Once again, Bottom of the Garden absolutely devoured all of my creative energy this week. I suppose that’s a good thing, because it means I’m making progress on that story, but it also means that making new things for this blog is becoming quite a bother. Rather than totally cop-out this week, I’ve decided to give you a piece of what I’ve actually been working on.
This is a legend from the tribal religion on my little fictional desert island. This is the story as told by Yara, a nine-year-old girl, though I made some alterations to it so that it makes sense without her gestures and such. The only background you need is this:
- Ulan is the god of the underworld, (and by proxy the ocean) and he has been banished to the bottom of the sea. He’s essentially the devil in their religion, but Yara has been raised to admire him so she has a different opinion on the topic.
- Iben is the god of the land, father of all the animals, and his wife runs the affairs of humans.
- “Paradise” is what they call their island, which they believe Iben created specifically for them.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think! This is kind of my baby right now. :)
P.S. First posts happening on Victorian Zombie Porn! Go see!
Ulan and the Whales
Long ago, when Paradise had only just been created and all of Iben’s children still lived on the shore, the whales slithered on land just like the snakes. They loved to lie in the sun, flapping their arms in the ocean breeze like babies do. And they were so happy, they had baby whales, one at a time until there were hundreds of them, all over the island, flapping their arms about in the air.
But the whales were so big, and there were so many of them, that they began to take up too much space on the shore. There was very little room left for the people, much less for Iben’s other children. They were all squished together, like baby birds in a nest. And so the people and the animals all got together, and they told the whales that they had to stop having children, or else leave the island. Of course, the whales loved their children more than anything, so even though they didn’t want to leave the sun, they all slipped into the ocean to make it their new home.
But they were not made for the ocean. They did not know how to swim very well, so they kept sinking to the very bottom, and then they would have to work really hard to get back to the surface for air. And they couldn’t talk to each other in the water, which made it very hard to keep track of everybody. Their children began to disappear, and no one could call out to them. And worst of all, they missed the warmth of Jima’s light on their skin.
And so the whales were very sad, and frightened. They wanted to go home, to Paradise, but they could not. In their depression, they all sank to the bottom and just lay there.
It was then that Ulan found them, and he saw their pain. He asked them what was wrong, but they could not speak to answer him. Instead, they simply flapped their useless arms, and he soon realized that they could not swim, so he gave them big fins to pull themselves through the water. The whales were grateful, but they still could not speak, so they opened and closed their mouths at him, and he gave them special voices that could travel through the ocean water for miles around. The whales were so delighted, they broke into song, and their missing children heard the song and they followed it back. With the whole family united again, the whales could not thank Ulan enough, but he wasn’t fooled. He knew something else was still wrong from the deep sadness still in their eyes, so he said to them, “I have taught you to swim and given you voices to sing. What more is it that you could possibly desire?”
The whales were hesitant to say, because they did not want to act ungrateful, but finally the smallest of them swam forward and said in his most adult voice, “We miss the sunlight. It is our favorite thing in the world.”
And Ulan knew how the whales felt, because he too missed the sun. His days were long and dark at the bottom of the ocean, and he could imagine no worse fate. Tearfully, he gathered the whales close to him and gave them his greatest gift: a large, powerful tail.
“I cannot give you wings,” he told them, “but with this tail, you can swim so fast that you can leap out of the water, and fly into the sunlight. But be sure not to waste this gift. If you do not use it, you will grow fat and lazy, and may never see the sun again.”
And the whales raced to the top, calling out their thanks so that it could be heard for miles around as they broke the surface, and the people and animals of the land saw and knew that the whales were happy, and all was right in the world.