While We Wander


Photo credit: Carrettosiciliano

The local boy stammered.  “Why are your wagons painted all those colors?”

Mar smiled.  The adults stared but it was always the children who asked.  “We paint the stories of our families and our taarn, the happy events and the sad.  To keep track, until we get home.”

“And then what?”

Generations upon generations they had searched for Aarnanen.  Mar did not expect to see it.  Yet countless times she had sung the songs and imagined.

“We will break apart the wagons to build houses.  Learn to farm.  Take root.”

Somehow, to wander no more.

They would need new songs.


This is the first time I’ve brought the Yonlay into my stories.  I’ll leave more description and explanation for other tales, but wanted to explain the title.  “While we wander” is a ritual phrase for the Yonlay, one that they use to begin their stories and that is used in everyday talk to mean “our goddess guides us” much like contemporary people say “God be willing” or “God bless.”

Word count: 100.  Submitted for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Thanks to Priceless Joy, as always, for hosting!  Click here to see the other stories.  See the original photo prompt below.


Photo © S. Writings


17 thoughts on “While We Wander

  1. Very cool take. A harder prompt for you to do with a more archaic time period. The wagons describing these stories sound like they would be wonderful to see. But I can’t help thinking what a shame it us that all these stories disappear when they finally find home, take root.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Yeah, I almost passed on the prompt this week because I couldn’t see how it could fit, and then BOOM, big inspiration.

      In my original version, the plan was to destroy the wagons once they reached their promised land, to symbolize that they would no longer need to wander. But I thought it was too sad that way. If they use the painted wooden boards to build their houses instead, they can still see the stories!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a clever way to keep a record of events. Every picture on that wagon must trigger memories that would otherwise become dead an buried. Does this mean that Mar’s people do not write, or do they simply find this pictorial method of recording events preferable? Sorry for asking – I just wondered .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hm, very interesting question, Millie, I hadn’t thought about that yet. The Yonlay are nomadic, but that wouldn’t stop them from schooling their children, if they had good reason to read and write. I would say that at least some of them know how to read and write, to keep the records of their taarn and where they have been so far, and possibly to leave messages for other taarn whose paths they may cross. I was thinking of the events they’re painting on the wagons as being personal stories, like a diary of the family, which most people at this tech level wouldn’t write down anywhere anyway, even if they write for other reasons. So the wagon is less a replacement for a book, and more a replacement (or addendum) to the stories your dad tells to everyone he meets about what happened on his last vacation or that lucky escape you had when you did something stupid as a kid.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lou — I haven’t figure out for myself yet when (if ever) they find Aarnanen. I do know that a large contingent of them settled in Shadowbosk, although those who still wander consider them to have given up and abandoned the faith.

      Liked by 1 person

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