Seven Skinny Cows

Seven skinny cows gobble seven fat ones, they are sequentially appeared in your dream. At a glance, seven dried wheat stalks and seven wet wheat stems emerge. You are awake. Your mind is struck by the oddness. You have a hunch that it is a sign, perhaps a message from the universe? The increasingly confusion leads you to search for the meaning of the dream. You need an interpreter and the news is spreading throughout the kingdom.

There is a prison there. A young handsome man was a convict due to a false accusation. He has an unusual skill. He is precisely the person you need. He understands the language of dreams. You invite the young man, you ask him for an advice. And he said, “There will come seven years of difficult times, O King” Not only interpreting the meaning, the man also suggests what you must do, “This is an unusual thing. Save supplies to pass through the coming seven years of famine”

Believing in the instructions, you announce it to your people. You request them to make a storage space where the grain is stockpiled to face the difficult time. Later on, what you experience is eternally recorded in the stories and sermons of the Abrahamic religions. You are the king and the interpreter is Joseph the prophet. Not only in your country of Egypt, until centuries later, the practice of saving provisions to face the uncertainty is also present in world cultures.

Perhaps it has indeed been outlined by fate that humans grow with a series of issues in the course of their lives. Birth and death come and go as well as disasters, wars, food failures and epidemics that could come at any time without earlier notification. It’s like when we hear about the rotting of potatoes on a plantation and the presence of hunger that changes the face of Ireland.

However, since their earlier generations, humans have the ability to learn from tragedies, from nightmares, from bitter experiences, from distress and famine, and they rack their brains looking for ways to get themselves prepared. It is also the crises that inspired the idea of stockpiling for survival to face the rough patch within days ahead that is always shaded by mystery.

Miles away in Indonesia people also used to live in this long tradition. They live collectively and grow crops on fertile ground. There are thousands of islands, languages and cultures but are familiar with the same one as they call it lumbung. It is a storage building made of wood and sago palm. It is properly designed with air flow to keep the grain dry. From month to month the grain is stockpiled for collective purposes.

Later you would find that the lumbung is not only about an architect of grain storage, it will be a spirit and ways of life that is revealed in your day-to-day life. From the granary, ceremonies, parties, art, tales and stories emerge. There is a place to gather and share. You may have problems to solve, or you, with people around you, celebrate the harvest and party or do ritual together. Lumbung becomes one of the points where culture manifests itself. []