Long time ago, a boy lived in a nearby country. This country was a place where justice was not favoured. The most important thing was the person’s origin; the family they were born into. Education was not favoured either; it was a privilege, not a right. Well, this is how it went in that country then.
Those born into the family of a craftsman or a peasant were not the worst off. They could learn a profession. However, our boy was not so lucky; he was born to a mother who lived in a poor hut and earned her living as laundry washer.
The boy did not know his father. People perceived his mother as a slut, who had just slept with someone and become pregnant. The mother never told the boy who his father was, but the boy felt that the others were wrong; his mother was not a slut. The truth was that a blacksmith raped her several times when she brought his wife her washed laundry. In those times, rape was not taken too seriously; it was not a tragedy. Women passed these troubles among each other as a burden that was inseparable from their origin, the fact that they were women.
A linden tree grew behind the house where the boy lived with his mother. It was still young; but, it kept growing into an ever-mightier tree. The boy liked sitting in its shadow, carving penny whistles or dreaming about a better world. Sometimes when he dozed off, leaning against the linden tree, it seemed to him that the tree was speaking to him. “Silence yourself”, it kept repeating, although he felt there was silence all around.
The boy saw that his mother suffered. He saw how unfair it was for her to work so hard and get only alms for her drudgery, providing them barely enough resources to avoid dying of hunger. The boy grew, and with him grew his anger. Such unfairness! When he turned into a young man, he decided not to bear the pressure of society anymore and take revenge. Something had to happen!
When he sat below the beautiful and strong linden tree, which kept telling him “silence yourself”, it only exasperated him. Why should he be calming down when seeing so much injustice?! Toiling under the domination of masters, bending one’s back, and to be silent! It was against God!
One day, when he wandered about the market, held on the square every week, he heard that in a neighbouring town, young men were joining and hunting for new ones to plan revenge. It poured such hope into his life that he decided to find these men immediately and join them.
The boy was a strong one, so he was accepted straightaway. After that, he spent every evening at meetings in the house of one of these men, where they planned how to do justice. They planned to invade the local manor, set fire to it and kill the masters. The masters were responsible for people’s suffering! If the masters were gone, it would be easier to live.
They looked forward to the end of hard times very much. Once they had punished the sinners, the young men would take over governance of their towns.
The men were not educated, and most of them were not even taught to think, so they were not able to see beyond the act of their revenge.
The story splits up here, and you, yourself, can choose its ending.
On that fateful night, when it all happened, the sky was without clouds, full of stars and strong moonlight. “The God illuminates our way”, thought the boys. They had no doubts about the righteousness of what was going to happen. Generations of their families had faced injustice; therefore, the men had the most sacred blessing to remedy their situation.
There were a lot of men in the group, and there were even more of those unfairly oppressed. And of those who were angry. Under the veil of night, the men set off towards the manor. They went silently; nobody sensed what they were up to.
In about an hour, they arrived at the manor. There were guards at the gate, but the men knew what to do with them. The angry men stabbed the guards quietly, without them making a sound. So, the men passed through the gate easily. However, once they were in the courtyard, the dogs began barking, announcing that the manor had unexpected visitors. So, the men did not wait a second, quickly setting the barn roofs on fire, and then the group divided. Some went on setting more fires, others killing. The first to be slaughtered were the master and his wife; not even their five children were spared. The men also killed the maid who tried to protect the children. Insanely and in rage, the men proceeded from one person to another, from one neck to another. They were not satisfied only with the deaths of the masters, they wanted more. When there was nobody left to be slaughtered, the men quickly stuffed their pockets with jewellery and gold, and they left for the town below the manor. By then, the people in the town had been long on their feet, for the blaze shone far and wide, and they hurried to extinguish it. Charging down from the manor, the angry men killed every one of the townspeople they encountered. Giving way to their rage and sense of injustice, they did not distinguish between the sinners and the oppressed; the rampage continued without thought. In the hysteria of anger, ego took over and ordered them to slaughter …
The morning came.
The sky was grey from smoke; the blaze had spread to the surrounding houses, continuing down to the town, until it all lay in ashes. When the rage was over, the young men came to their senses.
In awe, they stared at the devastation they had caused. No, this was not justice. This was a devil that had taken over their bodies and minds; and, the young men had allowed it to happen. They did not feel better. Not a straw. Quite the opposite; many of them were on the brink of madness…
Our boy staggered to where once stood their small hut. It had burned to ashes as one of the first in the town, for it had a hay roof. He found his mother where once her bed stood. Luckily, she had died in her sleep, choked by smoke. The boy sat near her body, with an empty gaze. No justice was needed anymore; there was nobody who needed protection. In the afternoon, military troops came from the neighbouring town to arrange for order after the riot. The young men, including our boy, were hanged without a legal process.
The town lay in ashes, and had lost many of its hard-working hands. A lot of young men, mothers and children. The town never recovered from the event; and those who survived, left. Today, you would not recognise that there once had been a time when houses stood there.
Only the linden tree, that survived the raging of ego, stands there quietly, whispering to everyone who finds their way to it and places their hands on its trunk: “silence yourself”.
One night, when the boy was coming home from a meeting with other men, he did not feel like going in the hut. The night was warm, so he sat down under his linden tree to contemplate. “Silence yourself”, he felt the message again, when he leaned against the trunk. He had never understood what the tree had been telling him. He had not even understood the fact of him sensing this message. He had not heard any words; they had just been formed in his soul, making him aware that the linden tree had been talking to him. That night, however, he got a crazy idea; for the first time, he responded, in his soul, without words: “How shall I silence myself? Well, I am silent.” And here, the linden tree answered directly through his soul, uttering different words: “The fact that you are not saying anything does not mean you are silent. Silence your thoughts! There is a lot of anger in them.”
“Look at how we live. I toil with my mother; injustice rules over the world. I must be angry; I must do something.”
“Anger darkens one’s mind. It offers bad solutions. In anger, you cannot resolve anything; you can only bundle it up, or even make things worse. Silence yourself, and only then think what to do.”
“And how? How to silence myself, if I feel oppression at each step of my life? Is it even possible?”
“Carve penny whistles. It will help. Silence yourself.”
Well, the young boy did not understand the message. He went to bed. At the dawn of the next day, he obeyed the linden tree. Miracles did not happen often to him and the linden tree did not speak to anyone who approached it, he thought. So, after work, he sat down under the tree and began carving penny whistles. One, two, three of them. When carving the fourth, he realised that his anger was softer. It was replaced by peace, although there was no change in the oppression by the people in power. His mother was still considered a slut; they still were forced to toil to survive; the masters were still the masters. But the boy gained a precious treasure: peace.
He ceased going to meetings with the young men; and, during their coup attempt, the boy managed to wake up the village and prevent fire from spreading down to the town. The young men were hanged; here the story is identical with the first one. But, many people remained living. Many families saved the few things they had from burning. The linden tree continued growing behind the house, and the boy continued carving penny whistles in the tree’s shade. Soon, he was a master of wood carving. Peaceful as he was, he always managed to choose the best wood; and his penny whistles elicited beautiful, pure sound. He became a famous whistle-maker, but he still could not be accepted in a craftsmen’s guild.
Then he heard that, in the neighbouring country, even a common man could be an official craftsman; all that was needed was to pass an exam. So, he decided to take his mom and the few possessions they had, and head towards the unknown. When he was parting with the linden tree, it told him: “Things are to be handled with peace; and with peace comes happiness. Head towards your life, dear boy. And when you find yourself in hardship, sit down under a tree, and carve a penny whistle.”
Dear Soul, originally, Ending I was not supposed to be written. However, sometimes it is better to read about a hard thing than to experience it. Do not allow anger to manage your life, and you will handle everything. In anger, do not try “to separate the wheat from the chaff”; in anger, it is impossible to see what is wheat and what chaff. And, in fact, how can you separate the inseparable? By trying to do so, you will harm not only others, but yourself, first of all. When horrible things surface in you, hear that quiet voice whispering, “silence yourself”. I know it sounds illogical, for we are living in times when we should stop bending our backs. Dear Soul, shine…
„Dear Soul, I give you everything for free. By supporting me you won’t buy anything more. Although, you will support Letters to Soul to inspire other people. You will also support the experience of me becoming a writer. Thank you."