On the Hill of Sleeping Hats

On the Hill of Sleeping Hats

A Chapter by YouoweYoupay

Friendship, food and straw hats.

21. On the Hill of Sleeping Hats

Not long ago, I had asked Obi Ginnar this:
“Can we change history?”
He answered me that we could not.
“Can we start changing people’s minds about my great grand father?”
Obi answered me that we could not.
“Can we fight the river fiends?”
“Yes, Beya.” He replied, his eyes glossed with the tears of strength and weariness at once, “Love your enemy. The river fiends do not know what love is. They cannot see it. And so, we smite them with it, eh? Fight, Beya. Not with fear. With love.”
"And pitchforks?" I added, "Sometimes, love is not enough."
"And pitchforks, yes, if necessary." His moustache smiled.

I withheld the last vision from Jaraan. His father had sworn to him that apart from the Ulians, no one can be trusted. However, Jaraan was here with me, sitting on the same branch as me, our feet touching as we swung our legs and our smiles tying a string between our souls. This only meant that, like me, Jaraan had chosen love over fear.

I had not seen any mention of Jaraan's mother in the book of visions. Where was she when her son was being poisoned with hatred and false superiority? 

As if he had read my mind, Jaraan said to me this:
"My mother sends you her regards."
"Is she well?"
"She has been a little downcast from all the traveling." he explained, "But she asked me to tell you that you have nothing to fear from being my friend. That no one will hurt you."

“Write to me.” I urged him, “Rumi flies everywhere. He will follow you to the ends of the world and take your letter. Do not stop writing.”
“I will write to you.” he clasped his hand in mine, a strong, long-lasting clasp, “I will write to you even if I die and cross the other side of the river. I will ask Lord Tambier to deliver my letter for you.”
“You believe in my god?”
“Just as you believe in mine.” he nodded, “There is no difference between Melusia and Tambier. I think they still love one other. They need one other. Earth cannot come to life without water. And water is lost without earth. And that is why Beyarnok chased them and bit them. Not because they broke their marriage vows, but because they buried their love in their hearts, wastefully.”
“Do you really think that?”
“Yes. And that is why he bit you. Not because you broke your promise to Lumio, but because Beyarnok wanted you let your saddness speak. You must show what is in your heart, Beyya. Do not be afraid.”
“I’m not afraid.” I calmly replied before examining the bite mark on my wrist, dry and faded but undeniably the work of a wolf. It was real.

“Have you come across any good visions in Lumio’s book?” Jaraan wondered.

I had never thought of this…But when I turned the pages of the Book of Visions in my mind, I did recall the following premonitions:

Fareed’s sister, Najmah, unlike I had expected, will turn out to be anyhing but a dull woman. She will grow up to be a respectable healer in Guloc. Her father will change his mind about ceasing her education after being crushed with a grave illness and the only one who will soothe the coughing and ease the body aches was his daughter. I recalled her devotion to my wellbeing at the fork of the river, the gentle way she pressed my bleeding knee with the damp cattail.

Another vision I read was about Aunt Tula following the illness and death of my uncle. 

She will become a regular and dear guest at the back porch of the Mad Herbalist’s hut. Together, with Obi Ginnar, they will share their lonely days of old age as they drink cardamom milk and give Juria the scratches between the ears that she loved. All the while, the mighty grey mountain will still be sitting opposite the modest hut, like the shape of a cross-legged old man, forever listening to Aunt Tula and Obi Ginnar sing 'Not All is Lost'.

The last vision was the one that I cherished the most:

Jaraan will grow to be a strong, kind man who loves to travel and cook delicious meals. He will return to Guloc one day wearing the white scarf instead of the indigo sigil of the river. And he will sit with his good friend on the Hill of Sleeping Hats and they will have lunch together, delicious rollichs, before dozing off under the shade of large straw hats, beneath a kingdom of afternoon clouds showered by the sun. 

The most beautiful part of this vision was the reunion of two friends. The tragic part of this vision was that it never existed in the Book of Visions in the first place. Lumio had never written anything of the sort. It was purely a figment of my imagination.

“I forgot. I completely forgot.” Jaraan sighed in disappointmend before he handed me something bundled in a paper bag, “It must have gone cold by now. I’m sorry.”

Beneath the layers of wrapping paper, lay a lukewarm rollich, soaked in melted cheese and additional pickled garlic. Just the way I loved it. I asked Jaraan about his own sausage roll and he assured me that he had gobbled one up on his way to the flower meadow. But for some reason, I did not believe him.

I had not eaten since the night before.

A tear dropped, staining the rollich’s wrapping paper. My heart fell apart and scattered all across the meadow. I masked my face with one arm, but more tears fell. It was as if Lord Tambier has unleashed his mighty flood once again; wailing and shuddering breaths in between. The mountains dyed by the sunset blurred in my eyes and every passing moment hauled me further from the hill of purple flowers. What brought me here again, to the arms of Rumi’s tree, was Jaraan’s comforting hand stroking my back.

I cried and cried until the light of the sun diminished like cooling embers and the sky was smeared with purple and peach and gorgeous indigo. The garlicky, smokey, cheesy rollich brought me back to life and the evening spring breeze soothed the hot trails of tears on my face.

“What does the sky look like to you?” Jaraan asked me, crossing his arms.

“I do not know.” I shrugged, “Beautiful. What does it look like to you?”

“Indeed.” he said, with a mature, serious face. Too serious for his own good, “To me, the colors look like the bruise on a knee. Or…or perhaps a gorgeous dress fit for a goddess.”

“Why do you speak like that?” I complained, clicking my tongue, “How old are you, seventy-four?”

I gave him a little shove on the shoulder and he did not shove me back.


© 2020 YouoweYoupay

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register


Beautiful. This chapter, this whole book. Beautiful. I am left with such an impression in my soul. Your words are poetic and powerful. I can see the hill in my mind. I can feel the sting of young friendship and the see the passage of time not yet passed. Thanks for sharing this wonderful work with the world. I enjoyed it a lot! And the food though. Mmm mmm. Man, now I'm hungry.
I give OTHOSH five stars out of five and three thumbs up. There are some grammar things sprinkled here and there, but nothing egregious. There were some slow bits and some bits that dragged, but overall it was an awesome read. You are a fantastic writer and you know your stuff. Don't stop!

Posted 2 Months Ago

I love the symbolism of Rumi the bird messenger, which seems to stand for the thread that connects two people in the unconscious realm, so they are very much in tune with one another, even when living apart. I don't finish many books at the cafe, esp ones this long, becuz the writing is just too shabby even when the storyline is strong & well-presented. It's an absolute marvel & delight to read so many long involved chapters with meticulous writing, grammar, etc . . . and also with consistent attention to everything like dialogue, description, life lessons, demonstrating the loving connections between your characters -- all these things happen consistently thru-out the book & hardly anyone here at the cafe has written a book that I've read here & it does all this (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 3 Months Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


2 Reviews
Added on December 5, 2020
Last Updated on December 11, 2020
Tags: Short novel



Amman, ..., Jordan

"The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms." ~Muriel Rukeyser "There is no one more rebellious or attractive than a person lost in a book." “He allowed himself to be swayed by his con.. more..

Memah Lemon Memah Lemon

A Chapter by YouoweYoupay

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..

Curry Curry

A Poem by YouoweYoupay