Chapter #1:

The Outset

Somewhere at the headsprings of the Amazon River, where tiny streams meet in forming the great river, there is a special tributary.

Dense clouds often appear above this stream, and the Sun shines as if through a haze. The wind makes the leaves on the trees shiver, and with the help of sunshine, a blurred shimmer of patterns is created.

What adds to the uniqueness of this place is the aroma of tea that daily spreads from the head of the stream. Be it classic black tea from Georgia, or rhubarb, or raspberry tea, but the scent of it is surely felt every day.

For this is no ordinary stream, but a hot spring that rises from deep in the bowels of the Earth. Where exactly does it get its warmth is still a secret, but numerous scientists are puzzling over it, constantly doing experiments and hypothesizing on the issue. The locals are just watching, astonished, when yet another group of scientists arrive, but they are kind and welcoming, offering tea and sandwiches to the new arrivals.

Now this hot river is just around 80 degrees. This is perfect for taking a cupful and infusing it with tea leaves or tea bags, in case you do not like crumbs of tea getting stuck in your teeth. You could also use a tea strainer, of course. After that, while the tea brews and cools down, prepare a couple of sandwiches—either with buttered whole grain bread topped with cheese or cucumber, or, if you like white bread, then spread it with butter and top it with slices of cheese and tomato, and season lightly with salt and pepper. These go well with enjoying the sounds of rippling water and the roaring jungle, and watching the blue sky through the faint haze.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, back when the first humans had long roamed the Earth, the ever increasing problem was that the larger the brain grew and the more thoughts humans had, the harder it was to stay clear-headed. For some reason, after three impossible and two average-sized thoughts had been thought, humans’ heads would start to ache, or they would begin to yawn, or a bird would sing an exceptionally beautiful melody, and the ongoing thought would get lost.

There were occasions when someone, upon hearing strange noises coming from nearby bushes, would lose their train of thought out of fear. Quite often, it happened that some pretty good ideas were lost. The wheel, for example, would have been invented remarkably earlier, but exactly at the time when the shape of the wheel had almost been contrived, somebody came along and said that the raspberries had ripened, and invited the inventor to eat. Or somebody would cough and this would be the cause for the loss of focus. It was clear that something needed to be invented for helping thoughts take root.

On one beautiful day, something happened at this river that changed the entire World. On this day, the Sun shone at an angle that was just right, and the cloudage of the sky was befitting, and the wind moved the leaves of the trees just enough to make several spots of light fall on the surface of the stream and reflect back into a spot in the sky that was just perfect.

The people of the riverside village had just gathered up for communal teatime, and were singing a song that was sung almost every time they drank tea, the name of the song being “Oh, Every Act of Kindness Has a Soul…” They all were in a good mood, as they were thinking, not exactly the same, but quite a similar thought about life being wonderfully beautiful. And at that exact moment, with all those things coinciding, a lightning struck, the cloud of haze above the river densified, and a sort of ball lightning appeared at the intersection point of the rays of light. A small puff was heard, and when the clouds dissolved, and the rays of light no longer intersected, an exceptionally cloud-like phenomenon appeared. White and fluffy, round in every respect, and seeming to have no particular shape—where the air and cloud began and the phenomenon ended was not clear.

The villagers fell silent, because they had also heard this strange sound and admired the play of light. The first one to compose himself was the head of the village, who had spent long days by the riverside for decades, observing the essence of the Sun as well as the clouds. Indeed, he had seen some similar moments, but never something quite like what had just happened. But as he was brave and curious, he stood up and went to examine this phenomenon more closely. By that time, the cloud had reached the ground, and was briskly walking toward the villagers.

It went without saying that this cloud would join the villagers for tea—they made room for her and placed a small white cup with red dots before her.

The important thing about drinking tea is taking pleasure in it, and this is the reason why the villagers stayed calm and composed, chatting on and letting the newly arrived guest drink her tea in peace, which she calmly did. Everybody did notice, however, that as the evening arrived, everyone felt an unforeseen exhaustion. By this time, usually a headache would have arrived, or a larger bonfire would have been lit in order to have something else to do than gazing the stars at night.

Finally, the village head spoke up, asking the guest where did she come from, and whether she travelled inside the clouds or on them. The cloud-like being answered that she did not travel, sort of, adding that she had always kind of been there, but now she materialized, because the humans had a problem—they could not memorize what they had learned, and they were often grumpy. She also said that with her arrival she had decided to solve this problem.

Namely, she is an expert in a revolutionary thing, which she will soon introduce to the villagers. Specifically, after the tea is finished and the last of the cookies have been eaten, one should lay down, put their hand or a pillow under their head, pull on a blanket, and close their eyes. Then, one should think beautiful thoughts, and let the previous day go through one’s head, thanking all the good people they met, and smiling in their thoughts on the idea that tomorrow would be at least as good as today was, be the weather sunny or rainy. And after that, one should count all the sheep, who graze grass in an imaginational garden, and then—

By that time, everybody was fast asleep. Sleeping is crucial, because during this, the brain has time to memorize the events, memories, and new knowledge of the day. The whole body has time to rest, and sense organs, such as the ears and the eyes are shut down, as well as time perception. The reason for all this is to wake up fresh and well-rested the next morning, with a brain that is ready to take in more and more new experiences.

On the next day, the villagers noticed that although they did not dream about a hot pursuit or some other big adventure, their hair was very-very messy. Some humans’ hair was so tangled that regardless of what they did with the comb, the coiffure would only get better. Some people’s hair was so messy that even the rakes of the comb got tangled.

This bed head was made by the enigmatic guest herself, who was waiting for them at the meeting place in the morning. When everybody had woken up and arrived at the place to drink their morning coffee, the cloud introduced herself to everyone, saying, “B@b@b@b@ b@@@b@b@b @b@b@b@@.”By the way, @ is pronounced as the “a” in the at sign.

Everybody immediately knew who she was. Dudub@.

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