The sad man moved quickly through his story. He was past the point where he had lost the attention of his petite blond girlfriend (even though he did not really admit he had a crush on her).
He had ventured into the farmers market and was amazed at what he saw. He decided to try selling some wild leaks.
“Well – – – the following week I sold some leaks and bought some apples. This continued on for some time.
I found out that the folks at the market liked sassafras and ginseng root. One lady even asked if I could find her some bloodroot. How was she to know that I already had some growing beside my cabin.
I became a regular trader and found out that I enjoyed the fruits and vegetables that were sold at the market. Sometimes I even had money left over from my sales.
The farmers’ market took place in the parking lot of a small library. The people told me the library was full of books. I could not imagine why anyone would want to fill up a perfectly good house with books. What a waste!”
“A few weeks later I was talking to the lady that bought my bloodroot. I wanted to know what she did with it. She told me that she colored her clothes with it. I asked her where she learned how to do that and she told me ‘In the library.’”
“‘They color clothes in the library?’ I asked. She said ‘No silly; they have books that tell how to do it. They have books that tell how to do everything.’
After several months of weekly visits to the market my curiosity got the better of me. I went into the library.”
The sad story teller carefully put the stub of his cigarette on the forest floor and crushed it with the heel of his boot. I did the same.
“I walked around in awe of all the books. It seemed to me that if each book taught something then the whole world must be in this library. I knew that the whole world was outside of this building yet the whole world was inside this building.”
“The library lady must have been watching me as I turned around and around in circles. She walked up to me and asked ‘Are you all right?’ I told her that I was.”
“Being at a loss for words and somewhat embarrassed I asked if she knew where the book on bloodroot dying was.”
” She took me to a big closet full of little drawers, each filled with little cards. She thumbed through the cards and said ‘B7.’ I had no idea what she was talking about. She must have known it. She took my hand and led me to a shelf marked ‘B7.’ Realizing my problem she searched for the book and handed it to me.”
“When she walked away I started looking at the pictures. Sure enough, right there on the pages were drawings of bloodroot and wash tubs. I went to find the lady so she could explain what all the letters on the page meant. She realized that I could not read and offered to teach me. I accepted.”