The Past, the Present, and the Future

Cabin in the hills of New Zealand Zilvold Coaching & Training Blog
9 min read

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Once upon a time, an older man lived alone in a forest in the hills. He was a wise man who knew medicinal plants in nature, astronomy, and natural phenomena. That wisdom was a gift passed down to him from generation to generation. The knowledge that is no longer taught in today’s schools.

Today, the people of the nearby village by the sea no longer come to the older man for advice. The village developed. New shops are built, roads are paved, and a new school is built. The villagers no longer asked the older man for medicines or tips on where and when to fish. They get that information from the internet. The old ways of doing things are not seen as the path to the future.

The visit

Occasionally the wise man would come to the village to do some shopping. The elderly residents of the village recognized the man, but the children did not. They even bullied him because the older man walked strangely and often spoke to himself.

One day the older man was back in the village, and a father caught his son imitating the older man for fun. The father spoke sternly to his son. He explained that the old one was wise and a kind of doctor. He asked his son to have more respect for the older man.

That afternoon the older man walked through the woods again, back to his home in the hills. He was sad that no one recognized him anymore and was made even sadder by the thoughts of the future that he tried to ignore.

The older man was tired and felt alone. All his friends were gone. He remembered his youth and the teachings of the ancient people. He realized he was sad because the wisdom would not be passed on and would die with him.

Meanwhile, the school construction in the village continued, and the day when the new building would be officially open was getting closer.

The dream

The night before this festive occasion, the older man had a dream. The dream was about a large reptile emerging from the ground up. It destroyed everything in its path, including the village. The roads were destroyed, the buildings were razed to the ground, and the monster disappeared into the sea. Then a great wave came out of the sea and carried away everyone who had not yet fled to the hills. Everyone except a little boy. This little boy stood in front of the older man’s bed, his arms outstretched and his fists clenched. When he opened his hands, seeds flew and were carried away by the wind.

->Readingtip: Dreams

The warning

The older man woke up drenched in sweat. He had never had such a clear dream or vision. The next morning, he went straight to the village. He walked into the new school building, and the ceremonial opening had just ended. Everyone was talking to each other over drinks. The older man climbed on stage and took the microphone.

“You need to leave as soon as possible. Your houses will be destroyed, and many will die.”

There was silence in the hall. The children stood behind their parents. Some people laughed. Others turned away. The new director got the older man off the stage with difficulty and offered him a drink.

The old man refused and shouted, “Go! While you still have time!”

The little boy

As the older man walked away, a little boy approached him. It was the little boy who bullied him earlier. The older man realized that it was the boy from his dream. When the boy asked him why he had spoken on the stage, the older man would not answer.

He said, “You must tell them while there is still time.”

The little boy protested and said no one would listen to him. The older man encouraged him to find the strength to speak, and then he walked away.

Then the boy walked back to the hall and climbed onto the podium.

“People used to listen to this man and respect him,” the boy said into the microphone.

The people in the room kept talking, but the boy continued:

“He was trying to warn us. We must listen to him”.

Then the boy walked home. He didn’t feel like partying anymore. Later that night, the father came to the boy’s bedside.

The father said, “I am proud of you. It takes a lot of courage to get on stage and say what you think.”

The boy looked sadly at the ground and said it hadn’t mattered and no one had listened to him.

His father told him that was not true. He said:

“A lot of people talked about it afterward. Because there was still so much food and drink left, we decided to picnic with him in the hills tomorrow.”

This made the boy happy, and he looked forward to the next day.

The picnic

When the village people arrived at the older man’s house the next afternoon, they found an empty house. They decided to climb to a higher cliff to eat. There was a nicer view there.

There they found the older man. The man smiled as he saw everyone enjoying themselves and the children playing. It reminded him of his childhood.

Just as everyone was resting, the first earthquake hit. Everyone braced themselves, and the kids screamed as their parents searched for them. Fortunately, they were standing on a solid place where the ground could not crack and where there were no landslides like in the valley below.

The villagers saw how their houses were destroyed when the earthquake was over. All the buildings were no longer standing, the new school was gone, and the roads were torn. The village was unrecognizable, and everyone was crying.

An hour later, they saw a huge wave coming in from the sea. A tidal wave swept over the land, destroying everything the earthquake had not yet destroyed.

The old ways

The year after the earthquake and the tidal wave, the residents started to rebuild their village. The villagers took in the older man, and he was appreciated. He could now also talk more about how it used to be, the medicinal plants, and how the stars influence the life of man and nature. The little boy was very interested in the teaching and listened to the older man for a long time to learn from him.

After two years, a feast was held in honor of the older man to thank him for the many gifts they received from him. The older man felt that the past was reconnected to the present as it was to the future. The older man was happy and felt fulfillment in his heart.

Not long after, the older man had another dream. This time he dreamed of the people he had known in his younger years. He knew his time had come to leave this world. The next morning, he passed away when the sun came up.

The new ways

Some of the older man’s stories and wisdom went with him. But little seeds of wisdom were planted in the minds of the young people to ensure that the ways of the old people would live on into the future.

What appealed to you in this story? What lessons do you take from this? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article. and I are looking forward to reading from you!

Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends, or family. The story is inspired by a Māori story with the title Te Tohunga. And please SHARE this article with your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn network by pressing the buttons below so they can also benefit from this story about the older man who lived in the forest. You are welcome to copy parts of this blog if you state the source.

Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

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