Folktales, a Compendium

This is just a poem I decided to share in my spare time. The story told here is not based on any existing stories; it’s completely original (and old) and will be featured in an anthology I plan to eventually publish. I’ll probably share more eventually.

  1. A Creation Story

A long time ago, there were three lonely women, Mama say.
Sun, the golden nymph, spoke first, saying
“I will create daughters who will give me grand-daughters
and our inner-beauty will ripen and glow, like the pallor of one who is happy.”
Thus dwarf suns and stars were made, and exist to this day.

Yet, Moon, the pale queen, was lonelier, Mama say.
Moon told Sun “Your daughters are beautiful, so I will create
sons with glistening skin, who will protect them while you sleep,
and they shall protect us as well.”
Thus moons adjoin the stars and guard them at night.

Yet, Terrah, the ebon mother, was not satisfied, Mama say.
“I cannot hold your children Sun and Moon, so
I will dream of children, and we all shall embrace each other.”
She plucked nails from her fingertips and made forests;
oceans and seas flowed with life, her amniotic fluid.
Thus, all manner of beast comes from the earth’s bosom.

Terrah shaped Man last of all things, Mama say,
like a potter burying their soul in a graven, ruddy image.
Yet, Man was also her first nightmare;
all creatures desired her love,
yet none were more jealous than Man.
She sculpted Man, her last dream, and waited, unsure of her decision.

2. Why Trees are tall and Birds are territorial

One day, Mama say, Tree said “I will be first to see Sun rise and
last to wave goodbye to her,” and Tree’s limbs hovered above any creature.
Tree said “I will plant my feet closer to Terrah’s bosom than all else,”
and his roots grew deep. “I will be first to welcome Moon,” Tree said,
and Tree grew many arms, covered in flowers and leaves.

Jealous of Tree, Mama say Bird said
“My wings shall touch Sun’s fingers like none else,” and
he glided throughout the air. “I will steal Moon’s attention,” Bird said and
nested in the hair and arms of Tree. “Terrah shall love me most,”
said Bird, and he killed all animals close to Terrah, even to this day.

3. Why Man Makes Shade and Light

Man’s nature soon corrupted him, Mama say,
and he joined in hatred with Bird, turning against Tree.
Man cried “Tree, you make your home on Terrah’s back so easily,
so I will make homes with your bodies.”
Man stole Tree’s children and made his home with their corpses.
Sun punished Man, saying “My flames shall dry the places
your feet traverse until your bodies quiver,” she vowed.
Yet, Man was wily, and Bird assisted him.

Mama say Bird said “Spare me once, and
I will teach you Sun’s weakness.” Man agreed.
“Cover your head with Tree’s arms, and Sun’s wrath will not reach you.”
Thus Man makes shade, even to this day, and scoffs at the sun.
Moon thus punished Man, saying “My sons will be
your hope no more, and fiends will devour you in darkness.”
Yet, Man was persistent, and Bird aided him again.

Mama say Bird said “Spare me twice, and
I will teach you Moon’s weakness.” Man agreed.
“Gather tree and light his limbs, and Moon will be powerless.”
So Man made fire and mocked the moon, even to this day.
Terrah then beckoned Man, saying “Look, Look,”
and stretched her vine-like fingertips toward
sterile rivers coursing through wastelands,
all created by Man.

4. Why there are Monsters

Mama say Terrah showed Man her garlands of cassava and cantaloupe,
and myriad more, spoiling in his hands as others starved.
Terrah showed Man the veins he’d ruptured in his greed,
her black phlegm seeping into the seas and forests.
She showed him the life-giving dew
she once anointed him in daily,
bartered like contraband.
She showed him the flesh he once fed upon freely,
stinking and sallowed by the wade of many summers.

Mama say Terrah said “Your acts say I cursed you, yet
I have always kept you near my bosom.
I gave you food, shelter, kindness,
and pity, but you have betrayed me.
Now, disaster will replace your every home.
You hide in darkness,
so you will return to me in darkness.”

Mama say Man cried and said
“Terrah, you are a treacherous soul, so
I will rule your body as penance.”
Yet, Bird could not reveal Terrah’s weakness and
Man swore to hunt Bird, even to this day.
Man then instructed his children, “Shape the earth in my own image.”
But only Terrah knew what Man truly looked like.
Thus Man became confused, killing friends as well as foe.
He then preyed upon his own, a Monster, even to this day.

5. The Promise

Sun and Moon comforted Terrah, Queen of the Earth.
Her dream was dying, Mama say, and Monsters were 
devouring all that Terrah created. So the two created an idol, a child,
to inspire her, rile her emotions, saying
“Take this gift, sister and see that 
there is still good in this world. Create again, so that 
our dreams do not die, and we will protect yours too.”

Terrah rejoiced with her sisters and carved a boy deep within her bosom,
made his eyes from precious stones, 
snatched mystery from the darkness and bathed him in wonder.
She took a piece of her heart and created his mind,
so he would always know her desires, and told her sisters,
“I live in him, he in I. You must protect him,
Guide him so that he will always return to me when he is lost.”

Then Terrah slept and never awoke again,
and her sisters wept, but Sun promised her,
“Verily, we will see to it that
he is never lost, but what shall we name him, Moon?”
Moon thought a moment, and said “Terran.”
Thus all who live will one day return to the Earth.