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Noah's Ark: The Novelization
by Eric Elfman
Based on the NBC-TV mini-series

Start at the Beginning | Start at Previous Installment

Installment 26
Chapter 10, Part 1

    Noah and his sons got to work immediately.

    Chopping down trees was the first priority. Hundreds of trees had to be felled to provide enough raw material to construct the ark.

    Weeks passed and no work was done on the farm except for the chopping of trees. The dense woods on Noah’s property were first thinned, then decimated. Naamah could only shake her head at the waste.

    There was only a small fringe of trees left, at the far end of what used to be the dense wood, and even that was going fast.

    “Stand clear,” Noah shouted, wielding an ax, “it’s going.”

    “Timber!” shouted Shem.

    The mighty tree fell to the ground with an enormous crash. Even before the dust had settled, Noah had attached a thick length of heavy rope to one of its boughs. Then he and his sons attached the rope to the harness of the ox that Noah had purchased for the purpose of hauling the felled logs.

    Noah looked at his sons who were catching their breath and emphatically shook his head.

    “Keep chopping,” Noah said sternly as he hit the ox on the rump to get it going. “We need more wood!”.

    Ham, Shem and Japheth watched Noah and the ox haul the tree trunk away.

    Japheth sighed, then spat on his hands and rubbed them together, before gripping the handle of his heavy ax.

    “Now I know why it’s called gopher wood,” Japheth said, lifting the ax over his head, his muscles bulging. His brothers looked at him puzzled. “Because all we do is go for wood,” he explained.

    His brothers laughed.

    Then the three of them chopped in silence for a time, taking turns swinging their axes at the tree.

    Shem finally broke the silence. “It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “Do you think Father’s lost his mind?”

    Japheth said nothing, but his thoughts flew back through time, to that night long ago, when he was young, when he wore a blindfold.

    “Building a boat in the middle of a drought!” Ham agreed. “What’s it going to float on? Air?”

    Still Japheth said nothing, remembering along with the blindfold the sudden shrieking of wind, and the bone-rattling trembling of the ground.

    “No wonder everyone’s laughing at us!” Shem complained, and Ham nodded vigorously in agreement.

    Even Japheth had to mentally concede the truth in this. The other villagers had been having a grand time laughing at mad Noah and his crazy sons, building an ocean going vessel miles from any sea. Even so, Japheth remembered the wind, and the trembling ground, and the fear he felt that the shrieking and the trembling were never going to end.

    “I thought he’d give it up after a few days, but it’s been weeks!” Shem said.

    “He’s destroying the farm--and for what?” Ham complained.

    Japheth had held his tongue while his brothers worked themselves into a fury. Finally as he lifted his ax up to take his next swing, he said softly, “Well, he was right the last time.”

    This shut his brothers up. Because Japheth was speaking the truth, of course, the truth that neither of the others dared to bring up. Although they had all been young then, neither Ham nor Shem had forgotten that night, when God had unleashed his fury upon the world.

    And of course they had only survived because their father had known what was coming, and had led them to safety in time.

    “Maybe,” Japheth continued, swinging his ax into the great tree trunk, “he knows something we don’t.”

    To be continued...

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