Fairy Tale

This story is on my Clarion website, (go to http://clarionwriteathon.org/members/profile.php, and click “Show/Hide excerpts at the bottom) but I liked it so much that I had to share here as well. It’s a fairy tale from Kwedregiol, the place where my first novel happens.

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Once there was, and once there wasn’t. In the long-distant days of yore, when haystacks winnowed sieves, when pixies played stickball on the cliffs of the Elums, and when I softly rocked my baby grandmother to sleep in her creaking cradle, a man walked the earth. He was a tall man, sleek and muscular, his frame rose bigger than a market stall and glistened golden like a bonfire. The people of the mountains called him Michegua, for he had no name of his own.

Michegua was a wise man. Michegua was a forgiving man. Michegua was a generous man. He gave the people of the mountains many things. First, he gave them the rising sun so their crops would grow hearty and hale. Next, he gave them fire to cook their meat and to give them safety from animals in the darkness. Third, he gave them laws.

Can you recite them with me? The five laws of Michegua? They bind us all, and so we must know them. Here, begin: Do not kill for aught but sustenance. Do not lie and do not steal. Rest one day, of the week to reflect on your blessings. Honor your betters. Strive in all ways to treat others as you would be treated.

Because of the great gifts of Michegua, the people came away from the mountains. They settled in green valleys beneath blue skies. They tilled the fields until the earth turned golden, tassels of corn waving in the wind. They settled by the sea and let the ocean breezes whip their skin into ruddy health. They became the people of the earth.

Only a few of the people stayed in the craggy, gray mountains, because they revered the place where Michegua had come first. For them, Michegua gave a trail of bright blue gentians. The little flowers dappled the mountain sides. This was so the people of the mountains did not miss the sea, for they had deepest blue growing on the hills. This was so the people of the mountains did not miss the waving corn, for the blossoms would wave in the wind. This was so the people of the mountains would always remember that they were the faithful who loved Michegua and the old ways the most.

Michegua stayed among the people for many years, but it came to pass that he had to leave them. In this time when fleas were barbers, and mountain goats were town criers, the people had a custom. They would give a gift to each stranger who came among them. Michegua was not a stranger anymore, but he was also not the same as the people of the earth. He was too tall and too golden. What could they give this splendid man who had already given them so much?

The oldest spoke first. “We will give him our worship,” he said. “We will make a God of him, that we never forget what he has done for us, though all the ages of the world pass by and those who are here have perished.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

The youngest spoke next. “We will give him increase,” he said. “We will spread across this world and thrive, because we have followed his teachings well. And everywhere on earth there will be people who know his name.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

The wisest spoke last. “We will give him a bride,” he said. “He will choose a woman from every generation. He shall mark her, and she shall be his. This way, he will come back to us one day.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

When Michegua heard of these gifts he saw that they were as great as the things he had given them, and he was touched. He called all the people together, the people of the earth, the people of the sea, the people of the mountains, so he could bid them goodbye. They met at the base of the mountains, where the sea and the land and the cliffs came together as one, the place called Kwedregiol. Michegua seemed taller that day than he had been when he lived among them. His skin flickered golden like the flames in the campfire. He took a deep breath, and shining white wings unfurled from his back.

“So you shall know me,” he said, “and also know my bride, by the wings on our backs and the love in our hearts that we both feel for you. People of the earth, go forth in my name and thrive. Multiply yourselves upon this place tenfold.”

His words echoed from the cliff face, and the people watched as he beat his wings upon the air and rose into the heavens. The wind from the down stroke of his wings brushed them all like a kiss across their cheeks. That was his parting.

The people made a white city on the place called Kwedregiol, carving it out of the land and the rocks, and in it they put the woman with the mark of wings on her body. There she waited, the bride of Michegua, for him to come back some distant day.

And as his bride was waiting, three apples fell from the sky; one for our story’s heroes, one for the person who told their tale, and one for those who listened and promise to share.

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Categories: Fairy Tales, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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