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Friday, June 1, 2012

Short Story: Life and Death and Seeds

At the Beginning of Time, the earth shaked and as a result two seeds were dislodged from First Tree, and fell into a crack that went straight down to the bottom of the world. It was just so that one seed represented life and the other death. They were fed by a deep channeling river that seeped into the crevice, one that the First People drank from on the surface. When the First People borne children and then grand-children they grew elderly and died. They were buried underground and gradually their remains sank down to the seeds.

The seeds matured into saplings and later young trees. The tree that represented life was Zycie*. The tree that represented death was Mortem. Whenever a new child was born Zycie added an extra ring to its trunk. Whenever a person died an extra ring was added to that of Mortem. Zycie’s leaves symbolized current nations, tribes, languages and traditions. In contrary, the tree of Death’s leaves symbolized all that had become no more. The birds that sang under the earth symbolized dreams and they perched and flew back and forth from both trees, for an idea or hope that had become deceased in one person may be reincarnated in another.

After awhile the humans became only a little more populous on the world but Mortem stored memories of all that had ever been since the Beginning. Zycie would bud a new leaf for a baby that had started a life, only to let it wither like in autumn when that person died. The crumpled leaf fluttered down to the waters of the underground river (now mighty after many rains) and swept to the roots of Mortem. The tree drank up the mulch and sprouted an identical leaf from its matter, but one that would never fall, until the echoes of that person finally became diminished.

That is why Zycie only grew a little while Mortem never stopped being taller. One war leader could exist on the Death Tree for many, many mortal lives if he had influenced an entire culture. Years later its top poked up from the deposits of stone and entered the foundations of a mountain. Still seasons later it punctured the crest of Lonely Mountain and continued to grow like a small wild bush. But that is far to the east and many daywalks.

If you could keep your leaf upon Zycie forever would that make you immortal? Indeed. That is how some humans became gods. You must journey beneath the earth for many years. Then you must take a leaf molded out of the bark of the First Tree, which is rumored to be buried in the most ancient temples and shrines. You must write your name upon it with Blood Clay and dab the surface completely with scented oil from a sacred herb. Finally, you must tie it securely to a branch on Zycie. Of course, this process takes much time, endurance and cunning. It is thought that there are terrible beasts guarding the Underworld and it is punishable by death to steal from a temple. Therefore, it takes only the most diligent humans, ones more often than not born with supernatural abilities, to accomplish this ordeal.

*┼╗ycie in Polish means life and mortem in Latin means death.

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