The man joined me around noon. As I walked on my pilgrimage on the mountain road.

He was old. Leaning on a stick. A rug warming his feeble body. He did not speak. He walked by me. Slowly.

Men and women from the mountain passed by. Young and old. They bowed. To the man in obeisance. The old man walked on.

The old and the young, they said ‘Glory to you, O Saint.’ And in soft steps they passed. Hands folded.

He was in tatters. Old and rugged. A Saint? I wondered.

‘They call you a Saint? Are you a Saint?’ As if afraid that he may spend his remaining strength he looked up and shook his head. From one side to the other. ‘No. No’. Feebly he said.

Darkness approaching, the mountains faded. A mist black and dark descended all around. The valley below began to light up. And round the corner a small light flickered.

A hut. By the mountain side. A little below the road.

It was not wise to walk in this dark. I stopped. So did the old man.

He beckoned. ‘Come. This my dwelling. Spend the night.’ He softly said.

We walked down the path. He with my support. A soft stream flowed. By his hut. There was no door. No windows. One opening. An entrance. For one man to enter.

I asked ‘Are you not afraid of wild animals in the night?’ He smiled. ‘I welcome them.’

There was no food in his house. I shared the dry food from my luggage. He ate little. And we slept. Beneath the sky. Stars twinkling. Dark mountains. Yet a light that I cannot describe floated in the darkness.

I lay. Exhausted. The cool breeze. The sound of water flowing softly. Sleep descended.

When I awoke it was still dark. I suddenly felt heavenly. There was a music in air. That reverberated in the mountain.

A girl was singing a tune. So magical. It seemed the mountains stood there in silence. The stream stopped to listen. And the sun waited to rise from its sleep.

I sat up. Consciously silent. And looked around in darkness with the magical light floating.

There by the stream sat the old man. Eyes shut. Singing. And it seemed as if that magical light emanated from him. Not disturbing the darkness. Yet I could see the birds perched on the trees. Listening quietly. I could see his face magically serene. Eyes shut.

Saint of the Mountains.

For music is the Religion of the Mountains. And silence its audience.

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