Travellers’ Tales – a parable

Tom inherited a Morris 1000 Traveller from his great aunt. It was beautiful. The paintwork was pristine, the woodwork polished, the engine smooth. Tom cared for it with a passion. He washed and buffed it so well that he could see his own reflection in it. He took it out for a short run once a week, on a Sunday. Every year he took it to a Morris Minor convention where everyone admired it as a wonderful example of an original Traveller. Tom kept his car securely in his garage, which was important these days as it seemed to be raining all the time.

Dick lived just down the hill from Tom. He had chosen his Morris 1000 Traveller as a young man. He kept it in good running order and used it every day. It was just the thing for a growing family. It had been used to take children to school, for trips into the country and for holidays. Now the children were grown up, Dick used the Traveller to help with a soup run for the poor people who lived further down the hill, by the river. It wasn’t the most efficient of motors, and was getting more and more expensive to run. Recently Dick had to replace the clutch for the second time, and the gearbox wouldn’t last much longer. It wasn’t easy to find spares for it, but he could usually manage. Dick was pleased that he had been able to keep the old car going to help other people. It wasn’t as smart as Tom’s car, but it worked. He was glad the leak was repaired, as it always seemed to be raining.

Harriet and her friends lived down by the river, which was rising due to the frequent rain. She went to a scrapyard and found an old Morris 1000 Traveller, neglected in a far corner of the dump. She went back to fetch her friends and bought the body of the Traveller from the scrap merchant for a few pounds, leaving behind the chassis and the engine. They turned the body upside down, waterproofed it, put in some timber cross-struts, added a mast and a sail, just in time to float it off on the floods and use it to rescue others from drowning. It was far from a perfect boat, it was difficult to steer and had no keel. Sometimes there would be too much wind and sometimes there was not enough, but they had some paddles.

They called it a Traveller, but most people didn’t recognise it.

© David Cundall


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