The times rush past, and so do the caravans, thought the alchemist, as he watched the hundreds of people and animals arriving at the oasis.
People were shouting at the new arrivals, dust obscured the desert sun, and the children of the oasis were bursting with excitement at the arrival of the strangers.
The alchemist saw the tribal chiefs greet the leader of the caravan, and converse with him at length.
But none of that mattered to the alchemist.
He had already seen many people come and go, and the desert remained as it was.
He had seen kings and beggars walking the desert sands.
The dunes were changed constantly by the wind, yet these were the same sands he had known since he was a child.
He always enjoyed seeing the happiness that the travelers experienced when, after weeks of yellow sand and blue sky, they first saw the green of the date palms.
Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees, he thought.
He decided to concentrate on more practical matters.
He knew that in the caravan there was a man to whom he was to teach some of his secrets. The omens had told him so.
He didn't know the man yet, but his practiced eye would recognize him when he appeared.
He hoped that it would be someone as capable as his previous apprentice.
I don't know why these things have to be transmitted by word of mouth, he thought.
It wasn't exactly that they were secrets; God revealed his secrets easily to all his creatures.
He had only one explanation for this fact:
things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words.
Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.