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The Carriage Driver³ - Mesopotamia Blue

Updated on March 10, 2017

Professor Lloyd Steele’s, History of Philosophy in Early Antiquity, classes always filled. He had had two presidents pass through his classes in his time at Cambridge. He had to be reminded by the second President himself, of that fact, when the two men met again while at a commencement ceremony years later.

Steele’s life, though rich in experience was meager as measured in worldly goods. He spent the summers of his adult life in the desert on organized archeology digs in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. In the fall and winter, he watched the bored faces of his many students and was amused at their Pavlovian responses to the words ‘midterm’ and “final.”

His small apartment had clay artifacts from the deserts of Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey. Amongst the books were those of the famous Egyptologists Hartleben, Habachi, Hassan, and Hess. The works of Behnam Nasser Nuaman Abu alsouf were there also. Thomas Edward Lawrence’s works were represented by Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Revolt in the Desert. As were the works that applied to the desert explorations of Sir Richard Francis Burton, the English, geographer, translator, orientalist, cartographer, linguist, and spy.

Thirty years ago, Professor Steele published, Chariots Racing the Storm, a small volume with little economic success and few readers. The setting was the cradle of civilization and the story portrayed the clash of the Gods for supremacy. His present, unpublished work was in its twenty-second year and reached nine hundred pages. Every editor that saw the manuscript declined the opportunity. The title, Tablets of Destiny.

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He could close his eyes and open them to the vision of the City of Larsa, on the shatt-en-nil canal a tributary of the Euphrates River and near the Persian Gulf. The land was fertile. The fig orchards that grew right down to the banks perfumed the air. Some mornings the sky was six shades of blue. In the marketplace, there were stalls selling dates and figs, and all manner of grapes. There were dyes to use on the cotton for the local looms. There were pieces of bronze to hammer into tools, making the labor of the fields an easier task.

At faculty gatherings, once he had had two glasses of wine, he would entertain his friends with stories ‘from a previous life.’

He spoke of one such story often. “When the local areas grains were harvested, my wife, Banafrit and I worked at the brewing of beer. Of course, in those days they called me Raia. Our casks were fired during the winter in our kilns. The heat warmed our home and hardened the clay. We mixed the ingredients, with previously boiled water, in large simmering vats. My wife and I would sample the goods through the moonlit summer nights and play music and laugh together. Our beer, carried by merchants, would be taken to the Persian Gulf. From there the beer tended to the thirst of many all the way to Arabia. Both our casks and our beer were in demand.” He would pause, this oft-told story, allowing the new members of the faculty to smile.

“Often chariots carried cool air from the Persian Gulf and it would spill out over our home. This made sleeping outside under the canopy of God’s glittering sky feel like a wonder of the world. Our world provided the bounty of our labors,” he would pause and sip his wine. Then he would wink at whoever was still listening. “Did I tell you my wife was the granddaughter of the Goddess Ninkasi? She carried the genes of the patroness of writing, grains, literacy and wisdom in her. She was her own treasure and she was my treasure.” The young professors of English and History would smile at Lloyd and make their excuses and wander off. No one ever seemed to notice the tears in his eyes when he finished that story.

During lectures, his mind would often wander off. During those times he would tell one of the stories in Tablets of Destiny. One such story relayed, as if he witnessed it himself, as it unfolded, told of the God Mamitu who was a God of Oaths, Prophesy and foretelling the future when she clashed with Adad, Storm God of Thundery Weather, a God of Divination, and rigging dice to convey future info to the wise.

He told of a pitched battle in the skies above, as two conflicting prophecies were told to the same rich man, and the howling of the man disturbed the peace of the other Gods. This brought doubt into the minds of men as to the wisdom and infallibility of the Gods.

Or he would tell of the parchments telling the story of Qābīl and Hābīl that came into his hands with instructions to smuggle them to the North through the Mediterranean. Raia took two empty casks and pushed the parchments inside and sealed the tops. The casks were loaded on camels and made their way to Abraham on his journey. The story of Qābīl and Hābīl made it into the Western Bibles as Cain and Abel.

In the eighty-seventh year of this incarnation, sitting at his desk in his small apartment Banafrit came to him with outstretched arms. He could always get lost in her smile. Her auburn hair draped over her shoulders and her linen robe revealed her shape. His work on the translation of a tablet brought to him at the request of the National Museum of Iraq would have to wait for another life.

Captain Griffin Chaffey had prepared his carriage. He smiled to himself, hoping that Professor Lloyd Steele was not expecting a chariot to arrive for this transition. Nuelle was brushed, and her coat shined with the care it was given. He climbed aboard and made his way across town to Cambridge. He kept one eye on the sky, on the lookout for Adad or Mamitu.

When he reached his destination, he climbed down and shared the customary apple with Nuelle. He saw a young man approaching. He was dressed in khaki-colored clothing, well-made hiking boots, and hat suitable for the most intriguing of journeys. At his side was a woman of grace and stature, her olive skin and dark eyes would mesmerize any man. Her smile was befitting one with a beautiful soul.

It was obvious to Griffin, as they approached, that the couple was in love and had traveled together, perhaps through many centuries. He whispered to Nuelle, “This is a journey that we are going to enjoy.”

Lloyd and Banafrit stopped. He whispered to Banafrit, “Wait here a moment.” He walked over to a young lady, a student of his that was holding her phone in her hand. He took it from her hand and pitched it as far as he could, to the amazement of the student. “Live,” he shouted.

He walked back over to Banafrit took her arm and approached the carriage. “Have you been sent for us?”

“I will take you anywhere you want to go,” he held out his hand. First Banafrit stepped up and took a seat. Then Lloyd followed.

Banafrit leaned near Griffin. “Your horse is a beautiful beast.”

Her natural warmth comforted Griffin. “She and I have been together for a long time.”

Lloyd smiled, “My wife and I have been together a long time as well. It is a wonderful feeling isn’t it?” He paused. “We are interested in a long journey. Are the two of you up for it?”

Nuelle stepped away from the curb, spread her wings and took flight into a sky that was seven shades of blue.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Marrakesh Express

Arabian Nights Instrumental

© 2017 mckbirdbks

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    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 2 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      Beautiful story this morning. I enjoyed it immensely. Two beautiful old souls, flying off into eternity together. Enjoy your week Mike.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - Thank you. This story was difficult to write. I could not get the words flowing properly. Yes, I agree two beautiful old souls making their way off into eternity has a nice feel to it. I appreciate your continued support.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 2 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "This made sleeping outside under the canopy of God’s glittering sky feel like a wonder of the world."

      "She was her own treasure and she was my treasure.”

      What a love story, Mike. I was enthralled from start to finish - a story that appealed to my eyes and heart. The Arabian Nights Instrumental appeals to my soul - mesmerizing.

      Happy Friday - as I look out the window at an unexpected, fluffy yet substantial snow fall...Andy and Zoey are in 'snow heaven'. My Swiffer is standing at attention at the back door. Hugs, mar

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Mar - What a kind comment. A snowfall. How interesting. Here today it will be in the seventies. Short sleeve weather. Yes, this is a love story, that may be why it was so tough to write. To much other noise going on to concentrate. Or maybe I am getting lazier. Have a wonderful weekend with the snow bunnies, Andy and Zoey.

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 2 weeks ago from Alabama, USA

      What a beautiful story, thank you. I truly enjoyed it and I liked the pictures too!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a story different than any others. Nuelle flying was a spectacular image. Your imagination has no boundaries! Two young lovers together forever, beautiful!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 2 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      Upper 70s here, I had to turn on the a/c yesterday. I have been trying to find the time to clean up my gardens for two weeks and have not been able to. I am going to rebel before long and tell the bunch of them to find other rides to wherever. I already have flowers blooming and my strawberries are getting the buds for flowering.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago

      Mike, This is such a wonderful story. I would have loved being Professor Lloyd Steele’s student. Is the book you speak of real?

      Blessings my dear friend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Shy - Thank you. Several of the titles in this story are true, those by Lloyd Steele are made up. As always thanks for the visit and the blessings.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - Sounds like you are ready to get out in your garden and make things beautiful around your place. Nice weather for it, before it gets too hot.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby - This was a love story, for the ages if you will. Far from my normal offering here. I am not so sure about that boundless imagination comment. There is a struggle going on for new stories. Thanks for all your kindness.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello BODYLEVIVE - Thank you. The Carriage Driver series has been a regular on Hubpages for a long while now. I appreciate your visit.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I very much liked your Professor Steele; he reminded me of a Cultural Anthropology professor I had in college...he was inspiring and opened doors to the world for me in many ways. I'll never forget him. The research and presentation you put into this story are masterful, Mike -- especially the visions and life in the City of Larsa. "No one ever seemed to notice the tears in his eyes when he finished that story." My eyes had tears as well, with this story. "Nuelle stepped away from the curb, spread her wings and took flight into a sky that was seven shades of blue." This is one of your masterpieces, Mike. Just amazing writing.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - What a generous comment. Thank you. I think we may all have come across our ‘Professor Steele’ type in our pursuit of education. He is not unlike your Professor Martin, in your epic The Pandion Prophecy.

      Aspects of this story did have to be researched. This one was not easy to put together. Thank you for your encouragement here. Reverting to the original formula seemed to have worked in this instance.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      In a perfect world of writing, each writer will marry the perfect set of characters and story genre, and live happily ever after. It has happened with you and this series. This series defines you as a writer...it is your trademark...and it is beautifully done!

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - Thank you. That is a very kind thing to say. Those that have stopped by these Carriage Driver stories have made me feel like they appreciated the stories and that the stories brought them warmth or solace. I cannot ask for more than that.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      This story, with its glimpses into characters as vivid as Indiana Jones, Rudolph Valentino, and Cleopatra, captures the essence of your vivid imagination, Mike. I can picture you in the character of Professor Steele with his growing unpublished manuscript and cache of wondrous stories. Too many readers claiming they have too little time to read the adventures are too busy staring at their communication devices. I loved the part where the professor tossed the student's phone and screamed, "Live." How often I've wanted to do that.

      You've truly ventured into a new area of opportunity with this taste of Arabian lands and Pegasus Nuelle. Heading back to enjoy the music now.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg – Thank you, this story is receiving such kind comments. I do think, as writers, we all have a touch of Indiana Jones with us. We let our imaginations explore the realms unreachable within the constraints of our time. The Arabian lands have intrigued all of us for centuries. Pilgrimages are made for freedom, fame, and seeking fortune. I also think, we all have all accumulated these unread manuscripts, despite our best efforts. I appreciate your continued support for this series. I noticed today, that the first episode of The Carriage Driver was published 12/12/14. For a person who seldom talks, I sure have begun to get gabby on these pages.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 weeks ago from South Africa

      Professor Lloyd Steele and his wife have had a very interesting life, or rather lives.

      Did the legend of Qābīl and Hābīl really become that of Cain and Abel?

      The mythology of that part of the world shed a lot of light on the Old Testimony. I've read a number of books on this topic, but find the info on the Internet totally insufficient.

      Thank you, Mck, for another delightful instalment of The Carriage Driver.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Martie - Yes, an interesting life is the best we can ask for, but even better to lead many a life with someone that cares.

      The story of Cain and Abel is in both books. It is my understanding that the bible predates the Koran by hundreds of years. But I heard that from a Christian. I guess I will look it up.

      Since history is written by the victors, it is tough to say that any thing presented to us is not slanted. Just look at the way the many school groups print their school books to suit their beliefs about ancient history..

      Thanks for staying with these Carriage Driver stories.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Martie - Here is the follow up.

      The earliest books of the Bible were written more than 1,000 years before the Koran, and the New Testament was completed at least five centuries earlier. The oldest books of the Bible were written between 1000 and 500 B.C.

      Which makes my story inaccurate.

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