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The Land of Strange: A Dreamer's Tale

The travellers had been walking for many days through a vast landscape of harsh mountains and seemingly never-ending scree. Any attempt to stop proved perilous, with no solid ground underneath, and the constant threat of moving stones and rocks. They had no choice, this was not a place to camp or rest or be at peace, this was a place of sharp edges, a place of cutting stone. An ever-shifting wasteland of endless grey, devoid of life, devoid of stability. And so, they pressed on, a ragged band of travellers in a place that felt so deeply foreign, hostile to life, toxic to the soul. And while walking the Dreamer started telling a story, or perhaps it was a dream, no one could be sure, not even the Dreamer herself.


Once upon a time in a land so very far away there was a place called Strange, and strange it was. For this place was unlike any other human place, and yet in many ways it was the most human place. It was a place, the Dreamer said, where what is true and important was completely different. It was strange because it had only one law. And this itself should tell you something of the place called Strange, because it meant that one third of the people of Strange were free to do things that mattered, as opposed to being the writers and auditors and enforcers of laws. There was only the One Law, which was not even really a law, but which was the law that made the difference.


Now, before I tell you what the law was called, I want to warn you. It is not what you may think it is, and if most definitely means something completely different. I am telling you this because, when I name the law, you may think of all sorts of sentimental things, of flowers, and gifts. It is not that. There is nothing simple or sentimental or feel good about the law, and it is the most difficult law of all. And this same law the rest of the world has been trying to dream for a millennium, and still do, and still only come up with twisted and distorted versions covered with pink fur. Because every true law is a dream that changes the future, and in the Land of Strange they have managed to dream a true law.


At this stage the Dreamer stopped speaking, for she was telling the story as they walked, and for some time all that could be heard was the crunching of shifting stones, of discomfort, a song of sharp edges. She simply went silent. And she remained silent. And it was only when the Artist broke the silence and asked her to continue that she spoke again.


I have to confess, she said, I am wary of telling this story, since it is the story of a dream that became a law in a place far away. It is the story of a law that is filled with life but can be corrupted in a moment. It is a story of a dream that is a hope and a whisper. It is a story of a place that can cease to exist, somewhere now and somewhere in the future. It is a story that has been told a million times, but only partially, only imperfectly. Even more, it is a story that has been heard a billion times, but also, only partially, only imperfectly. It is a story of power, and it is a living thing. And every time the story is not told as it should be, and every time the story is not heard as it should be, the story itself starts to die, a little bit each time. Every time the story is not told as it should be, and every time the story is not heard as it should be, it becomes a mirror that distorts, rather than a window to see clearly. Because the story is a dream, and every dream can become a nightmare, and even now, in many lands far far away, as well as right here, there are many nightmares living from the wrong telling of this tale. And the most dangerous nightmares are not the ones that scare you awake, but the ones that lull you into the sleep of believing you are hearing a story while actually hiding in another dream entirely.


So I also have to confess that I have told this story many times, because I am a dreamer, and so many times I have told the story of a dream I had…yes, the story is a dream and the dream is the story…and those listening to my story fell asleep or drifted of or got lost in the very careful story I am telling you know, guiding you carefully down a narrow pathway to the story of the dream of the land of Strange where one can only enter when one stops one’s own dreaming and let this dream fall, like a seed, and start to grow. Because half of the story…or is it the dream, I sometime forget myself…is that the story can only be heard when the listener wakes up. It is the paradox of stories and dreams, because no one has ever heard a new story.


I am telling you this because perhaps you will hear, that a true story does not tell or teach anything, but awakes the dream of itself that has been slumbering in the listener. And this story is the most ancient of dreams. And in the same way that it makes such a difference how we fall asleep and become awake, the story has nothing to do with telling you anything and everything to do with waking you up from the dream you are already in. Because all stories of true dreams belong to the Trickster, and are indeed nothing other than awakenings of ancient dreams, and the setting aside of nightmares. But before you completely fall asleep from me telling you the story of a dream let me wake you up now, and hopefully in my telling I have set the dream in you asleep that you may hear, or rather remember, that you know this dream.


In the land of Strange the name of the one law was Love. See! I told you! Come, be honest, what did you feel when I told you the name? Warm and fuzzy? Sentimental? Nausea? Indifference? Whatever you felt is ok, but that is why I had to warn you. Because whatever you felt was your response to the nightmares, or distorted dreams, of this dream that has been infecting this world. Because everywhere in the world the dream of love has been corrupted. Everywhere, except in the Land of Strange.


And now let me tell you the one law, and it is this: That every man and woman will strive to embrace the difference of the other, and that every child will be embraced for their difference, and that no difference be seen as illness, badness and madness. That difference will be seen as the gift of the ancients spread on the land like seeds, where each seed has its place, and should be nurtured and tolerated even if some seeds cause pain and discomfort. That the Law of Love is the means by which the Most Ancient Dream of being Human, which has already been scattered on the land, be gathered and collected for the sacred gift it is, and reconstituted in a whole. This is the Law of Love that exists in the Land of Strange. And there my story ends.


At this point the Critic looked up and with great exasperation said “how is that even a story? You barely said anything, what next? Tell us more about the Land of Strange? Tell us about the people? Anything? This is too cryptic and most of what you have been saying does not even make sense!” And at this point a few other travellers nodded, similarly confused about this story which did not seem to be a story at all.


The Dreamer looked at her companions with true remorse and said, “the story is not the tree, it is the seed. The telling of the story is not the growing, it is the preparation of the soil. If my story has not been heard, the fault is all mine, and has nothing to do with the story at all.”


The End


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