“What should we do? If this rain doesn’t stop soon...”
“The lake water is rushing onto the shore. Wouldn’t that flood our village?”
“Don’t tell me what the lunatic said would really happen.”
The villagers were intently discussing the potential risk of the lake flooding the village.
“The teacher’s right. We must fix the water diversion canals.” The crowd turned around, only to see Atrahasis taking dirt from a wooden cart and piling into a small hill on the ground. Ignoring the gaze of all those present, Atrahasis continued working on the task at hand while muttering: “If we fill burlap bags with dirt and stack them up at the shore of the lake, we can prevent the lake from flooding.”
Then, he picked up a branch and walked up to the lakeside. On the shore, he drew a line across the dirt. “If we leave a breach here and allow the lakewater to flow through into the canal, the village will not be flooded.”
“Atra, do you really believe what the lunatic is saying?”
“Can digging some canal really prevent a flood?”
“The truth lies before your eyes, or do you have a better way?” Atrahasis originally had not planned to ask the question; yet, he realized that to motivate these people into action, he would have to say something to stimulate them. Days of rain greatly increased the water level, and it had reached a threshold where it would threaten the lives of everyone in the village. There was no more time for them to hesitate.
Left without a choice, though the villagers did not fully believe Atrahasis, they followed his instructions anyways, digging canals and building a short dyke. Their faith was not confirmed until the water cascaded through the path of the canals. Just as all those present cheered its effectiveness, Atrahasis avoided attention and silently went off in search of his teacher.
In the forest, there was a giant twice the size of people meditating, eyes closed. Keeping his footsteps light, Atrahasis slowly approached the giant.
“Teacher, do you intend to depart?”
‘The answer is already in your heart.’
“Then...” The giant held up his hand, silencing Atrahasis.
‘I would first like you to answer a question for me. Why did you trust me?’
Atrahasis thought about it.
“It is probably because I would like to learn from you.”