  Ten years ago, Loyna's father was lost. He suffered from severe Alzheimer's disease. For this, Loyna blamed herself very much, and she has been looking for her father for all these years. She did not find him, but met many displaced elderly people. After her father left, he left her a rich legacy. To express her expectation for her father to return home, she opened "Grandpa Rainbow's Old Yard" to accommodate homeless elderly people. In the past 10 years, a total of 99 elderly people have been admitted here. To each elderly person, male or female, Loyna affectionately calls them "Old Dad".

  Lorena is now a mother of seven children and 99 fathers. "I still vividly remember that the day my father left, it happened to be raining and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky," Lorena said. "To this day, I still believe that my father is still alive. If you meet him on the rest of the journey, you will definitely recognize him. He has a warts on his left chin. He has lost all memory and can only speak one word: cereal."

  I listened quietly to Lorena's story, but my heart was turbulent. Just a week ago, in another town's "Grandpa Rainbow's Old Yard", I joined a group of people to say goodbye to an old man. He was so old that he would only repeat one word when he was dying: cereal, cereal, cereal... On his left chin, he had a dazzling wart.

  "I also believe that he must still be alive. I will go to many places, and I will help you find him." When I said goodbye to Lorena, I dared not look her in the eyes.

  There are still many mountains, many rivers, and many villages and towns ahead. I will also hear countless stories, and I am still looking for the person who can tell the best story.

  If you happen to meet him, please let me know.

Short Story

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