The Man Who Tamed a Plant (Frag. 2)

The Book of the Story

And Man said, "I have noticed that we can only gather the seed that stays on the stem. But most of the seed falls to the ground, where it mingles with the soil. It is too hard to gather there, and does us no good."

And Woman said, "That is so. The seed that stays on the stem is not good for the grain, it does not produce more grain, but it is good for us."

And Man said, "If more stayed on the stem, our work would be easier, but there would be less grain."

Now Woman thought about this, and she thought about how children look like their parents, and she said, "I wonder if grain is like we are."

So Man and Woman took some of their seeds, which came from the grain that stayed on the stems, and they burned a large, open space, and they worked hard, for a very long time, leveling the ground, and breaking the soil with sticks.

Then they planted the seed from the grain that stayed on the stem, and they watched over it for a whole year—a very long time.

But when spring came, other plants grew up, and would have choked the grain. So they weeded the other plants out of the field, and this work was also hard, and also took a very long time.

And summer came, and harvest time, and Woman and Man went to their field, to gather their grain, and found that most of the grain stayed on the stems.

And they gathered the grain, and gathered much more in a day than they had ever gathered before. They ground some of it on their grinding stone, and cooked it over their fire, and ate it, and it was good.

And Man said, "This is a marvelous thing that we done. We have changed the word of the grain, we have altered its ways and caused it to give us its seed."

And Woman said, "If we did this next year, and used seed from our field to plant our field again, perhaps even more grain would stay on the stem."

And Man answered and said, "I think that is so."

And Woman said, "Every gathering would be easier than the last."

And Man said, "I think that, also, is so."

And Woman said, "It is pleasant to gather so easily."

And Man said, "It is."

And Woman said, "But we would grow very weary of the leveling and planting and weeding."

And Man said, "That, too, is so."

So Man and Woman did not plant another field that year, or the next, but went back to gathering the seed of the wild grain.

They spent the time they saved from all that hard work talking, singing, drawing, carving statues, dancing, making love, playing with their children, and telling stories.

It was a lot of time.

A lot of very good time.

Some say this was a mistake. Some say Man and Woman were lazy, that the grain was their future, that they should not have been afraid of the good, honest work.

I do not think so. I think Woman and Man did a wise thing.