Five Oracles

He stroked his little girl’s hair and smiled at her, his eyes begging for her to hear how proud he was to have her in his life.

But that’s not why they hiked up the mountain at sunrise this day. This day was the day that his daughter had come of a certain age, the day when she would finally learn of her fate.

The father beckoned her to a dark entrance carved out in the mountain wall. “My daughter, my precious child, you have been confused about what your role among our people will be. You do not know what to do with your life. And so, now that you are old enough to make the journey, you will discover your destiny.”

“Is that why we’re at the Sacred Shrine?” she asked, her curiosity rising with the dawn.

“Yes. Just as fathers before me have brought their daughters before you, and mothers have brought their sons, so will we now take part in this grand tradition.”

With a nervous nod, the young girl exhaled, “I’m ready, father.”

“Once you enter the Sacred Shrine,” her father explained, stroking his short, brown beard, “there will be five oracles. Each one will inform you of your destiny, but only one will speak the truth.”

The girl gulped, so loud that she wondered if it could be heard clear across the canyon.

“It is up to you to determine which one is truthful,” her father encouraged. “You may enter when you are ready.”

“Yes, father.”

He observed his daughter, her solid stature, her poise in even the most stressful of circumstances, then he looked to the entrance ahead and then back to her.

While she eyed the mostly obscure entrance, he looked to the sky then back to her.

As she bit her lip in anxious anticipation of what she may find in there, he looked to the patches of grass on the ground then back to her.

“You may enter any time now,” he reminded his young offspring. “At this rate, the sun will set before you’re halfway there.”

She shut her eyes, embarrassment reddening her cheeks. “Yes, father.”

Approaching the entrance, she took a deep breath, her hands carefully crawling along the jagged, rocky sides as she disappeared into the mouth of the Sacred Shrine.

The father sat, closed his eyes, and meditated in the warming sun as he waited for his daughter to return.

He listened as the wind spoke of its adventures flying free.

He drifted with the leaves fluttering down from their respective swaying branches.

He felt the immobile travels of each blade of grass surrounding him.

He hoped his daughter would return quickly because he had to go, and he didn’t want to relieve himself near the Sacred Shrine.

Plus, what if she caught him in the act of defiling the area around the shrine? How embarrassing would that be?

Finally opening his eyes, the father stood and turned to see his daughter exiting the Sacred Shrine, her face awash in disappointment.

“What happened?” he asked.

Bowing her head, she said, “It was a waste of time.”

“What did the oracles say to you?”

“One of them said I would become a seamstress. Another told me I would spend my life as a cook. Of the other two, one said I was destined to be a crafts maker while the other claimed I would become a loyal homemaker for a devoted husband.”

Her father stroked his beard. “You sound almost ill.”

“I am fully ill, father,” the girl emphasized. “I don’t want to be any of those things. I always poke myself when sewing, I burn every food I have attempted to warm, my crafts always turn up lopsided, and I certainly will never even allow a boy to touch me!”

The father leaned down to kiss his daughter’s forehead. “Those are the words every father dreams of hearing.”

“Every time I was told what I was destined to do,” the girl continued, “I felt in my heart that I wanted to do something else.”

With interest, the father asked, “And that something else would be?”

Quietly, calmly, as gentle as the surrounding breeze, the daughter answered, “I want to be a caretaker, like auntie. I want to care for our elderly, help them, listen to their stories, and learn from the wisdom they’ve acquired over their many years.” She gazed up at her father, his proud eyes returning her bold stare as she added, “One day, I want to pass on what I’ve learned from their experiences, and from my experiences, to whoever will listen to me.”

“So,” the father wondered, “which of the five oracles were truthful with you?”

The daughter fumed. “That’s another thing! You said there were five oracles inside, but there were only four. Where was the fifth oracle? I even questioned the other four about the whereabouts of the fifth, but they wouldn’t answer me!”

“My daughter,” the father said with a noble smile, “I did not tell you there were five oracles inside the Sacred Shrine. I told you that once you entered the Sacred Shrine, there would be five oracles.”

He knelt before her, his eye level matching hers as he pointed to her heart. “The fifth oracle is the one inside of you. And as you have discovered, it will always be truthful.”

19 thoughts on “Five Oracles

    1. Thank you! *hugs back* 🙂

      I love your blog. The content, the color, and the fact that one of your favorite movies is Ip Man. Haha!

      By the way, have you seen this parody of Ip Man versus 10 Japanese black belts?

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the comments! 🙂

      I just got an idea last night for another short story. Hopefully, I can get it written and posted sometime in the next week.

    1. Thank you! 🙂

      This was a story that I really enjoyed writing. So it feels nice that you so enjoyed reading it.

      Look at me, using fancy words like, “nice.” 🙂

  1. I can’t say enough about how much I love your writing. Let me know as soon as you publish your trilogy and I will be the first to buy it!! This piece actually moistened my eyes by the time I finished. Just wonderful.

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