A Tiny Wooden Cage
Once in the early days potatoes really did have eyes. They were all devoured during
a famine when the people were eating everything in sight. And yet there is a man who has
spent his life searching for the lost eyes of those potatoes and he has begun to wonder if
there isn’t some other world where potato eyes have gathered together to celebrate an
evolution we cannot see. This man is the one you can find begging along the roads of far
northern countries. Travelers see him and do not understand his journey. Even the blind
point at his foolishness. Mockery greets him everywhere.
Such a man might become a hermit and live in a cave in the mountains, where he
builds small wooden cages and sits by the fire. A lost hunter once discovered such a man
and offered to take care of him and to help him sell his cages. They lived together on the
edge of a small village near the cave. Once a week the hunter took the cages away to sell
them. The hermit’s eyes grew dim as the years passed and the cages grew smaller and
One day the hunter complained that the size of the cages was making them hard to
sell. What can be kept in such a small cage? But when the hunter was sleeping, the blind
hermit took his last tiny cage and followed the road leaving the village. From time to time
someone stopped him and asked what he kept in the tiny wooden cage. Each time the old
man answered, “No one,” and took a bite of a potato nestled in his coat pocket. Each
time, the questioner was surprised by the way the man looked at the potato and continued
walking as if he could see something far down the road. Not once did a questioner think
to ask the blind man to open the cage.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.