Two Coppers Worth of Altruism

Gonyaul looked down into his shabby purse and had to tilt the small bag so the sun could explore inside at a better angle to highlight the three coppers at the bottom. It was his earning for the days work at the edge of the oasis. He always gave what he made the previous day to Voah, for her to secure, and would start each new day with an empty purse. It was a subtle reminder that he better find a creative way to change nothing into something for them to survive in this place's economy. If he could do that with money, it was encouraging that he could possibly make other things happen from seemingly nothing too with just some effort and persistence.

He realized that the frequency, quality and pay for work was better closer in; however, he was either overlooked, or bullied, out of every attempt to secure labor today. It was also not lost on him that he was payed less, when he saw the coppers being handed out. He had experienced this before back in Helias. Regardless of how unfair it may seem, he always worked his hardest knowing in advance he would be paid less than those who did the same, or less in some cases. He chalked it up to an exercise in building character.

Gonyaul was not included in circles of friendly banter and he actively tried to avoid individuals that behaved in a gossiping way. He was focused on what he was doing, paying attention to details, and most of the time couldn't follow the language. After almost an entire work day; however, piecing together all the snippets he had involuntarily collected he believed it had something to do with people dying in the desert. He didn't give such thoughts much attention. Instead he was more fixated on Voah's drunken comments.

Currently he was sitting on the edge of a pier in a meditative position waiting for another boatman to arrive that he might be able to get one last job in before heading home. Based on the current pace though, it seems that all the remaining boats were going to pass him by towards more of the heart of the harbor where other locals were poised to acquire the work.

His eyes were wet from playing over the scenes and reliving the hurt of Voah's drink-amplified insecurities and accusations.

While letting his mindfulness drift away, he waited patiently for something unplanned to surface from the black abyss of thought. Suddenly he heard 'Those who make religion their god will not have god for their religion.' It fluttered away almost as quickly as it came into being. He chased after it, not actively, but passively ... as if there was a gravity to the thought which pulled him into it's wake.

What are the credentials of the gods of this world? Was it that men start by inventing 'spirits' to explain natural phenomena and then design these 'spirits' to be exactly like themselves? Is this why even the gods perform the deplorable indecent characteristics of men and why there was no absolute morality present? Did over time, as enlightenment takes root, these 'spirits' that represent the entire show of nature specific to each and every group's interpretation, become less man-like? Attributes drop off one by one until all that is left is a pure abstraction? Instead of an entity with a real character of its own, the gods and goddesses become simply 'the way of nature' looked at in a particular way or a manifestation of all the lines of human aspiration if they could meet and produce out to infinity. Were all these gods just the permanent natural bent of the human mind; the permanent ordinary level below which man sometimes sinks, under the influence of priest-craft and superstition? Did this mean that if people stopped caring about the Pillars, for example, they would cease to exist? Were they akin to elaborate constructions that had temper tantrums in the pursuit of validating their own existence to secure the reallocated scarce resource of human devotion? Why couldn't the gods of one people get along with the gods of other people? Why did gods of some people explain all of nature for one people, while other gods and goddess explained all of nature for another people, with considerable overlap in what they governed?

Gonyaul came out of his meditation and sat there in silence trying to make sense of it all. His conclusion: He had no idea what was going on here and what he just was pondering was beyond his present understanding. He sighed more confused now than ever.

No more work was going to happen today, that was obvious. He rose and proceeded home. On the way he saw a young girl salivating over some food on display at a local shop. He could hear the growl in her hungry tummy as her parents were distracted haggling with the shop owner over something. The fruit she was eyeballing was two coppers. Gonyaul knelt down next to her, with his head wrap removed so she could see the kind intention in his face. He pulled two out of the three coppers in his purse and showed them to her with a smile.

The young girl had never seen anyone of his features before. The positioning of the sun behind him, gave him an angelic glow; completely unplanned and simply a coincidence. Nor had she experienced, based on her family's poverty status, a complete stranger willing to extend a helping hand. She would remember this moment later, almost like it was a dream.

He proceeded to buy the strange looking fruit for her, his curiosity wishing he had a chance to taste it for the first time. The parents caught the end of the interchange as the shop assistant handed the fruit to the young girl. The look on the young girls face as she eagerly bit into the fruit to satisfy her hunger was priceless. The look of pleasure from the taste made Gonyaul's hard day worth it. Gonyaul wrapped his head with the scarf as he rose and bowed to all present, signing goodbye in Vauxian, and moving off without expecting anything in return.

He would just need to skip a meal to afford for this act. He could do that and he still had one copper piece to add to their finances.

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