I was just a child when my grandfather first told me the story of the traveler. Long ago, a young man with striking black hair came to our village. Everyone was suspicious of him because he was different and he was not known to them. They saw that he brought with him tools that were shiny and reflected the light of the sun onto the thick walls of their homes.
The man kept to himself for many days until one warm morning the traveler knocked on each door of the village and invited everyone to sit with him that night around a fire he would build in the village center. They did normally venture out into the darkness that is night, and would lock the doors and draw their shades to shut out the world around them. Yet, the villagers were curious. And, they were lonely.
That night, everyone in the village gathered, but no one spoke. The only sound was that of the cracking wood of the fire as they waited for the traveler to appear. Out of the darkness, he slowly stepped into the light of the fire. He told them that his name was WebOhana, and he wanted to share his views on building a real and genuine community. Everyone looked at him with distrust and some even with anger. He opened his canvas bag in front of them and showed his tools one by one explaining what each could do.
The traveler asked them all to come back each night where everyone could share a story if they chose to do so. Everyone could feel safe discussing any topic that came to mind without worrying about the judgement of those in the surrounding villages. They would work together using the traveler’s tools and would build things of great beauty. This was to be their community and only theirs.
The first night, a few villagers came, and then the next, a few more. Soon, everyone joined the nightly gatherings, and the traveler spoke less and less as each villager became active participants in their community. One night, after a few years of nightly gatherings around the village fire, the traveler gave his final speech. Though only a few years had passed, his face had deep wrinkles, his hair was now nearly entirely white. He told them that his time was nearly at its end and, while he wanted to remain with them, he would have to leave. The traveler then stepped into the fire and a great flame erupted around him. The ashes that were his body flew high up into the sky until they belonged to the clouds.
The nightly gatherings soon ended. My grandfather would instead sit outside of his home each night watching the clouds with their glow coming from the moon. Recently, there has been new activity in those clouds: flashes, rumblings, and rapid swirling. Something powerful may be coming soon, my grandfather believes, but he thinks that it would be too much to hope that the traveler would return to continue his work.
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