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The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance--Part III of V
"How A Piece Of Rock Candy Brought Light To Darkness"

Cliff McKenzie

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 22, 2003 -- The Children of the Land of Prosperity inched forward toward the Sentinel.  It was the third evening they gathered in the Great Hall to hear the Story of Vigilance and, for the youngest, to learn first-hand how the Beast of Terror was banished from the Land.
        The Sentinel sipped from his hot chocolate and scanned the faces of the children.  They were of all different colors, shapes and sizes, representing all cultures, ethnicities.   While not all may have adhered to the Principles of Christmas, all embraced each other's cultures, respecting them as did their parents and grandparents.
        "Tonight, we will learn about the Second Principle of Vigilance, children.   The one that shrank the shadow of the Beast of Terror into a tiny, baby, eenie-weenie atomic dot."
        The Sentinel pinched his thumb and forefinger slowly together as he said the words, capturing the rapt looks of the children as he squeezed the imaginary size of the Beast's shadow down between his fingers.
        "Is there a Timmy here," the Sentinel asked, waving his had over the rows of young ones sitting cross-legged on the polished wooden floor, warmed by the heat of the hearth flickering yellow flames up the Great Chimney of the Hall.
        A hand shot up.   "Come on up here, Timmy."
        The Little One weaved through his friends, picking his way carefully around fingers and hands pressed to the floor as the other children turned to see the boy.   He had shiny black hair and a big smile revealing a missing front tooth. 
       "Come, sit on my knee, Tim."
       The Sentinel scooped up the lad and sat him on his knee.   He took a piece of candy out of his pocket and held it up.  Timmy cocked his head to see the rock candy reflecting light cast from the fire.
       "Inside this piece of candy is trapped what I call Day Shine.   Day Shine is the light, the brightness of summer, the crystal clearness of a winter day when the sun sparks the flakes of silver and gold atop snowdrifts and makes it look as though the land was alive with a million jewels of light.   I'm going to give this to Timmy to eat.   And, I'll ask you to think about another riddle.  What does it mean when Timmy has the Day Shine in his tummy.  A hint.  You see the light now inside the rock candy.  It's dancing, alive.  But, as soon as Timmy eats it, it will be gone.   Or, will it?  Where will it have gone?  And what does that mean about the Beast of Terror?  Here, Timmy, enjoy."
       The little boy took the candy and held it up to the light.  Sure enough, the clear crystalline structure prismed the light from the fire.   The candy's center seemed to come to life as Timmy looked through it, twisting it to the left and right so the images it produced changed.
       "Now, Sentinel?"
       "When you're ready, Timmy."
       Timmy popped the candy in his mouth and began to suckle and chew simultaneously.   A line of spittle leaked from the corner of his mouth and he wiped it away with his sleeve to the giggles of the children.   As Timmy ate, the Mothers and Grandmother's of Vigilance passed around bowls of rock candy for the audience, offering one to each of the children.
      "Now, so we are all enjoying the same pleasure as Timmy, look at your rock candy in the light and then eat yours."   The children followed Timmy's suit, studying their candy in the flickering flame light before slipping it into their mouths.
      "Does anyone know the answer to the riddle:  What was the second thing that  made the people of the Land of Poverty so afraid of the Beast.    Remember, last night, we learned the first of the Triads of Terrorism was Fear, and that Courage countered it.  We learned that Cee Our Unity Repels A Great Enemy was an acronym for Courage.   It meant that what we might not be able to do on our own, we could do when we all came together to help each other.    Tonight, the question is, What is the second of the Triad of Terrorism?"
        The sound of sucking, crunching rock candy filled the room as the children pondered the riddle.   Each year the Sentinel made up new and different mind puzzles to keep the children's attention.   He was pleased there was scrunched eyebrows chewing on the question as though it were candy.
         "I know!  I know the answer.  I mean," the young girl said, "I think I know it.  But I need to ask you some questions, Sentinel.  Is that okay?"
         "Of course.  All answers lie in the question.  Shoot!"
         "First, is the answer in Timmy?"
         The Sentinel smiled.   "Yes."
         "Does his name have something to do with the answer?"
         "Right again!"  The Sentinel nodded, urging her on.
         "Does the answer have five syllables, five different parts to its sound?"
         "Ahhhh, you are very very right so far.  Would you like to try and solve the riddle?"
         "Yes!  Yes!"  The girl bounced up and down, reminding the Sentinel of a Jack-In-The Box toy he once carved for a little boy who liked to have things pop out of nowhere.
          "Please, tell us what you think it means."
          The little girl twirled a strand of her hair around her index finger, and stood on one leg, the other crossing it to keep her balance.   She listed her head to the left and pulled at the corner of her lip, her eyes sparkling as she arranged the answer before speaking.
         "Okay...okay...this is what I think.   Timmy took the candy IN his mouth."  She exaggerated the word IN loudly so everyone knew she was making it part of her answer.   And, he ate the Day Shine.   Like, he swallowed the sunlight.  He ate the light.   I am going to guess that the answer is IN TIMMY DAY SHINE!"
          "Are you sure that is what you want to guess?" questioned the Sentinel.
          The girls shifted her weight from one foot to the other, not unlike the great Morgan horse that pulled the village sleigh and toured the children on moonlighted nights through the trees and fields as they sang songs and pointed at the stars dripping down Heaven's canvass.
          "Yes...I'm sure!"
          "You sound like you have Conviction in your answer.  Are you telling us your Conviction to the riddle is In Timmy Day Shine?"
         "You're teasing me, Sentinel.   You know I am!"
         "Ah, so you are full of Conviction that In Timmy Day Shine is the answer...and, you are absolutely right!"
          Many of the children wore curious looks, switching their eyes from the girl to the Sentinel, then back again.
          "Yes, the answer is the Beast ate the people's daylight.  His great shadow suffocated the sunlight of their spirit.  It turned the bright of day into the dark of night in people's hearts.  Remember when you looked at your rock candy, children?   You saw the light dance inside it.  Then, when you ate it, the light was gone.  It went inside you.   Well, the Beast of Terror ate all the children's light, all the mother's and father's light, all the grandmother's and grandfather's light.   Timmy ate the light too.  In Timmy Day Shine--means, INTIMIDATION!"
           "Yes!" The little girl bounced and cheered.  "INTIMIDATION!"
           One of the youngest children cautiously poked up his hand.   The Sentinel nodded to him.  "What does...In-tim-ee-day-shine mean, Sentinel."
          "Well, first, let's let Timmy stand up.   Now, I'll stand up next to him."  The Sentinel rose from the Great Chair, towering over Timmy who was chewing on the last fragments of his rock candy.    "See how much bigger I am than Timmy.   Look up, Timmy!"
         The little boy craned his neck to look the Sentinel in the face.   "Now, if I was a mean person and wanted to scare Timmy and make him cry, do you think I could."
         "Yes," said a boy in the front row, licking his sticky fingers.  "You are way big and Timmy is way small."
         The Sentinel raised his arms like a raven in flight and twisted up his face in a mock growl.   "Because I'm big and scary, do you think Timmy would feel helpless, powerless against me and run and hide if I told him I was going to eat him, or spank him, or be mean to him."
        "I'd run very fast," Timmy said.  "I'd be very afraid."
        "Well, Intimidation is when someone tries to bully you, children.   When someone tries to make you feel less than, or tells you they are smarter than you, or tells you that you're not good enough, or as good looking as they are, or not as pretty, or handsome, or too fat or too thin, or too short or too tall.   All they're trying to do is make you feel bad.   They're trying to snuff the sunlight of your spirit, to make you smaller and themselves bigger.   The Beast of Terror used Intimidation to make everyone think he was in charge of them.   Mean people like to push other people around, sometimes with words, sometimes with their hands or with weapons.    They want to make you think what they say is true.   They want to make you a nail and hit you with their hammer.  They want to beat you up from the inside out, by making you believe what they say.   When someone hurts your feelings, they have Intimidated you.  They have turned the sunlight of happiness into the sadness of a dark, scary night.   That's the bad news.  But, the good news is, you have the light within you."
          "In Timmy Day Shine!" chimed the girl who had solved the riddle.
          "That's right.  Inside Timmy is the light of the rock candy.   That light, we call Conviction.  Conviction is the Second Principle of Vigilance.   It means that no matter who tries to make you feel bad, or who tries to make you think you are less than another, or who tries to bully you, the Light of Vigilance is within.   That light comes from Conviction--In Timmy Day Shine.   That means, inside us all the day shines over the night, the good is stronger than the bad, the right is bigger than the wrong, the happiness is bigger than the sadness."
         "Did the Stranger teach that to the people of the Land of Poverty?"
         "He did.  It was the Second Principle of Vigilance.  He told the people that they all could rid the Beast's shadow by not letting him steal the daylight, the sunlight, the moonlight from their lives.   He told them the Stars of Vigilance shine on them as they as they held to the Conviction that no one but themselves could make them feel bad.   You see, children, there is a saying we all need to remember no matter how old we are.  It will help us always banish the Beast of Intimidation from us, no matter what someone might say about us.  And, it reminds us that the Beast of Terror speaks to us from the inside out.   He fills our thoughts sometimes with screeches and caws, like the crows.   He whispers to us that we're not this or that, or that we're not as big or strong, or as smart, or pretty, or handsome, or worthy as we are.   He likes to whisper to us and fill us with Doubt and make us afraid of ourselves.  So the Bully Beast is sometimes inside as well as outside us.  We have to be Vigilant about those Voices.  And that's where this saying comes from.  You can tell it to yourself or to someone trying to steal your Day Shine."
       "Tell us what it is, Sentinel.  Tell us!"
       "Okay.  Here it is.   I'm Rubber And You're Glue, And Everything You Say Bounces Off Me And Sticks On You!"
       The children all laughed.
       "Say it with me," the Sentinel urged.  "I'm Rubber...You're Glue...Everything You Say...Bounces Off Me...And Sticks On You!"
       "I'm Rubber, You're Glue, Everything You Say, Bounces Off Me, And Sticks On You!"
        "Wonderful.  Let's give Timmy a big hand."
        Everyone clapped as Timmy made his way back to the empty space he left on the floor.  The other children shook his hand, patted his shoulder and gave him thumbs up as he sat and crossed his legs, a half-moon smile slicing his face, his eyes shining from the rock candy's light within.
         The Sentinel sat back in the Great Chair.   "Now, the people of the Land of Poverty had learned two things.   First, they could fight Fear of the Beast with Courage from themselves.   They learned that the Courage of one of them could be added to the Courage of another and that the sum of their Courage would always be greater than the Fear of the Beast."
         "And they learned about In-Timmy-Day-Shine," shouted Timmy.
         "That's right, Timmy.  The second thing the people learned was that the darkness that ruled the land came from themselves.   They let the Fear of the Beast snuff out the candle of their Conviction.   They lit that Candle of Conviction with their Courage.  They found that the Light of Conviction drove away Intimidation.  It made them grow up from the inside out.  They realized the Beast of Terror was about making people think less of themselves.  The more people thought they were victims of the Beast, the more the Beast ruled their lives.   The darker the land became.   But, when the Stranger showed them that the Light of Conviction was inside them, they began to see the Beast was not a giant at all.  It wasn't a Tower of Fear.  It was only a toothpick.    The Light of Conviction shooed away the Shadows of Intimidation."
           "And they learned they were rubber and the Beast was glue?"   The little girl with the pigtails nodded her head up and down just as the teacher at the School of Vigilance did.
          "That's exactly right, Little One.   They learned that the Beast of Terror tried to hide inside them all, whispering to them from the inside out that they weren't as big and as strong and as pretty or as smart or as able as someone else.   But now, the people could fight the Beast within by saying--"  The Sentinel held out his hand like a choir director, urging the children's response.
          "I'm Rubber...You're Glue...Everything You Say...Bounces Off Me...And Sticks On You...!"
          "Excellent," said the Sentinel.  "You have done well tonight.  Tomorrow night, we will find out about the last of the Triads of Terrorism, and how the people learned from the Stranger how to never let the Beast gain control over their land ever, ever, ever again.  Now, children, as you go home tonight, sing the song of Conviction....the one that drives Intimidation away...that turns bad feelings into good ones, that brings light to darkness.  What is the song?"
         "I'm Rubber...You're Glue..."    They began to sing as they stood and clapped and laughed.  The Grandmother's and Mother's of Vigilance passed out a final piece of rock candy.  Some ate it, others stuffed it in their pockets to remind themselves the day shines from within.

--end of Part III of V--

2003,, CAM, 
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