Thursday, September 3, 2009

Daily Story 141: Resourceful

This is another that was first published at 365 Tomorrows.

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Come closer to the monument, child. Do not be afraid. You have done well to make it all the way here – I know the journey from your village is hard. Your brother had to turn back the first time, and your mother arrived with an injured ankle and had to wait here for nearly a week before undertaking the final trial and becoming an adult – so do not be ashamed to lean up against the monument and rest a while.

No, it is not haunted, who told you such a thing? This is why we wait to tell you where our people came from – children are too superstitious. Come, feel the monument. Like no stone you have ever touched, is it? You can see it is shaped with a purpose, but it was not carved or chiseled. This is a special stone that our ancestors could shape as a single piece. Yes, child, that is a good comparison – but it is not quite like clay. Think of the candles your parents make, how the fire causes them to flow like water rather than hardening as the clay does. This stone gets soft like clay when you heat it, and then becomes hard again when it cools down. It is unlike anything else in the world – as strong as stone, but it does not shatter under any force. They called it "metal".

More amazing, this metal channels lightning like water down a riverbed. Our ancestors knew this, and found ways to harness the lightning with materials like this. They used fire not only to shape it, but to pull it into threads and weave it like fabric. When they coaxed lightning through these tiny threads of the metal they were able to create all manner of wonderful things. They made light, wind, even life. If you choose the path of knowledge you can read the ancient texts about the things our ancestors made.

No, child, we cannot. They used this special type of stone to create the monument and make it fly – do not look at your elders that way – fly away from the lands they had called home and to here. But the lightning died out, and the fine metal threads snapped, and they found none of this material here to replace it. They could not return home, could not make more of the amazing tools that controlled the lightning and wind. Our ancestors did not despair, and they did not curse the land for not providing what they needed – this land had everything that they could ever ask for apart from the metal, and for that we are grateful. We do not mourn the loss of their wondrous tools; we wait, and we watch the stars, because we know that some day cousins from the land of our ancestors will find us and take us home.