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Tale of Ivan’s Wanderings in an Unknown Country
Long ago it was… But people somehow — not so much has changed since then…
… Once upon a time, there was Ivan. And there were his parents: the father and mother. And he knew God-the-Father. He also loved-honored the Earth-Mother.
One day such events happened with him… And what is true in it and what is a tale — it is for you to decide yourself…
* * *
Once Ivan went on a summer morning stroll in the forest: both to merge with the beauty of nature, and to communicate with God. And he took a basket to collect forest berries.
He had come in the forest to a large bright pine — of those trees, which are called trees of power. Such trees create around themselves energy fields, purifying the human body and soul — of those people who live righteously and therefore are able to perceive the Holy Souls, attuning with the Divine Which manifests Itself in the Creation.
Ivan had leaned on the trunk of the pine — to be saturated with the Holy Subtlety and Purity.
And suddenly he saw the Divine Soul — beautiful Woman, consisting of the Divine Light and coming from God-the-Father.
And She said:
“Ivan! It is time for you — to begin helping also other people, as you helped before those who live in your village! Are you agreed?”
Divine Woman hugged Ivan — and dissolved him in Herself. And She then carried him into the other land.
* * *
Ivan woke up in another country under another tree of power. His basket is standing next. Ivan got up, took up the basket. He looked around, surprised — and went to survey this country, unknown to him, where he found himself.
Long or a short time he walked — he wanted to eat.
He saw — apple trees growing, bent down by the weight of the ripe fruits. He came up to the apple tree, plucked an apple. But he had just bitten off — here came a man running with a shovel, as if wanting to kill. He screamed:
“Why do you steal my apples?!”
“I’m sorry, my good man, I did not know that this is your apple! I thought that it belongs to the apple tree, and the apple tree pleases the weary traveler with its apple!”
“Where are you from; such a nerd to turn up? From the sky you had fallen, eh? Where have you seen that apples were free to all finders?! Once you steal an apple — you should clear it by working! Come to me in the farmhands! If not — I’ll send you on the court to the king!”
“Well, I will work it off!”
Ivan began to work. He did well any task! Everything in his hands as if was dancing! In the garden he works — all fruits are ripe! In the vegetable garden he works — everything grows and matures too!
Children of that man — have loved Ivan: they asked him about everything, and he — both gave them the answers, and taught to be smart, and told about love-kindness, and showed good examples.
"If I have gotten here,” — Ivan thought — “this means God-the-Father wanted it to be! I will cure people from greed! I will teach children kindness! And then — it, possibly, will be seen what happens: maybe I find a way to return to my home…”
But that man was cunning, he saw gain in his employee! He did not pay money. But Ivan — did not ask for anything. Only milk pot and a piece of bread — and he was well fed so.
A man thought-wondered: “He does not work for his interest… As if — a fool! But in what is his strength? — I do not understand!”
And Ivan said to him the word of the good and wise:
“Compassion — is not nonsense!
“Trickery — is not wisdom!
“Simplicity — is not poverty!
“Greed — is not wealth!
“You are here — and what do you live for?
“The worldly riches — cannot be taken with you into other worlds!
“What good of you will be memorized on the Earth? What good of you people will remember?
“What will you obtain from such a life — that is not taken away from you by the death of your body?
“What will you tell God-the-Father about the life you have lived?”
“And you, wise guy, why do you live?”
“I live to decorate every day, at least, a little, — by love and kindness!
“That is, namely so God commanded people to live in the world: co-create the good for others and do not take care of yourself!
“Let the done by me today be both simple and few, and even should no one know about it — I serve the good! As the sun that rises in the morning, I will shine by heart to all people and show love to all!”
“Here you are talking about love, but where is it — love? It cannot be seen! Gain and power rule over life! And is not love at all!” — a man told in response.
Ivan said to him:
“You harm yourself, as a worst enemy! You ruin your life! You love no one! And love cannot be cognized by one who lives only for himself!”
But a man argues:
“How to live so: do not love myself, love others, give away to others, do not think about myself? Here it would be — self-harming!
“If something is beneficial for someone — it means that another has disadvantage! If one has something, this means that another does not have it! Is it not?”
“Ugh! What country is here? Even in your minds, all thoughts are as if contrary! In untruth — all have lost!
“Well, judge for yourself:
“If the sun is shining over my house — then it shines above my neighbor’s house!
“If contagious disease has come into the house of my neighbor — then it is to my own trouble and sorrow. Because all of that trouble may prove ill, if the disease is not treated!
“And if love has risen above the house — it shines upon everything around!
“But it is the same, if hatred, greed, envy — like infectious diseases — one should not treat them — they damage all around!”
… Often, Ivan with a man talked about the meaning of life, were arguing about the heart goodness…
But Ivan saw that not for all — the words of wisdom are…
And he decided that time had come for him to go further.
* * *
But suddenly a widow-neighbor, living in poverty, came to that man. She asked him to give a sack of flour in debt. But a greedy man says:
“You will give me back with interest — two times more than you now take up!”
The poor woman cried:
“How can I give you back so much?”
But Ivan said to the woman:
“Take me to the workers: I’ll help you! I have worked up already to this man for his apple. Now — I can work for you. You give him twice — and four times you will get from me!”
The man did not want to let go the employee. He speaks:
“Do not go to her! She has four children who are sitting on the benches and always want to eat! She will neither give you bread, nor pour milk!”
“I have worked to you for your apple! So I am free to go wherever I want!” — Ivan answered him.
Then the kids of a man came running up, began to catch him by the caftan not allowing Ivan to depart:
“Stay! We will be sad without you! Who will tell us stories? Who will show the joy? Who will teach us cleverness?”
But Ivan answered them:
“I go not into distant lands! Come and visit your neighbor and her kids! Bring gifts! I have taught you the kindness, and whoever does not forget my lessons — will not only talk about good in tales, but will do good in reality!”
Kids ran up to their father:
“Daddy, daddy, give away to a neighbor a sack of flour!”
The man thought a moment — and said:
“Okay, so, take it for free to feed your children!”
And it became in his heart so light and warm — as before it had never been…
Here Ivan smiled:
“Not in vain, means, I worked for you!”
And the widow did not believe her eyes and ears! She thanked, out of her depth with happiness!
And Ivan said:
“This joy is not happiness yet! It should be more!”
* * *
Ivan took the sack of flour, hoisted on his shoulder and went to the poor woman.
They came into the house. There — emptiness, sadness… Children thin and pale are lying on the cold stove, they wish to eat… Anguish-sorrow in the house — is hanging like smoke…
Ivan said to them:
“Enough of you lying on the stove and picking noses!
“From grief — ailments come! From melancholy — grief multiplies!
“But from love and joy — life becomes filled with happiness!
“With thoughts of light, with joy in your hearts — let your every day begin! By good deeds let every day go on! And with bright calm — let every day end!
“You, children, clean here everywhere, sweep the house! Soon we will have dinner!”
And he himself — went to milk the cow. And he called eldest girl with him.
He began to milk, gently began to talk to the cow. Nice it was to the cow!
And the girl patted the cow, rejoiced. She requested:
“Is it possible — I could milk?”
And they milked so much! Four times over the usual!
Brought — and poured per a cup to everyone.
Then Ivan began to knead the dough — it, in his hands, was growing and rising! Kids marveled: “Is it possible — and we too?”…
Ivan, meanwhile, called the older boy into the yard. And they chopped wood.
Youngest kids began to wear and stack split wood…
Ivan lit up the stove, baked both breads, and bagels, and pretzels…
Children were happy, and the widow was surprised…
Hardly a week passed since, and the widow and her children have forgotten about poverty!
Then Ivan began to teach children to please their mother: radiate the light and love from hearts.
And he had taught all them work: the eldest daughter — to tend the cow and to bake bread, eldest son — to chop wood, to heat the oven, to walk in the forest for mushrooms and salt them, younger children — washing and cleaning. And all — to help one another in all the good!
And the neighbor kids started to come to visit and bring gifts.
So strong friendship had come to the children!
Ivan knew: he had sown good seeds here — for many years ahead! For many years from now, good sprouts will grow! These children grow into adulthood — with good hearts and skillful hands! Consequently — they will live a life of goodness and beauty — for other people around!
* * *
So Ivan had gone on a journey, and he went further.
He observed how people live in the country. But people lived wrong and awkwardly…
Ivan stayed in one house, then in another — and retained everywhere good advice on how to live, how to light love in the house. Sometimes people only smiled to each other — and then were beginning to look with good to the world!
… Ivan went so, went — and saw: a husband and wife who live in one house, but they do not get along with each other.
All that the husband did or even wanted to do — his wife in defiance would say… And everything that his wife would do — the husband was unhappy: and she saw not right, and prepared wrong, and said not needed… So they quarreled every day…
They lived as if together, but all was apart between them… Every day consisted in battles and quarrels over any trifle…
Ivan heard how the husband and wife quarreled — and knocked on their door, asking to drink water.
The wife opened, yelling rudely:
“Go away, beggar! We do not have anything extra!”
Ivan responded to her:
“So give little water for me to drink: the way I still have is long-range… I’m walking from the forest, have ripe berries, would entertain you!”
Her husband, as heard about berries, was shouting to his wife:
“Enough water for you to not become poor! Let him go, drink water — and he will give us the berries!”
Ivan sat down on the bench. He poured berries into bowls for the hosts. He took the scoop with water, sipped a sip. And he says:
“Would you like kiddies in the house? The joy would add, a quarrel to turn down!”
“Yes, we wanted a long time, but…” — said the husband and wife — and they began to blame and scold each other…
Ivan said to them:
“What child would like to have such parents: to listen to their swearing? All kids — must be born and grow up in love! Love — does not argue against, does not object to! Love — transforms! Kind man is beautiful! And angry man is dangerous!”
“What are we to do? Teach: how can we not fight?” — the husband and wife asked.
“So this is — easily! My father with my mother taught me to:
— not want against someone else’s volition,
— never say unkind words,
— always forgive insults,
— do not remember insults from other people.
“And who remembers old evil — the enemy will be for good!
“So now I teach you the same. And to make it easier to you — my advice is simple: when you’d like to say to someone an angry word, fill the mouth with water — and be quiet until you feel love in the spiritual heart!
“Delicious is your water and health, you will be healed in a month! And if you will think about a future baby with tender heart love, so that you warm your dream as long as you remain silent, — then after a year you will have a miracle: you shall have a good child!”
So Ivan said, more berries left — and went on…
… How much water the husband and wife had drunk? — no one knew. Only they say that since then, they have finished quarrels.
And a year or two, kids have been born. And a saying in those regions had remained: “silent, as if filled the mouth with water!”. And why they say so — it was already forgotten…
* * *
Ivan went farther on the country… And he heard — a woman singing a beautiful yet sad song:
“Salty dews are on my gray eyes,
Blond plaits — as in white snow…
Where are you, my hubby?
How I overlooked my happy day?”
Ivan asked her:
“Why is your song so sad? Why do you live lonely?”
“I live lonely in the whole world, because I am not needed to anyone… There is no husband, no children… How can I not be sad about such a fate, not be offended to live such a life?”
“Stop loving your infirmities! Stop crying over yourself!
“Help others — and they will help you!
“You’re — not old yet! And you’re singing beautifully! Take into your life an orphan-babe — and make it happy! Look: there is really an orphan-girl in your village, accept her into your life! You will live together in love and goodness — and your life will change, a new smile will appear in your fate!”
The woman was surprised and pleased:
“It is — your righteousness! Stop living for just myself, to wait for luck in the fate and to be sad about myself! I’ll take the orphan as a daughter!”
“You have decided right, beautiful!” — Ivan said. — “The person who helps others — will rise from all the troubles and diseases! Joy in such man will increase the power to awake! All the good that such man planned — will be realized, become true!”
* * *
Long or short, Ivan went, and wherever he was, good seeds germinated in the souls!
And where people love each other — peace and harmony and joy of God in their hearts remained and grew!
… He came to another village — and there were recruitments into the royal army. Soldiers needed to serve ten years in the army of the king. And not many men came back alive, because their king Mokey was always ready to fight and always found a reason for war…
In the village — wailing and moans!…
Ivan saw as the girl with a guy make their goodbyes, were shedding floods of tears.
The guy said:
“You will forget me during my ten year service in the army…”
And she answered him:
“I will not forget you, I will wait for you forever! Only come back!…”
Ivan said to guy:
“Do you want me instead of you to go into the army? I want to see: why is needed such an army, from which so much tears and sorrow are around?!”
“Will you really go yourself, voluntarily, — instead of me to serve?!”
The young began to bow, thank Ivan.
* * *
So Ivan had become a soldier.
But only the heads were tortured with Ivan: he only asked questions, argues. But in the army it cannot be! Back-talk in the army is not allowed, rather one just needed to perform commands!
They said to him:
“We will teach you the military science!”
But Ivan answered:
“I knew that there is a science, for example, how to plant a garden. There is a science, how to raise bread, how to build a house. But I did not know that there is a science, how to ruin people!”
Bosses worried: so it is up to riot! If one begins — then others would want to! The voivode ordered him to be arrested and sent to the court of the king: “He is insubordinate and a rebel, he does not want to march, he does not want to fight! He conducts dangerous discussions, leading to sedition!”
Ivan was arrested and taken to the king Mokey in court.
… They brought Ivan to the king.
And the king Mokey was formidable and bad-tempered. If something was wrong in his opinion — immediately he strove to execute: to one — put on a stake, to another — to cut the head.
That was why war in the kingdom never ended: the king Mokey could not be in peace with the neighbors! Quarreled — and let’s fight! People were dying, countries were poorer…
And the king had pleasure only when there was someone against whom to wage war, to judge, to execute.
King rubbed his hands, wanting to hold court: he conceived to mock Ivan, to relish his fear, to be proud of his kingly power!
He began to terror Ivan with a cruel penalty and the terrible death. But saw that Ivan is not afraid… And he was curious as to why.
So he asked:
“Why are you, Ivan, not afraid of death?”
“I never transgressed in my life, always acted according to conscience! So why should I fear?
“And I know that the soul does not die: it is only the death of the body that is considered. Then the soul incarnates in a new body.
“If one lives not on one’s own initiative, but by the commands of God — then death does not frighten this person! God disposes my destiny! According to His plan all is done!”
“Well-well…” — Mokey wondered: he had not heard such talk before… — “Then answer me: why, Ivan-troublemaker, you do not want to fight in my army?”
“I do not want, sir, because I must first understand what are the war’s aims, for which I have to shoot at a man, depriving him of life? If there is no reason to — then kill me, but I will not shoot!”
“Penalty! Penalty must be! Because such cases cannot be! Even to think or talk in such a way must not be allowed! If everyone in the army would understand why war is — then war will not exist!”
“But why is it — bad?
“If people would understand why they should fight — then there could not be more reliable troops! If everyone in the army knows the meaning of what he participates in — then this army is invincible! Such an army cannot be bribed, these soldiers cannot be defeated!
“And wrongful wars — will not be!”
Mokey even turned purple in indignation:
“But how is it — to not fight?! It is clear from antiquity: if something is not shared by people, then — to battle! And who is stronger — he will own!”
“But it is possible to solve problems in peace, to share in goodness!
“Maybe you need to decide otherwise: who needs it more — he owns!?
“Why are you now at war? What did you not share with the king Dermidon?”
“He has looked to distant lands and captured Vasilisa-the-Wise! And he keeps her in his prison! And I heard that the person who owns the wisdom — dominates over any power! I will conquer from him Vasilisa — and will be the owner of all the kingdoms and lands! No one will be stronger than me!”
“But is it really possible that one owns the wisdom, who keeps in captivity the Wise? Is it possible to grow wiser from this? What is the benefit from wisdom that is contained locked, but not applied in real life?
“The use may be from only that wisdom which is applied!
“But wisdom can be born and grown — only from the goodness of the heart!
“And only with the spiritual love — wisdom is mastered!
“Would you like for me to become your ambassador to Dermidon-king? I will reconcile you with him and marry you with his daughter. And Vasilisa-the-Wise will be release from prison — and all people will learn from her wisdom! In your kingdoms, peace will co-exist, you will arrange a wedding feast in both your kingdoms! You will cognize, king Mokey, how well it is to live without war!
“And are you bored to live so many years without a wife?”
… Became thoughtful king Mokey about his life… And indeed: so many years fought and fought… How to find a bride in such a life? And the daughter of Dermidon-king Barbara is a good pair to king Mokey: not the best in temperament; grumpy, moderately haughty, not too clever, but is not bad…
And so suddenly wanted Mokey-king to become married!
He spoke to Ivan:
“Well-well! That’s the case! I thought I’ll put you on a stake! But you have become an ambassador…
“Well, so be it, go! Only without the Barbara-princess do not come back!”
* * *
And Ivan went to the king Dermidon.
He had come — and spoke to Dermidon:
“I, Ivan-ambassador from the king Mokey, have come. Mokey-king asks the hand of your daughter!”
“Ten years Mokey wanted only to fight! And why now he decides to parley? Well, I don’t! I know him: he decided to capture me by cunning! He wants to take away from me Vasilisa-the-Wise! He wants to own both kingdoms! That is why we are at war! And no agreements between us are possible!”
“I have come to reconcile you, to stop the feud between realms, to carry out kinship and peace between you! And what concerns Vasilisa-the-Wise — to liberate her. Arrange the wedding — and make peace!”
“No! Do not speak it!” — Dermidon shouted.
… But Barbara-Beauty, the daughter of Dermidon-king, heard the whole conversation.
Barbara was sitting up without a husband! For many years already, she wanted to marry, but a fiance still is not!… Either — Dermidon-king does not like the fiancé: poor, is not famous… Or — she herself does not like him: old, the face is not beautiful…
And during ten years of war so many had been killed!… And no one woos already…
She entered — and cried out loudly:
“And why am I not asked, father?! Make peace! I want to get married!”
And so she began to howl such that king Dermidon understood: if not to marry her right now, then, for sure, calm living will never be…
“Well,” — he said — “I will give my daughter in marriage! But Vasilisa-the-Wise — I will not give her until all her wisdom will be mine! This stubborn girl does not want to obey me, does not want to share with me her wisdom! She gives me strange tips, laughs at me!…
“For example, she said: ‘Stop, Dermidon-king, eating dead bodies! Look: animals have so many troubles from you! And because of eating the dead flesh — both abdominal is boiling up in you, and your mind is closed from the light of truth, coarse and not prolific!’
“Or she says: ‘Do not accumulate wealth for yourself! There is no use in such riches: it will be lost in vain! Good sovereign — is rich by the wealth and prosperity of his country! He is glad to stand up for the life of his people in contentment and peace! He rules with the help of good, not violence! He stops by his power only outrage and anger of certain people!’”
“Let me king Dermidon, to talk with Vasilisa! I’ll do this so that she will disclose all her wisdom: everyone will take so much, as wants and can accommodate!
“There is no benefit in the wisdom that is contained under lock and key and is not applied in life!
“But one needs to learn wisdom for a long time! Everyone needs to work here much!
“To learn to be wise — one should illuminate by love one’s own thoughts!
“Wisdom is a property of the soul, which has great heart love!”
… And, unexpectedly, Dermidon agreed and ordered to take Ivan to the dungeon, where Vasilisa-the-Wise was held.
* * *
The guard guided Ivan. And the king Dermidon, Barbara-princess, also the servants — went too. It was curious for all to see! They were afraid to miss the moment when Vasilisa would begin to distribute to all her wisdom!
The locks were unbolted, the doors to the dungeon were opened.
Ivan and Vasilisa saw each other. And they united by souls in love!
Now they understood each other’s thoughts without words! They stood, they looked at each other — as if there was no one around!
The silence of lips did not hinder them hearing each other:
“I waited for you! I waited for you to come for me!”
“I’m sorry, I took so long! I felt that there was a reason for me to come here. But if I knew about you — then I would have hurried more…”
And the king Dermidon worries:
“Why are you silent? What is it? Do you hide the wisdom from us?”
Vasilisa looked kindly and said to Ivan so, for all to hear:
“Don’t be sad that you met up with me after so long a time! You have done a lot of good deeds on your way! And because of this, I love you even more!
“And I lived without sorrow in the prison, lived as if I’m free! I was hovering by the soul like a bird above the land and hugging everyone and everything with my heart love! I sang songs of love — and people’s hearts listened to these songs! Either beauty-girl hears my song — and sings it to her beloved! Or mother, sloping over the cradle, connects her and my affection, rocking a baby to sleep! Or the shepherd will hear my heart melody — and will play it on his pipe! Or birds in the autumn will sing like in spring! Or the breeze rustles birch’s leaves — in time with my song — and embrace a good man by the warm breath!
“And by the body, I was not lazy! Here, in prison, I did not pass time in vain: I have written a book for people. The book outlines what I knew about why people are born on the Earth, why they have to learn the kindness, how to create happiness, how to control and manage the own emotions, how to connect the own life with the Divine Commandments, how to fulfill life’s meaning… And I also have recorded the advice for rulers — so that people’s prosperity in the kingdoms might increase.
“If all people were obedient to the Laws of God, if they were kind to neighbors — then, perhaps, life would begin to change, so that all could live more beautifully!”
And then Ivan spoke so, too, both Dermidon, and Barbara, and the servants, and the guardians could hear:
“Come with me, Vasilisa-the-Beautiful, in my house! Be my friend, companion, and faithful wife! And the book, which you have written in prison, in which all wisdom is stored, — let all people read it! And when they learn the wisdom — there will be no conflicts, nor strife between people!”
And Vasilisa replied to him:
“Yes, I agree.”
* * *
King Dermidon had agreed to the wedding of his daughter. And between the kingdoms — peace had been established.
King Mokey had married Barbara. And he now was at war sometimes only with his wife. However, Barbara did not allow him to take precedence over her.
“Book of Wisdom”, which Vasilisa had written in prison, was many times copied and sent out to all corners of the two kingdoms.
Sometimes people read the book. And when they introduced in life the wise advice of Vasilisa-the-Wise — those kingdoms prospered.
… So helped Ivan and Vasilisa to establish life in those lands. And it was time for them to return home.
* * *
They had come to Ivan’s house. The father and mother met them.
They said to Ivan:
“How long did you go to pick berries!”
Ivan bowed to them and apologized for his delay:
“Sorry, that it took so long to go for berries! But: I went for berries — and had found the perfect wife! Rejoice! Meet!”
* * *
What happened next — cannot be told at once! About all their good joint achievements — it’s impossible to tell at one time!
Because this is the end of our tale.
And love is the crown for all good deeds!