Robert Bly

Climbing Up Mount Vision with My Little Boy

    We started up. All the way he held my hand. Sometimes he falls
back to bend over a banana slug, thens senses how lonely the slug
is, and comes running back. He never complained, and we went
straight up. How much I love being with him! How much I love to
feel his small leafy hand curl around my finger. He holds on, and
we are flying through a cloud. On top we hunker down beneath
some bushes to get out of the wind, while the girls go off to play,
and he tells me the story of the little boy who wouldn’t cut off his
hair and give it to a witch, and so she changed him into a hollow
log! A boy and girl came along, and stepped on the log—and the
log said,”Oww!” They put their feet on it again, and the log said,
“Oww!” Then they looked inside and saw a boy’s jacket sticking out.
A little boy was in there! “I can’t come out, I’ve been changed into a
hollow log.” That’s the end, he said.
    Then I remembered a bit more—the boy and the girl went to a
wise man…he corrected me, “It was a wise woman, Daddy,”…
and said, “How can we get him changed back into a little boy?” She
said, “Here’s a pearl. If a crow asks you for it, give it to him.” So
they went along. Pretty soon a crow came and said, “Can I have the
buttons on your shirt?” The boy said, “Yes.” Then the crow said,
“Can I have that pearl in your shirt pocket?’ “Yes.” Then the crow
flew up and dropped some moss down the witch’s chimney. The
chimney got full, the witch started to cough. The crow dropped in
some more moss. Then she had to open the door, and run outside!
Then the crow took an oyster, a big one, from the Johnson Oyster
Company, and flew high into the air, and dropped it right on the
witch’s head. And that was the end of her. And then the boy was
changed back again into a little boy.
    The land on top is bare, sweeping, forbidding—so unlike a little
boy’s mind. I asked him what he liked best about the whole walk.
He said it was Bethany (an eight-year-old friend of Mary’s) going
pee-pee in her pants while hiding.