I wish you could have sat beside me at the fire as he enchanted us with the art of his storytelling.
Worzel. He never told me his real name, and I never bothered to ask. He has been very much on my mind today, and it has troubled me. Inside that smelly, bumbling, exterior, was a very smart man, in fact, I would go as far as to say he was a genius. For reasons known only to him, he hid it away, not wanting the rest of the world to know. What compelled him to hide in Te Urewera, living on possums and the occasional bludged meal will probably be a mystery known only to Worzel if he hasn’t already taken it to the grave. If he is still alive, I hope he never discovers my feeble attempt to retell his stories. I’ve never met a better teller of tales than Worzel; I wish you could have sat beside me at the fire as he enchanted us with the art of his storytelling.
I know (and no doubt, so do you) that Worzel used the story of Arty to distract me from his theft of my traps. Most story tellers don’t give you the punchline right at the start; it ruins the story. Worzel, however, used it as bait, and I took it, hook line and sinker. To begin with, I only wanted to know how his mate got ‘blowed up’. By the time he left my camp after the tooth extraction saga, I had come to really like Arty, and felt gutted about him having to resign.
I had badly misjudged Arty. I saw him as a common crook who gave hunters a bad name just for the sake of a cheap thrill. But as Worzel wove his magic, I came to better understand, what it was that motivated Arty and despised myself for being so quick to judge him. After Worzel left, It took me nearly three weeks to bite the bullet and find out how Arty died. Part of me wanted to leave the story unfinished; it was my feeble attempt to keep him alive.
When I finally went to his camp to hear about the last few weeks of Arty’s life, I learned something new about Worzel. Deep inside that smelly, irritating, brilliant human being was a compassionate soul who deeply missed his best friend. I think part of the reason he loved telling stories and did it so well, is because it brought people back to life, even it was for just a few short minutes.
Sue and I are parked up in our truck by Lake Taupo tonight (fantastic place) and need to get an early start, so will make this do for now.
Back to Arty in the next blog.