“Worlds come and worlds go, just like everything in this ephemeral world of matter. However, even if things go from the world as we know it … nothing truly ever disappears!”
“Ah .. Gramma, you’re doing it again! If things go out of the world then they disappear.” Maryam said with a huff.
“Well then, let me tell you a story.”
A long long time ago, before Man lived in this valley, there was a beautiful maiden. She was the guardian of the forests and she made the flowers to bloom and the rivers to flow. Sometimes she would become a butterfly and she would fly among the small flowers at other times she would fly high in the sky in the form of a peregrine hawk.
That was in the days when the Moon was a goddess and the Earth was venerated as the giver of life. She had no special name, as Man hadn’t begun to put names to things yet, so we’ll call her the Forest.
“Gramma weren’t there any people yet?”
“Well yes, there were, but they were like all the other creatures and they hadn’t become proud yet.”
This is how Man became proud … One day one of the people went to the high mountain. There among the cold clouds lived the Hunter. He had been shunned by the Goddess Earth and exiled to the high mountain because he loved to kill, so she thought there was no place for him in the world among all her peace loving creatures.
“But how could people live Gramma, if they didn’t hunt?”
“The people gathered nuts and berries, grains and beans as well as sweet fruit and roots and the bees gave them their honey, if they asked for it with kindness. They didn’t know the taste of meat.”
The Hunter looked upon the person who’d come up to his mountain and he smiled.
“Ah … What brings you to my abode?”
“Actually, the mountain looked so inviting I couldn’t resist it! Who are you?”
“I am Hunter and I can teach you very much of which you don’t know. You can become free from the Earth and eat of all the good things of the land.”
He, for the person was a he, thought about this and thought it was a wonderful opportunity.
“Please teach me and I will worship you!” said the man.
Hunter taught the little man how to make traps and how to make a spear and then he taught him how to make a bow and arrows.
“These are all very interesting things to know. But what do I do with them?” asked the man.
“These are for killing the beasts which are very good to eat, like the hare, the ducks and the deer.”
At first the man thought this was a silly thing to do. But then, the hunter taught him to make fire and roasted a duck for him.
“Oh! This is very good! And so much nicer than water sogged grains and nuts!”
So, he began to learn all he could from the Hunter and he became proud with his new knowledge for no one in the world knew how to make weapons or fire but him.
He returned to the people in the valley below and he tried to teach the people how to hunt and kill. The women were happy with the fire he brought. It helped soften the grains and kept the children warm at night. But they refused to use the meat and the pelts he brought to their dwellings. The men though were happy with this new pass time. They found it easier to hunt than bend their backs gathering roots, grains, nuts and berries.
Soon Man … for now he called himself Man as he no longer felt he was one of the people but a great leader and one who was full of wisdom … said to his followers: “All that is here upon the land and in the forest is ours. We will name the names of all things and everyone will bow to our wisdom!”
Everyone did not bow to their wisdom though and many men and women refused to follow them. So Man and his followers turned their weapons against those who refused and soon they were conquered.
The Forest was shocked that her little ones were being slaughtered by the men with weapons, so she taught them how to defend themselves, how to hide and yes, how to kill. In the end though as the men became more numerous, they began to cut down the trees to make themselves cities and soon the Forest began to dwindle and die. Earth was powerless to stop the killing as men could no longer hear her voice, or if they did they ignored it. Women became the property of the men and continued to gather the nuts and the fruits of the land. Then men began to plant their own food and to enslave other animals. All that has brought about the world we know today.
“But Gramma … I thought you said nothing ever dissapears. I don’t see where your story is going to. Certainly that world is no more (if it ever existed).”
That world lives still my little one. The Forest sleeps deep in the wooded places and she still makes the flowers bloom and the rivers flow. All the wild things still hear her voice and even some people still hear her voice when they walk through the empty woods. The birds know her name and she guides them south when the winter comes to the north. Men can only transform what is hers but they cannot give life and they create nothing. All things live but nothing really dies … it is only changed. And one day soon, I can see that men too will change becoming dust and the world will begin again.
Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Fairy Tale Prompt