Minor Gods/Goddesses Short-Stories (Fiction)
“The ancient Egyptians called mushrooms “sons of the gods” and “plants of immortality” and thought that the storm god Set created them by hurling lightning bolts coated in mushroom-seed to earth.”
“Porphyry, a mycophile from the Phoenician city of Tyre, remarked that mushrooms could reasonably be called “sons of the gods” because they were born without seed.”
He is a pig! I could find all the mushrooms for him and he would still have no respect for their environment.
We were on our way for the every other annual event as friends for mushroom hunting. I loved spending time with this guy, but sometimes you cannot ignore the greed factor it brings in the relationship. I have to make sure that we do not overpick so that we can always come back and they have time to replenish. His greed for mushrooms make sures there would be none left to rebuild in the future.
“Hey man! We are almost there! My mouth is already drooling!”
“Of course you are drooling.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look, we found our road. Go drive up to the camp, I will get us a meal of mushrooms for tonight.” He just grunted in reply.
I hopped out of my baby truck. My truck was the only thing I allowed my friend near, and even now I am watching closely in case he hurt the truck. When out of sight, I pulled out bag and knife, and delved into the bushes and trees. Already, a wide spread of edible mushrooms could be found. Making sure it was the features for the safe kind of mushrooms, I began to collect, leaving a few here and there so the spores can create more.
By the time I crawled back to the road, I had 3 crazy bags full. As I started walking back, I knew what I would see when I got back to camp. My friend would have done a scavenger for mushrooms and would hold a bag full of them in the air, grinning like a fool. Then, he would say, “Welcome to Camp Mushroom Lovers” like he did not clear out the forest recently.
“Hello!” I jumped and looked toward a steep bank up into the bushes. A lady sat on the bank with mushrooms around her. I just stood and stared. She wore a beautiful dress, simple and ivory. Her hairy went back into a bun, curly though at the sides, and intriguing as to what hairy color she truly has. Her body shape was slim, and yes, I looked below her face. Briefly! Okay? I mean it. She smiled and said, “Hello!” again.
“Uh, hello!” I replied back.
“You look surprised,” she said smiling more widely.
“I am. I mean, when you are out here all alone and you meet this strikingly pretty woman, I would be surprised.”
“You flatter me again.” She laughed lightly.
“Again?” I asked.
“Yes, unlike many, you take what you will eat, respecting the land it came from. May I ask if you like the ground?”
“Uh, the ground is pretty important, beautiful in the topsoil where many things grow from?”
Her smile turned a little bit sad. “Yes, life that grew from seeds on the topsoil is amazing! But, do you ever think that the ground itself should be alive? Do you not want the ground to be more complex and filled with mysterious life?”
“What kind of mysterious life?”
“That is the point of mystery,” she laughed again.
“Well alright. Mystery is good.” She looked at me puzzled. “The sky promises rain. Do you have a place to stay?” I added in a question.
“I do not need a place, thanks though.”
“Well, okay. I have to head up to camp soon though. You sure you will be alright out here?”
“Absolutely,” she replied simply. Then she added, “Your friend, he loves mushrooms yes?” I nodded and she continued, “He should not though. I am slightly offended of his greedy nature. I guess I am used to it, however.”
“Used to it?”
“Pardon me!” She laughed more fully this time. She stood and gave a slight smile, saying, “I am the minor goddess of mushrooms.”
“Greek or Roman?” I asked, realizing too late that I should have been shocked by what she told me.
She laughed. “You are the first person who did not act surprised or doubtful! I am neither. I am simply a lady who had a world focused on the ground.”
“The ground? Simply a lady? I thought you said you were a goddess?”
“I became a goddess. The Egyptian god Set helped bring wonders to the ground after I asked why the ground was not alive. He then made me in charge. And do you know why mushrooms are my specialty?”
“They are not seeds to grow on the topsoil. They do not need to. You could say the spores are the seeds, but they grow from things in the ground!”
I stood there, probably looking a bit dazed. Unfortunately, it was almost time to run to camp due to the rain almost upon us.
“Your friend does not respect the ground. Especially when mushrooms thrive from the ground. Do you really want to keep bringing him here?”
“What else am I supposed to do? This was our tradition for a long time now and we follow traditions strictly.”
“One mushroom. One that is poisonous, unaware of his mistake. I would turn his body into an ecosystem for edible mushrooms.”
“Sounds easy, but nowadays the world is more complicated than that. He has a family and other friends.”
“He never told you did he.”
“Tell me what?”
“He lost his family and his other friends turned their backs on him. He waits dearly for this day now, knowing you are his only friend.”
I stood shocked, for real now, not believing what she said at first.
“Just say mushroom and it will happen.” With that she disappeared into the air, taking the mushrooms around her with her.
I got to camp, but I was soaked too. Luckily the fireplace and two chairs were underneath a shelter piece. My friend did his usual bag of mushrooms in the air grinning routine. I smiled weakly back at him. I went and sat down on a chair placed across from him, separated by a fire. Popping open a beer my friend graciously set there for me, I looked up at him.
“What?” he asked, also drinking a beer bottle down.
“How is your family doing?”
He looked sad in a moment. “I imagine well enough. Why?”
I shook my head. “I have not heard from them for a while now. That is all.”
Silence and fire crackles filled the air. I thought about the goddess’s offer. Why would I do that to a friend? Sure he is greedy, but that was no way to judge harshly enough to decide to kill him.
My friend looked up. “However, they were the ones who committed suicide.” I knew immediately he wanted to follow their foot steps. I do recall memories where he thought of attempting suicide, but now he really was hoping to die soon.
“Do you want to die soon?” I asked, hesitantly.
“Sure, I hoped I would die out here spending time with you as my last memory though.”
I swallowed down a hard lump in my throat. His wish could be fulfilled, right now. I did not want to, I kept deciding not to, but, “Mushroom,” I said. He looked at me confused.
“A mushroom could grant your wish. If you wanted to.”
He laughed. “Of course, but I would not bring one to camp. If I lost it, you would be at risk!” I realized he had a point. It was too late now, if the offer was happening true to the words, then I was already at risk.
Dinner finished cooking. I did not put a single piece of mushroom in my mouth. My friend immediately started to help himself to his serving.
I ate my serving. We crawled up in the tent and sleep came to us quickly.
When I woke up, he was gone. I went outside the tent and noticed scattered mushrooms. He was officially gone, and I helped him. I looked for the goddess, but I did not expect her to be there. And she was not there.
I spent annual trips after that, collecting and eating mushrooms, careful to leave enough to replenish. Every time I would think of her and my friend. Everytime I wondered what mysteries the ground had. Every year, until the last years of my life, where she appeared again and I joined her company forevermore as a mushroom gardener.