Thursday, September 1, 2011

Morning Rain - Part 2

This is an excerpt from my book in progress, "Songs of Abundance and Beauty: The Stories of Josiah."

In the beginning Human got along with all the other animals. We shared with them the generous gifts of Mother Earth and they were a part of the great community of life that encircled the entire world. They lived among us, and their babies played with our babies. We watched as their numbers grew and they gathered together in towns and villages. From the start Human and Wolf seemed to have a special relationship. Wolf came down from the mountains and lived with Humans in their villages. All animals had a common language which we used to speak to each other, but Human and Wolf had a special bond. Wolf taught Human everything they knew about the sun and sky and movements of the stars and how the earth was born. Wolf showed Human which plants were good for food and which were good for medicine. Humans learned about the different songs to sing and how to read the messages in the wind.

Dog thought it was a little strange how well Human and Wolf got along, but they didn't much care. They were having too much fun running and playing with their own kind. With Coyote, it was different. Coyote saw how Wolf lived among the Humans and shared in their food and helped each other, and he wondered why he could not do the same. Human hated Coyote, and drove them away every chance they got. Coyote became upset and jealous of Wolf and Human, and decided to do something about it.

Coyote went to their cousin Dog and started to tell them lies about Wolf having a plan to come to their territory and take away all their hunting grounds and food and water. Dog did not believe Coyote at first, but so skillful were the lies Coyote told that the seeds of doubt were planted in Dog's mind. At the same time Coyote went to Wolf and told them that Dog was conspiring with Human and was preparing to take Wolf's place among them and force them back into the mountains. Coyote continued weaving his intricate web of lies by telling Human that Dog and Wolf were preparing to join forces and take over their villages. They also told Human that Wolf would turn on them and murder their children.

One fateful night when Grandfather Moon was absent from the sky, Human was alarmed to see Dog, in large numbers, moving toward their village. Dog was coming to confront Wolf about their plans to force them out of their home. Human assumed the time had come for Dog to join Wolf and attack them. Wolf saw Dog approaching and thought they were also being attacked and would be forced to flee to the mountains. Fear and tension raced through the village as Dog grew nearer. Right then, Coyote sent one of their own to sneak undetected into the home of a Human family that lived on the outskirts of the village and took the life of a child. Human discovered the terrible act just as Dog reached the village and a horrendous fighting ensued. Wolf, Human and Dog fought each other in an epic battle with previously-unseen savagery and violence. The destruction raged all night long, and the next morning Father Sun awoke to find a horrible scene of death and chaos.

When Mother Earth discovered what had happened she was extremely angry, and created fierce rainstorms and torrential flooding to try and cleanse the area. A great many other animals suffered and died in the aftermath as the earth and sky ripped themselves apart in pain and sorrow. Human and Dog together had inflicted great suffering on Wolf who retreated to the mountains, never again to cross paths with Human. Dog slowly moved into the place that Wolf had occupied next to Human and became subservient to them, convincing Human that they would forever do their bidding and be at their service. Human then turned on all animals, except for Dog, and felt that they were superior to the animals despite having lived as equals with them. They began to take many, many animal lives without reason to satisfy their own greed and hunger, and the animals came to fear Human.

But Mother Earth saved the worst punishment for Coyote, whose lies and deceit were responsible for so much damage. From now on Coyote would live in barren, forbidding places, and will never live with Dog, Wolf, Human or anyone else. They will be shunned by other living creatures and will live solitary, lonely lives, trapped between worlds. Their plaintive, sorrowful calls will fill the night air and they will lament and regret their actions for the rest of time.

Many rabbits had lost their lives in the terrible fighting. So appalled were they at the wanton destruction and killing that Rabbit had decided at that point, that even though their lives had been taken by senseless barbarism, they themselves would never, ever do the same. So it is to this day, even though Rabbit may be prey to many other animals, they themselves never take the life of another animal, no matter what.

Mother Earth was very sorrowful when she saw what her children had done, and to remind everyone of how wonderful things used to be, she created some new constellations in the nighttime sky. She created a Human made of stars and placed him in the cold, crystal winter sky, to commemorate the beautiful, pure relationship Human had with the Earth but was now gone forever. She placed a handsome, noble Wolf constellation next to the Human, to celebrate the once-great relationship the two had had and was now also irretrievably lost. And finally, she placed a Rabbit constellation under them, being sheltered and protected by Human and Wolf.

Humans nowadays will tell you something different. They named the Human constellation Orion, and exalt him as a great Hunter. They also say that Orion's companion is a Great Dog, instead of Wolf, and that Orion and Dog are hunting the Rabbit, instead of protecting him and keeping him safe.

"This is what the humans say happened," said Auntie Jools, "but we know differently." She looked around at all the young bunnies in front of her, with their bright, sparkling eyes wide open, ears straight up and noses twitching. Lowering her voice to nearly a whisper, she said, "We are Rabbit, and never forget that we above all other creatures are favored by Mother Earth. Life can be hard for us and Humans and other animals can do terrible things to us, but Mother Earth has given us great gifts and blessings. We will survive and..." She looked down at the very youngest rabbits, peacefully sound asleep and nestled in the soft, warm expanse of her own fur, and said, "...we will thrive!"

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