Valiant: Knock, Knock… The Sandman… The Gift… Part 25

A moment seemed to suspend, and
Again, that sound came to bring this
Strange pause…That metallic rolling
Sound of a bell lost in time. Jon thought
He could make a quiet departure, to
Return to the goats in the meadow and
Then for home. There was just some
Sense within him that he had to leave
Just then, enough had been said and
There was still plenty of the daily

Work that needed to be done.

He went back inside the tent and
Humbly told everyone that he had
To get going now. ‘You’re leaving?’
Julianna asked with dismay. ‘Already,
So soon?’

The dark-skinned giant Jona reached
Out and grabbed him by the arm firmly.
Then he grinned with some quiet
Expression in his eyes of understanding.
And although the giant didn’t speak,
He was clearly telling Jon that he really
Liked him and considered him a friend.
Jon shook his head and nodded, then
Turned and left quietly…

As he left the camp, wild thoughts
And images filled his head…of familiar
Faces and bizarre looking places. There
Was such an odd riddle going on here
Between dreams and the waking world.
A moment or task had been done and
Would finish someplace else or in
Another time. He really couldn’t explain
It more than that.

Jon went to the meadow where the
Goats grazed and found them fat, full and
Happy laying about waiting for him.
Their simple nature brought the peace
And content he needed to see…to
Make the strangeness fade away. Then
He clapped his hands and whistled
Calling them, and began leading them

On the walk home Jon just tried to
Breathe and think about nothing. He
Would save the heavy thinking for
Bedtime. He thought by the already
Said and done meeting with Sara’s
People that nothing else would happen
For a while…and then…

He heard the sound of a horse drawing
Near as he was almost half-way home.
Thinking not much of it he simply
Turned to see a beautiful pale grey
Well-bred steed trotting towards him
With a tall noble-looking man dressed
In black riding it. Jon paused as his
Senses shook with quick sudden alarm.
This rider, this man had the presence
Unlike anyone he had ever seen before…
Like some majestic knight of a secret

Jon froze, the goats froze, as the horse
And rider approached then stopped
Directly in front of him. The man sat
Tall and proud in the saddle, but while
He towered over him, he looked at Jon
With a kind wisdom that confused him.
Then he stared at Jon, sizing him up for
A minute, and said, ‘Greetings Young

‘Hello.’ Jon said, but was so stunned
By how noble the man looked that he
Could think of nothing to say. He only
Studied him…He was chiseled and
Strongly built, much more than any
Average man of the day…. with a
Handsome face that was clean kept and
Sharp eyes that did not waiver nor
Hesitate; the man had a strong character.

‘Do you live around here?’ The man asked.

‘Yes.’ Jon answered. ‘Not far from here.
Are you lost?’

‘Lost?’ The man laughed. ‘Lost, well yes…
In a manner of speaking. I am looking for

Jon’s mind seemed to respond on its own
From another side of him. ‘Do you know
What it is?’ He asked.

The man dismounted his horse with a
Smile as he eyed the area. ‘My senses
Seem in a fog. Normally I know things
Very well…But today, I am not sure…’

‘Then how can you search for it?’ Jon
Asked shaking his head briefly in confusion.

The man laughed again and smiled at
Jon. He had no idea why he smiled in
Such a way, nor why his mind seemed
Suddenly absent of all reason. ‘That’s
A good question…I don’t know.’ He
Paused wondering on it some. ‘I am

‘Jon.’ He said introducing himself.
‘You have a strange accent that I do
Not recognize. Where are you from?’

Ladislav paused with a funny expression
Thinking of the words. ‘Isn’t that
Strange…I can’t remember.’

They both stood looking about,
Grinning and thinking to themselves.
Something very odd was happening,
As though things were deliberately
Being interrupted somehow. ‘Well,’
Jon said returning to his former intent
On getting home. ‘I really should get
Home…I hope you find whatever It
Is that you are looking for.’

Ladislav held out his hand suddenly.
‘Jon, wait…’

‘Yes?’ He answered.

‘There is reason I am here…though
Words escape me.’ Ladislav squinted
Fighting to recall his train of thought.
His mission…but all that he was left
To do was scramble for words. ‘Do
You mind if I walk with you…just
Until I remember what it is I was doing?’

‘No, I suppose that would be fine.’
Jon said with a nod, then he resumed
His guiding the goats and guiding them
Home along the trodden path they were
On that most used, apart from the more
Popular main roads.

They walked a while in silence. Jon kept
His head down waiting to hear what the
Stranger would say. Everything just seemed
To be in a blur for both of them. The
Mysterious Ladislav kept looking about
Puzzled as he held on to his horse’s lead
Tightly…waiting for his reason to return.
He was becoming irritated by his confusion
Very fast, but managed to control somehow.

‘Normally I am not like this at all.’ Ladislav
Laughed. ‘Those that know me…They know
How determined I can be…especially when
I am looking for something.’

‘You must really need what you are looking
For.’ Jon said without thinking. ‘If you are
Searching so much for it.’

‘I think so.’ Ladislav replied slowly. ‘We…
I, am a man of great purpose. I usually never
Rest until I find what I am looking for.’

‘You seem calm now?’ Jon said.

‘Indeed.’ Ladislav said strongly; however
Confused he was inside. ‘Indeed, I do. But then,
Most are always on endless search…Perhaps
That is a common cry among men…To search
For what they need, even if they do not know
What it is.’

Jon nodded with a quiet laugh as he
Vividly just remembered the conversation
At Sara’s camp…The search for answers.
‘Is it something big’ Jon asked him.

‘Possibly.’ Ladislav laughed. ‘I think so.’

‘Maybe it’s more simple than you think.’
Jon replied.

‘Why would you say that?’ Ladislav asked.

‘I don’t know.’ Jon sad. ‘I was talking with
Some friends…They seemed to prefer
Complicated discussion and fast answers.

‘Do you?’ Ladislav asked.

Jon laughed again as he turned to face
Him directly to his face. ‘That a noble man
Such as yourself would ask my opinion,
Surprises me. Sir.’

‘Why wouldn’t I ask you? Ladislav went

‘Most yell or complain and ask questions

‘That is the wrong thing to do.’ Ladislav said.
‘There is no reason in that. Those are demands
Hiding behind words. The wise listen carefully
And quietly…and keep their eyes open…and

‘Do you search a lot?’ Jon asked.

‘For me?’ Ladislav said calmly. ‘That is
What I have sworn to do.’

‘To search?’ Jon wondered aloud. ‘When you
Remember what it is you’re looking for.’

‘Correct.’ Ladislav laughed. ‘Ah, as I have
Said…Everyone is searching for something,
Their place, their purpose. To do so in a world
So big is quite a challenge.’

‘It’s a world full of a lot of people.’ Join

Ladislav held out his hand before Jon
With a wide gesture. ‘No, it’s a world
Full of Individuals, Jon…. Individuals
With their own ideas, wants and intent…
Of many lands, each with their own beliefs.’

‘On a quest for peace?’ Jon said responding
To his words.

‘If people wanted peace, they would have
It already.’ Ladislav said with a sigh.

‘They would?’ Jon replied in confusion.

‘You do not have to search for peace,
Jon. It’s there with you all the time…You
Simply choose to see it or not.’ Ladislav

Jon nodded. ‘I can see what you mean
By that.’ There was a silence between
Them then for a while as they each thought
On their own. ‘So, is it a quest for love then?’
Jon asked him.

‘Normally I do not speak like this.’ Ladislav
Laughed. ‘Most regard me as a man too
Silent and fast and brief with his words. No,’
He said with a laugh, ‘I am not on a quest
For love. Some are…or at least, they hope
Or aspire to find a love that defines who they
Are, or fills them. But I would say most
Are preoccupied with chasing schemes that
Are unlike love, and are just desires instead…
And they call it love.’

Jon laughed and nodded. ‘True.’

‘Well, look at you. You are a young man.
Aren’t you looking for love…or chasing
The idea in some way?’ Ladislav asked.
‘Come now, the young are ALWAYS
Chasing their desires…then settle for
Something akin to love to save them
From running too wild for too long.’

‘No.’ Jon told him honestly. ‘At least
Not now. I just don’t feel it…I’ve tried
But I don’t understand it.’

‘That’s a strange thing for a young man
To say.’ Ladislav replied.

‘Yes, I know. Most don’t believe it.’
Jon answered. ‘What about you?’

‘I told you, I am sworn to a purpose.’
Ladislav said in a strong very proud
Way with his chin held high. ‘From
Where I come from, the purpose must
Come first.’

‘But you can’t remember what you
Are looking for?’ Jon asked.

Ladislav shook his head. ‘This is
True. And that is not like me, I
Never forget things…I have no
Explanation on this.’

‘This is definitely a strange thing.’
Jon told him not knowing what else
To say. And then he noticed how close
To home he was now. He paused in
His footsteps and tilted his head towards
The farm. ‘My home is just over there…
I’m afraid I do not know how else I
Can help you.’

Ladislav grinned then stood still. ‘I
Understand. Thank you for walking with

‘It was nothing. I’m sorry I could not
Help you.’ Jon said as he resumed
Walking with the goats…

But before Jon could move too far,
Ladislav suddenly seemed to regain
some insight to his ride…then he
Called out, ‘Jon?’

Jon turned fast. ‘Yes?’

Ladislav appeared to stand a little
Taller and more serious, but not as
A threat to him at all. ‘Have you
Seen him?’


‘The man…’ Ladislav said carefully.
‘A man of nondescription unlike any
Other…’ He watched Jon for every
Expressive response.

‘A man like that, here?’ Jon replied.

‘Yes.’ Ladislav only said.

‘This is just a little village.’ Jon told
Him. ‘Why would I see anyone like
That here?’

Ladislav eyed him, studying every
Aspect of his manner, then he sighed
And turned and mounted his horse…
Then stared straight into Jon’s
Eyes. ‘In a city one would find
A faceless crowd…In a village
One might find a face…or a
Mystery…Or even a treasure that
Is priceless to find…There are many
Things to look for, I am just one
Man looking.’ He waved to Jon.
Farewell for now, my young friend.
Be well and stay well.’

‘Farewell and Be well, Sir.’ Jon nodded
Back to him. He could see as Ladislav
Rode off, the way he watched him…there
Was some look of very high approval in
The man’s eyes. And that made Jon shiver.

But Jon shook this meeting off and continued
On and returned home. He settled the flock of
Goats in the paddock beside the barn trying
To think as little as possible. He just focused
On work and nothing more. The horses had
To be watered, fresh hay needed to be spread
Before nightfall…Everything needed to be
Checked for the animals, and that was his
Responsibility. There was a constant reminder
Of chores all the time.

Once his duties were done, he joined
The family for an ordinary dinner of
pork stew and bread. They talked quietly
Of grandmother’s burial beneath a shady
Peaceful cover of trees. No one spoke
Much more than that, everyone was still
Locked in their own mindset of mourning,
Coping and planning work to stay busy.

The burial came and went over a rainy
Day. There were tears and simple talking,
Words of comfort and memories to respect
Grandmother’s passing…and then time
Simply went on. Another morning and
Day, the same routines only harder now
Darkened by loss. No one talked much, it
Was all plans and orders.

By night, Jon held to his
Dreams and the drawings he
Had made, they kept him going.
A week passed, and every day
He thought of Matthias, Julianna,
And Sara’s camp…and that
Strange meeting with that noble
Man in black. All of these strange
Things seemed to happen off the
Farm…a step away brought another
Tale, adventures in others eyes…
And yet, in a quiet pace, by
Seeing it…there was peace, if one
Wanted it; as the man in black
Had said. Yet Jon didn’t seem
To have much choice in things
Happening. He still found it best to
Keep it on paper, for now.

And there it came again, on
Another seemingly boring night
As he climbed into bed again
After everyone was asleep…A
Voice called to him from near
Yet far in his room but not,

Jon sighed and rolled his eyes
When he heard it. He was becoming
Far too used to unusual things,
So much so, that he only said,
‘What is it now?’

The tall pale mysterious Apollo
Stepped from the shadowy corner
Of his room to smile at him.
He was dressed so sharp and clean
In a white shirt with dark
Pants…Casual for him, very regal
To Jon. ‘You seem bothered to
See me. Am I bothering you?’

‘You say you know me, and
You’re asking?’ Jon said as he
Climbed into bed. ‘Can’t you
Just tell me whatever it is?’

‘I’ve been watching you!’ Apollo
Said calmly and solid.

‘And that should surprise me?’
Jon laughed.

Apollo just nodded, he understood
The strained meetings between them.
‘There are few words I can tell you,
And I believe you know why.
It will make sense one day, I

‘I see and hear lots these days.’
Jon said to him just as calm.
‘Thinking more and more…the
Place I have in it is what bothers
Me. I haven’t said more.’

‘Good.’ Apollo nodded.

‘My goose and goat are better
Company, their friendship
Is invaluable…to say nothing to
Anyone else.’ Jon laughed.

‘I just came for comfort.’ Apollo
Told him. ‘One day it will be more.’

Jon eyed him curiously. ‘Sara
And her people…What is that?’

Apollo shook his head. ‘I can
Not say. The thoughts you
Have are enough…I should go…
I will be back.’

Jon just nodded his head. ‘Of course
You will. And I will pray for the sense
To it…In the meantime, I have work
To do. I really should keep a goose by
My bed to honk at you.’





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