In the Beginning ~ An Ocean of Tears


In answer to the prompt In the Beginning:

Meda looked at the young woman sitting opposite her, on the other side of the fire. Enola continued seeking her, the only one of the tribe truly curious about the spirits’ beginnings, about their first travels on the earth and how they became immortal.
Meda couldn’t help seeing the similarities between the girl and her mother: she had the same eyes filled with a bright light of faith and certainty. Unlike her brothers who had taken after their mother in this, the lass had her father’s dark complexion and dark hair. She was fourteen and hadn’t been called this far. Still she didn’t appear to resent it… yet. The old shaman wondered how long it would be before the child stopped asking questions about the spirits’ wanderings and rather demand why they remained deaf to her name. Meda knew the day would come when the young girl doubted her place in the tribe: she would be called late for there was much about her that was different. If she knew the spirits they would give a chance to Enola to grow and accept her differences before they lay their calling upon her.

“Meda,” the girl’s voice caught her attention. “Why don’t we have more people called to water animals? I remember when we met the Chowilawu tribe… their leaders always are of water. But not us, why?”
“We are a tribe of the plains Enola. The Chowilawu tribe is of the Great Lakes North of us. And though water is life it is one element that cannot be controlled.”
“But neither can we truly control fire and air… and not always earth.”
The old woman smiled: the child was clever. But it was anchored in their tribe’s history and weavings that water was a source of sorrow. She sighed.
“Do you remember the great Angwusnasamtaga’s story?”
“She’s our mother, our spirit guide, the mother of crow. That’s why the shaman’s always a raven.” She had a good head and memory young Enola.
“Good. And do you recall Ahanu?”
“The laughing child? He was killed by the evil Matchitehew with dark magic.”
“Yes. At the time there were no oceans, there was only was great continent that ran for miles and miles. It ran from the very cold North to the even colder South and from the East to the West. It would take more than a hundred moon cycles to cross the plains. There were rivers coming down the mountains and at the centre of the world was the Pure Well over which ruled the healing spirit Qualitaqa. His was the greatest power… so when Matchitehew killed her son, Angwusnasamtaga gathered Ahanu’s body in her arms and walked to meet the guardian of the people.”
“That must have been a long walk.”
“Yes. Very long and that is why they say she didn’t cry over the loss of her beloved child for if she had she would never have reached the Pure Well. When she reached it she lay her son’s body by the water and sang her prayers to Qualitaqa. Because her sorrow was deep and her prayers true the healer came to her. But Matchitehew was really evil and he had truly killed Ahanu. And though he was greater than all the others Qualitaqa could not save the boy. He used all his powers but could only allow the boy to return to his mother one night of the year. It is the one night when the veil between the spirit world and ours is so thin that we can see our dead.”

“Angwusnasamtaga begged a long time but it was all Qualitaqa could do: for the spirits cannot always deny the laws of the world. And so she cried. And she cried letting her sorrow overwhelm her. She cried until the well overflowed and spread across the plains. It is said she cried for days undone by her son’s death. None could stop her not even her beloved husband Kwahu who came to her, aware of her suffering. The well became so wide that one could no longer see the other shore. Angwusnasamtaga’s tears of pain divided the world, great expanses of waters separated the tribes who could never be rejoined in the same way the soon could never be returned to her mother. And so were the oceans created. This is why the waters of the seas taste of salt for they are Angwusnasamtaga’s tears. Our tribe is born of Angwusnasamtaga and Kwahu and the seas aren’t our calling. They are a source of sorrow. We only reside by the ocean for a fortnight.”
“Always at midwinter when we say our final farewells to the departed.” Enola finished.
“That is so.”
“Does it mean we have brothers and sisters from a long time ago on the other side of the sea?”
“So we can believe for the story of Angwusnasamtaga is known to be true.”
“Has anyone tried to cross the ocean and reunite the tribes?”
Meda suppressed a shiver: nobody had asked that question since the Conflagration except one. And his path had been a difficult one. She answered calmly though.
“Our boats won’t bring us as far as we think the waters go. We don’t know exactly how wide the ocean is.”
“But the people who live in the cities?”
“They don’t want to cross the ocean, child. They are just too afraid of the desert plains. They have renounced the old ways of the tribes. They aren’t called to anything anymore. They’d rather destroy than search.”
“What of the eagles? Could they fly across the seas?”
“It would take a powerful eagle spirit to cross the waters I think. Only one blessed by Kwahu himself could do so. And the Father hasn’t blessed our tribe since he lost his son. He doesn’t forget that he trusted Matchitehew. He won’t trust anyone to rejoin the tribes and try to bring his son back.”
“So Ahanu can be brought back?”
“I don’t know child. The stories say Qualitaqa the healer said the evil deed could be undone. But only by such a deed that could counterweight that of the murder of a child. No one was ever capable of saying what that could be. It must be completely selfless and who knows what price the sacrifice would pay?



3 Comments Add yours

  1. litadoolan says:

    Evocative post.


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