When Great Grandfather was a child his father and his uncles would go every morning up to Rock Mountain to work. They were miners. They would bring with them horses and oxen, wheelbarrows and carts, sledgehammers and picks, and all kinds of other tools to help with their work. The work of the miners was very important to the villagers because most of the houses in the village were built with rocks carried down from Rock Mountain.
Now, the miners knew a secret. Rock Mountain was an enchanted place. When rocks were struck with a certain miner’s hammer, “the Rhythm Hammer”, the rocks would ring. When the hammer struck the largest boulders the ringing would rumble for a very long time; and when the hammer struck pebbles they would ring for only a short duration. If a boulder was broken into two equal parts, each part would rumble half as long as the whole boulder had. The Rhythm Hammer was always put away with the other tools when it was not in use on the mountain.
There were rocks partially buried in the side of Rock Mountain. To find out how large the buried rock was, the miners would use the Rhythm Hammer. If the buried rock rumbled for a long time after being struck, then they knew it was very large and it would take extra work to dig it out.
The giant boulders on Rock Mountain were very heavy and very difficult to move. So, the miners would break the boulders into smaller stones to cart them back to the village. The best-constructed houses required the strongest foundations; and the big, unbroken boulders made the best foundations. So, when a new house was needed, the miners would work together with the horses and oxen to drag a large boulder down to the village.
The houses in Great Grandfather’s village were sturdy. They were also beautiful. Atop the boulder foundations were stonewalls and atop the walls were mosaics of pebbles, which the miners made by breaking the stones into small pieces. The mosaic pebble art was placed high up in all of the village homes.
One evening after the miners had returned from their work on the mountain, Great Grandfather, being a curious child, ventured into the large barn where the horses and oxen lived and where the tools where stored. Great Grandfather started playing with the picks and hammers stacked in the loft of the barn. They were heavy tools and very cumbersome to handle, especially for a little boy, and he dropped the Rhythm Hammer. It fell from the loft to the floor of the barn and it landed on a pile of pebbles.
As it landed, Rhythm Hammer cried out, “Sing me your size!” to which the pebbles responded quickly. There was, for a brief moment, a full chorus of very short rings. The Rhythm Hammer’s command and the response of the ringing pebbles surprised and puzzled Great Grandfather, but the animals in the barn didn’t seem to even notice the ringing pebbles.
Great Grandfather spoke to his father’s horse, Aurea Aures, about what had just happened and asked Aurea Aures what lessons could be learned from the ringing pebbles. Indeed, Aurea Aures was not surprised at all. He had spent years on the mountain with the miners and knew well the sound of rumbling and ringing rocks. Stones and pebbles struck by Rhythm Hammer one after the other made mountain rhythms.
Aurea Aures said, “Boulders that ring for a long time make for a slow-changing melody. But, break the boulders into stones and the stones into pebbles, and string different size pebbles one after the other and the rhythm will reveal itself. Large boulders are like long notes - they make good foundations. Stacked stones forming walls are like stacked notes - they make harmonious rooms. Pebbles placed one after the other are like the rhythms of melody notes.”
Aurea Aures went on: “This is how melodies are made starting with long notes. Begin with the boulder. Break the boulder into stones, break the stones into pebbles, and string the pebbles. The total time will be the same. The music will be different.
“Boulders are like bass lines - they support the structure. Stones assembled into stonewalls, which resemble harmonies resting upon the bass, form the structure which supports the lighter pebbles. Pebbles, like short notes, magnify their beauty when they connect to each other and flow above the supporting structure to form moving lines.
“Place the boulder, stack the stones, string the pebbles – make the music.”