The prince walks in the world the way he came into it, for this is the way to walk in the world.
If necessary, he dons a loose cloak with a shoulder clasp, a cloak that is a quilt of colors and cultures.
Though he has no other possession, he gives freely of his self, his sweat, his song,
for this is the way to give in the world.
Nobody knew for certain where this man, Pilli, had come from. The people saw that he moved often from town to town and from valley to valley, with an eagle that followed him everywhere. They saw that he always picked up the local language, and learned the steps to the local dances, very easily.
“How is it that you can learn our customs so quickly?” they asked him.
He answered,“I learn with my whole body. It is unburdened. Do you not see this? Why do you persist in covering your skin, which must needs feel the fire of the sun, the air of the wind, the water of the stream, and the soil of the ground?”
|Cosmovitral, Toluca, Mexico
“But what does this have to do with learning a tongue?” they asked. “To speak you need only your mouth.”
And Pilli replied, “Say as well that to dance you need only your feet. Do not burden your body with clothes, nor close it off one part from another. Treat it as one thing, the home of you in the world, the temple of your spirit in the world.”
Still there was one who insisted, saying, “Do you mean that we should not know what thing is a mouth, what thing is a foot? They are not the same thing. Their purposes are not the same.”
And Pilli said, “It is only right that we name different parts of our home: the roof, the hearth, the door, the window. Our bodies are our homes and also worlds unto themselves: of course they are made up of many different parts. But a home without a roof, or a world without a sun, is not my body. Whatever it is that you are to do, whatever it is that you are going about doing: engage in it with your whole body uncovered.”
The insistent one asked Pilli, “Then why do you carry around that ragged cloak?”
Pilli smiled. “This cloak were like many tools, for it has many uses: it is my bag for carrying things, my blanket for sitting on, my hammock for resting. I can wrap it around me if I am cold, or wear it like a belt if I do not want it over my shoulders. But look also that in each of the swaths that give it shape, I recall a place I have visited, a person I have met. A few of the swaths hold pockets for what small things I may need to conceal. But most of all I carry the cloak because it is all I need.”
“Have you not sandals? Weapons? Food?”
“Of these first things you mention I have no need. Food, I find where I look and share where I may. Picture-prints of learning—of these I have great need, but they are best shared by those who collect them.”
A man stepped forward. “I collect such things, in my home. Have you no home, then?”
“My home is my body, as it is in the world. Where is your home?”
“In this village, on the next road.”
“What, then, is that which you use to walk in the world?”
That man,whose name was Chimallamatli, Bark Shield, had no response. So he smiled and sat to speak at length with Pilli. Eventually he invited Pilli to the place he called his home,where he shared food and picture-prints for several days.