Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Why Man lives in Darkness and Wears Humble Cloathing
“But you promised...”
“Where did the village come from?”
The children are eager to learn, always asking questions, but very loudly. They are the creatures of Sky chasing each other like Skoll and Hati chase Sun and Moon. But they learn because they are wise. All children are wise.
“Settle down your spirits, children. I will tell you another story. But then, afterward, you must settle yourselves. The wise always know when to rest their minds, otherwise it will no longer be firm, but will become soft like Thor Odinsson in the hall of Skrymir.”
“I liked that one the best,” one of them shouts.
“I know you do. It is an old story. This next one is not so old though, but it is secret and you mustn't tell another until they ask you to tell the story of the new world. It is a dark one, about the end of the ancients.”
All of them grow silent as I prepare the stones of heritage. They are hot as Muspelheim, the realm of fire, where ice once met in the Ginnungagap, and steam the waters as once was when fire and ice founded the world.
“Long ago when Man was young and proud, all were gods, walking with one another as equals. Each possessed dominion over the land and the power of Odinsson. But they were proud in their own minds, and it made them think too highly of their ways.”
“Long before their end, one arose among them, greater than all of them, and gave them gifts in plenty to all who would accept. But one day his heart hardened, growing dissatisfied. He had turned them all into men that walked liked women and women that walked like men. Their ways became backwards and foolhardy, and he grew angry with them.”
“So from his mind he plucked the guardians, each powerful in their own right, and taught them to guide and protect the people. Of them all, the oldest guardian was the wisest, and saw Man, pitying them. They were lost, so he called together his brothers and sisters and told them, 'Behold! Man is lost, and are like men who walk like women and women that walk like men.” They agreed and then conspired to end Man.'”
“When the time came to end Man, the oldest guardian relented at the very last moment saying wisely, 'For because I have seen but one righteous man, we shall spare Man, but humble him nonetheless.' On that day they set out their hands across the lands and took the spirit of the earth with them. And when they did so, the lifeblood of their world perished, casting them into eternal darkness. Yet from them, a remnant arose, and set out like blindmen to their ruined lands.”
“And that is why Man lives in darkness and wears humble clothing.”
“But wait,” another cries out. “Why do the the villages of the West know how to make light in darkness?”
“They know because their ancestors have whispered unto them secret knowledge. They know how to ask Sun for light. After the guardians left the earth, each carved their history into the mountains, which at that time were young and stout. But the rest forgot and now live in darkness.”
“Are there other villages?”
“Yes,” I reply, “there are many villages. But the greatest of them all remains frozen in ice. No one may enter in, save the guardians. But they are gone.”
“But that is enough time for our words. You must all go into bed.”
“Aww, why? It's still so early.”
It is a good reason to keep telling stories. But they must know patience. That is why Second Man suffered under the guardians. They were not patient.
“We must all sleep children,” I say while I pull the skins over them, “for tomorrow is another day full of work and labors of the village. A story must be treated with care, lest it be told too many times and loose it's meaning. That is why we tell stories. We use them to teach, and to inform. What is a story told too many times? It is vanity and uselessness.”
At that I take my leave walking out of the tent and into the twilight. In the sky there are so many stars. I remember days when the night was so bright that no one could see the stars. But those days were long ago, and I don't speak of them.
That is why I tell stories: so that I can forget what the world was and shut my eyes to it forever.