Friday, May 16, 2014

Sun and Mountain

This is the first story I ever wrote with real intent to publish; the first I wrote with any idea that fiction could be a thing that I did. Considering that, I figure it would be a good first story to post here.
It's a little different than my usual style, but I like it. It has a lot of sentimental value to me, and a special place in my heart.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Sun and Mountain

One cold winter afternoon, while Sun was high above, Mountain marveled at Sun's warmth.
"Even on this frozen winter day," Mountain said to Sun "you can still keep us all from freezing!"
"This is nothing!" Sun said. "I can create more warmth than this!"
"Really?" asked Mountain. "Show me!"
So Sun began to glow a bright red, and sent forth a thousand balls of fire in all directions; each one exploding in a shower of sparks, warming the earth as if it were a hot summer day.
"Amazing!" Mountain exclaimed.
"It is very hard to control so much fire." Sun replied.
"You are very good at it." Mountain said in admiration.
"Thank you." Said the Sun. "It is what I've done since the dawn of time."
"I wish I had fire..." Mountain said, half to himself.
"You cannot control the fire." Sun said. "Fire is strong and fierce and dangerous."
"What if I had just a little?" Mountain suggested.
"There is never a little fire." Sun replied. "You are not strong enough to control the fire."
Disappointed, Mountain said good-bye to Sun. Sun said good-bye, and went about his way.
But Mountain couldn't let it go. He was envious of Sun's fire, and wanted some for himself. But since he could have none, he was crestfallen.
That's when Shadow came to him.
Now, you must understand that Shadow is the trickiest of all Nature’s children. He is mischievous and cleaver.
"What’s the matter, Mountain?" Shadow asked.
"I wish I could have fire like Sun." Mountain said in a sad tone.
"He won’t let you?" Shadow asked.
"No." Mountain answered "He said I’m too weak."
"You’re not weak." Shadow said encouragingly "You’re one of Nature's strongest children. Even Wind, who moves all others, cannot move you."
"You think so?" Asked Mountain.
"Sure! In fact, I will get you the fire you seek."
"Really?" Mountain asked in disbelief.
"If you can help me." Shadow said. "I help you, you help me. That sounds fair, right?"
"Yes, yes!" Mountain exclaimed.
And shadow left to get the fire. But Sky over heard this. Since Sky is everywhere, he sees everything. And whenever he sees trouble, he always reports to Sun, who cannot be everywhere at once.
"Are you sure about this?" Sun asked Sky.
"Positive." Sky answered with certainty.
"Then you must keep an eye on Shadow." Sun said. "And if he starts causing trouble, you must stop him."
"But I cannot do anything." Sky said to Sun.
Sun though about this: it did pose a serious problem. Sun can stop Shadow, but can only be in one place at a time, and even then, he is too far away to catch him quickly. Sky is everywhere, and is close enough to the earth to act quickly, but cannot do anything to stop him. Sun thought about this for a minute.
"I know!" Sun exclaimed. "I will give you fire with which you can stop Shadow. Shadow dislikes anything bright."
So sun took a piece of fire, and split it into a thousand pieces and sent them across the heavens, so Sky would be able to use fire no matter where or when Shadow appeared.
But Shadow is also everywhere, and he over heard this discussion. He decided to use this to his advantage. Some time later, when Sun was away, Shadow came out to play some tricks.
"Stop causing trouble!" Sky said to Shadow.
"I’m not hurting anyone." Shadow said defensively.
"Sun told me to stop you if you caused any more problems." Sky said sternly.
"What are you going to do about it, Sky?" Shadow asked. "You can’t do anything."
"I can stop you now!" Sky said, getting fed up with Shadow’s petty games.
So Sky took fire from one of the fragments Sun had given him, and threw it down to the ground with a mighty shout. He threw it so hard and fast it became like a jagged beam of light. So great was Sky's fire that it shocked and scared Shadow. It was stronger than either of them had imagined. But Shadow’s plan had worked, nonetheless. He picked up a branch that had been hit by the fire, and now burned on one end.
Shadow went with haste to Mountain with the fire.
"Here, Mountain!" Shadow said.
"You really got the fire!?" Mountain exclaimed, not thinking Shadow would actually succeed.
"You can have it," Shadow said "But you have to help me."
"Anything!" Mountain blurted out in desperation.
"You must let me hide within you when ever I need." Shadow said quickly, knowing Sun would come soon.
"Yes, of course." Mountain agreed. He opened his mouth to let Shadow in. So Shadow went into Mountain’s mouth and put the fire in his throat. Just then, Sun came.
"Mountain!" Sun shouted.
"I am here!" Mountain said in excitement.
"Is it true?" Sun asked, fearing the worst. "Have you taken the fire?"
"Yes!" Mountain said, barely able to contain himsef. "Watch what I can do!"
Mountain looked to the heavens, opened his mouth, and sent forth a great flame that shot up, and rained down upon the earth around him. But the fire was hot, and Mountain yelled out in pain.
"That hurt!" He shouted. "My mouth is burning! My throat is burning! My stomach is burning!"
Sun sighed in disappointment. "That is because the fire is too strong for you. It is fierce and chaotic. You thought it was small, but it grew very fast."
"I want to get rid of it!" Mountain cried out "Help me! Take it back!"
"I cannot take the fire back, Mountain." Sun said. "It is your burden now. You must always hold it inside of you, so it doesn’t burn up the whole world. This is why I always keep the fire far away from the earth."

So, this is why Sky has stars, to throw fire down at Shadow when he causes mischief. This is why Shadow always hides from Sun, coming out in the open only when Sun is away, and hiding when he is near. He also hides in Mountain’s cavernous mouth, since Sun can never find him there. And this is why Mountain has fire inside of him. And since he isn’t strong enough to hold it, it often escapes from him.
If Mountain had just let Sun take care of the fire instead of being taken over by jealousy, he wouldn’t have the painful burden that he has brought upon himself to this day.


To this day, I am not sure how I came up with this story. It sort of wrote itself; each element of the tale inviting the next scene unbidden. 
It was inspired, in part, by old Native American folk tales, where in aspects of nature were the characters in place of the humans that had not yet come to be.
What's odd is that I have tried numerous times to write more fables like this one, yet it never worked. I could not, as they say, make lightning strike twice. It is as if this story of Mountain and the rest of nature's children could come about only by spontaneous inspiration, and never by force. It certainly wasn't for a lack of ideas-- those I had plenty of. Perhaps it will happen again some day. Perhaps it won't. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
And if I never get the inspiration for a second, well, at least I will have written this one.

Sun and Mountain is available on Kindle and related apps, bundled along with two other stories, Maintenance and Humakora in a collection called "An Introduction of Sorts"-- so called because it was essentially my introduction to the world.

Anyways, I hoped you liked it. I will post more of my stories here, along with excerpts, prompts, exercises, as well as whatever writing related topics I feel like talking about.

...I need to come up with a good sign-off.

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