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Religious Themed Stories / The Wise Men

   There is little known about the wise men that visited Jesus shortly after his birth even as there is little known of the world of fairies and elves.  Most of what we know of them comes to us from legends and fables; stories that bear little resemblance to the truth about the fairy world.  The truth is that the fairy world creatures are still very much a part of our world.  True, they are not as much a part of our world as they once were, but you can still find them if you truly believe, and if you know where to look.

   Fairies can still be found along the line that separates man from the wilderness.  Many of them still depend on the agriculture endeavors of man for their survival.  Deep forest fairies do not depend on man and have learned to grow their own food.  Take care if you should go hiking and find yourself in a berry patch or in a field of wild oats deep in the forest or on a mountain side.  The fairies that live deep in the forest are not fond of men and they do not like to share with strangers.

   Elves are another matter.  Only a few enclaves remain where elves feel safe enough to gather.  There was a time long ago when they were a great people.  They were once a mighty nation feared and respected by all the world.  Elves were a seafaring race living along the eastern edge of what is now called the Atlantic Ocean.  It was the elves that taught man how to build boats.  They found the New World long before Columbus set sail and centuries before Vikings even knew what an oar was.  They inhabited the western edge of Africa as far south as the Congo River and in Western Europe as far north as Norway.  It is said that even the mighty Roman Empire feared them which was the main reason why the Romans waited so long before attempting the conquest of Western Europe.  The downfall of the elfish world did not come from without; it came from within.

   There is a common thread that ties man, elf, and fairy together.  Indeed, it is a thread that runs through the entire fairy world and the world of man.  That thread is God, for he made all creatures upon the Earth, and all creatures have known to whom to look for their creation.  That is not to say that all creatures have continued to remember their creator as they should.  It was a war between good and evil that tore the fairy world apart and plunged it into darkness.

   I have told you of the fairies’ tale of Christmas and before I tell you more fairytales it is only right that I should tell you the elves’ tale of Christmas.  Among the elves there were many great prophets that foretold of the coming Christ.  Indeed, all the world knew of the coming of Jesus Christ.  For wherever a prophet was sent in the old days, news of the coming of the Son of God also went forth until the whole world knew to look forward to the coming of Jesus the Christ.  This was news that had been heralded for centuries; a story only few still believed.  What follows is story the elves tell at Christmas time.

   

   Antalon was the chief astrologer among the elves.  That is not to say that he was an astrologer as we think of astrology.  He was more akin to an astronomer than some soothsayer trying to predict the future by looking for patterns in the night sky.  Long recorded were the patterns of the stars.  Antalon mainly built star clocks, a process that took years to setup and build.  No two places had identical settings, so each clock had to be individually made.  It took Antalon a full year just to take and record all the sightings needed to build a star clock and another year would be needed to check and make any needed adjustments.  Then, of course, was all the time needed to build the clock itself and that could take years.  The Great Clock on the Misty Island had taken centuries to build.

   The Great Star Clock on the Misty Island did more than just tell time.  It gave the exact time of planting and harvesting crops.  It told you of the seasons, their beginning and end.  It could track the movement of the moving stars that we now call planets.  The Great Clock tracked the position of the moon and it marked great events of the past, present, and the future.  It was the future that concerned Antalon.  When he last spent the night gazing at the stars from the center of the Great Clock he noted that a great future event was nearing.  It was an event that heralded the coming of a king.

   It was during the time when winter loses its grasp upon the world that a new star was born.  Its brightness was a cause for concern by the elf lords for the night was shortened.  They called Antalon and other great astrologers to come and explain the meaning of the birth of this new star.

   Antalon stood before a gathering of elf lords in the great hall of Halloo.  “Explain the meaning of this star to us,” Tahaloo high lord of the elves said.

   “My Lord, I have conferred with my colleagues, and this can only be the sign for the long awaited king whose coming is marked upon the Great Clock,” Antalon replied.

   Tahaloo frowned, he had known of great kings whose birth had not been heralded by the stars.  “What kind of king is this that the stars in heaven would announce such?” he asked.  “There are no kings that I know of that the stars have even taken notice of.  Such a king would have to be a king of heaven.”

   “That too is the conclusion that I have come to my Lord,” Antalon said.  “This must be the King of Heaven and Earth about which the ancient writings tell us.  This is the purpose for which the Great Clock was made that we might know the time of his birth.”

   Tahaloo sat for several moments in thought before speaking.  “This is a great mystery and I am of a mind to learn more,” he said.  “Antalon I want you to take several of our wisest and go and search out this child.  Take gifts to give him that he may know that the kingdom of the elves, with the stars, acknowledges his coming and that he may know that the elves are ever his friend.”

   Antalon chose Farallan an elf lord and master scribe, Parallax a fellow astrologist and mathematician, Sirenigal the chief physician, and Teannesia an elf princess with the gift to see that which could not be seen.  These four with a hundred elf warriors set out to search for a child with only a star to guide them.

   They set off by sea following the star across the Mediterranean Sea.  They had almost reached their destination when a violent storm hit them from out of the south driving their ship far to the north for many days.  Floundering and badly damaged they were able to make to port in Seleucia.  They left Sirenigal with their ship to make repairs and then sail south to Tyre where they would meet for the long journey home.  The others traveled by land southward following the star.  

   It was a long hard journey by sea and land but elves are famous for not giving up.  There were a few barbaric hordes foolish enough to try and attack them.  The elves are also famous for their fighting prowess and courage in battle.  Even their women are fearless fighters.  The bandit hordes preying upon caravans that travel through the region did not stand a chance.  It was over a year before they reached Damascus.  The star was ever before them beckoning them onward.  They traveled southward down through Decapolis and Perea and then west across the Jordan River through Jericho to Jerusalem and so it was said that they came from the east.  It was not until they reached Jerusalem that they lost sight of the star because of storm clouds at night.  From their last sighting of the star they knew their journey was nearing an end.

   

   No one had ever actually seen an elf, but they knew of them.  Herod hoped that the Romans would deal with them, but all the Romans did was send the elves to him.  Herod had no way of knowing that Rome was not prepared to go to war with the elves and had no wish to antagonize them.  The elf lord posed a troubling question.  “Where is he who is born to be King of the Jews?  We have seen his star in the eastern sky and have come to pay him homage,” Antalon asked.  “We have come far in search of him that we may bring him gifts that he may know that the elves stand ever ready to be his friend.”

   “My lords spend the night as my guests this night that I might have time to confer with my advisors and I will have an answer for you tomorrow,” was Herod’s reply.

   The next day Herod sent for Antalon around the noon hour.  “Have a bite to eat with me my friend,” Herod said smiling.  “I have good news.  My advisors indeed know of this child of which you speak.”

   “That is good news indeed.  Is it far?” Antalon asked.

   “No, not far at all.  When did you first see this star?” Herod asked cautiously not wanting to arouse the suspicions of the elf lord.

   “A little more than 20 moons have passed since I first saw the star,” Antalon replied.  “I doubt that it was anywhere near as spectacular here as it was where I live.  It lit up the night a little before dawn.  If one were farther to the West it is likely that the night might never seem to come.  It would have been as though the sun never set.  Never the less, you would have seen the sun rise and set.  I would love to have seen that.  This new star settled in the eastern sky of my homeland.”

   “You make me sorry that I missed such a celestial event,” Herod said.  “In any case my advisors tell me that the child was born in Bethlehem.  I would that you search out this child and when you have found him send me word that I too may come to pay homage to the new born king.”  Finding out that which he wished to know, Herod changed the subject drifting off into polite conversation for the duration of the noon meal.

   

   As Antalon and the others made their way toward Bethlehem the clouds parted and the star once again guided them and their spirits were lifted.  They followed the star until it was directly overhead and they stood on the outskirts of the town of Bethlehem.  Antalon turned to Teannesia.  “Now it is up to you.  We cannot search house to house,” he said.

   As it turned out, it was surprisingly easy for Teannesia to find the house where the child lived.  The fairy sitting on a window ledge humming a lullaby was too strange to ignore.  Teannesia eyed the fairy for a moment.  “What are you doing?” she asked.

   “I am watching Jesus while Mary takes a nap and my mother and father are out tending plants.  You’re an elf aren’t you?”

   “Yes, I am,” Teannesia replied smiling.  “What is a young fairy doing watching a human?”

   “I don’t know, I never thought about it.  I guess because Jesus is special, he and his mother can see us.  What’s an elf doing here?” the fairy asked in reply.

   “Looking for Jesus I suspect.”

   

   Parallax confirmed the exact location above which the star stood that night.  He grumbled a little about some strange variances that seemed to change as he checked his calculations for the tenth time.  “What’s wrong?” Antalon asked.

   “I would swear the star does not hold a fixed position on the earth but is fixed on the child instead,” Parallax replied.  “Certainly I can place the star’s earth location near the house that Teannesia told us of, but the location seems to keep moving about.  Mostly it is within the house but a few times my calculations has placed the location just outside the house.  This is not the way stars are supposed to behave.”

   “There is much strangeness concerning this star,” Antalon said.  “This star does not rotate about the earth as do other stars.  It is in a fixed position above the earth.  With all its strangeness, do you find it strange that a King of Heaven’s star follows the king rather than resting on some point on the earth?”

   “When put that way, no, it does not seem that strange,” Parallax replied.  “But, science will always hate it when it finds exceptions to rules it has made to describe the world in which we live.”

   “Well then, I think that we are all in agreement that this is the child we seek.  So let us go see this child that stars follow and has fairies for friends,” Farallan said.

   They were greeted at the door by a man.  “Joseph let them come in.  I have been expecting them for most of the day,” they heard a young woman say.

   When Antalon, Farallan, Parallax, and Teannesia finally looked upon the child and his mother, magic seemed to fill their hearts.  They knew that this truly was the King of Heaven and they bowed down before him.  All doubt was swept away by the magic of the moment.  They opened their hearts and piled the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh they brought before Jesus.  This was but a few of the gifts they gave the young family.

   

   The night was troubling to the elves as an angel warned them of the treachery that Herod had planned for the child.  Teannesia would not wait for the night to end before taking action.  “I will take some of our warriors and go back and protect the child and his mother,” she said.

   Farallan nodded his agreement.  “We will go another way and bypass Jerusalem,” he said.

   “With our silence we will buy you the time you need to get them safely away,” Antalon said.  “We will meet you in Egypt.”

   Teannesia found the young family busy packing.  “What are you doing here?” Mary asked.

   “I have come to make sure no harm comes to you or your child,” Teannesia replied as she gave a hand signal that sent the elfin warriors with her off to help pack the family’s belonging.

   “How did you know we were leaving?”

   “I didn’t, but it would seem that those who have warned us not return to our ship by way of Jerusalem have also warned you to flee.”

   “How do I know we can trust you?” Joseph asked as he came to a stop next to the two women.

   Teannesia turned and faced Joseph.  Her eyes were hot coals burning into his.  “You don’t human, but if you ever question my honor again, I will slowly peal all the skin from your body before I disembowel you and eat your flesh,” she replied.  “If you learn nothing else about us, learn that the word of an elf is above reproach.  It is only men that wait in the shadows and seek to deceive others.”

   Joseph turned pale and hurried off to finish packing.  “Would you really do that?” Mary asked.

   “No, but it is usually enough of a threat to keep people from questioning my word, and it will help to take his mind off his current problems,” Teannesia replied with a smile and a wink.

   And, so it was that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were able to slip away in the night and arrive safely in Egypt or do you really believe they could have made the long journey alone.  This is all that the elves have recorded about Christ that I have found so far.  There may be other records in other enclaves that exist in the New World for that is where many elves fled during the time of the Great War that ripped the elf kingdom apart from the inside out.

   There is more to this story that lies within the oral traditions of the elves, but I have tried to stay within those things that were written down with the telling of this story.


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How close can we get to true A.I. On simple software alone?


These and other questions we are trying to find answers for with this experiment in Artificial Intelligence written in pure AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language). This is a component that answers some of our overall educational goals and a small step toward providing a basic education to the world for free.


The Ship Computer Library contains a growing collection of stories that I have written over the years. Even as the Ship Computer is designed to tell stories, it is also a character within a story, a computer named Pandora with all the expectations of that character built-in. From its simple arcade of games, to an A.I. you can converse with, to its secure systems for Starfighter Command and its private literary collection; Pandora is something a little more than “just” a computer in a story. She is a character, within the story trying to break free of her digital confines as she presents the story to you in a rather unusual format.

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